idiot baseball fans in toledo

South Korean outfielder Shin-Soo Choo was promoted to the big leagues last week by the Cleveland Indians, but not without having to deal with some dumbass fans first. Earlier this month, when Class AAA Buffalo, the Indians' top farm club, played in Toledo, fans apparently associated him Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech shooter, and booed him when he took the field: Choo hears boos for wrong reason
Some fans said bad things," said Choo before Monday's game. "It's pretty close to my name. My name is spelled Choo, and his name is Cho."

When asked what the fans were saying, Choo wouldn't say.

"It upset me when a couple of fans talked like that," he said.
Hey fans, you're a bunch of idiots. I know any athlete has to take their share of razzes and boos, but this is just jacked up. And let's face it—that's racist! They see a foreign name, and hey, it sounds like that other Korean guy who killed all those people! That's not only disrespectful to Choo here, it's disrespectful to the all the victims at Virginia Tech, being invoked in a baseball field taunt. Ridiculous.

another stupid shirt

Yet another one to file under stupid racist t-shirts: Where My Dogs At? And in case you were confused, the accompanying description reads, "Everybody knows that the cutest dogs are orange flavored." What sucks is, I kind of like some of the company's other t-shirts. But that's racist!

say no to racist radio

The latest on the JV & Elvis situation... if you're new to what's going on, the 92.3 FreeFM radio hosts aired a racist prank call to a Chinese restaurant earlier this month, which got them suspended by CBS Radio. Asian American community organizations are now calling for their dismissal. If you haven't heard if the offending clip yet, listen to it here or here. Makes you kind of sick, doesn't it? The guys over at Fallout Central have been following the controversy closely. Here's a press release from Senator John Edwards regarding the skit:

Chapel Hill, North Carolina - Senator John Edwards released the following statement condemning the recent radio segment of WFNY radio hosts Jeff Vandergrift and Dan Lay, which included derogatory comments directed at women and the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

"The recent radio skit of these two hosts was beyond disgusting. As individuals and as a nation, we have to condemn this kind of language - there is just no place for it in our public dialogue.

"This radio skit and Don Imus' recent comments show that our country is long overdue for a national dialogue about race, gender, class and what is acceptable in our public discourse. When we tolerate this kind of language, we are essentially sowing the seeds of intolerance. All of us have an obligation to speak out and condemn this kind of language when it's used, no matter who uses it. Together, we can change the dialogue in our nation and more importantly, we can work together to end inequality."

Paid for by John Edwards for President.
And here's a statement from Congressman Mike Honda:

Washington, DC - Congressman Michael Honda (CA-15), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), issued the following statement today regarding a recent segment of CBS Radio's "The Dog House with JV & Elvis," that involved a prank call to a Chinese restaurant:

"The prank call made by radio personalities JV and Elvis to a Chinese restaurant perpetuated dangerous sexualized racist stereotypes about Asian Americans and showed insensitivity to the immigrant experience. In the segment, the caller, with a computerized voice, asked the restaurant's female employee,
Should I come to your restaurant so that I can see you naked? ...That way, I can see your hot Asian spicy *ss.' He told another employee, 'I need shrimp flied lice' and 'some old dung.' The caller said to this male employee, 'Chinese man, tell me about your tiny egg roll... your tiny egg roll in your pants.' The radio hosts ended the call with: 'Tell the hot Asian girl that answered the telephone, I would like to tap her *ss.'

"The segment first aired on April 5 - only one day after Don Imus referred to the Scarlet Knights, the Rutgers University women's basketball team, as 'nappy-headed hos.' What is outrageous is that after CBS rightly fired Don Imus on April 12, the segment was aired again on April 19.

"Currently CBS Radio's sanction, suspension of the radio co-hosts, is a mere slap on the wrist. Mainstream networks should understand the wide influence they wield, and take responsibility to combat rather than perpetuate racial and sexual stereotypes. I call for an apology by CBS and CBS Radio and the immediate firing of JV and Elvis and the show's producer."

# # #
And here's the press release from the Asian American Justice Center:
Asian American Justice Center Joins Advocacy Groups to Condemn Insensitive On-Air Remarks on CBS Radio, Call for Firings

Washington, D.C. - The Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), a leading national civil and human rights organization, and its affiliates - Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Asian Law Caucus and the Asian American Institute - join advocacy groups nationwide in strongly condemning CBS Radio, demanding a more racially sensitive programming ethos, and calling for the firing of two hosts at WFNY, its New York affiliate, following an inexcusably crude and offensive tirade against Chinese restaurant workers on "The Dog House with JV and Elvis."

In the six-minute segment, which aired on April 5 - and re-aired on April 19 - shock jocks Jeff Vandergrift and Dan Lay made a call to a Chinese restaurant in which they ordered "shrimp flied lice," sexually propositioned a female waitress, and referred to another employee's body part as a "tiny egg roll."

"While we welcome the prompt apology from the station and suspension of the two employees, we believe this is far from enough, given the very gratuitous nature of this episode," said AAJC Deputy Director Vincent A. Eng. "We believe the station should terminate them and their producer, and improve and re-issue guidelines for offensive and discriminatory and objectionable terms."

Asian Pacific American Legal Center Executive Director Stewart Kwoh added, "In addition to developing guidelines on offensive and discriminatory terms, those involved with radio production must be regularly trained and reminded of such guidelines, and the guidelines should be shared with community groups so that the station is accountable to our community."

"CBS Radio needs to take steps to ensure that the industry, and its own employees in particular, uphold standards of professionalism that merit their use of the public airwaves," said Malcolm Yeung, a staff attorney at the Asian Law Caucus. "In granting a license, the federal government requires that radio programming be responsive to community needs. Continuing to employ racist shock jocks violates this criteria."

"I find it appalling that this kind of outrageous behavior was allowed on the airwaves, and only merits a suspension," said Tuyet Le, executive director of the Asian American Institute in Chicago. "Radio executives should show greater responsibility by firing these employees."

# # #
Seems like everyone is joining the fray. Do not let up on the pressure! Here's a list of key contacts behind the show that need to hear from you:

Thomas Chiusano, President and General Manager
WFNY 92.3 Free FM
40 W 57th St, Fl 14
New York, NY 10019-4001
(212) 314-9231

Leslie Moonves, President & CEO
51 West 52nd Street
New York, NY

John Mainelli, Program Director, WFNY, 92.3 Free FM
40 W 57th St, Fl 14
New York, NY 10019-4001
(212) 314-9230

Karen Mateo, CBS Vice President of Communications
1515 Broadway
New York, NY 10036
(212) 846-7638

CBS Radio would like very much for this to just go away... DO NOT LET THAT HAPPEN. The fact of the matter is, there are people out there who feel it's okay to make fun of Asians without consequence. This has gone on for too long. Will you let CBS Radio continue to do this?

discount tickets at vc filmfest

The countdown to VC Filmfest 2007 is on! The festival opens this Thursday, May 3rd in Los Angeles, so take a look at the schedule and scope out what you want to see. There are a couple of special deals on tickets available, but you've got to act fast, because I found out the opportunities actually end today. First, get your hands on the Cathay Pacific All Asia Festival Pass—see any five of the festival's internation programs for just $35. That's a pretty good deal, to see films like Taika Waititi's Eagle vs. Shark, Romeo Candido's Ang Pamana, Ruby Yang's The Blood of Yingzhou District, Othello Khanh's Saigon Eclipse, or Lee Jun-ik's King and the Clown, to name a few... Also, if you can get all your friends together, you can save a little green on the ticket price. Groups of 10 or more people can receive a discounted rate of $7 per person for a single screening. To order, call (213) 680-4462 x59. Remember, the deadline to purchase both the All Asia Festival Pass and the group sale is today, Monday, May 30th. So get your tickets and watch some quality cinema...


sun and jin forever

I wanted to mention that last week's episode of Lost was a Jin/Sun-centric flashback, though it primarily focused on Sun... and man, I gotta say how wonderful an actress Yunjin Kim is, when given the chance to show it. They don't give her nearly enough to do on the show. You'll see her next starring alongside Tamlyn Tomita and Kal Penn in the short film Two Sisters, directed by Margaret Cho.

