11.30.2008

uglycon 3 at grny


Hey New York! Uglycon 3, the third annual Uglydoll convention, is coming to Giant Robot. Good times are coming your way. Opening reception this Saturday, December 6 at noon. There will be a costume contest, and I suspect it will be awesome. Go here for more info.

win tickets to the pearl presidential inaugural gala

As you're probably aware, Barack Obama will take office as President of the United States when he is sworn in on January 20, 2009. To celebrate the occasion, the AAPI community's Pearl Presidential Inaugural Gala is happening on January 19 at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Washington D.C. It's apparently going to be one big-ass party.

Tickets are already completely sold out, but Asian Americans for Obama is holding a contest for tickets to attend this historic event. As a supporting organization, they're helping to raise money for the Pearl Gala. The individual or organization who raises the most money on behalf of AAFO will win two tickets to the Pearl Gala.

Hey, maybe it's you. It's going to be a big night, and maybe you can lend a hand in raising some cash. For more information about the contest, visit the Asian Americans for Obama website here. To participate, contact Ramey Ko at ramey@asianamericansforobama.com.

asians on terminator: the sarah connor chronicles


I heard from a few folks that Eddie Shin was on last week's episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, along with Eric Steinberg as his father. They played two Japanese American tech guys running a computer company. Yeah, I know—computer geeks. But it somehow manages to weave a little bit of family backstory mentioning both the internment and the 442nd. It's an odd moment, but I thought both were pretty good in the episode. You can actually watch it online here.


Stephanie Chaves-Jacobsen has also had a recurring role this season as Jesse, a love interest for Derek Reese. Battlestar Galactica fans might recognize her from last year's two-hour prequel Razor. I haven't regularly been watching this show, but her character's pretty intriguing, and I'm betting we'll see more of her. Plus, you gotta love her accent.

pittsburgh signs indian pitchers

Last week, the Pittsburgh Pirates signed free-agent contracts with pitchers Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, who are believed to be the first athletes from India to sign professional baseball contracts outside their country: Pirates sign Indian - not Cleveland - pitchers.

We first heard about these guys a few weeks back when they tried out for major league scouts as part of their reward for winning an Indian reality TV show called The Million Dollar Arm. While neither pitcher threw hard enough to earn the $1 million prize, they did earn a trip to the United States.

Odds are, among a nation of 1 billion, there had to be some guys with major league-worthy throwing arms. After working extensively with a pitching coach, the pitchers staged a tryout in Arizona last month that was attended by 30 major league scouts.

Looks like the Pirates saw something they liked in these guys. Crazy, considering neither of these guys had ever played baseball or even been outside their home villages before all of this started. Raw, but some serious untapped talent in those arms. We'll see how far these guys make it.

11.29.2008

michelle rhee on the cover of time


Look who's on the cover of the latest issue of TIME: D.C. school chief Michelle Rhee, who's unconventional, sometimes controversial approach to school reform—which has earned her both admirers and enemies—could transform public education: Can She Save Our Schools?

Love or hate her (there are plenty on both sides) Michelle Rhee became one of the most important names in American public education when she was appointed chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools system in June 2007. The article is a really interesting profile on her, her lofty goals, and the crazy changes she's made so far. So crazy, they might just work.

girl dies after being struck by car outside school

In Diamond Bar, California, a girl has died after being struck by a car outside a school earlier this week: Girl Dies After Being Struck By SUV In Diamond Bar. According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, 3-year-old Michelle Kwon died on Thanksgiving.

Michelle, her 5-year-old sister Christine and her father, 43-year-old Soonil Kwon were on the way an elementary school on Wednesday morning when an SUV went out of control, went over a curb in front of the school and hit them. The girl's father and sister were hospitalized with injuries but they're expected to survive.

Sheriff's officials say the driver was parking the car to drop off some children when he lost control of the car. Investigators concluded it was an accident and the driver was not cited.

mike relm's black friday special

Did you stand in line outside the mall on Black Friday? Did you get that special doorbusting deal? Did you trample over a poor Walmart employee? Madness. Well, if you like a good deal, turntablist/video artist Mike Relm had his own little Black Friday Special.

In honor of the year's biggest shopping day, he's giving away four songs form his latest album Spectacle, along with the music video for "Everytime." Download The Black Friday Special package here. Because everybody likes free stuff. And you don't even have to wait in a crazy line.

well-dressed extras needed for the wedding palace


Okay, if you're in the L.A. area, and interested in being a background extra for The Wedding Palace, they need you next week... and this is a big one. You've got to figure, if they're making a movie called The Wedding Palace, there probably ought to be a wedding scene in the movie. This one's got three. Come dressed in wedding guest attire. For details, read on:
Come one, come all with your wedding guest attire! We are creating three BIG wedding scenes and need all the HELP we can get to make it look real with your flossy selves.

Dates and Call Times:
Monday, Dec 1 - 10:00 A.M. (tentative, please email to confirm)
Tuesday, Dec 2 - TBD
Wednesday, Dec 3 - TBD
(Attendance to all three days is not necessary. If you can make it to at least one day, that'd be awesome!)

Location and Parking: Wilshire Plaza Hotel
3515 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010

Wardrobe: What you'd wear to a wedding. Bright colors, please avoid black or white. And no logos! Bring at least two options.

Pay: Unfortunately, we cannot pay as this is a super low budget film. Lunch, snacks, and parking will be provided.

Contact Grace at: grace@peachies.net

WEDDING PALACE is a romantic comedy directed by Christine Yoo, starring Brian Tee ("Crash"), Kang Haejung (Oldboy), Bobby Lee ("MADtv"), Steve Park ("In Living Color"), and Margaret Cho.
They've got a tiny little budget, so they can't pay you, but it's your chance to see an indie film production action, with a whole bunch of other well-dressed people. Contact Grace to get involved.

obama changes the name game

This is an interesting article on the power of a name: A president named Obama changes the name game. It suggests that the idea of an "American" name will expand beyond names like Tom and Harry and Sally and Jane and Smith and Jones... thanks to a guy named Barack Hussein Obama.

I think many of my Asian American brothers and sisters will probably relate to this, having lived in the United States with an "untraditional" name like Soojin or Vivek or Kosuke. You've had to deal weird stares and misunderstandings all your life, or have been made to feel less American, and maybe even sometimes wished for a more "American"-sounding name.

But perhaps now, the election of President Barack Obama will change that. The more people hear it, the more mainstream it becomes, making room for other names that don't quite so sound so British. I mean, come on, who is more American than the President of the United States? Soon, Chethan, you can stop telling the guy working at Starbucks that your name is Jason.

11.27.2008

at least 120 killed in mumbai terrorist siege

Don't have a lot of time to post, but if you've been watching the news, you've heard about what's been happening in Mumbai: Mumbai gunmen besiege hotels, kill 119 in 2 days... Here's a cut-and-paste from the Associated Press:

Mumbai gunmen besiege hotels, kill 119 in 2 days
By RAMOLA TALWAR BADAM

MUMBAI, India - Indian commandoes fought Thursday to wrest control of two luxury hotels and a Jewish center from suspected Muslim militants, a day after a chain of attacks across Mumbai left at least 119 people dead and the city shellshocked.

Gunfire and explosions were heard throughout the day and night from the besieged headquarters of the ultra-orthodox Jewish outreach group Chabad Lubavitch and the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels, two of the top gathering spots for the Mumbai elite. Throughout the day, commandoes brought hostages, trapped guests and corpses out of the hotels in small groups while fires erupted periodically and firefighters battled the flames.

State officials said 119 people had died and 288 were injured.

The well-planned attacks began Wednesday night and officials said the gunmen were prepared, even carrying large bags of almonds to keep up their energy during the fight. Their main targets appeared to be Americans, Britons and Jews, though most of the dead seemed to be Indians and foreign tourists caught in the random gunfire.

The gunmen — some of whom strode casually through their targets in khakis and T-shirts — clearly came ready for a siege.

"They have AK-47s and grenades. They have bags full of grenades and have come fully prepared," said Maj. Gen. R.K. Hooda. Vice-Admiral J.S. Bedi, a top naval officer.

Ratan Tata, who runs the company that owns the elegant Taj Mahal, said they appeared to have scouted their targets in advance.

