Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Week 4 and 9

Week 4 Interethnic-Intraethnic Conflict
I liked the interactiveness of the presentation but I thought that the presentation relied too much on the interaction. I would have preferred more specific evidence on the conclusion. As far as the article was concerned I was impressed by your knowledge about the article but I wonder if you could have used an article that was specifically about Southeast Asian conflict with another ethnicity. When discussing a safe space I think the idea is not the issue but is has been how to implement it and the risk of excluding groups is high. I would suggest looking at characteristics of which safe spaces were successful in schools and compared them with ones that were less effective. Although each of us probably have an experience in school about the creation of a safe space like the one in the article, instead of deciding on whether or not it is a good idea I think it would be better to think about what factors allow for interethnic cohesion. 
Week 9
It was interesting to have a discussion on China because they are not in Southeast Asian but have a profound influence on Southeast Asian. This was an interesting angle. The article was interesting but a conclusion about the topic would have been helpful. Or possibly a direction of what the other articles research were and if they supported the article given.
I know nearly nothing about variety shows in Vietnam so this was a completely new topic for me. I did like that there was data shown and research. I thought that was helpful.  The interaction between generations of Vietnamese Americans is a good theme because it makes the topic more significant.
All the information was accurate and definitely helpful. I also think information on a topic that is not often supported as a topic of research is a good start. But it would help to have a direction about where the research was going or an approach to be able to conclude
Jason Hsu

Monday, June 11, 2012

Blog #2

            We presented on Lune H. Saechao’s research paper about the resiliency of Iu-Mien women. I felt like the work was divided evenly. It was really hard to find scholarly articles about Mien women and I felt like both Shoua and Diana put in a lot of time to search for these resources because we all came upon the same ones.
            When we found Saechao’s paper, we thought that it was the closest thing to what we were doing our research on and decided to use it. Diana read like half of the paper and skimmed the rest. Shoua also skimmed the article. After I highlighted some of the things that we wanted to talk about in class, Diana and Shoua both reread over those parts.
            We ended up splitting parts of the paper to present on. Diana focused on the background part of the paper while Shoua focused on the findings that the author found. Because the research and paper were pretty simple, I felt like what they presented on in class was sufficient because the research paper had a lot of flaws and limitations that we had mention in class.
            I think one thing that our group could have done better was to probably compare it with an article or paper that talked about Mien men since it was gender week. We also could have elaborated and done more research on the traditional roles of Mien women and men because we did not talk about that in our presentation.
- Pajkub Vahchuama

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

group 2

Diana Lu 
For week 4's presentation, my group presented about the Iu-Mien woman. When we tried to look for articles for the class to read, there were very limited. There was not much written literature about this group. The article that we used was somewhat helpful and gave us a sense of what was going on in the Iu-Mien community, but there was definitely a lack of resource and the article itself could be bias because it was based on a Iu-Mien woman's experiences. 
My group members did fairly well on presenting. Pajkub did an excellent job explaining what the study was and the findings. She gave brief summaries on each part. I think this kind of gave the class an understanding of the purpose of this article (for those who did not read.) Shoua talked about the limitations to the article, which was very short and brief but she did depicted the main point. She could have talked a little more about it or say what can be improved to shorten these limitations. I gave a little background information and was quite nervous, I felt like I could have talked more/ give more background details of the Iu-Mien people, so the class could have had a better understanding of who they are and where they came from. 

Blog #5

Diana Lu

Trieu talks about the Vietnamese people who practice many Chinese traditions, wear Chinese clothes, and even watch Chinese dramas; this was under the category about “no human right, no freedom of speech.” Personally, I found that statement kind of offensive, I am half Chinese and half Vietnamese, so when I think about my family and the ones who are Vietnamese and decide to watch these Chinese dramas, no one is holding a gun to their head and saying “YOU HAVE TO WATCH THIS” to me, its kind of a personal choice. Trieu could have had more back of information on why these Vietnamese people felt like they did not have a freedom of speech, because I am still unclear of why they feel this way.
Linda was very informative about her topic: Vietnamese variety shows. When she talked about Paris By Night, I giggled because my grandparents and mom watches it. In a sense, these shows do kind of teach younger generations about the Vietnamese culture.  I know my grandma tries to always make my cousins and i sit down and watch Paris By Night with her and tell us that we need to learn about our culture. Though I cannot understand what they are saying, some of the skits are pretty comical to me.
Justin’s part was my favorite! He was so enthusiastic about his topic and was very informative. I felt like I don’t even need to watch the movie, and I can write a whole paper about it. Because Justin has a lot of information and it is all over the place, his final paper might not be relevant, it would be best if he narrows it down to some concepts only.
And lastly, for Melissa’s PowerPoint, I felt like I learned quite a few things but because the powerpoint was so informative, I wish she had presented and explained them thoroughly. 

