who is the iphone girl?

A Chinese factory worker has become an internet sensation after a photo posing for an iPhone camera shot was left on the device. The iPhone eventually ended up in the hands of a British customer who posted the photo up on an Apple message board. Since then, the photo has gone around the world, with legions of curious people trying to identifying the mystery worker: Mystery 'iPhone Girl' generates Internet intrigue.

The photo features a young Asian woman working on what appears to be an iPhone assembly line. Dressed in a pink striped outfit and hat and wearing white gloves with yellow fingertips, the "iPhone Girl" is shown smiling and flashing the peace sign. (It's genetic. The two fingers automatically fly up whenever an Asian person is in the presence of a camera.)

An internet superstar is born! Taiwan-based Foxconn, which makes the iPhone for Apple, has confirmed that the girl in the photo has been identified, but says her job is not at risk and has called the incident a "beautiful mistake"—whatever that means. So, reportedly, she's not fired (I'm a little skeptical about this): iPhone Factory Worker Girl Still Has Her Job.

Meanwhile, the unnamed employee is apparently a bit disturbed and freaked out by all the media attention: 'iPhone Girl' Finds Fame And Fear On The Production Line. Accept it, young lady. Embrace it. You are the iPhone Girl.

fund established for brutally beaten restaurant owner

In High Point, North Carolina, the community is coming together to help the family of a restaurant owner who was severly beaten last month while making a late-night food delivery, putting him in a coma. Police and residents canvassed neighborhoods and eventually arrested the two men responsible: 2 charged in beating of restaurant employee.

Thankfully, Xing awoke from the coma, but he remains in serious condition. Now, with Xing's restaurnt closed since the attack, his wife and three young daughters need help handling the medical expenses: Money raised for brutally beaten restaurant owner.

The Lend-a-Hand for Wang Xing Fund, established by the High Point Chamber of Commerce, is seeking donations to help Xing's family to get back on its feet. Donations can be made by cash or check. Checks should be made payable to the Lend-a-Hand for Wang Xing Fund, c/o Southern Community Bank, 2451 Eastchester Drive, High Point, NC 27265.

more stupidity on the today show

What the hell? What is up with this ridiculous clip from the Today show, as pointed this week by The Soup. The segment involves Al Roker and Hoda Kotb visiting a Beijing shop to apparently buy a gift for Kathie Lee Gifford. Hilarity ensues. The two hosts manage to achieve a gold medal in Joel McHale calls "The Condescending American" event. Just watch.

same old summer movies

Here's another great piece by John Ridley for NPR, on the pathetic state of minority representation in Hollywood, particularly in this summer's big movies: Minorities Get Little Respect On The Big Screen. He brings up the small role Asians had in the voices of Kung Fu Panda, Mike Meyers doing the Hindu/Indian stereotype thing, and Jennifer Hudson fetching Carrie's coffee on Sex and the City. And of course, there's this great part about The Incredible Hulk:
Yes, there was Will Smith as a superhero. An alcoholic, abusive, foul-mouthed superhero. And, yes, there was redemption at the end of Hancock, but the path was so coarse as to be unsuitable for my kids to watch. So, the only hero of color they saw this summer was The Incredible Hulk. Which, by the way, why does a movie with nary a minority in it have to end with the Hulk destroying Harlem?

Honestly, this summer's offerings couldn't have been any more offensive if they released the director's cut of Birth of a Nation. On Blu-ray.

Out of 36 films put into wide release between May 2 and Aug. 22, only four had any minorities in leading roles.
Four minorities in leading roles. Okay, this isn't telling us anything new. We're lucky if we see four wide releases with Asians in leading roles in the course of an entire year. Even then, it's usually some combination of Jackie Chan, Jet Li and/or Chow Yun Fat. But it's a good commentary, so check it out.

follow-up on the death of hiu lui ng

More on the case of 34-year-old Hiu Lui Ng, the computer engineer who died in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement earlier this month, of complications of cancer and a fractured spine: Aftermath of an Immigrant’s Death in Detention. He was repeatedly denied medical attention, despite his complaints of extreme back pain and a progressive inability to walk. That's absolutely outrageous.

Ng's relatives have established a temporary fund for donations for his widow and children. Donors could make checks payable to the Ng Family Fund, Account No. 825-31181, and mail them to:

Hiu Lui Ng Family Fund
c/o Litao Mai
Merrill Lynch
100 Campus Drive, Third Floor
Florham Park, N.J. 07932

For other inquiries, including information about wiring money, the family can be reached by e-mail: hiuluingfamily@gmail.com.

wayne wang films getting theatrical and online release

This is an interesting article detailing the upcoming release strategy for Wayne Wang's latest two features, The Princess of Nebraska and A Thousand Years of Good Prayers: Magnolia, Landmark, and Cinetic Planning Parallel Theatrical & Digital Releases for Upcoming Wayne Wang Films.

The veteran filmmaker made the two films sort of as companion films, then sold both of the films to Magnolia Pictures shortly after their premiere last year at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals. Due to the close thematic relationship between the films (both are based on short stories by Yiyun Li), Wang was initially adamant about releasing the two films together.

Now, Wang has decided to make Princess available online, for free, shortly after A Thousand Years hits theaters next month. The details are still being worked out, but it should be a pretty interesting viewing experience. Watch the trailer for A Thousand Years of Good Prayers here. It opens in limited release on September 19. I'm guessing you'll be able to catch Princess of Nebraska online soon after.

profile on queens assemblywoman ellen young

The New York Times City Room blog has a profile on first term Assemblywoman Ellen Young, who is in the only contested Democratic primary for an Assembly seat in Queens. She sustained a number of injuries as a result of being hit by a taxi while riding a bicycle last month: Accident Won't Deter Queens Assemblywoman.

In ways, the race represents a coming of age of Asian American politics in New York City. With Young facing off against fellow Asian American canddiate Grace Meng, daughter of former assemblyman Jimmy K. Meng, the race should be a very interesting one to watch.


america's best dance crew: battle for the vmas

Determined to milk the America's Best Dance Crew phenomenon for all it's worth, MTV aired a post-season special today, Battle For The VMAs. I actually got to attend the show taping earlier this week. Without any "real" stakes on the line, it wasn't quite as exciting as a regular season show. But it was fun.

The show opened with a performance by the two season champions, JabbaWockeeZ and Super Cr3w, joining forces for a badass performance. Then, five crews from the past two seasons—Kaba Modern, Fanny Pak, SoReal Cru, BreakSk8 and Status Quo—competed for a chance to appear live on the MTV Video Music Awards.

Can I just say, it was awesome to see Kaba Modern in action again? They were easily my favorite crew from season one, and they've still got it.

In the end, three crews were chosen as finalists: Kaba Modern, SoReal Cru and Fanny Pak. Which is great, because I seriously can't stand Status Quo and BreakSk8. See ya, suckas.

From the remaining crews, the top two, determined by online vote will battle it out on the VMA red carpet pre-show. The winning crew will get to present at the VMA, with $25,000 going to their favorite charity. You can watch video clips and vote here.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that the Philippine All Stars, fresh from their win at the 2008 World Hip-Hop Championship earlier this month in Las Vegas, were in the house as special guests at the taping. After all was said and done, they were invited up onto the stage to perform live for the crowd. They were pretty awesome. View some shaky video footage of their performance here.

vigilante ninjas arrested

I found this news rather amusing. Someone has been watching too many Sho Kosugi movies. Last week in Clifton, New Jersey, police busted a couple of "ninja warriors" hell bent on delivering justice to evildoers... ninja style: N.J. Cops Collar 'Shinobi Warrior' Drug Vigilantes.

Looks like 19-year-old Jesse Trojaniak and and buddy 20-year-old Tadeusz Tertkiewicz have had a bit of an unhealthy fascination ninjas. Police said they found the two in a car dressed in "black ninja garb and SWAT-type vests, armed with an assortment of knives, swords, nunchuks... and a cross bow."

