VOLUME 28 NO. 8 | FEBRUARY 14 - 20, 2009

Major events in the years of the Ox

Last updated 2-12-09 at 12:24 p.m.

By Ryan Pangilinan
Northwest Asian Weekly

Though the Year of the Ox only comes every 12 years, there are many significant events that have occurred during the Ox years. There have been several major events — some have been on international levels and others have been relegated to mere footnotes — that have helped Asian American culture evolve into a hybrid of the modern and the traditional.

On July 1, 1997, the world saw the handing over of Hong Kong back to China, which resulted in a massive emigration of its residents, with Canada, Australia, and the U.S. being popular destinations. The British Nationality Selection Scheme allowed 50,000 families to become British citizens during this time.

The handover even found its way into Hollywood a plot device in the Jean-Claude Van Damme movie “Knock Off.” Since the handover, China’s influence on Hong Kong, particularly those of the political nature, remain similar to its existence before 1997, specifically when it comes to the news media.

In the world of broadcasting, the Philippines launched RBS Channel 7 in 1961, making it the nation’s third channel, which also included the still-popular network, ABS-CBN. As in the United States, broadcast media is a major part of Filipino life, as evidenced by the popularity of variety shows like “Wow Wow Wee.” Filipino TV is so popular that Comcast offers several channels, including ABS-CBN, as an option for extended cable packages for American subscribers. This popularity is also indicative of the notion that even though many people rely on the Internet for updated news, some cultures — in this case, Filipino — also utilize television as a news source, a medium that many people assume will soon die.

Other major events during past years of the Ox have been marked by events that have been both somber and encouraging. On Aug. 6, 1985, Japan saw the 40th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Then the very next day, on Aug. 7, Japan released the names of their first astronauts — Takao Doi, Mamoru Mohri, and Chiaki Mukai. While the year brought back some unpleasant memories, the idea of reaching space signified possibilities as well as showed how far Japan and space technology had come since 1945.

2009 may have just started, but it’s already shaping to be an exciting year. In the last few weeks, the United States has ushered in a new president who not only has an Asian American family, but also has several API staff members within his administration.

Several API faces serving in these key positions include Steven Chu as the energy secretary, Eric K. Shinseki as the secretary for veteran affairs, and Eugene Kang as the special assistant to the president.

Yes, the year has just begun, but the possibilities are limitless. Now that Asian Americans are becoming more visible, it will be interesting to see how this year’s events will be looked at in retrospect. (end)

Ryan Pangilinan can be reached at info@nwasianweekly.com.


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