Presentation #2 Reflection of own group

Shoua Her
Gender and Sexuality 
Presentation #2

Reflection on Fellow Presenters

In this week’s presentation, I was part of it as a group member. We presented on the article by Lune H. Saechao about resiliency among Iu-Mien women. It was difficult to find scholarly articles about Iu-Mien women because not much research and focus has been put on to this community and group of people; however, we were able to find a dissertation paper that was submitted for a requirement for a Master Degree’s work. The article itself was very long so we, as a group, went through the study and chose sections that we felt were important for the rest of the class to read. We decided upon twenty to twenty five pages that we wanted everyone to read. We chose this article because it related to our research on Iu-Mien women and it was able to provide us with some information regarding whether or not Iu-Mien women felt marginalized, the obstacles that they had to face after arriving in the United States, how they have challenged or not challenged the gender norms and cultural norms that their group had, and where they stand today as women of their society.
            Diana presented on the background of who the Iu-Mien are and the gender roles that men and women have for their society. She also discussed the different types of assimilation and the problems that they faced. I felt that she could have done a better explanation of her section because it seemed that she was sort of lost and confused while presenting. In the reading that was provided, it gave a background and history of the Iu-Mien group of people and I felt like she could have used more of that in her explanation. A reason why is that since most everyone in the class already knew who they were, it was not a problem; however, if it was a presentation in front of a group of people who knew little or nothing about them, providing a lot more information about them would have been better.
            Pajkub presented on the section about what the study was about and the methods that were used by Saechao. I felt like she did a good job in explaining the study because she had brief summaries of the purpose of the study, the participants, and the methods involved. She was also able to incorporate her own critique and analysis of the study in her explanation. She also went on to explain how the article related to our study about Iu-Mien women and what our purpose/thesis was.
            The paper itself was able to provide us with background information about the group of Iu-Mien women; however, there seemed to be a bias in the study because it seemed like the author, Lune Saechao, went into the study with a certain perspective and used that as a basis for the rest of the study causing it to be skewed and the findings to be similar to what the author had predicted at the beginning of the study. In order to get a more accurate result, a new study that includes random and more participants would make it more generalizable and also if it included Iu-Mien women of different generations, there would be more perspectives on what they have to deal with and how they overcame those obstacles. If possible, there might be patterns of similarities and differences that can be seen with the findings on the women from the different generations. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Week 4

Week 4 Presentations
Jason Hsu
Presentation 1
Giving an explicit definition of what Amerasian is would be helpful. It would be helpful to critique parts of the article or else the presentation becomes a summary of the article. I was not sure on your stance about the 1982 Amerasian Act policy did feel it was helpful and a positive direction or do you feel that it was ineffective. Since you stated that the U.S. reacted only for their own selfish motives, do you think that a policy that came out of this could be helpful to Amerasians? Since the article was an ethnography on South Korean Amerasians, it seems like the policy the U.S. took toward Amerasians depended on their relations with that country.
Presentation 2 
Professor Valverde stated that your understanding of the article was the opposite of what she believed. The presentation seemed to be a summary of the article, I would suggest having a clear thesis so that your project is original research. Is the type of linguistic usage particular to Vietnam or do all communist countries have similar vernacular structure?
Presentation 3
You stated several times that China has no need to have economic relations with Vietnam. Why then would they chose to become economic partners. According to the article,Vietnam also imports a significant amount of commodities from China, wouldn’t this be a reason that China wants to have economic relations with Vietnam? They would benefit because Vietnam is a market for their goods and services. Having Vietnam rely on China economically also allows China to have more control and influence over Vietnam.

