Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year? how about just LIFE resolutions? =)

It'd be nice to get a poster of this or something, =). 

1) Meditate — Meditation has been known to increase IQ, relieve stress, and promotes higher levels of brain functioning. Meditation also activates the “prefrontal cortex” of the brain, an area responsible for advanced thinking ability and performance.
2) Draw A Picture — Drawing stimulates the right-hemisphere of the brain and inspires creativity. Get out the colored pencils and begin drawing your way to a powerful brain.
3) Exercise — Long-term exercise has been proven to increase brain power and even create new neurons in the brain. Go out and get a natural high off of your own brain chemistry through exercise!
4) Brainwave Entrainment — Brainwave entrainment is a safe, innovative way to stimulate and shape the brain and it’s functioning. You can literally build up more control over your life and harness your brain’s potential!
5) Avoid Junk Food – Junk food has been proven to decrease energy in the body and promotes “brain fog.” Cut some junk food from your diet, and reap the benefits of a more calm, focused brain chemistry.
6) Deep Breathing — Deep breathing actually increases oxygen levels and blood-flow to the brain. 10-15 minutes of daily deep breathing can make a huge difference in the quality of your life and brain’s functioning potential.
7) Learn A New Language — Learning adds more structure to the brain and improves the brain’s speech centers. Hablas espanol? It may be time for you to take a class or program to supplement your job-skills and brain power!
8) Take Fish Oil — Fish oil supplements are literally like membrane material for the brain. The 2 primary components of EPA and DHA each act to strengthen both the emotional center of the brain and boost focus. There is an increase in overall brain activity after taking fish oil for awhile.
9) Laugh It Up — Laughter causes a natural release of the brain’s endorphins — chemicals that drown out pain and increase overall wellbeing. Laughter is a well known, natural stress reducer. Watch a comedy, crack a joke, and increase those endorphin levels!
10) Engage In Debate — A good, healthy debate strengthens the brain’s ability to think quickly and apply intelligence to verbal situations. Work to build up your brain power by engaging in plenty of healthy debate. Just ask someone who they are voting for in the presidential election and you’ll definitely provoke a debate!
11) Take A Multivitamin — Vitamins are great for the brain, and if it does not get enough of a certain vitamin through daily diet, consider a multivitamin. Multivitamins help facilitate the functioning of a healthy body and enriched brain. Start popping a vitamin each morning for awhile and chances are good that you’ll notice a difference!
12) Drink Red Wine — Alcohol in moderation has been proven to be good for the brain. Why? It is rich in antioxidants — chemicals that actually protect the brain! One glass daily for women and two for men is generally considered a healthy amount.
13) Eat Healthy — You know what ‘healthy’ is, so why not eat healthy and improve your brain? The brain requires a certain amount of energy to reach it’s maximum level of functioning. Eating chocolate cake and chips instead of fish and legumes, well maybe that’s why you cannot think clearly.
14) Change Your Environment — To keep your brain properly stimulated, it is important to keep changing your environment. Drive a new route to work, eat at a new restaurant on Friday night. Changing the environment helps change the brain!
15) Set Goals — Setting goals activates areas of the brain associated with positive thinking and action. Setting goals is great for achieving success and prosperity in life and boosting your brain.
16) Listen To Music — Studies have proven that listening to music strengthens the right-hemisphere of the brain and literally changes the structure. Those same studies have found that people who listen to music are generally smarter and have more emotional intelligence than those who don’t.
17) Be Empathetic — Being empathetic and trying to understand the emotions of others is a skill that your brain can learn. Being empathetic is definitely a powerful trait to have and allows your brain to relate to the emotions of others.
18) Avoid Stress — A little bit of stress will never hurt anybody. Too much stress actually causes detrimental increases in the hormone “cortisol” which in high levels, kills brain cells and suppresses brain functioning.
19) Think Positive — If you are currently very good at thinking positively, chances are good that you already have a more powerful brain than those “Negative Nellies.” Take 10 minutes daily to think more positive and start noticing an improvement in thinking abilities and problem solving skills.
20) Brainstorm — A good brainstorming session to think of new, stimulating ideas is a great way to boost your brains ability to think creatively. Brainstorming is actually a different way of thinking that will equip your brain with a quick creative boost.
