From the Desk Of: Eugene Marlow
Part II: “It’s Suffocating” When Young Women from South East Asia Hit A Cultural Wall

Marlowsphere (Blog #155)

In Part I of this blog (posted last week), Female Student (FS) informed us of the inequities she and other females experience vs. males in the Pakistani culture.

Memorization vs. Analysis or Questioning

EM:  What about formal education in Pakistan?

FS: I completed high school in Pakpattan.  In that region of Pakistan people are very narrow-minded. Very, very narrow-minded.

The teachers have the same mindset as the people living there.  So, they are transferring that mindset to the students. The type of study is Pakistani Girls in Schooldifferent here from there. It was more like reading through the pages and just memorizing them.  There is no creativity and no effort to allow students to acknowledge what skills they have. Students are not allowed or given the opportunity to choose their own field. They are not given choice from the start. That really messes things up when you’re not given a choice in your life ever.

EM:  How come you’re so open-minded?

FS:  That’s an interesting question. I became more open-minded when I came here.  I had the same mindset before I came here. I was talking about this yesterday to my friend. She said “You don’t judge people.” That’s why we have such a good bonding.

I told her I wasn’t always like this. If you met me four years back, I was so judgmental, so narrow-minded that I judged every person I saw. If I look back at myself four years ago, I see myself as a horrible person with the same mindset of the people I criticize now. When I came to America everything started to change. The way I started to look at the world changed.

It really changed for me when my mother was really very sick. She had ulcerated colitis. She was extremely ill. She was on her death bed. I had to take care of her. I struggled a lot in that phase. I had college and housework and I had to take care of my mother. At that time, it kind of changed me because I started to realize about the education I was getting here. I was never allowed, or you could say, that I never really had the chance to acknowledge the talents or skills I have, or what I can really do and really want to do in life in Pakistan.

My parents always told me “We want you to be a doctor.” I was like, “Yeah, I want to be a doctor.” But it all changed when I came here and I really got to know that I don’t really want to be in that field. It would be suffocating if I choose this. I was trying to find myself, where I really stand and who I really am as a young woman. Things started to change for me here.

Queens Borough Community College SealEM:  You started your college career at Queens Community College. Was there any particular course or professor you were taking that helped you change your attitude or perspective or was it just the overall environment?

FS: It was the overall environment, especially two of my professors from my literature class. My one English professor, during her lecture, always used to add some lines out of nowhere that were inspiring and really eye-opening. I found myself catching every sentence she threw at us. I really like the spirit she had. Every time she was teaching something, out of nowhere she just said a sentence about woman empowerment. That was really different for me because I had never been told those things. I came from an area in Pakistan where if a girl is caught with a boy—looking, smiling, holding hands, embracing—she could be killed, as in an honor killing.

My Mother’s Unfulfilled Life

FS: The other thing that was really eye-opening for me was my mother. She’s been through a lot. She was the most creative, most intelligent and the most beautiful person I have known. She had talent to be a writer, a poet, a painter. She wanted to be a doctor but nobody allowed Women in Niqab, Faisalabad Pakistanher to be. Then she got married. Nobody allowed her to write or to paint. She was just told “You are here to serve your in-laws and look after your kids.”

Whenever I saw the inner turmoil she was going through, it just clicked one day that I don’t want to have her life. I don’t want to be oppressed like she has been all her life. I don’t want to be in a relationship similar to my mother’s. I don’t want my children to see the same thing that I am seeing every day. In some ways, I always, always got inspiration from my mother. She is an ideal for me because you can say that her mindset is different from the people from our culture. When I was younger, she always told me “I don’t like how you think.”

EM:  She said that to you?