Week 8

Week 8 Presentations
Jason Hsu
ASA 150E
Presentation 1
            I thought that your presentation was one of the best so far. I thought that you did a tremendous job with the interviews. The quality of the interview was great for several reasons; the subjects interviewed were very knowledgeable about your topic, the questions they responded to were well chosen and their responses were very helpful. It was also important because it was original research.
            I think your choice of video clips on House and popular culture was very helpful. You answered questions thoroughly and it showed your depth of knowledge about the topic.
After looking through your article I wonder if there was another article that could be used where the author of the article is Hmong. You did state however that it is hard to find such articles. I think this is another reason why your original research was so compelling.
My question is, what is your research question? Was it the comparison among first generation and second generation Hmong Shamanism? I wasn’t completely clear.
            I think since you relied heavily of video and images that you could have also provided significant images from Shamanism.
Presentation 2
            It was helpful that you clarified the research question during the presentation because I wasn’t sure what it was. I thought your personal experience on the topic offered important insight. I thought the flow of the presentation was good. I also think that you were clearly passionate about your research and that made your presentation interesting and easy for the audience to stay engaged. I do think most of your evidence was from firsthand accounts and did not use enough research articles, and studies.
            I was confused about some of the statements on the powerpoint. I think the conclusion that a hierarchy is needed (for the most part) is difficult to argue in a short presentation. I think the idea of punishment being positive for children could have been developed more as well.
            Regarding the example of pokemon being an example of how American culture negatively affects Hmong children, but isn’t pokemon a cultural product brought from Japan? What evidence do you have that the type of traditional punishment is helpful? What evidence did you find on corporal punishment?
            Since your thesis is about male Hmong college students, how does gender effect them? you stated that after reading the article you did not agree with much of the arguments in it. I think it would be helpful to use an article that either directly discussed your thesis or was more supportive of your conclusion about your thesis.

Week 5

Week 5
ASA 150E
Jason Hsu

Iu-Mien Presentation
You stated that in assimilation, there are people who do and people who don’t. But assimilation is on a continuum and isn’t a dichotomy. Also, it would be helpful to explain why you feel those who do assimilate do better.
You stated that “Husbands always criticize and abuse them” that is an overgeneralization because if one husband doesn’t then the statement isn’t true. Maybe you could write that it is very common that husbands criticize and abuse them.
Iu-Mien don’t necessarily isolate themselves from society by choice.
When using just one research article it is not original research.
The purpose in the article is already decided before the research was conducted.
When describing perseverance, acceptance and patience how do you operationally define them? Since they have different meanings for different people.
It was good that you indicated that the sample size was small.
But also, the entire sample was from Redding, so it is not a sample representative of the population.
When discussing the issue of intergenerational conflict, don’t most parents have some sort of communication issues with their children? Even Caucasian American families not in diaspora?
Domestic violence is not a product of the Iu-Mien arriving in the U.S. and assimilating. South East Asia was a patriarchy and DV was also present there. There are also domestic violence issues specific to South East Asian and Asian Americans that do not fit the husband/male abusing the wife, families of the husband will often participate and encourage domestic violence.

Most domestic violence statistics and research do not support the article, most of the article’s summary on domestic violence was only from one source Chao (2006).
Since the article goes into detail about abuse, you may want to contact My Sister’s House in Sacramento County which is a non-profit organization that specializes in advocating for survivors of domestic violence who are South East Asian.

Week 4 Presentation: Politics

Ricky Lai

ASA 150E

Week 4 Presentation: Politics

            Week 4 was the start of the powerpoint presentations for ASA 150E. Tien, Michael, and I all volunteered ourselves to be the first presenters due to being students of Valverde’s previous class, so we felt pretty comfortable with her grading process. Despite this, we definitely encountered difficulties in collaborating with each other and trying to relate our articles to each other as well. Because of our difficulties in collaborating our efforts, we each worked on an article of our own choice that we felt related to the topic of “Politics”. We all happened to pick topics relating to Vietnam due to all three of us being Vietnamese.

            Michael’s presentation about Vietnamese politics explained the rigidity of Vietnam’s government in relation to its citizens’ concerns. It explained that the Communist Vietnamese government is unwilling to seriously consider the voice of the people living in Vietnam. I thought his article was interesting and it happened to relate somewhat to my own article, which was China and Vietnam: Managing an Asymmetrical Relationship During an Era of Uncertainty. I picked this article because I felt that it was extremely relevant to some of the themes learned in Professor Valverde’s ASA 114 course, that of which being globalization and transnationalism. It was apparent to me that China and Vietnam’s long lasting historical tensions has continued to this day in the form of socio-economic ties through their interconnected market-capitalistic economies. It highly intrigued me as a second-generation Vietnamese American born in the U.S. how Vietnam was so interconnected culturally, socially, and economically to China. I wanted to explain the reasons I felt that my article provided for this interconnectedness between Vietnam and China and what it can do for their mutually-beneficial relationship.

