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Journal of Asian American Studies 5.1 (2002) 1-3
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As you will notice, this issue of the Journal of Asian American Studies is very late. The tardiness of this issue is due to a naïve faith in technology and two crippling hard disk crashes at the beginning of this academic year that totally disrupted journal operations, especially with regard to the smooth transfer of journal duties to Robert Lee, the incoming co-editor. I offer this tale of woe as my mea culpa and to avoid the embarrassment, when I next meet my inquisitive colleagues, of explaining how such a smooth operation in the hands of my predecessor could turn so chaotic so fast (even though I may be missing chances of getting meals or drinks from sympathetic friends). The story begins with the seduction of computer technology, which I wanted to incorporate more fully into the journal's operations. To facilitate the processing of paperwork and to save space in a very crowded office (those of you who work in state mandated room spaces will appreciate this problem), all manuscripts, referee reviews, and correspondence were placed into computer data files.
All was going fine until my hard drive disk died of old age during the summer. This was a shock. Everyone knows that the minute you purchase any computer it is already out-dated, but how many people think about the hard drives wearing out because of age? Although I was taken aback, the initial crash was more of an inconvenience as it took several weeks to reconstruct the drive. Once I got up and running, the school technical support staff ordered a ZIP drive for me to back-up all my documents. Then disaster struck. Before the ZIP drive could be installed, I opened an attachment from the Asian American Studies staff secretary. The message [End Page 1] proved to be a hoax as it was not from the secretary but (keeping in the security hysteria of the times), from a cyber-terrorist who had implanted the Sircam virus, a particularly nasty bug that destroyed all the allocation files, i.e., the folders in which each document was stored.
It took another several weeks to recover the documents. While most of the documents remained intact, the retrieved document labels contained only the first two letters, followed by a ~. This necessitated opening every document accumulated over the past sixteen years to locate the files relevant to JAAS. It was a rather disconcerting experience both physically and emotionally. Aging eyes rebelled at the hours of fixating on a screen while opening documents in a flash, then relabeling and allocating the document to the right file. Emotionally, it was exhilarating to recount what has been accomplished, discouraging to see what has been left undone, and depressing to recall events that have been relegated to the labyrinth of the subconscious in the hopes of never being found again.
Of course, it is obvious that these difficulties could have been foreshortened had I taken the time to back-up all my documents and made hard copies of everything. But hindsight is nothing more than self-torture and woeful regret, especially since I have been assured by many of my associates that they are far from religious in backing up their hard drive as well. The difficulty of restoring a sense of normality to the journal was immensely lessened by the generosity of spirit exhibited by the contributors, several members of the editorial board, the co-editor, and Johns Hopkins Press.
Contributors to the journal have had to wait an inordinate amount of time to find out about the status of their manuscripts. Fortunately, to a person, each contributor has been extremely patient and understanding. Since some of the manuscript reviews had been lost and I had an incomplete record of who the reviewers were, I had to rely on the expertise and energies of the editorial board to facilitate completing the review of several manuscripts. Special thanks go to Soo-Young Chin, Peter Feng, Joesphine Lee, Nayan Shah and Rajini Srikanth for taking on...