The AACP Newsletter
Asian American Curriculum Project, Inc. - More than a Bookstore
Since 1970 April 2010
Editor's Notes
Event Schedule
Featured Books
Featured Articles/Editorials
Asian Pacific American Heritage Authors Celebration

The Emails that Crossed the Line
An Editorial Plea for Tolerance
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Asian Pacific American Heritage Authors Celebration
By Philip Chin

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the Asian American Curriculum Project, Inc. (AACP), the Foster City Library, the San Mateo Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA), and the San Mateo Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) are pleased to present the Asian Pacific American Heritage Authors Celebration.

The event will be on Saturday May 22, 11am - 6:30pm, at the Foster City Library, 1000 E. Hillsdale Blvd, Foster City, California.

This gathering of distinguished authors has greatly added to our pride in the rich heritage and history of Asian America. Collectively they have brought its impact to a wider American consciousness through their award-winning work.

Cynthia Chin-Lee is the author of many children's books, including Amelia to Zora and A Is for Asia, named one of the Best 100 American Children's Books of the Century by Ruminator Review. Cynthia graduated from Harvard University and was a graduate fellow at the East-West Center in Hawaii. She lives in California with her husband and two children.

Jack Matsuoka was born in Watsonville, California. He spent his late teen years interned in the Poston relocation camp that gives his book its title, Poston: Camp 11, Block 211, recounting the story of his internment through cartoons. After the war he moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he spent one semester at the Cleveland School of Fine Arts before being drafted into the army.

His time in postwar Japan was spent acting as an army interpreter and then as a college student. During this period, Jack contributed many sports cartoons to the Japan Times and Japanese sports magazines. In addition, he did political cartoons for the Yomiuri News, drew humorous illustrations for books about Japan, and published his first cartoon book, Rice-Paddy Daddy.

Currently, Jack Matsuoka is a San Jose freelance cartoonist contributing to newspapers and magazines in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is the creator of a Japanese American (Nikkei) comic strip character, Sensei. He contributed to the Pacific Tribune newspaper from 1974 to 2000 as an editorial cartoonist and is a member of the National Cartoonist Society.

The reading will be by Mr. Matsuoka's daughter, Emi Young. She was educated as an elementary school teacher and currently teaches English as a Second Language and Workplace Basic Skills to adults in Union City's adult school.

Ann Bowler was raised in Ojai, California and has taken many journeys to Asia. She has a BA in Sociology and training as a teacher at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is now a full-time writer living in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Northern California.

Ms. Bowler has written seven books for children, including Gecko's Complaint: A Balinese Folktale and Adventures of the Treasure Fleet, recounting the adventures of Admiral Zheng He, who led the Chinese fleet to East Africa and Arabia before the Europeans first arrived there nearly 70 years later.

A special Chinese language presentation will accompany her reading of Adventures of the Treasure Fleet.

Using banjos and accordion Plink and Plunk offer a selection of sing-along-songs and folk song favorites for people of all ages. The duo, made up of retired school teacher, George Louzensky, and writer, Charlie Chin, have played their fun-filled presentations at senior centers, yoga studios, schools, and libraries throughout the Bay Area. Their motto is, "High Tone Banter and Tasty Tunes."

Charlie Chin has been recognized with a "Community Folklore Scholar Certificate" by the Smithsonian Institution in recognition of his work in Asian American Studies and is a frequent consultant on Asian American communities for the Smithsonian Office of Folk Life and Folkways.

He has also appeared in several PBS documentaries about Chinese Americans.

Margo King Lenson, a native of Honolulu, Hawaii and publisher and editor of Pacific Voices: Talk Story v1-4, chronicling the personal experiences of Asian Pacific American Islanders, will be holding a workshop on preserving Asian and Pacific Islander American stories through oral histories.

Ms. Lenson is the founder and owner of Tui Communications. Her writings and business help to keep the spirit and material presence of Island life, history, and culture alive in the American consciousness and in their own hearts.

