Friday, September 7, 2012

UC Regents Set to Appoint Interim Incumbent as University Librarian

Update 9/22/12: UL appointment effective October 1, 2012.

9/14/12 update: Regents approved the compensation for the interim and UL positions yesterday. The UC newsroom sent out a press release on all the executive salaries approved, including this one at UCI: "The campus conducted an internal search and selected Tanji based on her performance in the interim role, her extensive service in the UC system and her leadership during a transitional period for the UC Irvine libraries.". Of course, the search, if any, was secret, not a good thing for a public institution. There was in fact no recruitment, internally nor nationwide.

9/13/12: Updated with Compensation Committee recommended salary increase, see below after Afterword

9/8/12: Updated with Afterword below.

University of California Regents are set to formalize at their upcoming meeting next Thursday the elevation of the current interim University Librarian at UC Irvine as University Librarian, without opening up the position to a nationwide search.

Interim University Librarian Lorelei Tanji's compensation is also expected to be approved at that meeting. Her compensation constitutes executive pay so all such actions are now publicized on the UC web site on compensation.

Tanji was appointed to succeed Gerald R. Lowell in February 2011. He had been University Librarian at UC Berkeley and UC San Diego and had come out of retirement to be an assistant dean at UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts just prior to stepping in to run the UCI Libraries after that incumbent retired.

Officeholder no longer interim?
This agenda item appears on the closed 13 September 2012 meeting agenda of the UC Regents' Committee on Compensation:

"Partially or Fully State-Funded Positions
B. Retroactive Extension of Appointment of and Compensation for Interim University Librarian, Irvine Campus, and Appointment of and Compensation for University Librarian, Irvine Campus."

The agenda item retroactively also corrects the error from the UC Regents' approval last year of Tanji as "University Librarian" rather than an "interim" one.

At the 2 p.m. open session later the same day, the Compensation Committee report (not public until after the closed session) will be acted upon, with the agenda item seeking pro-forma "Approval of... compensation actions discussed in closed session."

Prior to its May 2011 meeting, the UC Regents approved by 'interim action" Tanji's interim appointment (erroneously described as for "University Librarian"), until 31 March 2012 or the appointment of a permanent UL, at the salary of $170,000, which at SLGC Grade 106 is less than the midpoint salary range of $195,200. Hence the "retroactive extension".

As rationale for the appointment last year, UCI Chancellor Michael V. Drake submitted this "background for recommendation" (the title was mischaracterized):

"Action under interim authority was requested for the approval of the term appointment of Lorelei A. Tanji as University Librarian, effective immediately upon approval. This request was in response to an immediate need to fill the position, which was vacated by an unexpected resignation by the prior acting incumbent on February 28, 2011.

"The campus requested a one-year term appointment designed to provide longterm leadership while finalizing two other strategic recruitments before beginning recruitment efforts for a University Librarian. Additionally, the campus will benefit from salary cost savings as Ms. Tanji will be appointed at a lower salary than the prior permanent incumbent and former acting incumbent.

"Ms. Tanji is currently serving as Associate University Librarian for Collections for UC Irvine. She has more than 20 years of exemplary service to the UC system, having held various positions at the UC Irvine Libraries and UC Riverside Libraries, each with increasing responsibility. Ms. Tanji will provide the leadership and stability that the UC Irvine Libraries require during this interim period. She has experience in campuswide strategic planning given her involvement on planning committees such as the Task Force on Strategic Planning for the Libraries, the Law School Implementation Team, the Chancellor’s Workgroup on Undergraduate Education Research and the Chancellor’s Educational Technology Task Force. She has also served on UC systemwide committees related to library planning and collection development. Additionally, her work in technology and education in libraries has has been published in a variety of literary media.

"This position is funded 100 percent by UC general funds provided by the State. The proposed annual compensation of $170,000 is 18.9 percent below the average market salary of $209,555, 17.9 percent below the average base salary of the other UC university librarians of $207,143, and 12.9 percent below the midpoint of SLCG Grade 106 of $195,200."

The recommendation was approved for her appointment "continuing through March 31, 2012 or until the appointment of a permanent incumbent, whichever occurs first."

The UC Regents will see a similar justification from Drake next week for elevating her to the position (although they erroneously already appointed her as University Librarian last year). The justification will likely state why there is not going to be any nationwide search, despite Drake's statement last year (quoted above) that the interim position was needed to be filled "before beginning recruitment efforts for University Librarian."

Just this past April UCI librarians were asked by the office of then-Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Michael R. Gottfredson (through Vice Provost Michael Clark) to review her work performance. No official announcement has been made about results of the performance review. The EVC likely acted to reappoint the incumbent in his last major action before moving to head the University of Oregon, sparing interim EVC and Provost Susan V. Bryant from having to deal with the issue.

AFTERWORD (9/8/12):

I congratulate our new UL on her expected appointment. My colleagues and I probably prefer the status quo to unpredictable change. The activist in me wishes there was more transparency and a commitment to open recruitment as a valued principle.

Update 9/13/2012: The Regents have released more information, the UC Regents would retroactively (due to an "administrative oversight") extend the appointment at the interim level and then appoint the interim UL as UL at a salary of $200,000 as of 9/13/2012. The document states there was an "internal search" where faculty, senior library staff etc. were consulted. -- Daniel C. Tsang

UC Librarians Fight for Release of Earned Merit Pay Increases

Update 9/26/2012: An online petition has been posted seeking support on this issue, especially since the UC recently paid outrageous bonuses to senior executives while still withholding merit pay raises from UC librarians who went through the peer review process successfully.

University of California librarians are protesting over the central administration's unwillingness to pay merit increases to line librarians who were awarded such increases after an arduous academic peer review process. The pay raises were supposed to go into effect on 1 July 2012.

It is perhaps not as well known that librarians, as academic employees of the university, have to undergo periodic reviews of their work performance similar to tenured faculty.

However, management is refusing to pay out the pay raises for those who were successful in their academic review. About a third of the bargaining unit of almost 350 academic librarians is affected; those librarians came up for and completed their academic reviews this past year.

