Macaulay Honors College Seminar 2, IDC 3001H

Author: Haoxiang Chen

Designing the Halal Cart Website

There weren’t really any significant discussions this week as we primarily focused on creating the halal cart website for the class. However, as we worked through the steps, I realized that making an appealing website is not as easy as it seems, and sometimes more people work on it hinders the process, rather than helping it. For example, on Monday, we experienced a lot of difficulties trying to add widgets to the website. When we tried to remove the excess widgets that were added, some useful widgets were also remove as there were not enough communications between us and everyone just tried to remove the widgets. This struck me as similar to how there are often only one or two workers working in each halal cart. In high school, I learned from my economics class how the overabundance of workers in restaurants will lead to inefficient work because there is only so much space in the restaurants and so much work for each worker to do. Similarly, there are only so much tasks for all of us to do when designing the website; and when all of us tried to do the same tasks at the same time, it was much harder compared to just one person from each group doing the task.

Immigrant Sports

In Thursday’s class, we discussed the novel Netherlands by Joseph O’Neil. In Netherlands, Hans grew up playing both soccer and cricket. Although the novel focused mainly in cricket, I found it interesting how both of these sports are “hiding” in the shadow of an extremely popular American sport in the United States. (Baseball and Football) This also reminds me of a previous class in which we talked about the popularity of NASCAR in America while most of the world enjoys formula one racing and finds format of NASCAR uninteresting.

As we discussed in class, the experience of the cricket players in Netherlands mirror the experience of immigrants in America as both were push to the side and adopt a 2nd class status. The immigrants are getting overlooked in America and are not getting the respect that they deserve similar to cricket and soccer after failing to compete with what was already established in the country. In fact, cricket and soccer can be view as more of sports for immigrants than for Americans, as more than half of the U.S. national men’s soccer team are either immigrants, or children of immigrants. In Netherlands, although Hans was different from his fellow cricket teammates, as he was a six foot five, rich, white European, he still had to go through problems due to his immigrant status.

Filipinos in Woodside

Export as KML for Google Earth/Google MapsOpen standalone map in fullscreen modeCreate QR code image for standalone map in fullscreen modeExport as GeoJSONExport as GeoRSS

loading map - please wait...

Jollibee: 40.745989, -73.901175
St. Sebastian Roman Catholic Church: 40.744908, -73.906483
Macro International Cargo: 40.746521, -73.895754
Red Ribbon Bake Shop: 40.745922, -73.898852
Ihawan Restaurant: 40.746168, -73.895486
St. Sebastian Catholic School: 40.745859, -73.906590
marker icon
Get directions Open standalone map in fullscreen mode Export as KML for Google Earth/Google Maps

A popular Filipino chain fast food restaurant that opened in 2009 and has an average of over 500 customers per day. Famous for their chickenjoy and fiesta noodles

marker icon
Get directions Open standalone map in fullscreen mode Export as KML for Google Earth/Google Maps
St. Sebastian Roman Catholic Church

The church of worship for most Filipinos in Woodside. The church also hosts Simbang Gabi, a novena of nine masses at dawn every Christmas, which is an important tradition for Filipino Catholics.

Jollibee, Queens, New York, NY, USA
marker icon
Get directions Open standalone map in fullscreen mode Export as KML for Google Earth/Google Maps
Macro International Cargo

We visited Macro International Cargo and interviewed the owner Robert about the Filipino community in Woodside. Robert's store was opened in 1993 and he helped Filipinos transfer money and packages back to the Philippines. He also help Filipinos book plane tickets so that they can travel back to their home country and visit their family

marker icon
Get directions Open standalone map in fullscreen mode Export as KML for Google Earth/Google Maps
St. Sebastian Catholic School

Right across from the St. Sebastian Roman Catholic Church is the St. Sebastian Roman Catholic School, which is religiously affiliated with the Church. Since most of the Filipino immigrants are Catholic, they would send their children to this school in the neighborhood; the children attend school here from kindergarten through 8th grade. 

marker icon
Get directions Open standalone map in fullscreen mode Export as KML for Google Earth/Google Maps
Red Ribbon Bake Shop

A chain Filipino bakery and a favorite local dessert spot famous for its ultimate chocolate cake

marker icon
Get directions Open standalone map in fullscreen mode Export as KML for Google Earth/Google Maps
Ihawan Restaurant

A local Filipino restaurant that specializes in Filipino barbecue pork and chicken.


Americanization Is Just a Choice

In Monday’s class, we discussed how immigrants should assimilate into the American society and how immigrant children should learn English in school. I was able to relate to the topic with my own experiences. When I first began school as a sixth grader in America, I was somewhat directly thrown into the English learning environment. Although there was an ESL program in my middle school, I was able to pass the placement test and was not placed into the program. However, my English level was nowhere near that of the others in my classes. Before going to school, I had trouble understanding third grade English materials as I did not know most of the words in the passages. Therefore, although I passed the placement test, I still could not understand most of the things that the teacher was saying in class, and often need the help of a Chinese-English dictionary to know what to do for the assignments. And where there are other Chinese speakers in my class, I would choose to talk to them in Chinese instead of English because I couldn’t find the necessary words to express myself in the English language. Sometimes I was actually envious of the kids who were placed into the ESL program, as they seemed to form their own group, whereas I was neither in the group of ESL students nor had the English capabilities to speak with other students normally. But this experience of being thrown into the English environment actually helped me learn English faster than my peers in the ESL program, since I had to force myself to speak English and expand my vocabulary on a daily basis. In the meantime, my Chinese hadn’t deteriorated much because I also spoke Chinese daily with my friends in ESL program as well as in my family.

But in my cousins’ case, what I saw was completely different. Both of my cousins were born in America. When they were little, they learned how to speak Chinese first because that was the only language that was spoken at home. But as they grow up, they first began to learn English from watching television, and then they would communicate to each other with a mix of Chinese and English. When they started school, they began to communicate to each other exclusively in English, and they also began to communicate to their parents in English only. The only times that they would speak Chinese at home is when they are talking to the grandparents, who understand almost no English at all.

I think that although it is important to maintain someone’s native culture during the assimilation process, it is only a matter of time before the mark of a family’s native culture eventually disappears if they truly want to assimilate into the American society. If it does not happen in this generation, then it will happen in the next generation, or the one after that. In order to assimilate into a new culture, one is planting new roots in another land in the world, so it is inevitable that the person also have to eventually be disconnected from his/her original roots. It is not America that Americanize its immigrants who come to this land, it is the immigrants who want to Americanize themselves.