8.19.2018

Read These Blogs


'Crazy Rich Asians' Is No. 1 at Box Office, Proving Power of Diversity (Again)
"Audiences are tired of seeing the same stories with the same characters. And we have to give people a reason to get off their couch or devices. We have to give them something different."

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Crazy Rich Asians Is the Love Letter to My People I Never Had a Chance to Write
Of the dozen or so TV shows Adele Lim has written for, none had an Asian lead. Then the opportunity to write Crazy Rich Asians with co-screenwriter Peter Chiarelli came along.

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"Crazy Rich Asians" Doesn't Care About Your Impossible Expectations
Crazy Rich Asians and To All the Boys I've Loved Before may be making history, but all they really want is to entertain. Isn't there something historic in that, too?

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How "Crazy Rich" Asians Have Led to the Largest Income Gap in the U.S.
No, this is not about the film -- but it is important. While rich Asians have become the highest-earning group in the nation, income growth among poor Asians has largely stagnated. This trend mirrors that of other racial groups, though income inequality has accelerated fastest among Asians.

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Crazy Broke Asians: Asian America's Forgotten Fight
While Crazy Rich Asians is an enjoyable and light-hearted summer watch, it certainly does not represent all Asians or Asian Americans.

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Leaving a Legacy: Dawn Bohulano Mabalon, Filipino-American Champion and Historian
Dawn Bohulano Mabalon, a passionate activist who dedicated her life to chronicling the rich Filipino-American history in California and the U.S., died unexpectedly last week from an asthma attack.

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A Sisterhood of Nurses
More than 40 years ago, six Filipino nurses arrived in the U.S. to launch their nursing careers. Joyette, Connie, Peachy, Nora, Teresa and Gertrudes have supported one another through sea changes in the medical field as well as personal joys and sorrows. This is their story.

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2018 Was the Summer of the Asian Beach Read
Writers of color often find themselves pigeonholed as "identity writers" who focus on racial trauma. But this summer, there's been a boom of lighter "beach read" books from Asian Americans -- and it's refreshing.

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An Asian-American Teen Idol Onscreen, Finally
Jenny Han, whose book To All the Boys I've Loved Before is now a Netflix film, talks about the importance of seeing someone who looks like you on creative media platforms.

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John Cho Doesn't Have All the Answers
Actor John Cho talks about being a focal point for Asian American representation and why nobody wanted him to do his new movie Searching.

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Ken Jeong Calls Out Hollywood's 'Cultural Insensitivity'
Ken Jeong delights audiences in Crazy Rich Asians as Papa Goh, the high-haired, nouveau riche father of the Goh family. But behind the laughter, the road to Crazy Rich Asians was a deeply emotional one.

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How Coldplay's "Yellow," in Chinese, ended up on the "Crazy Rich Asians" soundtrack
"The ace card in Crazy Rich Asians' loaded hand is its soundtrack, which combines nostalgic Chinese big-band jazz numbers from the swinging sixties with tongue-twisted remakes of American pop classics." Including the centerpiece: a memorable cover of Coldplay's "Yellow."

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Meet Katherine Ho, the Voice Behind Your Favorite Song from the 'Crazy Rich Asians' Soundtrack
19-year-old student Katherine Ho, who covers Coldplay's “Yellow,” is on cloud nine right now.

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James Hong, 89-Year-Old Chinese American Actor: "I Never Thought It Would Take This Long"
James Hong who has been acting since the 1950s has been fighting for parity for Asian actors for decades. "I never thought it would take this long," Hong said of the making and release of Crazy Rich Asians.

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It’s Time to Forgive The Joy Luck Club
The landmark film beautifully portrayed the Asian American experience. Then Asian Americans turned on it.

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Mitski Writes Bangers for the Loners
On her fifth album, Be the Cowboy, the musician explores solitude in all its forms.

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'We Bare Bears' creator Daniel Chong on how the show keeps pushing its storytelling
Daniel Chong's animated show We Bare Bears follows the antics of tech-savvy bear brothers as they integrate into human society. As it begins its fourth season, Chong discusses how he and his team are taking the show into new directions.


8.17.2018

Angry Reader of the Week: Jon M. Chu

"I make up stories."



Hello, internet friends. It's about time again to meet the Angry Reader of the Week, spotlighting you, the very special readers of this website. Over the years, I've been able to connect with a lot of cool folks, and this is a way of showing some appreciation and attention to the people who help make this blog what it is. This week's Angry Reader is Jon M. Chu.

What was really happening in Crazy Rich Asians’ pivotal mahjong scene

Guest Post by Jeff Yang



One of the most beautiful things about Crazy Rich Asians is how it refuses to explain many of its most intrinsically Asian elements. That lack of training wheels is intentional: As director Jon M. Chu told me, "We didn't want to give people an excuse to think of this world as some kind of obscure, exotic fantasyland -- this is a real place, with real culture, history and tradition, and instead of just giving them answers to their questions, we want them to have conversations."

The movie's Singapore-specific local color and broadly Asian cultural nuances are indeed fairly Google-able, and can readily be contextualized through polite discussions with actual Asian people. But there's one scene in particular that has been resiliently enigmatic to audiences of many backgrounds, both Asian and non-Asian... and it's a pivotal one: The mahjong scene.

That's especially true for fans of the book, who won't recognize it -- it's original to the movie. It was inserted in part because Michelle Yeoh, who delivers an amazing steel-and-silk performance as the movie's main antagonist, refused to play the stock, villainous tiger mom from the book. This scene provides her with critical impetus toward her eventual redemption.