Unionized librarians - members of the University Council of the American Federation of Teachers - on the UCs have now begun a postcard campaign (see graphics) to publicize the administrative intransigence. Postcards signed by unionized members are being submitted to UC President Mark Yudof and campus University Librarians. The postcards argue that the earned merits should be released now!

The UC librarians face a union contract expiration at the end of this month and have been in talks with the administration to extend the contract. This merit pay issue has hence become embroiled in bargaining, with the UC offering to release the earned pay increases only if the union agrees to cuts in the pension package.

UC Berkeley law librarian I-Wei Wang has penned a strong public appeal to the UC to release the merit pay increases.

She writes inter alia: "I, along with about one third of my librarian colleagues throughout this campus, have recently undergone the rigorous peer-review process that governs promotion and advancement in the librarian career track. Our merit increases– based on our demonstrated professional performance and contributions to the education and service missions of the library and university system over the past two to three years as well as our promise and potential for further contributions—have already been granted by the reviewers. But now the University negotiators have threatened to withhold the salary increases we have already shown we deserve until librarians agree to a contract extension and give up certain rights pertaining to planned changes in retirement benefits.

She argues that the UC actions are "deeply demoralizing" to her, adding, "The choice to become an academic librarian represented a significant economic sacrifice on my family’s part, but I willingly made that sacrifice in order to dedicate myself to the teaching and research mission of this institution." She continues:

"For the University to answer that dedication with this slap in the face is truly offensive, not to mention counterproductive. It is clearly a bullying tactic, meant to divide me and similarly situated colleagues from those of our peers who happen not to be under review at a time when our contract is under negotiation. Instead of making me want to give in to the University’s position on the collective bargaining agreement — instead of causing me to cave in to blackmail — this tactic just leaves me feeling unappreciated, undervalued, and yes, angry. It is an unsavory and utterly unfair measure aimed at precisely those librarians who, by being granted merit increases during this review cycle, have proven our extraordinary contribution to the mission of the University.

"What makes the University’s tactics all the more contemptible is that there is so little money involved. The actual amount of the merit raise that I was awarded by reviewers, and that is now being withheld from me in an effort to pressure us all to accept the University’s proposal, is a pittance compared to the kind of salary I could expect (and have commanded) in the private sector — and, more to the point, the amount at issue is meaningless to the University, even in our current budget situation. It’s not about saving money in tough economic times; it’s a blatant attempt to cut off negotiations and bind all of the academic librarians that serve this University by holding a group of us as economic hostages. Don’t get me wrong: I know I deserve a raise, and I want the money that I have earned. But I’m not going to submit to outright extortion in order to get it.

"If you care about fairness and equity, if you appreciate everything that my colleagues and I do for this University, please lend your voice in support of UC librarians. We have earned our merits. Please release them."

Bravo I-Wei! - Daniel C. Tsang.

Friday, August 31, 2012

$upercapitalist seeks fortune in Hong Kong and wreaks havoc

To listen to the KUCI Subversity Online podcast of our interview with actor, producer and script writer Derek Ting, click on: .
Derek Ting (as Conner Lee right) finds romance
with Kathy Uyen (left) as Natalie Wang in $upercapitalist

Blasting across the U.S. and into Asia is $upercapitalist, an independently produced drama that is intelligently written, exquisitely acted, fast-moving and fun to watch. It depicts a smart Asian American Cornell graduate and newly minted hedge fund trader, Conner Lee, sent to Hong Kong from New York to orchestrate the downfall of a major Hong Kong shipping conglomerate.

In a world where all bets are off and the only goal is making money, lots of it, in the frenetic global city of Hong Kong, these money makers, or $upercapitalists show contempt for locals while immersed in the the fast-moving expat world of fantasy and pleasure.

Yet Conner Lee (played ably by former CNN International Hong-Kong based producer Derek Ting, who also wrote the tight script and produced the film) finds his match in Natalie Wang (superbly played by UC Irvine Film & Media Studies and Economics graduate Kathy Uyen) who manages to turn this $upercapitalist into a caring human being. Believe it or not, this film offers up a stinging critique of the Darwinism inherent in capitalistic hedge fund trades. Wang ends up reminding Lee that life should not be just about making tons of money.

Uyen in 2009 won Vietnam's Golden Kite award for her supporting role in Victor Vu's Passport to Love. She was interviewed for Subversity two years ago about another acting role, in Fools for Love. In that interview, she recalled her days working in the UC Irvine Libraries as a student assistant in the multimedia resources center.

Derek Ting (Conner Lee) finally gets to meet Richard Ng (as Donald Chang)

For an independently-produced film, it is heartening to see many big name actors involved. Linus Roache (Batman Begins, Law & Order) stars as the evil Wall Streeter Mark Patterson while veteran Hong Kong actors Kenneth Tsang (A Better Tomorrow 2, The Killer) and Richard Ng (Winners and Sinners, Tom Raider) have key roles in the Hong Kong conglomerate Conner is taking on.

Tsang, who is currently working as the lead actor with Ang Lee on the latter's remake of Eat Drink Man Woman, acts as Victor Chang, the congenial yet conniving elder brother of the patriarch of the Hong Kong conglomerate.

Ng stars as the stoic CEO of this conglomerate who tries to keep the family business on a stable course as turmoil erupts around him.

On our Subversity Online interview yesterday, Ting delves into why they were able to make this film, for just around half a million dollars. He didn't charge himself a salary for being the lead actor, and friends of the production were able to line up impressive donations, including the use of a jet, a Bentley, and Macau casino locations (courtesy of mogol Stanley Ho).

One scene actually brought me to tears as I told Ting. So in addition to high finance intrigue there is an emotional side to this otherwise fast-paced film.

Ting conceived the script before the 2008 stock market collapse. According to the production ,notes, for research, Ting "visited the offices of various hedge funds, read a number of books such as, Hedge Hogging by Barton Biggs, Ugly Americans by Ben Mezrich, Hedge Hunters by Katherine Burton, and watched as many different finance movies available. The script draws from some of Derek’s favorite movies including Michael Clayton, Wall Street, Good Will Hunting, Star Trek (J.J. Abrams), Body Of Lies, and The Firm."