"They seem to know their way around the back office, the kitchen. There has been a considerable amount of detailed planning," he told a news conference.

Throughout the day, black-clad Indian commandos moved through the two hotels room by room in a bid to free the dozens of trapped people.

The Maharashtra state home ministry said dozens of hostages had been freed from the Oberoi and dozens more were still trapped inside. More than 400 people were brought out of the Taj Mahal, and army forces were still scouring the building for survivors early Friday morning.

Late Thursday night, authorities said they had killed three gunmen at the Taj and were sweeping the Oberoi in search of hostages and trapped people.

It remained unclear just how many people had been taken hostage, how many were hiding inside the hotels and how many dead still lay uncounted.

There were conflicting reports about hostages at the Jewish center. A diplomat closely monitoring the site said people were still being held there, though an Indian state official said earlier eight hostages had been released. Both sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

The diplomat said the eight people had likely been hiding in a nearby building.

On Thursday morning, a woman, child and an Indian cook were led out of the building by police, said one witness. The child was identified as Moshe Holtzberg, 2, the son of Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg, the main representative at Chabad house. The child was unharmed, but his clothes were soaked in blood.

Sandra Samuel, 44, the cook who pulled the boy out the building, said she saw Rabbi Holtzberg, his wife Rivka and two other unidentified guests lying on the floor, apparently "unconscious."

India has been shaken repeatedly by terror attacks blamed on Muslim militants in recent years, but most of those attacks have been coordinated bombings that struck random crowded places: markets, street corners, parks.

These attacks were far more sophisticated — and more brazen.

They began at about 9:20 p.m. with the shooters spraying gunfire across the Chhatrapati Shivaji railroad station, one of the world's busiest terminals. For the next two hours, there was an attack roughly every 15 minutes — the Jewish center, a tourist restaurant, one hotel, then another, and two attacks on hospitals. There were 10 targets in all.

Indian media showed pictures of black and yellow rubber dinghies found by the city's shoreline, apparently used by the gunmen to reach the area. Both of the luxury hotels targeted overlook the Arabian Sea, which surrounds the peninsula of Mumbai.

At the Chhatrapati Shivaji railroad station, a soaring 19th century architectural monument, gunmen fired bullets through the crowded terminal, leaving the floor spattered with blood and corpses.

"They just fired randomly at people and then ran away. In seconds, people fell to the ground," said Nasim Inam, a witness.

Analysts around the world were debating whether the gunmen could have been tied to — or inspired by — al-Qaida.

"It's clear that it is al-Qaida style," but probably not carried out by the group's militants, said Rohan Gunaratna, of the International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research in Singapore and author of "Inside Al-Qaida."

"Yesterday's attack is a watershed because for the first time, the terrorists deliberately attacked international targets," he said, noting that symbolic high-profile targets had been chosen, apparently to magnify the effects of the violence.

Indian media reports said a previously unknown group calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen claimed responsibility in e-mails to several media outlets. The Deccan is a region in southern India that was traditionally ruled by Muslim kings.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh blamed "external forces" for the violence — a phrase sometimes used to refer to Pakistani militants, whom Indian authorities often blame attacks on.

"The well-planned and well-orchestrated attacks, probably with external linkages, were intended to create a sense of panic, by choosing high profile targets and indiscriminately killing foreigners," he said in address to the nation.

Survivors of the hotel attacks said the gunmen had specifically targeted Britons and Americans.

Alex Chamberlain, a British citizen dining at the Oberoi, told reporters that a gunman ushered 30 to 40 people from the restaurant into a stairway and ordered everyone to put up their hands.

The gunmen "stopped once and asked, 'Where are you from? Any British or American? Show your ID.' My friend said, 'Tell them you're Italian.' And there I was with my hands up basically thinking I was in a lot of trouble."

Chamberlain said he managed to slip away as the patrons were forced to walk upstairs.

One man brought out of the Oberoi, a who identified himself as a Pole but did not give his name, told reporters he had seen many bodies inside, but refused to elaborate, saying he had promised police not to discuss details of the rescue operation.

Among the dead were at least four Australians and a Japanese, said the state home ministry. An Italian, a Briton and a German were also killed, according to their foreign ministries.

At least three top Indian police officers — including the chief of the anti-terror squad — were among those killed, said Roy.

Among those foreigners still held captive in all three buildings were Americans, British, Italians, Swedes, Canadians, Yemenis, New Zealanders, Spaniards, Turks, French, a Singaporean and Israelis.

The United States, Pakistan and other countries condemned the attacks.

The motive for the onslaught was not immediately clear, but Mumbai has frequently been targeted in terrorist attacks blamed on Islamic extremists, including a series of bombings in July 2006 that killed 187 people.

Mumbai is one of the most populated cities in the world with some 18 million crammed into shantytowns, high rises and crumbling mansions.

India has been wracked by bomb attacks the past three years, which police blame on Muslim militants intent on destabilizing this largely Hindu country. Nearly 700 people have died.

Since May, a militant group calling itself the Indian Mujahideen has taken credit for a string of blasts that killed more than 130 people. The most recent was in September, when explosions struck a park and crowded shopping areas in the capital, New Delhi, killing 21 people and wounding about 100.

Relations between Hindus, who make up more than 80 percent of India's 1 billion population, and Muslims, who make up about 14 percent, have sporadically erupted into bouts of sectarian violence since British-ruled India was split into independent India and Pakistan in 1947.

___

Associated Press writers Anita Chang, Erika Kinetz and Jenny Barchfield contributed to this report.

11.26.2008

salon's sexiest man living 2008

Because we cover the hard-hitting issue around here... take a look at Salon.com's Sexiest Man Living 2008. Among the seventeen heartthrobs that made the list are Chinese badminton bad boy Lin Dan, Harold and Kumar star Kal Penn, and Booker Prize-winning novelist Aravind Adiga.

Overall, I've got to say, it's pretty interesting list. The Clooneys, Pitts and McConaugheys are nowhere to be seen, instead replaced by guys like Seth Meyers, Tom Colicchio... and the 44th President of the United States. That's how Salon rolls, I guess. Save those other guys for People.

Special props to hip hop vlogger Jay Smooth, who also made the list. Very cool guy who I've mentioned here before. Brilliant. We'll be sitting on a panel together next March at South By Southwest. Looking forward to it.

the first illegal immigrants



In honor of Thanksgiving, Asian American sketch comedy troupe 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors turns the tables and takes a hard look at disease ridden, crime-prone, illegal immigrants that pose a burden to American society... four hundred years ago.

What can be done about these dirty boat people? Take a look: An 18 Mighty Mountain Warrior Thanksgiving Special: Illegal Immigrants. Be warned: this video features Asians dudes costumed as Native Americans and an Asian guy dressed as a white dude. Just so you know.

sarah park to be added to journalists memorial

Sarah Park, a popular, well-known reporter for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, was only 29 when she died in a plane crash in 1957 while covering a tsunami on Oahu's North Shore. Next year, her name will be added to the Journalists Memorial in Washington D.C.: Star-Bulletin reporter killed on duty earns place of honor.

The Journalists Memorial honors reporters who have died covering a story. There are 1,898 names etched onto the glass walls of the memorial at the Newseum in Washington. Park's name will be added in ceremonies this spring, along with the names of journalists killed this year.

Park's short career included covering stories in Korea, India, China and Indonesia for the International News Service and Reuters. She also covered the Korean War from December 1952 to March 1953 and was blacklisted by a Soviet literary magazine during the Cold War.

It is believed that Park is the only Korean American whose name will be on the memorial. She was also likely the first Korean American journalist to cover a war and work for a news service and a metropolitan daily. She was definitely a pioneer whose career was cut way too short.

big phony session at groupee



Check it out. It's Bobby Choy, aka Big Phony doing a live "Session" for Groupee.com. Love it. If you're not familiar with Big Phony's music, damn, you gotta get on board. It's good stuff. Watch the other songs from this session here. Check out Bobby's website here, and his MySpace page here. (Thanks, Lynne.)

mother killed, saves kids from gunman

This is a crazy, tragic story out of the Bay Area... Yesterday, a woman was killed in her San Mateo home after police exchanged gunfire with an intruder. But as the gunman stormed the bedroom where she had barricaded herself, 24-year-old Loan Kim Nguyen was able pass her two small children out the window to SWAT officers: San Mateo home invasion ends in death for mom who saved children.

