Entries by Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Veto SB 59! No guns in my children's schools!

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, Dec 17, 2012 2:41 PM


The night before the school shooting in Connecticut, in a marathon late night session, lame duck Michigan legislature voted to allow concealed weapons at schools, daycares, churches, arenas, hospitals, etc.

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Trying to Understand the Entitlement Ethos in Abigail Fisher v University of Texas and Republican Party Post-Election

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, Nov 13, 2012 7:47 PM

This time of year, I spend a lot of time sitting in cafes with my friends’ children, helping them with their college application essays. (The University of Michigan’s early decision deadline is November 1.) Reading their essays is such a privilege, such a window into their worlds (that they often do not even share with their own parents). I learn so much about ethical dilemmas they have faced, challenges they have overcome, their diverse communities, their families, their dreams. Working on successive drafts together, I ask questions and push for clarification, and these teenagers that I have watched grow up and who thought they knew it all realize that there is more to learn, more to write, more that can be done. The difference between first and last drafts is stunning.

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

This Halloween: Dress classy. Dance cheesy. We're a Culture, not a Costume.

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, Oct 29, 2012 11:00 AM

As Halloween nears, whenever I teach late, I come home to find a different cast of characters galloping triumphant through my house, including Howl’s Moving Castle, pirate vs. ninja, kung fu masters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Steampunk, Goth Lolis, and more. A raucous combination of cosplay and Halloween, the spirit is festive, the creativity fun, the details impressive. Last week, even my old prom and wedding dresses were both trotted out and Steampunked. “Don’t you kids have homework to do?”

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

"What do you mean you don't vote? How can you not vote?"

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, Oct 22, 2012 10:02 AM

We came up over the rise as the highway curved and my breath caught in my throat. The Washington Monument. The Jefferson Memorial. So beautiful and serene in the morning mist.

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Finding good people good friends at Blacklava.net

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, Oct 16, 2012 8:44 AM

It always comes back to people.

A few years ago, then-graduate student Kate Agathon invited me to be the keynote speaker at Purdue University’s inaugural Asian American Studies conference. Kate Agathon is so warm and engaging that she was able to put together some of the most amazing folks in Asian America, including blogger AngryAsianMan.com Phil Yu, Blacklava founder Ryan Suda, R&B singer-songwriter Dawen Wang, spoken-word poet Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, Turtlist Media’s Jason Lee, as well as several academics.

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

African Time

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, Oct 9, 2012 9:24 AM


Before you even walk into the gallery housing the African Art and the Shape of Time exhibit at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, you hear the driving drumbeat and techno music and sounds of the street. That drumbeat seeps into you and propels you through the gallery and through time, looking at the art of Africa with new eyes, new categories.

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Rhythms of the Season

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, Sep 17, 2012 12:28 PM

After a long trip away from home, one of the first things I always do upon our return is take all the kids to buy groceries at our favorite Chinese grocery store. I love watching them zip around, squealing as they load up our basket, “Ooooh! It’s been so long since we’ve had cong you bing!” “Xiao long bao! I want xiao long bao!” and “I haven’t seen this kind of zhu rou gan in soooooo long!”

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

The Aunties at Temple

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, Aug 22, 2012 9:42 AM


I see in the Hawaii Tribune-Herald newspaper that novelist Lois-Ann Yamanaka is reading at the Kinoole Farmer’s Market. “Jean Yamanaka” is the contact name, so she must be in town visiting her mom or other relatives. I love her work and plan to go, excitedly gathering up all her novels to ask her to sign.

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Culture on the Volcano

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, Aug 2, 2012 3:54 PM


Sometimes I find myself categorizing our lives into “School,” “Sports,” “Music,” “Science,” “Arts,” and “Culture.” I want to make sure that we are living balanced lives, that I am exposing the children to a little of everything, so that they will grow up to be well-rounded, like the old Renaissance ideal.

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Chicago is the World » The Teahouse

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, Jul 17, 2012 11:17 AM

Spent the morning with Linus Chao, renowned international artist and official “Living Legend of Hawaii,” at his home halfway up the volcano. My daughter Mango is taking art classes with him and his wife this summer. Four hours of Chinese art in the morning with Mrs. Chao, a little lunch, then four hours of western art in the afternoon with Professor Chao. All Mango needs, Professor Chao says, is a little formal instruction, and she will be on her way. The Chaos must be in their 80s. He is Shandong, she is Dongbei, their voices full of the old accents that I love. He is so warmly effusive, shows me everything, never lets me leave. I cannot believe my luck, and I want to soak in every word.

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

The Obon Dance

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, Jul 12, 2012 9:59 AM

We went to the Obon Dance at the Puna Hongwanji tonight. I love first walking up to the temple grounds, totally transformed by the strings of lanterns glowing in the night, the tall yagura platform calling everyone’s attention to the circle.

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Asian Pacific American Community Reflections Thirty Years after Beating Death of Vincent Chin

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, Jul 3, 2012 12:49 PM

On June 19, 1982, a young Chinese American named Vincent Chin, 27, went to the Fancy Pants strip club in Highland Park, Michigan, with a few buddies for his bachelor’s party a week before his wedding. There, they encountered two autoworkers, Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz, who, like many at the time, blamed the Japanese for the U.S. auto industry’s troubles, “It’s because of you little m—f—s that we’re out of work.” By the end of the night, Nitz had Chin in a bear hug while Ebens struck Chin’s head four times with a baseball bat, cracking his skull. Vincent Chin died four days later. His wedding guests attended his funeral instead.

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

On Proms and Protocols-Figuring out the rules and creating new paths

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, Jun 13, 2012 12:32 PM

It was after midnight when my girlfriend Margie posted her prom picture on Facebook. The comments came promptly, “Major hotness! Oh, Margie looks good too.” (Her prom date, obviously, still enjoying his white tuxedo and sky blue ruffled shirt.)


Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Follow up on the Diane Tran case and mobilizing forward to other cases

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, Jun 4, 2012 2:38 PM

Last month, eight graduating seniors surnamed Nguyen (pronounced Win) from Presentation High School in San Jose, California (my alma mater) tickled the Asian American blogosphere by combining their senior quotes in the high school yearbook. One or two words under each photo created their “Nguyen-ing” “We know what you’re thinking and no we’re not related.”

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

On Birthday Parties, Tiger Aunties, and jailed Texan honor student Diane Tran

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, May 30, 2012 9:24 AM

My daughter Hao Hao turned 16 on Saturday. Sweet 16.

She put on my tiara that I wear for my most serious writing, and she asked eight-year-old Little Brother if he had anything to say to her, expecting him to say, “Happy Birthday.” Instead, he answered, “Swagger.” (Swag 16!)

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Catalyst to Action-Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and National Bike Month!

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, May 24, 2012 9:48 AM

How did that happen?

I thought I took precautions! I was careful!

Grrr.

Biker’s tan.

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

When Mother's Day Goes Awry

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, May 14, 2012 9:23 AM

Big Brother Roland called today to see what my plans were for Mother’s Day and to ask if I wanted to join him and his family in case the children were not with me this day. He is always looking out for me and invites me every year.

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Choosing to defy "normal" versus excusing "unconscious racism"

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, May 10, 2012 9:59 AM

My fifteen-year-old daughter Hao Hao came back from school last week pretending to sniffle, “All my friends and even my teacher laughed at me.”

That was very much out of the ordinary, so I gathered her into my arms and asked, “What happened?”

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