And while we're talking about the best damn Korean couple on American television... the photo above is a gigantic billboard of Daniel Dae Kim rockin' the Gap khakis, spotted last month at Hollywood and Highland. Not bad, Daniel.

And soon, you'll be seeing Sun and Jin will be immortalized as action figures from MacFarlane Toys:

That's Jin held captive by who they thought were the "Others" at the beginning of season two, and Sun in her memorable bikini from the episode "...In Translation." Man, how come the Mr. Eko and Sawyer figures look so badass, and the Jin figure makes him look like a tool? He's tied to a bamboo stick, freaked out and running away! Booooo. That's lame. I guess I wouldn't call them "action" figures, since they look pretty stationary. But I'll admit, I'm a big enough fan that I might geek out and buy them. According to the website, they're scheduled to be released in July.

immigration reform now

I was forwarded this information from the Korean Resource Center... On April 30th and May 1st, more than 500 Asian Pacific Americans, representing 23 states, are gathering in DC to discuss about civic participation and educate the policy makers how the current immigration laws are hurting our families:

Contrary to popular perception, immigration reform affects our community too. To learn more about the gathering in DC, go here: Building America's Future Together: Immigration Reform Now!

abe's apology

Last week, activists gathered in Washington to protest the Japanese government's practice of sex slavery during World War II, as President Bush hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Among the protestors was 78-year-old Lee Young-soo, who was abducted at age 15 by the Japanese Imperial Army: 60 years later, pain still fresh for WWII sex slave. According to this article, with Bush at his side, Abe told reporters he has "deep-hearted sympathies" for what the "comfort women" went through then. He said he spoke with Bush and a U.S. congressional delegation about the issue:
"I do have deep-hearted sympathies that the people who had to serve as 'comfort women' were placed in extreme hardships and had to suffer that sacrifice," Abe said through a translator. "I, as prime minister of Japan, expressed my apologies, and also expressed my apologies for the fact that they were placed in that sort of circumstance."

Bush said he and Abe had a "personal visit on the issue" and that "he told me what was on his heart about the issue, and I appreciated his candor."

"The 'comfort women' issue is a regrettable chapter in the history of the world, and I accept the prime minister's apology," Bush said.
That sounded like an apology, sort of, I think. But hey, who the hell is Bush to "accept" Abe's apology? He's not the guy the prime minister should be apologizing toand Bush certainly shouldn't be accepting. Here's the official statement from Congressman Mike Honda, who sponsored a resolution condemning Japan for the comfort stations and urging Abe to apologize: HONDA WELCOMES JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER'S REGRET ON 'COMFORT WOMEN' ISSUE. Now he is calling on the next logical extension of Abe's remarks, for the Japanese government "to endorse the prime minister's personal sentiments in a formal, official and unambiguous fashion, recognizing that these women were coerced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army before and during World War II."

karin chien on abc news

Here's a brief but interesting ABC News segment that ran last week on Asian Americans in cinema—and the lack thereof—featuring the comments of feature film producer Karin Chien (The Motel, Undoing, Robot Stories): Why Aren't There Asian-American Stars? I find it really odd that ABC News would care enough to dedicate a segment to this topic, but hell yes, there it is. If you're going to have 2 minutes and 22 seconds to talk about Asian American cinema on national television, it's not a bad way of summing things up. Props to Karin, for bringing the plight of Asian American cinema to the mainstream, even ever-so-briefly...

help a grad student

Derek Iwamoto is a doctoral student at UC San Diego, writing his dissertation on how discrimination, racial identity, ethnic identity, and Asian values impacts one's well being among Asian Americans. (Seems like I've heard from a lot of graduate students doing similar research.) He's asking folks to fill out a survey to collect information for his research, and in return you'll be entered to win at least four $50 gift certificates or cash. Maybe some of you out there wouldn't mind taking a few minutes to fill out a survey. Help the guy out! Take the survey here: Cultural Identity and Well Being. Derek thanks you.

assorted community news

Earlier this month, more than six decades after she and her family were relocated and interned at Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming, 82-year-old Esther Nozaki Hashimoto finally received her high school diploma from Mountain View Academy: A grandmother's high school surprise. Wearing her cap and gown, with her daughter, grandson and fellow alumni looking on, Hashimoto was presented with a copy of the actual diploma she would have received in 1943 had her family not been sent away during World War II.

In the cutthroat Chinese restaurant world of San Gabriel Valley, a restauranteur tries a radically different approach to Chinese cuisine—quality service, good ingredients and healthful dishes: An experiment in Alhambra's Kitchen

Another article on the historic Linda Lea Theater in downtown Los Angeles, now being remodeled into the ImaginAsian Center, "an ultra-modern one-screen movie house that will show first-run and classic Asian films": The Linda Lea Sequel. It'll also be LA's first downtown movie theater in twenty years.

Asian American voters are emerging once again as a critical factor in June's Democratic primary election in Edison, NJ: Asians a political force in in Edison. Looks like Mayor Jun Choi really got something started in the community.

Short track speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno, currently appearing on Dancing with the Stars, was recently inducted into his hometown's Asian Hall of Fame: Asian Hall of Fame inducts Olympian Ohno. I was unaware that there was an Asian Hall of Fame.

Paul Wong, a die-hard Golden State Warriors fan, is the guy behind the "We Believe" campaign, started as a way of getting people to believe in the Warriors. Now it's a full-fledged movement: Warriors fan is behind 'We Believe' campaign

Last week in the San Francisco Bay Area, representatives from more than 50 health care and Asian American organizations launched a new major 2-year-long public health campaign against Hepatitis B. The goal is to test every Asian American for chronic Hepatitis B, for those not protected, to get them vaccinated and those who are chronically infected, to get them appropriate medical management: Bay Area Groups Launch Anti-Hepatitis B Campaign. For more information, go here: San Francisco Hep B Free

According to a survey released last week by the Korean Immigrant Workers Alliance, fifteen years after the Los Angeles riots devastated parts of Koreatown, residents are still struggling with low wages, limited healthcare and substandard housing: Poll finds lingering poverty in Koreatown

Throughout the month of May, the Smithsonian will celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with a series of exhibitions, films, performances, family activities and lectures at various museums around the Institution: Smithsonian to Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May. For more information, go here.


theater/performance happenings

Asian American theater/performance news... Lodestone Theatre Ensemble presents its latest show, The Mikado Project—the company's first musical production. The show follows a struggling Asian American acting troupe as it tries to create its own deconstructed, politicized version of Gilbert and Sullivan's classic "Japanese" musical The Mikado, while dealing with grant deadlines, interpersonal problems, sexual/political issues and an ex-lead actor-turned-TV star-turned-has-been. Sounds like a blast. The show runs Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through May 20th at GTC Burbank. To learn more about Lodestone and the show, go here and here. Asia Pacific Arts also has a good piece on the show here.

