Monsoon United Asian Women of Iowa

Monsoon United Asian Women of Iowa

“Violence is violence.”

Monsoon United Asian Women of Iowa has been working on helping the Asian women community to empower themselves and to stop various domestic violence. “Social, economic, and political self-determination of all women” has been the alternative goal for this organization.

Monsoon United Asian Women of Iowa mostly focuses on women of the API (Asian Pacific Island) community that may have various barriers such as stigma of language, differences in cultures, and different believes and backgrounds.

Hieu Pham who graduated from the University of Iowa with a journalism degree who is the Eastern Iowa Multilingual Advocate and Outreach Coordinator explained that Monsoon is the only non-profit organization that focuses on Asian women community in Iowa region.

What is domestic violence?

Sabrina Leung, the Multilingual Advocate and Outreach believes that domestic violence is not always physical violence. It also includes mentally torture, community isolation and honor killing.

One important fact about domestic violence that Monsoon did not neglect is that most of women who have suffered domestic violence will remain quiet, especially Asian women who are generally shy. The silence that most of women choose is one big reason that produces domestic violence.

What does Monsoon provide?

As an advocate organization, Monsoon has provided various events and resources for Asian  women from the API region living in Iowa right now.

They provide advocates who speaks different Asian languages that will make Asian women with language barriers more comfortable to talk to. Monsoon also hosts different fundraising events and work with different local stores to raise money for Asian women suffering from domestic violence. Meanwhile, another mission that Monsoon aims at is to educate women of Asian community about their independence, powers and self-abilities.

What’s next?

Monsoon United Asian Women of Iowa has just hired an Asian male in Iowa City for the outreach team and have more males to help females.

“It shouldn’t just be females helping females. Males should help too.” Cheng Xiong, the Community Outreach Coordinator explained his role in this organization.

Over the years, Monsoon will work on providing more resources for women of Asian community in Iowa region and evoke more advocates and volunteers to stop violence.

Right now, Monsoon United Asian Women of Iowa is working on an event called “Yoni Chats”. “Yoni” means virgina in Sanskrit and this events aim at helping Asian women to open up to talk more about sex and change their views on sex activities and empower themselves.

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Life of Discovery

Life of Discovery exchange program has brought 4 top Chinese authors to Chicago and Iowa City this year.

Just ended on Friday Nov. 3rd, Chinese novelist and International Writing Profram alumnus Mo Yan who was announced the winnter of 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature, the Life of Discovery creative exchange project has brought four of China’s top young writers to Chicago and Iowa City for a series of creative meeting and events.

In June 2012, four American writers, including Iowa City poet Dora Malech, traveled to China. Now Iowa city has welcomed four Chinese writers including Juzhen Mao, Yuntao Zhang, Wei Sun and Yewei Liu along with Chinese Writers’ Association project coordinator: Xinwei WU.

Juzhen MaoJuzhen Mao

Yuntao Zhang

Wei Sun

Yewei Liu

Several free public events took place to give the local community an opportunity to interact with the writers:
· Friday, Oct. 26th 5-6pm: Welcome reception and a reading by Zhang Yuntao and Mao Juzhen at Shambaugh House (430 N. Clinton St)
· Sunday, Oct 28th 4-5pm: Sun Wei and Liu Yewei read with local poet Dora Malech at Prairie Lights Bookstore
· Friday, Nov. 2nd 5-7pm: Chinese writers participate in World Canvass “IWP: Writing the Stories of the World” with reception to follow (Senate Chamber of Old Capitol Museum)

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Halloween week in Japan

Frankenstein, wicked witches, Superman, Batman and all the other imaginary figures will appear in different cities and even countries on one night: All Hallow’s Evening.

Halloween may be a Christian festival and considered having pagan roots, with the growth of technologies and the global village; Halloween has become a global festival for various different countries.

As an Asian developed country, Japan is always known for its westernization. However, Halloween means a whole new thing for Japanese people, it could be an occasion to protest for a good cause, an opportunity to party hard, an excuse to walk around the streets in weird costumes and they have so many other preparations for this occasion.

