senator gillibrand's "affinity" for asia

Here's something you might not know about New York's new senator, Kirsten E. Gillibrand: she's got an "affinity" for Asia. Or something like that. Way back in her college days, as an Asian studies major at Dartmouth, she studied for six months in China and Taiwan, apparently becoming proficient enough in Chinese to absorb stories in Chinese newspapers, and later spent four months in Hong Kong as a corporate lawyer.

So... she supposedly has history with us Asians: Gillibrand's Affinity for Asia Becomes an Asset. Her Mandarin, however, is a rather rusty now. But she's impressed more than a few folks from the Asian American community with her familiarity with Chinese, and she's hoping to parlay that into support in 2010, when a special election will be held for the remaining two years of the Senate seat.

Can this interesting blip in Senator Gillibrand's background help win over New York's Asian Americans, who make up 6.7 of the state's population? I don't know. Personally, I've never been a big fan of passing out "Honorary Asian" status to someone just because they learned Mandarin, took up a strong interest in Asian culture and spent some time abroad to teach English or whatever. Not quite.

angry archive