12.29.2007

stir-friday night presents buddha call

This is for all my people in Chicago, some laughs to get you through those cold winter nights... Asian American sketch comedy and improv troupe Stir-Friday Night! presents its latest original revue, Buddha Call, running now through January 26, Saturday nights at Donny's Skybox, Piper's Alley. Shows start at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $12 for General Admission and $10 for Students. Reservations can be made by calling the Second City box office at (312) 337-3992 or through their website. Here's a blurb from the press release I received about the show:
As much as people would like to believe that their strength and ambition leads their lives, Buddha Call argues that fear is the primary motivator. "As we get older, our responsibilities increase and sometimes life doesn’t hold the promise of possibility as in our youth," said new Artistic Director Harrison Pak. He added, "I think that this show comes from a place where we're still struggling with what we're trying to do with our lives and what we want to say as Asian American artists. As representatives of the Asian American community, we're trying to reconcile the "Asian" with the "American" identity that we're still trying to forge and our shows are great vehicles to express that struggle."
Honestly, that doesn't tell me much about the show. I get a little leery these days with works that say they're trying to "reconcile the "Asian" with the "American" identity." But I figure after twelve years of existence, Stir-Friday Night probably knows what it's doing, continuing on its mission to provide a voice for the Asian American comedic actor. For more information, visit the Stir-Friday Night website here.

12.28.2007

you want sexual content? come and get it.


Ang Lee's World War II-era espionage thriller Lust, Caution was one of my favorite movies of the year. I loved it. But while the film is great, what probably got the most press was the NC-17 rating it earned for its graphic, candid sex scenes. If you've seen the movie you know that stars Tony Leung and Tang Wei are engaged in all sorts of crazy sex. Man, they really do get it on. When all is said and done though, at least for myself, that's not really what stays with you about the movie. Nevertheless, it seems that in China, where the film has been censored, mainland movie fans are flocking by the thousands to Hong Kong to see the uncut, fully sex-ified version of Lust, Caution: Cinephiles, Pack Your Bags. An Uncut Version Awaits. It appears that the Chinese government cannot get in the way of its people and risque sexual content. Have at it, then.

aaa fund's "ask a staffer"

The Asian American Action Fund is a Democratic political action committee whose goal is to increase the voice of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders on every level of local, state and federal government in America. To achieve this goal, they try to address the chronic under-representation of APAs as campaign volunteers, contributors and candidates for political office.

The organization's blog team has started a new and ongoing interview series called "Ask a Staffer" with Democratic campaign staff, in order for more APAs to get informed, and get active in the political process. Their first interview is with none other than S. R. Sidarth, more famously known as "macaca" after Senator George Allen referred to him as such at a political rally last year. He's currently on the Richardson for President campaign, and offers his "on the ground" perspective: Ask A Staffer: S. R. Sidarth

download films from caachi

Check out Caachi. Started by Charles Choi and Tom Hicks, it's a site for independent filmmakers to distribute their films directly to viewers through the magic of the internet. They just recently got started, but there's already a handful of films on the site that are Asian-themed, like Dat Kho, a film made during the Vietnam War but never released until just recently, Eric Byler's my life... disoriented, Jonathan Yi's Shift, and Karen Lum's Slip of the Tongue.

Of course, you have to register first and download the Miro Player. Most of the films also require a small fee to download and watch (though many are free), but they're high-resolution, and $0.75 of every dollar directly supports the filmmakers. Plus, it's an opportunity to watch a few films that you many not otherwise get a chance to check out—stuff that usually doesn't get much viewing life after the film festival circuit. There's some pretty cool stuff, so check it out. Learn all about Caachi here.

12.27.2007

benazir bhutto assassinated

By now you've probably heard that Pakistan former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated: Bhutto assassination transforms park into scene of horror. She was killed Thursday evening in a suicide bombing and shooting attack as she left a political rally in the city of Rawalpindi. The attack killed more than 130 people. Crazy. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security has issued a bulletin citing an alleged claim of responsibility for the attack by al Qaeda: Al Qaeda claims responsibility for Bhutto killing. Here'a an obituary for Bhutto from the New York Times: Benazir Bhutto, 54, Weathered Political Storm. CNN also has all sorts of coverage here.

UPDATE: Here's an article on reaction to the assassination amongst New York's Pakistani American community: Shock in Pakistani Enclaves in New York. And reaction from the Pakistani American community in Southern California: Shock, horror in Southland over slaying

the amazing junk boat journey

This is a crazy story looking back at the six men who sailed 6,000 miles across the Pacific from Taiwan to San Francisco in 1955: A Junk's journey: Family wants to save craft that sailed across Pacific in 1955. Five Chinese fishermen and an American consular officer—Paul Chuan-Chun Chow, Reno Chia-Lin Chen, Marco Yu-Lin Chung, Benny Chia-Cheng Hsu, Loo-Chi Hu and Calvin E. Mehlert—sailed for 112 days, surviving a typhoon and a gale on a crazy quest to enter an international yacht race, and, in effect, obtain passage from Taiwan. Today, fifty-two years later, one of the junk-mate's daughters is working to commemorate that triumphant voyage and jump-start a restoration effort bring the boat they sailed on back to life. It's a pretty incredible story—somebody should make a movie about these guys...

for your reading list

Some books that have come to my attention recently...

Julie Black Belt: The Kung Fu Chronicles by Oliver Chin and Charlene Chua. This is a great little children's book published by Immedium back in September. It's about a girl named Julie who takes a kung fu class, thinking that getting a black belt will be easy. She finds, however, that the moves don't quite come that easy. It's going to take a lot of hard work to be as good as her matinee idol Brandy Wu. Colorful, energetic and beautifully drawn, it's a fun little story with a good lesson for the kids. Learn more about the book here.

The Adventures of Eddie Fung: Chinatown Kid, Texas Cowboy, Prisoner of War, edited by Judy Yung. Eddie Fung has the disctionction of being the only Chinese American solider to be captured by the Japanese during World War II. He was then put to work on the Burma-Siam railroad, made famous by the movie The Bridge on the River Kwai. In this memoir, written with his wife Judy Yung, professor emerita of American studies at the University of California Santa Cruz, Eddie tells how his childhood in San Francisco's Chinatown and young manhood as a Texas cowboy helped him survive. More info on the book here.

Saturdays in Chinatown by Christina Seid. This is another children's book, a bilingual picture book following a kid whose senses are awakened every Saturday morning during his family's errands and adventures in New York's bustling Chinatown. The book is written and self-published by Christina Seid, co-owner of the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory in New York City. Check out the Ice Cream Factory's blog here. It's good stuff about food and the Chinatown community. And learn more about the book here.

First Daughter: White House Rules by Mitali Perkins. Stumbled across this while browsing stuff on Amazon. It's a novel following the adventures of a Pakistani American teenager named Sameera, daughter of the President of the United States. It's apparently the second book in a series. While there have been previous movies and books and stuff about First Daughters, and even narratives about an Asian American President, this seems like a different kind of spin. Judging from the cover though (I know, I know), it's probably not quite my kind of book.

Solstice by Ulises Silva. This is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller about Scribes, people who have the ability to write things into being, and Editors, the covert specialists who watch over them. The author, Ulises Silva, is Mexican American, but he actually wrote the book with Latino and Asian readers in mind. The novel's protagonist is a Latino-Asian heroine (Japanese-Mexican, specifically), and two of her eventual companions are Lao. I'm only about a couple of chapters in, but so far it's pretty intriguing.

philadelphia inquirer's citizen of the year

The Philadelphia Inquirer recently named Helen Gym, a concerned parent and community activist, its 2007 Citizen of the Year: Helen Gym. She's one of the outspoken members of Parents United for Public Education, an organization that has spent the last two years speaking out at School Reform Commission meetings, poring over budgets, pushing the City Council to commit more resources to education, and insisting that the Philadelphia Parking Authority live up to its promist to help fund city schools. Gym was chosen from dozens of worthy nominees because Parents United's grassroots efforts reach across economic, political and racial divides... and produce results. Read more about Helen's activist efforts here. (Thanks, Jim)

12.26.2007

ravi's big scare


This is just awesome. The other night in Chicago, the local ABC news broadcast was interrupted by a minivan crashing into the studio from the street. Live, on the air. It's all captured on the video clip above, with news anchor Ravi Baichwal totally freaking out when he hears the crash. The best part is the look of absolute, genuine terror in his eyes. That's good television, Ravi.