            Tien’s presentation was a little harder for me to follow since we hadn’t discussed our articles together. It was unfortunate that we weren’t able to meet, but alas it was the first week of presentations and I’m sure we were all scrambling to get our presentations finished. Despite not having a powerpoint, I picked up on the fact that Tien’s presentation related to mixed race Vietnamese children and the lack of accountability for them in the context of the United State’s political frameworks and processes. I found his article interesting but I thought his lack of visual aid made it difficult for the class to follow. Not having any visible outline or rubric made the topics he discussed a bit confusing. Overall though, I’d say we did an okay job collectively on this presentation.

Week 1 Presentation

Michael Nguyen
ASA 150E

Vietnamese Information

 Recalling from Tien's presentation, it seems he is talking about the half-Vietnamese, half-American war babies that live in Vietnam. I mainly discuss how Vietnamese politics are always conformed in a way that makes sure the community voice is not usually heard or encouraged. Ricky mainly spoke about how Vietnam is moving up economically in terms of China's successful economy.

 We did not work together cohesively to make a flowing presentation. Tien did not want to participate in a collective powerpoint, and we all knew we wanted to focus on Vietnamese people. I did not know that this presentation had to be in relation with our final papers. I just thought it had to match the theme of the week according to the syllabus. Tien had a long presentation and I did not want to keep the class bored for how long he kept the class listening. Ricky obviously did the best with his informative presentation that kept it lively. My presentation was too short and my reading was too long and too hard to read. Tien was difficult to communicate with, and Ricky was easy to communicate with since we collaborated on the power point presentation.

 I thought it would be like last quarter where each group had a reading to discuss about in a bigger group, and my first thought on these presentations were not what I expected. I am glad that I got it over with, but I know I did terrible on it and was not prepared to answer questions. Both Ricky and Tien had more information during their presentations. I feel like if I had another chance to present but there is not enough time this quarter since it is nearing the end.

Presentation #1: Politics

          First off, the articles that both Ricky and Michael used are quite long, but pretty relevant to your topic.  The two authors of the articles you both chose had some really insightful knowledge and ideas about the politics of Vietnam and its policies.  The only problem I had is that there seems to be no or little critique from both of your perspectives about these articles.  These articles present some arguments that can be challenged and analyzed which were missing from the presentation.  I think that if you two look at some of the points that these articles make and analyze or critique them, it would make your paper a lot more interesting.
            In terms of the presentation itself, there were a lot of information that were taken directly from the article.  It distracted students from listening to your presentation because they were either busy trying to copy the information as fast as they can or trying to read the whole writing.  This really made it hard for many of us to understand the presentation because there was either too much information given or too little (both powerpoint and presenting wise).  Another problem with having the information directly from the article is that it doesn’t necessarily show the audience how you feel about the claims on the articles.  For the research paper, your argument should be really obvious so that it is easier to understand why your ideas are important. 
            As for suggestions for your research paper, you both should definitely include more than one scholarly article pertaining to your topic.  I understand that for the presentation, you were only required to give two articles, but it is important that you use more than one person’s argument about politics in Vietnam.  This will not only give you two more to write about, but it will also make your argument and paper stronger if you can critique/analyze others who’s written about similar topics too. 
            Now on the bright side, I like how you both tried to try it into Vietnamese Americans and how it affects them.  Although there should have been a little more emphasis on why this topic is important to Vietnamese Americans, I felt that the examples that you both gave in class are pretty good.  And so, this leads to my question that I have for the two of you: How will understanding the politics of Vietnam benefit Vietnamese/ Vietnamese Americans here?  
            As for Tien, your article seemed long, but it was really interesting so that made it a fast read for me.  I thought that the article you chose tied in pretty well with your presentation.  Although I didn't specifically understand your position in the topic, I felt that the analysis you made about the topic and the article somewhat indicate your argument.  In the research paper, it would be very helpful if you specifically state your position just to make it easier to follow. 
            Based on your presentation style, I thought that it made things easier for us to write down important points because we didn’t have to stare at something and copy it.  By doing this, we all had to really listen to what you were saying which, in a sense, made your presentation more interesting. 
            As for suggestions, I think that you should emphasize more about the United Nations or other organizations have directed their attention to (or not directed) to these Amerasians or children of war.  This will really bring out more attention to your topic and also lead to how Southeast Asians here should be aware of this issue.  With this, you will need more than one article that shows the government’s attention (or lack of) to this political problem.  Another suggestion is trying to find stories of these Amerasians who have experienced conflicts of displacement and identity confusion.  I know that you brushed up on this in your presentation, but if you elaborate more on this, you can tie this in to why it is important for Southeast Asian Americans to become aware and address this problem to the government. With that being said,  my one question for you is: What are solutions that the SEA (Southeast Asian) communities have done or should do to help with this problem? 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Presentation 1

