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12.31.2004

Archived Posts - December 2004



12.31.04

Greetings, on the last day of the 2004. It's been the most eventful year of my life, and certainly in part because of this website. Thank you to all—the lovers and the haters—for making it such a memorable year. Stay Angry in 2005...

12.31.04

The death toll in Asia has reached an estimated 135,000: Aid struggles to arrive as death toll tops 135,000. Makes for a pretty somber New Year's celebration: Prayers substitute for parties.

This site has photos of coastlines of tsunami-devastated areas before and after the disaster, from an aerial view: http://homepage.mac.com/demark/tsunami/

Over the last week, this blog sprouted up and quickly became the premiere site for news and information pertaining to the tsunami relief effort: The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami

12.30.04

From SFGate, a look back at the year's Asian pop culture highlights: The Best, the Worst and the Most Overlooked of 2004

12.29.04

The number gets worse and worse: More than 80,000 killed in tsunamis. It's simply unreal.

12.29.04

An update on the Chai Soua Vang case in Wisconsin: Deer hunter accused of slayings pleads not guilty. Vang waived his right to a preliminary hearing and will stand trial on six counts of murder and three of attempted murder. The trial date is set for September 12.

12.28.04

The number of deaths in Asia continues to grow, with tens of thousands still missing: Asia's death toll soars above 58,000; officials warn of disease. Here's one way you can help... There are a number of relief agencies accepting contributions for assistance that they or their affiliates will provide for those affected by the disaster. NPR's got a list: Tsunami Relief: Where to Give

Here are some articles on reactions from Asian communities here in the States:

South Asian immigrants desperate for information

Asian community reeling

Florida resident raising money for Tsunami victims

After hearing from families, Asians here resolved to help

And finally... Jet Li escapes tsunami with minor injuries.

12.28.04

In the aftermath of Asia's devastating tsunamis, more and more bodies are being found, across eleven nations: Death toll from tidal waves mounts to around 44,000. My prayers are with anyone who has family out there.

12.26.04

This is crazy. Massive tsunamis triggered by the planet's largest earthquake in more than 40 years wiped out coastal areas across Asia as far as 1,000 miles away, killing more than 11,000 people: Asia quake death toll over 11,000. More than 4,500 people are reported dead in Sri Lanka, along with thousands more fatalities in Indonesia and India and hundreds dead in Thailand...

12.26.04

This is from the online edition of Entertainment Weekly, naming "The 5 Worst" in music in 2004:


1 Inspiration William Hung

Compiling a list of the year's dreariest music isn't as easy as it sounds: Sure, tons of discs are released each year that are dull, mediocre, or trite. But it takes a genuine talent ó or lack of it ó to make a truly hideous album. That's the case with this American Idol mascot's cash-in. A racist, exploitive joke seemingly meant for all but Hung, it was offensive in ways far beyond Hung's out-of-tune "singing." That it was a flop doesn't let it off the hook.


It's almost unfair to name Inspiration to worst album of the year. That's sort of the point. I mean, we all knew that right? Nobody is going to tell you William's even a halfway decent singer. But reviewer David Browne gets it right, and picks up what's been so wrong about William's skyrocket to fame from the very beginning.

12.25.04

The cargo ship made it okay to the international space station, delivering much-needed food and supplies: Russian cargo ship carrying badly needed food for astronauts reaches international space station. U.S. astronaut Leroy Chiao and the Russian dude have got the food they need. Merry Christmas.

12.24.04

Friday's Fox Trot comic strip:

Fox Trot

Children, your toys were made by cheap Chinese labor.

12.24.04

Check out this New York Times article on two Broadway stage productions with a reversal of the blackface/yellowface equation—exaggerated, nightmarish representations of whites. In Japanese director Amon Miyamoto's revival of the Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman musical Pacific Overtures, about the 1853 opening of Japan, Commodore Matthew Perry appears as a seven-foot-tall monster puppet, with an exaggerated nose, stringy blond hair and sunken eyes that, at one point, emit beams of light. There's an interview with Miyamoto: When the Mask Is White: Inverting a Fraught Legacy

12.24.04

From NPR... North Carolina is home to some 4,000 Vietnamese Montagnard refugees. For most of the recent arrivals, this Christmas will be their first chance to celebrate openly: Immigrants' First U.S. Christmas: The Montagnards

12.24.04

After his arrest for helping to organize the now-infamous Tiananmen Square protest in 1989, Tao "Andy" Lin escaped from communist China and created a new life for himself in the U.S. Now, he could lose everything he's worked for because he made one big mistake: Tiananmen organizer faces U.S. expulsion

12.24.04

Avon CEO Andrea Jung is featured in Newsweek's "Who's Next 2005": Calling Avon's Lady

12.24.04

America is not quite the international destination for education it once was: U.S. Slips in Attracting the World's Best Students. The article says that applicants from China face more visa difficulties than applicants from any country outside the Middle East. Why? A screening process known as the "Visa Mantis," intended to prevent the transfer of sensitive technology. Ooh, don't let those Chinese students in the country. They will steal our secrets!