Through various tweets, Instagram updates, website articles and pictures and Youtube video clips; Japanese have shown the world a new definition of Halloween.

I have to say Japanese people sure deserve to be famous for their party, fashion style and various creativity.

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UI Asian courses

Last week we have talked about most of the Asian student organizations/governments at the University of Iowa and most of them aim at helping local students to understand more about different Asian cultures and communities.

I thought today we will look more into different courses offered by the University of Iowa so any of you can learn more about Asian cultures and communities in a more systematic way with professional helps.

I will omit all the Asian language courses and focus more on culture, history and art courses.


The Past & Present of Chinese Religions

Introduction to the Art of China

Living Religions of the East

Themes in Asian Art History

Topics in Asian Religions

Topics in Asian History

Asian Humanities China

Chinese Literature Prose

Transitional Chinese Cinemas


Modern Japanese Fiction in Translation

Asian Humanities Japan

Japan – Age of the Samurai 


Modern Korean History


India Now! Bollywood to Global Terror

Issues: Communities & Societies in Hist

American Indian Environmentalism

Intro American Indian & Native Studies

Hopefully these will be helpful for any of you who wants to know better and more about Asian communities and cultures that you’re interested in.


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How to make a Chinese Hot-Pot

“Hot-pot” is one of the significant Asian food. Although it has different names in different countries (It’s called Hot-pot in China and Xiabu Xiabu is its Japanese name), the basic elements of Hot-pot carry on through different regions.

Westerners may be familiar with some Americanized Chinese dishes such as the Sweet and Sour Chicken, Mongolian Beef, Sesame  Chicken and so on; very little people know about the Hot-pot, which is one of the most important, traditional dishes in China.

“Hot-pot” is extremely popular in the winter since the soup will be boiling the whole time while people eating, it works perfect to keep you warm in the cold weathers. However, for people who loves hot-pot no matter what such as me, along with iced-beer; hot-pot is not such a bad choice in the summer either.

Today I will show you how to prepare the basic soup for Hot-pot, what sauces we need for it and what other food resources we may need to prepare.

It’s really simple and convenient. However, if you don’t want to go through the troubles, you can easily find some Chinese/Asian restaurants around you that carry the Hot-pot services.

Have fun!

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UI Asian Student Organizations

Earlier we have talked about the growing interests in Asian culture and community here at the United States. As a college town, Iowa City has gathered a lot of international students and the interaction between the West and the East is also requiring more and more student organizations to focus on this cross-culture environment.

AiCheng Magazine: 

I honestly did not know that this magazine existed until today. It’s created and basically run by international Chinese students at the University of Iowa.

Asian American Coalition:

Asian American Coalition aims at building a stronger Asian American community both on and off campus.

Chinese in Iowa City:

Chinese in Iowa City is a service organization which helps Chinese students in Iowa City to better adjust to their study and life in Iowa City.

Chinese Painting Club:

I think this is a great organization that helps local residences and students to better understand the traditional and unique Chinese painting.

Indian Student Alliance:

Indian Student Alliance represents more than 850 students, faculty, staff and community members. The organization also welcomes people from all over the world with a shared interest in Indian culture.

Japanese Culture Association:

Japanese Culture Association hosts various Japanese/Asian-culture-related activities such as Karaoke night, Sushi making night and other events to assist local students with an interest in Japanese culture.

Liberty in North Korea:

I think this is such an interesting and meaningful organization which is trying to put an end to the human rights crisis in North Korea. They also have a very legitimate website as well.

Malaysian Student Society:

I personally always neglect Malaysia as a part of the Asian community and this organization has a really great angle and aspect of representing this Asian community.

Vietnamese Student Association:

Vietnamese community is actually one of the fastest-growing Asian community in Iowa City and there’re also a great number of Vietnamese students at the university.

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Japanese Conversational Hour

Zhihao Qin is a second-year Japanese student at the University of Iowa and he is one of the members who participated the newly-formed Japanese Conversational Hour on Sunday, Oct. 7.