I first heard about this over at TV Squad, which offers a few funny thoughts about what might've been going through Ravi's head when the minivan busted through: Minivan crashes into Chicago TV station during live news broadcast. Luckily, nobody was injured in the accident. The driver of the vehicle in question, Gerald Richardson, apparently has some personal problems. He has been charged with felony damage to property: Driver faces felony in studio crash.

internment and hot dogs

This is a really interesting NPR story from The Kitchen Sisters and their "Hidden Kitchen" series, about secret, underground, below-the-rader cooking in America, contemporary and historic... This one focuses on the unique food, culture and traditions borne out of the Japanese American internment experience: Weenie Royale: Food and the Japanese Internment
They lived in barrack-like conditions, standing in long lines for little food, eating off tin pie plates in big mess halls. They were fed government commodity foods and castoff meat from Army surplus — hot dogs, ketchup, kidneys, Spam and potatoes. The Japanese diet and family table were erased.

In the early years of the incarceration, grizzled old Army cooks, used to feeding armies of men, now fed women and children. It was wartime, with strict rationing for everyone. At the Topaz Internment Camp in central Utah, it was decided that no one except children under 12 would receive milk — 6 ounces a day. Pregnant women, because their children were unborn, were not allowed any milk. Tami Tomoye Takahashi, who gave birth to two babies at Topaz, found a Sears, Roebuck catalog and ordered calcium tablets to benefit her unborn babies.

In the chaos of the dining hall, families no longer ate together. Teenagers wanted to be with other teenagers. Old people, who had once sat at the extended family table, were isolated. Grandparents, parents and children broke apart in the face of mess hall dining. Mothers no longer could cook for their children. The family table, with its traditions and conversations, began to fade.
According to the story, it was in the internment camps that many Japanese Americans began to acquire the taste for hot dogs, making their way into various hybrid-Japanese recipes and postwar cooking. The story even includes a nice little recipe for Weenie Royale, which is basically hot dogs, eggs and soy sauce over rice. Yum.

film festival entry deadlines

This one's for my filmmaker friends, some film festival entry deadlines coming up... The third annual DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon is spreading the word about its call for entries. They're looking for films and videos that challenge, expand, and document the depth of the Asian American experience. The early deadline is January 18, and the late deadline is February 8. Submit your film! And if you take my advice, you can save a few bucks on the entry fee. For you, my friends, write the code "ANGRYASIAN" on the top of your entry form, and you'll get a fee waiver. Download the Call For Entries PDF here. DisOrient happens April 24-27, 2008.

On the other side of the country... the Asian American International Film Festival in New York is now seeking entries for its 31st annual festival. As the first and longest-running Asian American festival in the US, the AAIFF is the premiere showcase for works by filmmakers of Asian descent, or about the Asian community. To submit your work online, go to withoutabox.com. For more information about the submission process, go here. The early deadline is January 31, and the late deadline is February 16. The 31st AAIFF happens July 10-19, 2008.

Finally, the submission deadline for the 24th edition of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, presented by Visual Communications, has been extended to January 11. They're also doing the online entry thing through withoutabox.com. Or download the PDF entry form here. So get your crap together and get your entries in. The festival will run May 1-8, 2008.

12.25.2007

merry christmas. let's have chinese food.


Saw this one over at Racialicious. Chinese food, a classic American holiday tradition. Though today, I'll probably be ordering in. Merry Christmas, everyone. Stay Angry.

12.24.2007

appleseed: ex machina trailer


I just took a look at the trailer for Appleseed Ex Machina, and damn, it's hot. Lots of guns and robots and cyborgs and all that sci-fi action nonsense. I love it. Directed by Shinji Aramaki, it's the latest movie in the Appleseed anime series, based on the classic manga by Shirow Masamune. I'm actually not too familiar with the series, nor am usually much of a fan of motion-capture CGI stuff... but I love the look of this movie. Take a look at the trailer here. According to the website, the movie will be available on DVD here the U.S. from Warner Home on March 11th.

update on japanese american veterans stamp

Some more news on the campaign for a commemorative postage stamp honoring the contributions and sacrifice of the Japanese American veterans of World War II: A stamp of approval for Japanese American veterans? The movement is gaining quite a bit of momentum, with pushes happening even from outside the Asian American community. At a press conference in Los Angeles last week, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance pledged support for the campaign and called on the U.S. Postal Service to approve the proposal when its commemorative stamp review committee meets next month.

There's just a month left before the stamp committee meets to decide on this stamp. If you support this campaign, consider sending letters of support and signing a petition as soon as possible, by the first week of January. You can ask your Congressperson to sign the Congressional Letter of Support for this stamp, if they haven't already done so. You can even use the following script:
"Hi my name is _______. I am a constituent who lives and votes in your district in the city of _________. My phone number is ________. I respectfully request that you sign the Congressional Letter of Support for a U.S. commemorative postage stamp honoring the American World War II servicemen and women of Japanese heritage, also called the "Nisei." This 'Dear Colleague' letter from Congressman Mike Honda has already been signed by both Democrats and Republicans to recognize these patriots of World War II with a U.S. postage stamp. Please contact Congressman Honda's office with any questions. Thank you."
Twenty-one representatives have signed so far. For more information on how to contact your political leaders, go here. And for general information on the Nisei WWII Veterans Commemorative Stamp Campaign, visit the website here.

joel de la fuente in canterbury's law

Just read that actor Joel de la Fuente has joined the main ensemble of the upcoming Fox TV series Canterbury's Law. You might recognize Joel from his frequent recurring role the last couple of years as TARU Tech Ruben Morales on NBC's Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. The new show, starring Julianna Margulies, is a legal drama about "a defiant female defense attorney who's willing to bend the rules in order to protect the wrongfully accused." Joel will be recurrently appearing on the series, playing Assistant Attorney General Peter Upton, and makes his debut in the second episode: FOX Sets Premiere Date for 'Canterbury's Law'. I also noticed on Joel's website that he's got a role in M. Night Shyamalan's new movie The Happening. It's scheduled for release in 2008.

asian americans and the vote

Here's a pair of articles on the influence of Asian Americans at the polls... This one, from Politico, describes a recent widespread trend of young Asian Americans abandoning the Republican Party: Asian-American youth trend Democratic. According to data gathered from an online survey by the Institute of Politics at Harvard University, 47 percent of 18-to-24-year-old Asian Amerians identify themselves as Democratic, 15 percent Republican and 39 percent independent—making them more Democratic than any other ethnic group except African Americans in the survey.

And this one, from the Metro Times in Detroit, covers a recent gathering of students, professionals and activists for the Asian Pacific American Leadership Summit: Asian influence. The event's keynote speaker, Doua Thor, executive director of the Washington D.C.-based Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, proposed that Asians and Pacific Islanders are poised to make a difference in future elections both nationally and in Michigan... but not without more unity and involvemnt from the community. Amen to that.

kristin kreuk is chun li in street fighter


Well, we have our Chun Li, and it's not Jessica Biel. It's being reported that Kristin Kreuk of TV's Smallville will play Chun Li in the upcoming Street Fighter movie, based on the popular Capcom video game: Kristin Kreuk is Chun-Li in Street Fighter!. Street Fighter: Legend of Chun-Li will be directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak (the guy behind such killer films as Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds and Cradle 2 the Grave), and starts filming in Thailand in March 2008. Goodness gracious.