Mai Moua Vang

The presentation about Amerasians was really interesting and insightful because I have not think about children that was born during war time. In another ASA class I took a quarter ago, I read a story about the experience of Vietnamese family who has a son who is mixed with Vietnamese and African American. It was not until the Amerasian presentation that the story made more sense and how real it is. In the presentation, the student talked about how the children are left behind with the mother after the war is over and the mother’s family finds it hard to incorporate the child in the Vietnamese environment. In the story I read, the family tried to lighten his skin by keeping him away from the sun and using special bleaching soap. As for bi-racial son’s hair, the mother would add hot oil to his hair to straighten it out. His grandfather taught him to love Ho Chi Minh and his grandson would sing it in public. The family tries many ways to assimilate him into the Vietnamese society because Amerasian children face a lot of racial discrimination and are confusion about their identity. I was talking to my bi-racial friend and he said that he did not feel so confused about his identity because his parents were very accepting and they highlighted other qualities he has. The way that I saw this, his parents are very American. His dad is white while his mother is a Philipina so acculturating him in American values made his identity more clear since they didn’t put much stress on his Pilipino culture. Overall, the presenter provided a lot of information that really helped me paint a picture of Amerasians' experience. In addition, I'm glad that the presenter gave this presentation because the information I learned in another ASA class is more relevant and valuable to me now.
            The presentation about the relationship between China and Vietnam was also very interesting because it ties back to a CRD class I am currently talking about globalization. China and Vietnam have an assymetrical relationship where Vietnam relies heavily on China for their products. Although Vietnam defeated China in several wars, economically China has the upper hand. Since China has more people and their government knows how to strategize in the market, the country took advantage of exporting materials. Since labor is cheap in China, their materials are also cheap, making it ideal to for people in Vietnam to buy more of their materials. This also applies for fruits and vegetables. Even though Vietnam is a tropical country, it is cheaper for them to buy fruits and vegetables from China, thus emphasizing the asymmetrical relationship. Overall the presenter did a really good job with the presentation. It was well structured and easy to understand. 
            It’s is really hard for me to draw any ideas from Micheal’s presentation because he did not have much to create a dialogue to conjure ideas. His presentation was not well structured and lacked cohesiveness. He seemed confused about his own topic, which added more confusion to myself. To be honest, when I was reading the article, it did not sound appealing to me and it was really long so I ended up skimming it. I was hoping that Micheal would frame it in a way to make it sound more interesting, but he did not. Ideally, I wanted him to summarize the article in a few minutes and have him articulate his own take on the article but he didn't which was a bit disappointing. It makes me wonder how much effort he placed on his own presentation and his own personal liking of his own article.

Critique #5

Hue Thao
ASA 150E
Critique # 5
This week’s presentation was very informational. Having four different presentation made it difficult to comprehend all the information. We can focus on the individual’s presentation starting with Trieu, Linda, Justin, and Melissa. There doesn’t seem to be much I can help elaborate on during this week’s presentation. Thus, I will just say what was on my mind.
For me, I felt that Trieu did not clearly state his purpose of the presentation. All the background information doesn’t give me much choice in critiquing him. Perhaps he didn’t get to say what he really wanted to say. Perhaps he may have given his topic to us in a non-direct way. If so, I honestly missed the concept and that would have been my fault for not being able to help give him a good critique for his research paper.
Next was Linda. I thought Linda already gave her presentation? Regardless, the information about the Vietnamese Variety shows were somewhat fascinating. I think I might know what type of movie she was referring to. To be honest again, I have to say that the conversation after her presentation was totally off topic or it at the least had nothing to do with her research. Like the topics did not collide with one another. But that does not matter. Linda presented her topic very clear and was understandable. I want to see some clips of the variety shows she was talking about. I have seen some amazing and crazy performances before with other variety shows and it would be awesome to see more cultural variety shows. You know what would be AWESOME!? If you were to try and make your own variety show! Well that’s only my opinion.
Justin’s presentation was very informational. He was all over the place with his topics. He would sometimes jump from one idea to another because of his enthusiasm - of course I am not saying that is a bad thing. It’s good to be fascinated with your own research or else you would not really make the research interesting. Because I was not there on Tuesday for Professor Valverde’s lecture, I was somewhat confused throughout his presentation. I was just trying to grasp any concepts that I understood. Most of the information confused me though, but that’s on my part and not on his. He seems as though he knew his stuff so there’s not much for me to really comment on.
Last but not least, Melissa...Third time being honest, I don’t recall her presentation. Ok Professor Valverde, this was not my best work in critiquing the students. I did not find much interest in the topic. It just did not connect with me like the previous presentations that I have seen. So I will be blunt and say it is understandable if I don’t get full points for this critique. Even I wouldn’t really give myself full points.