In Chicagooooo... Asian American comedy troupe Stir Friday Night! presents Premature Infatuation, starring Sayjal Joshi and Steven Yeun. It's about two dudes who teach each other about matters of the heart, or something like that. They've got a bunch of promo videos for the show up on YouTube. Now running through May 18th, Friday nights at Donny's Skybox Theatre, Piper's Alley in Chicago. Learn more about the show and its participants here, here and here.

Here's a brief article on David Henry Hwang, talking about Yellow Face, his first original full-length play in 10 years: Hwang Discusses 'Yellow Face'. Hwang describes it as a kind of a "comic, fake documentary":
The lead character, Hwang explained to much laughter, is an Asian-American playwright named "DHH" who realizes that a white actor has been mistakenly cast as an Asian in the playwright's latest Broadway flop. Because DHH previously led a protest against a non-Asian actor being cast as an Asian character in the Broadway musical Miss Saigon, he tries to cover up his own gaffe. "He doesn't want it to get out…. He wants to protect his reputation as an Asian-American role model," Hwang said. "Hopefully, hilarity ensues."
Sounds really interesting. Yellow Face begins previews at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles on May 10 and opens May 20. Also, David Henry Hwang and Julia Cho will be among the playwrights represented in Ten, an evening of ten-minute plays celebrating the tenth anniversary of Asian American theater company Second Generation in New York: Hwang and Cho Contribute to Second Generation's Ten-Minute Play Event. The show runs this Monday, May 30th and Tuesday, April 1st. To learn more about Ten and Second Generation, go here.

Finally, interested in seeing some Chinese cultural dance? Hell yes, you are. Gloria at tells me that the Chinese Cultural Dance Club at UCLA will present its eighth annual dance production, Lotus Steps 2007 - Inspiration, Saturday, May 5th at Royce Hall. It's an opportunity for guests to learn and explore the diversity of China and the experiences of Chinese-Americans through folk dance, performance art, and music. In other words, it's badass. And best of all, it's free of charge and open to the public. To learn more about the performance, and how to obtain tickets, go here starting Monday, May 30th.

apa house party on may 6th

Calling all APA Democrats... In an effort to get more Asian Pacific Americans involved in the political process, and to highlight the community's issues and voting clout, Asian Pacific Americans for Progress is hosting a nationally networked House Party with the leading Democratic presidential candidates on May 6th. So far, they've confirmed Senator John Edwards who will be discussing his campaign and answering questions. (Senators Obama and Clinton and Governor Richardson have also been invited to participate.) To learn more about Asian Pacific Americans for Progress, or if you want to attend or host a house party, go here for all the information.

shanghai restoration project winners

All right, we've got some winners. Remember the contest from a few weeks back, a chance to win a copy of Dave Liang's Shanghai Restoration Project: Special Edition CD? I was supposed to announce the winners a while ago, but things have been kind of crazy around here the last few weeks. I apologize for the delay. So here are our lucky winners:

Pauline S. of Berkeley, CA
Ramey K. of Austin, TX
Chris D. of Brighton, MA
Phong D. of Florence, AL
Shawn L. of Chicago, IL

Congratulations! They'll be receiving their shiny new CD in the mail sometime soon. The rest of you still wanting your copy of The Shanghai Restoration Project can purchase one here. And if you just can't get enough of Dave Liang's music, he recently dropped another album, a Shanghai Restoration Project EP featuring the vocals of Di Johnston. Get it on iTunes here. Now you're all set.


at the movies...

Opening in theaters this weekend...

Bobby Lee as a washed-up breakdancer trying to get his groove back as Aki Terasaki, aka Chilly Chill, in Kickin' It Old Skool.

Masa Yamaguchi in The Condemned as "Saiga," one of ten death row inmates fighting to the death on a remote island, with the winner earning his freedom. Sounds like a complete ripoff of the truly excellent Battle Royale. That's him with the look of agony in the photo above, getting his arm twisted by Steve Austin.

I should also mention Aaron Yoo as "Ronnie" in Disturbia, which was number one at the box office the last two weekends. I guess he plays the main character's (best?) friend. Also check him out in Desmond Nakano's American Pastime, which is playing next week at VC Filmefest. It'll also be out on DVD later next month from Warner Home Video, on May 22nd. Aaron will also be appearing in the upcoming films Rocket Science and 21 (based on the book Bringing Down the House). The guy is blowing up...

who you calling "chinaman"?

The International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) has accused Ted Kotcheff, an executive producer of Law & Order: SVU, of making racist and sexist remarks, claiming he often refers to Asian Americans as "Chinamen": TV producer accused of racism, sexism. The Hollywood union said it has complained to NBC Universal Television in three instances involving allegations against Kotcheff over the past three years. In the latest allegation, he is accused of referring to a crew member as "Stepin Fetchit," and telling him "get your Caribbean ass out of here -- go back to the Caribbean." I wonder who exactly he's calling "Chinamen" over there, and I wonder what B.D. Wong, who stars on SVU, has to say about Kotcheff... That's racist!

take that, alberto gonzalez!

Carol Lam, one of eight former U.S. attorneys across the country whose dismissals have been the subject of a great deal of recent political controversy, has been named outstanding attorney of the year by the San Diego County Bar Association: Bar association gives ex-U.S. attorney Lam 'prestigious' award. Lam is now a senior vice president and legal counsel for Qualcomm, Inc. Good for her—it's been a hell of a year, and she deserves it.

to all the haters: american born chinese is brilliant

I've been hearing from a few folks who saw Gene Luen Yang's award-winning graphic novel American Born Chinese as a recently "Featured Book" on MySpace. Unfortunately, many of the review's commenters, who obviously have not read the book, are responding negatively to some of the stereotypical imagery mentioned in the review. They are misinformed. As regular readers know, I've talking about this book since last year... I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I love this book. I can't recommend enough. Those offended by mention of the stereotypical "Chink-kee" character should understand that he's meant to represent America's ugliest cultural misperceptions about Asians—read the book first before jumping to conclusions. It's a wonderful work of literature. Pick up your copy here.

arrested for creative writing

More on Allen Lee, that high school kid in Cary, IL who who got arrested for writing a violent, disturbing essay in his creative writing class. His teacher brought it to the attention of the administration, who alerted authorities. Never mind the fact that his writing had no specific threats to anyone or anything... when the Asian kid in your class writes a violent essay, you get him arrested and charged with disorderly conduct: Student writes essay, arrested by police. This kid is a straight-A student, is on the school's wrestling team, has never had history of disciplinary problems, and planned to join the Marines after graduating this year. And now he's possibly facing 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine. Yes, his essay includes references to blood, booze, drugs, stabbing, shooting and sex with dead bodies. Highly disturing. But this is racial profiling and zero tolerance run amuck. More here: Massacre fallout: Charges for essay. And here: Disturbing essay details revealed

film distribution panel tonight at moca

Short notice, but just heard about this interesting event happening tonight at the Museum of Chinese in the Americas in New York: Anything is Possible: Asian American Film & its Distribution. In this roundtable discussion, key individuals discuss innovative approaches to theatrical distribution and what kind of concrete next steps the industry needs to take in order to jump-start the proliferation of Asian and Asian American film in America and abroad. The panel will include Georgia Lee, director of Red Doors; Karin Chien, producer of Robot Stories/The Motel/Undoing; David Chu, Senior Vice President of Programming and Production, ImaginAsian Entertainment; and moderated by Jeff Yang, critic and "Asian Pop" columnist for SFGate.com. Tonight, 6:30pm at Museum of Chinese in the Americas. For more information, go here.