They were apparently on their way to delivering warning letters to drug dealers and drug users urging them to stop their "impure" activities. Those who persisted would be stopped with "justified yet, merciful force" at the hands of two modern day "Shinobi warriors."

The cops, however, are not cool with the ninja vigilante action. Both men now face possession of weapons charges, and possibly 18 months in jail. No doubt, Clifton's drug dealing community is breathing a little easier. More here: Ninjas Arrested In New Jersey.


angry asians at the democratic national convention, day 4

It's been a long week in Denver, and yesterday was apparently particularly crazy for our bloggers JL and Spamfriedrice, holding it down at the Democratic National Convention. Here's their wrap-up of the convention's historic final day:

Last night, we felt completely privileged to be at Invesco Field at Mile High to witness history! Shout out to Jaclyn Zimmerman, who is part of the ethnic media outreach team of the DNC, for helping us make sure everything went smoothly for us. We both had goosebumps throughout the night as the stadium celebrated the official nomination of Barack Obama for President and the continuing progress of the Civil Rights movement. It was, after all, the 45th anniversary of the "I Have a Dream" speech by Martin Luther King, Jr., and we cannot deny that AAPIs have significantly benefited from the Civil Rights movement.

We were also really excited about the presence of Asian Americans during the event. There was a video shown before Bill Richardson's speech with appearances by Jin the rapper and Hayne Yoon, an Obama volunteer in Los Angeles.

Mike Honda was also part of a group of Vice-Chairs that presented resolutions. Represent!

Did you see those Asian people sitting prominently behind the Obama ladies during Barack's speech? That's Obama's sister Maya Soetoro-Ng and brother-in-law Konrad Ng. Yes, if Obama become president there will be Asians in the extended first family. As Maya asked the AAPI Caucus the other day, "Can you imagine the family picture on the White House lawn?" Yes I can.

Here's some contact info on getting involved with AAPI outreach for the Obama-Biden campaign in swing states, from Asian American and Pacific Islander Grassroots Strategy Session on Tuesday:

Iowa: Theresa (tmah@uchicago.edu)
Nevada: Preeti (preetik6@gmail.com)
Texas: Ramey (ramey.ko@gmail.com)
Virginia: Joe (joe@vademocrats.org)
Washington: Mika (mika@wa-democrats.org)

After this week, we're even more excited about the possibilities, and looking forward to November 4th, 2008. With that... we're out! Peace!

year of the fish in theaters today

Opening in limited release today from Gigantic Pictures, David Kaplan's rotoscope-animated fairy tale Year of the Fish. It's been floating around on the festival circuit since its world premiere at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, though I only recently had the chance to check it out.

Basically, the film is a modern-day take on the Cinderella fairy tale (based on an old Chinese version of the story) set in New York City's Chinatown. An Nguyen plays Ye Xian, a girl who travels to New York to try to make some money for ailing father back home in China. Upon her arrival, she realizes that she's being forced to work in a seedy massage parlor, run by the wicked Mrs. Su (Tsai Chin) to pay off her debt.

But Ye Xian refuses to do the requisite sex work for the clients, so she is made into a menial servant and has to do all the laundry, cleaning, shopping and cooking—a Cinderella. She finds solace in a magical fish (who actually narrates the story) given to her by the strange neighborhood hunchback Auntie Yaga (Randall Duk Kim). Rounding out the cast is Ken Leung as lovelorn local jazz musician.

The most distinct aspect of Year of the Fish is its unique visual style. The entire film is rotoscope animated, like Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly, where live actors are "traced" by animators in post-production. For the most part, it works, and makes for a very interesting visual experience. At times, it's totally mesmerizing and enhances the fairy tale, dreamlike quality of the story. However, in other moments, it gets kind of distracting, and takes you out of the movie.

Outside of the animation, to be honest, the movie had this "so what" quality to me. I wasn't all that thrilled by the massage parlor aspect of the story, as educational as it was. At some point, I started to wonder how much I'd have to watch of people being awful to this poor girl, before everyone finally got what they deserved. There were also a lot of actors with really annoying, inauthentic fake Chinese accents—a big movie pet peeve of mine.

Overall, I really wanted to like this movie, but I just found it kind of underwhelming. But it is visually interesting, and has a handful of charming moments. And Ken Leung, in the small role that he has here, is great. Like everything else I've seen him in lately. Anyway, the movie opens in theaters today in New York, San Francisco and Berkeley. For more information, visit the website here.

hate crime killer will face death

Yesterday, the California Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and death penalty sentence for hate crime killer Gunner Jay Lindberg, who viciously murdered Thien Minh Ly in 1996: OC Hate Crime Killer Headed For Lethal Injection.

In a 69-page ruling, the justices reviewed and dismissed each of Lindberg's numerous claims that the two special-circumstance findings that put him on death row were false. Instead, the justices agreed with the original Orange County jury's determination that Lindberg had indeed attempted to rob Thien Minh Ly before killing him and that the crime had been racially motivated.

The autopsy report showed Ly had been repeatedly punched, kicked in the face and stomped in the head, as well as stabbed 22 times, mostly in the heart. Later, Lindberg wrote a letter to his cousin detailing how he "killed a Jap." Honestly, I don't understand how the hate crime motivation was ever under question. That's racist!

more on lpga's english-only rule

Some follow-up on the LPGA's plans to require all of its member golfers to learn and speak English, or else face suspension, beginning in 2009. This editorial in the New York Times argues that the rule will redefine women's professional golf and re-authorize discrimination in a sport that is still struggling to do away with it: A Bad Idea From the L.P.G.A..

Just wonder what American sports would look like if all the major sports associations—say, the NBA or Major League Baseball—required athletes to prove that they are English-proficient. Yes, they would suck.

This kickass Yahoo! Sports editorial doesn't call the English-only rule a bad idea... it's the Dumbest Rule Ever. Indeed. Consider this: There are apparently 121 players from 26 nations currently playing on the tour. But, reportedly, the rule was specifically explained to one particular group of players—South Koreans, who represent 45 of the foreign-born players. Eh?

Calling the policy national origin discrimination, the Asian American Justice Center is urging LPGA sponsors to withdraw support of the Tour until the English proficiency policy is retracted: LPGA English Policy Is Discriminatory; AAJC Urges Sponsors To Withdraw Support. More here: LPGA could be bringing on a discrimination lawsuit. No, this is not the end of this.


angry asians at the democratic national convention, part 2

Here's the latest word from our trusted correspondents, JL and Spamfriedrice, blogging about what's been going down at the Democratic National Convention in Denver:

tuesday-wednesday roundup: the view from the nosebleed seats

We are writing this entry in our nosebleed seats in the Pepsi Center on Wednesday. We have a great view of Hillary and Chelsea sitting below us and the CNN newscasters. Check out this scene from yesterday.

Yesterday, we got to chat with Yul Kwon, all-around good guy and another Asian American badass, who shared his views on his hopes for young Asian Americans in politics.
"To me this presidential race has been so amazingly exciting because we're seeing such amazing diversity among candidates. It's a watershed moment in American history: We had a strong female candidate, a strong African American candidate and a strong Latino candidate. What I'd love to see one day is a strong Asian American candidate. I think Barack Obama getting elected is a symbolic moment that I think will forever change the way people look at their possibilities, especially for Asian American youth. What I'd love to see is more young people getting involved in politics.

Our parents were first generation immigrants for the most part and came here just to assimilate, just to survive. But now many of us have opportunities that our parents never did. We should capitalize on these opportunities — and I would argue, responsibility — for us to try to become leaders in our own right... and not just think about our own individual careers but think about broadly serving our own community and helping other people. The hope is that one of the people reading this might be the first Asian American president of the United States."
Preach it, Yul.