Hiroshi Kashiwagi, a native of Sacramento, California, is a retired librarian of the San Francisco Public Library. He was interned at the Tule Lake camp during World War II, a subject that he has dramatized in plays, poems, and stories. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and the Screen Actors Guild. His first book, Swimming in the American: a Memoir and Selected Writings, was awarded the American Book Award 2005 by the Before Columbus Foundation.

Mr. Kashiwagi will be performing a reading of his play the Betrayed with Sue Asano of the Center Players of San Francisco. She played the lead part in the plays, Laughter and False Teeth and Window for Aya, both by Hiroshi Kashiwagi. Last year Sue Asano performed The Betrayed Act II for the release of Hiroshi Kashiwagi's book Shoebox Plays. She is married to David Asano and they are in the recycling business in San Rafael, California.

Mr. Kashiwagi will end this session with a few related poems from his recently released book of poetry Ocean Beach.

Rick Rocamora took pictures of Filipino WWII veterans for 18 years as they waited for US Government recognition as equals to American veterans.

His photo-documentary work, including words of supporters, historical anecdotes and chronology is now part of the book America's Second-Class Veterans. His images have been credited with inspiring others to advocate for the equity long sought by these veterans.

Eddie Fung, co-wrote with his wife, historian Judy Yung, The Adventures of Eddie Fung: Chinatown Kid, Texas Cowboy, Prisoner of War. The autobiographical book covered Eddie's experiences growing up in Chinatown, running away at age 16 to become a cowboy in Texas, then joining the Army only to be become the sole Chinese American soldier captured by the Japanese during World War II. Eddie managed to survive three tough years as a slave laborer on the infamous Burma Railroad before returning to the US. Eddie is a Stanford alumnus.

Mr. Fung will be interviewed by Margo King Lenson.

Judy Yung is Professor Emeritus of American Studies at the University of California Santa Cruz. She is co-author of Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, 1910-1940 and the author of Unbound Feet: A. Social History of Chinese Women in San Francisco. She has been recognized as one of the most distinguished scholars of Asian American and women's history by numerous prestigious awards.

Professor Yung will be giving a sneak preview to her soon to be released book Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America.

Grace Takahashi, novelist of To Breathe the Sky, and others will be on hand to meet the public. Periodically check the website to catch the latest additions to our event.

For more information about the event please contact the Foster City Library at 650.574.4842 x236 or go to

Up Coming Events

Here are some events that AACP will soon be attending.
Events that AACP will be Attending or Hosting
May 22 The Asian Pacific American Heritage Authors Celebration Foster City Library
Foster City, CA
May 27 Chennault's "Flying Tigers"
Author Christina Lim and Chinese American WWII Veterans of the 14th Air Service Group and 987th Signal Company will be in attendance
San Mateo Library
San Mateo, CA
Other Event of Interest that AACP May Not Attend
May 15
NPIEN Northern California Chapter's 2nd Annual Conference - Cultural Connections to Higher Education CSU East Bay
Hayward, CA
June 1-5 23rd Annual National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE) in American Higher Education National Harbor, MD
June 17-20 OCA National Convention Houston, TX
June 19 Japanese Cultural Fair Santa Cruz, CA
June 23-25 2010 Advancing Justice Conference - Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders Building New Foundations for Civil Rights Alexandria, VA
June 30 -
July 4
JACL National Convention Chicago, IL

Give Us Your Feedback

Please feel free to send us your reviews, comments, and book suggestions. You can contact us by going to the following page and sending an email to us through the online form -

Editor's Notes

Hello Everyone,

Just had another busy month. We had three events last weekend. If you've never been to the LA Times Festival of Books and you're a book lover, start making your plans to attend next year's event. Lots of authors, celebrities, book publishers and sellers, and wonderful fans were in attendance. I've never seen anything that could compare to this event.