12.24.04

Looks like you won't be getting that rare copy of Ghettopoly this Christmas: Feds Seek To Destroy "Ghettopoly". Seized at the border! They make it sound like they nabbed a shipment of drugs or something...

12.24.04

Here's the official site for Gurinder Chadha's Bride and Prejudice. And the trailer is up at Apple.com. The movie opens here in the U.S. in February.

12.23.04

Who's the world's hottest man? Who do women swoon for? Brad Pitt? Hell no. That foo ain't got nothing on South Korean actor Bae Yong Joon, at least amongst ladies in Japan: What's Korean for 'Real Man?' Ask a Japanese Woman

12.23.04

I meant to mention this a few weeks ago, but it slipped my mind. So, Miramax recently released a U.S. version of Infernal Affairs on DVD. The funny thing to me is the packaging artwork. Now, I've seen this movie twice now, and I don't remember a woman dressed like this, holding a gun, at any point in the movie. As you can see, compared to the Hong Kong DVD cover, it operates on a different level of appeal:

Infernal AffairsInfernal Affairs

Which actually reminded me of the U.S. DVD release of Shiri a few years back. Similar packaging tactics:

ShiriShiri

Again, I've seen this movie a few times too, and I don't recall any woman in any scene looking like that... but it certainly catches your eye on the shelf at Blockbuster. I think it demonstrates how U.S. distribution is still trying to figure out how to market Asian movies to American audiences... When in doubt, go for the good ol' guns-and-chicks appeal, I guess.

12.23.04

According to a nationwide poll conducted by Cornell University, nearly half of all Americans surveyed—44 percent—said they think the US government should restrict the civil liberties of Muslim Americans: 44% in poll OK limits on rights of Muslims. Ridiculous.

The survey indicated that 27 percent of the respondents said they supported requiring all Muslim Americans to register their home address with the federal government. Twenty-two percent said they favored racial profiling to identify potential terrorist threats. And 29 percent said they thought undercover agents should infiltrate Muslim civic and volunteer organizations to keep tabs on their activities and fund-raising. Sound familiar? Why didn't the poll just go all the way, and ask if respondents supported rounding up all the Muslim Americans and sticking them into internment camps? Somebody get Michelle Malkin on the phone.

The survey also found that Republicans and people who described themselves as "highly religious" were more apt to support curtailing Muslims' civil liberties than Democrats or people who are less religious. What kind of hypocritical crap is that? For others, suppressing the very religious freedom that allows you to live out and practice your own religion? Mind you, I think they're forgetting that some of the earliest European settlers came to America fleeing religious persecution.

Researchers also found that respondents who paid more attention to television news were more likely to fear terrorist attacks and support limiting the rights of Muslim Americans. Thank you, Fox News.

12.22.04

Looking for some last-minute Christmas gifts? Blacklava's got what you need.

12.21.04

Lan Nguyen is the first Vietnamese America trustee in San Jose's East Side Union High School District, which has a 20 percent Vietnamese American student population: A shift for Vietnamese

12.21.04

Once again, I'm just putting this out there... if any generous, well-funded individual or organization out there wants to send me to the 2005 Sundance Film Festival next month, I would be incredibly grateful. Hey, 'tis the season of giving, right? Surely, we can work something out. Like I said, just putting it out there...

12.21.04

Stephen Chow's long-awaited Kung Fu Hustle opens in Asia this week. Which means, who knows how long till we get to see it stateside. But I can't wait. Here's an article on Chow: Chow Said to Reveres Chaplin

12.21.04

The results are in! What you've all been dying to know... I swear, like twenty people sent me this story. A winner emerges from amongst the unnaturally beautiful: There She Is -- China's First Miss Plastic Surgery. Sickening.