FS: Yes. Often, my mother told me when I was younger, when I wasn’t like how I am right now, she would scold me about not doing the right thing for myself. At that time, I didn’t understand because I was with people who thought it was the right thing to think like everybody else in a narrow-minded way. Even while living among those people in Pakistan for a lot of years, she didn’t change her mindset. Even after a lot of opportunities were snatched away from her, a lot of jobs that she wanted to do, she didn’t change herself to go after them. I think the biggest eye-opener for me is my mother’s plight changed me as a person while I was looking after her and taking care of her when she was sick.  I realized I am inspired by her, but I don’t want to be in the situation she is in right now.

EM:  She survived COVID?

FS:  Yes, she is so much better and she is recovering. Even from after COVID, her situation changed, she got much better. She was on steroids before COVID but she had to quit them because when you have COVID and are taking steroids the situation gets worse so she had to quit them. Steroids are the type of drug that when quit them without any tapering your body goes through a withdrawal and causes a bad reaction. Her condition really worsened after that.  When she recovered from the after-effects of quitting steroids, then she started to get better.  Her treatment is continuing so she’s much better than three years back or so.

EM:  Does your mother work or is she a housewife who takes care of the kids and your father?

FS: She’s a housewife.

Navigating the Future

Men On Public Transportation, Besham City, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, PakistanEM:  What are you going to do when you graduate? Are you going to say bye-bye to your parents and go off on your own?  What do you foresee yourself doing if you want to have your own life and your own values and you want to marry someone you really love and have children with that person?  What do you want to do?

FS:  I’m not sure. The situation right now is that my father twice a week talks about my marriage. He says: “Once you graduate you will get married. You’re going back to Pakistan.  We will look for a suitable person for you and then you will marry that guy.”

One day, I asked my mother “What if I want to get married to a person I like?” She said I don’t have that choice. My father will never agree.  However good or nice the person is, my father will never agree.  He wants me to marry the person he chooses for me. I don’t want that. I know what he thinks about the world, of the life, of how he thinks a woman should lead her life. It doesn’t resonate with my beliefs and I don’t want that. So, what I have thought is after completing my bachelor’s degree, I plan to go to law school. I want to delay as much as I can.

One positive thing is that my father is not that adamant. He does listen to me when I’m trying to prove my point. Sometimes when I’m trying to say something, he reacts so negatively that sometimes shuts me up. I try to understand him. I pretend to agree with him and then I try to prove my point. Sometimes it works. I think that If I try to do that, some day he will really see my perspective and from which I want to lead my life.

It’s really suffocating when you’re told that you can’t do the thing you love. You can’t write a poem because “we don’t see it right.” It’s so suffocating. My mom has been through that.  Whenever I look at her face, I feel what she has thought years back. It’s horrible.

EM:  Are there other young women, students like you who are going through the same situation that you’re aware of?

FS:  I think yes. One of my Pakistani friends is from Karachi. She’s not facing the pressure of getting married but she does have parents who are strict and they have somewhat the same mindset as my parents. You get to know people and where they are coming from when you spend time with them. I realize that my fear resonates with hers. What she fears, I fear.

Marriage is a big responsibility. You have to take care of yourself, the person you are with and then when you have kids, it triples the "Men are not told what it's really like to be a good man. . . . they don't take care of their women, how to treat their daughters, how to respect women. They are not told."responsibility.  For us, especially in East Asian countries, not only are you taking care of your husband and your kids, you also have to look after your in-laws.

In the summer, we were living in my uncle’s house. His wife was working 24/7. She had to take care of the guests, look after her kids and look after other people living in the house. She is only one person. Can you believe it?

She’s so fragile that I had no words for what she is going through.  Nobody realizes that. Men don’t realize how their wives suffer because they have never been told. When they’re never told, they don’t know how to take care of their women, how to treat their daughters, how to respect women. They are not told.

I think they are more concentrated about keeping narrow tradition of what are “good girls” or “good women.” Men need to be told what it’s really like to be a good man. When you impose your narrow view, your beliefs and your actions on another person, you destroy them. It’s like killing them. Men never realize that and no one has made them realize that.

EM:  It’s not built into the culture?

FS:  No, it’s not.