Police say the intruder apparently had targeted the home where Nguyen lived with her husband, 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter, and there was some indication the crime was "not a random act." But it remains a mystery what had brought the still-unidentified intruder to the home. Who was this guy? And what was his deal?

Whatever the case, this woman is a hero. She essentially sacrificed herself so that offers could get her children to safety, as the gunman fired blindly through the walls of the bedroom. According to the article Nguyen, collapsed after handing the second child to an officer. She was take to Stanford Hospital, where she died.

Police chased the intruder through the home, finding him in a back bedroom, dead of at least one gunshot wound. It's possible he might have shot himself. More here: Home invasion leaves woman, suspect dead. There's also video of some of the shootout and the children's rescue here.

UPDATE: Investigators believe that the gunman, 22-year-old Raymond Gee, was a mentally unstable stalker who was obsessed with Loan Kim Nguyen, a former beauty contestant and 24-year-old mother of two: Investigators say stalker was responsible for San Mateo shooting.

the power of the puppies

Live video by Ustream
Want to know a surefire way to make your new website blow up? Puppies. Fuzzy, cuddly, frickin' cute puppies. Works every time. That's how one Silicon Valley startup, Upstream.tv, got itself some big-time traffic—a live video feed of Shiba Inu puppies. Admit it. You cannot resist!

Since going live last month, the web-powered pooches have had 6 million viewers, spanning the globe and streaming nearly 4 million hours. This, of course, is great news for Upstream's founders, John Ham and Brad Hunstable: Puppies Power a Web Video Start-Up.

feodor chin's golden boy

Actor Feodor Chin, who can be seen in the upcoming indie gangster drama Baby, informs me about a television project he's been developing, a half-hour comedic pilot called Golden Boy that he produced, wrote and stars in.

In the spirit of Entourage and Extras, it tells the story of Scott Wang, an up-and-coming Hollywood screenwriter trying to find commercial success without losing his artistic soul. Check out the trailer here.

Wacky. Don't know if it's any good, or if and when we'll all be able to see the finished product, but there will be an industry screening in Los Angeles in a couple of weeks. For more information, go here.

japanese baseball league drafts teenage girl

This is a pretty cool story out of Japan... the nation's newest baseball sensation 16-year-old Eri Yoshida, the first—and youngest—female professional baseball player in an all-male league in Japan: Japan league drafts 16-year-old girl. More here: The Knuckleballer Is a Girl.

The 5 ft., 114 lb. right-handed teenager from Yokohama City apparently throws a mean knuckleball at about 100 km, with an unpredictable trajectory that she says no batter has yet been able to hit. She'll playing for the Kobe 9 Cruise team in Japan's new independent minor league when its first season starts next spring.

What's crazy is, her family actually showed up at the three-day tryout to see if Eri's 19-year-old brother could have a chance at getting drafted. After pitching a no-hit inning, she was signed with 32 other players—out of about 45 candidates. And her brother didn't make the draft!

It's like something out of a movie. Teen girl pitching phenom finds herself playing with the pros in the big leagues. You could even have an appearance from Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield, Eri's hero. Throw in that heartthrob love interest and you've got the makings of a pretty solid Disney script. Of course, in the Hollywood version, everybody's white.

11.25.2008

dj mike relm at youtube live



Speaking of YouTube stars, here's a video of kickass DJ/turntablist/video mashup artist Mike Relm mixing and messing with a couple of YouTube favorites over the weekend at YouTube Live. Charlie bit me!

ryan & sean's not so excellent adventure

Though I post a lot of videos around here, I actually don't spend a lot of time regularly watching YouTube stuff—even the videos I subscribe. Thus, I only recently heard about Ryan and Sean, whose comedic sketches apparently have quite a following of online fans.

What started as an after school distraction (isn't that how most of these things start?) has somehow become one of those YouTube phenomena attracting more than 150 million views... and the attention of a Hollywood producer: Hilo boys' Web videos catch Hollywood's eye.

The story goes, a 10-year-old fan in California showed the YouTube duo's videos to his movie producer father, who was amused by their antics and decided to make a feature film with them. The result: Ryan & Sean's Not So Excellent Adventure.

Just based on the trailer, I'm pretty sure this is not my kind of movie. But it's pretty awesome evidence of the kind of presence and power that Asian Americans seem to have amassed on YouTube.

oprah does "the asian language gibberish thing"

My good friend Kathy caught an obnoxious moment last week on The Oprah Winfrey Show and wrote a really excellent post about it on her blog. With her permission, I'm reposting it here:

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What in the World?!? - Oprah, Shame on You
Kathy Khang

I know that I need to lighten up and not take life so seriously. I know that I need to pick and choose my battles. I know that in the grand scheme of things this is really not a big deal.

But it is annoying. I couldn't believe Oprah was doing the Asian language gibberish thing on her show this morning.

I was watching Oprah this morning - a show on standards of beauty around the world. I was actually laughing at myself for watching the show while doing my 45 minutes of cardio on the elliptical at the gym. There was a moment of dissonance and irony for me. Anyway, the show was highlighting how women all over the world define beauty and about the things they do to beautify themselves.

The segment I'm referring to was on Japanese women and how they value smooth porcelain-like skin. Oprah held up a sample tube of a popular whitening cream, looked at the name and because Oprah doesn't read kana or kanji she made up what she thought was an "Asian" sounding series of sounds. NOOOOO! Argh. The audience laughed. The Japanese woman who was on live feed through Skype giggled and corrected Oprah and correctly pronounced the name of the product. Oprah then went on to say, "That's what I said."

Wrong.

There were good lessons to be learned because even as the audience (and I include myself in that generic label) could laugh or look in horror at what other women will do to achieve their culture's standard of beauty we all know our own dirty little secrets. The show was actually something I could see using as a springboard for cross-cultural conversations about beauty, race, ethnicity, gender and class. The reporter, Mara Schiavocampo, talks about how she was surprised to learn that Asian women straighten their hair (long, black, straight hair = Asian/Asian American woman stereotype). One segment touched on hair weaves - how much American women will pay to have real hair weaves, how some some of that hair comes from women who sacrifice their hair to temple gods, and how some of those women live in poverty.

Segment after segment there were women from around the world - Iran, Japan, Brazil, Indonesia - who would look right into the camera and SPEAK IN ENGLISH to tell Oprah and her audience about their beauty secrets. So why couldn't Oprah look in the camera and just say, "Thank you."?

Nope. Oprah ended that particular segment just making noise. I'll just end my morning by writing The Oprah Show a comment:
Dear Oprah, I watched your show this morning on beauty standards from around the world. For the most part, I enjoyed the show.

I was, however, disappointed at your attempt to read Japanese. I realize that in the grand scheme of things, one seemingly light-hearted moment as you made "Asian" sounds instead of correctly pronouncing the name of the beauty product you were holding is not a big deal.

However, many of the women interviewed for the show sincerely wanted to show your audience how other women from around the world define beauty and strive to achieve it. Many of those women spoke with great pride and in English, not once making fun of Americans and the crazy things we use or do in the name of beauty.

There were good lessons to be learned about stereotypes (your guest reporter mentioned how surprised she was to learn Asian women straighten their hair) and about class (women who can get plastic surgery with payment plans and Indian women getting $2 for their "dead hair" v. women who pay thousands to have "live hair" woven onto their heads).

But, I found that brief moment where you and then your audience laughed at your version of "Japanese" was disrespectful and disappointing.

Sincerely, Kathy Khang
OK, the endorphin rush is over.

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If anyone comes across a video clip of the moment in question, please send it my way. If you saw this episode too, and would like to express your reaction to this moment, check out the Oprah.com message board and leave a comment here. Or email The Oprah Winfrey Show here.

lost season five promos


Here's a new poster promoting season five of Lost. As you can see, it's got the Oceanic Six (plus Ben and Desmond) on the left, and those who were left behind on the right. It looks like Faraday, last seen on a raft in the middle of the ocean, will find a way to rejoin the others on the disappearing island. I realize that for those of you who don't follow the show, none of this makes any sense.

Note that Jin is not in poster. When we last saw him, he was on an exploding freighter, so we're supposed to assume he's dead... but we know for sure that Daniel Dae Kim will be back.