It appears that pretty young Kristin doesn't give much of a damn about her career. That's sad. According to ComingSoon.net, the movie is focused on female fighter Chun-Li and "her journey for justice." Oh, that makes me laugh. I am personally fond of CHUD.com's humorous take on the news: KRISTIN KREUK LOOKING TO FINALLY END THIS CAREER NONSENSE. Still, I'm glad the role went to Ms. Kreuk, and not Jessica Biel, as previously rumored. That had to be a joke. For me, however, the definitive Chun Li will always be my girl Ming Na in the 1994 Street Fighter movie. Totally awesome.

kycc serves changing face of koreatown

Here's a good profile on the Koreatown Youth & Community Center in Los Angeles, which is doing some great, important work in the community: Koreatown after-school center serves a diverse clientele. Interestingly, a majority of the families served by the agency are Latino, reflecting Koreatown's demographics: 65% Latino, 25% Korean and 10% white, black, and South and Southeast Asian. The Center has had to address the huge demographic changes in the community while respecting the history of the organization. To learn more about KYCC, visit the website here.

east west's ten to watch

East West Magazine has released its annual Ten to Watch list, featuring ten individuals—some are newcomers, some are already well-known—who are all poised to make something happen in 2008. The list includes some of the most compelling figures making an impact in Asian America, including Governor-elect Bobby Jindal, baseball's Hiroki Kuroda, Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit, actress Camille Mana, comedian Russell Peters and more. It's a pretty solid list. They also revisit and review some of the names on last year's list, and how those folks did in 2007. Take a look over at eastwestmagazine.com.

vietnamese americans moving to houston

The Los Angeles Times has an interesting story on the recent of trend of Vietnamese Americans from California who are moving to Houston, lured by cheap real estate, a lower cost of living, abundant business opportunities and a thriving, growing Vietnamese community: Flocking from SoCal to Houston. It used to be that California was the place to be. San Jose and Orange County are home to the country's largest Vietnamese enclaves, but skyrocketing rents and staggering housing prices are driving an out-of-state migration to Houston. The city's Vietnamese community is now the third largest in the United States. Houston's where it's happening.

12.21.2007

lost season 4 promo


It's been a long, long wait for Lost fans. After a kickass season finale, we were left with months and months of waiting to see what happens to our island castaways... The above video clip is the extended trailer for Season 4 that recently hit the web. Hell yes. That ought to get you at least a little excited for the new season. You get a glimpse of all your favorite characters, as well as some new ones... including Ken Leung with a gun. Can't wait for things to get started again. The new season premieres January 31st, on its new night and time, Thursdays at 9pm.

astronaut's mother dies in car accident

This is unbelievably sad... 90-year-old Rose Tani was killed Wednesday when a train struck her car at a crossing gate in Lombard, Illinois. During World War II, she and her family were placed in internment camps, first in California than at Topaz in Utah. Her husband Henry Tani headed the San Francisco chapter of the JACL in 1942 and testified before a congressional committee in an attempt to avert the evacuation of the entire Japanese American community from the West Coast.

Lately, however, Rose was best known for being the proud mother of Daniel Tani, an American astronaut on board the International Space Station. Orbiting 200 miles above the Earth, he had to hear the news that his mother had died in the accident through a secure connection from mission control: Crash kills astronaut's mom. More here: Astronaut's mom killed in car-train wreck. The soonest Tani can return from space is late January. His mother's funeral, which is this Saturday, will be taped and beamed up for him to watch in space: Funeral in Space. (Thanks, Marla.)

kumar stumping for obama

Here's a short interview over at TVGuide.com with actor Kal Penn, who is on the campaign trail for Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama: House Star Kal Penn Gets Behind a White House Hopeful. The man you all know and love as Kumar has made several appearances in Iowa and elsewhere speaking on behalf of his man Barack. Maybe not quite as compelling or as big of a draw as Oprah, she who gives out automobiles, but he's doing what he can. It's no secret that there are a lot of Harold and Kumar fans out there. Perhaps Kal can help Obama nab the stoner vote.

12.20.2007

sacramento sheriff's deputy killed on duty

This week in Sacramento, police were on a massive manhunt to find the killer of a Saramento County sheriff's deputy: Hunt for deputy's killer. Detective Vu Nguyen, an officer in the anti-gang unit, died Wednesday evening when he was shot in the neck during a foot pursuit. Nguyen was a 37-year-old, 7-year veteran of the force and had been working on the gang task force for three years. He is said to be the first Asian American Sacramento County Sheriff's officer to die in the line of duty. A 16-year-old boy, described as an Asian "gang affiliate," was arrested late last night in connection with Nguyen's murder: 16-year-old boy arrested in deputy's killing. More here: 16-Year-Old Arrested In Death Of Officer Vu Nguyen.

asian scientists going back home

This is an interesting article from the San Diego Union-Tribune, about the growing number of Asian scientists in the United States going back to their home countries for better opportunities: Finding greener pastures at home, Asian scientists leaving America. It used to be, for years, there was a massive wave of foreign students enrolling in U.S universities, where some of Asians best and brightest minds earned advanced degrees. Many would stay in the United States, working in high-tech industries and helping America remain a global leader in these fields.

But lately, they haven't been sticking around. Frustrated by a stagnating federal funding for research and increasing restrictions on visas, Asian scientists are increasingly returning back to their homelands, where growing economies are fueling innovating high-tech industries. While this shift will probably be good news to the "go back to where you came from" crowd, it actually has huge negative implications for the United States' lead in innovation. We didn't become awesome on our own, you know.

new literary journal: kartika review

The inaugural issue of Kartika Review, an Asian American literary journal, just came out this week. According to the welcome info, the journal publishes literary fiction, poetry, and essays "that endeavor to expand and enhance the mainstream perception of Asian American creative writing." This issue features work from writers like Geri Lipzhultz Wong, Eddy Zheng and spoken word artist Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, as well as work from up-and-coming lesser-known writers, and an interview with American Born Chinese author Gene Luen Yang. They're also looking for new writers on a rolling basis, so check out their submission info. There's some good stuff there, so take a look at the first issue here.

swat raids the wrong house

In Minneapolis, one Hmong family got a hell of a rude awakening over the weekend... With her six kids and husband tucked into bed, Yee Moua was watching TV in her living room when a group of gunmen busted through her windows. She ran upstairs, where her husband, Vang Khang, grabbed his shotgun from a closet and started shooting at the intruders. They fired back with twenty-two bullets. Then things suddenly became clear: these intruders were the cops.

The gunmen, as it turned out, were members of a police SWAT team that had raided the wrong house because of bad information from an informant. Oops: Minneapolis SWAT Team Raids Wrong House. Yo. Next time, check, check, then re-check that info before you kill a kid or something. Police apologized to the family and placed the seven officers on leave while it investigates what went wrong. Um, sorry for busting down your door, shooting up your house, and scaring the crap out of your family. Carry on.

casting news: g.i. joe, dragonball, kung fu, wolverine


When I first heard that they were making a live-action G.I. Joe movie, I immediately wondered who would play Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow, my two favorite characters. As a big fan of the old 1980s cartoon/comic/toy line, this particular bit of casting was quite important. Who would play these two key enigmatic fan favorite characters? Yesterday, I got my answer. IESB.net reports that Korean actor Lee Byung-hun has been cast as Cobra ninja Storm Shadow: GI Joe Casting! Sweet. I am a fan of this guy's work. It was also announced a few days ago that Snake Eyes would be played by Ray Park (not Asian), the guy who played Darth Maul in Phantom Menace. Not a big fan of this guy as an actor, but he's a hell of a stuntman. Which works out, because everybody knows that Snake Eyes doesn't actually speak. Don't know if this is going to be any good, but at least it's getting interesting. The movie is slated to open in summer 2009.

