Archived Posts - November 2002


This guy, Chris Vu, an MIT student, has advanced to the second round as a contestant on American Idol 2. This article is pretty interesting and gives a detailed account of the audition process: Chris Vu Tackles Obstacles Along Way to Idol Stardom. If anybody knows of any other Asian American American Idol contestants, let me know...


Hey. Been out of town a few days for the holiday... FYI: The previously mentioned Robbery Homicide Division episode was scheduled for tonight. (Watch at your own risk!)


Here is a cause that has just been brought to my attention, from the American Coalition for Filipino Veterans. Got this from a forwarded email:

Time is running out for our 11,000 elderly and sick Filipino WW2 veterans.

Our bill HR 3645 providing VA health care benefits and official recognition for Filipino veterans was passed in July by the U.S. House of Representatives and was referred to the Senate Committee on Veterans Affair. The White House and VA Department support our bill with a budget of $11.6 Million. However our bill's passage has stalled. Why? According to Republican and Democratic staff legislative staff, it is because of "Christmas tree politics," or unsuccessful horse trading.

HR 3645 is being "held hostage" until three senators in the VA committee get their priority bills included and approved by their House counterparts and by the Bush Administration/VA before the lame duck session ends - maybe NEXT Friday. We have been pressing Sen. John Rockefeller (D-West Va), the VA committee chairman, and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Penn.), ranking member to pass our bill on its merits without being tied up to undoable proposals.

A few days ago, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) has personally requested Rockefeller to bring our bill to the Senate floor. We are still hopeful that a compromise could be worked out between the senators involved. As you know, the November 5 election results will dramatically change the leadership of the U.S. Senate and House. Senator Arlen Specter will apparently become the chairman of the Senate VA Committee.

We still have a fighting chance to pass HR 3645. . But we have to ACT fast. The Senate plans to complete its session next week.

Please e-mail Rockefeller and Specter to bring our bill to the Senate floor for final approval.

Copy & Paste the following message. Edit to your style, then E-mail to:



------------ CUT------------

November 15, 2002

RE: VA Health Care for Filipino WWII Veterans

Dear Senator Rockefeller and Senator Specter.

On behalf of our _________organization, I urge you to quickly approve our bill H.R. 3645 that provides VA health care to 11,000 U.S.-based Filipino WWII veterans.

According to a July 2001 health survey, our Filipino veterans are dying at a 57 percent higher rate than their U.S. comrades.

Passage of H.R. 3645 under your leadership would be a honorable victory for our elderly Filipino American veterans who bravely fought as US soldiers in defending our country 60 years ago.

I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely yours,

Your Name


City, State

------------ CUT ------------

ERIC LACHICA, Executive Director

American Coalition for Filipino Veterans, Inc.

841 South Glebe Road NEW ADDRESS

Arlington, VA 22204

Phone: 202 246-1998

Home Office: 301 963-6250

FAX: 301 963-1720

Website: http://usfilvets.tripod.com


Check out the new CD compilation Asiatic, spotlighting Asian American hip hop, apparently available at some Tower Records stores... The CD got a write-up in today's San Jose Mercury News, courtesy of Marian Liu: Hip-Hop Immersion Clear on CD Compilation 'Asiatic'. Messy D, this is the one you were telling me about, right?


Got word of interesting upcoming episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: "Blood Lust," which airs Thursday, December 5th on CBS. The episode shows an unjustified gruesome attack on a South Asian character. The character, an Indian cab driver, having accidentally run over a teen-age kid with his taxi, goes to radio for help. When some thugs misread his intentions for fleeing the scene of the accident, the poor cab driver is beaten viciously by the gang, accusing him of "not knowing the laws of the land".

This sounds like a pretty interesting episode... I'd like to know how it all plays out, and how sympathetically the episode will portray the character. (Thanks to Forest Green)


Microphone Phenomenal, the new mini-project from Philly hip hop act Mountain Brothers will be released on December 10, but you can get it early exclusively at Sandbox Automatic.


The 2002 Broadway Revival Cast Recording of Flower Drum Song will be released on January 7. You can pre-order it now at amazon.com. You can also currently buy the reprint of C.Y. Lee's classic novel.


I never read Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha... Despite all its acclaim, it just never struck me as compelling reading. It bothered me that the story of an Asian woman was being written by a white man. Sort of the same qualms I had with Snow Falling On Cedars. Well anyway, get ready to read the REAL memoirs: Geisha, a Life by Mineko Iwasaki. Iwasaki was the primary source for Golden's novel, but now you get it in her own words: Real Geisha, Real Story


Trailer for Bulletproof Monk, starring Chow Yun Fat and Sean William Scott. Looks cool, in that trailer-looked-kinda-cool-but-the-movie-actually-sucked-a-lot kind way. Stifler knows kung fu??