NOTE: The images in this blog are from Creative Common License stock and do not reflect any of the individuals mentioned in the blog.

Eugene Marlow, MBA, Ph.D., © 2022

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Part I: “It’s Suffocating” When Young Women From South East Asia Hit A Cultural Wall

Marlowsphere (Blog #154)

Pakistan, literacy, Women, IndependenceQuestion: 

What happens when a young person, especially a young female person from a conservative South East Asia family and country, comes to study at a college in the United States where the values concerning male and female roles, dating and marriage are out of step with the more liberal values surrounding male and female roles, dating and marriage in many American colleges?


They hit a cultural wall, not necessarily with their new found student peers, but with their own family and country-of-origin traditions.

It is a difficult and stressful situation for the female student. On the one hand, the female student wants to do well and achieve a higher learning status. On the other hand, the parents, especially the fathers, are more concerned about marrying the daughter off, regardless of the daughter’s intellectual potential and prowess. It is a about individual freedom of expression vs. adherence to entrenched adherence to hundreds, perhaps thousands of years of immovable cultural traditions.

This cultural conflict of values—essentially a double standard: one for male and one for female with South Asian backgrounds—was brought home to me late last year when one of my students who is Pakistani approached me seeking help with this familiar story. It is made worse by the context of the pandemic. Many people from this region of the world believe the COVID-19 vaccine is for controlling people.

There is a strong correlation between these “beliefs” and illiteracy. Pakistan—a nuclear-armed nation—has a literacy rate of about 62 percent—out of 227 million people. This means millions of Pakistanis are illiterate, especially women. Innovation, for example, in Pakistan is very low. Little is invested in education.

What follows is the interview I conducted with this student. Her name has been changed to “female student” (and abbreviated to FS:) to protect her from possible harmful consequences meted out by her parents or her cultural community.

“I went back to Pakistan and there were many people who think the vaccine is there to kill people, to depopulate the world.”To Vaccinate or Not To Vaccinate

EM:  Let’s start with the story you were telling me a few weeks ago about your family and their response to vaccination mandates.

FS: It’s all about the fake news and the people. People in my family look more to the videos on YouTube and they believe those stories. For example, some of my relatives came from Pakistan two months ago.  We tried to convince them to be vaccinated, but they were hesitant because they believed the vaccine had a chip in it and then it could get injected in our bodies and they can control us and we won’t have any control over our minds. It was frustrating because the situation is getting worse and their son was also sick. We tried to convince them, but they were adamant that the vaccine is not good.

Last summer (2021), I went back to Pakistan and there were many people who think the vaccine is there to kill people, to depopulate the world.  They had that firm belief. Even if we tried to convince them that we are vaccinated and nothing has happened to us and they will be fine too, they say, “No, we don’t believe you.”

I realized then it’s not only word-of-mouth that shapes their beliefs on the vaccine but also social media. YouTube especially has very much more to do with it.

My father follows a YouTube channel called Haqeeqat TV. The host just posts a video on YouTube talking randomly about anything and none Haqeeqat TVof his claims make sense. For example, when we got infected by COVID last year, my mother was in hospital. Her condition was very serious. We were sitting in the living room and my father clicked on the video and that host was saying “There is no COVID. There is nothing like that, it’s just propaganda to shut down the world. America is fine. Nothing is happening there.  People are living their lives. It is just us [in Pakistan] who are suffering because of it.” My father wasn’t convinced that guy’s claims were false!

EM:  Are you vaccinated?

FS:  Yeah, I’m vaccinated.  My whole family—father, mother, two brothers—is now vaccinated.

EM:  The relatives that came from Pakistan, they were not vaccinated.

FS:  Yeah, they were not vaccinated.  Do you remember that I told you that I skipped two classes because I found out my friend tested positive and I maybe I was having symptoms and I wanted to get tested?  When I told these relatives that I think I am COVID positive too, they were kind of scared. What I did is scare them more. Then they said they should get vaccinated.