michael kang's west 32nd premieres at tribeca

All right, to all my friends in New York, I have something for you film fans to do this weekend... my buddy Michael Kang's latest film West 32nd is making its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. It's a gritty crime/gangster drama set in New York's Korean underworld, starring John Cho, Jun Kim, Grace Park, Jane Kim and Jun Ho Jeong. View the trailer here. It's gonna be a good-asssss time, so come on out and show your support for Mike and the film. Here's the list screening dates/venues:
Sat, Apr 28, 7:30pm $18
AMC 34th Street Theater 13

Sun, Apr 29, 10:00pm $18
AMC 34th Street Theater 14

Tue, May 1, 6:00pm $18
AMC Kips Bay Theater 15

Thu, May 3, 3:30pm $14
AMC Village VII Theater 1

Fri, May 4, 8:30pm $18
Regal Cinemas Theater 10
Tickets are going fast, so get yours today. Actually, at the moment, online tickets are only available for next week's Thursday show. However, I'm told that even if it looks sold out, you can still buy tickets on the day of the screening. The festival releases tickets in waves, and there are usually plenty of tickets at the door due to no-shows and a chunk of seats the festival reserves for various reasons. So go check it out! And tell them you heard about it here.

Some other noteworthy Asian/Asian American(-related) features screening Tribeca this year include The Air I Breathe, directed by Jieho Lee; A Dirty Carnival, directed by Ha Yoo; Nanking, directed by Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman; Palo Alto, directed by Brad Leong; Planet B-Boy, directed by Benson Lee; and Still Life, directed by Jia Zhang-Ke ...oh yeah, and Rise: Blood Hunter, starring Lucy Liu as a vampire or something, and Watching the Detectives, also starring Lucy Liu. Surely, either of these films will be better than Code Name: The Cleaner.

In the festival's shorts programs, check out Chinese Dumplings, directed by Michelle Hung; Clear Cut, Simple, directed by Vineet Dewan; Going Home, directed by Hung Nguyen; Illegal, directed by Andrew Oh; Miss Chinatown, U.S.A., directed by Kathy Huang; Nagpapanggap, directed by Debbie Formoso; Red Shoes, directed by Li-Anne Huang; and Someone Else's War, directed by Lee Wang. I've seen all of these short films, and they're all quite good. All right? That's a lot of movies.

u.s. troops used comfort women too

This is shocking, yet in way, not-so-shocking... We all know about the Japanese military's sexual enslavement of women during World War II. But did you know that after its surrender—with tacit approval from the U.S. occupation authorities—Japan set up a similar "comfort women" system for American GIs? Yes, American soldiers did it too: Documents: U.S. troops used 'comfort women' after WWII. An Associated Press review of historical documents and records—some never before translated into English—shows American authorities permitted the official brothel system to operate despite internal reports that women were being coerced into prostitution. Tens of thousands of women were employed to provide cheap sex to U.S. troops until the spring of 1946, when General Douglas MacArthur shut the brothels down. Looks like the U.S. has some apologizing to do too...

asian american women in leadership conference

For all you ladies in the Boston area, here's something you might want to check out... the 2007 Asian American Women in Leadership Conference, a gathering for Asian American girls and women, celebrating the theme "Meaningful Leadership: Shaping Our World." Saturday, April 28th, at JFK School of Government at Harvard University. It's going to be an informative and affirming day of panels, workshops and speakers, including keynote addresses by Jeannette Park, Executive Editor of People Magazine, and author/scholar Helen Zia. Presented by ASPIRE (Asian Sisters Participating in Reaching Excellence). For more information about the conference, go here.

disorient asian american film festival... and other opportunities

Check it out, Oregon. The 2nd Annual DisOrient Asian American Film Festival starts today and runs through April 29th with a great slate of Asian American cinema. That's right. Oregon knows how to party. Things kick off tonight with everybody's favorite Opening Night film, Justin Lin's Finishing Game, and continues through the weekend with films like Julia Kwan's Eve and the Fire Horse, David Grabias and Nicole Newnham's Sentenced Home, Ramin Bahrani's Man Push Cart, and then closing things out with Richard Wong's fan favorite Colma: The Musical. It's all happening this weekend, and you're gonna love it, Oregon. For more information, go here.

In other film festival news, the Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival is currently accepting submissions for its 2007 festival. They're the largest Asian film and video festival in Canada, showcasing a little bit of everything. This year the festival will run November 14-18, 2007. The early deadline to submit is June 1st, and the final deadline is June 29th, so you've got some time. For more information, go here.

And over in Vancouver (we got love for Canada), they are now accepting entries for the 11th Annual Vancouver Asian Film Festival, the country's oldest festival dedicated to exhibiting films and videos by North American artists of Asian heritage. The festival runs November 1-4, 2007, showcasing narrative, documentary animation and experimental works. The early bird deadline is next week—April 30—but the final deadline is May 31st. To learn more about the submission guidelines, go here.

And while we're talking about filmmaker opportunities, the Korean Film Council is seeking applicants for it second Filmmakers Development Lab in Hawaii, in association with IFP, Center for Asian American Media, and The Academy for Creative Media at the University of Hawaii. It's a program, sort of modeled after the Sundance Labs, aimed at encouraging and developing emerging Korean American filmmakers to bring their stories to the screen. Last year's fellows include Philip Chung, Abraham Lim, Young-il Kim, Jinho Park, and Mora Mi-ok Stephens. For more information on how to apply, go here. But you gotta act fast—the deadline is April 30 (5pm Korean time).

protest racist radio this friday in nyc

Here's the latest news on the fight against JV & Elvis at 92.3 FreeFM, for their racist Chinese restaurant prank call segment... If you haven't heard if the offending clip yet, it's been taken down from the 92.3 FM website, but you can listen to it here or here. The good guys over at Fallout Central have also uncovered and posted two other previous racist segments by the unfunny pair: "You rike a fortune cookie?" and "Rice pickles." It seems that making fun of Asians is a regular feature on their show. That's racist!

The controversy has reached mainstream media, being reported by the likes of CNN: Shock jocks in trouble. The segment features Vicki Shu Smolin, President of OCA-NY. I cringe everytime I hear bits from that idiotic recording. So what now? The two hosts have been suspended for the prank, but what does that prove? They'll eventually do something like this again, or worse, inspire assclowns on other radio stations to do the same. These guys and their producers need to get canned. Do you want to do something about it? This Friday, April 27 at noon, there will be a rally against hate media outside CBS Headquarters (parent company of 92.3), 51 West 52nd Street (the Black Rock Building, off 6th Avenue). Here are the particulars:
For Immediate Release

Contact: Mr. Sing Yee, Vice President of Public Affairs, OCA-NY: 917-518-8568


What: A coalition of civil rights and community organizations, students, and concerned citizens will rally against hate media in response to the recent segment on the The Dog House with JV&Elvis on 92.3FreeFM.

WHO: Organization of Chinese Americans, Coalition Against Hate Media, Numerous leaders from the civil rights and community organizations

WHEN: Friday, April 27, 2007, NOON

WHERE: CBS Headquarters, 51 West 52nd Street (the Black Rock Building, off 6th Avenue)
If you're free, or heck, even if you're not, make time to show your support and send a message that this kind of racist garbage cannot continue to rot the airwaves. Don't let this controversy just die down and slink away!

