Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fantastic Response to "Practice ESI"

Readers really responded to 80-20's urge for Asian Ams to "Practice Enlightened Self-Interest" (ESI). Without our prompting, readers wrote in. The pro/con ratio ran 15 to 1. Please read them -- some touching, others thoughtful, and yet others very emotional.

To me they signify the dawn of a much brighter future for our community. The original "Practice ESI" article is shown again at the bottom, in case you missed it the first time.

(1) Well said, S.B. I have given almost no money to my church this past year -- something I haven't done in all my hood. We are on the verge of bankruptcy or foreclosure within the next few months if we can't get a loan modification. However, you are right that we cannot just sit by doing nothing.

I will send $10 as a commitment for now and the remaining $25 as I can. I'm doing this for my 2-year old son and his future. Please understand this is a sacrifice. Don't use my name as my family doesn't know how dire things are. , San Diego, CA

(2) I am touched by your mail. I am a 83 years old female, I would like to pay $35 membership fee. Please advise where to send the money. I wish I do not need your help forever, but I know there is some one that I can talk to when I need to. Thanks. Margaret Yung

(3) A great letter. I'll match up to $3500 donation to 80-20EF if we can recruit 100 NEW members to join 80-20. Let us see if we can motivate 100 enlightened Asian Americans. (Name withheld by request)

So many of us YEARN for you to join 80-20, if you have not. See emails shown above and below. If you are a NEW member, every dollar you pay, 80-20 gets 2 dollars owing to the matching. Visit http://www.80-20initiative.net and click on the JOIN button. Or send your check to 80-20 PAC, PO Box 22509, Philadelphia, PA 19110.

(4) It is sad to say that the story of Barber & Asian Americans is very true about Asian American mentality. I have became a paid member of "80-20" simply to support this organization. Sophie

(5) Thank you for this message. The Barber joke was really illustrative and motivated me to renew my family membership. I vow to try to be more diligent about renewing my membership and supporting 80-20 initiatives. We seem to have made great strides and I would for our community to get complacent and allow any backsliding in progress. Take care. James Yee

(6) I shared your feeling reading the BARBER joke. I have been doing my kind of volunteer work for over 20 years. I know how tough it must be for you all these years. Your satisfaction and comfort only arrive when you realize no body could do a better job than you do. For Heavenly God knows how to pick the toughest person for the toughest job. I congratulate you to-day as I did 22 years ago. . . . . . Remembering that Rome was not built in one day, and with highest respect , I salute, Never Yield, Sulia

(7) Your point is well taken and articulated. I have passed it on and hope to do more on my part. Again my thanks for your continuing extraordinary efforts on behalf of the Asian American Community. So near and yet so far. Henry

(8) Hi. I'm one of your supporters and a member of the 80-20 for many years even many of my friends stopped paying their membership fees. First, I agree with your comments regarding the Asian American 100%. However, you are fighting a uphill battle and may have no chance to win.
. . . I believe that most A.A. do agree with you even they haven't paid their minimum dues. Thank you for all you have been doing for A.A.! J.P. Chen, from Connecticut

(9) We just joined as a family. We appreciate all the work 80-20 has done for the community. . . . . We should all be selfish, but be smart selfish, be long term selfish. . . . . Mike

(10) . . . . I remember I read a story from New York times when I was studying in Cornell Medical College years back. A group of teenagers were bullying a couple in Chinatown. Nobody on the street would try to help to stop it except one young man. These teenagers turned around to beat up this young man and broke five of his ribs. . . . (The prosecutor asked) the couple to testify, they refused to be present to the court. JIANFENG

SOME SAID: Asian Am do practice ESI. We always take care of our family members. Agreed. We just need to extend the practice of ESI to our community, society, nation and the world. See a great analogy below:

(11) Use an analogy. Our own family is like our house, while the Asian American community is our neighborhood. . . . If we spend all our effort only in making our house better, but don't care about the future of our neighborhood, when we step out of our house, we are going to meet with
filthy environment and lowered respect from others, etc. Remember, the three most important factors of your house is location, location, location. David J. Liu

Feedbacks which sensed that I must be "frustrated" in sending out the "Practice ESI" e-newsletter

(12) I share your frustration as I forward most of the 80-20 news to people I know for the last many years, and I could only recruit 2 new members.

Most of the people in my circle are highly educated, well to do, and fit right in the descriptions in your letter. I am a lowly person in the group, but it does not stop me sending out information to new faces that I meet. I found that Chinese American with Ph.D.'s really do not like me when I engage them discussion on discrimination. . . . Gary Tang, LEED AP, Real Estate Consultant, Green Building Design/Construction Consultant

(13) I know where you're coming from. I share your frustration. I admire your tenacity and stalwartness. I too have tried to enlist a number of friends, all ABCs, to join, but I suspect I've been less than successful. (Only two to date have joined.) . . .