EM:  What part of Pakistan does your family come from?

FS:  Punjab.

“. . . it is common for girls that if they get married then they aren’t allowed to continue their education.”Finish Your Degree So We Can Get You Married

EM:  Please tell me the story about your friend who was about to turn 21 and her father wanted to send her back to Pakistan to get married, so she’s hurrying up to finish her college.

FS: One day when we were discussing about majors and she said, “I’m an accounting major.” She said she was taking summer and winter classes. She was trying to finish college early. I asked her, “why?” She said that “My parents will get me married soon so I don’t want my degree left unfinished.” I was shocked at that time. I thought “Your husband won’t allow you to study if you get married? That is why you are hurrying up?” She was hesitant. She didn’t really reply. She is going to turn 20 in January 2022. She is hoping to complete her bachelor’s degree by 2023. It isn’t clear that she is facing pressure from her family, that she won’t be able to finish her degree after she gets married.

I do know some people from Pakistan where it is common for girls that if they get married then they aren’t allowed to continue their education. Or if they’re working, they aren’t allowed to continue their job. I tried to talk to her about that later too, but she didn’t respond.

EM:  Are you facing a similar situation or is it different with your family?

FS:  In my situation, there is no pressure that I wouldn’t be able to continue my studies. My father, however, wants me to get married after I graduate and he wants me to marry in 2024 or 2025.

I don’t want to get married so early because for me, my age should be 26 or 27 to get married. I believe I will be more responsible and more ready then to get into marriage. I disagree with my father. He thinks you should get your children married at a certain age, for example, 22 or 23.  He is adamant.  He talks about it every day. “Once you graduate, I want you to get married,” he says.

It’s Not the Same for Boys

Men on Motorcycle, Lhore, Punjab, PakistanEM:  Is it the same for your brothers?

FS:  I don’t think so. My brothers are young.  One is three years younger than me. The other is six years younger than me.  One is going to get into college and the other just entered high school.  I’m about to finish my college.

I don’t think they’re going to have the situation like I am. I realized this a month ago.  My f was in a relationship with a Pakistani girl.  He hid that relationship from all of us, but then we went to Pakistan and he told one of my cousins about it who told everyone my brother was in a relationship with a girl.

My mother got to know about it. I was not shocked because I was expecting this because of the kind of behavior he showed.  But I wasn’t as shocked as my mother was. He had normal behavior, but we really didn’t know how my father was going to react. My father was here [in the U.S.] when we were in Pakistan so when we came back, my mother told him.  He didn’t react well.  He just shoved it off.

EM:  So, it’s different for boys?

FS:  Yeah, it’s different for boys.

The next thing I’m going to tell you is much worse. The girl my brother had this relationship with is also from Pakistan, from Punjab.  Her parents eventually learned about the relationship, here’s how. Let me tell you about her brother. Her brother is a college freshman. He has a lot of girlfriends. You could call him a playboy. Everyone knows about it in his house, even his father, his mother, his sisters. He has one girlfriend that he introduced to his parents, his family. But when that boy catches his sister in the relationship with my brother! What he does he do now? He tells this to his parents.

My brother’s girlfriend faces the wrath of her parents. They come to our house and they threaten my mother, my father. My brother was in school. I was in college. They talk to my father and say “Tell your son never to contact our daughter again.” My father was much calmer “I realized what parents think and believe for their daughters is different from what they want for their son.”because he realized the situation my brother was in because he is also from the same background.  So, he was much calmer and he apologized to the girlfriend’s parents.

Then they came again. They said they wanted my brother’s phone to read all the messages, all the pictures of their daughter. My brother said “I won’t give them my phone.” They threatened to go the police. Realizing the situation, my father said that we needed to give them the phone so they can just check it out and they will give it back to my brother. They checked the phone and deleted all the pictures and then deleted all the messages.

