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About The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 5, 2015)
January 5, 2015
TALKING STORY IN ASIAN AMERICA
The Rub of Oregonians,
settled and new
ortland is an American gateway.
Sure we are. This city, our
confluence of two generous river
matriarchs — just 60 urgent salmon miles
from that grand clockwise Pacific sweep of
peoples, products, and ideas — has been
circulating a world of wealth since memory
began. Ask all those Indian nations
already living and loving here 14,000 years
ahead of President Jefferson’s Corps of
Discovery showing up. Hungry and wet
and looking for the sea.
So every now and then, especially times
like now — times when terrorized Latin-
Americans kids are asking Oregonians for
asylum; times when West African Ebola
fills morning news; when our state’s first
lady admits to fraudulently marrying an
Ethiopian student — we really need to
reaffirm this old-old reality. River City is a
global hub. We always have been.
And naturally, every hub has a lot of rub.
Contrary cultures elbow to elbow, make
some beautiful noise. It’s the contagious
joy of Mexican salsa and Eire river dance.
It’s the serenity of Vedic chants slipping
out of hip yoga studios and onto our
morning city streets. According to 2012
data from the Migration Policy Institute,
the rub of our state’s free market with
Oregon’s shamelessly ambitious Asians
adds $6.1 billion and 26,779 jobs to our
region’s rapidly globalizing economy.
Every year. Our stubbornly optimistic
Spanish-speaking families’ annual rub
adds another $8.4 billion dollars and
13,916 jobs to our noisy lives.
Having said all this about what’s always
been true about our gateway for resource-
ful dreamers and doers, let me set out a
simple roadmap for integrating Oregon’s
70 ethnic streams into our robust
mainstream. It’s what our raucous crew
It is, of course, a work-in-progress on a
noisy two-way street. Our work is a
mélange made of messy homegrown
American democracy, plus Old World
civility — the sincerity and resilience so
culturally central to our immigrants’
sending countries, no matter how mean or
meaningless the governments that sent us
Daily, in some of Portland’s grimmest
neighborhoods, partnerships of city staff,
immigrant and refugee elders and civic
activists, deliver two kinds of very
valuable products. The first is democracy.
The second is critical and kind city services
— the product of what city commissioner
Amanda Fritz calls “all of us participating
ethnic-stream rub. Each partnership is a
About democracy. Refugees chased out
by Somalia’s warlords, refugees fleeing
gangsters ruling the failed states of Mexico
as badly as those running republics of the
former Soviet Union: Love this stuff. This
Participating in local governance is a
dream come true. It’s my wife and tireless
teachers together securing our kids’
wealth; it’s our civic activists developing
recreation services, ensuring our neigh-
borhood’s health; it’s our ethnic-stream
elders and our city’s careful watershed
stewards cultivating far-eastside com-
munity gardens, to make up for no grocery
stores in sight. Democracy is well-lit
sidewalks during Oregon’s dark winter.
dreamers, even after a long day of
hammering shingles and scrubbing others’
THE ASIAN REPORTER n Page 7
hotel bathrooms. It’s a high shared by local
government’s very best public servants.
Portland-style democracy is our
fundamental first big bite into integrating
our many energetic ethnic streams and
our robust mainstream. It is the beautiful
two-way rub of our newcomers and those
of us taking democracy for granted.
On an overcast 1805 afternoon, the
Corps of Discovery showed up wet and
hungry in a metro area more populous
than St. Louis, Missouri, the city that sent
them off. U.S. Army captains Lewis and
Clark walked into politics and economics
cosmopolitan hub, everywhere.
There was rub, lots of it, among already
robust American nations and neighbor-
hoods. Then came the 150-year rub of an
ethnocidal modus operandi no longer
acceptable. Not even possible. Not here,
not on our blessed corner of this grand
Better than all that bad history is doing
what Americans settled and new, already
want to do. The full-body contact sport of
participatory democracy. The beautiful
noise of our differences working toward
accord, toward harmony.
Nota: Ronault L.S. “Polo” Catalani coordinates
Portland’s immigrant and refugee integration
programs out of the City of Portland’s Office of
Neighborhood Involvement. In 2014, the work
mentioned above received seven community-
building honors from organizations such as
the Muslim Educational Trust, Know Your City,
the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon,
the City of Portland, the American Immigration
Lawyers Association, and others.
AirAsia’s CEO in spotlight after Flight 8501 accident
Continued from page 5
an estimated net worth of $650 million.
AirAsia Flight 8501 vanished from
radar the morning of December 28 about
42 minutes after taking off from Surabaya
en route to Singapore.
The missing jet was the third major
airline incident this year involving
Malaysia. First came Malaysia Airlines
Flight 370, which disappeared on its way
to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur on March 8
and has not been found. A few months
later, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot
down over Ukraine.
But this marks the first tragedy for
Malaysia-based AirAsia, which has a
strong safety record. Flight 8501 was
operated by AirAsia Indonesia, a
subsidiary that is 49 percent owned by
Last year, AirAsia flew 42.6 million
people across the region.
Earlier this year, AirAsia boasted in its
Korean Air to be sanctioned
for nut rage cover-up
Continued from page 2
according to Yonhap.
