Friday, May 30, 2008

Testimonial from Leah Kim

The news of the severe budget cuts was devastating to me. Though I am enrolled in the college of Letters & Science, the restrictions to be imposed upon enrollment for fall semester of 2008 seem unfair to me. I might have recently declared my Korean minor, but it was only during my Korean language courses that prompted me to educate myself about my ethnic culture.

It may seem odd for an English major to also pursue a minor in Korean, but I find it an indispensable part of my studies. As an aspiring writer, I am greatly interested in the power of words beyond their every day definition. Words can evoke a powerful emotion in the reader and just changing one or two words can completely change the mood of a paragraph.

So why Korean? I have accepted that as a Korean-American, I cannot completely deny that there are Korean influences in my life that will spill over into my writing. However, there are many things about my Korean identity that cannot be translated into English. There is no word that can truly convey the pain and anger behind the word "Han" or the subtle etiquette and soul reading behind "Noon-chim." How can I truly write from my soul when a part of it is lacking the right emotion filled word?

For me, Korean is not just another set of words, interchangeable variables with its English counterparts as if their values are equal. It is the second half of my own personal language, so integrated within me that, without it, I am nothing more than just a half a person with fragmented speech, glaring holes in where Korean should have been there to fill.
-- Leah J. Kim, English major, Korean minor (leah_kim AT

East Bay Express cover article

If you haven't picked up a copy of the East Bay Express (free, from newspaper stands all around Berkeley and Oakland) yet this week, be sure to check out this front-page article about the effect of the budget cuts on East Asian languages at Berkeley: "Proposed Budget to Gut East Asian Languages at Cal".

Community outreach tomorrow--please join

Sent to the Berkeley 'savekoreanstudies' listserv...anyone interested in helping and participating is welcome to join the meeting tomorrow at noon or contact us--THANK YOU!
Hi all,

Hope you're all doing well in this first week of summer. This week, student volunteers still here in Berkeley are trying to keep momentum from recent weeks going with local outreach and fundraising work. Today several students are contacting Oakland & Berkeley businesses to see where we might visit tomorrow to talk about the budget crisis, how it impacts the local community, and how local businesses might get involved & help with fund-raising.

Tomorrow, a group will meet at 12 noon at Cyber Cafe, located in Koryo Plaza, 4390 Telegraph Avenue at 44th St.
Bus #1 runs down Telegraph from downtown Berkeley (Berkeley BART) and there's a stop on Telegraph at Dwight too.

This will probably be covered in the media. The more concerned students and community members we have, the better, so please do come out if you can and pass the word along to those who aren't on this list.

If you have any questions please write or call Christine (, 510-658-3310), or me (, 510-717-2367).


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Testimonial from Yaou Dou

We need language courses such as Chinese to prepare ourselves for the global arena. We're taught at Berkeley that an understanding in international affairs is essential in being a productive member of society. So, we take these courses to enrich our lives and others, to become better representatives of the U.S. After all, how can we expect to maintain a lead role on the global stage if we can't learn the language that enables us to do so?
--Yaou Dou (yaoudou AT

Daily Cal articles on budget cuts; new English petition

There are two opinion pieces in recent issues of the Daily Cal that weigh in on the effect of the budget cuts to East Asian languages and to the English department, which is losing massive amounts of funding for graduate student instruction of courses. The articles are:

The situation for English appears really dire: authors of an online petition point out that due to cuts to the Temporary Academic Staffing budget still in place after the governor's newly revised budget, the English Department is planning to cut 17 Reading & Composition classes, denying undergraduates access to classes and making it impossible for many graduate student instructors to fund their education. Commenting on the parallels to the situation in EALC and across campus, the authors write, "These cuts threaten to undermine the quality of both teaching and research at UC Berkeley, and diminish the value of a Berkeley degree."

Please go to the petition and sign on--let's help each other out and push for change in the Berkeley administration's policy of relegating quality education to 'temporary' status!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Testimonial from Francis Chen

Hi, my name is Francis Chen. I am a high school junior and a Chinese-American at Arroyo High School in San Lorenzo, California. While I am not a UC Berkeley student (and I have desires to apply and attend this wonderful campus), I feel really bad about the proposed budget cuts which could dramatically alter the funding and quality of the East Asian Languages at UC Berkeley.

It is extremely important to learn about one's own language, so that one can learn about his/her ethnic background and culture. However, this is extremely difficult to do, with the heavy emphasis towards education, especially towards fields like business, engineering, or sciences (i.e. medical), which "Asians" traditionally and generally are told by their parents to pursue because of the guaranteed profits which will come out of those fields. Whether or not students will actually like those fields is one issue. When students approach the campus, the focus on these fields could be so great that there would seem like there is limited time to actually learn about the languages. These threatened budget cuts, as well as the limiting of students for learning these languages to only students of the College of L&S, make it easier to close the window of opportunities for Asian-American students to learn more about their cultural background in a time when it doesn't seem "important". Too much priority on EDUCATION and not enough time on learning more about our culture is already one impediment; closing the opportunities to a growing middle-class of Asian-Americans to learn about their culture is just too much.

When I was a freshman in high school, I had went to Chinese School to learn one year of Mandarin in Oakland (I'm a conversational-Cantonese speaker). I didn't have the best pinyin teacher, so I went to a conversational Mandarin teacher, who taught me a lot of basic Mandarin phrases. I also learned a little bit of Mandarin from television and a few phrases from my parents. Those were about it; I don't go anymore because of a lack of time and "the low priority" at the time. Now, as a Junior, I regret it, and I have become even more busier. I still remember the phrases and pinyin. In my free time, I have actually taught myself a little bit of Japanese (I was actually pretty good at it before the AP exams were coming).

While I may not get accepted to UC Berkeley (I want to major in Civil Engineering, East Asian Studies, or both if possible), I hope that the EALC can be saved by any proper ways that are possible. The budget cuts were inevitable, and it's up to any private donors who can help out to save the department). Those who aren't in a language major because of priorities but want to learn about their own language anyway need to be given the opportunities that I had lost in high school and trying to regain now. I have a hard time picturing how we, as the next generation, can carry our culture down with this issue. I have desires to go to Asia and help preserve East Asian architecture, and I want the university to give us who just want to learn about our culture to give us that chance.
--Francis Chen (fncis.chen AT

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Recent media coverage

Some of these are from several days ago, but all tell different sides of the story. As always, please let us know about any coverage in English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean language media (savekoreanstudies AT Thank you!