12.18.04

Another article on upcoming plans for MTV Desi: Indian Americans Get Their Own Brand of MTV

12.18.04

Chronicle article on documentary filmmaker Jessica Yu, earning some buzz for her latest work, In the Reals of the Unreal: Oscar winner delves into Darger's 'unreal realm'

12.17.04

This week, I watched Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, which I enjoyed immensely. On the upside, the cast includes Niels Koizumi as Bobby Ogata and Waris Ahluwalia as Vikram Ray, members of the intrepid Team Zissou. On the other hand, the story also figures in an evil horde of Filipino pirates. Boooo.

Speaking of pirates, what's this I hear? Chow Yun-Fat in Pirates of the Caribbean Sequels? Apparently, he'll play the famous 19th century Chinese pirate Cheung Po Tsai for the second and third installments of Pirates. That's crazy.

12.17.04

Oh yeah. USC offensive coach Norm Chow got passed over for the coaching job at Stanford: Harris to Coach Stanford Football Team. Your loss, suckas.

12.17.04

Something else to do this weekend... A fundraiser screening of Lane Nishikawa's feature Only the Brave, a film about the 100th/442nd Regiment and the rescue of the Lost Battalion. This Sunday, 2:00pm, at the Japan America Theatre in Los Angeles. All proceeds will go towards post-production costs.


Only the Brave

The George & Sakaye Aratani Japan America Theatre

244 S. San Pedro Street, Los Angeles

ONE SHOWING ONLY - DECEMBER 19, 2004, 2:00PM

Guest MC: Hawaii's Miss Universe, BROOK LEE

ALL VETERANS ARE FREE

All others, we ask for a $50.00 donation

All proceeds raised will go to the film's post-production costs.

Please make checks payable to: JACCC - ONLY THE BRAVE

Reserve your seats by calling (213) 680-3700 ext.122

Reception immediately follows the screening

Meet the film's stars: Lane Nishikawa, Jason Scott Lee, Mark Dacascos, Yuji Okumoto, Tamlyn Tomita, Pat Morita, Jeff Fahey, Guy Ecker, Emily Liu, Greg Watanabe, Ken Narasaki, Garrett Sato, Michael Sun Lee, Michael Hagiwara, Ken Choi, John Koyama, Ryun Yu, Kipp Shiotani, Sharon Omi, Bob Kubota, Traci Murase, Jennifer Aquino, Gina Hiraizumi, Takayo Fisher and Larry Tazuma


$50 is steep, but it's for a good cause.

12.17.04

Whoa. It's American Desi, the first 24-hour, English-language American television network for
South Asians living in America. The network, which is headquartered in studios in New Jersey and New York,
will offer a full schedule of unique programming geared to the Desi experience and lifestyle, targeting all key Desi demographics and age
groups. DISH Network is scheduled to begin carrying the new network in January 2005.

12.17.04

From Daily Variety, an article about TV diversity:


December 15, 2004

TV skeins don't reflect city diversity

The networks have been slow to reflect the changing demos in major cities
like Los Angeles and New York, according to a study released Tuesday by
UCLA.

The report, compiled by UCLA's Chicano Studies Research Center, found that
of the eight primetime skeins set in Los Angeles this fall, just 14% of
characters are Latino --- and they all appear on the same show, ABC's
"George Lopez."

By comparison, Los Angeles County is actually 45% Latino and 12%
Asian-American. The study found no Asian-American characters on L.A.-set
series.

"Shows set in Los Angeles, the very heart of the entertainment industry, are
among the most segregated series with respect to white, Latino and
African-American regular characters," said Chon Noriega, the center's
director.

The third annual study found the number of Latino characters had actually
declined from previous years, comprising just 4% of all regular cast
members. (Latinos make up 13% of the population nationally.)

The study applauded ABC for showcasing half of all Latino characters in
primetime (13 out of 26), and criticized Fox, WB and UPN for lacking any
real presence.

Looking at other major metropolitan areas, the study found Latinos make up
27% of characters on shows set in Miami (compared with 57.3% in real life)
and just 8% on shows that take place in New York (compared with 27%).


Man, I could have told you that.

12.17.04

Something to do over the weekend, for you Southern California folks... a book reading by Aimee Phan, for her first book We Should Never Meet, a collection of fictional interlinked stories inspired by the events of Operation Babylift.

What: Book reading for We Should Never Meet by Aimee Phan

When: Sunday December 19, 2004 @ 3:00PM

Where: Little Saigon Radio, 15781 Brookhurst St #101. Westminster, CA 92683

Who: Readings/performances by Aimee Phan, Mai Piece, Vannessa Nguyen and more

Who else: Introduction by Vu Pham, PhD

She's a friend of a friend.