Some pictures:

Kea Wong as Jubilee in X-Men 2.

Sung Hi Lee as Lady Shiva in an upcoming episode of Birds of Prey.

Lucy Liu as foxy carwash lady in Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle.

Jet Li and DMX as asskickers in Cradle 2 the Grave.

Some Asian dude as some Asian dude in The Matrix Reloaded.


Just got word from the inside... The airing of "Life is Dust," tonight's previously mentioned scheduled episode of Robbery Homicide Division has been postponed by executive producer Michael Mann himself. He wants more post production work on the Vietnamese dialogue (ADR, or "dubbing" by the actors) to improve on the details. An rerun of CSI will air instead. It is unknown when "Life is Dust" will actually air...


Fiona Wong's new album, Missing You Only is now available.


Yao Ming served up 30 points and 16 rebounds in Thursday night's Rockets-Mavericks game (but Dallas won, 103-90), topping his previous personal best from earlier this week.


Check out the video for "Don't Believe It All" by Treble Charger. The entire thing is one big spoof of Asian pop culture. Silly, I know. They throw in some John Woo stuff, Japanese Godzilla movies and kung fu flicks--all lumped in together. Apparently this is all we are good for. Don't exoticize my culture! So is it exploitation or homage? I made up my mind in the last minute and a half of the video, where the band members show up in fu manchu Yellowface. Well I couldn't take that. That's racist! (Thanks to Jodinand)


Die Another Day, the 20th James bond movie, opens in theaters today. I'm vague on the details, but it involves some odd plot involving North Korea (does it really matter?) Pretty boy Rick Yune is in the movie as Zao (whaaa?), a crazy lookin' freak villain. How does he get that way? Watch it and find out! I think I'll pass. The movie also features Will Yun Lee as Colonel Moon, and Halle Berry as a hot lady. I have a strong feeling this film will exploit the sensitive political climate on the Korean peninsula, but hey, that's Hollywood. And James Bond certainly doesn't give a rat's ass.

Speaking of Rick Yune, that boy is sexy, according to People Magazine. Yeah, apparently he's one of the Sexiest Men Alive! Such a prestigious honor. Making us so proud. Sexy is good! Asian men are sexy! Care the banner, man. Co-star Pierce Brosnan says, "He's got a very strong cinematic presence." Yeah, you know I was thinking the same thing when I saw Snow Falling On Cedars and The Fast and the Furious. Oh wait, no I wasn't.

If you can't get enough of Rick Yune, check out this website: RICK YUNE KUNG-FUS THE REST OFF THE SCREEN!. Frankly, I have no idea what to make of it. But I kinda laughed.


Secret Asian Man
Well, I guess you know Angry Asian Man. You must even know Angry Little Asian Girl. But do you know Secret Asian Man? Tak Toyoshima writes and illustrates this humorous and insighful weekly comic strip, regularly featured in various publications and websites. It's a great take on the Asian American experience. Definitely worth checking out. Props.


I just don't understand this. Voters in New Mexico recently defeated a proposed amendment that would have removed language in the state Constitution that prohibits Asian immigrants from owning land. New Mexico and Florida are the last two states to have such a law on the books. Kansas repealed a 1933 state law in May. The language in the Constitution that prohibits aliens "ineligible to become citizens" from owning property was common at the turn of the 19th century and was aimed at Asian immigrants, who came to the West to work on railroads. Apparently, 47 percent voted in favor and 53 percent against the measure. What's up with that? That's racist! Read about it here.


Another racist commercial. Got this info passed along to me via email. The commercial was for Bombardier ATVs, a Canadian company trying to attract American consumers. The commercial belittles Japanese ATVs like Honda and Kawasaki by naming stereotypical icons of Japanese culture, readily equating them with weakness. Essentially, their message boils down to "Asian = weak/submissive, Bombardier (American, er, Candadian) = tough/strong." You really have to see the commercial to get the full effect. Download and view the commercial here: www.bombardier-atv.com

The commercial's full voiceover goes like this:




The toughest super duty ATVs aren't made elsewhere.

They're born right here, in the rugged Canadian wild.



Bombardier ATVs. Follow no one.

Bombardier is obviously trying to capitalize and enforce the stereotype that Asians are weak and submissive. This has very little to do with actual all-terrain vehicles, and a whole lot to do with cultural/racial superiority and dominance. Otherwise, what do chopsticks, sushi, bamboo and geishas have ANYTHING to do with this discussion? This an ugly attempt to create an "us against them" xenophobic mentality, the same kind of dangerous sentiments that usually escalates to a whole lot worse in this country. That's racist!

