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A Tale of Two Conventions

With the Democratic Convention in the United States now behind us, the major candidates are out on the campaign trail for the homestretch.

One thing notable from the standpoint of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) is the unprecedented amount of air time given to our community from both major parties.

On the Republican side, Elaine Chao was given a prime time spot to speak. The Democratic APAs didn't get such a choice time slot but had a larger number of speakers scheduled. These included Norm Mineta, the first APA appointed to a Cabinet position.

The new emphasis on APAs, for sure, wasn't comparable to the focus placed on Latino Americans. The Latino vote is now considered the real new force in American politics.

But it does represent an energizing shift from the obscurity or even notoriety that existed before.

After the fund-raising scandals involving persons of Asian descent during the Clinton campaigns, many wondered which direction APAs would take in politics. Generally, our community as hidden when the spotlight was directed our way.

But the scandals and other events, including the Wen Ho Lee case, seem to have awakened at least an important segment of the community into action.

The formation of the 80-20 political action committee was seen my many, but not all, as a positive development. There are those who suspect that the organization may be a front for the Democratic Party, or for the campaign aspirations of spokesman, S.B. Woo.

Woo, the former lieutenant governor of Delaware, has denied these accusations noting that 80-20's presidential endorsement committee is evenly divided between Democrats, Independents and Republicans.

We will have to wait and see whether 80-20 can overcome party loyalty and really galvanize 80 percent of the APA community to support their endorsed candidate.

That's been their goal from the start (the 80 in 80-20 stands for 80 percent of the community).

This election might signal the beginning of an APA wedge vote that can greatly increase our political clout. If Latinos in California were galvanized by Pete Wilson's threats to take benefits away from immigrants, APAs too seem to be motivated by perceived attacks on their community.

However, the success of Latinos may have inspired a new social responsibility in them that wasn't active before. Their involvement does not seem motivated anymore by perceived threats, but by the taste of new power.

If APAs can achieve something along the same line of relative success, no doubt they will get hooked as well.  



Central Asia

Dalai Lama puts
off Europe tour
due to tensions
(World Tibet Network)

Uzbek Leader, British
Premier Discuss Terrorism
(Uzbekistan Report)

East Asia

S.Korea Supports U.S. Military
Strikes on Taliban

Assurance of Chinese
(Straits Times)

Pacific Islands

Telikom, Pacific Mobile
sale on

Opposition leader yet
to be named

South Asia

Pakistan was taken
into confidence, says

Pakistan Afghan Defence
Council may announce
holy war against

Southeast Asia

No exodus of
foreigners: Immigration
(Jakarta Post)

New chief paints
bright picture for
(Bangkok Post)

Life and Culture

'Bedhaya' dance,
a Mangkunegaran
(Jakarta Post)

Medicinal ornaments
(Japan Times)

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