12.16.04

Pop Candy's top 100 People of 2004. No real objective science to it—just one writer's look back at the pop culture figures of the past year. Kal Penn (Harold and Kumar), Keiko Agena (Gilmore Girls), and Naveen Andrews (Lost) made the list.

12.16.04

Sometimes the fun in getting hate mail is trying to decipher what they're saying:


FROM: "Joseph M Coleman"

DATE: Thu, 16 Dec 2004 18:34:46 -0800

TO: angryminsoo@angryasianman.com

SUBJECT: Web page

Dude

You need to get a life,and get away from your computer.Maybe look at North Korea theirs something to get angry about,racism against Asians in America?It's not their brother.

[END]


Whose brother? There, they're, their—learn the difference, idiot.

12.16.04

This is pretty interesting: A Whitewashed Earthsea—How the Sci Fi Channel wrecked my books. By author Ursula K. LeGuin.

12.16.04

One of the dangers of lumping us "Asian Americans" all together into one group: Stark Contrasts Found Among Asian Americans. According to U.S. Census data released this week, our average family income tops the overall U.S. figure. However, that assessment definitely doesn't account for the huge socioeconomic disparities...

Indian Americans have surged forward as the most successful Asian minority in the United States, reporting top levels of income, education, professional job status and English-language ability, even though three-fourths were foreign-born.

Meanwhile the data shows struggles among Cambodian, Laotian and Hmong immigrants, reporting continued significant poverty rates, low job skills and limited English-language ability since their flight from war and political turmoil.

I know, I know. We need to be "Asian American." It empowers us. Despite the diversity amongst our many cultures, there are attributes and struggles that bond us. But when you label us the "model minority," people suffer. When you apply a limited understanding of affirmative action, or deny us the need for social programs, people are left behind. And yes, it's complicated, so you have to hear us out. Don't put us in a box, you fools!

Here's a copy of the census report: We the People: Asians in the United States

12.16.04

Astronaut Leroy Chiao may have to come home early from the International Space Station if a Russian supply ship doesn't arrive around Christmas with more food: Food Shortage May End Chinese Americanís Stint in Space Station. Yo, get the man some food. In the meantime, Chiao and cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov of Russia, now two months into their six-month tour, have been asked to eat fewer calories to stretch their rations. What a sad Christmas.

12.16.04

Here's a good opinion piece in the Harvard Crimson, on Hollywood's new favorite trend, remaking Asian movies: Made In China

12.16.04

Neera Tanden is the Indian American in Hillary's inner team. Senator Hillary Clinton, that is, when she makes her re-election bid for 2006.

12.16.04

It appears that Whitney McNally, now infamous for authoring that "Gay or Asian" piece for Details, has left the magazine... and is now a senior editor at Vitals. See here and here.

12.16.04

Ivana, booted off The Apprentice for stripping, has her official website. What, no underwear photos? Fellow contestant Raj has an official website too. No underwear photos there either.

12.16.04

Korean American rapper Steve Kim of Uptown 3000 has been arrested for murder: Rapper Arrested In Connection With Slaying. Another thug life, gone too far.

12.15.04

Playwright David Henry Hwang offers his thoughts on Tony Kushner's Angels In America for NPR's Morning Edition series, "Scenes I Wish I'd Written": David Henry Hwang: Honesty and Identity

12.15.04

By the way, the LeBron James Nike ad might be banned in China, but Hong Kong seems to have no problem with it: Nike to run controversial TV ad in Hong Kong

12.15.04

Man, this is a powder keg... From the Chronicle of Higher Education: Rejected White Applicants Seek $1.2-Million in Damages From U. of Michigan at Ann Arbor. The suit actually also involves white and Asian American applicants, but the headline seems to find it conspicuously unnecessary to mention that...

12.15.04

Looks like MTV wants to get in on the Asian game: MTV to Launch 3 Channels Aimed at Asians in US. In 2005, we'll apparently see MTV Desi, followed MTV China and MTV Korea. As far as I can tell, this isn't a joke. I do wonder what the people behind all the recent Asian American TV programming that has sprung up are thinking...

12.15.04

Asian America is a national weekly 30-minute television program on PBS, talking 'bout Asian American issues and all that.

12.15.04

Hooray for college campuses... and racist graffiti. Your higher education isn't really complete without seeing stuff like this. From the Michigan Daily: Racist graffiti on stalls upsets students. Includes a gorgeous photo of the toilet stall in question.