Although our May 22 event pales in comparison, we believe that we have a very interesting program for you all. Please join us. If you can't make it, try to attend an Asian Pacific American Heritage Month event near you. I'll try to video record our program and put it on the Internet. If I can figure out how to do it, perhaps I'll try to stream it on the web too. Stay tuned to our website to check for additions and updates to the program.

George Hassinger informs me of a great website,, for vegetarian recipes. I was trying to get him to contact the creator of the website to let me use one of the recipes for our newsletter. Perhaps next month you'll see one.

Thank you to the sender of the emails referenced in my editorial. I don't want you to feel alienated or put off by my piece. There's always room in my mind and heart for clear, insightful, non-bigoted discourse and information. Please strive to be a better filter of what you read and learn, and I will too.

Thanks Philip for the piece on our May 22nd event.

Note: our self-imposed moratorium on article writing is not over. Don't let this newsletter fool you into thinking that we're not begging you for article submissions. We still very much want your help. Please contact me if you have some ideas for an article.

See you all on the 22nd.

Leonard Chan
Executive Editor

The Emails that Crossed the Line
An Editorial by Leonard D. Chan

When I stepped up my efforts to garner your submissions to the newsletter back in our February newsletter, I was hoping for some material that would be appropriate for our newsletter. I am very sorry to say that one of you has been sending me emails that are quite the opposite.

I don't know whether to be angry or to be thankful for this opportunity to make this a learning experience.

We're all entitled to our own opinions and views on various aspects of politics and life, but when I get emails that pass on inaccurate nonsense that also is filled with hateful and poorly disguised bigotry, I have to respond.

The J Word
When did it become okay to start using the J word again? Okay, for those of you that may not know what the J word is, it rhymes with cap and is used to disparage people who are Japanese. This person that wrote to me is Chinese and obviously was just passing on one of her many emails that she must be receiving from her circle of friends.

This email was about some film footage on the Internet of the Japanese surrender signing ceremony at the end of World War II. Perhaps the originator of the email was getting into the mindset of the people at that time, but there's a reason why we don't use such language anymore.

Words such as the N and J words may have some use for historical and cultural (as in art) purposes, but that was not the case for this email. It just sort of slipped in there. Maybe it was Freudian slip, but that makes it even worse. Do people still subconsciously think of Japanese people as *aps?

I almost felt like writing back to this emailer using the C word (rhymes with sink). Maybe something like, "Loved your video - I think all of us *hink should see it."

Okay, maybe I'm being a little too sensitive and some of you may really believe that it's okay to use politically incorrect speech. But racial slurs and hateful language are often the signs of a society that is going in the wrong direction. When we start to use language that makes a group appear less than human, that opens the door for much worse things.

Don't think it can't happen here - it has and it still does. Maybe not in the scale of a Rwanda, but it still happens on the individual smaller levels. Just ask Vincent Chin's family and countless others.

Islamic Stamps
You may think that this is just a one off email and that I shouldn't be bothered by, but the real reason I was so disturbed by this sender was an email she forwarded to me last month regarding the issuance of US postage stamps commemorating Islamic holidays. I won't repeat the full text. You can read it for yourself at

Essentially the email blames Muslims for various acts of terrorism and asks why we should honor them with a stamp. Here's some of the email. "To use this stamp would be a slap in the face to all those AMERICANS who died at the hands of those whom this stamp honors…Pass this along to every Patriotic AMERICAN that you know and let's get the word out!!!"

The website does an adequate job on rebutting the accuracy of the email, but fails to critique the basic wrongness of the message.

So what's wrong?
A recent conversation with a friend of mine, on a similar topic, seems to reaffirm my belief that people still are in the mindset of grouping people together and using these classifications for blame. I know how hard it is to refrain from the guessing game, stereotypes, and profiling - I even sometimes find myself doing it. I wrote a related editorial, called "Where are you from?," back in August 2008.

How can I say this to make people understand? Islam is not to blame for acts of terrorism, people are.

