The Perils of Success

Asians have become exemplary immigrants, but at a price

In every way that counts, Took Took Thongthiraj is the personification of American promise. Engaging, intelligent and an achiever, the 22-year-old UCLA senior radiates confidence. "I'm 100% American and 100% Asian," she declares. "A lot of Asian Americans feel forced to choose between the two, which is a message they get from their parents. But I've worked hard to create a cultural hybrid for myself."

The youngest of six daughters born to a Thai couple who immigrated to Southern California nearly 30 years ago, Thongthiraj has posted a perfect grade-point average of 4.0 at UCLA. She hopes to go on to...

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