Critique #4

Hue Thao
ASA 150E
Critique 4

Hmong Culture and Roles
This week was my presentation week so I am not going to critique our presentation. This will be more for Mai Moua and Boon’s presentation. First of all, the information doesn’t seem to relate to me even though I am Hmong. Some of them do, but others did not. I was curious to where the facts came from. More  or less, I feel as though I can help the two more if I answered the questions they posted up instead of giving them a critique. Perhaps they can use my information to help aid their research.
I wouldn’t really say that there is a specific structure in the family. More or less it’s because of respect. Then again, respect came from how the parents taught their children. I have to completely agree with their statement, “When we stop disciplining you is when we stop caring about you.” Kids definitely needs to be discipline. I would recommend watching Russel Peters and his stand up comedy about “Beat your kids.” Not only is it hilarious, but it is true.
One of the question was asking if I was a product of not being able to have a say in what my parents tell me. For me, this does not really apply. I was a rebel throughout my entire life. Even my teachers at high school called me a rebel. My parents had always disapproved of my method. When I stay after school to do extracurricular activities such as sports and clubs, they would yell at me saying why I always come home so late. They tell me to come home and study, but i never really did that. I had to always do things my way and not let anyone stop me. Of course, that is not saying that I am a bad son. I just knew that all the stuff I did would benefit me into pursuing a greater education. Even when choosing a college, my mom was saying just go to UOP and stay home. But I ended up refusing because I wanted to do things on my own as well as set an example to my younger siblings that they can walk their own paths. After I went away for college, they became much more understanding and two of my younger brothers now goes to Stanislaus because they have that freedom to choose to go their own way. In the end of the day though, I know I am doing this to one day make my parents proud of me.
The other question was about having double identity. To be honest, I don’t feel like I have a double identity as a son and student. I’m just one person. My parents always tell me not to worry about anything except for school. My ultimate goal is to get into college and get out with what I need.They tell me not to worry about any small factors and that they will always support me. Even though I have the opportunity to explore and do all the crazy things I can do here at college, I still focus directly in my school work. I also take the time to pick up my phone and call home just to simply check on my parents and how they are doing. The simple stuff like asking them if they ate dinner already or asking them if they are well is all that it takes to brighten their days. In a sense, I am a very Confucius in spirit. I don’t think that my parents see a double role in my life. They simply want me to graduate from college and do my best. In addition, my family doesn’t really think about these sort of things. We just focus on our path to our long life goal. That is pretty much it for the presentation. Hopefully that my point of view will be able to help you guys with your research.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Week 9 Reflection: Transnationalism

