9.25.2016

Read These Blogs


His brother was murdered for wearing a turban after 9/11. Last week, he spoke to the killer. Balbir Singh Sodhi was shot in front of his gas station on September 15, 2001 -- a victim of hate violence, four days after the 9/11 attacks. Fifteen years later, Rana Sodhi talked to his brother's killer.

Rose Pak, a Brash Force for San Francisco's Chinatown, Dies at 68: Rose Pak, a combative and influential San Francisco Chinatown community organizer focused on Asian American representation in local politics, passed away last week.

The untold stories of Japanese war brides: Kathryn Tolbert, the co-director of the film Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides, remembers her mother and other Japanese women who married American G.I.s in the aftermath of WWII.

Hollywood Under Pressure to Put More Chinese Actors in the Spotlight: Chinese moviegoers are on to you, Hollywood. China's audiences cheer Chinese performers who secure meaningful roles, but cameos tend to fall flat as "flower vases."

"Flower Drum Song," Whitewashing, and Operation Wetback: A Message from 1961: A big-budget Hollywood film with a nearly all Asian American cast, set in Chinatown? With a plot that contains a veiled critique of racist immigration policies? It seems like a dream. But once there was such a film, a lighthearted, fluffy musical called Flower Drum Song.

Director Wayne Wang On 'Chan Is Missing' And The Lack Of Asian-Americans On Screen: In 1982, just two years before the release of Sixteen Candles, Wayne Wang released his groundbreaking feature Chan Is Missing -- a feature film conceived to shatter stereotypes.

Creating the Chinese Superman Was "Fraught with Landmines": Gene Luen Yang says his ongoing DC superhero comic, New Super-Man is about freedom, religion, and self-control.

Gene Luen Yang wins a MacArthur grant 'out of left field, but in the best way': Gene Luen Yang on his recent MacArthur Fellowship award, and his work as a graphic novelist and cartoonist.



Deportations of Southeast Asian Americans: A Glaring Human Rights Issue in an Unjust Immigration System

Guest Post by Mia-lia Boua Kiernan and Chanida Phaengdara Potter


Organizers in Tacoma. (Photo by 1Love Movement)

Last week, war veterans, mothers, fathers, family, friends, and children held signs of pleas to stop deportations of their loved ones. Organized by family members of those detained, and supported by a coalition of API advocacy organizations, people lined the streets of Minneapolis outside Senator Amy Klobuchar's office to demand justice after almost a dozen Cambodian Minnesotans were detained for deportation. This isn't solely in the Cambodian community. Just last year, the story of Lao American DJ Teace aka Thisaphone Sothiphakhak was in the Minneapolis City Pages. "That's the most frustrating feeling. I went through the court system, and literally something 18 years ago came back and made me feel like I was less than human."

9.24.2016

What is American Music?

Guest Post by Andrew Choi



A number of years ago I had a friend inform me that Asian people had no musical history in America, and as such there was nothing particularly Asian about American music culture. This was stated rather matter-of-factly to me, and actually, the sentiment is not uncommon. It gets bandied about in one form or another, either explicitly or by inference, when people talk about American music. American music genres are predominantly characterized by way of musical history, and that musical history is characterized by way of musical icons. Those American musical icons are then neatly segregated by race. Asians are not represented in American musical history by musical icons, ergo, Asians are not a part of distinctively American music culture. Of course, Asian people are welcome to make music in America, but it's not the same thing as being able to "authentically" draw on American historical cultural heritage in the way that others can (or so I am often told). And some version of this story is repeated in casual conversation, by both cultural conservatives and cultural progressives alike.

Of course this makes you wonder. In a society where even cultural progressives are willing to racially segregate musical culture and genres so readily, and where American music is casually defined by way of American history, what room could there be to write authentic American music as an Asian-American, or for that matter as any kind of person who has not yet "earned" their history in America?

9.23.2016

Day in the Life of Bruce Lee: Do You Know Bruce? Part 3

Opens October 1, 2016 at The Wing Luke Museum in Seattle



Bruce fans! Check it. Next week, the Wing Luke Museum in Seattle will open the third year of the Do You Know Bruce? exhibition series -- a unique look at the life, career and philosophy of Bruce Lee. Developed in partnership with Bruce Lee's wife and daughter and the Bruce Lee Foundation, it's the only interactive exhibition, outside of Hong Kong, about the influential martial arts superstar.

Featuring personal family items and memorabilia, Do You Know Bruce? gives both an intimate and wide angle approach to detailing Lee's personal philosophy as well as the external influences and circumstances that helped shaped his journey from a young student in Seattle to a global icon who continues to inspire millions.

Part 3 of the exhibition, opening October 1, is themed "Day in the Life of Bruce Lee" and explores what it took to become "Bruce Lee." You'll get a glimpse of how Bruce Lee approached his every day -- from his personal habits, routines, and work out strategies to his written and visual art, reading, and time with family and friends -- and find your own inspiration and approach to honestly and authentically expressing yourself.

Here are some details on the exhibition's opening day activities:

Angry Reader of the Week: Suzy Nakamura

"Being from Chicago not only defines where I'm from, but who I am as a person and an artist."