Asian Pacific Americans for Progress, Asian Americans for Obama and South Asians for Obama held an Asian American and Pacific Islander Grassroots Strategy Session on Tuesday and Maya Soetoro-Ng and Konrad Ng, Barack Obama's half-sister and brother-in-law stopped by to encourage AAPI to get involved. She talked about Obama's connection to the Asian American community.

Also stopping by at the grassroots strategy session was none other than Daniel Dae Kim, who plays Jin on Lost. A white woman walked up to him and asked, "Where's Naveen?" (The actor who plays Sayid.) Uh, yeah lady, DDK walks around with his buddy in his pocket. Oh yeah, here's an AAM exclusive: Jin will be back next season! We don't know in what capacity but he'll be back. We told DDK we will be tuning in.

Anyway, Daniel had some cool words for us when we asked him why we should vote and get active in this election:
"You know, so many young Asian Americans are media saavy and within that demographic everyone talks about representation. This — getting involved in the political process — is representation at its most basic and literal level. And I think that when we try and serve the cause of Asian Americans we really need to get involved in this process, whether it's you yourself getting out to vote or being an advocate on behalf of a candidate to your family or your friends. I think it's just important to know what's going on in the country at a grassroots level and at a national level. And I think it's better to be the advocate for change than the beneficiary of change."
Wow, very cool.

We also got to see Norman Mineta, former Secretary of Tranportation. Another OG Asian American in politics. Go Norm!

Tuesday night we got to hit up the floor and we ran into two Asian Americans who were New York Delegates — James Wu and Grace Yu. When we introduced ourselves, James said that he's an AAM reader. You rock James!

We also ran into Jeff Chang, author Can't Stop, Won't Stop, interviewing a Hillary fan for Vibe magazine. Wow! He's the guy who did the interview with Barack Obama for Vibe.

Did you catch California State Controller John Chiang or Congressman Mike Honda's DNC speeches on TV Tuesday night? They were one of the 60 or so speakers last night but were not on during prime time. Is that racist? We're not sure.

On Wednesday, Tammy Duckworth, Director for Veterans Affairs in Illinois, spoke at the DNCC and totally represented as a strong Asian American woman! We unintentionally ended up sitting near a bunch of young AAPIs and we all cheered loudly for Tammy when she repped as an AAPI.

We also caught sight of an Asian dude, Baldwin Yen, prominently featured in a video about U.S. war veterans.

We've heard that there have been some sightings of Kelly Hu, Kal Penn, Margaret Cho and Tamilyn Tomita.

We gotta go. Bill Clinton is about to speak.

former muslim army chaplain now a delegate

Here's a profile in the Seattle Times on James Yee, the former Army chaplain who was wrongly accused by the U.S. government of being a spy, and placed in solitary confinement for 76 days: Denver latest stop on Yee's unlikely journey.

This week, he was in Denver serving as a delegate at the Democratic National Convention. Good reader Maimounah recently conducted an interview with James Yee, talking about his role as a national delegate, and trying to be an example for other Asian Americans and Muslim Americans to get involved in the political process.. Read the interview here.

naascon2008, october 17-19 at emory university

This is for all my student friends out there. Summer is winding down, which means it's time to head back to school and hit the books again. So here's some knowledge for you. NAASCon2008, the third biennial National Asian American Student Conference, is happening October 17-19 at Emory University in Atlanta.

This year's conference theme is "From Visions to Actions: Let's Get Our Movements Going." Looks like the schedule and roster of speakers are still coming together, but I'm sure it's going to be a worthwhile weekend for creating thoughtful dialogue, engaging the community and inspiring action.

I've attended the last two conferences as a workshop facilitator, and had a really great time. For more information about the upcoming NAASCon, visit the website here. And watch the little promo video above. Early registration is $30, and is open until September 20.


more videos from the dnc

Lots of action at the Democratic National Convention. From what I've heard, our intrepid correspondents have had a busy couple of days, but they've experienced some very cool stuff, and met some very cool people. We should have an update very soon. In the meantime, here are some noteworthy videos from the DNCC Video Experience website.

Remarks - Tammy Duckworth: Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs; Helicopter pilot and wounded Iraq war veteran. When she self-identifies as an Asian American, you can hear some members of the crowd give a whoo! Represent.

Veterans Video: Steven Spielberg's short film dedication to U.S. armed forces veterans, narrated by Tom Hanks. One of veterans prominently profiled in the video is Iraq War veteran Baldwin Yen, who served the U.S. Army, 1998-2006. It's rather powerful.

John Chiang: The Honorable John Chiang, State Controller, California. This is the guy who's been battling Arnold Schwarzenegger over funding the state budget. Yes, John Chiang stood up to the Terminator.

Mike Honda: The Honorable Mike Honda, Member of the US House of Representatives, California and DNC Vice Chair. I posted the transcript of this speech earlier today. Silicon Valley, represent!

Benediction - Revs. Jin Ho Kang, Youngsook Kang: Methodist pastors Jin Ho Kang and Youngsook Kang from Aurora, Colorado, giving the benediction to close Tuesday's convention proceedings. I actually thought this was particularly cool.

"there's a piece of paper inside!"

This is pretty amusing. Having read Jennifer 8. Lee's The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, we all know that fortune cookies do not actually originate from China. And yet over the years they've somehow become a staple of the Chinese food dining experience in Ameri

In fact, if you go to China and give a person a fortune cookie, it's likely they won't have any idea what it is or what to do with it. No joke. Behold, this video. These folks don't have a clue. Be sure you don't eat your fortune! Silly Americans. They come up with the weirdest stuff. (Thanks, Bamboo Nation.)

man sentenced to prison for sending threatening letters

Asians Behaving Badly... threatening letter-writing edition! This week in Cleveland, crazy weirdo David Tuason, who wrote hundreds of threatening letters over 20 years to black and mixed-race men, was sentenced to three years and ten months in prison: Ohio man sentenced for writing racial hate letters.

Tuason, who is of Filipino descent, pleaded guilty in May to six counts of mailing threatening communications and two counts of threatening interstate communications. He said he sent the threatening letters because a black man "stole" the girlfriend he planned to marry. Well, that's fantastic.

According to prosecutors, Tuason sent more than 200 hateful letters or e-mails, many to black or mixed-race men—including Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. He also sent threatening communications to high school, college and professional athletes, coaches, celebrities, musicians, news anchors, hospitals, police departments and lawyers.

Let me get this straight. If this guy's been sending threatening letters for twenty years... does that mean that some dude "stole" his girlfriend twenty years ago, and he's still mad about that? And thus blaming guys like Derek Jeter? Goodness. Get over it, man.

transcript of mike honda's dnc speech

The following is a transcript of a speech, as prepared for delivery, by The Honorable Mike Honda yesterday at the Democratic National Convention:
My name is Mike Honda. I am a proud Sansei Democrat and a Silicon Valley Congressman. But above all, I'm a teacher.

One of my proudest moments was when I received keys to my first classroom. It was high quality public education that allowed this son of strawberry sharecroppers, raised in the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, to grow up to become a Peace Corps volunteer, a Vice Chair of the DNC, and Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

Education is the gateway to the American dream. Barack knows first-hand that immigrant families – Asian, Hispanic, Pacific Islander, African and others – can attain the American dream through a quality, equitable education, and hard work. Barack's story of promise and opportunity proves that education can be the great equalizer. Sadly, over the past eight years, the misguided Bush/McCain priorities have bled our schools' resources dry, shutting down that gateway to success, and hijacking our children's capacity to achieve the American dream.

We are now at a crossroads. We can either continue on a path of failed policies with John McCain, or, for the change we need, we can elect Barack Obama president. America is in dire need of leadership. Barack knows that education leads to innovation, a critical engine of our economy. His ability and his vision will help ensure that everyone has the opportunity to obtain a quality education. Barack will fight for our children's future.