The notes also state: "$upercapitalist is one of the most diverse films to date. The film features African Americans, Koreans, Chinese, Japanese, South Asians, British, Easter Europeans, Vietnamese, Australians, Americans, Canadians, and several other ethnicities. And on set a number of small parts cropped up and the team had to pull actors from their own crew. The transportation supervisor Sydney Chan and Art Director Vicky Chow appear in the film."

Ting decided to take on the part of Conner Lee after a Hollywood producer, who happened to be Asian American, told him a Caucasian actor would make the project more viable. To his credit, Ting decided to put the lure of millions in check and took on the role of the lead actor himself, making the film much more interesting and true to the script he had labored on.

The film is directed by Simon Yin, a former MTV and NBC director and founder of the Hong Kong-based Bamboo Star, an advertising campaign company.

$upercapitalist opens in Southern California this evening at 7 pm at the new Laemmle Theater, the NoHo7, 5240 Lankershim Boulevard North Hollywood, CA 91601, with Q&A with Derek Ting & Kathy Uyen to follow the screening. NoHo7 is conveniently located right off the Metro Red Line. Ticket information.

The film opened in New York and Washington D.C. earlier this month. In addition to selected forthcoming screenings in the U.S. (San Diego, Palo Alto, Berkeley, San Francisco) and in Asia (expected openings in Hong Kong and Singapore in October), the film is available for online viewing via VOD on various platforms, including simultaneous USA/CAN Cable VOD, Amazon and iTunes stores in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, as well as UK, Australia, New Zealand and Scandinavia.

Update 4 September 2012

See also interview on CNTV- Daniel C. Tsang.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Remembering Joan Wang

Update 9/26/2012: A Powerpoint look back at Prof. Wang's life, shown at the memorial service in Tapei, is available for download. Also, NTNU colleague Prof. Joan Chang's account of Prof. Wang's last moments is posted on the NTNU history department memorial page.

Revised 8/28/12; see also obituary update below...

Historian Joan S.H. Wang [王秀惠 or Wang Shiow-Huey], who was suddenly stricken ill and collapsed 18 August 2012 while at an international conference in Manila, and passed away the next day, was a renowned Taiwan scholar of Chinese overseas. She was 52.

Just this past February, she had co-led a delegation visiting UC Irvine and other universities with ethnic studies collections, but I was tied up with a data curation workshop and missed their visit.

Joan Wang listens attentively at UCI Libraries' Southeast Asian Archive, February 2012. Photo credit: Eric Chang.

I was lucky enough to visit Taipei in late March this year, and honored to be invited by Joan's colleague in Chinese overseas studies, Edwin Yang, to speak on ethnic Chinese in Vietnam as portrayed in Hong Kong films, before a graduate seminar at their institution, National Taiwan Normal University. After the class, we all gathered at a nearby Japanese restaurant, where Prof. Wang joined us.

Joan in 1996 completed her graduate work in history at Carnegie Mellon with a dissertation, " 'No Tickee, No Shirtee': Chinese Laundries in the Social Context of the Eastern United States, 1882-1943."

Her published articles in English include:

"Race, Gender, and Laundry Work: The Roles of Chinese Laundrymen and American Women in the United States, 1850-1950," Journal of American Ethnic History, 24/1 (Fall, 2004), 58-99.


"The Double Burdens of Immigrant Nationalism: The Relationship between Chinese and Japanese in the American West, 1880s-1920s," Journal of American Ethnic History (Winter 2008) 27/2, 228-58.

Joan Wang (center) flanked by NTNU colleague Edwin Yang and myself,
at Japanese restaurant, Taipei, March 2012.

After my trip, Joan and I managed to exchange some emails on her research, with her expressing thanks for locating "rich" materials for her research. She asked me: "Please keep an eye for me". At her death she was engaged in researching a timely topic, the disputed Tiaoyutai (Senkaku) Islands. Her specific focus was Chinese students in America and their past activism over the issue. She was looking forward to coming to California to delve into the research materials on the Tiaoyutai student movement but alas, this work will have to be taken on by others.

Web tributes are beginning to appear online. A Malaysian scholar pens this online tribute in Chinese.

I am sad I will not be able to see her again. Services take place Saturday, 1 September 2012, at 2-4 pm at Taipei Second Funeral Parlor [台北市立第二殯儀館]. - Daniel C. Tsang.

Obituary from the International Society
for the Study of Chinese Overseas

Announcement From: PROF. LEO SURYADINATA, ISSCO President

It is with great sadness and profound regret that we announce the sudden demise of our colleague Dr. Joan Wang (王秀惠), Professor of History at the Taiwan Normal University on August 18, 2012. She was just 52 years old (1960-2012). She finished delivering a paper at the recent conference on “Chinese-language education and teaching in a Globalizing Southeast Asia” jointly convened by the Confucius Institute of Ateneo de Manila University and ISSCO. After the lively open forum where she animatedly answered the questions, people went up to her to shake her hands, but she couldn’t stand up and eventually collapsed. She was then rushed to the hospital but unfortunately passed away the next day despite desperate attempts to save her, putting her on life support. She is survived by her husband, Dr. Wu Chi-Sheng, a professor in Chemical Engineering at the National Taiwan University and daughters Emily and Kimberly.

Prof. Wang had attended almost all of our ISSCO conferences. She was very conscientious in all her work. We have certainly lost a very dedicated and fine scholar on Chinese overseas. Let us all pray for her eternal peace and strength for the family she left behind.

A memorial ceremony of Prof Joan Wang Shiow-Huey, initiated by the family and National Taiwan Normal University, will take place at 2-4pm on Saturday, Sept. 1st in the Taipei city 2nd funeral house. We hope our ISSCO members in Taipei will attend the ceremony on ISSCO’s behalf.

ISSCO members who knew her and wish to write tributes or expression of sympathy can send them to by August 31 and we will collect them before forwarding to her family prior to the memorial service.

Dr. Joan Wang Shiow-Huey was born in Taiwan, on August 30, 1962. Her research interests include history of Chinese Overseas, gender, and Chinese education, on which she published two scholarly books, numerous journal articles and book chapters, while presenting her work in many countries.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Shattering Israel's Image of Democracy

To listen to a separate KUCI Subversity Online podcast of the Ben White's talk, click on: .