21) Write An Article — Writing is linked to an improved memory and expression of thoughts. When you write, you are strengthening your brain’s natural ability to convey thoughts and feelings. Writing is a great way to exercise your ability to analyze and build a thought process with critical thinking. Journals, diaries, blog entries, and writing stories are phenomenal ways to fulfill your brain.
22) Visualize — Visualization has been associated with focus at a deeper level. Many successful athletes that are able to play “in the zone” actually visualize their game at a deeper level. Visualization has been linked to lowered stress, increased creativity, and peak mind-body performance.
23) Get Some Sleep — Be sure to always fulfill your brain’s need for sleep. Sleep clears out mental clutter and unimportant thoughts. Getting a good night’s sleep can also be the difference between a sharp memory and feeling forgetful. Everyone has different sleep requirements, be sure to fulfill yours! If you don’t get enough sleep — you may want to take a nap…
24) Do Self-Hypnosis — The power of hypnotic suggestion is definitely real. You can change aspects of your thought process and learn to shift your focus by taking the time to do some self-hypnosis. Hypnosis research shows that by practicing hypnosis, an individual experiences lowered stress, increased pain tolerance, and clear thinking. Try it out for yourself if you haven’t already!
25) Do Crossword Puzzles — Crossword puzzles bring out your brain’s ability to critically think and recall past memories. The challenge of completing crossword puzzles is definitely mentally invigorating and stimulating. If you enjoy reading the newspaper, be sure to check out the daily crossword puzzles section and build up that brain power!
26) Eat Nuts — Brazil and South American University students swear by eating nuts before taking exams. They notice that eating them is correlated with an increase in test scores. New studies are beginning to prove nuts effectiveness at increasing brain power. If you do not eat a lot of nuts, try it sometime and reap the brain related benefits!
27) Read Books — Reading books teaches your brain to adapt to absorb large amounts of information in shorter periods of time. Books challenge your thinking abilities and memorization skills, as well as boost vocabulary and critical thinking skills. Not only do you learn something from reading a book, but your brain power increases as you build up the book load.
28) Listen To Classical Tunes — Listening to classical music activates the left hemisphere of the brain, which is why classical music usually helps students do better in mathematics and writing. If you haven’t yet tried listening to some Mozart, consider it! Mozart has been linked to an 80 % increase in spatial intelligence scores!
29) Play “Brain Age” — New games like “Brain Age” for the nintendo DS and Big-Brain Academy help promote quick thinking and essential brain skills. These games work wonderful for improving thinking speed and natural problem solving skills. I’ve had a chance to play these games before and I can personally vouch for their effectiveness!
30) Take A Nap – Taking a nap has been proven through research to significantly improve task-performance and thinking abilities. If you are feeling tired throughout the day and have time to take a quick nap, it is recommended. Naps are a wonderful refresher and quick little mental booster.
31) Turn Off The T.V. – Watching T.V. may not be the only reason which rotting begins in the brain, but it is a key ingredient to the rotting process. A little T.V. will never hurt anybody, but it does definitely change brain functioning. The act of watching T.V. slows brainwaves and causes a decline in brain fitness.
32) Paint A Picture — Being able to visualize where you want paint to go on paper sparks pure creativity from within. Painting is an exercise that gets the right-brain fully functioning and improves your creative side. If you haven’t tried painting a picture, give it a shot and notice that you’re likely to feel and be more creative.
33) Start Crying — Don’t be afraid to cry when the time is right! Crying actually heals emotions and promotes healthy circulation within the brain. Those who are able to cry are actually cleansing the inside of their brain, which is another very healthy way to increase brain power.
34) Eat Less — Eating too much food has the effect of decreasing blood-flow to the brain and increasing blood-flow to the digestive system. Therefore, if you are able to cut-back on the total amount of food you consume, you will have enhanced brain functioning. In several lab studies, rats on a calorie-restricted diet had increased blood flow to their brains.
35) Eat Breakfast — When kids who hadn’t eating breakfast for awhile, began to eat breakfast, their math grades went up an entire letter grade (on average). Breakfast is probably the most important meal of the day — it provides your body with fuel for the rest of the day. If you don’t have time to eat an entire breakfast in the morning, at least have some sort of snack… It could give your brain a powerful edge!