I'm now retired and even though I have little to gain from 80-20's current or future accomplishments, I support its efforts for the sake of my grandchildren and other Asian-Americans now and to come. . . . Weyman

(14) Thank you and other officers for the hard work over the past few years. I share your frustration . . . . To increase the membership recruiting effectiveness, I suggest that 80-20 asks each current member to help recruit two new members. . . . .Bin

S.B.'s Note: Frustrated? May be. I was mostly trying a different way to reach fellow Asian Ams so that we can be equal citizens of America. However, since so many of you sensed "frustration" through my words, I must be somewhat in that mood. Thank you all for your great empathy. :-)
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"Practice Enlightened Self-Interest"
(This is a reprint. It got us 43 members including two Life Members)

A sizable fraction of us do NOT practice enlightened self-interest (ESI). That hurts us all, including those who are selfish to the core and think that they are smart.

WHY? If one thinks of self-interest ONLY, then the groups one belongs to (ethnic community, society, state, nation, and the world) will likely be WEAKER. For Asian Ams that is the biggest reason that our collective political clout was so weak. That is why we are discriminated against in
workplaces resulting in the GLASS CEILING.

What is enlightened self-interest, ESI?

ESI can be practiced in 3 forms. (1) One works for self-interest ONLY, but takes care not to hurt the group interest. (2) One tries to combine self-interest with that of the group. (3) One may even sacrifice self-interest occasionally in order to improve the group interest, knowing that
the enlarged group interest will in turn help his/her self-interest. An example is paying 80-20 dues so that 80-20'll have more clout to fight for our equal citizenship.

At least 1/3 of Asian Americans, especially the educated ones, i.e. several million people, have heard of what 80-20 has achieved in its fight for equal rights for Asian Ams. The perception about 80-20 is mostly favorable. However. how many people have paid $35 per year or more to support 80-20's operating expenses (no Board member including me gets paid)? 2,000 members only, when we work like hell in recruiting!

Another example is the response to our last e-newsletter entitled "Letter to Labor Sec. Solis." Afterwards, we got a few members and a few "thank you" letters, which 80-20 is grateful for. However, we also got 10 emails asking 80-20 to help them secure government positions, or help fight their personal court cases -- none of them is a member. One was a professor at an IVY League medical school whom 80-20 has helped before. Now he/she wants more help including my personal time. Is he/she a member? NO!

That reminds me of a "Barber and Asian Ams" satire that a member sent to me in 2001. It made me laugh and cry all at the same time:

Barber & Asian Americans

There is this barber in the US. One day a Caucasian florist goes to him for a haircut. After the cut, he goes to pay the barber. The barber replies: "No charge today. I am doing community service." The florist is happy and left. The next morning the barber finds a "Thank you" card and a dozen roses waiting at his shop door. An African American cop goes for a haircut and got the same "community service treatment." The cop is happy and left. The next morning the barber finds a "Thank you" card and a dozen donuts waiting at his shop door. An Asian Software Engineer goes for a haircut and he also got the "community service treatment". The next morning when the barber goes to open his shop, guess what he finds there. A dozen Asians waiting for a free Haircut.

Those who don't have the above mentality can laugh and cry with me. Others of us may want to use this satire as a mirror.

Why am I sending this brunt piece with a tart taste?

Blowing off my steam? No. Wanting to have more members? Yes, but there is a more important reason. 80-20 may have gathered some political clout to fight effectively for our EQUAL citizenship today. However, so long as not enough of us understand "ENLIGHTENED SELF-INTEREST," 80-20 can lose that ability to fight for your equal rights very quickly.

Please practiced ESI. Join 80-20. Go http://www.80-20initiative.net. Or send your check to 80-20 PAC, PO Box 22509, Philadelphia, PA 19110

Share this article with your friends, if you agree with it. Save it, so that you can share it again and again.


S. B. Woo
Acting Exec. Director of 80-20 PAC, Inc.

Quotation From a Reader: "The embarrassing 80-20 membership count shows vividly that very few Asian Americans, even the highly educated ones,understand this process. Perhaps, they are afraid of some kind of imaginary consequence? Perhaps. it is due to their lack of confidence in the democratic system in U.S.A.?? It is ironic that many of them would not hesitate to spend $200,000 for their child's college tuition (sound familiar ?), but they would not pay $35 for the 80-20 annual membership, also for the future benefit of their child. " - - - - - - Kien Hua