Learn about Asian Pacific culture throughout May

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Mary Davis
  • Public Affairs
"He who learns but does not think is lost. He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger."
Not bad advice from Confucius, a man who lived more than 2,000 years ago. Although the sage advice is old, his words ring as true today as they did then -- people who think, but don't learn are truly in great danger ... in great danger of not enriching their minds.
May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
Learning about different cultures is good, not only from an educational aspect, because it allows people to see another point of view.
For Staff Sgt. Kanisha Lyons, 71st Mission Support Group commander support staff, learning about various cultures and helping celebrate them is important, and the whole reason why the Vance Cultural Committee was started.
"The committee consists of people of all ethnicities that are eager to learn and take part in observing various cultures," she said. "America is a melting pot of several nationalities, and observing each ethnic group and taking part in their activities is an interesting way to learn and celebrate each culture."
The 2006 Asian Pacific American Heritage Month presidential proclamation was announced, encouraging Americans to discover and take part in the Asian culture and customs.
As a Korean-American, Airman 1st Class Amy Hanson, a customer service technician with the 71st Comptroller Squadron, said it is important for people to observe other cultures.
"Since the Air Force is so diverse, learning about other cultures helps people get a better understanding of other heritages," Airman Hanson said.
As an Army dependent, Airman Hanson traveled back to Korea every year with her parents Terry and Pok. She remembered the cultural clothing, dances, religious icons and ceremonies there.
Although she is "American-ized," she still speaks her native tongue fluently and hopes to educate her future children about Korea.
"I think it's important to let children know about their heritage," she said. "Teaching them another language not only connects them with their culture, it also gives them a connection to another world and a talent that not everyone possesses."
2nd Lt. Steve Lin, 71st Operations Support Squadron assigned to the chapel, is a native of Pingtung, Taiwan. He and his family immigrated to the United States more than 20 years ago.
"My parents had successful accounting jobs in Taiwan, but immigrated to the United States for a better life," he said. "Although they had college degrees in Taiwan, they had to obtain American accounting degrees in order to get jobs. They made a lot of sacrifices for their family, but it was worth it to them."
As an immigrant living in San Antonio, Lieutenant Lin and his family dealt with many social struggles that helped shape him as a person, he said.
"It took my parents four years for their application to be accepted into the United States, and five years for them to become naturalized citizens," he said. "I have different views about the immigration issues that are in the news today, compared with someone who was born here."
Lieutenant Lin and his brother Weilun are both Air Force officers, which is a source of pride for his parents.
"My parents made education their No. 1 priority," he said. "They took turns working on their own degrees while the other spouse worked. It was very important to them to get their degrees and for my brother and I to earn degrees as well."
Observances like Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month provide the opportunity to educate and foster better relationships with others, Sergeant Lyons said.
"Learning about other cultures is positive and healthy," she said. "I hope everyone takes the opportunity to learn about Asian American heritage this month."