36) Go For A Walk — Exercise deifnitely benefits the brain, and walking is a great form of exercise that is easy and very effective for boosting brainpower. Walking puts your mind in a relaxed state of clear thought and brain function. Walking gives your brain a chance to wander and free itself from any troubling thoughts.
37) Mimic Others — Being able to mimic other’s actions and talk activates several areas of the brain that are usually inactive. Mimicing others, if done in a fun, playful manner, can improve your brain power and the brain’s natural ability to adapt quickly when faced with new situations.
38) Solve Puzzles — Solving puzzles is a great way to stimulate your brains ability to critically think and process information. Puzzles are thought provoking, challenging, and a fun activity. The great thing about puzzles is that they require activity in the left-hemisphere of the brain to work with, and transfer information to, the right hemisphere’s visual center of the brain. Want a more integrated brain? Solve a puzzle!
39) Do Neurofeedback — Neurofeedback is a great way to learn to consciously control your brain wave patterns. Neurofeedback builds brain structure and helps promote flexibility within a brain’s neural network. Though neurofeedback is somewhat costly, if you’ve got enough money — it may very well be the best investment you can make for your brain!
40) Cut Alcohol Consumption — Alcohol in moderation isn’t terrible for the brain, too much alcohol is damaging to brain health and function. If you want to boost brain power, cutting alcohol is a great way to do it. Alcohol can cause memory problems and encourage “foggy,” disorganized thinking.
41) Live A Drug-Free Lifestyle — Everyone knows that drugs are bad for them. Drugs do not foster creativity, they kill creativity and deplete brain cells. Depending on the drug, effects can range from brain bleeding, to cell loss, to impairments in neural growth. Live drug free and keep your brain more powerful!
42) Drink Fruit Juice — Drinking fruit juice revitalizes the brain and provides cells with a refreshing jolt of nutrients. Great juices to drink include: grape juice, orange juice, cranberry juice, and apple juice. Most juices provide your brain with vital nutrients which in turn, provide you with more mental energy and focus.
43) Be Self-Aware — When you learn to let go of ego-driven and emotional aspects of life, rational thinking kicks in. Rational thinking will allow you to become self-aware, which in turn allows you to make better future decisions to achieve optimal brain health. Activities like meditation, self-hypnosis, and introspection allow us to increase our self-awareness.
44) Take Gingko Biloba — Gingko Biloba has been scientifically researched and documented to significantly increase blood-flow to the brain. Gingko Biloba is a farily inexpensive way to pump up your brain’s blood-flow. Increased bloodflow to the brain is correlated with an increase in focus and problem solving. Try some Gingko Biloba and allow your brain to reap the benefits!
45) Have Sex — Having sex is a great way to naturally release vital hormones in the brain. When involved in a loving relationship, having sex improves social connection as well as emotional intelligence. Sex is connecting, stress-relieving, and a great way to give your brain a boost. Chances are that sex will also improve your confidence and ability to think positively!
46) Drink Caffeine — Research shows that students that drink coffee before exams, have higher scores. Why? Caffeine seems to stimulate activity in the brain, speed up thinking, and improve focus. Too much caffeine is never good as it can cause stress or trigger anger. A little bit, however, may be the ticket to an “A” on your test. Drink some and find out how it affects your focus and thinking abilities!
47) Sniff Some Basil — I personally haven’t tried this method, but there seem to be many claims testifying for Basil’s effectiveness at improving overall brain function. Either way, certain fragrances actually change brain functioning. Taking a whiff of peppermint speeds up brain functioning, while other fragrances actually slow things down! Since scent is the strongest thing tied to memory, some good fragrances can definitely help out brain functioning.
48) Stay In School — If you are in school, chances are good that you will boost your brain power more than the average dropout! Keeping up with school work, means giving your brain a good workout in areas of self-discipline, learning, and mental processing. Stay in school, or do something to always be learning something new!
49) Ask Questions — Asking questions is a phenomenal way to keep your brain in shape. Get in the habit of questioning others and their thoughts. Questions can provoke new thoughts and ideas and asking them is a great way to build up brain power!
50) Re-Read This List – Want to boost your brain power? Start by re-reading this list and highlighting several methods that you can apply to your life. As a matter of fact, print this list out and staple it up someplace that you will view everyday. That way, when walking past the list, you can take a glance and randomly choose an activity to boost your brain power!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sharing bread with Kasim in his mosque.