Rather than burning through billions of dollars on failed foreign policies and an open-ended war, Barack knows that the real war to be fought is for the education of our children, the future of America's economic health. He is committed to developing the teachers of tomorrow from among the brightest in our classrooms today and preparing, retaining and rewarding every teacher in America for their service.

In 1965, President Kennedy's call to service led me to build schools in El Salvador. Now, though my hair is gray, I am inspired again. With Barack Obama and Joe Biden as our ticket - yes, there is hope for the change we need!

Thank you, Senator Obama, for unlocking the imagination and idealism of all generations of Americans, including our Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Thank you for inspiring us to be a critical part of your journey to victory this November. And thank you for your commitment to education, for knowing the strength of America's tomorrow lies in the classrooms of today.
The call him "The Godfather." Here's also video (fuzzy audio) of the Congressman speaking at the DNC AAPI Caucus. More convention coverage to come...

vote out florida's racist "alien land law"

In November, Florida voters will see an amendment on the ballot that would eliminate an obscure provision of the Constitution that can stop people ineligible for U.S. citizenship from owning property in the state. When Florida voters first adopted the discriminatory land law in 1926, it targeted Asian immigrants, who were barred from becoming naturalized citizens purely because of their race: Land Law Amendment Targets 'Vestiges Of Racism'.

Florida is one of two states where an "alien land law" remains on the books. Proposals to ask Florida voters to eliminate the restriction failed in the Legislature for three years before it finally made through in 2007.

Supporters of the proposal want voters to close what they see as a dark chapter of history by wiping out the discriminatory language. Doing so would be "purely symbolic," because neither Asians nor any other ethnic group are barred from citizenship based on their race.

However, the proposal still has its share of opponents. There are those who argue that in the age of terrorism, the alien land provision could be needed to restrict property holdings of people who are ineligible for citizenship because they pose a threat to national security. Then of course, there are those folks who are just plain racist, if the article's comments indicate anything.

Florida readers, this is a racist, antiquated law, and needs to be voted out of the Constitution. Something to keep in mind when you head to the polls this November, as most folks will be preoccupied with voting for the next President of the United States. (Thanks, Andrew.)

napawf's "warrior prose" interviews

Priscilla over at the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum informs me that they just launched an interview series on their blog, Warrior Prose, featuring some true API women rock stars, like Grace Lee Boggs; activist/journalist/writer Helen Zia; activist Cindy Domingo; Lora Jo Foo, author of Asian American Women: Issues, Concerns, and Responsive Human and Civil Rights Advocacy; and Mallika Dutt, Founder and Executive Director of international human rights organization Breakthrough. Check it out, because these are interviews with some really amazing women.


the convention, via youtube

Here's video of Barack Obama's sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, speaking yesterday at the Democratic National Convention. Keeping it real for her big brother.

Survivor winner Yul Kwon, introducing his panel at the APIA Democratic Caucus. This is a man who knows how to win votes.

Actress/activist Tamlyn Tomita at the DNC with APIA Vote, telling us all why it's important for Asian Americans vote this November.

Part two with Tamlyn.

And finally, here's the newest star-filled pro-Obama music video, "American Prayer" by Dave Stewart. Watch a for an appearance by Obama supporter Margaret Cho. Learn more about the video here.

michelle rhee's risky d.c. school fix

This is a really interesting Newsweek profile on Michelle A. Rhee, who took over as head of the Washington, D.C. public schools a year ago. Her mission: to save D.C.'s crumbling schools. Since she took on the job, her unconventional approach has attracted quite a bit attention... and controversy: An Unlikely Gambler.

Last week, Rhee announced plans to boost dismal achievement at half the city's middle schools by offering students cash as a motivator. That's right. Cash money. Instead of detention, suspension and all that to turn around poorly behaved, underachieving middle school students, they plan to pay students up to $100 per month for displaying good behavior. I'm not kidding. This is a real, actual program: D.C. Tries Cash as a Motivator In School.

Beginning in October, 3,000 students at 14 middle schools will be eligible to earn up to 50 points per month and be paid $2 per point for attending class regularly and on time, turning in homework, displaying manners and earning high marks. A maximum of $2.7 million has been set aside for the program, and the money students earn will be deposited every two weeks into bank accounts the system plans to open for them.

Dude. Where was this program when I was in middle school? Granted, my school probably never got this bad. But I wish someone had paid me a hundred bucks a month for grades and behavior back in junior high. I don't know where Rhee dreamed up this crazy program, but if it works, it's going to be huge. More here: New chief seeks DC schools fix where others failed.

kathie lee's mock chinese accent

Looks like Kathie Lee Gifford has learned a few things from the Spanish basketball team. Okay, so not quite pulling the eyes back, but it's close. Recently on the Today show, Gifford was talking about a call she got from Al Roker on her birthday, where he teased her about being married to an old guy... using a mock Chinese accent. (I guess he called from Beijing.)

All right, Roker sucks. With or without a stupid fake Chinese accent. But it sure as hell wasn't necessary for Kathie Lee to do a re-imitation live on national television. And was that a nice little squint for good measure? So funny. Gawker's got the video here.

Oh, Kathie Lee, you tell the funniest stories. Unfortunately, your culturally insensitive humor offends me. But hey, what else is new? Just another kooky white lady making Chinese jokes on TV! Always good for a laugh. And America just laaaaughs along. That's racist!

new fast and furious trailer

The trailer for Fast & Furious recently hit the internet. Watch it here. The movie, directed by Justin Lin, is the fourth installment of the franchise, and brings back original stars Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. All things considered, the trailer is pretty badass, and I'm actually kind of excited to see it now.

Let's be real here. A trailer like this promises a very special no-brainer kind of movie experience—and no one is going to confuse Fast & Furious with art cinema. But as big, loud, auto-crazy summer blockbusters go, this is a pretty sweet trailer. No glimpses of Sung Kang as Han, but hopefully we have something to look forward to.

The title is kind of weak. Fast & Furious? I don't get it. I'm sure a great deal of thought and strategy went into taking out "the" and "the." Sure. Ultimately, I doubt anybody's really going to care. But here's my title suggestion: F#@%in' Fast F#@%in' Furious. F4, for short. Are you reading this, Justin? Put that on a poster. Anyway, the movie hits theaters in summer 2009.

lpga tour requiring players to learn english

You've got to be kidding me. According to Golfweek, the LPGA Tour will require its member golfers to learn and speak English and will suspend their membership if they don't comply: LPGA Tour will suspend memberships if players don't learn English.

The new requirement was apparently communicated to the tour's growing South Korean membership in a mandatory meeting last week at the Safeway Classic in Portland, Oregon. So we do know they've specifically devised and directed this new rule at Korean golfers.

Players were told by LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens that by the end of 2009, all players who have been on the tour for two years must pass an oral evaluation of their English skills or face a membership suspension. Evaluators will assess players on communication skills including conversation, everyday survival phrases and "golfspeak." Players must be able to conduct interviews and give acceptance speeches without the help of a translator.

Will the exam be required of all players? Or just the Korean ones? Look, I agree that the LPGA should be encouraging its members to learn English. But they should be letting their golf game do the talking, and lay off the threats and penalties, and the English-only nonsense. This is an international game, with international players.

However, most of the South Korean players quoted in the story seemed understanding of the new rule. The LPGA's membership includes 121 international players from 26 countries; 45 are South Koreans. That's because Koreans kick ass at golf. Didn't you know?

Maybe Se Ri Pak, one of the first South Korean players on the scene, has it right: "We play so good overall. When you win, you should give your speech in English." Yes, in order to effectively communicate to everyone just how badly you kicked everyone's ass on the course.

mr. yunioshi refuses to die

There was a bit of controversy last week in Sacramento over a film screening of Breakfast at Tiffany's. For most, the 1961 film is a lighthearted Hollywood classic. But as many of us Asian Americans know, the movie features one of the worst examples of a racist yellowface caricature in the history of Hollywood: Mickey Rooney as Mr. Yunioshi—literally, an accented, bumbling, buck-toothed clown. It's downright grotesque.