Linda Phan
ASA 150E
Week 9 Reflection
Week 9 Refection: Transnationalism
       The presentation this week was on transnationalism. Trieu’s presentation was about Chinese and Vietnamese relations, my presentation was about Vietnamese variety shows, Justin’s presentation was about queer Vietnamese men, and Melissa’s was about Confucianism.
       Trieu’s presentation was surprising since I would have expected his presentation be more about the United States rather than about China and Vietnam. While I understand that his presentation still related to transnationalism, I felt that it was a bit out of the scope of our class since we are mainly focusing on Southeast Asian Americans. He gave mainly historical background and did not really go into depth about his research project. I felt that if he had talked more about his actual research project, the class could have provided better feedback to help him write his paper.  I was confused as to why he chose this particular topic to present/research on since he did not explain his personal connection to it. To improve on his presentation, I would suggest that Trieu focus more on his research project.
       My presentation was about family relations in the context of Vietnamese Variety shows. I explained what the topic was, my personal connection to it that spurred me to do my research, methodology, results, and discussion/conclusion. I am biased since I am personally connected to my research but I can understand that all of my stats that I put on the powerpoint could be considered as overwhelming and a bit dry and confusing. The most confusing aspect about my presentation would be the answers by two respondents of my survey who gave conflicting answers. Had I anticipated the potential for confusion, I would have dealt with them in a manner that would clarify more. Overall, I think I did a pretty decent job at presenting since there were few questions about my research.
       Justin’s presentation was about a Vietnamese movie that dealt with sexual preferences. His presentation was relatively clear to me since I had already seen the movie beforehand and could understand the context of his conclusions. Justin had a lot of say and it was pretty overwhelming to hear so many ideas at once without having time to digest it. It was pretty interesting since I did not actually analyze the movie in depth when I watched it. I agree with Professor Valverde that Justin has a lot of ideas that could easily be expanded so he should pick his favorite topic and really go indepth about it in his paper. I did find that his background information at the beginning of his presentation about Cuoi and the female prostitute was pretty irrelevant to his overall presentation because it was not mentioned again and not essential.
       Melissa’s presentation was about Confucian values between Vietnamese Nationals and Vietnamese Americans. This topic is very relevant in the lives of Vietnamese women and girls today because in a dynamic society, values either must adapt to the changing times or become more and more irrelevant. Since many Confucian values conflict with a more liberal American one, Vietnamese women who are raised in the United States have a hard time adhering to them when they are so exposed to conflicting values. I though the example about Hanoi where girls are growing more sexually active before marriage and found that interesting since Vietnam has been “opening” itself to the West over the past 50 years or so and has subsequently felt American culture; in the U.S., adolescents exhibit more sexual behavior.

Mai Moua Vang

Weekly Reflection #9: Transnationalism

            While the presentations were occurring, I just thought about Hmong people in the transncultural and diaspora context.
            When Linda presented about Paris By Night, I thought about the shows that my family watches. We don’t watch a lot of Hmong shows because not a lot of them don’t exist. The most we have established are Hmong news, movies, documentaries and music videos. The older generation, such as my parents who are in their 60s, continues to rely heavily on the radio and even the phone. Since those mechanisms are easier for older generations to use, they do better in the market. For my dad’s birthday, my family bought him a “high tech” radio that costs $100 from a Hmong vendor. My dad is one of many older Hmong folks who have the desire to have one. The reason why it’s desirable is because it can play radio shows all over the U.S. and parts of Thailand, making this transnational. In addition, all the stations are pre-installed so the old Hmong folks can push one button through the list. The radio itself is still a bit bulky and requires a power outlet, so someone actually invented an even easier way for the old Hmong folks access news, music, and talk shows: dialing a number using their cell phone. Like my parents, they would dial the number, turn it on speaker, and listen to whatever that is on. They always have something playing as there are multiple stations all across the world, so my parents would listen to their phone anytime—day or night. This form of technology adds to this hybrid culture created within the Hmong diaspora, keeping them in tune with each other through the news, music, and simply a voice from a far land.
            When Justin presented his analysis about the Vietnamese film, I thought about the films that Hmong people watch. Majority of the films that we watch come from other countries. The movie industry in Thailand is really big and that’s where all the big Hmong celebrities are located. They are known for their comedic roles. Whenever Hmong tourists arrive to Thailand, they always take a quick visit to see these celebrities. Hmong American actors and actresses would actually travel abroad to Thailand so they can record movies with them. Whenever the joke applies, my family always make references to these actors and actresses and a few of my family members’ nickname originate from them. These actors and actresses status definitely echo here in the U.S..
            Dubbed movies from other countries are a common source of entertainment for the Hmong too. A lot of young Hmong people watch dramas from Thailand, South Korea, Laos, and etc. But what is becoming more of a norm is the older Hmong watching the same shows. Usually back in the villages, the Hmong would usually spend most of their time farming. Now, here in the U.S. they don’t farm as much. In the case of my dad, he is already in his 60s so he has a lot of time since he cannot handle the labor-intensive farmer role anymore, hence he watches these dramas so pass time.
            Something that is unique to the Hmong community is that we went through a phase where many of us grew up watching Bollywood films. Before Hmong movies were even introduced to us, there was Bollywood. That movie industry definitely played in influence in many Hmong women’s lives. For a long period of time, Hmong women were imitating Bollywood choreographies and they even performed them in public at special events. In the more recent Hmong movies, they derived scenes we would see in Bollywood movies into their movies such as the couple running across the field in slow motion and music playing in the background. It also makes me wonder if Bollywood had any influence on the choreographies found in Hmong music videos. The Hmong dancers are always dancing in large groups with the same choreographies and Bollywood dances have the same structure as well. Hmmm…this is actually a really interesting topic to have a research on. 