Continued US aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq, dumb media coverage (giving credibility to hateful fear-mongers just to get some ratings), increased executive power, lack of protection for whistle-blowers. And you ask me how can I be a progressive who believe in civil liberties? 

It was 9/11/2001, I was in Vietnam, and as a 11 year-old kid, seeing the towards falling, I can't help but feel slightly disturbed that so many people died so easily. But that's about it, because it was distant, and I was still a child. Then 2002 in Connecticut, after I've moved to the United States, I remember we had a day of remembrance or something, and we walked out to the front of our middle school. We saluted the flag, I had my first moment of silent, and I felt touched by the sadness of those around me. This is seriously something America will not forget in awhile. 

In the next 8 years, my family moved about 3 different times, in order to find cheaper housing, and eventually Section 8 housing. Clearly, 9/11 is not much of a topic, considering all other things in life, like playing basketball, and doing IB/AP testings and classes. It's around high school time, though, that we learn about the blunders of the world, of the United States, and the injustices that oppressed people faced, and still face today. Looking back, I think my high school was great, because I had the chance to meet great individuals, who come from different family backgrounds that helped me grow so much. I remember being introduced to Pakistani/northern India's specialty, the naan bread, and I thought it was the most awesome-st bread in the world! 

I remember going to Kasim's house to finish science projects, playing Xbox 360, and sometimes talk about his religion, Islam (if I wasn't busy spilling glue or soda on his carpet). As an agnostic, I observed and was impressed by how calm these people are, when they were in their mosque, praying, and then socializing with each other. I broke fast with my best friend, and I went on my first Halloween trip with them too. These are the memories that tell me why so much going on is so wrong. The 2008 election came up, and I found Dennis Kucinich, and everything he said resonated with me. The reluctant vote for Obama came awhile after Kucinich understandably endorsed the more hopeful of the two. 

Let's be clear, I am no expert, but I have common sense guided by my own morals. 
- Terrorists and fringe group seek overreactions from the "normal" people. With this said, we have helped Bin Laden succeed in our overreaction in initiating the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, passing the Patriot Act, condoning warrant-less wire-tapping. Essentially, we had our personal freedom taken away, in order to fight wars which were supposedly done to produce freedoms...
- Most humans who have been raised in today world will not engage in killing, especially on a large scale. In order to kill, one must dehumanizes the situation, the same reason why John McCain is still used to calling Asians "gooks". So those who fight these wars had to dehumanize their targets, and often times the same people they were supposed to be helping...
- Prolonged wars (like the Vietnam War) are the worse kinds, and no one has ever benefited, as Sun-Tzu tells us thousands of years ago. 

It is 9/11/2010, and I am so sad now that we've done so much more damage to our own Constitution, our own credibility, again thanks to our own prejudice, ignorance, and lack of faith that we can do something about it.  <---video, images, and speech about US indiscriminately killing innocent Iraqis. <---for some thoughts on our mistakes <--for some humor

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Do you have any social, political, or community based activism interests or involvement? What are they, and why?

Uuuh, this sounds a question that comes straight out of an interrogation before the secret police comes and take you away, lol. Yes, of course I have community/social/political based activism interests and involvement.

Politics to me means a process in which you try to mold your reality, into what you want it to be. If you wanted your parents to help you enroll in a basketball camp, you gotta convince them. This is like lobbying, and is usually less costly.

You can also refuse to cooperate, like when you're pissed at your parents, and threaten to move out, or to reaffirm your rights. This is like a nonviolent protest.

Now, the difference in the analogy between parents and governments, is that we make up the government, and we form/maintain the government. From my experience, from the stories I've shared and heard, I want to mold a world in which humans care about each other, and we do so in a responsible way.

So there you go, my interests are rooted in my experience as a poor immigrant to America, and my involvements are shaped around providing opportunities and empowering people to stand up for themselves.

Ask me anything

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Unheard voices in the oil spill: the Vietnamese community

I approve! Sahra Nguyen's blog:

Millions of gallons of oil have been gushing out into the Gulf Coast for a few weeks now—MILLIONS! MILLIONS!—I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around the existing and everlasting potential damage this is causing. It’s forever changing the future of our natural ecosystems, killing/endangering rare (and soon to be rare) species of animals and putting many families at risk of losing their homes and businesses with the fishing/shrimping contamination. Katrina was quick and devastating. This oil spill is like a slow, painful death. Wretched heartbreak.

One would never know from the lack of representation on the news, but there is a large Vietnamese population down south heavily involved in the fishing/shrimping industry. (We boat people…what’d you expect??!) Seaside bidness runs in my family—my mom’s side is from a fishing village in South Vietnam, and I got some in-laws in Louisiana! Vietnamese people know how to fucking hustle, mang…and it’s not always funespecially not for the ones down south who have been struck by recent bad luck. First there was the Vietnam War, then there was escaping by boat, then there was rebuilding in America, then there was rebuilding after Katrina, now they must rebuild after the oil spill—all this in one lifetime. Meanwhile, their stories are never shared on the news, and their struggles go on ignored and unnoticed. What’s worse is that many Vietnamese people suffering also struggle with language barriers that make it extremely difficult to gain access to the necessary resources, contacts and help.

Below are some videos by some friends and allies of mine that share the Vietnamese American experience within this global disaster. Amidst all the BP bullshit and politics of who’s doing what to do what to do what, every moment that goes by, more oil gushes out and many people get closer and closer to going bankrupt and hungry. While trying to stop the oil, we can’t forget that people need immediate help. Please take a moment to expand your consciousness and open your hearts up by watching. Spread the message:

READ MORE: Article in the New York Times: Oil Spill Threatens Livelihood of Vietnamese Community

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What do you think of CA elections results

Uuuuh. It's aight, mostly predictable, but I hoped for Prop 15 to pass, and Prop 14 to NOT pass...

Ugh, I really dislike the wording of Prop 14, because it claims to be for "open" primaries,...where in reality it would make it more expensive to campaign, decimate the smaller parties, probably weakening parties (which isnt that great. Political parties are a reality, no matter what you think).