On that day, I realized what parents think and believe for their daughters is different from what they want for their son. My dad was outside our home talking to the girl’s dad and I went to my brother’s room and said “You know what. It doesn’t matter that this happened to you but I can realize what the girl’s going through.” Her parents emotionally blackmailed her to cut all ties with my brother. I realized it must have been a horrible situation for her.

I talked to my brother and said “I’m really angry because I know what she’s going through. If I would have been in that situation, the scenario in our home would have been different.” My mother was now calmer, my father was calmer, but if it had been me caught in a relationship, oh my God.

The Culture Clash

EM:  Are you of the Muslim faith?

FS:  Yes.

Men_in_Pakistan_Market PlaceEM:  Do you have a sense that other young women like yourself of the Muslim faith in places like Pakistan are in similar situations? That when they come from those countries to the United States where the cultural mores are different, where young men and young women behave differently?

In the west there are women in their mid-twenties and even thirties who are still single but they have careers. Do you feel like you’re running into a cultural clash because you’re coming from a culture that has very different values when it comes to how a young woman should behave and how much education a young woman should get?

FS: I think yes.  I 100% agree with that. There is not only a culture clash in the United States, but also in Pakistan. The area where I come from, people are not that well educated. They are very narrow-minded. That narrow-mindedness is what my parents took with them when they came here. The people who are from a different area in the same country who have a different mindset, they also have a clash with “. . . 45% of the people want to stand up for women and 55% or 60% of people want to control them.”people who are very extremist regarding their beliefs. Not only about religion, but also about how they want the woman to live like. You can say that 45% of the people want to stand up for women and 55% or 60% of people want to control them.

It’s not only when you come from Pakistan or India to here. It’s also other countries. It’s about the mindset, where they have lived and how their mindset is shaped. That belief then comes in the form of decisions and how they behave with other people. There’s a lot going on. Not only here, but there too.

I have friends there and some of them are married. Half of them quit their education and half of them are continuing their education. Some are continuing their education without getting married. Some of them are getting married by their own will to the person they like and they are completing their education. They are not from the same area.  Some of them are from Lahore, Karachi, some from Islamabad.  Some of them are from the part where I came from.  Each one of them have different lives. They face different situations in their lives and face different hardships.

In Part II of this blog (which will be posted next week), Female Student (FS) tells us how she relates to her parents and  plans to navigate the next chapter of her life after college.

NOTE: The images in this blog are from Creative Common License stock and do not reflect any of the individuals mentioned in the blog.

Eugene Marlow, MBA, Ph.D., © 2022

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Update: The Max Borak Story

Marlowsphere (Blog #153)

This is a follow up to my 2016 blog “Kids + Jazz Alive & Well” about the “Jazz for Kids” program at Jazz Standard.

Max Borak, age 11On October 16, 2016 (a Sunday) I visited the “Jazz for Kids” program at Jazz Standard just off 27th Street and Lexington Avenue (Jazz Standard closed in December 2020 after offering a combination of barbecue and jazz since 2002). I arrived at around 11:30 a.m. It was an amazing sight in this leading basement jazz venue.

The star of the afternoon, for me, at least, was Max Borak, an 11-year-old vocalist who performed Jerome Kern’s Oscar-winning song “The Way You Look Tonight.” Not exactly the kind of tune you would expect an 11-year-old to choose to sing, but then Max Borak is not your usual kid.

I spoke with him briefly after he concluded his rehearsal. Turns out his singing model is Frank Sinatra. Apparently, when he was younger he saw the movie “The Parent Trap” and fell in love with Sinatra’s rendition of the song of the same title. Try to imagine Wayne Newton’s voice in the body of an 11-year-old who is not yet five feet tall. This “kid” displayed poise and audience connection way beyond the norm. His use of the microphone also showed a professional understanding of stage mechanics. I thought to myself, “You’ll hear from him one day.”

Fast forward to December 2021. Keith, Max’s father, reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in doing a follow-up blog about Max. I readily agreed.