The screening was part of the city's Screen on the Green free outdoor movie series. No big deal, right? Or so the city thought. The scheduled movie drew the ire of local Asian American activists groups, which strongly objected to the inclusion of the film at what's supposed to be a fun family event: Asian activists say 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' is a racist film.

Someone either wasn't aware, or didn't care about the racist caricature. Organizers initially responded to the controversy with plans to screen the film as planned, but the with the Mr. Yunioshi scenes deleted, and "use it as a teaching moment." But it looks like they eventually canceled the movie altogether, and screened Ratatouille instead: Sacramento pulls "Breakfast at Tiffany's" showing.

Of course, star Mickey Rooney, now 87-years-old, can't understand why anyone could possibly find the character offensive: Rooney says racism charge at '61 film role 'breaks my heart'. He really doesn't get it at all. What's worse is what his wife says: "It's terribly sad, and I feel bad for the people taking offense." Right, because it's our fault that we're offended. Give me a break. That's racist!


angry asians at the democratic national convention

Greetings from the Democratic National Convention! Okay, so I'm not actually there. I wanted to be in Denver this week, but couldn't make it out. So instead, I've sent two trusted correspondents, JL and Spamfriedrice, to blog from the convention. They'll be sending various updates on the sights, sounds, people and events of the DNC throughout the week. Here's their first update.

Day 1: Sunday-Monday Roundup

Despite some issues with getting the press credentials we were promised (are bloggers second class?), we managed to catch a bunch of APIs in action...

We hit up the All-Delegate Celebration on Sunday night recognizing Hurricane Katrina relief organizations. Some of the stars in the house were Randy Newman of "Korean Parents" song fame and Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean of "the scream heard 'round the political world 2004" fame. However, one of the groups that drew a lot of attention were the Guam delegates, decked out in their island best:

A lot of people wanted to take pictures of them. Apparently, everybody loves Guamanians. They should put that on a t-shirt.

We spotted Texas Delegate Bobbi Bharati at the California delegate party. Yes, there are South Asians in Texas!

Survivor: Cook Islands winner Yul Kwon made a brief appearance at the AAPI Caucus Monday morning. He moderated a panel with young APAs involved in politics.

The panel included none other than the infamous S.R. Sidarth (aka "Macaca"), who talked about using new media to reach young Asian Americans.

Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran and amputee who ran for U.S. House of Representatives Seat and lost by a mere 2% margin in 2006, was also in attendance. If Obama is elected, she would be a contender to be appointed to Obama's vacant senate seat. Step aside Bryan Clay, Tammy is the true badass.

OG Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA), the Godfather of AAPI politics, greeted newbies like Edison, NJ mayor Jun Choi and Boston City Councilman Sam Yoon (not pictured). Gotta pay your respects to Uncle Mike.

Mee Moua currently serves in the Minnesota State Senate and holds the highest political office of any Hmong American.

Rising star Ashwin Madia from Minnesota is running for Congress. His race is one of the top ten races to watch in the November election. If you live in Minnesota's 3rd congressional district, check out Ashwin.

Hacienda-La Puente School Board Member Jay Chen, a delegate, was representing California.

Manita Rawat is Nevada's one and only Asian delegate (out of 26 delegates total). Apparently, Nevada had to meet a quota of 1 Asian delegate and she's the one. She said that when she was selected, the people in charge of handling delegates couldn't tell if she was Asian American or not. What's up with that? She was with her mom--so cute.

That's it for today. Asians are representing here in Denver. Now we're off to the APIA Vote Gala!

look to the youth

Amidst all the gripes over the lack of racial diversity on television, what's interesting, though perhaps not surprising, is that youth-oriented programming is leading the way towards something a little more reflective of what America actually looks like.

As problematic as the Disney Channel or Nickelodeon can be at times, you have to admit, when they say they're commited to diversity, in many ways they have put their money where their mouth is, building shows and projects around young actors of color: Generation Mix: Youth TV Takes the Lead in Diversity Casting.

As opposed to primetime, where the situation is very... white. Of the 26 men nominated this year for Emmys for lead or supporting actor in a drama, comedy or mini-series, all are white. It's a only slightly better among women. But what else is new? (Props to Sandra Oh, racking up another supporting nom for Grey's Anatomy).

Anyway, kids shows seem to be where it's at right now. But you're not going to catch me tuning into The Suite Life of Zack and Cody or anything. (Okay, I've watched it a couple of times.) I'm just saying, the trend's worth noting.

barack's brother-in-law

Here's an interesting interview with Konrad Ng, husband of Maya Soetoro-Ng, and brother-in-law of Barack Obama: Obama's brother-in-law taking it all in stride.
Q: What do you say when people tell you that you could be the brother-in-law of the next American president?

A: "You know he's such a great guy. He's a great candidate for president and we, of course, think really highly of him. So it's really easy to be proud, you know, to be proud of his accomplishments; the type of character that he is; and the type of campaign he runs; and all of the people that have supported him. We're very proud and we hope he wins."

Q: A pundit reported you were an adviser to your brother-in-law. Is that true?

A: "He's family, but he's got a lot of really capable people around him. He's in a position where people will take his call and are willing to offer him advice. Right now, it's just a matter of being a normal family member."

Q: Have you seen him during his campaign?

A: "We spent time together during the summer (Obama vacationed in Hawaii earlier this month), the Iowa caucus, and we spent time together over Christmas. We get the occasional e-mail and occasional phone call. He's awfully busy."

Q: Did he talk to you about running?

A: "After he did decide, which was late January 2007, we did have a big call, which involved family members and friends and some advisers.

He just said I'm going to do this and his pitch was a really compelling one, the story that he continues to tell, restoring people's faith in America and thinking that we can do better. That was sort of the big meeting, but it's not an easy decision.

People think it's glamorous. He said often: 'It's not will I win, but should I run and can I contribute something to the process by running?' I think he has begun to transform the political map. New people are getting involved in politics. People are excited about politics. That's a really exciting thing to be witness to."

Q: How do you deal with the criticism and attacks your brother-in-law has faced?

A: "For us, with my wife, we remain pretty constant and they do too. They (Barack Obama and his wife Michelle) remain on an even keel. I think they are really focused on the issues and running a dignified campaign. We've been trying to be very Zen throughout it, and supportive.

We love him unconditionally. It's really easy because of who he is, his character, to be proud and to like him."

Q: Should he offer Hillary Clinton the vice-presidency?

A: "That's really up to him and his team. As he said, she'd be on anybody's short list."

Q: What are you doing now?

A: "My wife, she'll be campaigning in Chicago, and I help out where and when I can. We have a young daughter and that's my main thing. Making sure she's OK and spending time with her when she's young."

Q: Will you be in Denver for the convention?

A: "We haven't quite figured out our plan. Maya has her job as a teacher and I have my job at the university. It's going to be the start of classes, but we would like to. We definitely would like to, but it's all about sorting out the things like work."

Q: What were your thoughts about your brother-in-law when you were dating his sister?

A: "Certainly, my focus was on the heart of this beautiful woman, and she has these in-laws (Obama and his wife Michelle) that happen to be doing some pretty spectacular things. It's hard to fully appreciate, the enormity of these accomplishments ... Before, when I met Maya, he was a state senator and sort of looking at becoming a (U.S.) senator. I was thinking these could be my in-laws and I should leave a favourable impression."

Q: How do you deal with people who know you are Barack Obama's brother-in-law?