Overall, it makes me more disgusted at the California's propositions and initiatives. Every few months we get a new constitutional amendment, which takes tons of money to qualify (why CA Democracy Act didnt). The United States Constitution is amended 26 times, and the California's constitution? iono, but a lot!

Ask me anything

Sunday, May 30, 2010

any pointers on how to move on? :)

Waited 5 weeks to answer this, because usually "time heals".

If not, watch 500 days of summer. =)

Ask me anything

Thursday, May 27, 2010


An open letter to the Vietnamese Student Union, on behalf of the Vietnamese Student Union at UCLA. In dedication to Tam Tran and Cinthya Felix

By Dieu Huynh

So many things have been happening this past year that have made my job as the VSU Political Advocacy Coordinator difficult as well as easy. Easy because there are a lot of hot-topic issues, difficult because it is hard to focus on many of them because we needed to be more invested in them. Chronologically, I can name a few most important COMMUNITY ISSUES AND NEWS on the top of my head: the California Democracy Act, saving Cal Grants, the 32% fee increases, the hate crimes, the diversity requirement, the racist profiling anti-immigrant SB1070 law in Arizona, the banning of ethnic studies also from Arizona, the passing of two DREAM-ers Tam Tran and Cinthya Felix, the continuous struggle for the DREAM Act. I will spend the next few pages to touch on these subjects, mostly about issues that have brought tears to my eyes.

Before jumping into these specific issues, one must take a look at our own identities, our own culture and history. The four pillars of VSU remind me every day of our purpose and mission, and the reason why VSU must grow to have a stronger voice and more action-oriented.

I do not know how to speak about this past year but frankly through statistics and through my heart. Asian Americans, Vietnamese Americans are deeply affected, if not indirectly by all of the things happening in the past year. My family immigrated to the United States in 2002, and in 2008 we became citizens. When did we apply for immigration? Around 1980s, and with my coming into the world in 1990, our family had to re-file our papers and wait 10 more years. The inhuman and insensible immigration system, couple with economic hardships that were propelled by American policies result in hundreds of thousands of family trying to move just so that they can have a better life.

And my family worked hard, and is amongst the luckiest. After toiling day and night, my parents were able to build on their education and got the money necessary to put me and my sister through school, and apply for immigration. I witness first-hand when my friends had to drop out of elementary schools to start finding a job, or working their family businesses. As a kid, my parents sold me the idea that I looked better when I was lighter-skinned, that my being Chinese was inherently better than my Vietnamese friends (because somehow Vietnamese culture was not deserving of recognition). It’s a strange feeling, to grow up experiencing different things, and seeing society’s ironies, and hypocrisies. How can my family experiences poverty and racism, then turn around spouting conservative talking points, about how immigrants are ruining the economy? How can a Communist government not able to provide basic education for its high school students and college students? How can the democracy in America foster racist FBI operations that were very successful at breaking up Civil-rights groups? (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, google “COINTELPRO”).

How can I chair the Black April Commemoration Event, when accounts from both the North Vietnamese side and South Vietnamese side (and the Americans) are often different, and divisive? How can I properly commemorate a significant part of our identity and history, the imperialistic policies of the United States, the tyranny of the South Vietnamese government, and the countless lives that the North Vietnamese government ruined?

But then I realize something. I realize that all my experiences make me a better American. I was very skeptical of the “American Dream”, but more and more I understand that Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance, that the best way to make dreams come true, is to wake up. We must wake up to the reality that Asian Americans have been, and are still affected by the historical marginalization of our voice. Wake up to the reality that undocumented youth everyday lives in fear of deportation, in addition to fear of trying to fit in.

Working on the Save Cal Grants Coalition was my first experience of learning how to take action. I learned that every phone call you make to your representative means something like a 1000 constituents, that when you organize hundreds and thousands of calls, it means something. It made all of our work so much harder however, that we had to convince 2/3 of the legislators in the California Assembly AND the Senate.

Which is why in the large part of the year, VSU joins with other organizations like MEChA in the California Democracy Act Coalition. We had ups and downs, but at the end of the day, we got more than 23 chapters across the UC, CSU, and CCs system. We all believed in one thing, effective democratic government. Because of Prop 13, California now is the only state in the US that requires 2/3 to raise revenues or pass a budget. Because of this, 1/3 +1 of the legislators (who pledge to never raise any taxes) create so many problems that lawmakers have to decide between saving lives and investing in education.