The incident also highlighted the risks
companies where the primary goal is to
further the interests of the family, not that
of the shareholders or employees. Shares
of Korean Air closed 0.3 percent lower after
dropping nearly 6 percent in Seoul after
the government announced its plan to
sanction the airline.
Japan runs short of butter
as dairy farms dwindle
Continued from page 3
should give him at least two more years,
and possibly more, to tackle such issues,
according to Uri Dadesh, an associate with
the Carnegie Endowment for Interna-
“Whether he will do the structural
reforms is a different matter,” he said in a
conference call with reporters. “Let’s
remember that this is a man who already
has a massive majority of the parliament
on his side.”
in-flight magazine that its well-trained
pilots would never lose a plane. The airline
withdrew the magazine and Fernandes
apologized for the article, which was
written before Flight 370 disappeared.
Fernandes also courted controversy on the
day that flight lost contact. An active
Twitter user with more than a million
followers, he tweeted that the plane’s radio
had failed and that all on board were safe.
He later deleted the tweet.
A 50-year-old Malaysian of Indian-
Portuguese descent and a serious music
buff — he plays keyboards and the drums
— Fernandes earned a finance degree in
the United Kingdom and rose quickly in
the music industry, first at Virgin Group
and later at Warner Music International.
He was appointed Warner’s chief in
Malaysia in 1992 at age 28, the youngest
person to hold that post.
Warner CD sales jumped during his
tenure, but he left after Time-Warner’s
merger with AOL to enter the airline
business, a longtime dream.
McDonald’s in Japan
limits orders of fries
Continued from page 5
The powerful dockworkers union and
multinational shipping lines have been
negotiating a new contract for about
20,000 workers on the west coast. In the
meantime, labor disruptions have slowed
shipments and driven costs higher.
Japanese are also facing a shortage of
butter that has prompted grocery stores to
limit shoppers to one or two packages
apiece. That shortage stems from
declining domestic production plus trade
barriers and other restrictions that limit
The restrictions are meant to ensure
that local farmers who face high costs are
protected from foreign competition to
self-sufficiency in its food supply, but
supply doesn’t always meet demand.
“It’s a bit sad,” said Hiroko Inomata, 34,
clutching the bag of small fries and a
teriyaki burger she bought for lunch. “But
it is so that everyone can have some.”
Associated Press video journalists Kaori Hitomi
and Emily Wang contributed to this report.
Fernandes got together with three other
investors, mortgaged his house, and
withdrew his savings to get the
floundering AirAsia running after buying
it on September 8, 2001 for a symbolic 1
ringgit, or about 25 U.S. cents. Three days
later, New York and Washington were hit
by terrorist attacks.
But AirAsia coasted through the crisis.
With its tagline “Now Everyone Can Fly,”
it revolutionized cheap air travel in the
region and repaid its 40 million ringgit
($11.4 million) debt in less than two years.
Today, it has more than 8,000 employees
and flies to 132 destinations in Asia.
AirAsia is now a major competitor to
full-service carriers such as Singapore
Airlines and Thai Airways, which have
since set up budget offshoots to vie for a
bigger share of passengers.
In many ways, Fernandes’ career echoes
the empire Richard Branson created at
Virgin Group — both in terms of how the
men love attention, and how they have
expanded across industries.
From short routes of up to four hours,
AirAsia has expanded into long-haul flying
through its sister airline AirAsia X.
Through his Tune Group, which owns
AirAsia, Fernandes also started a hotel
chain and offers car rental, insurance, and
credit cards in tie-ups with banks.
He was, in many ways, ahead of the
industry curve, sensing a need for low-cost
flights in what is now the world’s fastest-
growing region for airlines.
“Air travel is made for Asia,” Fernandes
told The Associated Press in 2002. “You
can generally drive from one end of Europe
to another or take a train, but that’s not
the case here. You want to try driving from
Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok? Good luck,
Fernandes is a vocal leader who enjoys
interacting with the public at airports and
on social media. AirAsia passengers often
tweet him photos of their vacations,
images Fernandes then shares with his
In 2011, Fernandes stepped into the
sports world when he bought a majority
stake in the Queens Park Rangers, an
English Premier League soccer club. The
same year, Britain honored him as a
Commander of the Order of the British
Empire and France made him an Officier
de la Legion d’Honneur.
He also has funded a Formula One
racing team, making lavish bets with
owners of competing teams. But he sold his
shares in the F1 team last year.
In 2013, Fernandes further put AirAsia
in the spotlight by hosting the Asian
version of the reality TV series “The
Apprentice.” Filipino Jonathan Yabut won
and now works for AirAsia in his country.
Since the disappearance of Flight 8501,
Fernandes has focused on encouraging his
staff not to buckle under the pressure.
“Be strong,” he told his staff in another
Twitter message. “Continue to be the best.
Associated Press writers Scott Mayerowitz
in New York and Tim Sullivan in New Delhi
contributed to this report. At press time, the
bodies of 34 victims had been recovered and a
few more pieces of the plane were discovered.
Bad weather continues to hinder search efforts.