Thursday, February 7, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year!

Well, happy lunar new year, as well- to include all the other Asian Americans out there! As America re-examines itself with the inclusion of two minority candidates in a heated Democratic primary, I thought I might celebrate the new year with a poem that really made me think about what it means to be Asian and living in America.

I was first introduced to Alvin Lau through this poem, "Asia America, Where Have You Gone?," and it really sent a shiver down my spine. He asked, in sum, "Now that the Asian American community is here in America, where are we going? How will we define ourselves in the future?" With his poem, Lau eloquently attempts to jump start the dialogue in the hope that others in the community will respond. For me, it raised many questions and concepts about "identity" that are often talked about, but never fully fleshed out. What particularly caught my attention was that Lau managed to do express this sense of "vagueness" in the community so articulately, in a manner I had never seen from an Asian American. It was simply powerful.

Now, I realize that not all of our readers are Asian American, so I don't expect all of what I've said to apply to all of you. Regardless, it's still, flat out, a great poem. So whoever you are, hopefully you'll be able to enjoy the merits of the poem in your own way. Happy New Year!

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