Bungee Jumped

August 11, 2009

~Christine Chen, PC ’12

On Saturday, I went to Longqing Xia where I walked around, rode a boat, and then BUNGEE JUMPED.  I’m not sure if Light would approve me risking my life for 150 yuan, but it was totally worth it.  The experience was unbelievable and hard to describe, but I think I’ll just try to explain what I was thinking. Upcoming is a sort of train-of-thought train wreck.

So I’m on the boat and see a person flying down with only a rope of some sorts attached to the ankle. I immediately think, I want to do it. Come on, let’s do it. It’s only 150 kuai and a once in a lifetime experience. Sweet, I got Wenguo to do it with me.  We’re hiking up the mountain for a bit, following the signs. I’m getting more and more excited.  This old lady is in charge of ticketing.  Takes my weight down and takes my money.  Go up the stairs to the platform.  Hey, there are some Yalies here from another program.  Sweet.  What up, how have you been, and all those other pleasantries.  Wait for an hour-ish.  Feelings vacillate from impatience, boredom, excitement, and dread. I’m coming up.  Go the end of the platform, put on the ankle thingy. Get a hug from Wenguo, who’s in worse condition than me.  Go to the edge.  The employee there, holds me back for a bit by pulling on the back of my shorts. Oh, also, they put tape around the waists of all the girls so that our shirts don’t fly off. Sexist. I already tucked in my shirt, thank you very much.  Alright, on the edge.  Take a deep breath. What the hell am I doing. Fuck it. I jump. Scream my head off. Oh my god. I get a little confused.  Why have I not reached the end of the entire length of the rope cord? Continue screaming. Whiplash. Whoa, jerky. Scream a bit more. My arms don’t stay to the side, and out of habit from years of swimming go to diving position.  Heh, I kind of would have liked it if I could have dived into the water. So cool and refreshing.  More whiplash, and then I just kinda swing around. My rope turns around a lot, so I’m dizzy and disoriented, but full of adrenaline.  Where am I? Hehe, I’m swinging over water by a single cord. Haha, this is weird. Weird combination. They lower me down onto a boat, where the employee tells me to grab a pole. I miss. They yell at me and ask if I want to swing around all day.  Second time, I grab it. Put me down on the seat and take off the ankle thingy. Boat zooms to the dock. Bam, it’s done all in the course of less than five minutes. Hah, I just bungee jumped. Whoa.

I don’t consider myself a very adventurous person, but, hell, I’d do it again.

Power of Youth

August 11, 2009

~By Vi Nguyen, DC ’11

You’ve been to Leadership Conferences before, I’m sure. But there is something thrilling about the Union of North American Vietnamese Student Associations (uNAVSA) (you-nav-sa) Conference.

Because at the end of the Conference, there is something tangible to hold on to, a campaign, a connection:

Thousands of youths gather together, thousands of fundraisers, hundreds of campaigns, empowered in strength. And AASA Yalies were involved, too!! Below is Zach Liao, BR ’11!

And in Atlanta, Georgia, just a few days ago, when I went as representative for VietHope– this is the result of all their amazing and inspiring work:

Hong Vo, Huy Tran, Nick Ngo, Brian Vo, Alan Tu, My-Anh Ha, Vi Nguyen, Uyen-Khanh Dang

(uNAVSA) Hong Vo, Huy Tran, Nick Ngo, Brian Vo, (VietHope) Alan Tu, My-Anh Ha, Vi Nguyen, Uyen-Khanh Dang

So thanks, uNAVSA for flexing your youth-muscle!

uNAVSA 6, 2009: Follow your passion, Define Your Path!

uNAVSA 6, 2009: Follow your passion, Define Your Path!

Find out more about CPP’s 08-09 campaign beneficiary: http://www.viethope.org

Find out more about uNAVSA’s 08-09 campaign: http://cpp.unavsa.org/2009/

For more info, find out what the next campaign is all about: http://www.unavsa.org

Power of Politics!

August 11, 2009

When Hilary & Bill Clinton team up—great things seem to happen! This time, it was in North Korea! Laura Ling & Euna Lee were released!!

Zhang Binyang/Xinhua, via Reuters  Former President Bill Clinton greeted American journalists Laura Ling, middle, and Euna Lee as they board a plane at an airport in Pyongyang on Tuesday.

Zhang Binyang/Xinhua, via Reuters Former President Bill Clinton greeted American journalists Laura Ling, middle, and Euna Lee as they board a plane at an airport in Pyongyang on Tuesday.

For more info, check out the NY Times article that cheered us up so much: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/05/world/asia/05korea.html?_r=1

Re: Laura Ling and Euna Lee

July 1, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at 10:49pm
A letter to my congressman. Please write one yourself if you feel so compelled. Hopefully, if enough people write enough letters, something substantial will happen.

Dear Representative Buck McKeon,

I am a resident of your district and a long-time supporter of your legislative initiatives, particularly those aimed at making higher education affordable for students of all backgrounds. I am writing today with regard to an issue that you have likely heard much about recently: the capture, trial, and imprisonment of two Asian-American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, by North Korean authorities this past March.

As the elected president of the Korean American Students of Yale, I believe I speak for many college-age Korean- and Asian-Americans in denouncing not only North Korea’s travesty of a justice system, which condemned Laura and Euna to twelve years of “reform through labor” in a modern-day gulag, but also the lack of a firm reaction by the US government on behalf of two of its own citizens. This apparent unresponsiveness is particularly conspicuous in light of the likely devastating effect of the imprisonment on Laura’s ulcer, which requires immediate medical attention, and on Euna’s four-year-old daughter, who has now been without a mother for three months.