A: "The great thing about Hawaii is that people here are pretty laid back about things like this. We get our space and we get a sense of just being part of the community. That's terrific. Students talk about, people talk about it. They're very excited and supportive. It's a really positive environment. Everyone is hoping everything remains civil. That's what Obama wants to do. He wants to engage in a very civil discourse."
Really, how does it feel to be brother-in-law to the man who might become the next president of the United States? I bet it makes the holidays interesting. At least Barack knows he can count on his vote. Check out Konrad's blog over on the Obama website here.

Konrad is also apparently a fan of this blog. I've actually had a couple of email exchanges with him over the last year. I remember him telling me that he's impressed with Obama's character and experience, even if he wasn't family. Well, of course he's going to say that!

trendy club only wants "white girls"

Two women fired from a trendy Manhattan nightclub have filed a lawsuit against their former employer claiming the owner wanted only "white girls": Lawsuit vs. Manhattan nightclub over firing of minorities. More here: Suit: Chelsea club fired minorities.

The lawsuit, filed by four minority employees last week in federal court, alleges that they were dismissed from their jobs at 10AK because their skin color. According to waitress Cecilia Shim, a manager at the club told her that the owner wanted "white girls he could f---" serving drinks.

The recently opened 10AK appears to be one of those swank hot spots that attracts a lot of celebrity clientele. Which apparently means that Asian people aren't worthy enough to serve some frickin' drinks. That's racist!

waipahu wins the little league world series

On Sunday, the team from Waipahu, Hawaii, with a roster full of APA kids, beat the boys from Matamoros, Mexico to win the Little League World Series, 12-3: Hawaii gives U.S. 4th straight LLWS win. How about that?

Big props to Tanner Tokunaga and Iolana Akau, who both homered to help the United States win its fourth straight Little League title. Can't let the Olympians have all the fun. More here: Aloha, Mexico: Hawaii bats take LLWS. And here: Never count them out.

obama's vice presidential pick

As you've probably heard by now, at long last, Barack Obama has announced Senator Joe Biden as his running mate. Many view him as a smart, strategic pick for vice president, balancing out the ticket in a variety of ways. Now, all eyes are on Denver, where thousands will converge in the city this week for the Democratic National Conventions.

Since I'm in the habit of pointing out past inappropriate, offensive remarks by a certain Republican presidential candidate, I would be remiss if I didn't mention Joe Biden's own insensitive comments regarding Indian Americans back in 2006.

On Delaware's fastest-growing immigrant group, Biden remarked, "You cannot go into a Dunkin Donuts or a 7-Eleven unless you have a slight Indian accent..." Here's the video. What a stupid thing to say. Granted, it was actually meant to be a positive remark on the success and growth of the Indian American community in Delaware. It was just the really really wrong way to say it.

Now, as you know, I'm supporting Obama for President. But I can't say this stupid little remark in Biden's past isn't a bit disappointing. Sure, it's certainly not even close to "I hate the gooks." Just don't be surprised if the "7-11" remark comes to back to haunt him in some form or another.

And while we're talking about presidential candidates and stupid moves, I also have to acknowledge the Obama campaign's "Punjab Memo" which surfaced last year, a negative research memo outlining and mocking Hillary Clinton's personal financial and political ties to India. Not a smart move from Obama's camp—and a blight on the Senator's pledge to run a clean campaign. To his credit, Obama criticized and disavowed the memo: Obama calls memo about India 'stupid'.

I'm just saying, I'll be the first to admit that my candidate is not and cannot be the perfect political savior that everyone wants him to be. It's impossible. That said, I'm voting for Barack Obama and Joe Biden this November.

uni-ball's fake beijing

I've been meaning to mention this for a while. One Olympics-related commercial that I can't stand is Uni-Ball's Jetstream to Beijing ad. Yes, a pen commercial. It features an American tourist trying to make his way around Beijing. But what really bugs me is that the commercial was clearly shot in Los Angeles' Chinatown, and does such a cruddy job of hiding it.

Anyone who is familiar with that part of the city should recognize it right away. I know, productions do it all time, often quite convincingly, masking one location for another. But this one just makes me laugh. Some strategically placed hanging lanterns and a guy with a funny hat walking by in the background—and voila! Instant Beijing.


return of the "chinaman"

There seems to be an odd upsurge of people using the derogatory term "chinaman" lately. Yes, it's a derogatory term. That's what seems to be the problem. For the most part, people seem to be completely ignorant to the fact that it's not appropriate to use this word to describe someone of Chinese or Asian descent, like it's an equivalent of "Frenchman." And every now and then, they need a reminder that it's not cool. Some recent examples...

On a recent edition of ESPN2's Wednesday Night Fights, so-called "comic legend" Jackie Mason filled in as guest commentator for the show's regular commentator, Teddy Atlas, who was in Beijing to cover the Olympics. When asked about filling in for Atlas, Mason remarked, "What is he gonna do in China? All he's going to see is Chinese people. You can see them in neighborhood. Every time you go to a laundry there's another Chinaman. You don't have to go a hundred thousand miles to see a Chinese person." And the other guy just laughs along like an idiot. That's racist! Watch the video here The comment occurs at about 5:05. (Thanks, Mark.)

I'm told that earlier this month at the National Black Republican Association's Presidential Elections and African Americans forum, one of their panel speakers, Mychal Massie of the National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives, used the term in response to a question from the audience. According to the reader who saw it, ironically, Massie used it as an example to demonstrate that it's not right to stereotype, and incorrect to assume that a "Chinaman has to be a tailor." Nice try, but very poor choice of words. That's racist! There's CSPAN video of the panel here, though I have no idea where in the video it actually occurs, since it's over two hours long, and I didn't have the time to watch it. (Thanks, Elijah.)

And I've heard from a couple of folks that Bay Area sports radio host Tom Tolbert of KNBR referred to someone as a "Chinaman" on-air a couple of weeks ago, on August 12. He was apparently discussing some story about a man in Hong Kong who used a piece of exercise equipment to masturbate. Um, yeah. Okay, it's embarrassing story, but was it necessary for Tolbert to enhance it by referring to guy as a "Chinaman"? I can't find a recording of the show in question, but Emil Guillermo writes about it in AsianWeek: Did you hear KNBR's Tom Tolbert say "Chinaman"? Just another radio host being an ignorant idiot. That's racist!

But wait! Special bonus mockery! Here's a clip of MSNBC's Tamron Hall mocking the Chinese language with some ching-chongery last week: MSNBC's Tamron Hall Mocks Chinese. Or rather, "Ding dong dilly of a dinger," whatever the hell that means. At least, I think that's what she said. Whatever the case, that's racist!


dear world, brian clay is a badass

Yeaaaahhh boy. Bryan Clay won the Olympic decathlon today, capturing the gold medal for the United States with 8,791 points: American Bryan Clay wins Olympic decathlon. Clay beat out Andrey Krauchanka of Belarus, who won the silver medal with 8,551 points, and Leonel Suarez of Cuba, who took bronze with 8,527 points.

The decathlon has to be one of the Olympic Games' most grueling, physically challenging events, testing an individual's speed, strength, skill and endurance in ten events over the course of two days: 100 meters, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400 meters, 110 metre hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin, 1500 meters.

You might recall that Clay is the guy who burned roughly 8,000 calories and lost roughly 15 pounds while competing at the Olympic trials last month. Basically, if you win a decathlon, you're officially a badass. You get BADASS printed on your passport, right below your name. So, it's official—Brian Clay is a badass.

chinese americans and the perceived value of sports

With China leading the gold medal count at these Olympic Games, it's pretty evident that China has grown to be an international athletic powerhouse. The New York Times ran this interesting article the other day on generational differences among Chinese Americans' attitudes towards sports and its role in a child's upbringing: Among Chinese-Americans, a Split on Sports.

One view, particularly common among first-generation, working-class Chinese Americans (and probably among other Asians, for that matter), maintains that sports are an unnecessary impediment to academic and professional achievement, according to interviews with Chinese American athletes, students, educators and community leaders in New York.