Israel likes to present itself as a democratic state among the nations of the Middle East. But behind this facade well pushed by the government's spin doctors is a dark reality for the Palestinians suffering under Israeli occupation. Freelance journalist and author Ben White came to University of California, Irvine this past May and presented this talk on "Shattering Israel's Image of Democracy." His talk took place during the Muslim Student Union's annual Palestine Liberation Week. Ben has written for many publications including the Guardian.

His latest book is Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy (Pluto Press, 2012). In 2009 he authored Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide.

Friday, July 20, 2012

On how I got started in mainstream journalism: Remembering FEER

Cover of July 14, 1978 issue
Irvine - It was the hard-hitting Far Eastern Economic Review that gave me my start, as it were, in mainstream journalism. Not that I did much after that in the mainstream, beyond occasional op eds in the Los Angeles Times and the San Jose Mercury News. I am more an advocate of alternative media, and have written [or reported] for decades for ethnic and alternative press covering a host of topics, most profusely at one point for the OC Weekly, now owned by the Village Voice chain. My Los Angeles Times op eds can be found with other publications on my UCI 'faculty' profile page, which also posts UCI librarian's profiles.

FEER, for decades the pre-eminent news magazine to cover the Vietnam War and the rest of Asia, ran my piece at the bottom half of a two-page spread in its July 14, 1978 issue.

My piece, Home Truths from History under the header HONGKONG, focused on the following, as the FEER wrote in its table of contents page: "Had the China's communists tried to take Hongkong in 1949 the United States would not have come to its rescue, according to US secret papers which recently came to light."

In those pre-WikiLeaks and pre-Internet days, I didn't have a Bradley Manning or a Julian Assange, as a source, or Google as a search engine. It fact the documents from which I quoted were officially declassified, and made available in microfiche, as I indicated in the article, through Carollton Press, and discoverable in the major academic libraries.

The editor at the time who accepted my freelance piece was Derek Davies, a Welshman who had once worked as an MI6 agent in Vietnam I would later learn. At FEER he expanded the staff to make in the news magazine known for its superior coverage of the conflicts in IndoChina and of Asia in general.

I don't know why he agreed to accept a contribution from someone totally unknown to him. I am sure like all newsmen he had an eye for what was newsworthy and thought my piece fit that.

Ironically the cover of that same issue in which my piece appeared featured the growing tension between Vietnam and China, much as in today's climate, Vietnam and China are again at odds, this time specifically over the South China Seas. One big difference, no FEER to cover the current crisis.

The cover story, by noted FEER correspondent Nayan Chanda, focused on "Danger of a War by Accident," as the headline went. An accompanying piece, "David on the Defensive," by another well-known correspondent, David Bonavia, discussed how China was viewing Vietnam in the context of the latter's ties with the Soviets, and also on how the "overseas Chinese" question came into play, with Bonavia writing that China's main position was that the Chinese being repatriated from Vietnam were Chinese nationals, not Vietnamese of Chinese descent.

It was sad to see, in the 2000s, the slow demise of the newsmagazine. Reduced to a monthly, moved from Hong Kong to Shanghai, and with its foreign correspondents let go, it was doomed to die, and guess who is the culprit? News Corporation, the currently scandal-plagued conglomerate, whose Wall Street Journal subsidiary eventually killed FEER, in a "corporate killing of diversity" as FEER's Philip Bowring so correctly lamented. FEER, which begain in 1946, died in 2009. [ADDED 7/21/2012: The Economist however, attributes its ultimate demise to the end of Asia as an isolated entity.]

For me, I am glad I was associated even in a tiny way with this publication. - Daniel C. Tsang

Friday, May 25, 2012

Outsourcing Police Oversight

UCIPD officers begin arresting Irvine 17 protesters outside UCI Chancellor's Office in February 2010. Photograph copyright 2010 Daniel C. Tsang
At least two University of California police departments – UCLA and UC Irvine -- have outsourced their police policy manuals to a private company and one of them, UCIPD, astonishingly, considers the private company that handles police policy manual revisions, as its law firm.

UCI assistant police chief Jeff Hutchison, in an hour-long meeting with UCI history prof. Mark Levine and myself November 21, 2011, kept referring to the private firm, Lexipol, as "our counsel". When I asked did he mean the University Counsel, he said no, the campus counsel is out of the loop. He implied that LLC after its name meant law firm - when in fact it means limited liability company

How about the UCI Chancellor then? Is Michael Drake also out of the chain of command? Oh, he's too busy to look at every police policy, after all there are 434 pages of them was the response. Three hours after our meeting, Drake released online the same use of force, tasering and pepper spraying policies that Hutchison had shown us, and that Drake apparently also just got to see. Note the copyright on the UCI police policies is attributed to Lexipol, LLC.

Why are campus police departments at UC Irvine and UCLA relying on an outside firm – and a private business at that -- for legal advice? Is not the well-paid campus counsel sufficient? Incidentally six chief campus counsels got hefty raises at a recent Regents Meeting. UCI’s University Counsel got a 14.3 percent pay raise, while Davis’ Chief Counsel got a 21.9% raise, They can surely afford to give their police chiefs some legal advice and review their local police procedures. But Hutchison, of course, had an answer: Lexipol knows actual law enforcement practices and implied that the UC Counsel's Office does not.

Lexipol may well do, but constitutional law is what matters, and that is definitely not the domain of a cop or a business formed by former cops. In fact, a Lexipol policy recently got criticized in a federal case that was not at the time resolved. The policy was adopted by the Guadalupe, California, police department with provisions that actually apparently suppressed the police officers' own free speech rights.

In addition, the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), which certifies police practices, in 2009 denied certification to Lexipol's Daily Training Bulletins as self-paced training, in part because Lexipol was a private business with the bulletins only accessible by paid subscribers. Lexipol appealed the decision, but there is no public record if it was reversed so I do not know if it was reversed.

Lexipol is founded by Bruce Praet, a former Laguna Beach cop turned lawyer who now has made a career defending cops accused of violating the civil rights of citizens. I'm all for giving defendants the best defense, but why should the UC chain of command be ignored and a private business be treated as as the University’s legal counsel?

There is in fact a "Universitywide Police Polices and Administrative Procedures" manual, last reviewed in 2010, with an effective date of January 7, 2011. That manual states that the Office of the UC President is responsible for coordinating certain police services functions, including "police services policies and standards."

