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It is important to state from the outset that this chapter is not intended to speak for all Asian Americans, but rather a reflection grounded primarily on my personal experience as a first-generation Asian immigrant in the United States. As Jin Young Choi correctly notes, “Addressing what constitutes Asian/Asian American interpretation is an arduous task, and perhaps an impossible one because of the heterogeneity of practitioners and the fluidity of contexts” (2014, 1). I first set foot on US soil in 2009 coming to study at Claremont School of Theology from Indonesia. While I was at Claremont, I also worked with a local Indonesian congregation in Redlands, California, which was in many ways an eye-opening experience to understand the struggle of many immigrants, especially first-generation Indonesian immigrants.1

In spite of having had good professional careers back home, I saw many having to wrestle just to survive economically in the United States—because they do not have strong English ability. Many consequently take low-paying jobs that do not require much English proficiency. Not only does this linguistic struggle thwart their ability to communicate with others, it also seriously affects their socioeconomic conditions. Participation in American socioeconomic life requires one to be proficient in English.


Originally published in The T&T Clark Handbook to Asian American Biblical Hermeneutics in 2018

ISBN: 9780567672629

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