New California Town Mayor Expresses Pride in Malaysian-Vietnamese Roots

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The California town of Eastvale, which is located an hour east of Los Angeles, has just made history following the appointment of a 25-year-old mayor who is of Malaysian-Vietnamese heritage.

Jocelyn Yow, who is mother to a six-month-old son, was born in the US but returned to Malaysia as an infant and lived in Kedah for a decade, studying at SMJK Keat Hwa in Alor Setar, Kedah.

Yow’s father went to the United States in the 1980s for studies where he met her mother whose family arrived in the US as refugees.

Yow, who studied at the University of California, Berkeley, and is now pursuing a master’s degree in government at Harvard Extension School, is reportedly the youngest woman from a minority race to serve as a mayor of a Calfornia city.

She is an advocate for more female representation in politics.

Eastvale which is located in Riverside County has over 55,000 residents.

Earlier this year, Yow posted on Instagram in celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month:

“My mother and her family had to endure separation, fled Vietnam and came to this country as a refugee at a young age. My dad came here from Malaysia in the 1980s in order to pursue higher education and a better future.

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“In 1996, we had to move to Malaysia when my paternal grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, and I ended up spending more than 10 years there, allowing me to learn more about our family history, heritage and culture.

“Despite having little to nothing when my parents were just starting out in the career, they always emphasised the importance of public service and giving back,” said Yow, who has been appointed to a one-year term. – Malaysiakini