But that system-wide policy manual was never mentioned when we met with the UCIPD officials. So the policies outlined there on pepper spray apparently have no impact on actual police work at the campus level.

It has taken some pepper-sprayed students and injured faculty for the UC administrators to realize that they risk losing control over the campus police forces. I hope a review of the state of campus policing will lead not only to more oversight but also to more public accountability. A civilian review board or some such mechanism needs to be established on each campus. An August 18, 2011 "Police Department Oversight Report" from the University of Oregon, which reviewed various models of outside oversight, can serve as a useful starting point. But no doubt the University is not interested in outside or student/faculty review of its police.

A different version of this blog entry has been submitted as a response to a call for comments from the Robinson-Edley Report on the UC police crackdown on student protesters. Deadline for comments is June 8, 2012. -- Daniel C. Tsang.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Remembering Julie

To listen to the KUCI Subversity Online podcast of the Julius Margolis Memorial Reception, click on: .
My lasting remembrance of Julie Margolis (pictured) relates to his genuine warmth and friendliness, especially when I, as an economics bibliographer, would show up at his home and review materials from his personal library that he was kindly donating to UCI Libraries. My last meeting stands out - this was more recently, when he was fully into his post-retirement career as Jules Margolis - the artist. That time, he was more interested in showing me his paintings than talking about his book collection. At his side as usual was his wonderful wife, Doris.

Jules Margolis, "Shaman I", 1993, oil on canvas.

When the Economics Department at UC Irvine publicly held a memorial reception 16 May 2012 to honor the emeritus Professor, Julie was definitely there in spirit. For the gathering, held in the Mathematical Behavioral Science's Luce conference room in Social Sciences Plaza Building A, was graced by his artistic work - Shaman I - painted oil on canvas in 1993 - and donated by Duncan and Carolyn Luce - that was hanging from a corner, unobtrusively.

While much of the memorial session was rightly devoted to his brilliance as an economist (he had headed the Fels Institute at Harvard before Irvine), and his intellectual impact on countless economists in the field today, including Anthony Downs - people who developed the field of public choice - the real fireworks, if one can call it that, came when Bill Parker, Physics chair at UCI, but once a top campus administrator, related Julie's experiences with university administrators - whom Jule, Bill related, called them "bastards." In fact Bill Parker said he and Julius Margolis had a good cop/bad cop type of relationship - as they worked together on faculty health and welfare issues system-wide as well as on campus. On campus, they both are credited with the establishment of University Hills, for UCI faculty and staff - the housing development in Irvine adjacent to the campus.

Margolis' daughter Jane Peterson, with Bill Parker in background, at her father's memorial gathering. Photo © 2012 Daniel C. Tsang

Julie Margolis was a founder of GPACS - the Global Peace and Conflict Studies program and center at UC Irvine. That commitment to peace studies reflected Julie's upbringing, raised in New York City and having attended City University of New York. Daughter Jane Peterson, who spoke at the memorial, recalls exclaiming "Orange County!" when his dad announced he planned to the post in economics at UC Irvine. Given her father's reputation as a curmudgeon, life in the Margolis household was never dull, with the dad always having the last word. Jane's husband, Mark Peterson, a UCLA political scientist, remembers Julie exhorting him to become active in faculty governance issues, and still encounters academics who owe an intellectual debt to his father-in-law.

It may signify the passage of an era, for the same day as the Margolis gathering, another memorial event was happening, the memorial reception for Larry Howard. Indeed Larry had faithfully visited Julie in the hospital every day for several weeks and both passed away within weeks of each other. Both had been active in GPACS and shared a kindred spirit in peace and justice and in peace research.

Julie Margolis' legacy continues, in the Margolis Lecture series set up by GPACS, in the faculty he nurtured, and on Google Scholar. Additional artwork by Jules Margolis is included in a UCI obit. - Daniel C. Tsang.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Remembering Larry Howard

To listen to the KUCI Subversity Online podcast of the Larry Howard Memorial Reception, click on: .
Updated: New University story: Online edition | pdf of print: scroll to page 6 with different photo
Larry Howard photographed 17 February 2012 at the UCI Law School. Photo © Daniel C. Tsang 2012
Larry Howard's commitment to peace and justice and to educating his students in the social sciences came through loud and clear as family members, colleagues on the UC Irvine campus, community peace activists and assorted friends gathered to celebrate his life 16 May 2012 on the patio next to Social Sciences Tower.

The long-time Social Sciences Lecturer who had an abiding faith in the human ability to improve world conditions was remembered as an Orange County native who spent his entire university education and later career at UC Irvine.

My retired colleague, philosophy bibliographer Eddie Yeghiayan recalls TA'ing for a philosophy professor - long gone from UCI - who was not nice to Larry, who took that class as an undergraduate at UC Irvine in the 1970s. Eddie remembers how the TAs felt empathy for Larry, sitting in a wheelchair, at the back of the classroom near the TAs, and disliked the attitude of that professor. This was long before attitudes towards the disabled began improving, and long before UCI established its Disability Services Center, at which Larry would work most recently.

In 1986, the year I arrived at UCI as a newly hired Social Sciences bibliographer, Larry Howard completed his Ph.D, also at UCI, writing a thesis on "Maturation and memory span: a study of the development of short-term memory in children using electrophysiological and behavioral measures." At Irvine, social sciences had pioneered in transgressing disciplinary boundaries, originally under leadership of social sciences dean James March, and Larry was a perfect fit - he would teach broadly in the social sciences, in classes spanning psychology, arms control, and nuclear conflict.

In fact, he was there when Global Peace and Conflict Studies (GPACS) was started at UC Irvine and soon became involved with organizing a conference, in the 1989-1990 school year, on "Terrorism." After the conference, which brought on campus key contemporary thinkers and researchers on the topic, Larry asked me to index the resulting publication, which he edited. I was honored to help with this project by compiling a 15-page index, of this work, which became GPACS' first (and only) book, Terrorism: Roots, Impacts, Responses, which Larry edited and wrote the preface. Thanks to digitization, portions of the the book are now searchable online.