Someone listening to a Beatles record, recruits easily influenced young followers, and goes on a rampage of killing people does not make all listeners of Beatles records murders.

A disturbed student at Virginia Tech that goes on to massacre his fellow classmates, and just happens to be Korean American, does not mean that Korean Americans are ticking mental bombs.

The Crusades during the Middle Ages are not evidence that Christians are all out to take over the world.

And what make that email truly wrong is the portrayal of Muslims as non-Americans. By one estimate, we have anywhere from between a million to seven million Muslims living in the US. Some of these loyal Muslim Americans are fighting and dying in our overseas wars - working to preserve the very same free speech rights that allow these horribly misinformed individuals to go on passing around these terrible misleading emails.

Try explaining to Elsheba Khan, how she and her dead soldier son, Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, are not loyal Americans because they are Muslim.

The End Result
I'm not exactly sure what this editorial will accomplish. I guess I was kind of hoping that the sender of these emails would stop sending me such stuff. But what would that accomplish? Other uninformed individuals would go on passing around such emails even if my emailer learned her lesson.

Please, I implore you all, stop yourself and others from blindly categorizing people. I know it can't be helped and it can even be of use sometimes. After all, if we stopped using labels, what would we call our organization :)?

But when you see or think of others, imagine them to be multifaceted - more than just an ethnicity or a member of a group.

When you read heated rhetoric, step back and do some thinking and research of your own. Question your beliefs, try to keep an open mind, and expand your way of thinking.

Most of all, shy away from those that wish to divide and tear us apart. We're all in this short life together - let's not try to make it worse for anyone else.


The following books are discounted for subscribers to our newsletter. The discounts on these books end May 21, 2010.

Adventures of the Treasure Fleet
China Discovers the World
(Chinese Editions)

Illustrated by 鄭樂琪 (LAK-KHEE TAY-AUDOUARD)

2009, 34 pages, Hardback.

遠在哥倫布發現新大陸之前﹐中國的鄭和已成功率領317艘船隊﹐載運二萬七千 航員﹐浩 蕩穿越南海﹐遠渡印度洋。西元1405到1433﹐前後28年間﹐鄭和艦隊七次下西洋﹐總 共航行了三萬五千英里﹐駐足訪問過三十個以上大小國家。你能想像那是何等光 景嗎﹖ 安鮑樂的寶船歷險記根據這段明朝史實改編﹐運用豐富想像力﹐勾劃生動情節﹔配 合鄭樂琪細膩優美的插畫﹐絕對能讓學童著迷。陪著孩子一起探險去吧!正體中 文譯本﹐數量有限﹐欲購從速!

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3603, Price $19.95 ... for newsletter subscribers $15.96

Shoe Box Plays

By Hiroshi Kashiwagi
2008, 237 pages, Paperback.

See our July 2008 newsletter.

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ORDER -- Item #3512, Price $15.00 ... for newsletter subscribers $12.00


By Jack Matsuoka
Edited by Emi Young
2003, 158 pages, Paperback.

See our February 2003 newsletter.

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ORDER -- Item #3093, Price $16.95 ... for newsletter subscribers $13.56

The Adventures of
Eddie Fung
Chinatown Kid, Texas Cowboy, Prisoner of War

By Eddie Fung
Edited by Judy Yung
2007, 227 pages, Paperback.

The Adventures of Eddie Fung is a fascinating autobiography about a person that experienced life in San Francisco's Chinatown during the depression, the real hard life of a Texas cowboy, and the unimaginably grueling life of a World War II POW building the infamous Burma-Siam railroad (the same railway made famous by the movie Bridge on the River Kwai). Learn how Eddie Fung's early life helped prepare him to survive one of World War II's most brutal chapters.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3485, Price $22.50 ... for newsletter subscribers $18.00

Bait for Lunch

By K. A. Okagaki
Illustrated by Ryan Shaw
2009, 21 pages, back.

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ORDER -- Item #3602, Price $9.95 ... for newsletter subscribers $7.96

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