Max Borak, age 16Max Borak is now a junior and a music major at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts, one of the specialized high schools in New York City. You have to audition to get in. Following is our conversation:

EM: How did you feel performing at the Jazz Standard at the tender age of 11 years old?

Max: I felt so gifted to be even close to performing on that stage with all my friends and everybody there cheering me on. It was a dream come true and it was worth every moment of it.

EM: When did you realize you could sing and might sing professionally?

Max: I had always been humming tunes in the back of the car. One day I decided to just open my mouth and see how far I could go.  My dad said, “Wait a minute, I hear something.  I hear talent.”  From that moment on I just knew music was part of my life for good.  I was probably maybe five or six.

EM: Why do you sing jazz standards?

Max: I was drawn to jazz standards mostly because of what I feel listening to jazz music. All the swing and all the pop and funk doesn’t get to me as much as jazz. It makes you feel a certain way that you’re somewhere that you can be.  You’re on top of the world. You see it all and you have it all. You’re listening to an Ella Fitzgerald record and you just think, my goodness, it’s such a beautiful, beautiful feeling that I’m having.

I listen to some of the Rat Pack, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. A lot of old classics like that.  I’ve been listening to “King Pleasure,” “Moody’s Mood for Love,” all those wonderful songs that I can just riff off of.

I like to consider myself genre-less.  I see all music as part of what I come from.  But I mostly consider jazz as the single part of my identity that I could never give up.

Max Borak performs with other studentsEM: How do you feel attending LaGuardia High School?

Max: It takes chops. There is some talent there like you would never believe. I am so blessed to have every day to spend with them, learning and perfecting my craft.  I made a promise to myself a while back, when I had the gift of seeing the LaGuardia Jazz Band perform, live, when the Jazz Standard was still open, that I would have the ability to learn more from those knowledgeable people—more than any other people in the City. I got in and got a seat in that school and I’m so glad I did.

There are not necessarily singers in that group, however, the orchestration can take your breath away. There have been plenty of other singers before me that front the jazz band. Currently, I’m the only singer.

EM: What’s in your repertoire?

Max: Songs like “I Thought About You,” “Autumn Leaves,” “Moody’s Mood for Love.” I’ve been thinking a lot about expanding my repertoire, too.  Not only in jazz, but I’ve also gotten into a lot of opera music and solo opera performance.

We’ve been rehearsing an oratorio, Handel’s Messiah. We’ve had the privilege of Juilliard representatives actually coming from across the street to give us feedback. I am humbled that they take the time to see us and to speak with us especially because it’s such a prestigious school.

As a junior at LaGuardia comes with a lot of pressure. Not necessarily bad pressure, but there’s a lot of expectation that comes with being a junior.  It’s my job to deliver on that and make everything worth it.

EM: Who are some of your teachers? And what kinds of courses are you taking?

Max: I study with Mr. Kevin Blancq, Mr. Darrel Jordan, and Mr. Piali.  I’m currently involved in mixed chorus, that is, our chorus is co-ed. That involves tenors, altos, sopranos along with bass tenors which is my range. I’m taking music theory and music history where I’m learning Max Borak performs with quartet at NYC restaurant during COVIDabout the greats and their mark on music history. With classical music, however, we do talk a lot about music invention, music instrumentation, and composition. It’s a very free-flowing discussion.

EM: What about after high school?

Max: I’ll be graduating in 2023. I’m looking for further education, hopefully at a conservatory. I’m very open to the possibility of traveling abroad.  Maybe signing with an opera company or maybe staying in New York and seeing where my talent really fits.  We’re in the land of possibilities, so let that happen.

EM: Where have you performed so far?

Max: I’ve had the pleasure of performing in front of an audience at Lincoln Center and Sardi’s.  I’ve done countless street and restaurant shows in the Upper West Side of Manhattan and the Lower East Side. I’ve performed in the La Guardia School itself–in our little theater that we have in the back.  Other opportunities that I was involved in include the tree lighting in Rockefeller Center. I was involved in a lot of the Italian cultural events in the Bronx. For instance, I was invited to sing at the San Genaro Feast, the big street fair. I was very fortunate to be invited and sing some Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin songs. Everybody loved it.

