Slowly progressing, but I’m currently working on my proposals. I have a definite angle for the news story and I’m working on one for the research paper as I go along. One statistic that kept popping up while I was reading on Cambodians, specifically education was that only a small percentage of Cambodian Americans go to college and according to one of my textbooks, Global Philadelphia, by Takenaka and Osirim, only 47% of Cambodian American graduate high school. I’m hoping to take a closer look at the journey most Cambodian Americans take through Philadelphia’s education system and show one or two examples of students who overcame the odds and went on to college.

I can only hope that I have a defined plan for the research paper.



I would be lying if I said that I was not overwhelmed by the assignments for my Jou 3700 course. I can get it done, just need to find a way to do it where I don’t exhaust myself doing the simplest of things. Chapter 12 of Global Philadelphia by Takenaka and Osirim. There were several remarks made in the chapter that shocked me. First, I must acknowledge my ignorance, I know little about Cambodia’s history, so I’m doing my best to fix that, but I’m also learning that it is because of this group’s history that many of the older Cambodians have qualms about turning to financial institutions for aid. It is because of the fact that the Khmer Rouge, “a guerrilla army” that killed over a million , many older Cambodians and Cambodian-Americans have a hard time trusting institutions such as the police. Another alarming issue brought up in the chapter, that Cambodian-Americans are an “invisible” ethnic group in America. What makes any group the others, or invisible. These are just a few of my personal questions that I hope to answer while conducting research for this special studies elective.

One good thing is that so far I have the basis of an angle for my research paper, now for the news story…I did read that the high school graduation rate for Cambodians in America is low, according to Ellen Skilton-Sylvester and Keo Chea-Young, authors of chapter 12, 47.1 percent. And the percent that go on to get at least a bachelor’s degree, only 9.1 percent. Shocking yes, the rates are than those of African-Americans.

So, there might be some miserable posts in the near future, but once I work the kinks out things should start to look up.

Racial Ventriloquism

I went to hear Dr. Yununte Huang, an English professor from the University of California, Santa Barbara speak for one of my other journalism courses and found many of the key concepts rather interesting. I was supposed to be taking pictures but was so intrigued that I completely forgot my reason for being there until the audience began to applaud. Huang  who is currently a fellow at Cornell, recently wrote a book on Charlie Chan, a fictional Chinese detective, residing in Hawaii. Chan, created by Earl Derr Biggers as part of a series of novels. Chan was well known for his odd-words of wisdom and wit. Shortly after their publication, Hollywood picked p the series and created 47 Charlie Chan films. After watching a short clip of one of the films, Black Camel, which was released in the 1930’s, I was surprised to find out that the man who played Chan was Swedish-born was Warner Oland. As it turns out,the directors used yellow face to make Oland appear oriental. Oland was also drunk during most takes, slowing down his speech and changing his facial expression. What Dr. Huang pointed out as remarkable that was at the time the chinese community in America did not find these film degrading, and in China Oland was greeted like a celebrity. Soon the Chinese Cinema created its own version of the Charlie Chan films where the Charlie Chan character imitated Swedish actor Oland, who in turn was acting as a “chinaman”- racial ventriloquism. Today, according to Huang, the character of Charlie Chan is seen by many as a demeaning character depicting Asians. Dr. Hang has recently released a book on the matter, The Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History: Charlie Chan considering turning his book, the story behind the fictional character, into a movie.

“Men that flirt with dynamite sometimes fly with angels.”- Charlie Chan.

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