Sadly, the same day as the memorial gathering for Larry Howard also saw another memorial reception, that for GPACS co-founder Julie Margolis, the noted economist at UCI. His daughter, Jane, told the Howard gathering that Larry would visit Julie at the hospital every day for several weeks until the end. Sadly, two weeks later, Howard also departed.

A youthful Larry Howard - photo from among those displayed at the memorial gathering.

Despite having polio since his childhood, Larry never saw anything as an obstacle; indeed he mastered the use of his wheelchair so he could participate in peace causes throughout the region. Many times I would see him, in his wheelchair, at lectures given at Chapman University's peace program in Orange. The most recent lecture where we met was mid-February this year, at the new UC Irvine Law School, which brought in former CIA officer Valerie Plame, whom Larry, after the lecture, sought to interrogate about nuclear proliferation. See picture.

Valerie Plame talks with Larry Howard, 17 February 2012 at UCI Law School. Photo © Daniel C. Tsang 2012

Doves fly over the 16 May 2012 gathering. Photo © Daniel C. Tsang 2012.
Key speakers at the memorial reception included long-time social sciences Dean Willie Schonfeld, now retired, as well as political scientist Cesar Sereseres. Several spoke of Larry's love of movies. I remember a recent encounter at a Regal theater where Larry explained to Eddie and me what "The Artist" really was about and what certain scenes meant. After the reception, I learned that one of Larry's final public activist moments was tabling outside Peet's Coffee across from the UCI campus, seeking signatures on a petition for himself to run for the Orange County Democratic Party executive board. As I walk out daily from the nearby Trader Joe's I half-expect to see Larry getting out of his hatchback.

A beautiful ending to the memorial reception was the release of three doves - apparently to signify peace. Set free, they seemed to linger over the gathering, before flying away. What a perfect way to represent Larry's spirit! - Daniel C. Tsang.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Film Documents First Vietnamese American Congressman's Stint in D.C.

To listen to our Subversity Online interview with filmmaker S. Leo Chiang, click on: .
S. Leo Chiang's latest documentary, Mr. Cao Goes to Washington, follows the first Vietnamese American elected to Congress, Joseph Cao, as he faces a daunting re-election bid. But Joe Cao is no Jimmy Stewart character (as in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington). Instead, while as idealistic and reform oriented as the Stewart character, he faces a political reality that, in the end, blocks his re-election.

Congressman Cao with short-lived friend Obama

Chiang is an unobtrusive documentary filmmaker, staying out of sight and sound in his movies, preferring to let the subjects he films, or presents from TV or C-SPAN footage, speak for themselves. Thus we do not get investigative reporting out of this documentary of this Republican Congressman who was initially the only Republican to vote with the Democrats on a draft Obama-care health bill.

In our Subversity Online interview, Chiang is blunt that his politics differ from Mr. Cao's, who is strongly so-called "pro-life". Commissioned by the Center for Asian American Media to film his subject, Chiang had gained the future Congressman's trust with his earlier film, A Village Called Versailles. Hear and read about our earlier interview with the filmmaker.

If Cao, representing a poverty-stricken Black district in Louisiana, at time sounds more Democrat than Republican, this may be attributed to his Jesuit background. Cao is presented at times even name dropping, telling Black audiences that Obama is his friend. But the long-sought endorsement of Cao's re-election of course came to naught, after Obama endorsed the opponent, a Democrat. This was despite the National Journal calling him the "most liberal" House Republican in 2011. According to Wikipedia, Cao was also one of 15 Republicans voting to repeal - in December 2010 - the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" anti-gay policy in the U.S. military.

Cao seems upset that Obama is sticking by his party (after all, Obama is titular head of the Democrats), and that the sitting President discusses class. This revelation, coming at the end of Chiang's close up of this extraordinarily lucky politician (he was elected from a heavily Democratic district against all odds) shows why Cao failed to win re-election, because race, class and party remain at the center of American politics.

Unlike his earlier film, on the devastation after Hurricane Katrina faced by the Vietnamese American enclave in Versailles, Louisiana, this film focuses not on Mr. Cao's ties to his Vietnamese American constituents, but on Mr. Cao trying to develop ties to the larger Black community. Left out of this film was footage Chiang tells us he did shoot, of a fundraising event in San Jose among the city's Vietnamese American citizens. The director, he tells us, consciously decided to focus not on Cao's roots as a refugee leaving Vietnam nor on the Asian American or Vietnamese American financial support of his re-election. That's a pity: It might have made a more fleshed out profile of this Jesuit turned politician.

The 72-minute film screens tomorrow, May 15, 2012, at 7 p.m. at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, at CGV Cinemas, 621 S. Western (between 6th and Wilshire), Los Angeles (parking via Manhattan Street entrance). - Daniel C. Tsang, KUCI Subversity Online Show host.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

From Love to Tumultuous Breakup: Mye Hoang's Wrenching Memoir in Viette (2012)

To listen to the online Subversity Show interview with Director Mye Hoang, click on:
Vietnamese American filmmaker Mye Hoang has made a wrenching, personal film based on her own disastrous relationship, beginning at 17, with a seemingly wonderful Caucasian man of 20.

Mye Hoang as Viette in bed with her lover Matt (played by Sean MacBride)
Hoang's first feature, which will be shown tomorrow, as the magnificant 2012 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival continues its run in Southern California, is utterly honest and blunt, difficult to watch but with the strongest performances from Mye herself, as the vulnerable but utterly captivating Viette, and from Sean McBride, as her attractive lover, that you would ever see in a first-time feature film director.

Hailing from Dallas, where she was born, Mye Hoang was the bad sheep in the family, her parents (from Vietnam) not giving her any of the freedoms expected by an adolescent growing up in America. Her film painfully depicts the uncomprehending gulf between parents and teenaged daughter; in one scene, the mother, portrayed convincingly by Yen Ly, warns her daughter about having "boys" give her rides home. When Viette eventually manages to escape, she encounters not a blissful life with her lover Matt but a disturbing unraveling of her relationship as the true character of her beloved Matt is revealed.

The film offers a stark look at teen love dissolving into despair, with an eventually hopeful ending, as I see it, amidst the calm settings of Hainan Island, the locale to which Viette has chosen, in the film to escape. There is hope, Hoang seems to say, amidst all the victimization and agony she endured.