An opposite view, typically held by more educated parents or those who have become more assimilated into American culture because they have been in the United States at least one generation, promotes sports as an integral part of a child's maturation.

I can only speak from my own experience. I've never been much of an athlete. As a kid, I really loathed physical activity. But while academics were always the top priority, my first-generation immigrant parents were always signing me up for stuff like tae kwon do, tennis and swimming lessons, probably out of fear that I would rot away on the couch watching TV.

Today, I can't say that I'm any good at tae kwon do, tennis or swimming (I suck at all of these sports, and then some), but I can say that those experiences did make me a more well-rounded person. Or something like that.

looking for the next mr. hyphen

Awwww yeah. It's that time of year again. Hyphen is searching for a few good men for the 3rd Annual Mr. Hyphen Contest, happening October 4 in Oakland's Chinatown. The contest is an opportunity to celebrate the men of the Asian American community who devote their efforts to worthy community organizations. Yes, they are giving the underrated Asian male his due celebration.

If you are the man, or you know the man, who represents an Asian American nonprofit and is worthy of the Mr. Hyphen crown, then it's time to step out into the spotlight and compete. Contestants will strut their stuff in fashion, talent, and a rousing Q&A—all in the name of winning a donation to their chosen 501(c)3 organization. The grand prize is $1,000.

The event is not only a fundraiser for Hyphen (a not-for-profit organization too), but also for the organizations the contestants represent. The deadline to apply is September 1. It's all going down on October 4 at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. For more information about the competition, go here.

asian american family conflict and suicide risk

Everybody's family is a little crazy... but could Asian American families be particularly bad for your mental health? According to new findings by psychologists at the University of California Davis, conflict within the family appears to affect Asian Americans more adversely than other negative factors, such as depression or poverty—to the point of increasing their risk of suicide: A Family Suicide Risk in US Asians?

The new findings are based on a preliminary analysis of data collected from in-person interviews with more than 2,000 Asian Americans, aged 18 or older, as part of the federally funded 2003 National Latino and Asian American Study. The study seeks to highlight how profound the impact of the family may be for many Asian Americans—something that many mental-health professionals may not fully appreciate when dealing with an ethnic minority that is often reluctant to seek counseling.

There is a disturbing, unusually high rate of suicide among Asian Americans. We know this. These findings suggest that for Asian Americans, there may be an important difference in the risk factors that lead to suicide attempts. Hopefully, further research will help determine the kinds of family conflicts that are associated with suicide risk among Asian Americans, and find means of preventing these family problems.

america's best dance crew season 2: finale

It is done. America has chosen. Last night, Super Crew was named the winner on America's Best Dance Crew. While few doubted it would go any other way, it was a well-deserved win, by any measure. Looks like you'll be seeing them soon on the America's Best Dance Crew Live Tour.

Big props also to SoReal Cru, for doing the damn thing, and doing it rightly, all season long. This was a freakin' awesome season for Asian American folks on Dance Crew. Let's hope we'll see the trend continue in seasons to come. Represent!

number of asian american men in newsrooms improves

Back in 2002, the Asian American Journalists Association released a study documenting the underrepresentation Asian American men in television news. Women greatly outnumbered men in newsrooms and journalism school classrooms. Blame the Connie Chung Syndrome, perhaps.

In 2004, to combat this statistic, a team of AAJA members released a DVD entitled The Men of AAJA: A DVD Showcase. No, not a calendar pictorial. The video featured the on-air work of 60 Asian American broadcast journalists, with the goal of raising the profile of men already on the air and recruiting aspiring journalists to follow them. In 2006, they released More than a Job: Broadcast Journalism, a recruitment video featuring six Asian American journalists showing and talking about the work they love.

Today, good news. The number of Asian American men on the air in the top 25 markets has increased by 73 percent. There were 22 Asian American men on the air in the top 25 markets in 2002. There are now 38: AAJA Uses DVD to Recruit, Retain Broadcast Journalists.

The number of Asian American women has also increased 84 percent in these markets, 84 in 2002 compared to 129 in 2008. And the ratio of Asian American women to men in these markets has also improved. In 2002, the ratio was 3.82 to 1. In 2008, the ratio is 3.39 to 1. Now maybe they really should make those calendars.

rooftop films presents lee isaac chung's munyurangabo

This is for my people in New York. This weekend, Rooftop Films will be holding a screening of Lee Isaac Chung's critically-acclaimed Munyurangabo, "a stunning neo-realist drama about revenge and friendship in post-genocide Rwanda." I haven't seen the film, but I've heard nothing but great things, and it looks absolutely incredible. Here's the New York Times review of the film: Rwanda, Speaking in Its Own Voice.

Catch it this Saturday, August 23, 8:00pm on the roof of The Old American Can Factory in Gowanus Park/Park Slope. Yup, outdoors. Before the show there will be a live performance by Twi the Humble Feather, presented by Sound Fix Records. Sounds like it's going to be a really cool screening, and a great way to spend a summer night. For more information about the event, go here.

really, just how old are those chinese gymnasts?

One of the minor controversies that has dogged the Beijing Olympic Games is the question of the Chinese women gymnasts' age. Not only do they just look waaaaay younger that the eligible competing age of 16, some have pointed to previous web documentation that suggests that some Chinese team members could be as young as 14: Persistent questions about Chinese, but no proof.

But China has presented the necessary official documentation—a government-issued passport—for all of its gymnasts that show they are age eligible. This is all the proof of age the International Gymnastics Federation has required for them to compete. Yeah, I know. Not the most reassuring proof.

If the federation had found evidence that the gymnasts were underage, it could have affected four of China's medals. In addition to the team gold and He Kexin's gold on bars, Yang Yilin won bronze medals in the all-around and uneven bars. But the matter appears to have been put to rest.

The Olympics live and die by the illusion of international harmony and fair competition, despite the rampant cheating and political manipulation that we know probably happens behind the scenes. My guess is, the IOC won't press the matter further.


the cho show premieres tonight

Margaret Cho makes her grand return to television tonight with VH1's "reality sitcom" The Cho Show. It looks like it's going to be a very wacky, irreverent, interesting show featuring Margaret and her entourage. It's not exactly a reality show, but a "sitcom starring real people," as Cho describes it. I don't exactly understand what that means, but based on the first episode, it seems to imply that Margaret's parents will be coming over to visit. A lot.

In tonight's premiere, Margaret is invited to accept an achievement award from KoreAm Journal. She's apprehensive about the distinction, recalling the criticism she received for 1994's All-American Girl—particularly from the Korean American community. Not only was it an awful experience making the show, she had to deal with the hate from her own community. She remembers once being called "the worst thing to happen (to Koreans) since the demilitarized zone." Ouch.

The episode shows her working it out, ultimately deciding to go to the awards gala. I found the "conflict" a bit overplayed for TV, but hey, it makes for interesting television. There's a moment with her discussing the award with fellow comedian Bobby Lee, who tells her that she's the reason he got into comedy in the first place. Seeing her perform, as a Korean American comic, is what convinced him that he could make it in comedy too. It's a cool scene.

Personally, I think Margaret's parents, Seung Hoon and Young Hie Cho, could end up being the breakout stars of The Cho Show. Here's a good review of the show from Los Angeles Times: TV review: 'The Cho Show'. And here's an interview with Margaret: Margaret Cho: Reality strikes.

