Saturday, April 01, 2006

Instant Yang v.8: Dogs--Pets or Meat; driving on Diwali; last chance to bid

Hi all,

Back again, just seven days after last week's special alert issue of this newsletter thing (which I recently referred to as a "splog"--the bastard child of spam and a blog)...I wanted to reiterate that I appreciate your continued willingness to read this stuff, and promise to make intra-biweekly editions a rare thing, for those of you overwhelmed by sundry inbox invasions. Really.

Anyway...this week explores the evolving status of dogs in Asia--and yes, it "goes there":

Tired of jokes about how Asians are more likely to have a hound on the table than under it, proud pooch-owner Jeff Yang explores the state of canine companionship in Asia, to find a continent that's increasingly going to the dogs.

Meanwhile, the Hindu New Year, Diwali, is approaching fast--and this year, the holiday has brought a spate of controversy to the Big Apple. Few things are as precious to the inhabitants of New York as parking spaces, which is why the ultimate designation of a Real New York Holiday is the suspension of the city's despotic alternate-side-of-the-street parking regulations. These rules force Gothamites to haul their cars to the other side of the road on certain days of the week, to make way for Zamboni-like cleaning machines that spray garbage off the street, and onto the sidewalk where it belongs.

Except, of course, on "Real New York Holidays," of which there are about 40. All federal off-days, of course. Every prominent Jewish holy day, including Shemini Atzereth and Simchat Torah. The first two days of Idul Fitr during the month of Ramadan. Most major Catholic sacred dates, from Ash Wednesday to the Immaculate Conception. And Lunar New Year (which the city oddly calls "Asian Lunar New Year").

Yet despite the presence of some 250,000 Asian Indians in the city, the vast majority of them Hindu, Mayor Bloomberg and his Sanitation Department are adamantly opposed to adding Hinduism's holiest day to the calendar (the third day of Diwali, known as Lakshmi Puja, which falls this year on November 1). Yeah, on some level it's symbolic, but symbols are important--and how can you deny the city's fastest-growing Asian community one day of parking for its own? More info and upudates here.

And finally, I sign off with a note that the Asian American Writers Workshop's charity fundraising auction is scheduled to end October 14, which means you have just hours to get your bid in for prizes ranging from cream puffs with author/academic Edmund White to a comlete $12,000 library of Asian American fiction and nonfiction books. More info and bidding instructions here.

See you in two weeks--am headed to Las Vegas this weekend for a little first-person research for an upcoming column on the dark goddess that is No-Limit Texas Hold'em, and its rising young Asian American stars...

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