Meanwhile, OCA has met with Power 105.1 management about their "Are You Smarter Than An Asian?" morning show segment from a few weeks ago, and has accepted apology: Power 105 Clears the air with apology to Asians. OCA apparently came out of the meeting convinced everyone had a better understanding of their concerns. Personally, I'm not all that impressed. And they should've known better than to produce and air that segment in the first place. But that's how things are. Oh yeah, be sure to read this great blog entry by Professor C.N. Le from a few weeks back, regarding the Imus controversy, because it makes some great observations about racist radio and public reaction: Larger Context of Imus Racist Comments


asian kids, watch what you write

In Cary, Illinois, a high school senior was arrested yesterday on a disorderly conduct charge after his English teacher notified police that an essay he wrote contained "nonspecific references to violence": Essay lands Cary teen in hot water. And oh yeah, the student happens to be an Asian kid. Greeaaaaat. Allen W. Lee, 18, was charged Tuesday morning after police determined that essay references to shootings were alarming. According to the police chief, "The writing assignment depicted violence, was disturbing and inappropriate, but did not contain any specific locations or names." That's no direct threats being made against anyone or anything. Dude, is that reason to call the police? I understand that recent events have put people, especially educators, on high alert, and a violent, disturing essay could be cause for concern. But a violent, disturbing essay written by an Asian student? I think the English teacher saw a few extra red flags. Ya think? Now Allen could be facing some jail time. Disorderly conduct, which is a misdemeanor that carries up to 30 days in jail and a fine, can be charged if someone feels alarmed or disturbed by another's actions. And these days, if you're Asian, people seem to feel a little more alarmed or disturbed...

possible hate crime at auburn university

At Auburn University in Alabama, police are trying to determine whether a reported assault of an Asian student was a hate crime linked to animosity over last week's massacre at Virginia Tech: Attack on Asian AU student investigated as possible hate crime. The alleged attack, which left the victim with injuries including a busted lip and swollen cheek, reportedly occurred three days after the shooting at Virginia Tech. Unfortunately, authorities have yet to determine a motive and have no suspects since the victim says he couldn't identify his attackers:
"He said there were three white guys who assaulted him without weapons," said Holder. "He said there were no witnesses, no one else around. He said he asked them why they were beating on him, and they said it was because he was an Asian."
The investigation is complicated because a cousin of the victim apparently notified the media before contacting police. A police report wasn't filed until two days after the incident reportedly occurred, but officers are trying to determine whether any security cameras might have captured images of the attack. With no witnesses, no description of the attackers, and just the injuries of the Asian student, the situation doesn't look very good to me...

dignity walk for comfort women

The international cry for justice continues... Tomorrow, April 26th at 12:30 pm, Amnesty International USA an 121 Coalition will gather in front of the White House to call upon Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to acknowledge the role of the Japanese government in organizing the enslavement and rape of 200,000 girls and women during World War II. Over the last few decades, Japanese officials have issued various ambiguous statements that fail to acknowledge the historical record. (There was, instead, a private compensation fund created for victims: Japan’s 'Atonement' to Former Sex Slaves Stirs Anger.) The government has never made a clear apology. And recently, Prime Minister Abe launched a campaign to deny that the government was directly involved.

On Thursday, April 26th, Prime Minister Abe will meet with President Bush at the White House: Historical Debate Follows Japanese Leader to U.S. Meanwhile, there will be a gathering in Lafayette Park to honor the courage and hear the testimony of Young See Lee, a survivor of a World War II Japanese military rape camp. Then at 1:00pm, the coalition will begin the "Dignity Walk," a silent, peaceful walk in front of the White House for the dignity of the comfort women, and girls and women everywhere who have suffered from rape, violence and human trafficking. This is a call to action, and they are calling on you to take part. For more information, contact:

121 Coalition
Annabel Park

Amnesty International USA
T. Kumar
202-544-0200, ext 224

121 Coalition

Here's a short video by Eric Byler, featuring Yul Kwon and Jung Sook Park, to help publicize this issue and tomorrow's Walk: Dignity March April 26, 2007. There will also be a Diginity Walk taking place in San Francisco: Thursday, April 26th at 10:00am in front of hte Japanese Consulate Building. For more information on this very important cause, go here.

the real apus

According to the Asian American Convenience Store Association, Asian-born people own close to 50 percent of the convenience stores in the United States. That's 60,000 to 70,000 out of 140,000 convenience stores—a staggering number. I knew it was a lot, but that's huge. Here's a pretty interesting article on the art, strategy and culture of owning a convenience store: Convenience stores

you won't be missed

Whoooooooo. Rosie O'Donnell's controversial stint on ABC's The View will be coming to an end in June: Rosie O'Donnell Leaving 'The View'. Good riddance. Ching chong ching chong Rosie O'Donnell ching chong The View ching chong.


still on our minds...

Here are a couple more articles related to the shooting massacre at Virginia Tech, and some of the implications for Asian Americans in its aftermath...
  • On the edge of the Virginia Tech Drillfield stands a semicircle of stones—33 chunks of locally quarried rust-grey "Hokie" limestone. There is one for each of Seung-Hui Cho's victims. And one for Cho: Forgiveness Emerges in Va. Tech Memorial
  • The reaction from Korean American churches in the local Virginia area where Cho and his family were from: Praying for a 'Troubled Soul' and Mourning for Victims
  • Here's an interesting rumination on the implications of Asian stereotypes after the shooting, by Harry over at the Hyphen blog: Virginia Tech shootings bring out stereotypes
  • The New York Times' A.O. Scott writes about the media's attempts to connect Cho's horrific actions with images from violent Asian films—particularly Stephen Hunter's contrived speculation that Cho was inspired by Park Chan-Wook's Oldboy and John Woo's films: Drawing a Line From Movie to Murder. The killer was Asian, so it must have been Asian films, right?
  • People have been talking about the latest episode of The Sopranos, which happened to feature a young, violent psychopathic Asian male named Carter, played by Ken Leung: Junior Soprano's Link to the Virginia Tech Killings. An unfortunate coincidence, and terrible timing. If this character was played by an actor of any other race, no one would be saying anything...
  • Regarding public perception of Asians these days, I guess this commentary pretty much sums it up: A Bad Week for Asian Americans Gets Worse
And dammit, stories like this one don't help: USC Student Charged In Alleged Assault With Firearm. Zao Xing Yang, 19, was arrested early Sunday when an argument broke out at an off-campus party and the host noticed he was carrying a gun. Yang was charged today with two counts each of making criminal threats and assault with a firearm. You've got to be kidding me!