Anywyay, The Cho Show premieres on VH1 tonight, but if you can't tune in, or the Tivo's broken, the entire first episode is actually available for viewing online at Margaret Cho's Blog. I'm told it's also available as a free download on iTunes.

may the best dance crew win

It's all going down tonight, the live season two finale of America's Best Dance Crew. Who did America crown the winner? Check out this video interview my pal Chrissy did for Yahoo! TV, talking to the final two crews—Super Cr3w and SoReal Cru—about their experience on the show (and why you should vote for them): Super Cr3w & SoReal Cru Dish On Their 'ABDC' Experience & Rally For Your Votes. Here's video of the championship showdown between the two crews:

SoReal Cru

Super Cr3w

As I've said before, I'll completely happy if either team takes it home tonight. I think Super Cr3w is the obvious, strong favorite to win. They've been nothing short of amazing every week. That said, you definitely won't see me complaining if SoReal wins. Both teams have heavy Asian American representation. Either way, it'll be pretty awesome to see.

bits from beijing

British swimmer Steve Parry is a former Olympian who won a bronze medal in the 200m butterfly at the Athens games. He never even came close to achieving what Michael Phelps has done in the pool. However, in the above video, he gets a tiny taste of what it might be like to be Michael Phelps... because these Chinese tourists, despite Parry's clear disclaimers, are under the mistaken impression that he is the actual Michael Phelps. Tall white dude with a swimmer's build? Must be Phelps. Eh, you know. They all look alike.

Here's a great piece from the Huffington Post by Deanna Lee, talking about her powerful experience arriving in Beijing for the Olympic Games, and the swell of pride she has felt as a Chinese American watching the international competition unfold: A Chinese American at the Olympics (or, an American Chinese?)

Meanwhile, the controversy over the Spanish basketball team's racist slant-eye photo seems to have died down a bit, after receiving a great deal of attention last week. But did people in China even care? Were they offended at all by the gesture? Did they even know what it means? Here's a story on Chinese reaction (or lack thereof) to the photo: Spain's snafu angers few Chinese natives.

Still, stateside, a lot of people are angry: A mockery of Olympic ideals. The fact of the matter is, an insult like this will probably resonate most with folks like me, who have lived in North America and have had to deal with slant-eye jokes and ching chong chants from day one. It's just a simple, ugly fact of growing up Asian in America: you're going to deal with racist fools.


miss vintage on the liberty live tour

Heads up. Philadelphia-based "art rock" band Miss Vintage is partnering up with Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) and traversing across the United States this fall on the Liberty Live Tour 2008 to promote awareness about the atrocities happening in North Korea. From September 14 to October 14, they'll be doing shows at 22 major universities across the country. With special performances by Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Andy Grammer.

Check out the tour video here. Each night on the tour, a representative from LiNK will be briefly speaking about North Korean human rights and the refugee crisis before Miss Vintage's set. Also accompanying the band will be Dong-hyuk Shin, a North Korean defector born into slavery and raised as a political prisoner in a North Korean concentration camp.

Miss Vintage will also be promoting their recently released second album, Our Lives Are Not Through Just Yet. Their sound is described as "a classic clash of intrigue and pop sensibilities," influenced by Explosions in the Sky, Sigur Ros, Mew, and Radiohead. To learn more about the band, and listen to some sample tracks, visit the Miss Vintage website here, as well as their MySpace profile here. To learn more about the Liberty Live Tour, go here.

sung kang in fast and furious prequel

As you might know, Justin Lin is directing Fast and Furious (yes, minus "the" and "the"), the fourth movie in Universal's blockbuster car-centric franchise, set for release next summer. In addition to Justin back in the director's chair, the movie marks the return of stars Vin Diesel and Paul Walker back to franchise.

While I'm not exactly expecting the Fast and Furious to be a life-changing viewing experience, I'm looking forward to seeing how Justin and Co. manage to weave the series' various characters into a cohesive story (I use that word "story" loosely). Dominic Toretto, Brian O'Connor... and Han?!

You'll recall that Tokyo Drift's plot sort of sidestepped the first two, introducing an entirely different storyline and characters. That's cool, because we got to see Sung Kang as Han—easily the coolest dude in the movie. But now we've got the fourth one coming up, and Han is apparently back. I'm presuming the movie's a prequel, because (SPOILER!) Han died in a fiery crash in Tokyo Drift. Whatever the case, I like it.

I bring this all up because I just came across this little item: Vin Diesel Directing Fast and Furious Prequel. Vin Diesel will reportedly be directing a 20-minute prequel to Fast and Furious, starring himself, Michelle Rodriguez and Sung Kang. No word on how exactly the prequel will be made available, whether on DVD, online, TV or whatever. But there you have it. Expect to see that much more of Sung Kang as Han, I guess.

"the korean seductress who betrayed america"

The Associated Press recently ran this crazy, fascinating story on Kim Soo-im, known as "The Korean Seductress Who Betrayed America." She was a Seoul socialite is said to have charmed secret information out of one lover, an American colonel, and passed it to another, a top communist in North Korea. Sort of like a cross between Lust Caution and M. Butterfly.

In late June 1950, Kim Soo-Im was executed by the South Korean military, shot as a "very malicious international spy." In America, fueled by anticommunist hysteria, her story was salaciously recounted and depicted in various headlines and TV dramas calling her a "seductress."

However, new information has recently emerged that could apparently clear her name. The AP has obtained the record of a confidential 1950 U.S. inquiry and other declassified files that tell an entirely different Kim Soo-Im story.

Colonel John E Baird, her American lover, had no access to the supposed sensitive information. Kim had no secrets to pass on. And her Korean lover, Lee Gang-kook, later executed by North Korea, may actually have been an American agent. Oops.

From what it looks like, the entire case against Kim was little more than a frame-up. What a crazy story. Now, Wonil Kim—son of Kim Soo-im and Colonel Baird—is on a quest to bury the damaging myths about his mother: Son fights to clear name of executed 'seductress spy.' Somebody really needs to make a movie about this. With the true story.


out on dvd: please vote for me

Please Vote For Me, directed by Weijun Chen, is a fascinating look at democracy in action in China, starting at the most basic level of politics—an elementary school classroom. The film examines what happens when, first time ever, the third grade students at Evergreen Primary School in Wuhan, China are asked to elect a class monitor.

It's an intriguing premise that offers a really interesting chance to tackle a variety of issues, from China's One-Child policy to the very basic notions of how democracy works. What will these children do when provided with the opportunity to vote? How will the candidates behave towards each other and their peers? Will they resort to underhanded tactics to get elected?

It gets ugly pretty fast. Coached by pushy, overeager parents, the pressure of running for office begins its take its toll. At school, the candidates—Luo Lei (the current class monitor) Cheng Cheng and Xu Xiaofei—talk to classmates one-on-one, making promises, planning tactics (including negative ones) and at times expressing doubts about their own candidacies.

There are tears, angry outbursts, backstabbing and dirty tricks. Just like any political campaign. Except these are kids in the third grade. The film is an intimate, captivating and entertaining portrait of kids being kids, but also providing a short glimpse of the future of democracy. I highly recommend checking it out. Learn more about the film here. It's out on DVD this week.

save koream journal

Calling all Korean Americans (and then some). I recently heard from some of my friends at KoreAm Journal, who tell me the magazine has been going through some tough times, with advertising revenue way down. Sign of the times. Like many print publications of its kind, KoreAm isn't immune to the pressures and declines facing the industry.

I first started reading KoreAm years ago when a friend got me a gift subscription for my birthday. I can't say I've always been a fan, and sometimes the content is less than consistent. But more often than not, they nail it on the head, and it's become an important voice and resource for the Korean American community. Hey, they've been around for eighteen years. They've got to be doing something right.

And they're not going out without a fight. Determined to keep things going, they've launched a three-month Save KoreAm Journal campaign. They're hoping supporters will purchase subscriptions or gift subscriptions, or make a contribution to help the magazine. Read the Open Letter that appears in the August issue, asking for your help.

the olympics are a trap!

"Oh, they're going to wait until it gets dark, they're going to bring out their dragons." I'll admit, I laughed my ass off when I saw this "news" video from The Onion: The Beijing Olympics: Are They A Trap? Just so we're clear, this is not a "real" news show. But doesn't it feel like it could be? (Thanks, D Wizzle.)

angry archive