In her interview with this online edition of Subversity, conducted by show host Daniel C. Tsang, Hoang reveals that her family may not even know about her film. She tells why she made this feature, to present a woman's perspective that is often ignored, glossed over, or kept out of the silver screen.

In 2011, she founded the Asian Film Festival of Dallas, and more recently, until last year, she served as the Artistic Director of the San Diego Asian Foundation. This talented director currently resides in Southern California and is "looking for a job".

Her earlier co-directed short, Press or Say "2" (2005), which wonderfully and hilariously captures the perils of intercultural communication with a call center based in Shanghai (with the attendant surveillance potential), is available for viewing on YouTube.

Viette screens at the Asian Pacific Film Festival Friday evening, May 11, 2012, at 9:30 p.m. at CGV Cinemas, 621 S. Western (between 6th and Wilshire), Los Angeles. Parking at CGV parking structure via the Manhattan Street entrance.

- Daniel C. Tsang, Subversity show host.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cantonese New Zealander Director's Film Sparks Ethnic Putdown in Q&A

Cantonese-speaking New Zealander Roseanne Liang's first major feature film, My Wedding and Other Secrets, takes a dramatic look back at her own courtship of Stephen (called James in the film), a tall and nerdy, white New Zealander, played by Matt Whelan. Her parents, originally from Hong Kong, would rather she marry another Chinese person, but a solution is at hand. If the prospective son-in-law would learn "basic Mandarin", Dr. Chu, the family patriarch played by Kenneth Tsang (no relation to the blog author), would agree to the marriage proposal. Dr. Chu eventually tells James that being from Hong Kong, the family speaks Cantonese, but he learned Mandarin as well.

It is strange for a Cantonese speaking family to want a son-in-law to speak Mandarin, given that the entire family speaks Cantonese (and English) in the film, including the daughter portraying the director, called in the film Emily Chu (played by Michelle Ang), who had refused to learn Mandarin.

The film is funny to watch and it was refreshing to hear Cantonese spoken in a Chinese-New Zealander-directed film. Liang was born in Auckland, NZ. The main characters are welll supported by a strong supporting cast of Emily's sisters and Matt's housemates, as well as, especially, Eric, played by Simon Londn, as the queer acting fellow film student of Emily's.

Photo, right: Matt fixates his gaze on to Emily.

The film starts off with Emily trying to do a film project at school about the relationship, which she tries to hide from her parents, to the distress of her boyfriend. She also declines to sleep overnight at James' place, while they are dating. This feature film (88 mins) takes off from Liang's original 2005 documentary of the same relationship (called Banana in a Nuthell).

In the Q and A after the recent showing at the Newport Beach Film Festival, featuring two ethnic Chinese actors from the film (one from Los Angeles, the other from Australia), in response to my query as to why the father would want the future relative to learn Mandarin, there was the suggestion that Mandarin is the future since China is taking over the world.

That may well be, but the NBFF volunteer who led the discussion committed a grievous and insulting faux pas, trying to explain why the man did not learn Cantonese, but in the process, she revealed her own ignorance, leaving one to wonder why she was picked to lead that Q and A.

What she said was amazingly rude and ignorant. She said it's because "Cantonese is a gutter language"! Elaborating, she argued that unlike Mandarin, which is a written language, Cantonese is a language of the streets, full of slang.

Her ignorance of Cantonese is no doubt attributable to her four years of language training in Mandarin, where the instructor undoubtedly misled her into believing that Cantonese is not a written language. In fact, as the many books published in Hong Kong and the overseas Chinese diaspora indicate, Cantonese can be and is written, as I daily encounter in chatting with my Cantonese friends online.

In addition, one of the actors claimed that Cantonese is only spoken in southern China and Hong Kong, ignoring the fact that it is one of the languages spoken by most Chinese immigrants to the U.S. in over a century, in Vancouver, and also in Southeast Asia.

I am glad director Rosseanne Liang was not present to hear the NBFF representative's insulting comments. It was a disappointing prelude to the Asian films shown that evening at the Pacific Rim Showcase, and the Fashion Island party afterwards, both of which I skipped as a result. - Daniel C. Tsang.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Honoring Elephants

An inspiring documentary currently showing at the 2012 Newport Beach Film Festival focuses the lens on Soraida Salwala, a tireless Thai animal rights activist, or more specifically, an elephant rights activist, who formed, with a vet, arguably the world's first elephant hospital.

In rescuing Motala, the first of a series of elephants from the fate of being put down out of their misery, after the huge animal stepped on a land mine in neighboring Burma, Salwala found her life's mission, the care and recovery of injured elephants, including providing customized artificial limbs for the elephants.

Relying not on the government but on charitable donations, Salwala has managed to survive as this documentary well depicts. The film is directed by Windy Borman, who told us she stayed in hostels in Chiangmai and headed to Lampang - the site of the elephant hospital - three times to film the documentary.

As one who loves elephants, it was painful to see the bleeding and pain suffered by these animals. Moreover, Borman does not spare us images of humans - including the young - whose legs are blown off by hidden landmines, such as in Vietnam, which has apparently tens of thousands more land mines than Burma. Given the long border with Burma, Asian elephants from Thailand often have to cross the border to work as logging animals - and thus get injured as a consequence of the civil war that until recently wreaked havoc in Myanmar.

Those who missed the first showing can still catch The Eyes of Thailand, at Triangle Square at 6:30 pm today (Tuesday May 1). Click here for more information.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

In Memoriam: Judith Ladinsky, True Friend of Vietnam

Prof. Ladinsky, left, receives health award from Vietnam in 2004.
A true friend of Vietnam has died.

Judith L. Ladinsky, a humanitarian and population health sciences professor from the University of Wisconsin, who devoted her life to improving the health of the Vietnamese people, died 12 January 2012 at the age of 73 in Madison, Wisconsin.

In 1984, Ladinsky had succeeded as head of the Committee for Scientific Cooperation with Viet Nam [Uỷ bạn Hợp tác Khoa học Mỹ-Việt](USCSC),another humanitarian who devoted his life to Vietnam, Ed Cooperman (Prof of Physics Emeritus at Cal State Fullerton), who was assassinated in his Orange County, California, office in 1984 (about which more in a later blog).