Dragonball casting news gets weirder and weirder: Chow Yun-Fat is Master Roshi. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Chow Yun-Fat has signed on to play Master Roshi, "an ancient martial arts and a mighty, powerful warrior." Last seen sailing the high seas in the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie, this sounds about right for Chow Yun-Fat, considering the current trajectory of his career (making cruddy movies). And I'm pretty sure he can pull of the look—he's done the bearded thing, and the bald thing, and even the bearded bald thing. Master Roshi should be no problem. Still, I'm not convinced that this movie is going to be any good.

According to the Chinese site Crienglish.com, director Max Makowski is hoping veteran Hong Kong actor Francis Ng will star in the upcoming movie remake of the 1970s TV series Kung Fu: Director Eyes Francis Ng for "Kung Fu" Remake. Makkowski recently held an audition in Hong Kong to search for the new Kwai Chang Caine. He told the media, "I hope Francis can join the cast, and I will give him an important role. But it is the film company's decision." I don't know if that means he wants Ng to play Caine, or another big role in the movie. Though I'm only familiar with a few of his films, it would be an interesting choice.

And finally, this news is a couple of weeks old, but I guess worth mentioning... It's been rumored that Maggie Q will play the character of Silver Fox in the upcoming Wolverine movie—a solo spinoff for the popular X-Men character: Maggie Q As Silver Fox In 'Wolverine?' As fans of the comic books know, Silver Fox one of the major characters in Wolverine's mythology. Fine. Maggie Q seems to be the go-to actress these days to fill hot Asian lady roles. I guess I'll take that over Bai Ling any day.

aurora asian film festival shuts down

I received an email the other day from the author of this article, informing me that after ten years, the Aurora Asian Film Festival is shutting down: Film fest fades to black. Citing departing sponsors, a lack of volunteers and stagnant attendance, the Aurora Asian/Pacific Community Partnership announced its decision to suspend the annual film festival for 2008. That's too bad. If I haven't made it too obvious, I'm a huge sucker for Asian American film festival, both big and small. I love them. But to be completely honest, I don't think I was even aware that there was an Aurora Asian Film Festival (it's in Colorado). Publicity might not have been the festival's strongest suit. I hope the festival is able to restructure itself, regroup, and return again at a later date...

the top 10 pr blunders of 2007

San Francisco-based public relations firm Fineman PR has compiled its annual list of the Top 10 PR Blunders of 2007: FEMA Flop Tops 13th Annual PR Blunders List for 2007. I'm not sure what counts as a "PR blunder," except that it involves people doing really stupid things. Topping the list is FEMA's phony press conference in response to Southern Californai wildfires. But also worth noting... our favorite asshead, the self-proclaimed "Asian Supremacist" Kenneth Eng, came in at number 3 on the list, for his ridiculous "Why I Hate Blacks" rant, published in AsianWeek back in February. He was eventually fired, though only after public outcry hounded AsianWeek. And the paper lives on. View the full list of PR blunders here.

I should mention that Rosie O'Donnell also makes the list, but not for the infamous "ching chong" debacle on The View that made us so angry. If you recall, that actually occurred in late 2006. Though I doubt the rest of America cared enough for it to make this list. No, she's mentioned here for messing up some post-View deal she had going with MSNBC, by announcing it too early. Like I care.

12.19.2007

new harold and kumar poster


Not quite as cool as the one with Neil Patrick Harris and the unicorn.

parents behaving badly

TIME reports on that Dutch couple I mentioned last week that dumped their eight-year-old adopted Korean daughter in Hong Kong, citing her failure to "fit in": Can an Adopted Child Be Returned? Seven years ago, Dutch vice consul Raymond Poeteray and his wife Meta, adopted a four-month-old baby, Jade, in South Korea. The couple, who also have two biological children, brought Jade with them to Indonesia and then to Hong Kong, although Poeteray never applied for Dutch nationality for the child. Then, last year, the Poeterays put Jade in the care of Hong Kong's Social Welfare Department, saying they could not longer care for her because of the girl's "emotional remoteness."

Poeteray claims Jade was diagnosed with emotional problems, and despite intensive family therapy, did not seem to improve. He also says Hong Kong social workers advised the family to give her up—a claim that specialists and lawmakers are skeptical of. Sounds like an excuse to me. More excuses:
According to a spokesman from the South Korean consulate in Hong Kong, the family also said that Jade did not adapt to Dutch culture or food. "They said she had not adjusted to a new home, that there were some problems," he says. But some specialists are skeptical of that explanation as well. "My gut feeling is it's just an excuse," says Law Chi-kwong, an associate professor of social work at the University of Hong Kong. "That only happens when the adoption took place when the child is already six or seven years old. It would not happen to a child they raised for several years, raised in the family."

Media reports have raised questions about just how well integrated into the family Jade was. The South China Morning Post quoted a babysitter who looked after Jade while the family was in Indonesia as saying that the girl was cared for by nannies. "She was rarely in her mother's arms," the babysitter said. "I also found it strange that she was so quiet." A babysitter told a Dutch newspaper that Poeteray's wife did not treat Jade as a "real daughter."

While it is illegal to abandon a child in Hong Kong, says Law, children are sometimes ceded to the Welfare Department: "if for very difficult reasons, you can't look after a child, you can sign off your rights." Cheung says he believes the Poeteray family is in the process of doing that. "From what I understand," he says, "they're ready to relinquish their rights to the child."
To me, this family basically discarded Jade like puppy they just couldn't handle. It sounds like they didn't exactly make the effort to integrate her into the family in the first place. I don't care what kind of emotional problems they had to deal with—parenting is hard, but you don't just dump a kid when things aren't perfect. Parents everywhere have had to deal with worse, and they've stuck it out. When you become a parent, adopted or otherwise, you enter into a covenant to care for and protect that child. Shame on you, Raymond and Meta.

While we're on the topic of bad parenting... A woman in Indianapolis was arrested last week on charges of killing her adopted Korean daughter: His wife didn't kill baby, says Sheridan woman's husband. Investigation revealed that Chaeli Kyrie (born Hei Min Chung) suffered fatal brain trauma due to the whiplashing effects of shaken baby syndrome. Her mother, Rebecca Kyrie, is basically accused of shaking her to death. She charged with murder, battery resulting in death, neglect of a dependent resulting in death and aggravated battery. More here: Woman Charged With Killing Adopted Korean Child

And because I feel ending this post on the biggest downer possible... here is some news that left me absolutley disgusted and angry: O.C. woman guilty of molesting girl. has been convicted of repeatedly molesting a 4-year-old girl with her husband in a case that unfolded after authorities discovered a trunk full of homemade child porn movies in the couple's home. It's absolutely sickening. Read the story if you want the details. I'm done.