EM: Who else in your family has the musical genes?

Max: Surprisingly, nobody else in my family has musical talent. My dad will say he can play lead triangle if he really tried. I like to think most of my musical influence came from my dad’s spectrum of music knowledge. He really guided me towards a lot of what his father was listening to when he was a young boy. It made me so happy to see him smile.”

Keith & Max BorakMax’s father, Keith, interjects: “My wife and I didn’t know if we were going to be able to have children. But out popped this beautiful boy with dark hair and light eyes just like my dad. He started humming the songs my dad loved for years when he was about five or six years old.  Then he started to sing them. Unfortunately, Max never met my dad. I’ve always felt like he’s been with Max the whole time. He’s named after his grandfather, of course.”

EM: Who are some of your influences?

Max:  Of course, I’ve listened to the New School jazz repertoire for a while now. Often when I think about what comes next in my musical career, I’ll look back at those before me who put in the dedication and devotion and were stepping up to the plate. There wasn’t the path written before them, so they had to carve the path to get there.

EM: Have you recorded an album or a single track?

Max: I have never recorded an album but would sure love to.  I’ve never quite asked the question of what songs I would pick for my album if I were to do one. Just off the top of my head, I could think of me singing “That’s Life.” Life has ups and downs. I’ve definitely felt that during COVID.  I bet everybody has.

EM: What’s been the biggest challenge for you during the pandemic?

Max: The biggest challenge I’ve experienced dealing with my music this year is I lost my grandmother to COVID. She was very dear to me and my father. It took a lot of strength to keep her in my heart even though I was unable to see her. I was too young to see her. To think of her and not feel sad and not feel doubt and not feel like how can I lose my rock?  She was very important to not only me, but also to my family. All my family. It really weighed us all down.  She had a long life with people who loved her and she cared every moment she had.  I saw the good in every moment she was with me.

EM: Do you have a philosophy of life going forward?

Max: There is no point in not trying.  If you give it your all and you put everything you have into it, then there is no reason you shouldn’t get there. You deserve success as much as anybody else. You give it your all and you are sure as hell not going to take it from anybody else.  If the opportunity is there, why not you?  Make it you.

Eugene Marlow, MBA, Ph.D., © 2022

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18 Film Festival Honors for Eugene Marlow’s “Zikkaron/Kristallnacht: A Family Story” DVD

Zikkaron/Kristallnacht Remembrance of Kristallnacht DVD by Eugene MarlowOFFICIAL SELECTION-Paris Independent Film Festival-2021Nominee-London Indie Short Festival-September 2021Dr. Eugene Marlow’s documentary short “Zikkaron/Kristallnacht: A Family Story” has been an official selection of 17 domestic and international film festivals, including the October 18-24, 2021 Paris Independent Film Festival and the London Indie Short Festival. It was awarded the 2016 John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis in the Field of Media Ecology by the Media Ecology Association. CUNY-TV aired the documentary in March 2020 as part of its “Short Docs” series.

Professor Marlow is a faculty member of the Department of Journalism and the Writing Professions at the Weissman School of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Baruch College, City University of New York (since 1988).

In addition to the above, Dr. Marlow is the recipient of several dozen awards for video programming excellence from numerous domestic and international video/film competitions.

About “Zikkaron/Kristallnacht: A Family Story”

This nine-minute documentary short describes the events of November 9-10, 1938 all over Germany and parts of Austria when, on the pretext of the assassination of a German diplomat in Paris, the Nazis destroyed thousands of Jewish-owned stores, buildings, synagogues, and homes.

The word “Kristallnacht” means “The Night of Broken Glass,” a reference to the shards of broken glass, a result of the destruction. “Kristallnacht” is considered the beginning of what resulted in the Holocaust.

