Nix Juban, an Assembly Test Manufacturing senior technical lead at Intel in Chandler, Ariz., shares how her personal and professional experiences across Southeast Asia and the U.S. have impacted her views on the diversity of Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander heritages—and why, together, we must stand against anti-Asian hate.
By Nix Juban
My family is from the Philippines, where I began my career with Intel as an engineer and manager in Product Development. A portion of my job allowed me to travel to Intel sites in various locations. After nine years in the Philippines, I, along with my husband and two kids, made the move to Vietnam to help Intel break ground, and we ended up staying for about six years. Being raised in the Philippines, we learned to speak English quite fluently and most of our pop culture was directly influenced by the U.S. So, when we moved to Vietnam, a lot of that was very different. It was a huge learning curve and culture shock.
I love the culture and diversity my husband and I have been exposed to while working for Intel and in our moves across Southeast Asia. You have to be more inclusive and understanding of diversity when you move from country to country. Typically, everything is lumped into “Asia,” but there are so many differences whether it be religion, culture, politics, etc. I learned this firsthand when we made the move to Malaysia and stayed there for four years. Malaysia is one of the most diverse countries we have lived in. There are three main groups in Malaysia: Malays and Indigenous people, Chinese and Indian people, plus other non-citizens like us. In our travels, we’ve learned so much about the many different faiths, backgrounds, and cultures that make up Asia. My travels for work and vacation to nearby countries such as Japan, Korea, and China allowed me to see even more of this diversity.
In most of the places we have moved to, we’ve found a way to feel connected to a strong community. Community is key to making any place we live feel like home. One way I connected to a community was by joining an Intel Employee Resource Group (ERG). I’ve always felt that sense of community through leading formally or informally through events, get-togethers, family gatherings, etc. Outside of Intel, I found my community through a Filipino church in Vietnam and Malaysia, joining and eventually leading the Tagalog mass choir and worship service. Although my family can integrate very well locally, a sense of community is important and becomes bigger as we move. We’re Filipinos and we’re proud of it, but we are also proud to live in Vietnam, Malaysia, and Israel, and understand and integrate into their culture. It’s important to become allies in these situations as well. You become ambassadors for the places you have been and the cultures you experience.
With our daughter entering University and our son in the last years of elementary school, we realized our nomadic lifestyle, although fun and exciting, needed to come to an end. We settled in Chandler, Ariz., at the end of 2018. We had lived there briefly in 2003, and back then, there wasn’t a huge Asian population. I didn’t see much diversity and representation at the plant in Arizona. Fortunately, though, everyone was very welcoming—and are even more so now.
The stereotype in many countries is that many Filipinos are nannies, caretakers, and nurses. So, upon our relocation, people were surprised when we’d say we worked at Intel as engineers or managers. Because of our many moves, I’ve learned people’s assumptions of others vary from country to country. Respect and perceptions look different based off different Asian cultures. In Vietnam and Malaysia, I led in the Women at Intel Network ERG. This was incredibly eye-opening as I learned that everyone views women’s progress differently. What I view as progress for women is not the same as how someone in Vietnam might view it.
Everywhere we have moved with Intel, we feel respected and secure. It’s a feeling everyone should experience, regardless of location. It’s not always the same, but when you come to work at Intel, it feels like home. At the end of the day, we are all human beings, and we have to understand where the person is coming from. There is so much to take into account with how a person was formed.
This AAPI Heritage Month is particularly important to me because it’s not something we previously celebrated as a whole ERG. Although our Filipino employee network is a small ERG, our sense of community is big in how we stand by one another and the pride we have in our cultures. Our community is a place where people can meet others who are in the same space and are looking for a strong connection with likeminded people. Now more than ever, it’s important we showcase AAPI to celebrate people’s beauty and differences and provide a sense of education to others who may not understand how incredibly diverse our community really is.
You cannot understand AAPI hate by just seeing one action. You must understand history and how our community ended up where it is today. Respect differs from culture to culture. It’s very important to bring this knowledge to and outside of Intel and show value to our different groups. Don’t lump everyone into one community, as there is so much that makes up Asia. We must be more open to learning and having uncomfortable discussions. Our words matter in the way we speak about our Asian communities. We stand in respect and solidarity because we are getting attacked. We are all immigrants from different places. Although we are different, we are standing for solidarity this May.
This month, we celebrate AAPI Heritage Month as a time to highlight the contributions Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans have made to history, culture, and achievements in the United States.
Do you know why May is designated as AAPI Heritage Month? Two reasons:
- On May 7, 1843, the first Japanese immigrant arrived in the United States.
- More than two decades later, on May 10, 1869, the Golden Spike was driven into the First Transcontinental Railroad, which was completed in large part by Chinese laborers.