12.18.2007

give the gift of blacklava

Hey, looking for cool last-minute holiday gifts? Why not give the gift of Blacklava, clothing for a new state of mind. Lots of good stuff there, including all sorts of apparel to get your Asian American empowerment on. As a bonus, here's special deal for you, the good readers of this website... When you make your purchase, just enter the coupon code "ANGRY07" and get 5% off your order. It's not a huge discount, but you'll save a buck or two. The discount is good through December 31st. Get your friend or loved one a Secret Asian Man shirt, or the popular I Will Not Love You Long Time shirt, or my personal favorite, the Roots shirt. Heck, why not get your very own Nobody Loves an Angry Asian Man shirt. Wear it with pride, my angry friends. Get it all at Blacklava.

l.a.'s koreans influence south korean election

The big news in South Korea right now is the presidential election, happening this week. The leading candidate is Lee Myung-bak, aka "The Bulldozer," of the Grand National Party, who looks set to win. Here's an interesting Los Angeles Times article on Korean American supporters here in the United States of candidates running in Korea, and some the issues that resonate with them: South Korean campaign gets an L.A. twist. They can't vote or make contributions to candidates, but they're doing what they can to influence friends and family back in the motherland—another example of how Los Angeles, home to the highest concentration of Koreans outside Asia, influences life in South Korea.

seriously's "o holy night"


Just a few days left before Christmas. Are you getting into the holiday spirit? Here's a little something to help get you there.... My good friends over at Chaos Theory Music inform me that those crazy kids of the band Seriously have recorded a rock-out rendition of the Christmas favorite "O Holy Night," available for free download on the band's Myspace page. I've been a big fan of these guys since hearing their self-titled debut EP earlier this year. They've received quite a bit of attention for their catchy pop-rock sound, and are planning a big upcoming college tour for you crazy kids out there. Hopefully we can expect more good things from these guys in the coming year.

research survey on south asian women

Got another one of these PhD student surveys for you... Neely Mahapatra, a doctoral student in the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin, is collecting datat for her dissertation research, and is looking for women aged 18 years or older of South Asian origin (from India, Pakistan Bangladesh, Sri lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, and Burma) to take on online survey about women's life experiences including relationships with men. The survey will ask about your age, marital status, education, where you were born, employment, family and friends, your life in the United States and South Asian culture, any experiences of domestic violence, and help sought if domestic violence occurred, and other social factors. It's completely anonymous, and should take about 15-25 minutes to complete. If you're interested in helping Neely out, and fit the criteria (or know someone who does), take the survey here. Upon completion of the survey, you can enter a drawing to win a $50 gift certificate from Amazon. For more information about Neely's research, contact her at nmahapatra@mail.utexas.edu.

vote for kina


Kina Grannis is a singer/songwriter who needs your help, angry friends. She's made it to the top ten in a contest called Crash the Superbowl, where the winner gets a record deal with Interscope as well as a music video to air during Doritos' Super Bowl slot.

The top three semi-finalists will be determined by public voting, now through December 31st. You can vote for Kina once each day. Need some convincing? Listen to some music over at her MySpace, or watch the YouTube video above for "Message From Your Heart," the song she submitted for the contest (I love it).

She's also set up this website to further compel you to vote. Hell, I heard the song once and I was convinced. I don't even have to hear the other contestants. She's cute, she's got serious talent, and I want her to win. Vote for Kina!

asian prostitution ring busted in minneapolis

In Minneapolis, a man suspected of luring 100 Asian women into a sex ring has been charged in federal court with transporting women across state lines to engage in prostitution: Man Faces Federal Charges in a Sex Ring in Minnesota. According to Minneapolis police, Liqing Liu began a sex business in February and made $70,000 a month, rotating locations and prostitutes frequently in an effort to inconspicuous. Most recently, Liu was using "a shabby massage parlor in Minneapolis, where red stickers spell the word 'Massage' in crooked letters and a waving ceramic cat was perched in the lobby." (Not very inconspicuous, if you ask me.) The women, all Chinese or Korean, were prohibited from leaving the place of "business," kept under video surveillance, and had their passports and other forms of documentation confiscated. Doesn't this story sound familiar? Sadly, it sounds like your stereotypical sex trafficking case—it just happens far too often. But at least that's one less, in one American city.

UPDATE: And another prostitution ring busted over the weekend in New Jersey: Hunterdon massage parlors accused of prostitution. Most of the women were of Asian descent, and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement is investigating whether human trafficking was involved.

UPDATE: Aaaaand another one, this time in New York. Che Ngan Tsui, his wife, Len Wah Chong, and two relatives were arrested earlier this week on allegations of importing Asian women to work as prostitutes in massage parlors in Niagara Falls, Lockport, Wheatfield and the Town of Tonawanda: Massage parlor operators accused in prostitution ring received political help. The twist is, they apparently received help from politically connected people—including an assemblyman, a mayor and a top political fundraiser—while setting up their businesses, public records show. Trouble...

12.17.2007

more dragonball casting news

Some more casting news regarding the upcoming live-action Hollywood adaptation of Dragonball, because I've discovered that a lot of you out there are crazy Dragonball fans... The latest news to surface in the trades is that Japanese actress Eriko Tamura, recently seen as Hiro's love interest on Heroes, has signed on to play the character "Mai." It's also being reported that Korean pop singer Joon Park (aka Park Jun Hyung), recently spotted in the Speed Racer trailer, has signed on to play bad boy "Yamcha." Not being very familiar with the series myself, I have no idea if these are appropriate casting choices. I only know that this is shaping up to be a crazy-looking movie. It's set for release next summer.

can't we all just get along?

According to poll released last week from New American Media, relations among African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans are "fraught with tension and negative stereotypes," but the three groups share core values and a desire to get along better: Survey Finds Friction Among Minority Groups. The survey found that many members of the three groups feel more comfortable doing business with whites than with members of the other groups and that an overwhelming majority of each group views racial tension as a "very important problem." I wouldn't exactly call these finding revolutionary. Honestly, I didn't really need a survey to tell me all this. Tension and negative perceptions between groups? Say it ain't so. Sadly, this is a reality most people are probably aware of, for whatever reason. But really, at their core, I think most people do want to get along. Making that happen is whole other challenge altogether...

what is verum?


A couple of weeks ago, I heard from a reader named Johnny who recently started a company, Verum, with his buddies (who are mostly Asian American). It's one of those clothing/lifestyle brands that seem to be pretty popular with the kids these days. Judging from their blog, they're still getting started, trying to generate dialogue and get the word out. Just a small team of friends trying to create and do what they're passionate about. I can certainly respect that. They have plans for their first collection to be available in early 2008. Follow along with their progress trying make it happen here.

couple convicted in "modern day slavery" case

A jury in New York has convicted millionaire couple Mahendar Murlidhar Sabhnani and Varsha Mahendar Sabhnani of enslaving two Indonesian women they brought to their mansion to work as housekeepers: N.Y. Couple Convicted in Slavery Case. They were each convicted of all charges in a 12-count federal indictment that included forced labor, conspiracy, involuntary servitude, and harboring aliens. Gotcha, suckas. The Sabhanis could now face up to 40 years in prison.

"america's forgotten soldiers"

This is a crazy, fascinating story about the thousands of Hmong fighters hired by the CIA to fight the Communists during the Vietnam, still currently hiding out in the jungle forty years later: Old U.S. Allies, Still Hiding in Laos. The veterans of the CIA's "secret war" are now isolated, hungry, and periodically hunted by the Laotian Communist government. They're somehow still scratching out a primitive existence with their wives, children and grandchildren, somewhere out in the mountains of Laos. You know, it would be nice if Washington would help these guys out, seeing as how the United States is largely responsible for getting them in this situation in the first place. But then again, we've always been pretty good about getting into foreign messes and not cleaning up after ourselves...

vent magazine launches

Just had the chance to peruse the inaugural issue of Vent Magazine, a new Asian American politics and pop culture 'zine put together by students at UC Davis. It claims to be the "tightest, dopest, freshest," publication you'll ever read. Download a PDF copy here and see for yourself. I think it's fairly decent premiere issue. It's still a little rough, and some of the writing is kind of weak, but hey, that's what first issues are for. One more voice out there making itself heard for the cause. I like it.

hotline for assaults shutting down

A follow-up on those lakeside assaults outside Toronto that seem to have been targeting Asians... There have been a number of reported assaults, with several victims—mostly Asians—ending up pushed or thrown in the water. You'll recall that there's a local term for this called "nippertipping." So yeah, it definitely has a racial connotation. Asians are indeed being targeted... is anyone going to something about it? A hotline set up by the Ontario Human rights Commission for victims of such assaults is shutting down after reportedly only logged about 30 calls, even though there are believed to be dozens more. It appears that victims might be afraid of coming forward: 'Tipping' victims fear reporting it, activist says.

