Tag Archives: culture

Celebration, Culture, Community

by Hiroshi Ishii-Adajar, ’16

I was recently working on homework amidst the rush of preparation of Pilipino Cultural Night (a showcase of Filipino culture through theatre and dance), and I read Sammie Wills’ stance on why cultural shows make her cry.  Her thoughts prompted me think about the evolution of my take on culture, especially after entering college.

As a high school, I despised what I perceived as “culture.”  This dislike was partially fueled by the way it tempered the lens through which people viewed me, a.k.a the stereotype.  Even deeper than that, however, the word “culture” seemed to imply to me that everyone belonged to one; as a man of mixed descent whose “cultures” have little in common, and one of which has oppressed the other, I could not identify strongly with any established culture.  “So create your own,” one might say.  But what is a culture that only you belong to?  Most people just call that a personality.  So I festered in my moral relativistic distaste of my cultural heritage. Continue reading

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The Road

by a Stanford student

This poem is about my mother, who tirelessly juggles traditional roles of an Indian wife with professional demands of working in the Silicon Valley. I constantly wonder how India will progress if its women remain in the kitchens, and in the shadows.  

Roll it out, roll it slow
Make no holes in the dough
Make it round, make it thin
Make it flat, make it spin

Watch it swell
Watch the heat
Make it fast
So we can eat

Take a second, maybe two
Lie down, for a few?
Nope, take it back
Get ahead of the pack Continue reading

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Continue Engaging: Reflections from Listen to the Silence 2013

by Van Anh Tran, ‘13 + Healy Ko, ‘13

On February 2, 2013,  Stanford’s Asian American Students’ Association (AASA) held its 17th annual Listen to the Silence (LTS) conference, an Asian American issues conference that aims to empower students and community members to take action towards achieving social change. This year’s theme, “Click, Connect, Engage: From Social Media to Social Justice,” focused on the rise of social media as a force for achieving change within our communities.

This year’s conference was the largest Listen to the Silence in Stanford history with over 600 registrants, 22 workshops, 2 keynote speakers, and a high-profile Asian American artist. Through the workshops, LTS provided a space for students to learn about important issues affecting their community — from Asian American feminism to ethnic biases in public radio. Continue reading

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Brick Lane: On Race and Hipster Culture

by Alok Vaid-Menon, ’13

The street signs of Brick Lane, a historically South Asian immigrant neighborhood, are in both Bengali and English. The street is alive with art markets, flea sales, and food vendors. Indian restaurants decorate the street with their tantalizing sweets and succulent, spicy fare. There are saree shops, mosques, ethnic grocery stores. Older brown men play karamon on the sidewalk, eating their samosas and stamping the ground in their Bata chappals with joyful exclamations of “Shabash!” 

I am standing in line for the American Apparel Flea Market. There are almost 100 people waiting outside of the door and all of them are White. They are the types of kids you’d call ‘individualistic.’ Yes, hipsters – those ironic, well-dressed, artsy types magnetized to American Apparel (even though it has become mainstream) — have colonized the streets of Brick Lane. In the alleys by the saree shops there are vintage and thrift stores. On the walls of the abandoned warehouses I see advertisements for underground parties and alternative bands.

The brown bodies walking on the streets stare at me suspiciously. The white bodies standing in front of me in line peer at me curiously. Both are surprised to see me. As a record store begins to blast new indie music from its speakers and the White, angst-ridden voices join the sounds of tabla and sitar I ask myself: What am I doing here?  Continue reading

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