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Asian Heritage Month 2021 Newsletter: issue one

Asian Heritage Month Newsletter

University of Waterloo Library’s Student Engagement Committee is thrilled to deliver you the first issue of our 2021 Asian Heritage Month newsletter series! Over the next four weeks we’ll be delivering loads of serious fun right to your inbox. Tell all your friends so they can subscribe to the Asian Heritage Month newsletter, too!

Each issue will include a selection of fun and informative content, including recipes, film recommendations, stress-relieving activities and more! We’ll also delve a little deeper into topics that explore some of the many ways the Asian diaspora has contributed to our country and culture, and the ongoing challenges these diverse communities continue to face locally and globally. Of course, it wouldn’t be a library newsletter if we didn’t follow that up with some recommended readings!

Learn more about Asian Heritage Month activities at University of Waterloo.

Early Canada

While we’re here to celebrate Asian Heritage Month, the realities of anti-Asian hate and racial discrimination in Canada must be recognized and discussed. A significant number of Asian-Canadians and residents have experienced racially driven abuse, assault, and harassment. We must acknowledge the realities of our past and present so we can all continue to learn and grow as allies for a better future.



Canadian Pacific Railway Train puzzle photoPut the pieces together to picture this puzzle — a postcard, created by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. This transcontinental railway was built primarily by the labour of Chinese immigrants, who were paid less than Caucasian workers and subjected to head taxes. Without the right to vote, they were restricted from many professional careers as well. The railway is still in use to this day. In 2014, the British Columbia government issued a formal apology for their many racist policies during this time.

“Canadian Pacific Railway” Midnight Believer is marked with CC PDM 1.0


Support local Asian-owned businesses

Each week we’ll be featuring a business local to the Waterloo Region. This week, we’d like to focus on one close to campus: Sweet Dreams Teashop. They are Waterloo’s original bubble tea shop and have turned into a takeout and gift shop! For those in the area, they’re still open and you can visit their Facebook and Instagram pages (@sweet.dreams.teashop) to see their hours and a link to their shop. Interested in checking out other businesses? Take a look at the specially-created map to see what else is in the area.



salmon handrollLearn to make this tasty avocado and salmon handroll from Chef Yoshi Tome, the owner of California’s Sushi Ran restaurant that has high honours on numerous lists including the Michelin and Zagat guides!


Fun fact

Did you know the popular California roll was invented in Canada? Japanese-born chef Hidekazu Tojo is widely credited with inventing the sushi roll made with crab, cucumber and avocado at his Vancouver restaurant in the 1970s. His invention of this popular dish led to him being recognized as a goodwill ambassador for Japanese cuisine by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.


Recommended reads

We have always been here book coverWe Have Always Been Here: a Queer Muslim Memoir by Samra Habib is about “a queer Muslim [who] searches for the language to express her truest self, making peace with her sexuality, her family, and Islam. Growing up in Pakistan, Samra Habib lacks a blueprint for the life she wants. She has a mother who gave up everything to be a pious, dutiful wife and an overprotective father who seems to conspire against a life of any adventure. Plus, she has to hide the fact that she's Ahmadi to avoid persecution from religious extremists. As the threats against her family increase, they seek refuge in Canada, where new financial and cultural obstacles await them. When Samra discovers that her mother has arranged her marriage, she must again hide a part of herself — the fun-loving, feminist teenager that has begun to bloom — until she simply can't any longer. So begins a journey of self-discovery that takes her to Tokyo, where she comes to terms with her sexuality, and to a queer-friendly mosque in Toronto, where she returns to her faith in the same neighbourhood where she attended her first drag show. Along the way, she learns that the facets of her identity aren't as incompatible as she was led to believe, and that her people had always been there — the world just wasn't ready for them yet.” — Provided by publisher. 

Interested in reading this book yourself? Place a hold through Omni, the Library’s catalogue or check out your local library.


Film fun

Parasite film coverParasite is a Korean film that a lot of people have come to know because it has won so many awards in North America and the UK. It is about a family that struggles financially and begins working their way into a wealthy family. I like this movie because it has the perfect amount of thrill without it being too scary. I would recommend it because beyond the thrill and comedic storyline, there is a deeper meaning to it that showcases a real issue in South Korea, and surely around the world. Revealing that meaning here would spoil the movie, so watch the film to find out! Director: Bong Joon Ho Writers: Han Jin Won (screenplay), Bong Joon Ho. — Student Engagement Committee member.

Make sure you’re connected to the proxy through Get access from anywhere before viewing the film at Criterion-on-Demand.


Get crafty

Archite the beaverHi everyone ... Archie here from the Musagetes Architecture Library! In honour of Asian Heritage Month, I’ve been doing some origami — the gorgeous art of folding paper that has its origins in Japan. I’ve also been missing my goose friends, so I decided to make some majestic origami geese, just like the ones that glide down the river outside my windows ... and just like my friend Scholar! Others might tell you that they are origami swans. That’s okay, too, but I think they’re geese. I’ve made a step-by-step guide to making your own origami goose. All you need is a square of easy-to-fold paper — wrapping paper is perfect, and you’re just eight mindful steps away from an origami goose! Download the origami goose instructions (PDF)


Read: issue one, issue two, issue three, issue four