12.15.04

Get your hands on your very own racist bumper sticker: Anti-Hmong bumper sticker creates a stir. Oh wait: Store to stop selling 'Save a Hunter Shoot a Mung' bumper stickers. Man, it's jacked up that they were even selling them in the first place.

12.13.04

Here's the trailer for Because of Winn-Dixie, the new movie from Wayne Wang. It involves a magical dog. This, from the guy who made Chan Is Missing.

12.13.04

Kind of like beating a dead horse, but... The Hollywood Reporter recently named the top "100 Women in Entertainment." Of the 116 women mentioned (116 = 100. Eh?) here's the breakdown:

5 African Americans

0 Asian Americans

0 Latinas

0 Native Americans

0 Middle Eastern/Arab

Yeah.

12.13.04

Ugh. This is rather sickening: China Awaits Crowning of 1st Miss Plastic Surgery, the country's first beauty contest in which every contestant has gone under the knife. It's a sad, sad, sad, sad world.

12.13.04

Korean horror flick A Tale of Two Sisters hits select U.S. theaters on Friday. Apparently, it's a creeper. Meanwhile, it appears the film will be the latest Korean acquisition to get the remake treatment, with rights recently sold to Miramax-Dimension. Haven't seen it, but my guess is, don't wait to see the remake starring Jessica and Ashlee Simpson...

12.13.04

Here's the new trailer for Batman Begins. I am a Batman fan, and it looks pretty cool and all. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, and hoping this film will revive the franchise that Joel Shumacher and Co. effectively rammed into the ground. Anyway, I think I saw a half-second shot of Ken Watanabe in there. And I only got a quick glimpse, but appears this movie involves ninjas too! You gotta love those ninjas.

12.13.04

The Mercury News is running an extensive, in-depth series on Asian Impact.

Similarly, the Philadelphia Inquirer is running a series on Cambodian Americans: Echoes of the Killing Fields

12.13.04

Blacklava is taking pre-orders for their new "Hung Over" t-shirt—dedicated to everyone's favorite American Idol reject.

12.13.04

Fallout from the Chai Vang case: Hunter shootings spawn cases of racial animosity. Who can say they're really surprised about this? And of course, the media jumps on it, because what makes better news than a community divided by racial animosity?

12.13.04

Chronicle article Fred Korematsu: Overturning a wartime act decades later. At 85-years-old, still an icon against government injustice.

12.12.04

In Chinatown, designer goods are just a shady backroom deal away: Ripoffs secretly for sale. It's illegal, yeah. But a real designer is ridiculously overpriced, and you're getting a good deal, right? Not so fast. My take: that Louis Vuitton bag might be a steal, and you might look like hot stuff, but chances are it was made by some old Chinese lady in a sweatshop. You want that image hanging off your shoulder?

12.12.04

So there's this company called Zephyr Headwear, and they have a line of hats called Billboards. They've got a couple of Asian-themed ones thrown in, you know, 'cause that's popular with the kids these days. The one that really bugs me is "Mr. Ho's Chinese Laundry - Ahh-So Clean." Wait, it gets better. It includes a nifty caricature of a Chinese guy—buck-toothed, slant-eyed and complete with pointy hat. Scroll down the list to take a look. You gotta love it. That's racist!

So, some contact info for Zephyr Headwear. Do what you please with this information:

Zephyr Headwear

(888) 282-0994 (US toll free)

(970) 663-3242

(970) 663-7695 (fax)

Suggestions@zhats.com

Sales@zhats.com

CustomerService@zhats.com

WebManager@zhats.com

5443 Earheart Road

Loveland, CO 80538

Also, some Zephyr sponsors and licensors, as listed on their website with logos:

NCAA

700 W. Washington Street

P.O. Box 6222

Indianapolis, Indiana 46206-6222

317-917-6222

317-917-6888 (fax)

http://www2.ncaa.org/contact/

http://www.ncaa.org/mailbox/licensing.html

NHL

http://www.nhl.com/nhlhq/index.html



12.12.04

A U.S. passenger jet, United Airlines Flight 869 from San Francisco, arrived in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday, the first since the Vietnam War ended nearly 30 years ago: U.S. jet flight to Vietnam makes history

12.12.04

Henry Kubota hung onto his little triangle of land near Pioneer Square in Seattle, even after being sent to a Japanese internment camp during World War II. Six decades later, his family could be forced to sell the property to make way for the Seattle Monorail Project: Monorail may sink dream for Pioneer Square's Sinking Ship (registration required)

12.12.04

Looks like CafePress.com has blocked the selling of the "Free Chai Vang" buttons: Site pulls 'Free Chai' buttons. If you ask me, they were in bad taste anyway. I wonder how many got sold...