Are you angry? Well, here's some info for you to do something about it:

Consumer Affairs:

Tel: 715-848-4957 (USA)

Tel:819-566-3366 (CDN)

Fax: 819-566-3062


Marketing Department:

Bombardier Recreational Products

75 J.A. Bombardier

Sherbrooke, Quebec Canada


Do what you feel is appropriate with this information.

***Thanks to Henry H. via Megan B.


Movie trailer: The Quiet American. Based on Graham Greene's novel. Looks pretty interesting. Don't like "Exotic Beauty" though.


Lisa Ling will be stepping down as co-host on The View to become the host of National Geographic Explorer. Smart move on her part, I say. But now The View needs a young, hip, "ethnic" replacement.


For those in the SF Bay Area, AsianWeek serves up this cool feature: The Best of the


I was in Houston over the weekend, and although I was near the Compaq Center, there were no Yao Ming sightings (I'm sure he would be very hard to miss). That's probably because he was busy in L.A. scoring 20 points on the Lakers.


Argh. I love Alias, but tonight's episode had Sydney undercover in Japan as a friggin' geisha massage girl. Essentially yellowface. I know half the fun of Alias is the undercover stuff, the costumes and the exotic locales, but I wasn't diggin' this at all. It went a little too far. And another thing, I don't know where they shot that scene, but that did NOT look like Japan--and I don't even know what Japan looks like. It looked like they chose some tea garden in L.A. and did the best they could. Thumbs down. (Good episode, otherwise.)

Lucy Liu was a guest voice on King of the Hill tonight. I should mention that Lauren Tom regularly supplies the voice for Minh and Connie on the show.


A sexual predator who often poses as a plumber has assaulted at least 30 San Francisco Bay Area women since April 2000--the most recent attack happened last week. 25 of the 30 women have been Asian. Read more here: Predator tied to 30 local sex assaults.


Forgot to mention this bit of info I received the other day:

I was suprised to see an "Asian-American" category on Jeorpardy yesterday the 14th . . needless to say, the 3 white contestants didn't choose the category until every other single space was finished with. . . they fared pretty well though, but the questions were pretty easy . .

That is weird.


Michelle Krusiec and Tzi Ma guest starred on ER last night. Too bad their plot revolved around immigrant indentured servitude. That's racist!


Did you hear Justin Lin talking about Better Luck Tomorrow on Talk of the Nation? Pretty interesting, although rather short. You can listen to it online here.


Filmmaker Justin Lin will be on NPR's Talk of the Nation today, 11:00am (PT)/2:00pm (ET). I will be tuning in.


Yesterday, NPR's Talk of the Nation spoke with comedienne Margaret Cho. Listen here. Note the caller who actually calls her "Oriental." Guess he didn't get the memo. Notorious C.H.O. is out on DVD next week.


Got this yesterday, everything you'd ever want to know about APA candidates in last week's election:

"Asian Pacific American Democratic Candidates Outnumber Republican Candidates 2 to 1"

On the Ballot Annual Report Shows Asian Pacific American Candidates Fared Well in 2002 Elections

To preview this exclusive report, click on:


WASHINGTON - The number of Asian Pacific American Democratic candidates outnumbered Republican candidates by a 2 to 1 margin in last week's mid-term general election, according to research findings in On the Ballot. The annual report, released just days after the Nov. 5 elections by Rodney Jay C. Salinas, president of the Rainmaker Political Group LLC and principal author of On the Ballot, answers some widely raised questions about just how successful Asian Pacific American candidates are when they run for public office.

The only research publication about Asian Pacific American candidates, campaigns and elections nationwide, On the Ballot is published by the Rainmaker Political Group LLC. First published in 2001, On the Ballot is offered as a public service.

On the Ballot lists the election results of more than 200 Asian Pacific American candidates nationwide and provides statistical analysis and breakdowns based on ethnicity, party affiliation, states, wins vs. losses, etc. The 33-page report also contains summaries and analysis of dozens of campaigns and elections.

"While the nation witnessed a surge of Republican wins on Nov. 5, Asian Pacific American candidates are heavily Democratic by a 2 to 1 margin over Republicans," said Salinas. "The best news of all is that slightly more than half of all Asian Pacific American candidates, 51 percent, won their elections."

"These statistics show us that the vast majority of Asian Pacific American candidates are running for state offices, while Japanese Americans represent the largest number of candidates at 28 percent," added Salinas.


+ A total of 207 candidates were on the ballot nationwide on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2002.

+ Slightly more than half of all Asian Pacific American candidates, approximately 51 percent, won their elections. Forty-eight percent of all Asian Pacific American candidates lost their elections.