This should not be surprising to our communities however, because if we look at when Prop 13 was passed, 1978, we realize that this is around the time when California’s demographics were changing. 40 years ago, we would not have the same ratio of under-privileged, Catholic, often darker group of communities that we do today. Remember, California was home to Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. It was under and after Governor Reagan’s term that UC campuses no longer have a central location in which students can come together and protest. Of course, that is just a theory, but what is real was his involvement with the FBI, CIA, along with then UC Regent Edwin Pauley against one of the strongest defender and advocate for public education, Clark Kerr, at the time UC President. Together, they lied to the President of the United States about Kerr, eventually firing Kerr. Concerning the Students Free Speech Movement, the Reagan administration planned on breaking up student groups by “bringing any form of violation available against them.”, “might bring tax cases against them” , and “would also mount a ‘psychological warfare campaign’”.

Now fast forward to 2010. After the November 19th 2009 32% fee increase, tuition costs for the first time went over $10,000, and about 1 in 5 of IDEAS (Improving, Dreams, Equality, Access and Success) members had to take time off or drop out. These are undocumented students who take hours a day to commute to UCLA, work several jobs just to stay afloat, and were denied their dreams to learn and give back. One in 10 Asian Americans are undocumented, and we have about the same number of Asian undocumented students as Latino at UCLA. I do not know how the Fall 2010 fee increase (the second 15% of the 32% total) would devastate the IDEAS community, but we shall see.

Like from the passing of Prop 13, we can find hints of anti-immigrants, racist tidbits popping up here and there, like annoying little germs and viruses that keep coming back to attack our state and society. In the past year, a noose was hung in a UCSD library, a “Compton Cookout” party was thrown, a KKK hood was found, an LGBT Center at UC Davis was vandalized, and a Swastika was carved into a UC Davis dorm. Get this, on April 15th, 2010, a transgendered student at CSULB was pushed into a stall, and his aggressor carved “it” into the student’s chest.

Now take a step back. Would you be allowed to yell out “BOMB!” on an airplane? No, because you will be threatening people, and in the case of the hate crimes, whole people’s cultures, identities were at the very least demoralized and reduced to stereotypes that continue to perpetuate social problems. Believe me when I say I would love to be the Academic Coordinator, Culture Coordinator or Social Coordinator for VSU. Your jobs are so important. We must advocate with the Academic Affairs Commissioner, our very own Suza Khy next year bringing about the diversity requirement. Of course, it does not solve all problems, but it is not meant to be. Like the language requirement, it seeks to diversify the student experience, and to allow students to learn about something that they may have never learned in high school, or will never learn formally in the working world. I took one class this past year, and I have to say it is probably the best class I have taken yet, because it taught me about the real working world, and about life. Professor Omatsu taught me that education is a multiple way streets, and that employers are really looking for team-players, not just the most knowledgeable tool.

Education is the progressive discovery of our ignorance, and we can see how anti-poor, anti-immigrant, racist viruses make our communities sicker and less safe. To get better, not only do we have to treat these viruses, but we must continue to heal our wounds and strengthen our bodies, otherwise we make others sick as well. To make our DREAMs come true, we must wake up to reality and build our communities.

In the midst of the racial profiling anti-immigrant Arizona law SB1070, and when ethnic studies are banned in Arizona, we are all taking a hit. Because what others have said may better than how I can say it, take this from the APALC(Asian Pacific American Legal Center)’s press release:

"Arizona's new law echoes one of the worst chapters in U.S. immigration history," said Julie Su, litigation director at APALC. "In the 19th century, the U.S. banned Chinese immigrants entirely and required them to carry ‘residency certificates' at all times or risk deportation. As was true a century ago, the criminalization of an entire race and fear driven by economic insecurity make for bad public policy."

Asian Americans are frequent victims of racial profiling – from Dr. Wen Ho Lee, a U.S. citizen accused of spying because of his Chinese ethnicity, to South Asian and Arab Americans being profiled as threats to national security, even though such policies have proven completely ineffective.

"For JACL, many of our members, or their family members, were unjustly imprisoned during WWII," stated Kathy Nakagawa, president of the Arizona chapter of JACL. "So we know firsthand what it means to have our civil rights stripped because of bigotry and ignorance."

Recently (mid May) in Chicago, far away from Arizona, a US born citizen Eduardo Caraballo was detained and threatened with deportation. He “repeatedly told officers that he was born in Puerto Rico and therefore an American citizen. His mother also presented his birth certificate, but despite that and his state-issued ID, officials told him he was facing deportation.” Caraballo is “pretty sure they know that Puerto Ricans are citizens, but just because of the way I look -- I have Mexican features -- they pretty much assumed that my papers were fake”. "They were making me feel like I can't voice my opinion or I can't even speak for myself to let them know that I am a citizen."

I cannot speak for the resentment that marginalized communities can feel towards society, but I can imagine and know that this anger boils over when we do not heal the wounds. I support safety, and I know that when a community feels assaulted by the law and law enforcers, there will be unrest.