But then again, if you think the buttons are in bad taste, imagine seeing one of these on the car in front of you...

SAVE A DEER, KILL A HMONG

That's racist!

12.11.04

Newsweek has a fascinating online photo gallery (scroll down) in which artists explore the concept of "whiteness." It's part of a new exhibit about race in America, "White: Whiteness and Race in Contemporary Art," running at the International Center of Photgraphy in New York.

12.11.04

Oceans Twelve opened in theaters this week, and Shaobo Qin is back as the Amazing Yen, the Chinese acrobat dude...

12.11.04

Not long after the Chinese government banned the "Chamber of Fear" commercial for "insulting national dignity," Nike issued an apology to its Chinese customers: Nike apologizes to Chinese for TV commercial

12.08.04

Yao Ming, with a few thoughts on China banning the LeBron James "Chamber of Fear" Nike commercial:


As soon as Yao Ming watched LeBron James' latest Nike commercial, he said he knew it would cause all sorts of trouble in China.

Yao did not seemed offended and laughed when he reminded that he is "a Reebok guy." But he said that he was not surprised that the commercial in which James battles kung fu fighters was banned in China.

"I think it's a cultural problem," Yao said. "There's some things in that commercial that Chinese people did not like to see: the dragons, women's pictures and something else. That's all I know."

Asked if he agreed with the ban, Yao said, "Not all, but a little bit."


Ah, a little bit. Ever the diplomat, Yao.

12.07.04

To all you filmmakers out there, just so you know, the Call-For-Entries deadline for VC Film Fest 2005—the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival—is coming up quick on December 17. Get your film in, get screened, get famous. Er, something like that.

If any of you lucky bums are headed out to Sundance in January, don't miss the Fourth Annual Asian Pacific Filmmakers Reception. Sunday, January 23, 4pm-6pm at the China Panda Restaurant in Park City. Hosted by Visual Communications, NAATA, Asian CineVision, APA First Weekend, and TC:DM & Associates.

By the way, I don't suppose any well-funded organization or individual out there might be willing to finance a Sundance trip for me...? Hey, it can't hurt to ask.

12.07.04

Check out Sae What?, a "Mien Pride" clothing line.

12.07.04

Here's an NPR report on a recent trend in China's booming cosmetic-surgery industry: Chinese Risking Surgery for More Height. Chinese men and women are spending thousands of dollars, and months under medical care, to have their legs lengthened. Yeah, that does NOT sound fun.

12.07.04

My genuine condolences to Cal fans everywhere. Ya got screwed. Meanwhile... don't mean to add insult to injury, but here's an article on USC's Offensive Coach Norm Chow, who helped lead the Trojans to another kickass season: Stanford AD to meet with Chow, Harris; Coach search intensifies this week

12.07.04

This week, President Bush moved to replace Mary Frances Berry, the outspoken chairwoman of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission: Bush Replaces Outspoken Civil Rights Chair. Also getting the boot is the commission's staff director, Les Jin. The eight-member panel investigates civil rights complaints and publicizes its findings. If you remember, four years ago, Berry and the commission were heavily critical of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for his administration's handling of the disputed presidential election won by his brother. Hmmm...

12.07.04

Yeah... I don't think I'm doing to comment on this one. The headline alone should be enough to piss some folks off: What Japanese women want: a Western husband

12.07.04

The Supreme Court passed up a chance this week to consider if states can ban members of the Ku Klux Klan and other groups from wearing masks at public gatherings: Supreme Court Rejects KKK Mask Case. A KKK group challenged as unconstitutional a New York law that allows loitering charges against someone who is "masked or in any manner disguised by unusual or unnatural attire." Man, I say let those racist suckas wear their masks. They have the right to looks like idiots if they want. At least they'll be easily identifiable.

12.07.04

Here are the first few pictures from the set of Memoirs of a Geisha. No doubt, this is going to be a BIG movie. But I still ain't down with it. Is anyone out there involved with this production? Could you tell me if they're all going to be speaking English? A multinational, multi-ethnic cast in story set in Japan, based on a novel by a white dude. That's gonna be fun. And funny (not intentionally).