Anybody know what this is? Or rather, what significance Ajira Airways will hold for the next season of Lost? A new promo/music video recently popped up on the web, featuring mostly old footage and the dudes from The Fray. A few new moments mixed in there though, particularly near the end. And the subliminal message above. Another mysterious Lost-related website. What does it mean??? Season five begins on January 21, 2009.

video targeting problem gamblers shown on casino bus

I thought this Boston Globe article was pretty interesting... In the Boston area, buses catering to Asians, transporting them to the Mohegan Sun casino, have been showing a video warning passengers of the dangers of problem gambling: Mixed messages.

The five-minute video, which is showing on buses leaving from Quincy, Lowell, Boston and other spots in Massachusetts, is intended to catch the attention of Asians who might think they have a problem as they ride down to the casino.

Depending on the audience, the DVD is dubbed in Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, or Khmer, all with English subtitles. It alerts them to the signs and symptoms of problem gambling and tells them of resources for help.

As we are aware, problem gambling is a particularly difficult problem among Asians. I'm curious how effective these videos are going to be in getting the message across to a problem gambler on his or her way to the casino. I guess the hope is that somewhere, somehow, the message will poke through to the right person.

11.24.2008

save sundays at the thai temple


In Berkeley, the 27-year-old Thai Buddhist temple, Wat Mongkolratanaram, has recently come under attack by neightbors who object to its Sunday Food Offering. Over the last twenty-five years, the weekly food have become a part of the cultural fabric of the Bay Area, and an important gathering point for the local Thai American community.

In recent months, a small group of opposing neighbors have started a campaign to shut down the Sunday Food Offering tradition, complaining that is generates traffic, noise, trash... and the "offensive odors" that the Temple food apparently emits. Whaaat? Why do I get the feeling nobody would be complaining about the smell of spaghetti and meatballs?

I'm told that the Temple has not only taken steps to address the specific concerns of the complainants, it has made efforts to be a considerate community partner through surveys, readjustments on temple activities, and land use impact studies. There's got to be a way to come to an understand, right? They're all neighbors, after all.

However, the neighbors have pressed to have the Sunday services eliminated completely, which would be a severe blow to the Berkeley Thai Temple. In early December, the Temple will seek approval from the Berkeley Zoning Adjustments to continue the tradition. Here's the Temple's press release: Community Rallies to Support Sundays at the Berkeley Thai Temple.

Here's a local news story on the Temple's fight: Patti Lee Reports On A Thai Buddhist Temple's Fight To Stay Around. For more news and background information, visit the Save the Thai Temple blog: Save Sundays at the Thai Temple!. They've got a section on what you can do to help.

stanford laptop orchestra


Check out this feature on the Apple website about the Stanford Laptop Orchestra (SLOrk), an ensemble of student computer scientists and musicians that uses 20 MacBooks to compose and perform new music: Stanford Laptop Orchestra (SLOrk): Musical Macs. Very nerdy, but kind of awesome.

The group was founded by composer/researcher/programmer Ge Wang, an assistant professor at Stanford. They use MacBooks (of course), the devices' built-in sensors, and computer science to create synthesized "clicks, chimes and bleeps." You know, music. Watch a video of SLOrk in action here. (Thanks, Henry.)

fatal shooting at indian church

Tragedy at a New Jersey church over the weekend... In Clifton, a gunman shot and killed his estranged wife and another parishioner during a Sunday church service at St. Thomas Syrian Orthodox Knanaya Church: Search Continues For Fatal Church Shooting Suspect.

According to police, 27-year-old Joseph Pallipurath drove cross country intent on taking his estranged wife, 24-year-old Reshma James, back with him to California. She had recently moved to New Jersey to escape an abusive marriage and had filed a restraining order against Pallipurath.

When she wouldn't go, Pallipurath shot her in the head. He then shot James' cousin and another parishioner, Jimmy Alummooil, who tried to help. About 200 people had gathered for Sunday service that morning.

The shooter is still at large. Police said Pallipurath was driving a green 2004 Jeep with California license plates and a black soft top. He was wearing a black hooded sweat shirt and was believed to be carrying a silver handgun.

UPDATE: According to authorities, Joseph M. Pallipurath was captured was captured around midnight Monday in Monroe, Georgia, near Atlanta: Suspect in New Jersey Church Shooting Is Captured. Good.

sammo hung to star in war monkeys

Where do people come up with ideas like this? According to the Hollywood Reporter, Hong Kong action star Sammo Hung will star in the horror comedy War Monkeys: Sammo Hung Set to Star in War Monkeys. And literally, he will be fighting monkeys.

The movie follow two janitors who, during a Christmas holiday, get trapped in an underground research facility after accidentally unleashing military-trained Rhesus monkeys. Seriously? This is either going to be really awesome and phenomenally stupid.

Sammo will play one of the janitors battling the mad monkeys. The monkeys will be a combination of real monkeys, animatronic puppets and CGI. I do hope we will get to see Sammo kung fu kicking the crap out of a chimpanzee or something. The project is expected to start filming in early 2009.

win tickets to see boa live in nyc


MTV's recently launched global music and pop culture network MTV Iggy, which looks like it was created from the remnants of the now-defunct Chi, K and Desi, is aimed at audiences of the Korean, Chinese, and South Asian diasporas. v
View the website here.

So check this out. I've already mentioned Korean pop superstar BoA, who is currently working on her U.S. debut. To celebrate, MTV Iggy has invited her for a special performance next month at their studios in Times Square. It's happening December 3 in New York City.

Any big BoA fans out there? You could win a pair of tickets to attend BoA's first-ever U.S. performance. No joke. Read on for details:
BoA LIVE in NYC! First time EVER!

25 LUCKY FANS MAKE IT INSIDE MTV'S TIMES SQUARE STUDIOS!

Don't miss BoA's first-ever U.S. performance! Her American debut is happening on Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008 in the MTV Times Square studio in NYC, brought to you by MTV's new global music and pop culture network, MTV Iggy. So support your #1 girl - and maybe even watch her perform from inside the studio!

If you are BoA's biggest fan email us @ BoALiveNYC@gmail.com and tell us why. 25 lucky fans will receive a pair of tickets and a CHANCE to meet BoA in Person! MTV will simulcast air the performance on the largest high definition screen in the heart of Times Square.

Also, search MTV Iggy to get the Facebook application for more BoA goodness!
For more information, go here. To be honest, prior to news of her American debut, I knew pretty close to nothing about BoA. But to be even more honest, I'm really digging her first U.S. single, "Eat You Up." So much, in fact, I actually (paid for and) downloaded it from iTunes. And I'm kind of thinking about temporarily making it my ringtone.

three indicted in coverup of robert wone murder

More on the mysterious murder case of Robert Wone, the Washington D.C. attorney who was fatally stabbed two years ago while staying overnight at a friend's home. Three men have been indicted on obstruction of justice charges as police continue their investigation of the murder: 3 Indicted In Alleged Coverup of D.C. Killing.

Last week, a grand jury indicted Dyln M. Wad, Joseph R. Price and Victor J. Zaborsky on obstruction of justice charges. However, no one yet has been actually been accused of killing Wone, who was found dead in a guest room on August 2, 2006. What is certain is that he was murdered, and these three men tried to cover something up... at the very least. More here: Police Allege Coverup in Lawyer's 2006 Murder.

Wone was president-elect of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association's Washington chapter and had recently become general counsel at Radio Free Asia. Hopefully, for the sake of his loved ones, we'll eventually get the truth about his death.

listen to the foreign douchebag in shanghai

Good Lord. You really have to hear this to believe it. A reader sent in this link to a ridiculous audio recording of this asshole American customer lecturing a telephone operator at a large food delivery company based in Shanghai: RMB 3 million foreign douche bag in Shanghai.

This racist, arrogant, condescending jackass calls her a "f-cking bitch" and tells her how to do her job, like it's his duty as an all-important western, and his 3 million RMB ass somehow owns China, Shanghai, and this woman. Douchebag is exactly right. (Thanks, WiL.)