The events of Kristallnacht” are told from producer Dr. Eugene Marlow’s maternal family’s perspective. They were present in Leipzig, Germany, during the event.  His Aunt Ruth (nee Landesberg) who was a child at the time of Kristallnacht, narrates the video. The video contains dozens of historical photographs and film. An original music score was composed and performed by Dr. Marlow and his quintet The Heritage Ensemble.

Generous support for this was project was provided by a PSC-CUNY Award, jointly funded by The Professional Staff Congress and The City University of New York.

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“Jazz in China” What they’re saying. . .

Jazz In ChinaThe documentary Jazz in China was an official event of International Jazz Day, April 30, 2021 where it was available for viewing for 24 hours.

Here are early reviews of the              76-minute documentary:


Robin Bell-Stevens, Director and Executive Producer of New York City’s Jazzmobile

“Fantastic documentary!”
Gary Lowe, Jazz Music Director and Producer, WUNH-FM 91.3

“Inspired and inspiring! Academy-award winning for sure! Bravo, Bravissimo! What a topic! So well-done! Major reminder that WE ARE ALL ONE!”
Barbara Glasser

“Just watched the Jazz in China documentary with rapt attention.  Absolutely amazing, absorbing.  It’s a valuable contribution. It really captures the main issues and cultural factors.  I know there’s a lot of wonderful stuff on the cutting floor, as well, but you’ve done a great job of pulling it all together. Bravo.”
David Moser, Ph.D., Academic Director
CET Chinese Studies at Beijing Capital Normal University

“Well, that was a pleasure. Great subject, great characters and a really impressive piece of work.
Well done. Congratulations.”
Paul Thompson, Professor, Film & Television, New York University

“I thoroughly enjoyed Jazz In China. It was both a seldom known history and a heartening reminder that jazz is embraced the world over, by young and old alike.”
Wesley J. Watkins, IV, Ph.D.
Founder, The Jazz & Democracy Project®

“Absolutely awesome! What a wonderful documentary!”
Richard Lalime, F.S.C.

“I was really impressed with the historical details shared and I loved the music. Thank you for introducing me to this! I am excited to see the future of Jazz!”
Stacey Kelly

Click here to Watch “Jazz in China” Trailer

“What a fabulous documentary. Loved the vintage footage, the history, but most of all, loved the music and the musicians featured. A real joy. Thank you.”
Sandy Carp, History Teacher (Ret.)

“Wow, so much fascinating material. I thought the contemporary interviews were powerful and memorable, e.g., ‘Jazz isn’t freedom. Jazz is responsibility.’ That will stay with me a long time. I hope this film gets the recognition it deserves.”
Joshua Mills, Professor & Chair,
Department of Journalism and the Writing Professions, Baruch College, CUNY

“Congratulations! It’s quite an accomplishment!”
Briana Whyte Harris (playwright)

“There are a few western authors and academics, but mostly it’s the musicians themselves. . .we get to see many clips of each of them at their instruments in various venues. It is beautifully collected . . . Bravissimo.”
Robert Barry Francos

“Congratulations! Jazz In China was extraordinary! All research, interviewees, archival film footage are amazing!”
Ellen B. Stern

“Great job with the documentary! Is there a way to show it to my students?”
Ben Lapidus, Ph.D., Professor, John Jay College of Justice

“I found it informative on the history of jazz in China. Thought the cinematography was super.”
Colette Desbas

“My husband and I thought you did a wonderful job – it was informative and engaging.  We had no idea about the evolution of jazz in China. Congratulations!”
Sue Holt/Fleisher

The Jazz In China Documentary was also:

  • Referenced in the South China Morning Post April 28, 2021
  • Chinese Global Television Network (CGTN) profiled Dr. Eugene Marlow
    and the documentary April 29, 2021
  • Referenced in the Jazz Journal (United Kingdom) April 30, 2021
  • Listed as an official event of International Jazz Day, April 30, 2021

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