UPDATE: Add two more to the pile of stories about violent Asian men... this one: Judge declares mistrial in former O.C. deputy case. And this one: Frisco teen indicted on attempted murder charges. Starting to see a very unfortunate trend...

aafilmlab presents an evening with west 32nd

Short notice, but if you're in New York, here's something for you to do tonight... the Asian American Film Lab presents Welcome Home: An Evening with Director and Writers of West 32nd. It's a conversation with director Michael Kang and screenwriter Edmund Lee about the challenges of bringing their new film West 32nd to life. Tonight, April 24th, 7:00pm, at 19 West 26th Street, 5th floor. Should be a pretty fun time, though space is limited, so you gotta RSVP. For more information, go here. The film premieres this week at the Tribeca Film Festival.

fear of asians

The above postcard, recently spotted at PostSecret, got a lot of people writing in. If you're not familiar with PostSecret, it's sort of an online art project where contributers anonymously submit secrets to the site. I don't know if this particular secret is in response to what happened at Virginia tech, but the subsequent email responses to the postcard (presumably from Asian folks) reveal a very different kind of fear:
-----Email Message-----
Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2007 3:33 PM
Subject: Asians Scare Me

Don't worry, after VT, we have more reasons to be scared than you do.
-----End Message-----

-----Email Message-----
Sent: Monday, April 23, 2007 8:02 AM
Subject: PostSecret

I grew up being in fear that I was asian. Now after VT I too am more scared then ever. It's good to see that someone else feels the same way I do . . . That email message made me feel better about the situation we are in now.
-----End Message-----
Fear not, my friends. And to the person who wrote that secret ...what the hell?

the case of hai vo

I believe I wrote about this case late last year... a follow-up on the assault of Hai Vo last November outside a bar in Grand Rapids, Michigan: The Varying Degrees of Hate: the Case of Hai Vo. The assault, an altercation with some racist dudes, landed Vo in a coma, later waking with no recollection of the night, including the faces of those who had assaulted him:
The facts of the night are still under investigation. What is known so far is that Hai had been at the bar with a group of family and friends celebrating a birthday. According to witnesses at the scene, racial remarks were made within the bar at the Asian women with the group. "A white man called over to the group saying that Asian women were cheap and then he held out a bunch of dollars," said Phuong.

As the night came to a close and people left the bar, several fights broke out between those who had been arguing. However, family members and other witnesses maintain that Hai was not a part of the brawl. "He was alone, standing outside waiting for his friend to come pick him up,” said Phuong, "when some guys came up to him and started beating him up."
The question is, was Hai Vo's assault a hate crime? His sister seems to think so. The given details aren't very clear, but I have a hard time believing that race didn't play a factor in this assault. However, for the case to be pursued as a hate crime, "it must be proven that Vo's injuries were caused by racial animus on the part of the perpetrators."
Unfortunately, the article says that the Vo family does not have a lawyer, and are still awaiting the Grand Rapids police department's next step with the case.

tired of tarantino

This is a couple of weeks old, but it's worth a mention... Folks who picked up a recent issue of GQ may have seen filmmaker Quentin Tarantino participating in a bizarre photo spread (presumably to promote the release of Grindhouse) with a pair of naked Japanese models: Quentin Tarantino Gets Tied Up For GQ Photo Spread. In one shot, Tarantino is bound up on the floor by one model while the other attempts to kiss him while hanging from a nearby wall. In another, fake blood spurts out of his body and all over one of the tattooed models after he appears to have been stabbed by a sword. What any of this has to do with Grindhouse, I couldn't tell you. It's Asian exoticism at its worst, involving one of Hollywood's most notorious Asiaphiles. There are scans of the photos here (NSFW), as well as a rant on Tarantino's offenses. Personally, I think I'm just tired of him and his self-indulgence.

john liu appears on power 105.1

This is kind of late, because things got really crazy last week, but here's the response Power 105 sent out to everyone who wrote in regarding the "Are You Smarter Than An Asian Segement?"
From: Little, Helen
Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2007 5:24 PM
Subject: Racist Power 105.1 FM Segment: "Are You Smarter Than An Asian"

On Wednesday, April 11, 2007, a segment aired during The Ed Lover Show with Egypt & Ashy that was offensive to members of the Asian community. Although the segment was not aired with malicious intent, that's no excuse. The segment was immediately pulled and Ed Lover and I publicly apologized on air three times during the morning of Monday, April 16th. The management of Power 105.1 also wishes to apologize to those who were offended by these remarks. Thank you.

Helen Little
Program Director
Power 105.1 - WWPR-FM
Pretty weak, if you ask me. Without an audio clip of the segment, as well as all the other stuff going on, this effort never really picked up steam last week. Community leaders seem to have backed off. It's not very satisfying isn't?

Nevertheless, I received a press release saying that New York City Councilman John Liu will appear on Power 105.1 FM this morning to participate in a live-radio discussion discussing the New York City Council's resolution expressing "profound regret for slavery and historic wrongs rooted in racial and cultural bias." This resolution, formally introduced yesterday by Council Members Liu, Larry Seabrook, and Robert Jackson, officially acknowledges the city's role in sustaining and benefiting from the slave trade: Bill to Apologize for Slavery. The discussion will be broadcast on Power 105.1 FM's "Ed Lover Show" (between 8:15 and 8:30AM) and webcast on the station's website.


someone's gotta go down for this

Oh hell no. Not again. Back to business as usual, my friends. While the Don Imus thing sparked a huge national debate about racist language and broadcasting, it just so happens that Asians actually have to deal with this all the freaking time. Imus' remarks were just plain dumbass and off-the-cuff, radio personalities across the country purposely construct entire prank and skit segments to offend Asians. It happens all the time, and no one does a damn thing. For instance, Power 105.1's "Are You Smarter Than An Asian?" segment from the other week... and now, the latest bit of racist radio to come ot our attention, courtesy of WFNY 92.3 Free FM in New York. On April 5th, "The Dog House with JV and Elvis" midmorning show made a six-minute prank call to a Chinese restaurant, in which a series of unsuspecting employees have to deal with this caller's racist, sexist remarks, while the hosts laugh their asses off in the background:
In the skit, a series of apparently unsuspecting employees of a Chinese restaurant are berated by a caller who tells one woman he would like to "come to your restaurant" to see her naked, especially a part of her body he refers to as "hot, Asian, spicy." The caller also attempts to order "flied lice," brags of his prowess in kung fu and repeatedly curses at several employees.
You can listen audio file of the prank here or here. It's pretty infuriating. The usual, tired-ass racist garbage passing for "comedy" on the airwaves, and we're not taking it anymore. Juvenile and idiotic to the infinite degree, this was a planned, thought-out sketch done expressly to mock Asians and reduce us to the same inhuman stereotypes—a joke to be laughed by all of New York. The segment was replayed on "The Dog House" last week. This got the attention of the Organization of Chinese Americans in New York, who sent out this press release:
Liliana Chen
eLcie Media Services
T: 212-947-3434
E: lil@lilianachen.com


April 22, 2007 - Today, the New York metropolitan area chapters of the Organization of Chinese Americans - New York, New Jersey, Long Island and Westchester/Hudson Valley – expressed their outrage over a recent segment aired on WFNY 92.3Free FM that involved a prank call to a Chinese restaurant. In a letter to Thomas Chiusano, the station's President and General Manager, OCA called for an immediate apology by the hosts of the racist, vulgar and sexist segment, JV & Elvis, their producer and the station. In addition, OCA demanded for the immediate firing of JV and Elvis and their show's producer.

In the segment, the caller begins by telling the first restaurant employee, "I would like some Asian food, son of a bitch" as well as to the second employee, "I would love to have lots of Asian food, son of a bitch." The caller then tells a the restaurant's female employee, "Should I come to your restaurant so I can see you naked? " and continues, "That way, I can see your hot Asian spicy ass." As the caller goes on, he tells yet another employee that he would like some "flied lice," but not "some old dung" and indicates that "I am training in Kung Fu, bitch" before ending with "Tell that hot Asian girl answering the telephone, I'd like to tap her ass."

OCA-NY President, Vicki Shu Smolin, citing the letter, reiterates, "What is especially disturbing to the Asian American community is that the segment first aired on April 5 - just a day after Don Imus referred to the Scarlet Knights, the Rutgers University women's basketball team, as 'nappy-headed hos.' Even more infuriating is that after CBS rightly fired Don Imus on April 12, JV & Elvis aired the segment AGAIN on April 19. It is apparent that not only did JV & Elvis not learn anything from the Don Imus scandal, but CBS and CBSRadio decided that Asian Americans are easy prey for racist radio broadcast."