11.23.2008

yao says eat the head



Been getting lots of mixed reactions to this new T-Mobile myFaves commercial featuring Yao Ming, who insists to Charles Barkley and Dwayne Wade that they "eat the head." Of live shrimp, that is. I think it's pretty funny. Yao comes off looking pretty cool, and Barkely and Wade... well, as Yao says: "Don't be like a baby." That looks like some good-ass shrimp, you fools.

food drive charity tells sikh american donor to leave

Some ugly news about a Sikh American couple who came to a food drive with the best intentions... and were greeted in intolerance and prejudice. In North Carolina, Gurnam Singh Khera and his wife were expelled from a community center because he wore a turban in accordance with his Sikh faith: Roanoke Rapids charity rebuffs turban-wearing donor.

According to SALDEF, Khera and his wife went to the Union Mission facility in Roanoke Rapids to make a donation for a Thanksgiving Food Drive and expressed interest in sending their children to the facility during the Thanksgiving holidays to serve food to the needy.

Upon entering the facility, Mr. Khera was told by a receptionist that "this is the United States" and that he needed to remove his turban. When Mr. Khera attempted to explain the religious significance of the turban, the receptionist refused to speak with him.

When the Reverend in charge of the facility was summoned, Mr. Khera offered a handshake, but the Reverend reportedly refused to reciprocate and asked Mr. Khera and his wife to leave the facility, saying: "Go donate to some other place; we do not need your donations unless you remove your turban."

You've got to be kidding me. The irony is stupendous. The people at this place of worship, who are allegedly dedicated to helping the less fortunate, see a guy wearing a Dastaar enter the facility and promptly tell him to get the hell out, like a second-class citizen. Never mind that he too was trying offer his time and resources to help.

Read the press release from the Sikh Legal Defense and Education Fund: No Turbans Allowed. They sent a letter to Union Mission, who responded with a letter of their own. SALDEF urges you to contact the Union Mission of Roanoke Rapids to express your own disappointment at edirector@umrr.org.

11.21.2008

bruce played ping pong



Here's a funny video making the rounds... this Chinese commercial for the Nokia N96 features "Bruce Lee" kicking ass in ping pong... no paddle necessary. This obviously isn't found footage. (The YouTube comments are a bit baffling—of course it's fake.) But it's still pretty amusing.



UPDATE: The myth of Bruce continues to grow. Here's another one of these videos of "Bruce" doing the near impossible. You could have a whole series of videos showing him performing increasingly superhuman feats. Next video, Bruce peels a banana with those nunchaku.

guilty verdict in surfer's death

Earlier this year, I wrote about the death of professional surfer Emery Kauanui Jr., who was killed by a single punch to the head during a brawl. This week in San Diego, 22-year-old Seth Cravens, who was responsible for the fatal blow, was convicted of second-degree murder: San Diego jury finds man guilty of surfer's murder.

Raised in Kauai, Hawaii, and nicknamed the "Flying Hawaiian," Kauanui was a fixture at San Diego's Windansea Beach, just a few blocks from his house, where his favorite surf break is now called "Emery's Left."

According to prosecutors, an argument that started at a bar led to a confrontation outside the home of Kauanui's mother in La Jolla. Cravens knocked him to the pavement. Hospitalized with severe head trauma, he died a few days later after being taken off life support.

Superior Court jurors deliberated six days before convicting Cravens of second-degree murder. He'll be sentenced on January 12, and could face 15 years to life in prison. More here: Guilty verdict in surfer death.

call to serve in the new administration

Interested in finding a job within the new Administration? Got this email passed along to me from the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) about their process to recommend qualified candidates of Asian American and Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander descent to certain positions within the new Administration:
CALL TO ASIAN AMERICAN, NATIVE HAWAIIAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER COMMUNITIES FOR RESUMES RELATED TO PRESIDENTIAL APPOINTMENT POSITIONS WITHIN THE NEW ADMINISTRATION

About NCAPA

The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, founded in 1996, is a coalition of twenty-five Asian Pacific American organizations around the country. Based in Washington D.C, NCAPA serves to represent the interests of the greater AA and NHPI communities and to provide a national voice for AA and NHPI issues.

In order to ensure diversity and inclusion at all levels of government, various minority and civil rights organizations are recommending individuals for positions within the new Administration. In that spirit, NCAPA will be embarking on a process to recommend qualified candidates of Asian American (AA) and Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander (NHPI) descent to certain positions within the new Administration.

About the Process

As of November 20, 2008, NCAPA welcomes information from individuals interested in positions that are Presidential Appointments with Senate Confirmation and Presidential Appointments within the Executive Branch, Departments, and Independent Agencies (please refer to the Plum Book for further information (http://www.gpoaccess.gov/plumbook/2008/index.html).

While we will accept information on an ongoing basis, we recommend that individuals interested in Presidential Appointments with Senate Confirmation and Presidential Appointments within the Departments of Treasury, Justice, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, and State submit information by November 22nd, 2008 at 6PM EST/5PM CST/3PM PST (see below for process).

Please note:

- Presidential appointments include high-level positions such as Deputy Assistant Secretary; Assistant Secretary; or Assistant Attorney General, etc. Most of these high-level positions will likely be filled by national or state elected officials, state administrators, CEO's of major corporations or nonprofits and/or those who contributed significantly to the campaign either in volunteer hours and/or financially.

- As you consider whether to apply to the Administration for a Presidential Appointment, please keep in mind that most of these positions will require relocation and a detailed vetting process which includes financial disclosures and background checks.

- Please also note that a recommendation from NCAPA does not guarantee an offer from the Administration. We suggest that you use multiple options to move your applications forward and to follow the application process outlined at www.change.gov.

To be Considered by NCAPA

- What to Send: Please submit a cover letter, resume/curriculum vitae; and list of references. The cover letter should identify at minimum three agencies and positions of interest to you. Send attachments via email to aapitransition08@gmail.com. In the subject line of the email, please put your full name and indicate the agencies of interest to you (such as "First Name, Last Name: Treasury; Justice; and State").

- Timing: While we will accept information on an ongoing basis, we recommend that individuals interested for Presidential Appointments with Senate Confirmation and Presidential Appointments within the Departments of Treasury, Homeland Security, Justice, Health and Human Services, and State submit information by November 22nd, 2008 at 6PM EST/5PM CST/3PM PST.

- Review by NCAPA: A Transition Committee of NCAPA will review resumes. During the review process, NCAPA will look to the following criteria: (a) qualifications and professional record of accomplishments; (b) record of community and policy service; and (c) awareness/understanding of AA and NHPI communities and issues. Due to time and capacity constraints, only candidates that NCAPA would like to recommend will be contacted to obtain further information.

Questions?
Please contact aapitransition08@gmail.com
Who knows? There might be an important place for you in the new Administration. But you have to act fast. NCAPA recommends that individuals interested in Presidential Appointments with Senate Confirmation and Presidential Appointments within the Departments of Treasury, Justice, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, and State submit information by November 22nd, 2008 at 6PM EST/5PM.

slumdog millionaire... wow.


Whooo. I just got back from watching Slumdog Millionaire. Holy moly. I was really looking forward to seeing it, and I wasn't let down. I'm actually a little stunned. It's an exhilarating, astonishingly well-made film that yanks you by the shirt collar from the opening shot, breaks out into a sprint and just doesn't let up. It's an absolute blast.

The movie, directed by Danny Boyle and co-directed by Loveleen Tandan, is kind of a frenetic, urban fairy tale set in modern-day Mumbai. Dev Patel stars as Jamal, a street kid who impossibly becomes a contestant on the Hindi version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? to reunite with his lost love Latika, who is an ardent fan of the show.

When he somehow manages to win big, Jamal is arrested and accused of cheating. How exactly does an illiterate kid from the slums know all the answers? The story unfolds in a series of flashbacks, with each chapter revealing the key to the answer to the game show questions.

Pretty freaking brilliant. It's also a crowd-pleaser, and with any luck, it'll find its audience. It's one of those films that completely sucks you in and stays with you, somehow managing to enchant, horrify and stun you all at once. I'm actually writing this now because I'm kind of having trouble falling asleep. I've got Slumdog on the brain.

The movie opened in major cities last week, doing quite well at the box office in limited release. It expands to more cities this weekend. Critical response has been awesome too, with the movie currently rocking a 91% rating over at Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences have apparently also been quite receptive to Slumdog's beautiful co-star: Meet Freida Pinto.