“I’m going to this JACC event because I love Japanese. What we did last Sunday is basically knowing each other and trying to think of any obstacle while we were learning Japanese. Frankly, there are a lot of problems we have to figure out, maybe now and after the events. This kind of event is still quite new, we have to do a lot of stuff to make it better. I think we’re gonna do, like um, watching video clips in the event, maybe sometimes make a theme, bring some food. Of course we’re gonna have a lot to do.”

“There are a lot of diversity in Japanese class. Last semester we have a lot of Koreans in my class, and first semester I’m learning Japanese, there’s a Russian guy in my class. He’s quite different, I would say. I certainly see diversities in that event: Chinese guys and American guys going in. A lot of American guys from very different states; some of them are transfer students and some; I think one of them is from Korea.”

“Giving the fact this event is held by two of the native speakers of Japanese, I think I’m gonna learn a lot of stuff in that event. As a matter of fact, I did last Sunday. And I can meet a lot of my friends, a lot of people going to that event after my class section; so I can chat with my friend, trying to make my homework better and even make more friends. That’s what I mean to do.”

“During last Sunday, we particularly talked about the male-side dialect and the female-side dialect of the Japanese language which in class you couldn’t probably learn. Because in class we’re gonna use polite form of Japanese most of the time; but in that section because there’s no teachers involved in the event, we can use casual form of Japanese speech. And we can practice a lot. That’s why I’m going there.”

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Where the West meets the East

I’ve spent weeks trying to demonstrate the rapidly-increasing number of Asian population in Iowa area with charts and video. This is a growth that we can ignore and I always feel like maybe it’s not enough yet.

If the charts and video are not at all convincing for you yet. Maybe we need to go a bit further into where the West meets the East.

In June 2010, Chubu-nippon Broadcasting Company side by side with Dentsu, IMJ Entertainment, Mainichi Broadcasting System and many more inspiring companies  produced the movie “My Darling is a Foreigner“.

The movie may not be a big hit as I assume that most of you have not heard of it before today, nevertheless, it was shown not only in Japan but also in the Big Cinemas in Manhattan, New York City.

As little-known as the movie may be in the U.S., what even less people know is the fact that the main actor Jonathan Sherr proudly graduated from the University of Iowa with a Japanese degree before he started his acting career in Tokyo, Japan.

The fact that Asians crowd into Iowa City may not be convincing enough for you yet; however what if it is the entire opposite situation? When the effect actually happens both way that Westerns also start to appreciate the beauty and mystery of Asian culture, studies it and end up having a life across the world; you have to admit that the mix of the Western and Eastern cultures is taking action weather you noticing it or not.

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Meet the black eyes in Iowa City

I’ve talked about the geographic statistics of all the Asians living/studying in Iowa City by showing you different charts.

From what we’ve seen, there’s a large Chinese population and culture in Iowa City. Of course, if you know enough about the Asian group, Chinese has been one of the countries which has the biggest population in the world and the development of China has sent hundreds of thousands of Chinese people to more developed countries such as the United States.

Almost all the cities I’ve been to in the United States, I see Asians there and more specifically Chinese people.  If I have to name one city in which I did not see many Asian faces, it would be Des Moines and that’s about it.

I would love to give you an “education” on the basic general conditions going on in China now and where most of these Asian faces in the United States come from.

Then I thought, I can do better with the video I made a while back.

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Asian Culture swiping Iowa City



As the growth of Asian/Asian American community in the United States; certain areas in the nation have paid more attentions to this group than others due to the crowd of these people of color.

America has been a country of White vs. Black for a long time; however, the Asian group may have changed the dynamic in this nation. Especially in areas like the Los Angeles area, Hawaii and other Asian crowded cities.

Even though Iowa City is located in the Midwest; the University of Iowa as one of the Big Ten universities has drawn a great number of Asian students and scholars to this city. As a result, many Asian focused student organizations have been built such as the Asian Pacific American Cultural Center at the University of Iowa.

The APACC was established in 2003 at the University of Iowa, aiming at helping the Asian students and Pacific islanders at the University of Iowa to connect better with other minority-group students and to improve their learning experiences in the United States.


Through the years, the APACC has hosted different events in various locations in Iowa City and partnered with After Class to create the best cultural events and night-lives for students across different cultures at the university.

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