Transnational Diasporic Experiences

Justin Phan
Professor Valverde
ASA 150E
2 June 2012
Transnational Diasporic Experiences:

            For Trieu’s presentation, I thought it was nice that he had talked about the historical impact of Chinese-Vietnamese and Chinese-Vietnamese American relations because it educated me on topics that I wouldn’t have necessarily find.  That said, I do agree with Professor Valverde that his research itself wasn’t presented and it was hard to channel the information into a main topic because it wasn’t outlined.  I apologize to Trieu for not thinking about this when looking at the slides, but I think hearing Professor Valverde speak on his thesis in Thursday’s class, I do have a better idea about what it is he’s planning to do.  I think including the interviewee’s perspective overtly—saying that Person A said this and Person B said that will really help add accuracy to the essay because (like Professor Valverde said) it adds concrete evidence because it was from your own personal research.  I really liked how he was able to demonstrate to the class transnational experiences within the Vietnamese diaspora and gave us anecdotal and perspectives that haven’t been fully discussed by some of our class before (as shown by the other responses). 
            I really liked Linda’s presentation and how she was exceptionally focused.  She added a lot of her own analysis and connected all of her data back to her main thesis, which strengthened her ability to argue for it.  I thought it was great that she was able to collect and interpret so much data—a task that takes up a LOT of time.  That said, there a few points that I thought would have been important to tackle in future research.  I would really like to see a comparative study with these folks—maybe more interviews or something—to see how their relationship is with their family and how cohesive it is in relation to Thuy Nga.  I understand that Linda’s research was purely on the effect of variety shows, but I wonder (because I haven’t seen the research questions) if the questions were posed in such a way that inhibited further analysis in one’s own relationship with one’s parents through different mediums and not purely through Vietnamese variety shows.  Also, in response to the topic of extraneous information, I do see Professor Valverde’s point in leaving it out when you’re arguing for a point.  However, something about it doesn’t jive well with me because I think it is important to discuss the outliers and to speculate why things are the way they are, while still making a strong case for your research findings.  What I would suggest, and I don’t know much about how to present research, but I would suggest an area in which you do talk about how the information given does have some exceptions and to discuss these exceptions with folks and to really bring in other perspectives.  I feel that no research is all encompassing and can be contended.  I feel that adding an extra section in your paper, discussing the exceptions and how this impacts your research findings is important. 
            With Melissa’s articles, I find it exceptionally interesting that she wrote about Confucianism within the Vietnamese diaspora and how it affects the women in particular.  Although I don’t know much about her topic, I can understand her assertion that many women live/d under the rule of a patriarchal Confucianist family may be more likely to move away from these values in comparison to men, who benefit from the systemic biases.  That said, I find this point interesting too because I think it fits well with even queer folks, especially when looking at masculinity and femininity whether through same-sex relationships, marriages, whatever.  I think patriarchy is still perpetuated through the relationships queer individuals have with others and many of the larger structures that govern our nation.  I wonder if she has found a lot of psychology papers or ethnography papers that can back up her statements.  I can conceptualize how the points work together, but I hope that Melissa can also find a way to back up her statements—whether through her own initiated research, or through those of prior researchers about this topic. 
            When it comes to my research, I agree completely with folks that I need to focus my topic down.  I am definitely interested in the history of Fortissimo Films, but do understand that I only have a couple of days left for this paper.  That said, I am hoping to create more focus in my study about “gayness” and its relation to what I consider Vietnamese notions of homosexuality and identity formation/practice acceptance.  I think with the interviews this Sunday, I can ask the group a set of questions that relate to their personal development in coping with their sexual orientation—how films like this lead to identity formation/peace about their sexuality.  Looking back I can see how confusing my talk must have been.  Just to elaborate further for those who read these and just for my own sake, I think larger themes about my project include: transnational experiences with a globalized “gay” identity, essentialism, identity formation/comfort with of one’s sexuality, and hybridity.