Underneath all the logic, facts, and history, we have to know what our dreams are. We know the reality, and that is why we are afraid of waking up, but what are our dreams?

I can tell you one dream that UCLA alumni Cinthya Felix and Tam Tran had, even though I have never talked to them. Based on the stories I heard, the tears I saw, and the Facebook pages of these two DREAM heroines, I can tell that they were champions of the DREAM Act, and dreamers who did not let “no” be an answer. “No” was not going to get in their way of achieving their dream, that undocumented students receive a pathway to legal status, and that education is really valued in America. Both passed away in a tragic car accident, their lives at Columbia University and Brown University graduate schools were cut short.

At the memorial, I cried when I hear of how Cinthya Felix was helping other younger youths who thought they could not go to college (I thought of HOPE and SEA CLEAR). Some of these younger students are not UCLA alumni, or are going to UCLA still. I laughed when I saw Tam Tran’s video on their long journey to Washington to obtain what we take for granted, a driver license. If you can go into a club, you are probably more privileged than most undocumented students/immigrants. If you are undocumented, every time a clubbing flyer is shoved into your face is another constant reminder that “you cant”. When the whole world tells you that “you cant”, only with the love of your friends can you struggle to keep walking and keep running to your dream.

At the end of the event, I walked up to the front when they said “IDEAS members come up”, and sang along with John Lennon’s most famous song. “You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will live as one”, tears spilled out of my eyes, and the hundreds in Moore 100 embraced each other. After saying bye to my IDEAS friends, I had to go to a VSU board meeting. As I was making my way out, I was grabbed by Tam’s mother, who held me and a few other students as if we were all one of her own children. In those 20 seconds that felt like hours, I made a promise to myself that we will see the DREAM Act pass.

And so I hope my friends and families will join me in waking up. Join me to think twice before dismissing the diversity requirement. Think twice about power struggles in America. Think twice about the role we play in our community. FEEL ten times what is it like to have a good friend who is struggling to get through school because he cannot afford his tuition. Feel a hundred times what it is like to be subjected to racial profiling, and to deportation to a strange land. Finally, I hope we never have to imagine what it’s like to have “it” carved on our chest.

Now wake up to the history that went before us, and are unfolding now. Do it for Tam Tran and Cinthya Felix’s sake, and do it for our future.

I know I’m not the only one,

Dieu “Dieunity” Huynh

Sources and further readings:

The Daily Bruin: Panelists share experiences from the Vietnam War

Aggressor carved “IT” onto a transgender student at CSULB restroom

Ronald Reagan and the FBI on UCs

APALC Press Release:

Citizen Eduardo Caraballo detained for 3 days:

On Tam Tran and Cinthya Felix

Vietnamese Paper:
Spanish Television: Univision:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What's something you're afraid to do?

hurting people. I'm afraid of hurting people, because I've had instances where I made enemies and other times when I hurt my loved ones. Sometimes though, we have to allow each other to fall, so that we can all learn to get back up.

Ask me anything

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Documented Immigration, something also worth fixing

People love to talk about crimes, b/c that's the first thing that comes to mind when one uses the word "illegal". But it's only one part of the issues. Which is why we must talk about the issues in terms of "documentation". Words do matter, a lot, and the anecdotal stories are also very important to use in addition to factual informations.

Asian Americans, as well as all immigrants (be they Europeans or otherwise), should understand the bureaucratic backlogs and inhumane wait times that they have to go through in order to get to the United States. The next time you start to blame others, first attempt to empathize with their situations.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What pisses you off?

Probably hypocrisy and lies. Of course, I recognize that this is a part of life, so sometimes i just gotta deal with it.

Really though, I believe that when you say what you mean, and you mean what you say, people would appreciate you the most.

Ask me anything

Monday, May 3, 2010

Save Cal Grants Coalition Pt. 2: UCLA Budget Coalition!

UCLA Budget Coalition Sign-up

Please join us in proactively organize against the elimination of Cal Grants and to restore proper funding for higher education!

Here's a letter to the editor I wrote last year.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

i don't doubt you love vaginas

Haha yea. It was real dope b/c many people were like "me too!". It was cool because there were some females who said so in spirit of empowerment.

Empowered because they are lesbians, or because the shirt was sold at the Vagina Monologue performance, which brings to light the lack of women's rights around the world.

Vaginas are sewn up, mutilated, and those with vaginas have less rights, no power, EVEN THOUGH everyone comes through a vagina ONCE in their life time. Seems like the world hates vaginas, and wants women to hate their vaginas too!!

Ask me anything

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

That thing about hairy vaginas, and how you don't care as long as it's empowered.. I think that's one of the most unique answers I've ever read. And maybe the last

"maybe the last"? what's that supposed to mean? I have no more unique answers? haha

Anyhow, yes. Those who saw my "I <3 Vaginas" shirt yesterday know wassup, haha

Ask me anything

Anyone broken your heart lately?