Make no mistake, Slumdog Millionaire is a fantasy. As gritty and street-level as it tries to go, on a lot of levels, it's simply inauthentic. Many will likely object to its depiction of poverty in India. And as much of a fan I am of Danny Boyle, in the end, the movie is still an Indian story largely told through a western filter. That said, I can't deny how much I enjoyed it. It's a hell of a movie. Oh, by the way, I recommend staying for the closing credits.

11.20.2008

ksw 10th anniversary restrospective: shifted focus


For those of you in San Francisco, don't miss Shifted Focus, a retrospective exhibition and performance series celebrating the 10th anniversary of Kearny Street Workshop's APAture festival. The exhibit features ten APAture alumni who have significantly contributed to the dialogue of contemporary art practice in the Bay Area and beyond.

The exhibit is running now through January 23 at space180 Gallery, and features the work of Christine Wong Yap, Kevin B. Chen, Binh Danh, Rajkamal Kahlon, Michael Arcega, Kana Tanaka, Rebecca Szeto, Jenifer K Wofford, Mark Baugh-Sasaki and Weston Teruya. The series also includes a panel discussion, an evening of literary readings, and a multidisciplinary performance event:
SHIFTED FOCUS: A 10th Anniversary APAture Retrospective
Related Events

**Gallery Opening**
Featuring new works by Christine Wong Yap, Kevin Chen, Binh Danh, Michael Arcega, Rajkamal Kahlon, Kana Tanaka, Rebecca Szeto, Jenifer Wofford, Mark Baugh-Sasaki and Weston Teruya.

Saturday, October 25, 7:00-9:00 pm
KSW's space180 Gallery
180 Capp Street, 3rd floor
San Francisco

**Panel Discussion**
In conjunction with the Chinese Culture Center's exhibition, ICONS OF PRESENCE: Asian American Activist Art, Nancy Hom, Leland Wong, Lenore Chinn, Choppy Oshiro and Richard Godinez will discuss the similarities and differences between APA artists working in the 1970s and today. Moderated by Robynn Takayama.

Wednesday, November 12, 7:00-9:00 pm
Chinese Culture Center
750 Kearny Street, 3rd floor
San Francisco

**Literary Night**
Past APAture literary artists present new works of poetry, prose, spoken word and more. Artists include Claire Light, Sabina Chen, Dennis Somera, Wei Ming Dariotis, Truong Tran, Neela Banerjee, Bushra Rehman and Pireeni Sundaralingam.

Wednesday, December 5, 7:00-9:00 pm
KSW's space180 Gallery
180 Capp Street, 3rd floor
San Francisco

**Performance Night**
In conjunction with the de Young Museum's exhibition, Asian | American | Modern Art, past APAture performance artists present new works. Artists TBD.

Friday, January 23, 6:00-8:30 pm
de Young Museum
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
San Francisco
It looks like a really interesting, diverse array of artists. For more information about the exhibit, the artists, and related events, visit the Kearny Street Workshop website here. Congratulations on ten years, KSW.

archery's controversial coach

Here's a story on Kisik Lee, coach of the United States archery team: USA Archery Stands by Its Coach. Though the U.S. failed to win a medal at the Beijing Olympics, and some of the controversy surrounding Lee—for both his behavior and his coaching methods—USA Archery's governing board is sticking with him as coach.

researcher arrested for poisoning colleague

More Asians guys engaged in weird-ass murderous activity... It was really the headline that caught my eye on this one: UCSF Urinary-Tract Researcher Accused of Poisoning Colleague. Earlier this month, Benchun Liu, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California at San Francisco, was arrested for attempted murder after allegedly poisoning a colleague's drink.

Liu apparently tried to poison Mei Cao, who works as a fellow lab research associate in the urology department. Liu, a Chinese citizen, was arrested and placed on an immigration hold. More here: UCSF Lab Researcher Accused Of Poisoning Colleague.

gore verbinski remaking the host


More bad movie remake news... We knew that a Hollywood version of the Korean monster movie The Host was coming. Now the project has a producer, and his name is Gore. We recently got word that Gore Verbinski, director of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, will produce the remake, with commercial director Fredrik Bond at the helm: Verbinski Gets a HOST.

The Host is about a giant squid-like man-eating creature, mutated by toxins, that emerges from Han River and snatches a little girl. When her dysfunctional family realizes she might still be alive, they band together to track down the monster and rescue her. It's a great movie, mixing the horrible and creepy with some wonderfully comic moments. I believe I actually called it the best damn Korean monster movie ever.

But remaking The Host is a phenomenally bad idea. The original is such a smart, wonderfully entertaining film, and its appeal is very specific to its country of origin. On top of the monster plot, the movie explores issues of U.S. military occupation, the country's deep class divide, and the breakdown of the family unit. There's a reason why it did record-breaking box office business in South Korea.

I fear that the inevitable Hollywood version is going to suck hard. Stripped from its cultural context, it just becomes your average big-budget monster flick. And Hollywood has a crapload of those. Why specifically remake The Host? I'm just having a hard time seeing what will differentiate and justify an Amercian version. Add it to the list of movies I'm not looking forward to seeing.

compact for racial justice

This past weekend, the Facing Race conference in Oakland, CA brought together over 1,000 activists, writers, academics, artists and community organizers to talk about the future of the racial justice movement in the U.S. The conference was organized by the Applied Research Center, the largest racial justice think tank in the country.

If you missed the conference, there are a bunch of cool videos, interviews, essays and other good content from the weekend now posted up at RaceWire, the blog of COLORLINES magazine.

One outcome of the conference was the launch of the new Compact for Racial Justice, a proactive plan for how all of us can implement strategies and policy proposals to reverse racial disparities and move our society towards full equity, inclusion and dignity for all people. According to the information I received:
The Compact transcends talk of personal prejudice with compelling evidence of institutional racism and realistic proactive solutions. It seeks to engage a broad multiracial base of activists, opinion leaders and policymakers in making government and powerful institutions accountable for eliminating racial inequality in our schools, hospitals, courtrooms and workplaces."
It's a call to action, people, with bold analysis and real solutions. To read or download the compact, which includes a sign up pledge, a community tool-kit, and essays by Van Jones, Rinku Sen, Amaad Rivera and many more, go here: Compact for Racial Justice: An Agenda for Fairness and Unity.

ellen kuras and thavisouk phrasavath's the betrayal


If you're in New York, you might want to check out The Betrayal, which opens this Friday, November 21 at the IFC Center. The film, directed by acclaimed cinematographer Ellen Kuras, and co-directed by Thavisouk Phrasavath, is about the struggles of a Laotian family as they flee their country and immigrate to the United States.

Shot over a 25-year period, and incorporating archival footage, cinema verite, interview material and poetic montages, it follows the family's narrow escape from Laos, their experience as refugees in New York City, and their heartbreaking wait for the return of their father.

I haven't seen the film, but I've read some pretty impressive things about it. It was recently announced as one of the films making the Academy Award documentary short list, from which the five best documentary Oscar nominees will ultimately be chosen. To learn more about The Betrayal, go to the film's website here, and the IFC Center website here.

camille mana and julia ling cast in high school

Some movie casting news... Variety reports that Camille Mana and Julia Ling have been cast in the indie comedy High School, starring Adrien Brody and Michael Chiklis: Cast's 'High' on school. The movie's about a high school valedictorian whose first hit of pot coincides with the school's random drug test the next day. Camille and Julia will play students.

Julia Ling has had a recurring role on the NBC spy comedy Chuck. She plays Anna, the badass goth Buy More employee. You may have seen Camille this year in movies like Smart People (which I really enjoyed), and the goofy comedy College (which I did not see). Funny, she was in College, and now High School. Ha ha. Okay, only kind of funny.

11.19.2008

far east movement's animal online release party


Mark your calendars and make plans to be in front of your computer next Tuesday. Hip hip trio Far East Movement, who always know how to have a good time, are throwing an online release party for their highly-anticipated new album Animal. No matter where you are—East Coast, West Coast, Midwest, Dirty South—you're all invited to join in on the festivities through the power of the world wide web.