What looks funnier is this geisha art show spoof in San Francisco: Memoirs of a geisha guerrilla

12.07.04

Somebody is selling Free Chai Vang buttons.

12.07.04

Meet Bernard Kerik, the new U.S. chief of Homeland Security ...and just another American military man with a Korean love-child: New US Homeland Chief Fathered Daughter in Korea. Scandal! Scandal!

12.07.04

What kind of Yellow Peril crap is this? A Chinese company will be scooping up IBM's PC business. Apparently, this is cause for concern—a threat to the American way of life! This cartoon and commentary are not encouraging: Oh, My God! The Chinese Are Coming! Calm down, buddy. Oh, the media and their scares.

12.07.04

Another Zhang Yimou interview at CHUD.com.

12.07.04

By the way, back in July I mentioned Pia, who was in need of a bone marrow transplant. Apparently, a match was made, and she had her transplant on November 24. That's great news. However, there are still thousands of people out there in dire need of a donor. Like the Nguyen brothers: Teen fights for life as 186 offer to help. Want more information? Here is a website: National Marrow Donor Program

12.07.04

Something kind of cool going on this Friday in LA: YellowHouse, a showcase of Asian American musical artists, featuring the likes of a bunch of people I've never actually heard of... but would certainly like to.

12.07.04

Surprise, surprise. China isn't happy with the LeBron James "Chamber of Fear" Nike commercial. They've banned it—China: Ad insults national dignity. Saw that one coming, dude. That's one step back for basketball diplomacy.

12.05.04

Check out the trailer for Ong Bak. Looks like it'll finally making it to U.S. theaters early next year. I saw this movie at SDAFF, and seriously, it has to be one of the most incredible action flicks I've ever seen. Tony Jaa is the new Jackie Chan... and something else. If you're a martial arts fan, do not miss this film.

12.03.04

So, last night on The Apprentice, Ivana got fired for stripping on the street to sell some candy bars. Yay. Said Donald Trump: "You stripped - I'm not hiring a stripper. You made a lot of bad decisions. And frankly, you've lost too much. Ivana, you're fired." You lose your pants, you lose your job.

12.03.04

Eh? Mira Nair will direct Gangsta MD, a Hollywood remake of the Bollywood hit comedy Munnabhai MBBS: Mira Nair to remake Munnabhai!. And maybe starring Chris Rock? This is the same woman who directed Monsoon Wedding.

12.03.04

It's time for more racist t-shirts... like this one. Come on, you racists. That's not even subtle. If you look at the rest of the site, it's more of the same. There probably isn't much use in raising hell about it—it's exactly the reaction they want to evoke. But just so you know, this is the kind of crap that's out there. You and I must keep kicking ass. That's racist!

Or how about these t-shirts, available at Burlington Coat Factory, of all places:

Who Flung Poo Delivery

Madame Wong's House of Tang

Get Lucky By Rubbing Buddha's Belly"

Spotted at the Burlington Coat Factory Store in downtown Pittsburgh, PA. The shirts are manufactured by Red Monkey, who look like they're taking cues from our fine friends at Abercrombie... There's an online petition here: Burlington Coat Factory Stop Selling Racist Merchandise! You can also write to Burlington Coat Factory directly with this online contact form. That's racist!

And, as is my tradition, every time I have to talk about racist clothing, I also give a shout out to Blacklava—clothing for a new state of mind.

12.03.04

Earlier this week, the two survivors of the Wisconsin deer-hunting confrontation joined a community prayer service where organizers urged people to avoid falling into fear and prejudice of the Hmong community... Apparently, someone noted seeing a bumper sticker that read "Save a deer, shoot a Hmong." Please, people: Surviving deer hunters join prayer service

Here's a conversation with Eau Claire, WI city councilman Joe Bee Xiong, a hunter, and executive director of the area Hmong Mutual Assistance Association: Cultural gulf has bred misunderstanding

12.03.04

House of Flying Daggers opens in New York and Los Angeles today. It's good to see Hollywood learning a few lessons (Hero, Shaolin Soccer) and releasing this movie in a timely fashion. (Goodness! These Asian movies can make some money!) Here's the roundup of reviews from Rotten Tomatoes, and here's an article on director Zhang Yimou: Zhang Yimou: Art in Action.

