Letter from Asian Club president

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It has been an eye opening experience holding leadership positions within Asian Club for the past two years. There is a sense of pride that radiates from every one of our Asian Club members of just how proud they are of their heritage. So much so, that it made me even more proud of my own ethnic background. So, in honor of Asian Pacific Heritage Month, I decided to do a little digging into my family history to understand more in-depth where I come from.

Though my mother is of European descent, my father is full Chinese. Oddly enough, neither of my grandparents were raised in China. My grandma was actually raised in Singapore and her mother was from Indonesia. She is the only girl in a family of six brothers and was the first in her family to leave home. She speaks four dialects of Chinese, and fluent Malay, like her mom. She is the reason I can semi-fluently speak Mandarin. 

My grandfather, who is Chinese by blood, was raised in the Philippines. He spoke fluent Tagalog and did prison ministry in the Philippines. He was the chemistry teacher at Philippines Union College (PUC).

Uncovering my family’s history was a lesson. All this time, I would tell people that I was Chinese, having no idea that my grandparents were actually in touch with the cultures of Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines as well.

I encourage you all during this quarantine time to take a minute and call your grandparents or relatives to do a little digging into your ethnic background. Sometimes we get so caught up in the chaos of life that we don’t take the time to reach out to the people that make us proud of the ethnicity that we represent. Being Asian is more than just incredible food, strict parents, good grades and taking your shoes off before walking in the house. Asian culture means family comes first, respect for your elders, working hard for the things you want in life, and never settling for less than what we know we are capable of. 

Thank you to the Asian student body for not only allowing me to be your president and showing me the beauty behind all of your cultures, but encouraging me to embrace every part of who I am as well. #HoppaAndProud 

Emily Dee

Asian Club President 2019-2020

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