It's all happening on Tuesday night, November 25, 9:00-10:00pm. The boys will be performing the entire album live and streaming on FM.TV. The event will include special surprise guests, online giveaways and presales for Animal. Best of all, you can see whole thing live from your bedroom. For more information about the online release party, go here.

announcers confuse anthony kim with "all these chinese people"

Oh no they didn't. Last week, Sky TV golf announcers Richard Boxall and Bruce Critchley were working the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai. You know, just chatting up on live television, not at all trying to be racist and stupid... yet some how succeeding in the most cringeworthy way. At one point, they were talking about rising American star Anthony Kim, and Boxall made this asinine comment:
"With all these Chinese people around, I'm not sure if I bumped into him [Kim] in the hotel reception last night. I'm not sure if it was him."
Ah, because we all look alike, right? And heck, you're in China, so you're pretty much surrounded by a nation of lookalikes. Never mind the fact that Anthony Kim is actually Korean American, born and raised in Los Angeles. Ridiculous: Golf announcers in Anthony Kim race gaffe.

Stupid. But I guess that wasn't enough stupidity for one broadcast, and Critchley deemed it necessary to throw in his own moment ignorance. After Kim's approach shot landed well past the pin, he described Kim as wearing a look of "oriental surprise." What? That's racist!. More here: Golf Announcers Slip Up, Mistake Anthony Kim For 'All (Those) Chinese People'.

11.18.2008

mariners hire don wakamatsu as manager

The Seattle Mariners have reportedly hired Don Wakamatsu, former bench coach for Oakland, as their new manager: Source: M's to name A's bench coach Wakamatsu as manager. If I'm not mistaken, this actually makes Wakamatsu the very first Asian American manager in professional baseball.

A former major league catcher, Wakamatsu spent four season managing in the minors, never higher than Double-A. Now he's managing a major league team, beating out a large field of candidates that included Boston Red Sox coaches Brad Mills and DeMarlo Hale, Arizona Diamondbacks coach Chip Hale, and Triple-A Portland manager Randy Ready.

He's got his work cut out for him. Seattle lost 101 games this season, its most since 1983, and became the first team to lose 100 with a $100 million payroll. The Mariners have never reached the World Series, and their most recent playoff appearance came in 2001. Sounds like the team is determined to completely remake this flopping franchise. There's a long road ahead.

Still, this is pretty cool news. Hell, it's history in the making. Welcome to managing in the big leagues, Don. More here: Seattle expected to tab Wakamatsu. And here: Wakamatsu to manage Mariners. And here: Don Wakamatsu will be Mariners' manager.

7-year-old b-boy star

Whoa. Check out this story about 7-year-old b-boy Jalen Testerman: 7-year-old break dancer is on top of the whirl. The second grader from Des Moines, Washington has been breaking for three years, ever since he saw the movie You Got Served at a cousin's house. The first move he apparently tried was a headspin, much to his dad's horror.

But he kept at it. Jalen's parents started posting online videos of him dancing. Well, you know what happens when stuff gets posted on YouTube. People watch. And pretty soon, his parents started getting interview requests.

The kid's got moves! Jalen has now appeared on Ellen DeGeneres' show twice this year, and I'm told he was a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show yesterday. Check out the video that accompanies the article to see him in action. Also check out the videos on Jalen's website here, including his appearance last month on Ellen.

fired engineer arrested in triple murder

I've been doing some traveling, and kind of out of it, so I hadn't heard about this until late yesterday... Jing Hua Wu, who was recently fired from his Silicon Valley job as an engineer, was arrested on Saturday for the triple murder of his former colleagues at SiPort. After losing his job last week, Wu went back to his office and opened fire, killing company executives Sid Agrawal, Brian Pugh and Marilyn Lewis: Santa Clara triple-killing suspect arrested.

Police arrested Wu "without incident" on Saturday morning in a shopping center parking lot in Mountain View. He was booked into Santa Clara County jail on three counts of homicide. He is expected to be arraigned on Wednesday afternoon: Murder suspect Jing Hua Wu to be arraigned in San Jose on Wednesday.

Another violent Asian man in the news... it's just tragic and disturbing. Police say that Wu, after he was fired, returned to the wireless chip company's office and requested a meeting with the three executives. Without warning, he pulled out a 9mm pistol and shot Agrawal, Pugh and Lewis, killing them. More here: Families in shock over Silicon Valley slayings.

11.17.2008

12th annual kasa freshman dance off


If you're in Los Angeles this week, you might want to check out the 12th Annual KASA Freshman Dance Off, presented by the Southern California Korean College Student Association and Entitled Entertainment.

Basically, it's a major Asian Amerian student event where you'll see lots of kids dancing their ass off. This year, there are eleven schools participating, along with a special guest performance by Far East Movement.

It's all going down this Wednesday, November 19 at the Hollywood Palladium. It's going to be huge. I'm told that tickets are going fast, so get yours today. For more information about the event take a look at the flyer above (or the flyer on the SCKCSA website here.

threats against obama, race crimes increase

This sucks, but actually not surprising. Since the November 4 election, law enforcement officially have reportedly seen more potentially threatening writings, internet postings and other activity directed at Barack Obama than has been seen with any past president-elect: Obama has more threats than other presidents-elect.

Threats against a new president historically spike right after an election. But what's worse, hundreds of racist incidents referring to Obama have been reported across the country, from vandalism and vague threats to at least one physical attack: Obama election spurs race crimes around country.

Amidst all the celebration and triumphant cries of positive change, we shouldn't forget that this country still has a really long way to go towards racial progress and harmony. Alas, a racist asshole is still a racist asshole, no matter who is elected president.

jerry yang to step down as yahoo ceo

It's been a really rocky year for Yahoo! CEO Jerry Yang. After turning down a $47.5 billion takeover offer from Microsoft six months ago, the company saw its stock value plummet to its lowest levels in five years.

Today, amidst mounting pressure from investors and Yahoo's board, Yang announced that he would step aside as chief executive: Yahoo's Yang decides he's no longer the right CEO.

Yang, who started the company as a Stanford student in 1994, will stay on as CEO until Yahoo finds a suitable replacement. The company is apparently interviewing candidates inside and outside Yahoo.

Sorry, Jerry. For a guy who loves his company this much, this is probably the best course of action. And most people out there seem to agree. But does this mean that we'll soon see Yahoo sold off to Microsoft?

gene luen yang's prime baby


Prime Baby, the latest project from American Born Chinese graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang, is currently up on The Funny Pages section of the New York Times magazine. It's a short story that'll be serialized every Sunday for 18 weeks. They just posted Chapter 2. So far, it's pretty amusing. Check it out here. And if you haven't yet read American Born Chinese, you must. I insist.

soong-chan rah: I am barack obama

Here's a cool blog post by pastor Soong-Chan Rah over on Jim Wallis' God's Politics blog, on why he could relate, as a Korean American to Barack Obama's identity and message: I Am Barack Obama.
I Am Barack Obama
by Soong-Chan Rah

Whenever John McCain and Sarah Palin would ask: "Who is Barack Obama?" I would cringe. The implication to me was pretty clear. Obama is an outsider. Obama is not your typical American. Obama is not like "us." He’s an Arab. A Muslim. A Terrorist.

I cringed because I am Barack Obama. Or at least my life mirrors his in many ways.

I too am a child of immigrants. My father also immigrated to the U.S. from a nation that begins with K and has five letters. I too have a funny sounding name. I too grew up in a single parent home. I became a Christian in a church that would be considered outside the boundaries of a typical white evangelical church. Obama and I graduated from the same undergraduate college. We hold graduate degrees from the same institution. We have both worked in community organizing. We’re both married to strong, independent women. We are both fathers of two elementary-aged kids. We both live in Chicago.

I am Barack Obama.

So when Obama was portrayed as someone not worthy of trust by the typical American, I took personal offense. I was stunned that my fellow Christians would question the faith of an individual whose testimony of conversion is about as evangelical as you could get. I was deeply wounded at how easily Obama was portrayed as an outsider. It was as if my own country and my fellow believers in Christ were challenging my identity as an American and as a Christian. Even now as I glance through blogs of my fellow Christians, I am stunned at the language and rhetoric that is being used against our president-elect.

