The AACP Newsletter
Since 1970 Asian American Curriculum Project, Inc. - Books for All Ages November/December 2004
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At a Glance

November Was National Novel Writing Month

AACP's Poetry Month and Day
Events for January

AACP's Year End Report

Are We Losing the War?
No, Not that One

An editorial on the war on ignorance

November Was National Novel Writing Month

Okay, which among you participated in NaNoWriMo? What, you never heard of it? NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. Recently, I heard the founder of the event speak on NPR. I thought NaNoWriMo might appeal to some of you so I checked out their official website .

So here's what I found out - NaNoWriMo is like a marathon for writers. The goal is to write a 50,000-word novel in the month of November. Last year they had over 25,000 participants with over 3500 people finishing. According to the website, for this year, 6000 writers were able to complete the 50,000-word goal.

This is meant to be a fun event to get the proverbial ball rolling. By condensing the writing cycle down to one month, writers would need to rid themselves of the inhibitions that keep them from starting or finishing. Here's a quote from their website -

"Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down."

Sounds pretty good to me. Maybe this is the thing that gets me started. I can certainly write a lot of crap as Philip could attest to. So mark October 1, 2005 (the next sign up date) on your calendars and start practicing now. Perhaps this time next year we'll be reading each other's crappy novel. If it's any good, perhaps AACP can publish it. Good luck.

Up Coming Events

Here are some events that AACP will soon be attending.
Invite us to your events.
Dec. 5
Special Event San Jose Buddhist Temple
San Jose, CA
Jan. 8
Poetry Day at AACP AACP
San Mateo, CA
Other Event of Interest that AACP May Not Attend
Dec. 26 -
Jan. 1
Hmong International New Year USA Fresno, CA

AACP's Poetry Month and Day

Poetry Month for the Next Newsletter
This coming January will be our newsletter's 2nd annual poetry month edition. If you are a poet with a new book, please tell me about it so that I may include it in our January newsletter.

We are also asking you all to participate by sending us poems that we can use in the newsletter. Please send some good ones so that Philip and I don't have to resort to using our own amateurish pieces again :). If we get enough submissions we will hold a contest and give the winner a copy of our new poetry book. "Petals of the Vanda." The winner will be randomly drawn from the submissions that we get and use.

Poetry Day at AACP
Let me also use this opportunity to announce a poetry reading day on January 8th, 2005, 1 pm at our store.

In many Asian cultures, poetry is traditionally written at the beginning of the year. All you poets, please come and present your material. Let's start a new tradition at AACP. If there are calligraphers out there please come too and perhaps you can do a live demonstration of writing New Year's poetry. If you can come, please let us know so that we can announce your appearance in ads, our website, and January's newsletter.

We will also use this occasion to introduce our new book "Petals of the Vanda" and do a book signing for it. Mas (Hongo), Philip, and I personally invite you all, especially are friends and relatives, to come and hear and see what we've been working on.

Year End Report

By the end of this year, we will have attended over 26 conferences, conventions, festivals, and various other educational and cultural events. Additionally, we held six book-signing events at our new store. When you include our grand-opening celebration the count was over 33 events. I guess this accounts for why we've been so busy :).

Intern Program
This year we had two wonderful interns - Ellen Lee and Emily Mah. On top of that many of our past interns including Jaime Young, Michael Kim, Melissa Eng, and Alice Tan came back to help us. It was great to have all of your help. Thank you so much.

In 2004 we worked on five book projects. We saw the completion of one of them this year - "Plant Preserve Protect." Early next year we will be done with two more. Stay tuned - check our website frequently for announcements of book signing events.

Union Bank of California awarded us another grant for this year. We really appreciate your support. Thank you.

Editor's Message

Hello everyone. My apologies for not having more content for this newsletter and for sending it out so late. I was hoping to get this out in November, but it looks like I'm going to miss the month completely. Our many projects and outreach activities have been keeping us all very busy.

Please Help
Please keep us in mind for your end of year donations. Our move back to Downtown San Mateo was a much-needed change - customers can find us easier and we have more foot traffic. However, in the short term, moving costs are quite high.

An area in which we would also like financial assistance is in our book publishing operations. Your donations will help fund worthy projects that do not have any major funding sources. Currently, most of our book projects are funded by grants and other sources that the book creators find. Your support will help us publish good books that are under-funded.

