When in Rome Do As the Romans Do
When most Asian immigrants arrive in the US, they have dreams of freedom of speech, better quality life and excellent education for their children. Joining the mainstream and enjoying a relaxed lifestyle is usually not the priority. However, the longer we immigrants live here the more we realize that we need to assimilate into American society and balance the two worlds--Asian and American cultures. Like the speaker Larry Wong said, it is NOT as straightforward as many people think. If our children are consumed by daily and numerous afterschool activities, they probably won't have time to think about and work on their future lives, neither to have the downtime to grow creativity or come up with innovative ideas. When immigrant parents question their kids about the Asian-American identity, the children will simply reply that everything is fine and that hanging out only with Asian friends is fine for them. But when they grow up and enter the workforce, they might feel left out and uncomfortable with the surrounding people who are no longer Chinese or Asian anymore. Will they be capable of leading a team or be the future leaders in an industry?
That is why our club is here to encourage everyone to practice “east-meets-west” by stretching out our comfort zone and to reach out to the non-Asian communities. I learned from living in Tokyo, that Japan is one of the best countries and a pioneer in “east meets west.” Despite the tragedy of WWII and its colonial history, Japan was opened to and accepted Western culture and values. The entire country was transformed... and Japanese-made products became world renowned for their quality and innovation. Yet most people don’t know how hard the Japanese work and how eager they are for creative ideas!!
Another extremely successful story of “east-meets-west” is the Taiwanese restaurant, called Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐. How come American people like Din Tai Fung's foods so much more than thousands of other Chinese restaurants? Does Din Tai Fung pass out free coupons to American customers? I don't think so. It is because the restaurant makes an effort to reach out beyond the Asian community market and appeal to the mainstream consumer.
Instead of worrying about Asian-American identity, let us all focus on what we can contribute to the society. We all need to make a priority to join local community service projects. Our club provides a variety of community volunteer opportunities and student leadership programs. These activities and involvement are highly appreciated by our local American residents. When in Rome do as the Romans do, which we call it in Chinese入鄉隨俗.
As the president of this club, I would like to welcome and encourage you all to attend our 2019 Chinese New Year celebration festival and banquet in February. This is NOT a party that you can find in Chinatown or anywhere else or even on YouTube. It is an original East Meets West celebration party designed by all our club’s families. This is an innovative event filled with creative ideas and an innovative entertainment program produced by our club members who have the talents!! Get your tickets now online at www.emwpec.org before they sell out.
Doing “East-Meets-West” is not an easy thing. But it will give you a brighter future if you work hard for it. Be proactive, brave, creative, and thinking out of the box!! Let It Go and Shake It Off!!