The hotline, which closed after month of service, was the first phase of an inquiry launched by the Ontario Human Rights Commission early last month. There was also an online survey available at the commission's website. Next, the comission will release a preliminary report that will contain victim testimonials, possible recommendations and a timeline for the next stage of the inquiry. Yes, people. This is a real problem, and it needs real solutions. This cannot be allowed to continue happening. That's racist!

eric and annabel have something to say

Eric Byler and Annabel Park, the duo behind 9500 Liberty, an "interactive documentary" on the ongoing controversy/clash/crisis over immigration in America, were recently asked to contribute opinion pieces reflecting on their experiences that ran this weekend in the Washington Post: An Immigration Flashpoint, Through Our Lens. Here's Annabel's piece: I Can Relate to America's Identity Crisis. Here's Eric piece: My Heart is Where the Bottles Shatter. And here's their video essay. It's pretty interesting stuff. To view their ongoing documentary project "9500 Liberty," and join in on the conversation, go here.

the death of emery kauanui

Here's an interesting story on the death of surfer Emery Kauanui Jr., a murder that has rocked the beach town of La Jolla, CA: Death in a seaside paradise. At the center of this tragedy are five young local men who were known for their partying and brawling. They were charged with first-degree murder last summer for following Kauanui home after a minor altercation at a restaurant, jumping him gang-style on the street, and beating him unconscious. The assault resulted in Kauanui hospitalized, his skull fractured, brain bleeding. Days later, he died. The article goes into detail about what the hell happened, who these guys were, and how it could come to this.

12.16.2007

robberies targeting asian restaurants

Beware, to Asian restaurants in the Bay Area... According to police, there have recently been at least 11 armed robberies at restaurants in Berkeley, Antioch, El Cerrito, San Leandro, Union City and Oakland. While no firm link has been established between all the cases, the restaurants have all been Asian, from sushi to Chinese: String Of Bay Area Robberies Target Asian Restaurants And Customers. The suspects have been described as a pair of African American males, between their teens and late 20s. Investigators apparently haven't been able explain why these Asian restaurant would be targeted. Could it be because the robbers perceive Asians to be easy targets? I thin the most recent victim, Albert Lou, has it right when he suggests there is "a perception that the Asian community would be less likely to report the crime or talk about it." Basically, they think we're a passive community that's just goin to lie down and take it. Well, hell no to that. Be vigilant, stay alert, keep an eye out, and most importantly, speak up.

suicide(?) at virginia tech

I just heard about the recent death of a Korean American student at Virginia Tech... Daniel Sun Kim was found dead in his car in a parking lot, with a gunshot wound to his head. According to police, no foul play is suspected, and the medical examiner's office says the wound was consistent with a suicide. However, this article, from The Korea Times, suggest that perhaps there's more to his death than simply suicide. Kim's family members are convinced that there's something else going on, and at the very least the police are engaged in some sort of cover-up. Daniel's sister Jeannette particularly has issues with the details given by police in the Roanoke Times story. The following message was forwarded along to me, copied from her Facebook profile:
as you all may know,
my brother passed away over the weekend.
only my close friends know the details of how he passed,
but i will assure each and every one of you that it was no accident and it was not of natural causes. he was found in his car in a shopping center in christiansburg (close to blacksburg).

the following days (after i found out),
i went online and googled my brother's name or the situation that he was put in. nothing surfaced. a few days later, i googled again. still nothing.
finally today, i find an article through the roanoke times.
http://www.roanoke.com/news/nrv/wb/143522

the information that the university spokesman (larry hincker) stated was so false it disgusted me. first they received a phone call from a friend of my brother's, who called saying he was worried about him cause he had been depressed lately. my brother's friend received no response and my brother received no help. then they received an email from his friend, but they didn't do enough to follow up on it. they decide to go speak to him 2 weeeks AFTER the email. the police say there's a language barrier between my parents and them, there is NO language barrier. my dad has been here for 31 years and he speaks better english than me. his vocabulary is so much more articulate than mine and he is much more intellectual. my dad requested to view the police report THREE times, the police failed to respond.. why? because there IS NO report. the fact of the matter is, virginia tech and the police are doing whatever they can to cover up my brother's death. ever since the virginia tech massacre, they are assuming that it was the fact that my brother was korean. they believe that it is that simple. it isn't that simple. they are mishandling this case and they are not giving my brother the dignity and honor he deserves.

he was my only brother and now everything has been sucked out of me ever since i lost him. he basically raised me. he was as much my dad as he was my brother. please help me by doing this - we (my family and i) are going to create static for the school. i would like you all (my friends) to log onto the virginia tech website and somehow post questions about this. ask them a lot of questions, so it creates an uprising within the student body. please especially ask questions like why my brother's death wasn't posted on the website for virginia tech. also ask why it has been kept a secret until now, why there is false information being posted on the roanoke times. i would like you all to especially email LARRY HINCKER at hincker@vt.edu.

if you would like to help me and my family, please do that.
and please tell all your friends to do so also.
do whatever you can.
i want my brother to be honored and recognized,
not brushed under a rug as if he meant nothing.
While I do not know Jeannette personally, and I can't vouch for the information given here, it's obvious at the very least there are still many questions that need to answered, and disputes to be laid to rest. This guy's tragic death requires and deserves much more scrutiny than it's received thus far. For his family's sake. And if there is indeed a cover-up happening here, and it's somehow related to the Seung Hui Cho shooting, it needs to be brought out into the open. Ask questions where they need to be asked, and don't let this get brushed under the rug.

from homeless to harvard

Last week, The Harvard Crimson ran a three-part series of articles called "The Road Less Traveled," on Harvard student Kimberly S.M. Woo and other transfer students to the school from community colleges. I've written about this woman before, and her story is pretty remarkable, considering she is a single mother who was once a homeless drug addict, and now working towards graduating from one of the most prestigious universities in the country. Here's part one: A Ticket Out of Poverty. Part two: Harvard Lags in Community College Recruitment (less about Woo and more generally about Harvard's community college transfers). And here's part three: Mixed Blessings for Student Mother

korean church alleges bias in property sale

This is news out of the Chicago suburbs... A Korean American congregation is suing a Prospect Heights church for not selling its property to the highest bidder, alleging racial discrimination: Suit claims bias in church sale. Their suit alleges that the Antioch Korean Convenant Church offered $1 million for the Prospect Heights Community Church property, but another church—the predominantly white Cornerstone Bible Church—offered half that much, and that bid was accepted. The suit also alleges that at a meeting of the Prospect Heights church members, disparaging remarks about Koreans were made, which prompted the decision to sell to the other group. If that's proven in court, the Prospect Heights church would be in violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act, which forbids the denial of a property sale based upon race. That's racist! My friends, there's a lesson here. Do not get in the way of Koreans wanting to get their church on.

12.14.2007

hollywood's bollywood bet


This is a really interesting NPR story on Hollywood's attempt to crack the movie market, where Bollywood rules: Hollywood Looking for a Piece of Bollywood Action. While Hollywood likes to think of itself as the world's biggest movie town, domestic product rules in India, with a movie industry that annually puts out more than twice as many movies as its U.S. competition. So it's not a surprise that Hollywood would want a piece of that market. But studios have found it's simply not enough to just dub U.S. blockbusters into Hindi. It just doesn't connect with Indian audiences.

