Monthly Archives: October 2011

Remembering Our Interconnectedness

By: Mary Thi Pham

It‘s nearing midnight, and there‘s quiet except for my fan blowing the rising steam from my flesh.

My body, nothing more than a shell on borrowed time in this realm, sits and waits for decay, sickness, and death.

Death—no one can face this fate for me. No one can come with me to ease the way.
I came into this world alone because of a tenacious clinging to a life that‘s merely a mirage.
And now, because of this craving for pleasure, I pick up the only tool I know how to use—my pen.
Spinning words on a page that no one will ever read or think is worthy, I write.

For no one, but my own means and selfish pleasures. This is what brought me here in the first place.
Tenacious clinging to a world that despite all its diversions cannot keep me from remembering.
I will let this self-cherishing die away because it keeps me separate from you, and you, and you.
I remember of a place long ago where concepts such as: “self-cherishing and “self-loathing” didn‘t exist.

I remember never being alone because “I” never existed separate from “you” and “we” cherished one another.

Not the way lovers do, but the way the gardener weeded out all the bad seeds that nestled into our roots and polluted the pure beings that we are. I remember never feeling alone or not loved.
I remember that there was no power, no hatred, no greed, no delusions, no sorrow, no prisoners, no captors, no divisions, and no trespasses.

I remember there being no laws; we weren‘t governed by words, logic, and policies; we were governed by love, by wisdom, and by compassion.

I remember the sacredness in “me,” in “you,” in “them,” and in “us.”

Do you remember it, too?


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Filed under 2010-2011, Poems


By: Mary Thi Pham

Lost in a nation with fleeting diversions

I find no solace in this minority fusion

This free


Incessantly reminding me

Of the shame

On my skin

This culture

Of color

This Immigrant


Not exactly home,

But a station for me to rest

My anatomy of pain

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Borderless Families

By: Mary Thi Pham

Devoured dreams rusting in

the politics of my skin

a hungry prisoner seeking

a forbidden kingdom

while dead laws govern a corrupt center

a nation diseased

with the -isms

oppose justice

Integrity sleeps in the belly

of an insatiable white hunger

Stop power!

Shatter the enemy lines

there are no enemies

just mothers, fathers,

sisters and brothers.

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By: Mary Thi Pham

Home is my mother
in the kitchen,
aroma maker,
incent burner,
ritual fruit-giver,
friendly banter,
nourisher of her children‘s
hearts and spirits.

Who could bare to leave the center of the hearth?
Who could abandon the soothing balm
that can only come
from a mother‘s
after a long day of bumping egos,
interactions with other
lost souls?
Why would society encourage
the fracturing
of the only source
of unconditional
love and living?
Why spread the deepening fissure
of a land,
a history,
a people?

Go back to your mothers,
Go back to the site of resistance
and put distance
between you and the lies
of your masters.

Be the caster,
who breaks old molds
with your words
with the bravery
that is necessary
to fuel
the veins that have grown cold
with indifference.

Home is your mother
where the umbilical cord
stretches towards the children
who‘ve lost their way
refused to stay
abandoned their culture
their roots
for greener pastures
made out of papers and leaves
imprinted with patterns:
dead presidents,
Latin proverbs,
promises of modern day slavery,
away from our land,
our home,
our mother.

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Before I start on my rant I want to say: Reading is FUN-DA-MEN-TAL, without reading – no would be able to understand the beauties/uglies of life, ALL KNOWLEDGE STEMS from READING.

Getting into the deeper context of READING, I mean … READ-ING. It‘s not the thing that you do at the library on a Saturday afternoon nor is it the latest iBook version of your favorite novel downloaded onto your iPad. It‘s the guy checking you out at Badlands in the Castro, or the girl who sits behind you in class or walking around Malcom X Plaza, or the Asian American Studies professor that feels that you should pay more attention during class. READING is the aspect of life that we do in order to put an analysis/value on. Throughout history, Asian Americans have been READ for the wrong reasons, most notably for being the ―model minority‖, driving badly, and being ranted on by a silly Caucasian student on YouTube. I believe it is OUR turn to READ society and interpret what we feel is fit.

I believe that it is in our God given destiny to READ and READ WELL! And no one should limit us on how we READ, when we READ, and what we READ. Once we have READ, we are able to fix, tackle, amend, remove, and alter the problems or issues within our own communities. In becoming a Co-Editor to the Yellow Journal – I have done a lot of READING and have been READ, as an Asian American Male and as a student. I believe that this process of compiling, writing, editing, and decision making has made me a better student and more in-tune with our Asian American Communities and our issues.

I want to thank the 2011 Yellow Journal Staff for laughing, crying, complaining, and agonizing with me in putting this journal together. Jenny – you are a Queen; let life take you in multiple directions and may it bear numerous fruits for you. Marco – Thank you for your humor! You never cease to keep me laughing and engaged. Yeng – Thanks for the insightful input into my research paper and the wealth of knowledge you have contributed to the journal. Good Luck with your Ph.D. Kenneth – you play way too much and joke at the most inappropriate times, Thanks for keeping up the humor! Wesley – Thanks a million for everything! Without you Yellow Journal would not be possible!