As usual, AACP needs your financial support to help with our out reach efforts. Travel, conference and festival fees, and acquisitions of books for events can be financially taxing. Many of the events we go to are not financially self-supporting - we do not sell enough books to cover the cost of going to the event. We go to these events and create our newsletter and website because this is part of our mission - to make people aware of all of the great Asian American educational resources available to them.

There are many other projects that AACP would like to do and many other events that we would like to attend or even create. Your financial and volunteer support is greatly appreciated.

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End of Year Thanks
As always, thank you Philip, for all your help. Thanks to all the interns and intern alumni for your help. Thank you Sophie for your time when we most needed it. We wish we had many more people like all of you.

Sophie also reminded me to thank all the neighboring businesses that helped with our grand opening, especially Takahashi Market. If you come to our store, please patronize our neighboring businesses.

Thank you loyal readers that bother to read this far. Yes, I know that sometimes we get too wordy and you don't have the time to read the entire newsletter. We appreciate your feedback and we hope to make it better. Please stick with us.

Thank you to all of the authors and book creators that came to our store to present their books. We hope to do this more in the coming year and we hope to do a better job of getting the newsletter readers to come to our events.

Lastly, on a personal note, I'd like to say a sad farewell to my cousin Melvin Yee and my dear auntie Heng Lee. You will be greatly missed.

Leonard Chan
Executive Editor

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Please feel free to send us your reviews, comments, and book suggestions. You can contact us at -

Are We Losing the War?
No, Not that One

An Editorial by Leonard Chan
The war that I am referring to is the war on ignorance. The title came to me shortly after the election when I heard someone make a comment on TV about how he voted and why. From my perspective, his reasoning seemed to be based on fictitious notions. How did he arrive at such a conclusion? Was he one of the ignorant voters that I discussed in my last editorial? By his statement, I could tell that he did not solely base his vote on what the candidates said - neither of the candidates openly endorsed the position that he attributed to one of them. Perhaps he was persuaded by an advertisement, radio program, or friend that I did not see or hear. Could it be that I heard the same messages but did not believe them? Perhaps I was being manipulated by messages this person did not hear or believe.

Elections can be seen as a measure of our ignorance level, our ability to think, and our gullibility to marketing. Whatever the case, there are people studiously analyzing the results of the election. They, like their counterparts in commercial advertising, are trying to figure out what works and what doesn't. We are all guinea pigs for these marketing researchers and they are honing their skills and are making improvement for the next time.

The PBS show Frontline had an interesting episode, called The Persuaders, that deals with what I'm talking about. Click here to check out the web page for this show. In brief, people are using scientific methodology to try to determine how we make decisions and how they can influence our decision making process. We should all hope that the eventual holders of such knowledge will use their talents for benevolent purpose or that the attainment of this knowledge will never be reached. Such knowledge in the wrong hands could make Yellow Peril and Nazi propaganda look amateurish and make science fiction stories, portraying totalitarian states ruling over the ignorant masses, more true than ever.

Throughout human history there are many examples where people were lead to do bad things. Even in supposedly freethinking countries as our own, we have had times when wrongs had been done. Many of these wrongs could not have taken place without support from the masses. If you've been a regular reader of our editorials and articles, you will note the many wrongs that I have brought to your attention regarding the treatment of Asian and other minorities in America. If the art of persuasion can be transformed into a science and knowing the nature of man, what is there to prevent even worse atrocity from taking place?

The world and the people on it are seldom black and white - there are many shades of gray. So it is impossible to determine the nature of the people behind the curtain. I am certain that these researchers do not all think alike and do not all have evil intent. There are no conspiracies or joint efforts to deceive us, only a concerted effort to determine how we think and how they can influence are thinking.

So how do we combat such forces? Should we be resisting? Perhaps we could live in ignorant bliss and leave the decision-making up to our rulers… Wait, didn't I just write in my last editorial against such thinking?

Since we can never really know everything, the war on ignorance can never completely be won, but it can be lost. Many of history's dark ages were cases of when societies slipped back into states of ignorant subjugation. The best that we can do is maintain a constant vigil - keeping ignorance at bay. We do this by never relinquishing our thirst for knowledge and by making our educational institutions better. Armed with our knowledge, we must also learn to use it wisely and compassionately for all the inhabitants of the Earth. Only then will we be on the winning side of this war.

A Timely Passage from A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens

Let us all heed the warning of the spirit of Christmas Present and not let ignorance doom us all.

"Oh, Man" look here. Look, look, down here!" exclaimed the Ghost.