And so... Sony recently becamse the first major Hollywood studio to produce a Hindi-language film, Saawariya ("Beloved"), and put all its corporate muscle behind the movie. The studio scheduled Saawariya to open on the weekend of Diwali, a major movie-going holiday. But on the same weekend, one of India's biggest stars, Shahrukh Khan, premiereed a film called Om Shanti Oh. When it came down to it, this year's Diwali season just wasn't big enough for two major movies. It was hardly a tussle at the box office, and Saawariya tanked. It seems that Sony wasn't quite ready to give the people what they wanted. Back to the drawing board...

free screening of iris chang: the rape of nanking

With all the recent talk remembering the Nanking massacre, here's a film screening folks in the Bay Area might be interested in attending this weekend... San Jose Councilmember Kansen Chu is hosting a screening of Iris Chang: The Rape of Nanking, a feature-length docu-drama about the life and work of historian Iris Chang, author of The Rape of Nanking, considered one of the definitive texts on the massacre. The film, which was produced in Canada and stars Olivia Cheng, tells the story of Nanking through the eyes of Iris Chang, and retraces her journey to bring the story of the massacre to light. The screening is this Sunday, December 16, 1:00pm-3:00pm at The San Jose Improv, 62 South 2nd Street, San Jose, CA 95113. Admission is free but seating will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Here's an article on the film from last month: The Rape of Nanking finally set to film. To learn more about the film, go here.

lsu students killed in home invasion

Two students, Chandrasekhar Reddy Komma and Kiran Kumar Allam, were found shot to death in an apparent home invasion at a Louisiana State University apartment last night: LSU students killed in home invasion, police say. The victims were international PhD students from India. The 911 call to police was made by Allam's pregnant wife, who returned home and found the men dead, each with a gunshot to the head. Komma had apparently been visiting the apartment at the time. Police are now searching for three men who were seen leaving the area. More here: Shooting victims identified as students

fire kills filipino american family in new jersey

This is a sad story out of New Jersey... In Union, four members of a Filipino immigrant family, the Aguas, were killed early Wednesday when a fire swept through their home: Blaze Kills Four in a Much-Loved Family in New Jersey. The fire killed Edgardo and Digna Aguas, their 13-year-old daughter Emily, and Digna's 86-year-old mother Flotilda Tullao. The Aguas' son, 21-year-old Edgar, was the fire's only survivor. He was pushed out of a first-floor window by his father and suffered minor injuries. I can't imagine the shock he must be going through. According to many, the Aguas' were friendly and well-liked, and their deaths have left a hole in the heart of the city's Filipino community.

nanking now playing in new York


The New York Times reviews the documentary Nanking, directed by Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman: Giving Testimony on the Horror That Was Nanking. The film, which made its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this year, recounts the Japanese military's brutal invasion of Nanking in 1937. I haven't seen it yet, but I'm interested the film's use of a mixed-media format to tell the story of the massacre. Nanking is currently playing exclusively at the Film Forum in New York. View the film's official website here.

national park service to preserve internment camps

The National Park Service is asking Japanese Americans who were interned during World War II for their input on how it can preserve what is left of the camps and the stories they hold: Parks preserving internment camps. The Service stands to get $38 million to help cities and groups develop educational programs around the stories of the internment experience. Congress has approved spending the money, but it remains to be appropriated. This will go a long way towards educating and informing Americans about the internment, one of the darkest chapters in our government's history—a particularly important lesson for our current troubled times. Believe it or not, there are still many people out there who have absolutely no idea. You must learn!

asian women targeted in vancouver attacks

In Vancouver, police are warning the public about a group of thieves who are targeting Asian women in violent assaults along quiet streets and at bus stops: Vancouver attacks targeting young Asian women. Police say five related violent assaults occurred in the city's southeast end last week. The victims were all Asian women attacked from behind, and in every case the thieves wanted their purses. One victim described the suspects as "Indo-Canadians dressed in black sweaters and baseball hats." These attacks sound awfully similar to a rash of attacks at bus stops in Seattle last month. What's up with targeting Asian women? Sisters, be careful and watch your back.

ernie reyes jr. in the red canvas


Remember Ernie Reyes Jr.? I'll always remember him as the kid in the short-lived 1980s TV drama Sidekicks. It lasted only one season, but man, I loved that show. Ernie has since grown up and has done a bunch of roles and stunt work here and there over the years, in silly stuff like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze, Surf Ninjas, and most recently 2003's The Rundown (beating the crap out of The Rock). Twitch reports that he's currently at work on a featured role in the prison-set action flick The Red Canvas. I always wondered what he was up to. Looks like he's still in fine form. View a rough trailer of film here.

12.13.2007

hate crime on the q train

Police in New York have been investigating a possible hate crime on a Brooklyn-bound Q train this week, where a group of people celebrating Hanukkah were assaulted by another group shouting anti-semitic obscenities. Police arrested ten people, ages 19 to 20, and charged them with assault, menacing and inciting a riot: 10 arrested in Hanukkah attack on NYC subway train. Since then, some details have surfaced about the assailants, who deny that the attack was a hate crime: Hate-crime talk is 'ridiculous,' says one of accused Chanukah Q train attackers. Not a hate crime? Honestly, I can't take anyone who would pose in photos like these very seriously. It should be noted that Joseph Jirovec, one of the attackers, has a previous hate crime rap. And fellow attacker Kimberly Babajko also apparently has a history of violence: Alleged Q train attacker has violent past

I bring all of this up to highlight the actions one guy, Hassan Askari, a Bangladeshi college student who stepped up and came to the aid of the two attacked couples, receiving two black eyes in the process: JEWS' SUBWAY HERO A MUSLIM. Unfortunately, Hassan didn't get a chance to bust out his martial arts skillz: Q train hero has brown belt in karate. Still, he gets big points for being a good samaritan. Props, Hassan.

the fight for asian american studies at hunter college

Soon after posting this entry about the lack of Asian American studies at Harvard, I heard from several students who are in the same predicament—an ongoing struggle to have Asian American studies fully implemented at their schools. For instance, I heard from Olivia at Hunter College:
My name is Olivia Lin, junior at Hunter College in NYC. I'm co-founder of the Coalition for the Revitalization of Asian American Studies at Hunter (CRAASH). I was shocked to see that Harvard is experiencing that same problem we are having here at Hunter College, New York City. The Asian American Studies Program at Hunter was created in 1993 due to student and faculty protest.

Fourteen years later, it's still horrible. Even though Hunter College is 24% Asian (Yes, 24%!), the AASP is the program that is least supported by Hunter and CUNY Administration. CRAASH has met with administration, and they just don't want to hear it. We collected over 1,000 signatures, and are reaching out to media organizations to spread the word and put pressure on Hunter/CUNY to make some positive changes.

Here are some of the inadequate conditions that CRAASH hopes to improve:

*The AASP has a $0 budget. They were given $500 for supplies.

* There is no full time faculty in the AASP. All professors are either adjuncts or faculty from other departments.

* There is no real office for the AASP. Right now, the AASP is based in the acting head’s office. This office will be given back to the Women's Studies Program in spring 2008. Conditions were so severe in spring 2007 that professors were forced to work in a STORAGE CLOSET. Even the closet was taken away when a sorority moved in.

* Most of the AASP courses listed in the Hunter College course catalog are not even offered. The courses that will be offered in spring '08 are the same ones that are taught every semester. The AASP hopes to offer NEW classes in fall '08, such as Asian Americans in the Media, Southeast Asians in the US, and Filipino Americans - however, they don't have the money to pay for the classes.

* Conditions got so bad last term that the AASP minor was put on hold until fall 2007.
Learn more about the Coalition for the Revitalization of Asian American Studies at Hunter (CRAASH) on Facebook. At my school, concerned students actually staged a hunger strike until the administration promised to develop a permanent Asian American studies program. It was a pretty rocky start, but I can honestly the Asian American studies classes that I took ni college made a huge impact on my life's outlook, understanding and purpose. These students deserve the same.

norm chow to interview for ucla's head coach job

Norm Chow, offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans and a former offensive coach for USC, has been contacted by the search firm working on behalf of UCLA and is expected to be interviewed for the Bruins' vacant head football coach's position by the end of the week: Norm Chow expected to interview for head coach job. Though Chow has never been a head coach, he's highly respected and lauded for his work as offensive coordinator at Brigham Young, North Carolina State and USC before joining the Titans in 2005. How awesome would it be to see Norm Chow as UCLA's head coach? Really awesome.