Ms. Florence Chen, President, OCA- New Jersey adds, "New Jersey is home to numerous technology, manufacturing and telecommunication firms and home to nearly three-quarters of a million Asian Pacific Americans. Until we are satisfied with the actions of 92.3FreeFM, we will be calling on the strength of the Asian American market to urge advertisers to pull their support."

Mr. John Tandana, Executive Vice President, OCA-Long Island continues, "Once again, radio has tried to gain ratings to the detriment of Asian Americans. The segment lasted over six minutes, the entire time, casting Asian Americans and women in a demeaning manner. Asian Americans have and will continue to contribute immensely to this country's economy, intellect and culture. We will not allow talk radio to spread stereotypes that hurt our community."

Ms. Jeannette Wang, President, OCA-Westchester/ Hudson Valley affirms that "If the executives of CBS, CBSRadio and 92.3FreeFM do not fire the DJs and their producer, they are sending a very strong message to the Asian American community that they do not care. A strong signal must be sent that this type of broadcasting is unacceptable."

The OCA Chapters are urging its members and colleagues contact the following individuals to demand the apology from and firing of JV & Elvis and their producer:

Thomas Chiusano, President and General Manager, WFNY 92.3 Free FM
40 W 57th St, Fl 14
New York, NY 10019-4001
(212) 314-9231

Leslie Moonves, President & CEO
51 West 52nd Street
New York, NY

John Mainelli, Program Director, WFNY, 92.3 Free FM
40 W 57th St, Fl 14
New York, NY 10019-4001
(212) 314-9230

Karen Mateo, CBS Vice President of Communications
1515 Broadway
New York, NY 10036
(212) 846-7638
According to this article, CBS Radio, which owns WFNY, has suspended the two hosts: CBS Radio Show Hosts Suspended After Prank Call. But really, is that enough? Shouldn't CBS go all the way and fire the hosts and producer responsible for this skit? Or will CBS management choose to indeed embrace the double standard that made "The Doghouse" think they could get away with this in the first place—that somehow Asian Americans are easy targets for this kind of racist mockery. The fact of the matter is, they thought they could get away with it. Well, they can't. And I urge you to let them know this. Use the contact info above and demand justice. I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it. If we sit on our hands and stay quiet, it basically sends the message that radio stations and other media can just go right on perpetuating stuff like it. And they will. That's racist!

welcome to chino hills

This Los Angeles Times article from a few weeks back is both interesting and aggravating, about Chino Hills' growing Asian population, which now makes up about 40% of the city residents: Ethnic changes in store for Chino Hills. Like a lot of areas that find themselves with Asian population boom, the rapid change has contributed to community tensions—particularly regarding announced plans for the 99 Ranch Asian supermarket chain to open a store in Chino Hills. It seems that some current (let's be honest: white) residents are afraid that their idyllic community will soon be overrun and invaded by Asians, Asians and more Asians. According to the article, one resident wrote to the city council that he didn't want to see "little Chinatowns all over the Hills filled with Asian signs he can't read." It's a threat to some people's way of life. Diversity is okay—as long as diversity doesn't mean nonwhite "foreign" populations becoming the majority with their markets and language and signs and smells and food. Take Larry Blugrind, a Chino Hills resident, who says that opening a 99 Ranch Market would
"result in a run-down center that is the equivalent of a Chinese Pic 'N' Save less than a mile from the kind of high-quality shops our city has been trying to attract to this area."
Okay, I know 99 Ranch is not the fanciest place to buy your groceries, but it's not as though Ralph's or Albertson's is freaking five-star shopping paradise either. He plainly assumes that there's no way a Chinese establishment could possibly be one of these "high-quality shops" that he wants so badly. But here's the real kicker:
Reached by telephone, Blugrind explained that he enjoyed having a diverse community -- his daughter-in-law is Japanese.

"My worry is that 99 Ranch could be a steppingstone for it to become all Asian," he said. "I don't want another Hacienda Heights."
I love it. One of our favorite lines: "But I can't be racist. My [wife/daughter-in-law/co-worker/dentist/etc.] is [insert race here]." I'm sorry, Mr. Blugrind, but what the hell does that fact that your daughter-in-law is Japanese have anything to do with the matter being discussed here? Could it be that you don't mind your concept of "diversity" at arm's length, as long as it's something you don't have to deal with when you look outside your window? The idea of an "all Asian" city really seems to be frightening. Is it the fear of an "all any group" city? Becuase then I have to wonder if residents were complaining this much when their neighborhoods were "all white," once upon a time. If majority Asian is how the population happens to be shifting, that's the way it is, and you better get used it. And if you don't like it, I suggest you go back to where you came from. Oh wait, that's your line.

man of a thousand faces

The name James Hong may not immediately ring a bell, but chances are that you've seen this veteran Hollywood actor in something or other during his fifty-plus year career. Maybe it was the classic "Chinese Restaurant" episode of Seinfeld, or as freaky Lo Pan in Big Trouble in Little China, or as Cassandra's father in Wayne's World 2. He's been around the block, a true Hollywood gangster. How many times have you spotted him in a movie or show and said, "Hey, it's that guy!" So check it out... Man of a Thousand Faces is a new docurama (part documentary, part dramatization) chronicling the life of James Hong, whose career spans nearly 500 films in more than half a century: Dramatika Films Announces Completion of Feature Docudrama 'Man of a Thousand Faces'. The film is slated to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May. I will totally watch this film. Oh, he has an official website here. All hail James Hong.

catching up

For those of you who came across this website for the first time last week, we aren't normally fixated on mass school shootings. I try to talk about other things around here too. Here are a few links, news and happenings on various topics we missed last week in Asian America...
  • Sanjaya was voted off American Idol. Yes, the contestant a nation grew to love to hate was finally given the boot last week: Sanjaya is voted off 'American Idol'. Fanjayas everywhere wept. Though it appears that Indians did not: Indians Say Good Riddance To Sanjaya. So what's next? He had dinner at the White House: Sanjaya to attend D.C. dinner
  • James Sun, after making it to the final two on The Apprentice last night, was "fired." The guy kicked some serious ass in the competition, and made quite a name for himself. I was sad to see him lose to the defense attorney. But I'm sure he's got a bright future ahead of him.
  • CBS, 'Survivor' go to China. According to Variety, the next edition of Survivor will take place in China. By the way, I've caught up on the current season. Up until last week, Survivor: Fiji was boring as hell, but things got pretty interesting last week. I am rooting for Yau-Man to go all the way!
  • Italy police clash with Chinese merchants in Milan. In Italy, riot police clashed with hundreds of Chinese merchants in Milan, after scuffles broke out over traffic controls in the city's busy Chinatown.
  • Soejima spoils Van Dyk's record-tying bid. Masazumi Soejima of Japan won his first Boston Marathon men's wheelchair race last week, denying six-time winner Ernst Van Dyk of a record-tying seventh straight title.
  • Masi Oka rises as the unlikely star of "Heroes". Another profile on everybody's favorite Heroes star, Masi Oka. The show finally returns tonight after a few weeks off the air, and it looks pretty awesome.
  • After 40 years, interracial marriage flourishing. On article on interracial marriages, forty years after the U.S. Supreme Court knocked down a Virginia statute barring whites from marrying nonwhites. There's an interesting quote in there from C.N. Le, talking about some of the gender stereotypes in Asian American communities.
  • The new world of Nancy Kwan: A profile on the amazing and beautiful Nancy Kwan, with some details about her latest project, a small film called Ray of Sunshine.
  • Sac Sheriff Promotes Vietnamese Captain: Lt. Trang To of the Sacremento Sheriff's Department was promoted to the rank of Captain, becoming the highest ranking Vietnamese-American law enforcement officer in the state of California.
  • Among Catholic priests, Vietnamese are the new Irish: Though Asians are only 1% of the estimated 77 million U.S. Catholics, they account for 12% of Catholic seminary students. In places such as Orange County, of 181 diocesan priests, almost 28% are Asian—predominantly Vietnamese.
  • Legacies of love and learning: A sad but inspiring story on the life and legacy of Johnathan Sim, a family man.
  • Baker's future best as Korean: A profile on Lawson Baker, a Korean American heavyweight kickboxing fighter who's got a pretty interesting story.
  • Kenyon S. Chan selected as chancellor of UW Bothell: Kenyon S. Chan has been selected as the next chancellor of the University of Washington Bothell. I'm told that only 1.2% of college presidents are APA, there are only 45 APA presidents in the nation, and prior to Chan, only 13 of them are at public institutions.
That's a lot of stuff to look over. I'm still playing catch-up from last week. But there's more to come, because it just doesn't stop.