But our nation is changing. Young people in droves voted for Obama. Young people understand that we are not only looking at a multiethnic future, but a multiethnic present. Whether I agree with all of his policies or not, a President Obama says that the United States is moving towards a multiethnic reality. Joe the Plumber is not the face of America. The face of America is Barack, Niyasha, Carlos, Ileana, Anis, Makana, Erik, Katiana, Angela, and even Soong-Chan.

Now this atypical American, this non-white evangelical Christian can look to a political leader who embodies the ethnic and cultural diversity of our great nation. Now I can connect more fully with the phrase, "... in order to form a more perfect union." Now I believe that there is a seat at the table for those with funny sounding names and of a different ethnic origin.

I am Barack Obama, and Barack Obama is America.
For several years now, I've respected Rev. Rah's work as a pastor and activist, speaking out for Asian American issues. I think this sentiment here was shared by a lot of people, across lines of age, race and faith.

man arrested in former roommate's murder

Last week in Los Angeles, police detectives announced the arrest of a suspect, 24-yea-old Steven Hyun Kwon, in the shooting death of Min Woo Cho, whose body was found near a freeway offramp in July. He had been reported missing on June 12.

A former roommate of the victim, Kwon had apparently been with Cho at a Koreatown bar the night before his disappearance. Last month, he was located at a casino, taken in for questioning and later booked on suspicion of murder that day: Former roommate held in killing of man found near freeway ramp.

According to police, the motive for the shooting may have been financial. Kwon apparently had gambling debts. Surprise, surprise. It seems like we've recently heard about a lot of violent crimes committed by Asians that are somehow connected to gambling problems. I don't think this is a coincidence...

jet li to star in the expendables

Heard some news about Jet Li's next project... The action star will join Jason Statham (again) and none other than Sylvester Stallone (who is also directing) in The Expendables: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham and Jet Li to Team Up For The Expendables.

The story follows an "expendable" team of action dudes, hired to do jobs that no one else can or will, who are sent to infiltrate a South American country to overthrow the ruthless dictator and liberate the country.

Wow. Three dudes are going to knock off a dictator and save an entire country? Well, we are talking about Rambo, the Transporter and um, Wong Fei Hung here. I guess if anyone can do it, these guys can.

If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire... the Expendables! (Sorry. Goofy A-Team reference.)

bao xishun, the world's tallest man


TIME has a pretty awesome photo essay China's Bao Xishun, who at 7-feet-9-inches, holds the distinction of being the world's tallest man: The Tale of Bao Xishun, The World's Tallest Man.

It was interesting to learn that unlike previous holders of the title, Bao doesn't have gigantism, the growth disorder that contributes to extreme height. He's just naturally that tall. That's crazy!

bbc host fired for demanding non-asian cab driver

Some news out of the U.K.... A BBC radio presenter was recently fired after making offensive remarks about South Asian taxi drivers. Sam Mason, former host of the BBC Radio Bristol afternoon show, asked a cab firm not to send an Asian driver to pick up her daughter because "a guy with a turban on is going to freak her out": BBC fire presenter Sam Mason after she demands non-Asian taxi driver.

Unfortunately for Mason, a phone operator recorded the conversation and passed a copy of it to The Sun. Here's a transcript of the conversation, which can be listened to on The Sun website:
Mason: "I know this sounds really racist, but I'm not being - please, don't send anyone like, you know what I mean. An English person would be great, a female would be better."

Operator: "We would class that as being racist. We can't penalise the Asian drivers and just send an English one."

Mason: "You've managed it before."

Operator: "Right, OK. I don't agree with it personally."

Mason: "It's not your 14-year-old girl who's, you know, is it?" Operator: "Yes, but that's racist to say you don't want an Asian driver."

Mason: "If it were me I wouldn't care if it had two heads, but it's my little girl we are talking about."

After asking the woman on the phone to pass the call on to a supervisor, she finally adds: "I work at the BBC. I'm far from racist and that uneducated woman has no right to call me one.

"I don't want her to turn up with a guy with a turban on, it's going to freak her out. She's not used to Asians.

"She's not racist - her godparents are black."
Experience has taught me that in general, whenever someone says, "I know this sounds really racist..." or "I'm not racist, but..." whatever follows usually is indeed racist. It's all there in the conversation. She's kind of an idiot, isn't she? Reading this transcript, it's kind of pathetic to see the deep, dark hole that Mason digs for herself. Glad to see that the BBC had the good sense to give her what she deserved. That's racist!

csi's "koreatown" episode


There must be a lot of CSI fans out there... I heard from about twenty people telling me that last week's crime scene investigation was set in Las Vegas' Koreatown (I didn't even know that Las Vegas had a Koreatown. Wait. Does it?) which means they had a bunch of Asian characters populating the show for a moment. You know, the Koreatown Episode!

Guest stars included James Kyson Lee, Sung Kang, Lanny Joon, Lauren Tom, and series regular Archie Kao. In the episode, the CSI team investigates a shooting at a neighborhood party, in which the mother and uncle of a small boy are murdered. But of course, nobody is talking to the cops because half the people at the party can't speak English... and just have a general distrust of the police.

You can actually watch the episode on the CBS website here. From what I can tell, the story involves eyelid surgery, Korean gangsters, a HIV-positive kid and his prostitute mother. I didn't get to watch the whole episode, but what I saw just got worse and worse. And the reviews I heard from the rest of you weren't very positive.

new blacklava "prop h8" shirt

My man Ryan, the guy behind empowerment apparel company Blacklava, tells me he's got a new t-shirt design in protest of the passage of Proposition 8, California's same-sex marriage ban: Prop H8. There's also a women's version of the shirt. Printed on high-quality American Apparel shirts, he's selling them at the crazy cheap price of $9.95 because he believes in this cause. You'll also get a free 1" button with your order.

Meanwhile, last week, five civil rights groups asked California's highest court to annul the same-sex marriage ban on the grounds that Proposition 8 threatens the legal standing of all minority groups, and not just gays: Minority groups ask to annul gay marriage ban.

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund, Asian Pacific American Legal Center and two other groups petitioned the state Supreme Court to issue a stay preventing the ban from taking effect. The Supreme Court has not yet indicated whether it'll take up legal challenges to Proposition 8.

11.16.2008

leaked star trek teaser trailer


This will most likely be gone by sometime Sunday, but there's a leaked teaser trailer for the new Star Trek movie currently floating around the web. It's definitely leaked, because it looks like someone literally pointed a video camera at a movie screen and hit record.

Crappy bootleg-ness aside, it's a pretty cool trailer. We get a very brief glimpse of John Cho as Sulu at around the 1:27 mark. I imagine we'll get to see a much better hi-res version online sometime later this week. View the leaked version here before it inevitably gets yanked. (Thanks, Raymond)

UPDATE: The official Star Trek trailer is now up and running over on Apple. View it in multiple sizes and resolutions, all of which are much better than the crappy YouTube version. The movie opens on May 8, 2009.

11.14.2008

see mozart's biatch on mtv this saturday

Who says classical musicians can't rock? Film composer George Shaw—a reader of this website and a generally nice guy—always wondered what it would be like to rock out on stage in a rock band. He had the chance to find out. On MTV, no less, with some of his Rock Bandin' friends.

This Saturday, November 15, you can watch George's brief moment of rock stardom when he and his band Mozart's Biatch, perform onstage in MTV's Rock Band Battle. The hour-long show airs at 1:00pm and again at 10:00pm. Fact: They originally wanted to be called Mozart's Bitch, but the suits at MTV felt that "Biatch" would be more TV-friendly.

You can check some their music on the Mozart's Biatch MySpace page. You can also learn more about George's music on his website. He recently released Legendary Warriors, an album of music inspired by his love of martial arts cinema. It's sort of supposed to be the score to an imaginary kung fu movie. So you know I'm diggin' it.

facing race conference this weekend

On the heels of a historic presidential election, the Facing Race conference, presented by the Applied Research Center, is happening right now in Oakland. The event is a gathering of people of different races from across the country to discuss a myriad of issues and to outline a vision for the future of racial justice.

Featuring a packed schedule of speakers, panels and workshops, the conference will explore the innovative strategies and successful models that have the power to make the racial justice movement into a reality. Things started last night with words from keynote speaker Sherman Alexie.

If you haven't made plans to attend, this might be short notice, but if you're in the area, it might be a worthwhile experience. To learn more about the Facing Race conference, go here

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