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USC Shooting Brings Together Divided Asian Community

Jerry Ting |
April 12, 2012 | 2:28 a.m. PDT

Associate News Editor

USC students gathered Wednesday in memory of shooting victims Ming Qu and Ying Wu from China (Jerry Ting).
USC students gathered Wednesday in memory of shooting victims Ming Qu and Ying Wu from China (Jerry Ting).

Michael Kwon, a 24 year-old masters student, walked out of his class at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to attend the vigil held in honor of Ming Qu and Ying Wu, two University of Southern California students who were murdered Wednesday.

“I’m proud of being Chinese student today [sic]. I was in middle of class, and I told the professor I had to go. I thought I would be the only one, but all the other people came behind me. I was so moved,” said Kwon.

He was surprised when students from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Asian Americans picked up their belongings and followed him.

The international Asian student population at USC came together as a family Wednesday, regardless of political divides. For students thousands of miles away from home, the shooting brought together a community separated by the Pacific Ocean on one end, and language barriers on the other.

Students from Asia wrote prayers and goodbyes in Chinese on letterheads, lit by the glow of the candles brought by friends of the victims. Near the end of the vigil when the television stations and reporters had come and gone, those closest to Qu and Wu held up pictures of the two on their phones. They placed their phones by the flowers that grievers had brought to the scene, and they did what many Chinese traditionally do to honor the dead— they bowed three times.

The murder of Ming Qu and Ying Wu shook the international students of the USC community, not only by the brutality of the shootings, but in reminding them of the families they had left at home.

“When I see their profile pictures on Facebook, I think of their family, my family. We are single child [sic]. The kid is everything, especially because Chinese value education. In my two years here, I would have spent all of my parent’s life savings. I owe them. I owe them,” said Kwon.

The One-Child Policy act limits a married couple in China from having more than one child, a reflection of the huge population of the Chinese; however, it also means that a parent’s lifelong hopes and hard work falls on one child. For an aging couple, the child could mean their livelihoods as China is experiencing a severe old-age problem with increasing numbers of seniors and not enough new births.

Many of those at the vigil hail from Mainland China. Regardless of stereotypes of the rich and powerful, most of the students and their families were struggling financially by coming to USC, which denies international students financial aid and have stringent financial policies not directed towards domestic students. 

For Ming Qu, Ying Wu and hundreds of students like them, USC was a dream school that offered an American education— a prize so valuable that parents would spend their entire lifetimes to send their single child abroad in hopes of providing them opportunities that they themselves were denied during the Cultural Revolution.

Students, community members and faculty of all ethnicities gathered to honor the dead on a windy and solemn night. For Kwon, it was a night that “moved his soul”.

“The Dalai Lama says we focus on the different [sic], but we should actually focus on our similarities. It doesn’t matter when it’s something like this. We are human being. In this crowd there’s African American, White, Spanish. Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Chinese students,” Kwon said, “We are all the Trojan family.”

Reach Associate News Editor Jerry Ting Here



 

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Comments

Anonymous (not verified) on April 17, 2012 4:10 AM

There are always exceptions, but definite divisions tend to exist within the Asian community at USC, particularly between international Asian students and Asian American students. There's no way one can go to USC and not see the general separation between cultures.

Your rating: None
Anonymous (not verified) on April 13, 2012 5:44 PM

This comment section is proof enough that the community is divided. Southern California is a tableau of culture, at best it is a mosaic, but it is nowhere near a unified piece of art. The colors don't blend, they're trapped behind the borders of belittling, critical eyes. Though a glance may not be overt, it can be just as oppressive as hanging a noose. We shouldn't think so highly of ourselves, we're all trapped within the ignorance of our respective cultures. I am grateful for every article that reminds me of the gravity of Earth.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (1 vote)
Anonymous (not verified) on April 13, 2012 5:44 PM

This comment section is proof enough that the community is divided. Southern California is a tableau of culture, at best it is a mosaic, but it is nowhere near a unified piece of art. The colors don't blend, they're trapped behind the borders of belittling, critical eyes. Though a glance may not be overt, it can be just as oppressive as hanging a noose. We shouldn't think so highly of ourselves, we're all trapped within the ignorance of our respective cultures. I am grateful for every article that reminds me of the gravity of Earth.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (1 vote)
Keyshawn (not verified) on April 13, 2012 3:39 PM

How are the Asian students "divided"?? The only transparent divisions are wealthy white students (in the Greek system usually), football players, and everyone else.

Your rating: None
Anonymous (not verified) on April 13, 2012 9:29 AM

"Divided communities" doesn't have to involve fighting or racism. Here it could simply mean a lack of interaction. Very true for USC

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)
Anonymous (not verified) on April 13, 2012 5:09 AM

I'm one of graduate alumni and I graduated from other school in other state as well later. As in 90's, there were several turmoils between men and women students and even among faculity members and staff in USC. They all tried to hide things from LE. I hope university authorities make all the problems clear. There were several murders in 90's but I guess both cases have not been solved. At that time, LE and campus police never reached us and they just talked with some staff members. Ask all the students. They will know.

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Guest123 (not verified) on April 12, 2012 4:46 PM

I just say the school should do more to provide adequate safety for the students. Otherwise there will be less students and parents will choose to come to USC

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Anonymous (not verified) on April 12, 2012 4:14 PM

I am personally tired of media doing their best to portray everything as racial issue. "Divided Asian communities"? How so? When's the last time you saw Chinese people fighting the Taiwanese or the Koreans in L.A.? Give me a break.....

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)
Anonymous (not verified) on April 12, 2012 1:56 PM

The grammatical errors in this article are just brutal. I can't believe they let you publish this. Do a favor to all of us and stop writing.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)
Anonymous (not verified) on April 12, 2012 1:26 PM

The grammar errors in this article are very distracting - I'm surprised that this was even published. I don't think that the Asian community at USC is divided at all just because people are different races.

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