They were a boy and girl. Yellow, meager, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate too in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shriveled hand, like that of age, had pinched and twisted them into shreds.

Where angels might have been enthroned, devils lurked and glared out, menacing. No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity in any grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread.

Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be party to lies of such enormous magnitude.

"Spirit! are they yours?" was all that Scrooge could utter.

"They are Man's," said the Spirit, looking down upon them. "And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!" cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. "Slander those who tell it ye! Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse! And abide the end!"

From the Frontline website for - The Persuaders

Each year, legions of ad people, copywriters, market researchers, pollsters, consultants, and even linguists—most of whom work for one of six giant companies—spend billions of dollars and millions of man-hours trying to determine how to persuade consumers what to buy, whom to trust, and what to think. Increasingly, these techniques are migrating to the high-stakes arena of politics, shaping policy and influencing how Americans choose their leaders.

In "The Persuaders," FRONTLINE explores how the cultures of marketing and advertising have come to influence not only what Americans buy, but also how they view themselves and the world around them. The 90-minute documentary draws on a range of experts and observers of the advertising/marketing world, to examine how, in the words of one on-camera commentator, "the principal of democracy yields to the practice of demography," as highly customized messages are delivered to a smaller segment of the market.

Take the 2004 presidential sweepstakes for example. Both the Republicans and the Democrats were prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to custom craft their messages. "What politicians do is tailor their message to each demographic group," says Peter Swire, professor of law at Ohio State University and an expert on Internet policy. "That means…Americans will live in different virtual universes. What's wrong with living in different universes? You never confront the other side. You don't have to deal with the uncomfortable facts that go against your worldview….It hardens the partisanship that's been such a feature of recent American politics."

Second Chance SALE!
Just for Newsletter Subscribers - all books featured in AACP's 2004 Newsletters are once again 20% off. Here's your second chance. But in order for you to take advantage of this chance you must be an AACP email newsletter subscriber.
Click Here to Join

The following books are discounted for subscribers to our newsletter. The discounts on these books end December 31, 2004.

Origami Holiday Decorations
For Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa

By Florence Temko
2003, 63 pages, paperback.

Origami Holiday Decorations features 25 original projects including a Holiday Calendar, a Jewish Star, and a Santa Claus complete with Reindeer created by origami expert Florence Temko.

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ORDER -- Item #3260, Price $8.95

Summer of the Big Bachi

By Naomi Hirahara
2004, 287 pages, paperback.

A spellbinding mystery played out from war-torn Japan to the rich tidewaters of L.A.'s multicultural landscape, this stunning debut novel weaves a powerful tale of family, loyalty, and the price of both survival and forgiveness.

"A novel about social change wrapped inside a mystery, Summer of the Big Bachi toggles deftly between past and present and reveals the hopes and compromises that lurk on the fringes of the American Dream."
–Denise Hamilton, Edgar award nominated author of Last Lullaby

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ORDER -- Item #3257, Price $12.00

Guji Guji

By Chih-Yuan Chen
2004, 29 pages, hardback.

Guji Guji is just your ordinary, everyday, run-of-the-mill duck…um, crocodile…um, duck…

In this engaging story about identity, loyalty, and what it really means to be a family, Guji Guji makes some pretty big decisions about who he is, what he is, and what it all means, anyway.

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ORDER -- Item #3259, Price $15.95

When Strange Gods Call

By Pam Chun
2004, 283 pages, paperback.

Twelve years ago, Miki Ai'Lee walked away from her traditional Chinese heritage, leaving her native Hawai'i behind. Now thirty and unmarried, Miki is a respected art history professor on the mainland. But when her grandmother's illness draws her back to Hawai'i, Miki realizes she has been gone too long. Her first love, Alex, bears scars that he is unwilling to explain, and her grandmother is ready to share their family's darkest secret, if only Miki will listen.

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ORDER -- Item #3256, Price $14.00

Being Japanese American
A JA Sourcebook for Nikkei, Hapa...& Their Friends

By Gil Asakawa
2004, 146 pages, paperback.

Gil Asakawa's celebration of what makes JAs so special is an entertaining blend of facts and features, of recipes, songs, and memories that every JA will want to share with friends and family.

Being Japanese American looks at where JAs came from, their cultural and spiritual roots, how they've adapted their customs to their new home, and the importance of food and language in their identity.

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ORDER -- Item #3258, Price $14.95

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