Yea, actually. There was this girl in Fall quarter that I really liked. And she liked me too.

But then you know, things don't work out your way, and you just gotta move on =).

I wouldn't say it's "lately", but it's the latest heartbreak, haha.

Ask me anything

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Arizona new Racial Profiling law

For those who would like to get a coherent argument of why Arizona's SB1070 was idiotic, morally wrong, constitutionally incorrect, and just simply ineffective, check it out.

The links provided by the video are also very interesting. =)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Emotional Intelligence with Daniel Goleman

Apparently, "wisdom of feelings" are really as true as it sound. The back of the brain stores information, on what works, what didnt works. It is so primal though, that it has little or zero connection to the verbal cortex.

Therefore, we CANNOT really explain wisdom, only through feelings.
And, the feelings are what help us prioritize, and make decision.

SO, when coach
Joe Te told us to "prioritize", what he really means is, be in control of your emotions...

Effective leaders laugh 3 times more than mediocre leaders. Because the brain can notice the environment, and the feelings radiate.
Rapport is so important, having good chemistry actually makes people move together. We can see this when we feel calm around people we really love.

To get there, 1st people need to be paying full attention, attuned 2nd non-verbal communications are like a dance, 3rd feel good.
Being calm, for awhile, can even bring down the most abrasive of others.

3 things in a really strong relationship (when you're in love): 1. attachment, missing them when they're not there 2. Caring for them, care taking 3.Sex
Caring is the most important...

Meditating strengthens the Pre-Frontal Cortex, and helps you be a better leader, etc...

My lesson, the Political Implication?: In order to help someone, you must first learn how to empathize with them. (Of course, unless you're self-serving and have a lot of other motives)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Three Questions to ask yourself

"If I am not for myself, who will be for me? When I am only for myself, what am 'I'? And if not now, when?" Hillel the Elder

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The little things in life

Dieu: "Do you know anyone in NSU CN?"
Lady:"Yes, my students are in the show"
Dieu: "Your students?"
Lady:"Yes, I'm a teacher. And I've heard all about the undemocratic 2/3 rule"

Lady #2: "It's just ridiculous, yea I'll sign your petition"

These are the comments that keep me going, because I know that what I'm doing is very relevant to the community. Normally, you would think that these older ladies in their 40s would be very unreceptive to political involvement, and in some cases may even lack the language skills necessary. However, all it takes is a try to find out.

I did that, and not surprisingly, out of all the adult-looking audience members that I talked to, only two seemed to have language difficulties, and everyone else were registered to vote. Most were very supportive of the California Democracy Act once I explained to them what we are striving for: efficient government, democracy for California, and funding for higher education.

Cecilia told me last week that I shouldn't ever give up. Looking at the support I have, staff from VSU, and CDAC, I can't give up. Feeling the enthusiasm from people like Nelson, I know we need to keep learning how to become stronger through supporting each other.

Knowing the worthiness of the cause, we need to eventually succeed.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

To start off,
Let it be known, thanks to ya'll, my year has been nice. Let's make next year better =).

Let it be known (let me remember these things since I'll prolly forget it without reminders), that I want a happier/ more productive year and continue to grow. This includes having fun, making friends (something which i always ignore), and making changes. I have a habit of caring little for my personal life, and the urgency for (progressive) change usually dominated my life. Now, I realize that this change cannot happen through self-righteousness, hate, nor a simple sense of justice alone. It needs bonds, because in the midst of divide and conquer, fear mongering, progressive change must happen through bonding, through the antithesis of fear, Love.

Now, for the specifics. Order of no particular importance.

1. California for Democracy Act.
2. Improving VSU based on our vision and my vision. This means a real family. A family studies, eats, hang out together, and are soldiers of love, together.
3. Exercise everyday. Something, do something. Run, dance, jerk, dance some more, or push ups.
4. Dance Marathon fundraising. (Join the VSU team!)
5. I want to dance. Doing what I like a little bit at a time will help, I think =). Street Dance Collective!
6. Improve my family relations. Must plan for dates with my parents and sister. Please Help Me! Huyen, Chariya, Cecilia, or anyone! I need ideas of things my family can do together. The funnest thing we probably do as a family is watch tv...but my mom watches in the living room, and my dad in his. This is a big boo boo.
7. Let's Jerk! Jerks for UCLA (Unity, Community, Love and Activism).
8. Let's hang out. If you are a compassionate person, you qualify. =)

I dont really have a gift list, but I usually have a "todo"/"resolution" list, because I can only be really happy through things I do. =)

Thats it for now.
Add more to my list!

Add this to your resolution list: Move your money.

I thought this was a fun sight.