+ Of the 207 Asian Pacific American candidates, 65 were incumbents - approximately 31 percent. Virtually all incumbents, approximately 98 percent, won their election - except for U.S. Delegate Eni Faleomavaega (D-Amer. Samoa) who is scheduled for a run-off election, and Jeff Ota who lost his re-election bid for the East Side Union High School District in San Jose, Calif.

+ Asian Pacific Americans Democratic candidates outnumbered Asian Pacific American Republican candidates by a 2 to 1 margin (101 to 52 respectively).

+ Forty-three percent of Asian Pacific American candidates ran for offices in Hawaii, while another 30 percent of Asian Pacific American candidates ran for offices in California. The remaining 27 percent of Asian Pacific American candidates ran for offices in states like New York, Guam (territory), Maryland, Michigan, Washington, among others.

+ The vast majority of Asian Pacific American candidates, approximately 68 percent, ran for offices at the state level. Twenty-three percent of Asian Pacific American candidates ran for offices on the municipal and local levels, while nine percent of Asian Pacific American candidates ran for offices on the federal level.

+ Japanese Americans and Chinese Americans are largest percentage of all Asian Pacific American candidates with 28 percent and 20 percent respectively. Trailing not far behind are Filipino American and Indian American candidates with 13 percent each.

+ With gubernatorial candidate U.S. Delegate Robert A. Underwood (D-Guam) and the late-U.S. Rep. Patsy T. Mink out of the Congress, the total number of Asian Pacific Americans in 108th Congress is seven.

That's a fat load of info.


Despite many emails regarding the Anna Guo case, I wasn't intending to post on it, mainly because it wasn't explicitly apparent that any of what occurred was racially motivated. But I thought better of it. It's necessary to support her and her family, and we need to see justice. Read all about it at http://anna.yellowworld.org/


A literary classic: 12 Chinks and a Woman. That's racist!


Report from the elections this week: Asian American Women Candidates Score Big


Roger Ebert writes about Eric Byler's Charlotte Sometimes, currently screening at the Hawaii International Film Festival. He liked it a lot.


Did I tell you I'm into comic books? Yes, I'm something of a fanboy. There are a considerable number of Asian American creators in the comic book industry... There are also a large number of Asian/Asian American comic characters. With some exceptions, most of these characters succumb to some sort of stereotype. Dudes like Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu. I accept this. Anyway, Min insists that I spread the word about writer/artist Howard Shum, who's doing a comic book called Gun Fu. The premise is pretty rad: "The year is 1936. Cheng Bo Sen is a gun-shooting, kung fu-using Hong Kong cop. Cheng also speaks hip-hop which no one seems to notice. His life becomes even more dangerous when he is recruited by England to help fight the Nazis." It looks kinda cool.


This is from Fred, a friend of mine in Chicago:

I just had an upsetting incident at lunch today. Once of my firsts in a long long time. I was dining at Pizza Hut (which was a mistake I admit) and was the only one sitting at one of the tables. A while later two white guys came in and were seated at a table some distance away. When the waitress came to take their order, they ordered in a mock Chinese accent! What the freak! After they finished ordering, I confronted them and asked, "Were you purposely trying to offend me or are you generally racist?" They became defensive and said that they never actually said anything racist or offensive. I did not want to escalate the incident, so I dropped the matter after making my point. (Plus two against one, the odds were against me if it came to blows.) Still, why would they use that mock accent other than to offend the only other patron in the restaurant... me, who happens to be Asian.

You're damn right, Fred. That's racist!


There is apparently a Shinobi movie in development.


Forgot to mention I caught the end of the Survivor last week... Shii Ann got voted off. It was a good effort, but in the end her scheming ways got her the boot.


I should note that Tamlyn Tomita, Esther K. Chae, Boyuen and Tony Lee all had guest starring roles in last week's season premiere of 24. Tamilyn Tomita also shows up in next week's episode, "9:00 am - 10:00 am."


Check out PoliticalCircus.com's special feature, Top 30, Under 30. For the month of November, they'll be profiling the 30 most influential Asian Pacific Americans under the age of 30. Good stuff. I actually made the 'Honorable Mentions" list! I'm honored. Today's profile is Anida Yoeu Esguerra of I Was Born With 2 Tongues. Check it out.


More on Vietnam's condemnation of actor Don Duong: Vietnamese-Americans outraged by actor's punishment


HeroOH MY GOODNESS. Check out the website for Zhang Yimou's Hero, THE movie I have been anticipating most this year. The trailer looks pretty kickass beautiful. A what stacked cast. Talk about all-stars. How can this not be good? So when is it being released in the US?!

Most likely, this will inevitably be marketed in relation to the phenomenal success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Unfortunately, this is probably the plight for most movies that come over to the United States from Asia for a long time to come.

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