Little Suzy and her big bro.

Hello, internet friends. Gather 'round, because it's time to meet the Angry Reader of the Week, spotlighting you, the very special readers of this website. Over the years, I've been able to connect with a lot of cool folks, and this is a way of showing some appreciation and attention to the people who help make this blog what it is. This week's Angry Reader is Suzy Nakamura.

An Homage to the Taiwanese Karaoke Songs of Yesteryear

Guest Post by Wendy Wang



Hi, my name is Wendy Wang. I have a music project called The Sweet Hurt. I grew up listening to a variety of music, but one genre that is as strong as a scent to me is Taiwanese pop and folk songs of the 50s and 60s.

The funny thing is, I didn't listen to the original versions, but the karaoke versions that my parents would sing along to. My song "Spooked" from my new album LP2 is an homage to that. I loved those songs and they still take me away whenever I hear them.

I thought it would be fun to do something special for the Angry Asian Man readers and record a Mandarin version of "Spooked." I'd like to thank my cousin, Vickie, and my mom for helping me with the translation.

Welcoming New U.S. Citizens at Angel Island

Cross-Posted from The Beacon


USCIS Chief of Staff Juliet K. Choi administers the Oath of Allegiance

On Sept. 12, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) welcomed 19 new U.S. citizens at the historic Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco Bay. Angel Island is often referred to as the "Ellis Island of the West." It was used as an immigrant processing station from 1910-1940, primarily for immigrants from Asia, including more than 175,000 Chinese immigrants.

Some immigrants literally carved their feelings into the walls while waiting for their interviews -- writing poetry into the wooden walls of the barracks. The Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation was created to continue preservation and educational efforts at the site.

USCIS Chief of Staff Juliet K. Choi administered the Oath of Allegiance to the citizenship candidates.

In her remarks, she noted Angel Island’s place in American history:

9.22.2016

We're Asian, Female, Kiwi, and Make Scripted Comedy. Shoulda Stayed in Med School.

Guest Post by Roseanne Liang



Here are the cold hard numbers from Middle Earth:

• Almost 12% of New Zealand's population is Asian.

• Over 25% of Auckland, NZ's most populous city where we live, is Asian.

• Only 1% of our TV producers, 2% of our TV directors and 4% of our TV writers identify as Asian.

• We make decent volumes of local film and TV, but we hardly ever see Asian actors on screen, and when we do, they're young female Asians.

If Alan Yang's Emmy wish comes true, and a couple Kiwi Asian parents hand their kids cameras instead of violins, do we really have to wait a generation to get our Fresh Off the Boat?

9.21.2016

Team, We Have To Give Up On "Ninja"

Guest Post by Andrew Ti



Remember this bullshit?

For anyone who didn't see it, or doesn't feel like clicking, this is an insane video of a lady who was on The Apprentice (great pedigree), singing a bizarre racist song called "I want to be NEENJA." I don't recommend listening to this shit for very long, but thanks to Phil for finding this.

The song kicked off a train of thought for me, that ended at this stop. Asian folks: I think we've lost the word "ninja."

9.20.2016

When Faced With Yellowface, FIGHT

Guest Post by Roger Tang



There's no doubt there's been a flood of whitewashing and yellowface on film, TV and stage recently. From a Tilda Swinton impersonating a Tibetan Ancient One to a theatre company performing The Mikado with all white casts, this inundation of cultural appropriation can be discouraging.

But don't let appearances fool you. The community can and does win victories against stereotyping. Slapping hashtags like @whitewashedOUT and #starringJohnCho on social media is only a beginning; activists are doing this and much more, making a definite difference against misrepresentation of Asians in the media.

Let's look at the stage. Everyone knows by now about the Seattle production of The Mikado by the Gilbert and Sullivan Society. An editorial by Seattle Times op-ed writer Sharon Chan kicked off this controversy, which saw daily picketing by grassroots protestors, pushback from the Gilbert and Sullivan Society, and a whole slew of feature articles and editorials, both pro- and against The Mikado.

What also happened, however, is that what followed was a forum involving the general Seattle theatre community. This forum discussed the balance of artistic expression versus responsibility to under-represented communities. Initial expectations were for a crowd of 30-50; instead, more than 300 people demanded to discuss the issue.

9.19.2016

We're Dropping Hints that We Need an Asian American Studies Major

Guest Post by CRAASH

Instagram: @HunterCRAASH


No, but seriously.

Memes aside, the fight for Asian American Studies (AAS) has recently seen an enormous wave of momentum. In this year alone, we have witnessed the huge victory for an AAS major at Northwestern University, the establishment of an Asian and Pacific Islander American Studies Program at the College of William and Mary, the passing of a resolution for the creation of an AAS major through the Student Assembly at Cornell University, the ongoing work by the Task Force on Asian and Pacific American Studies at Harvard University, and more. We even had an awesome Google Hangout on the #Fight4AAS with student groups at Northwestern, Cornell, and Hunter College, 18 Million Rising, and Professor Vijay Prashad! We might even dare to say that we are smack dab in the middle of a new period of the student movement for Asian American Studies.

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