A cultural profile site still lists her contact information and describes the committee as follows: "Composed of scientists, physicians and scholars from across the USA, the US Committee for Scientific Co-operation with Việt Nam (USCSC) seeks to alleviate the academic isolation suffered by the people of Việt Nam by working with their counterparts at Vietnamese institutions, hospitals and universities on joint training and research programmes and projects that empower people to pursue their own development. In the cultural field the Committee sponsors tours by Vietnamese performing artists, Vietnamese film festivals and exhibitions of work by Vietnamese artists in the USA."

Her obituary is here.

The U.S. Government has officially mourned her passing as a "great loss to both countries": U.S. Embassy, Hanoi statement. In Washington, Vietnam's Ambassador Nguyen Quoc Cuong also lauded Ladinsky as a person who "devoted her life-long passion and energy to the cause of improving the medical education and health of many people in Vietnam": Vietnam Embassy, Wash. D.C. statement.

In Little Saigon, news of her death has been covered in the English-language Nguoi Viet 2.

Here's the eulogy prepared to be read by Vietnam's Minister of Science and Technology , courtesy of Vern Weitzel, who chairs the Australian Committee for Scientific Cooperation with Viet Nam.


Read by Minister Nguyen Quan at the Memorial Service held in honor of Professor Judith L. Ladinsky on January 17, 2012, at the Ministry of Science and Technology

Ladies and Gentlemen, (if the U.S. Ambassador is attending, address him first)

We are deeply saddened by the death of Professor Judith Ladinsky – a beloved friend of the Vietnamese people. She passed away Thursday, January 12, 2012, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Hospital, after more than 30 years helping to improve Vietnamese people’s lives by providing asssistance in the fields of education, health, and science and technology. Her assistance was of great value to Vietnam, especially during the post-war period, when Vietnam was facing many hardships and difficulties.

Today we gather here to remember Professor Ladinsky and honor her contributions to Vietnam’s science and technology, education, and health sectors, as well as to the relationship between Vietnam and the United States.

Professor Ladinsky was born on June 16, 1938, in Los Angeles, California. She grew up in New York City and received degrees from the University of Michigan and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin. She was a professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences in the UW Medical School for over 30 years and was the Director of the Office of International Health. She held affiliation with the Center for Southeast Asian Studies. In the early 1970s, she changed her career focus to preventive medicine on a community level linking rural clinics to centralized specialty care. She began this work in rural Wisconsin, progressing to the Indian Health Service, and finally to Southesast Asia, particulary Vietnam.

Professor Ladinsky made the first trip to Vietnam in 1978, when Vietnam and the U.S. did not have diplomatic relations. “She developed an instant passion for the nation and its people” - said by her colleagues. In 1980, she became the Chair of the Health Committee of the U.S. Committee for Scientific Cooperation with Vietnam at the invitation of the then Chair, Dr. Edward Cooperman. In 1984, after Dr. Cooperman was murdered, she assumed Dr. Cooperman’s chairmanship and was determined to continue his work in Vietnam.

Until she died, she had made about 106 trips to Vietnam during which she delivered tons of medical supplies, books and journals to medical trainees and professionals throughout Vietnam. She also managed to mobilize millions of dollars to her humanitarian work and research in Vietnam. She paid special attention to rural health and the issue of shortage of doctors and nurses in Vietnam’s rural areas. Therefore, she assisted with lab development, training of scientific technicians and surgeons, teaching in a wide range of disciplines alongside her village health work.

She conducted extensive research and developed projects on a variety of health care topics in Vietnam, such as rural health, primary care, surgery, nutrition, HIV/AIDs and cancer treatment, and most recently on malaria, diabetes and Japanese encephalitis. She organized TOEFL tests twice a year for Vietnamese students and helped obtain scholarships for hundreds of Vietnamese students, researchers, and government officers to study and carry out research at U.S. universities. She also facilitated the treatment of numerous critically ill Vietnamese children at U.S. medical centers, enabling their receipt of life saving therapies not available in their homeland.

It’s hard to list all the difficulties she encountered during all these years, especially when Vietnam was still under U.S. embargo and later when she aged and became weaker; however, with her her great love for Vietnam, she managed to do so many meaningful things as mentioned that Vietnamese people would never forget. Professor Ladinsky was not only a respectable scientist and colleague of ours, a kind American with a goodwill towards Vietnam, but for many Vietnamese people, she was the one to whom they would be forever grateful for how she changed their lives for the better.

For her undaunted efforts and extraordinary medical service to Vietnam, she was honored by various ministries and organizations both in Vietnam and in the U.S.

She was awarded 5 medals by leaders of the Vietnamese State, ministries and organizations, including the Friendship Medal by President Tran Duc Luong in 1999, the Medal for the Cause of Education by the Ministry of Education and Training in 2001, the Medal for Dedication to the health of the people by the Ministry of Health in 2004, the Medal for the Cause of Vietnamese Women Liberation by Vietnam Women’s Union, and the Medal for the Cause of Science and Technology by the Ministry of Science and Technology in 2007, recognizing her contributions to Vietnam-U.S. science and technology cooperation over 30 years.

Most recently, in 2011, she received the prestigious 2011 Peacemaker of the Year Award from the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice for her long-term dedication to the cause of improving people’s health in Vietnam.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Not many people make great contributions that are remembered and appreciated even after they die. Only a few great people continue to live after death in people’s memory. For Vietnamese people, Professor Ladinsky is one of those. Many Vietnamese people love her and call her lovingly “Madame Vietnam”. She was considered a U.S. unofficial diplomat to Vietnam, and even was mentioned by the first U.S. Ambassador to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Pete Peterson, as Vietnam’s real “first ambassador”.

Now Professor Ladinsky is gone forever but we will never forget her. May she rest in peace!

Once again, on behalf of Vietnam’s science and technology community, I would like to share the great sadness for the loss of Professor Ladinsky’s family, friends and colleagues.

May I please request that we spend one miniute of silence to remember our beloved friend and colleague, Professor Ladinsky.

(1 minute of silence)

Thank you very much for your participation in this ceremony.