Asian-Americans maintain ties with the countries left behind

How do Asian-Americans deal with issues concerning their home countries with which they have cultural ties? One of the hardest things to do at Williams is to think beyond the Purple Bubble and to believe that there exists a world outside of classwork, activities, sports, job searching, etc.

Today, Asian-Americans who have cultural ties to their home countries have been placed in the important role of helping the United States better understand the intentions and perspectives of Asian countries. Like telescopes, Asian-Americans are the instruments through which the United States can see and pinpoint the details that affect U.S.-Asia relations.

Because Asian-Americans recognize the reasons and motivations of why certain things happen within our home countries, it is our responsibility and duty to speak out about the fine points of a misguided story that only we are able to discern as people of that country. It is because we acknowledge the fact that our culture has influenced us deeply and has transformed international relations and globalization, that we are not confined by the Purple Bubble.

Consider this: the Asian financial crisis may have been caused by the corruption of government officials scheming to gain from “crony capitalism.” On the other hand, because Asian countries thrive on the relationship system, instead of the market system like most Western countries, economic growth could only start with the partnership of government and businesses working together for a common goal. However, this was just one of the factors which triggered the Asian financial crisis. It is to our advantage that we can tell both sides of the story, and contributing our perspective will help others realize the subtleties that underlie the U.S.-Asia relations issues we have been forced to face today.

Being at Williams is the best opportunity we have as Asian-Americans who feel close to our home countries. We can approach each issue as both Asians and Americans, through the system of education they provide here. It is our duty both to learn as much as we can and to offer as much insight in order to help others understand that there is more to Asia than what the headlines tell. This will allow us to take pride in our home countries’ accomplishments and will inspire us to help our home country improve.