I believe that the US government must send a high-ranking official to Pyongyang to negotiate for Laura and Euna’s immediate release. As you already know, the history of Kim Jong-il’s puppet government is fraught with duplicity and diplomatic betrayal. For this reason, I applaud President Obama’s commitment to discontinuing the traditional policy of rewarding belligerence and provocation, and I understand the potential catch-22 behind censuring North Korea for its recent nuclear activity while sending a diplomat for release negotiations. However, the preservation of inalienable human rights is not, and should never be, a political issue. Our government has the moral obligation to do all that it can to free Laura and Euna from the clutches of a dictatorship that has displayed absolutely no interest in reforming its outdated and life-depriving practices.

This issue clearly concerns not only the thousands of Asian-Americans in your own district, but any American citizen who believes in the founding principles of this nation. I hope that you will do whatever is in your power to make Laura and Euna’s freedom a reality. Thank you for your consideration.

Respectfully,
James B. Kim

Yale University
PO Box 201974
New Haven, CT 06520

For more information regarding the situation, as well as the ongoing human rights crisis in North Korea, please see http://liberatelaura.wordpress.com/, http://freekorea.us/, and http://www.linkglobal.org/.

Visit here to support a new online petition for their release aimed at Chinese President Hu Jintao: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/131375038

A long plane ride

June 11, 2009

~Christine Chen, TR ’12

Interesting plane rides. From BWI to JFK, the lady who sat next to me said she got jittery on flights, so she had a bloody mary before getting on the plane. As you can guess, she was a little “loose” on the plane. She told me so many things about her life story. A few notable gems:
“Airport security detained me for two hours because of my cookies. They thought they had marijuana in them. You can test me. I’ve been clean for twenty years.”
“I’m a nudist.”
“You’re a doll! You’re such a sweetie pie!” 50 times over.
After offering me cookies, she offered cookies to another passenger two rows away by calling, “Hey Dad! Hey Dad! Hey Dad!” Then when he didn’t take them, she goes, “I’m offended by that. These cookies are the BOMB!”
I have to admit it made the 40-minute plane ride more interesting, but I feel terrible for the person who sits next to her on her 8-hour plane ride to LA.

JFK to BEI was far less entertaining.The far more interesting part was landing in Beijing. Health inspectors came onto the plane and took the temperature of everyone on it. They used a strange device; I wish I could’ve taken out my camera in time. They used some sort of pointer-laser-gun device and just pointed it at a person’s forehead to take his temperature. Anyways, there happened to be one passenger with an abnormal temperature about five rows ahead of me. Here’s a picture of extra-protected health inspectors dressed in a white toxic-waste-removal-sort-of-

outfit surrounding the “sick” passenger.

CIMG5945

Asia America, Where have you gone?

June 11, 2009

I’m an American/ Toi la nguoi My.

June 8, 2009

It was strange. After September 11th, 2001, reporters and people started advising that sometimes, in other countries, it was best to keep the fact that you were an American hidden. As if saying “I’m an American” was something to be ashamed of. But I never quite understood this. I could never even fathom why proclaiming your United States citizenship would not protect you in a foreign land. I couldn’t understand it until today when I saw a friend’s shared story on my Facebook update.

reporters

Maybe it was because I grew up as an immigrant. Maybe it was the struggle my parents went through to “earn” U.S. citizenship. For some reason or another, I had always thought that because we had sacrificed so much to be living in America, America was surely worth that much and more. America will surely protect me wherever I go. If I was a journalist reporting in London, Vietnam, Spain, any where in the world…I would just have to say “I’m an American/Toi la ngoi My/ Soy de los estados unidos” and justice would be granted, fairness would be provided and my safety guaranteed (As long as I didn’t break the laws, right?)

The journalists who had been shot or the social workers who died because of suicide bombings all over the world didn’t faze me. I wasn’t oblivious to these things but they weren’t convictions,  jail time, or labor camp sentences. I didn’t think that any court of law could defy justice to an American Citizen. I never thought America would have to stand by, unable to do anything to save its people.

But the situation of these American journalists, of these American citizens, is quickly crushing my feeble-founded optimism. Back in March, Euna Lee and Laura Ling were arrested by North Koreans near the China/North Korea border while on assignment to report on human trafficking. They’ve been held by North Korea since then for illegally entering North Korea and other crimes. Many in the U.S. and around the world claim their innocence and demand their release.

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Santa Monica, Calif. A candlelight vigil for Laura Ling and Euna Lee at the Wokcano Cafe in Santa Monica, Calif., on June 3, 2009. The journalists, who work for Al Gore’s Current TV network, were reporting on human trafficking when they were detained March 17.(Photo: AP Photo/David Zentz)

Seoul, South Korea Laura Ling and Euna Lee received support from around the world as they are put on trial in North Korea. Protesters at a park in Seoul, South Korea shout slogans during a June 4, 2009, rally. The signs read, "Release Immediately American Journalists!" (Photo: AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Seoul, South Korea Laura Ling and Euna Lee received support from around the world as they are put on trial in North Korea. Protesters at a park in Seoul, South Korea shout slogans during a June 4, 2009, rally. The signs read, "Release Immediately American Journalists!" (Photo: AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

But nothing has worked. The longer  Euna Lee and Laura Ling stay imprisoned in North Korea and the more Hilary Clinton states that the charges on these Americans are “baseless”, the quicker I’ll realize that saying “I’m an American” won’t guarantee me anything. The more convinced I will be that saying “I’m an American” won’t protect me from injustice, from “baseless” accusations and false convictions.

So America, do something.

(Photo: AP Photo/David Zentz)

(Photo: AP Photo/David Zentz)

You are the hope of so many, the field of myriad opportunities, the shower of ideals. Demand justice for Laura and Euna. Act, so you can shine like the beacon that you are.