Letters to the Editor

Letters from March 22, 2000

Fake Faluns
Joel Engardio is correct about the dangers of the Falun Gong movement's qi gongand meditation practices ("Spiritual Cultivation," March 15). But delusions, psychotic behavior, family tension, and charlatanism are not the exclusive province of strange Eastern sects. High-intensity religions of the homespun American variety are guilty of the same sins and excesses. None of these faults, however, justifies a crackdown of the brutality we currently see in China. Beijing's brutal repression of Falun Gong is nothing more than a decaying regime's desperate attempt to retain its grasp on power.

I have an additional concern, one not mentioned in your article. As a lawyer who has assisted over 100 Chinese Falun Gong practitioners obtain political asylum, I am troubled to see the asylum laws abused by opportunists masquerading as Falun Gong practitioners. With the word out that the INS is soft on Falun Gong, unscrupulous paralegal outfits encourage their customers to fabricate asylum claims based on membership in the meditation sect. It's quick money for the paralegal and a quick green card for the client. And given that the normal green card process is both lengthy and costly, it's a temptation many cannot resist.

Steve Baughman

Baughman & Wang

San FranciscoWatch Those Stereotypes
After watching several films at the Asian American Film Festival, I happened upon your most recent issue ("A Piece of the Affirmative Action," March 8). I am highly supportive of SF Weekly and its journalism, but I was displeased with the artwork that depicted the stereotypical "Dragon Lady" on the front cover. As an Asian-American living in the Bay Area, I feel that this is a poor representation of our large interethnic community. I understand that there is a fine line between a "stereotype" and satire, but there should be a more defined line. Please help stop the stereotyping.

Matthew Abaya

Daly City

Don't Buy the Spam
I would just like to comment on this article and the potential/actual controversies that have managed to arise from it ("A Piece of the Affirmative Action"). It's 1 a.m., and I just received an e-mail about the cover of SF Weekly. Thanks to that e-mail, I'm going to lose an hour of precious sleep to vent about it.

The original sender of the e-mail (and I'm sure others are feeling likewise) alluded that the nature of this article may be potentially offensive to the Asian community because of its corresponding front-page graphic depicting an "Asian Betty Page" holding a fan-folded $50 bill. I believe otherwise.

People receiving this e-mail, and viewing the attached graphic, are at an unfair advantage in judging it because the original sender failed to summarize the article that goes with the picture. I was almost suckered into this thinking, too.

Luckily, I had the nerve to read the actual article and have a different stance on it. Firstly, I'd like to say that I'm not fervently supportive of affirmative action programs. Yet I'm quite saddened by the principle behind the act of Nancy Luu.

What I got from this article was that Luu has allegedly stolen opportunities from her Asian community. Sure, someone could argue that it only appears that way because she just happened to be working through the Educational Opportunity Program, but it is very ironic that she would embezzle money from a program (EOP) that originated from a policy (affirmative action) that probably helped her get into the position to embezzle funds. Isn't that what affirmative action is: helping historically underrepresented groups catch up with the rest of white America? It's very ironic ... and very sad. What can be said about the alleged actions of Luu? I think her crime of betraying minorities and the system that "helps" them outweighs the underlying racism the original sender accuses SF Weeklyof, and I suggest your offended readers remember that.

Jacqueline Canlas

Santa Cruz

Musical Incest
I just read your great article online about the Cheeseballs, Tainted Love, etc. ("Street Hassles," Riff Raff, March 15). I am glad you ran the Wall Street Journal bit. Yeah, most of us don't get that paper. We hardly can pay rent.

Anyway, the scene sucks, and I blame it in part, however small, on the local media. I can hardly thumb through the local papers without seeing bands featuring one or two members who also work for the same paper(s). WE ALL KNOW who I mean (then I go see these bands and, like, 10 of their fellow staff members are there, the end).

What is up with that? I also blame the local media for continuously focusing on cover bands in one way or another. Hell, I can think of 10 angles on Tainted Love alone right now myself. But "no-brainer journalism" is just that. I know most of the papers are free, but filler isn't filling anything besides the recycling bins. It's enough to make me skip them for a few months. I admit I am addicted to S.F. free papers. Also, when I say media, of course I mean radio also, and TV.

I hope that some of this changes and more focus shifts to the little local bands like the one I'm in. We celebrate five years of playing out in clubs today! We played at the Edinburgh Castle March 15, 1995, as a quiet-core trio, and did The Howard Stern Show in October 1999, as you know. In between, we've been lucky enough to receive (we've been told) more than our fair share of ink, radio, and TV coverage, for which I am truly grateful, and give thanks often. But we are one of the few lucky exceptions.

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