December 29, 2021

Volume 1, Issue 24

Dear Friends,
Happy New Year! Scroll down to Spotlight to register for our new webinar featuring trailblazing women journalists, catch the recording for our webinar on AAPI representation in entertainment, and see our new Christmas in China video. Thanks for your continued support of the 1990 Institute and newsletter. Please share this newsletter with your friends and family and encourage your friends to subscribe so they can get this content straight to their inboxes, too.


It’s not too late to donate to our year-end fundraising campaign – you can make your 2021 tax-deductible donation here


How will you be welcoming in the new year?

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang


My daughter and I bought black sticky rice at the Chinese grocery store this weekend, and we made a big batch of our world famous (or neighborhood famous) black sticky rice with coconut milk and mangos to give to all our neighbors for the holidays. I got out the big eight-cup rice cooker. I soaked and cooked the rice. My daughter mixed in the coconut milk, portioned out the dessert into many small takeout containers, topped them with mangos, and tied the containers with a bow. Then we sent Little Brother out to make deliveries. 

First stop, the lady at the corner who already baked us a big plate of Christmas biscotti, then the man who always shovels our sidewalk when it snows, then the family around the corner who watched our dog when we went away every summer, then our next-door neighbor and nurse who advises on all our after-hours medical questions and makes us the most amazing Lebanese hummus and spinach pies, and then an elderly Chinese uncle and auntie down the road.

My father said there is a Chinese expression (there is always a Chinese expression) about how nearby neighbors are better than distant relatives.

I think about that expression a lot during these Covid times, since neighbors are the only people I see anymore. 

It has been two and a half years since I have been able to go visit my mom. I wish I lived closer.

Until then, we call, we text, we Line, we Zoom, we FaceTime. I mail her presents, and she Venmos the kids virtual red envelopes for Christmas.

And instead of trying to bake holiday cookies for all the neighbors, I share a little of our culture and our family, and I try to broaden the idea of what counts as an American tradition.

Frances and Hao Hao’s World Famous Black Sticky Rice with Mango


  • 4 cups uncooked black or white sticky rice (aka sweet rice or glutinous rice)
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • Fresh or frozen (defrosted) mango chunks

If you have a bigger rice cooker, make more! (I always make 8 cups at a time)

  1. Soak uncooked sticky rice overnight.
  2. Steam sticky rice in rice cooker until done.
  3. Mix coconut milk, sugar, and salt into cooked rice.
  4. Arrange rice into a beautiful bowl or container, or into individual servings.
  5. Top artfully with mango chunks.

Register now for our January 20 webinar: Reframing Perceptions: Asian American Women Journalist Trailblazers


Curated News

‘I see myself on the shelves’: First Asian American woman-owned bookstore opens in N.Y.C. | NBC News  Yu and Me Books in Manhattan's Chinatown opened Saturday and features 1,600 titles that reflect the diversity and depth of the Asian American community.

This small, local Laotian-owned bakery is funding Asian American studies scholarships | NBC News  In an effort to combat anti-Asian hate, six students at the University of Connecticut will receive $1,000 over the next three years to put toward their studies.

The U.S. Pursued Professors Working With China. Cases Are Faltering. | Wall Street Journal  An MIT professor’s academic collaboration in Shenzhen led to criminal charges, but the university says such ties are ordinary practice

Harvard professor found guilty of hiding ties to Chinese-run recruitment program | Guardian  This case is among the highest profile to come from the US Department of Justice’s ‘China Initiative’, a controversial effort to curb suspected economic espionage

Chinese spies have penetrated Taiwan’s military, case documents reveal | Reuters  Taiwan’s spycatchers are battling a sustained Chinese espionage campaign. Beijing’s aim, say former Taiwan and U.S. officers, is to glean details on the island’s defense planning and undermine its leaders. 

Three experts on U.S. role and response options in Taiwan-China conflict | PBS NewsHour  China's President Xi Jinping has said he wants to reunite with Taiwan peacefully, but Beijing has increased the pace of its exercises, leading to questions about what the U.S. should do if Beijing invades Taiwan. 

Miss America makes history, as a Korean American from Alaska wins the title | NPR  The newly crowned Miss America has made history, becoming both the first Korean American and the first Alaskan to hold the title in the competition's 100-year history.

ESSAY: Discovering Dr. Wu | Washington Post  The world reveres Chien-Shiung Wu as a groundbreaking nuclear physicist who made a startling find 65 years ago. But to me, she was Grandma — and I long to know more about her private universe.

How Asian Americans in holiday movies can challenge ‘the white fantasy of Christmas’ | PBS NewsHour  “Holiday films and rom-coms represent a form of Americana.”


What do people in China associate with this holiday season? We all know that many holiday gifts exchanged in the U.S. are made in China. But do people in China celebrate Christmas? We just launched a new video titled “Christmas in China” filled with fun facts of the season for you. We hope you enjoy it!



  • HELP US MAKE A DIFFERENCEHere’s our short video that shares our mission and why your support is as crucial as ever. Will you make a 2021 tax-deductible donation to support our vision for a positive environment for Asian Americans and for U.S. relations with China? Donations are accepted online here. Thank you!
  • UPCOMING WEBINARReframing Perceptions: Asian American Women Journalist Trailblazers,” Thursday, January 20, 2022 at 4 pm PT (7 pm ET). Don’t miss this engaging discussion with trailblazing Asian American journalists who have brought Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) issues to the forefront on conversations on race, ethnicity, and identity. These journalists shed light on the resilience of the AAPI community, contextualize racism against Asians in America, and help us all better understand what it means to be Asian in America, what it was like in the past, and how much has – and has not – changed. Join the 1990 Institute and U.S.-China Education Trust (USCET) for a panel featuring pioneering Asian American women journalists. Register here today!



  • NEW VIDEOWe hope those who celebrate Christmas had a merry one. With headlines emerging every year over China’s alleged crackdown on the holiday – such as “Santa Claus won’t be coming to town,” “China cancels Christmas,” and “China gets its Claus out for Christmas” – we wonder: Do people in China celebrate Christmas? Are they allowed to? We produced a video to give you an overview and fun details of how Christmas has evolved and is currently celebrated in China. See “Christmas in China” here
  • WEBINAR RECORDINGHave you seen Shang Chi or Eternals? What do you think of Squid Game and the Korean wave in entertainment? If you missed our recent webinar called "Beyond Shang-Chi: Superheroes, Masculinity, and Asian American Representation," you can see the recording here. The 1990 Institute and the Serica Initiative sat down with film industry and culture experts on December 15 to demystify changing notions of gender, China’s cultural soft power, the K-Wave phenomenon, and how to contribute to and sustain AAPI representation in entertainment. We heard from guest speakers Bing Chen, President and Co-Founder of Gold House; Kaiser Kuo, Founder of the Sinica Podcast; and Minji Chang, actor, producer, and entrepreneur; along with Daniel Tam-Claiborne from the Serica Initiative as our moderator.

Did you miss Beyond Shang-Chi: Superheroes, Masculinity, and Asian American Representation? See the recording here


Dim Sum - A Little Bit of Heart


Learn more about the Winter Solstice or Dōngzhì 冬至 Festival.


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