In other football news... Shortly after Paul Johnson announced that he was leaving the Navy to become head coach at Georgia Tech, assistant head coach Ken Niumatalolo signed a five-year contract to become head coach of the Navy Midshipmen: Navy quickly promotes Niumatalolo to coach. This makes him the first head coach of Polynesian heritage in NCAA football history. And now, between Niumatalolo and junior quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada, the Hawaiian power will be unstoppable.

dutch couple dumps adopted korean girl

What the hell? How can people behave this way? A Dutch couple has sparked outrage by giving up a seven-year-old South Korean girl they adopted as a baby, after claiming she didn't "fit in" with their lifestyle: Anger as Dutch couple give up Korean girl, 7, they adopted as baby over 'failure to fit in'. The diplomat and his wife, who had taken in the child after failing to conceive, left her with social workers in Hong Kong after having two biological children of their own. They claimed the girl, who was adopted when she was four months and has lived in Hong Kong since she was three, was struggling to adapt to their culture. What, so you just discard her like a troublesome puppy? She has trouble fitting in, and that's reason to give up your little Korean kid? Yes, your kid. The girl you were supposed to protect and take responsibility for when you adopted her. It's called being a freakin' parent.

Hong Kong's Korean community is trying to find a home for the child who is currently in foster care after being givine up last year. But it's complicated. The girl, who speaks English and Cantonese but not Korean, is neither a Dutch citizen nor a Hong Kong resident, so her future in the territory is uncertain. In South Korea, parents can't return adopted children, but no such law exists in Hong Kong. So basically, unnamed Dutch diplomat, you've completely screwed up this girl's life. That's just selfish. He, of course, claims the decision has been a "terrible trauma" on his family, and says his wife is having therapy. Dude, what about the years of therapy this girl is going to have to go through because of what you've done?

dustin nguyen to direct monk on fire

You gotta hand it to my man Dustin Nguyen. While some of us will always remember him as our man Harry Ioki on the 80s cop show 21 Jump Street, the guy is having one of the best years of his career with turns as a former cop show actor (get it?) in Justin Lin's Finishing the Game and as the near-invincible badass villain in the Vietnamese action film The Rebel—both are great roles, with Dustin better than ever. So what's next? Twitch reports that at a recent screening of FTG, Dustin let slip that he's currently working on a directorial effort of his own, titled Monk on Fire. He describes it as "an Asian western with bikes instead of horses, swords instead of guns and super powered monks." He'll apparently be getting help from director Charlie Nguyen and people behind The Rebel. Are you kidding me? How could this not be good? Can't wait.

oscar's documentary short list


Forgot to mention this news from a few weeks back... Last month, fifteen documentary films were announced as selections for the "short list" of titles competing in the Best Documentary Feature category at the 80th Academy Awards. Among the films, some titles of interest are Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman's Nanking, Wejun Chun's Please Vote For Me (pictured above), and Steven Okazaki's White Light/Black Rain. View the full list of 15 here: 15 Films Selected for Oscar Short List in Doc Feature Category. The list will be narrowed down to five nominees to be announced in January. Cross your fingers.

halloween costumes mock virginia tech massacre

I've been seeing this one all over the blogs these past few days, and it's just... disgusting. Two Penn State students have generated quite a bit controversy after photos of them at a Halloween party costumed as victims of the Virginia Tech shooting massacre surfaced on Facebook: Campus outrage as Penn State students dress as Virginia Tech massacre victims

The students were photographed partying in Virginia Tech paraphernalia marked with bullet holes and fake blood. Sickening. The photos came to the attention of a local station in Roanoke, Virginia, which broadcast a report last week. And of course, reaction at Virginia Tech—and Penn State—was instantaneous, drawing the outraged attention of both campuses. In defense of the costume, the student pretty much says something to the effect of "Get over it."

Now, everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves and post it on the internet. It's a basic human right. But this simply lacks basic common decency. Seung Hui Cho kills 32 people in the worst school shooting in American history... so you can make a goddamn Halloween costume out of it? The inensitivity is astounding. And the student's idiotic defense of the costumes—ridiculous. The guy is seriously asking for an asskicking, by someone, anyone, everyone.

protestors block deportation in vancouver

This is a pretty wild story out of Vancouver... The deportation of Laibar Singh, a paralyzed refugee claimant, was delayed for "safety and security reasons" on Monday after thousands of people protested outside of the Vancouver International Airport: Airport protest stops deportation of paralyzed Sikh seeking refugee status. The South Asian-Canadian community mobilized like crazy this week, with over 2,000 people showing up at the airport, promising to abandon the Conservaties and boycott any airline that participates in the deportation of Laibar Singh. The protesters surrounded Singh's taxi when it arrived, blocking off the road at the departure area and disrupting traffic. Singh originally entered Canada from India traveling on phony documents, and later suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed. This week's stay of deportation is only supposed to be temporary, but man, Singh's supporters have definitely shown that they know how to fight.

12.12.2007

project runway's victorya hong


Here's a short profile on designer Victorya Hong, currently rocking it as a contestant on the fourth season of Bravo's Project Runway: The Korean American Who Conquered 'Project Runway'. I wouldn't call it "conquering" just yet. There's still some way to go. But in this season's first episode, she made the top 3. And episode 2, she won the challenge to design a dress for Sarah Jessica Parker's fashion line Bitten. So far, so good. A little Googling reveals her very sparsely designed website here. Catch Project Runway Wednesday nights on Bravo.

the rape of nanking: 70 years later

This week marks the 70th anniversary the massacre known as the "Rape of Nanking," when Japanese soldiers marched into the city of Nanjing and launched a brutal six-week killing campaign of rape, pillaging and executions: As victims still mourn, China marks 70 years since Rape of Nanking

Today, there are few survivors still alive to recount what happened. In China, the massacre is being commemorated with the reopening of the Memorial Hall to the Victims after a $33 million face-lift. This comes amidst renewed global interest in the Nanjing Massacre, a great deal of new scrutiny over Japan's wartime atrocities—which the nation's government is still reluctant to acknowledge. But according to the story, there are currently 10 known movies and documentaries on the massacre—produced in Germany, the United States, Japan and China—being filmed, in post-production or already in theaters. Hopefully, this movement will continue to spur interest in the massacre, and encourage people to pursue the truth about what really happened at Nanjing.

brutal assault exposes life of lies

This is a crazy story out of Washington D.C. that sort of combines several extremely disturbing trends we've seen over the last year involving the Korean American community... the extreme pressure to succeed, elaborate deception, and disturbing, suicidal acts of violence: 10-Year Sentence Follows Life of Lies. Last week, 26-year-old Chong Koh was sentenced in DC Superior Court to a maximum 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated assault while armed. On the morning of May 20, his girlfriend awoke to find Koh sitting on top of her, punching her in the face, striking her with a wok and slashing her neck, throat and wrists with a razor blade. She survived. Koh tried to kill himself by drinking STP gas treatment. For him, it was a way out.

Over the course of several years, Koh had constructed a life built on a series of elaborate lies—college, law school, and a job waiting for him at a prestigious law firm. All lies, told to his family and friends, who were now planning to fly out from Los Angeles to watch him graduate from Georgetown Law School. But he had never attended a day of undergrad at Columbia University, nor any classes at Georgotown, and there was no law firm job. For five years, Koh's relatives had sent him what they thought was tuition money, which he used for rent, expenses and luxuries. And now, "graduation day" was about to expose all that.

Prosecutors said Koh had concocted a murder-suicide plot that he hoped would leave friends and family members too distraught to discover his lies about Columbia and Georgtown. Koh's attorney described the attack as "the culmination of years of deception brought about by emotional stress and depression, partly due to family stress within his culture." Scary. How did things come to this? And why does this keep happening? There needs to be some kind of intervention.

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