The movie looks gorgeous, and I'm looking forward to seeing it. But here's what's troubling: Everybody is kung fu fighting. Daggers is part of wave of martial arts films hitting America, finally. Now, I'm all for bringing over quality films from Asia, martial arts or otherwise. But Hollywood is all about adhering to one simple formula: if it makes money, keep doing more of the same. I fear that this is more or less all we'll see from Hollywood when it comes to Asian representation. (Is it a coincidence that Zhang Ziyi, who stars in Crouching Tiger, Hero, and Daggers was one of the few Asians who made the "Women in Film" list in Variety?) The powers that be can figure, hey, we've filled our quota of Asian faces onscreen. No need to make room for the other guys (who don't jump off walls or fling daggers). And it'll be more of the same, business as usual. That sucks.

12.03.04

This is a few weeks late, but I've been busy, and I let it get buried by other stuff... So, a few weeks ago, the Hollywood Reporter published its 11th Annual Next Generation Special Issue. A power list of 35 executives in "the business" under the age of 35. No big deal, except that only one person on the list happened to be a noticeable person of color. It seems that the next generation of entertainment executives will be conspicuously lacking diversity. What's up with that? But wait...

The next week, another industry rag, Variety, saluted Women In Film with a special issue. The result: of the 38 women profiled, there are two women of Asian descent—actress Zhang Ziyi and ABC programming exec Andrea Wong. There is one woman of Middle Eastern descent. There are NO African Americans and NO discernable women of Latina descent. Is it so difficult to find people in the industry to represent some diversity out there? I guess so. This is the state of Hollywood.

All this was pointed out to me Jim Herr, an exec at Sony. He wrote a letter in response, and it was published in the November 24 edition of Daily Variety:


To the editor:

I do not wish in anyway to take anything form the talented and hardworking
individuals that were featured in the Women in Showbiz special (Daily
Variety, Nov. 16) However, I feel that there was something lacking from the
list. Diversity.

I honestly don't think that Variety was intentionally being exclusionary.
Sad to say, I think it's just another case of systematic discrimination. But
seriously, didn't anyone there take a look at the issue and say, "Hey, does
anybody else think that these women all look the same?"

Maybe people feel that we've reached a point in our societal development
where color or national origin does not matter - that we look past the face
and focus on the accomplishments and potential. But again, what does that
say? Does it say that people of color have not accomplished anything? Is it
purely statistical? That is to say of the hundreds of professional women
only 5.2% are of color? That's sad if true.

Of the 38 women highlighted in the special section, only one is Asian
American. There are no noticeable women of Hispanic descent. There are
neither African - American nor Native- Americans represented. There was one
individual that may be of Middle Eastern descent. So let's say two total.
Two out of 38 is pretty sad.

Minority groups shouldn't be relegated to special "Diversity" issue but
should take their rightful place along side their colleagues. And if there
aren't any women of color out there in high power positions ... well then...
what does that say about our industry?

The world is changing and the entertainment industry has always lead the way
in social change and reflecting that social change. Variety, as a leading
voice of this industry, should be more aware of the commentary it makes. The
commentary in this case was insulting and sad at best.

James E. Herr


(Thanks, Jim)

Sort of on a related note, They Made America is a PBS series based on a book chronicling 64 pioneers, entrepreneurs and innovators that helped shape America as we know it. And wouldn't ya know it? There are only 5 people of color. Yeah. And none of them are Asian American. (Are you beginning to see a pattern here?) You're telling me that in America's 200+ year history, there are only 5 people of color worth noting, amongst all the other white dudes? This seems like an exceptionally hard slap in the face, considering that the project is called "They Made America." Such a title connotes ownership, inclusion, and investment—a personal stake in where this country came from and where it's going. To employ such a limited view of diversity is to imply that we don't have much to offer, and never did. Who really made America? And who belongs here? Emil G. has a few things to say about this: Glaring Omissions of Masterpiece History

And they want educators to use these materials as teaching tools for students? What a load of garbage. That's racist!

12.01.04

Betty Nguyen is CNN's first Vietnamese American news anchor: CNN's First Vietnamese Voice Attracts Asian Audience

12.01.04

A nifty-looking NAPAWF event going down this Friday evening in Los Angeles... GRAND VISION: an art exhibit and fundraiser, showcasing emerging Asian Pacific American women artists. Proceeds will go to the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum. 6:30pm, five bucks, at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center. See you there.

12.01.04

More items on the Wisconsin hunter shootings... The incident has brought a lot of national attention to the Hmong community: Hmong get closer look since shootings

If anyone's interested, here's a scan of the police report from the shooting.

And from today's New York Times, turns out Chai Soua Vang is a Hmong shaman: Hmong Hunter Charged With 6 Murders Is Said to Be a Shaman