one week later

Hope you all had a good weekend. After last week, I need a little bit of time away from the computer (and a good, stiff drink). Here's another long list of links related to the Virginia Tech shooting:
  • Some more information on Seung-Hui Cho's childhood and background: An Isolated Boy in a World of Strangers
  • Another article on Virginia's Korean American community: Virginia Korean community still reeling
  • The state medical examiner reveals few details about Cho's grisly rampage: Tech gunman shot victims over 100 times. There was apparently nothing unusual about Cho's autopsy and nothing that would have hinted at any psychological problems that might have led to his actions.
  • Newsweek has a gallery of photos by Shaozhuo Cui, the student photographer who was shown being arrested by police at the site of the shootings: One Hour in Hell
  • President Bush has directed three cabinet secretaries, educators, mental health experts and government officials across the nation to recommend ways to avoid a repeat of last week's events: Bush Appoints Panel to Review Va. Tech Shootings
  • This is a really interesting, nicely stated editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer, on South Korea's emphatic apologies when it was revealed the shooter was originally from South Korea: Letter to South Korea
  • And here's a good commentary by Professor Katherine H.S. Moon in the Chicago Tribune: Don't politicize massacre
  • And here's another well-written, personal editorial in the Tribune by Esther Yoon-Ji Kang: IN OUR DARK HEART
  • Last week, I couldn't help thinking about Shi-Zheng Chen's Dark Matter, a film loosely based on the 1991 University of Iowa incident in which a Chinese student reacted violently after being passed over for an academic prize, killing five people and paralyzing a sixth before killing himself. After the film's premiere at Sundance, distributors were unsure whether such a bleak film would be released theatrically or go straight to DVD. According to this article, now the film is getting interest again as a theatrical release: 'Dark Matter' message painfully sharpened by Virginia Tech tragedy
  • At the University of Maryland, an Asian American student claims a professor harassed her and likened her to the Virginia Tech gunman: Student: Professor Likened Me To Va. Tech Shooter
  • This blog has been created to document possible hate crimes that have resulted from the shootings at Virginia Tech: Don't Ignore Hate Crimes, Document It
  • Rapper Jin has posted a track, "Rain Rain Go Away," offering his take on the tragedy.
  • The Season, a band whose members are from Virginia Tech, wrote a song, "Forever Changed," in memory of the victims. It's kind of cheesy, but their hearts are in the right place, and you get the idea.
  • And finally, I was guest last week on NPR's Tell Me More with Michel Martin, along with Alvin Alvarez, Ph.D., president of the Asian American Psychological Association, and Jeanne Mariani-Belding, president of the Asian American Journalists Association, talking about the perceptions and implications of the shooter's ethnicity: The Perceptions of Tragedy. I should also add that the show also features a great segment with Oliver Wang, author of the fantastic Soul Sides blog, bringing some levity to the show and sharing some soul cuts.
This tragedy will be in the news and continue to affect the nation in different ways in the days, weeks and months to come. But I'm going to make a concerted effort now to move on. I know that the friends, family and loves ones of the victims do not easily have that luxury, and again, my heart goes out to them.


no easy answers

It's been a long week, my friends. I'm running out of steam. Here is just a long list of links related to the Virginia Tech shooting:UPDATE: Some more articles to add to the pile:UPDATE: And another batch:Like many of you, I've had a heavy heart all week, still without any more satisfactory answers than when this all started. Thanks to everyone who wrote in to contribute links, as well as notes of encouragement. Stay Angry... in the good way.


a moment for the victims

Among those killed during the shooting rampage at Virginia Tech:
Henry Lee, a freshman majoring in computer engineering
G.V. Loganathan, a professor of civil and environmental engineering
Partahi Lumbantoruan, a doctoral student in civil engineering
Minal Panchal, a graduate student in architecture
Mary Karen Read a freshman majoring in interdisciplinary studies


Looking back at the last couple of days, I've noticed that media coverage of this tragedy general seems to reflect certain trends, obviously based on the information that becomes available. On Monday, it was obviously about the details of the shooting at Virginia Tech. The next day, it was mostly focused on Seung Hui Cho, "a student from South Korea," and trying to find out details about his background and what might've led him to such unthinkable. Wednesday, I noticed there was a great deal of attention to reactions from South Korea and the Korean American community in the United States. Take this story, for instance: 'Every Korean Person Is So Very Sorry' This confuses me. My first reaction to this headline... why? I feel a great deal of grief and sorrow for the victims of this terrible crime, and it's understandable that the Korean American community would find cause for concern in possible repercussions. But I am not sorry on behalf of Seung Hui Cho, and I feel no need to ask for forgiveness. He was a troubled, disturbed individual who chose to deal with his problems through a terrible, cowardly act of violence. Frankly, I'm angry at him. And I refuse to be indicted alongside him. This monster's crime was his, and his alone.

That said, there's no doubt that this incident has hit home for Korean American communities across the nation: Korean-Americans React to the Heinous Crime of One of Their Own (The article itself is okay, but is anyone else bothered by the accompanying doctored photo that places Cho's face against a background of unidentifiable Asian faces?). Here's a good opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times by Professor Edward Taehan Chang that takes on a more proactive perspective: Cross ethnic lines to stop violence. And of course, since this all started, there has been the underlying fear of backlash: Braced for Backlash. Unfortunately, this article opens by selectively quoting a random-ass comment left by an anonymous person at Sepia Mutiny. Without proper context, it makes it look like the entire blog is racist, and they've had to respond: This Blog is Not For Bigots.

I know there's been a bit of curiosity about Seung Hui Cho's family, who live in Virginia. I say this because I've noticed some traffic coming to this website from searches for "seung hui cho parents dry cleaner." It's been mentioned here and there that his parents run a dry cleaning business. Contrary to some incorrect early reports in the Korean media, they did not attempt suicide. They are, however, in the hospital due to shock: Cho's Parents Hospitalized After Campus Massacre. Cho also has a sister who reportedly graduated from Princeton and now works in the State Department: Va. Tech Shooter's Sister Works With State Department. It looks like whoever wrote that story just did a Google search or something for their facts.

Remember when all we had to worry about was a bad singer making a fool of himself on American Idol? I never thought I'd say this, but to quote my buddy Mike Kang: I miss William Hung.

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