Furthermore, I want to thank a few associate professors who have helped me become a better student. Professor Wei Ming Dariotis; Thank You for believing in me as a student and pushing me to go above and beyond what I know and do, I will always remember how much your words have inspired me as a student. Professor Jonathan Lee; you are my hero! Words cannot express my gratitude and appreciation for your realness, gumption, and understanding. Your support and generosity keeps me inspired as a student and uplifts me to go further in life. Professor Grace Yoo; you have been a mother figure to me and I am greatly touched and honored to have been your student, instructional aide, and research assistant. I cherish and honor the many memories we have had throughout this school year, Thank You! Professors Russell Jeung and Mai Nhung Le – Thank you for believing in me as a student and what I stand for. Ultimately, I have accomplished greatly. Your support and advocacy have been remarkable!

Lastly, I want to thank my parents for the gift of life. I express the deepest gratitude and appreciation for your support and care. Thank You, Mom & Dad, I Love You Both.


Joseph R. Domingo

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Filed under 2010-2011, Foreword, Joseph R. Domingo


I believe that Yellow Journal gives students a voice and a chance to be heard. Yellow Journal also allows students to display their creative, intellectual, and artistic side. Yellow Journal was first published in 1983 and has been continuing ever since.

I first heard of Yellow Journal when I was approached by them to submit my paper that I wrote for Wesley‘s Asians in America class. I was hesitant to give consent to Yellow Journal to use my work, because I did not believe my work was something important. But since I have joined, I slowly started believing that everyone‘s work deserves a chance to be read, because everyone has something important to say.

After allowing Yellow Journal to use my paper, Wesley asked me to join. I was hesitant to join Yellow Journal because of the lack of confidence in editing papers. But Wesley continued to encourage me to join. And I would like to thank him for that (and for being an awesome Professor) because, it has become an experience I could not find elsewhere. When I first joined, I thought to myself, what did I get myself into? There is so much work and so little time to complete everything! But slowly as I continued to work with the Yellow Journal team, I grew an attachment and new admiration for Yellow Journal and everyone‘s submissions. They have become something precious to me. These submissions are like giving a piece of themselves for the rest of the world to see and I applaud those who have courageously displayed their literary works, poems, images and art works.

Working with Yellow Journal has been a fun growing experience for me. Although, sometimes working with the Committee is a little frustrating, since we like to go off on tangents. But overall, the Committee was fun to hang with and I am glad I met each editor; you guys have touched my heart. I would like to thank Joe, Kenneth, Marco, and Yeng for providing a wonderful working experience while creating the Yellow Journal! Lastly, I would also like to thank the talented Jackie Phung for being a supportive friend of mine to so willingly create our beautiful cover on such short notice!!

Jenny Chang

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Filed under 2010-2011, Foreword, Jenny Chang


For me, this Yellow Journal is like a time capsule because, as a graduating senior, it will always serve as a reminder of my time at SF State, the experiences I have had at this school, and the discussions I have had with the great people I have had the chance to meet as a student here. I see myself ten years from now picking up this journal, flipping through the pages, and thinking about these experiences. The professors at SF State, particularly those in the Ethnic Studies and Asian American Studies Department, and students I have become friends with have played a major influence in my scholarly and personal maturity.

I credit the late Professor Jesus ―Chuy‖ Contreras for opening up my mind as a freshman here at SF State. He was the first to teach me about the Third World Liberation Front and their strike that took place on this campus in 1968, which has had the effect of establishing the first college of Ethnic Studies. Professor Wei Wing Dariotis helped me in my scholarly and personal maturity because, through her classes and some discussions I have had with her, she has taught me to broaden my understanding of culture, ethnicity, and politics. She has made me aware of the issues pressing Asian Americans today regarding their sexuality, mixed heritage identity, and the idea of racial and cultural hierarchy. Professor Jonathan Lee has taught me the practical and valuable skills needed to write a great research paper. He has also helped me grasp true learning and focus on asking great questions. Professor Gonzales, Ueunten, and Kano are my current professors and are all great in their own respects. Students I have met and became friends with, and those that remain supportive of me even when I get ―too philosophical‖ and become annoying, are the best people to have in the world. Without them, I would have gone nuts.

As I have said this Yellow Journal is a time capsule, I know that everyone has a story. And, all stories deserve their chance to be heard; so, I would implore all future Asian American Studies majors to get involved in the Yellow Journal. Whether you contribute your work or become part of the editorial committee, you gain the opportunity to get your voices heard. Through editing the journal or submitting your art, literature and other works you want to share, you contribute a part of yourself and your story into this time capsule, published, and let everyone else see your work. You can also look back, when you get older, and think of your college days in SF State and know you were part of that recorded history.

Lastly, I would like to thank this Yellow Journal‘s editorial committee; Jenny Chang has been a fearless organizer and personal supporter. Thanks to Joseph Domingo for staying on top of editing and keeping things lively and fun; Yeng Yang for your technical know-how and being a great friend. Kenneth Deng is responsible for keeping our work organized. And, I want to thank all the submitters who have taken the time and energy to contribute your work. Without you, this book would be a bunch of empty pages.

Marco Samson

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Filed under 2010-2011, Foreword, Marco Samson