But it's also true for people who don't understand the complex rules of the game, which aren't intuitive and are often different depending on region of the world. So here's a quick primer on the game of mahjong itself, as well as its significance to the film in that pivotal scene. Spoilers abound starting here, so if you haven't yet watched the deliriously warm and funny movie, crawl out from under that rock and see it before reading further.

Michigan legislator apologizes for calling Asian American opponent racial slurs

State Rep. Bettie Cook Scott referred to state Rep. Stephanie Chang as "ching-chong."



In Michigan, amid mounting backlash, a state legislator has apologized for "disparaging remarks" -- for the record, she means racial slurs -- that she made against an Asian American opponent for state Senate.

Detroit Rep. Bettie Cook Scott on Asian opponent: 'Don't vote for the ching-chong!'

During a recent Democratic primary, Michigan state Rep. Bettie Cook Scott reportedly referred to her opponent, state Rep. Stephanie Chang, as "ching chong," and called members of Chang's staff "ching chongs."

"Vote for me. Don't vote for the ching-chang!" witnesses overheard Scott telling voters during the August 7 primary election for District 1. She also reportedly called Chang's campaign volunteers "ching-chongs," saying "I called them ching-chongs. That's what they are!"

Well, that's just some good, old-fashioned racist schoolyard name-calling. But wait, there's more.

At an earlier campaign stop, Scott called one of Chang's campaign volunteers an "immigrant," saying "you don't belong here" and "I want you out of my country." Later, she was overheard telling a voter "these immigrants from China are coming over and taking our community from us." Further, she said it "disgusts" her "seeing Black people holding signs for these Asians and not supporting their own people."

When all else fails, racism and xenophobia are a tried and true political strategy.

8.16.2018

API Forward Movement presents Farm to Chopsticks

Thursday, August 23 at Japanese American Cultural & Community Center



Hey Los Angeles! Here's a fun food event for a great cause. API Forward Movement is hosting their annual Farm to Chopsticks fundraiser benefiting their grassroots education and organizing for food, health, and social justice in Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities.

The evening will feature Korean drumming, dinner by Organic Pan-Asian restaurant Green Zone and a food demonstration by Chef Pablo Kim, Korean-Argentinian "master griller" and a Master Chef Latino 2017 finalist. Bonus: Our friend DanAKADan will be the emcee for the evening.

It's going to be a great event. Farm to Chopsticks is happening on Thursday August 23rd at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center in Little Tokyo. Tickets are going quickly, get yours here.

For more information, visit the API Forward Movement website.


8.13.2018

They Call Us Bruce - Episode 45: They Call Us Ronny Chieng

Jeff Yang and Phil Yu present an unfiltered conversation about what's happening in Asian America.



What's up, podcast listeners? We've got another episode of our podcast They Call Us Bruce. Each week, my good friend, writer/columnist Jeff Yang and I host an unfiltered conversation about what's happening in Asian America, with a strong focus on media, entertainment and popular culture.

On this episode, we welcome "international" comedian Ronny Chieng, who talks about going from law school to standup (because he couldn't find a job), getting a correspondent gig on The Daily Show, and being back in his home country to be part of a major pop culture moment: Crazy Rich Asians.

8.12.2018

Read These Blogs


'Crazy Rich Asians': Why the historic Hollywood rom-com matters
The cast and filmmakers of Crazy Rich Asians share their own disparate paths to Hollywood, as well as their hopes for how their film might pave the way for all stories historically under-seen and heard in Hollywood. (Be sure to watch the video at the top.)

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Why Did It Take So Long to See a Cast Like 'Crazy Rich Asians'?
There was Flower Drum Song in 1961, and Joy Luck Club in 1993... and then what? Why did a big studio feature film like Crazy Rich Asians take so long to get made?

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The Long Crazy Road to Crazy Rich Asians
It's fair to say that drama in Crazy Rich Asians, staged amid staggering displays of Southeast Asian conspicuous consumption, pales in comparison to the film's real-life backstory.

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Crazy Rich Asians isn't about money, it's about entitlement—and that's a good thing
Stephanie Foo on the emotional experience of watching Crazy Rich Asians.

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Yellowface, Whitewashing, and the History of White People Playing Asian Characters
"It is the height of white privilege to think a white person is better equipped to play an Asian character than an Asian person." Reappropriate's Jenn Fang writes a breakdown of yellowface and whitewashing for Teen Vogue.

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'Fresh Off the Boat' Star's Dad Shares Pride and Pain of Seeing His Child Grow Up Onscreen
Jeff Yang, whose son Hudson plays Eddie Huang on Fresh Off the Boat, talks about what it's like raising his son and watching him grow up on television.

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A Year After Charlottesville, are White People Co-Conspirators in Confronting White Supremacy?
"The bottom line: white supremacy kills everyone, and no one gets a pass right now, especially not white people who must become co-conspirators with people of color to confront white supremacy."

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'Bad Appetite' Puts the Food World's Cultural Appropriation on the Chopping Block
Comedian Jenny Yang uses her YouTube series to showcase underrepresented voices in food.

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Long Live Chinatown, Especially When I'm Gone
Xuan Juliana Wang reflects on her four years living in New York City's Chinatown, and the hopes she has for the neighborhood's future.

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When "I Love You" Was Too Much, My Grandmother Said It With Pork Stir-Fry
Vivian Lee shares the story of a single dish that's meaningful to her and her family.

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Sorry to Bother You's Secret Weapon: a Powerhouse with an Eye for New Talent
Meet Forest Whitaker's producing partner Nina Yang Bongiovi, a potent force in the indie scene—and one of the engines behind Fruitvale Station, Dope, and Roxanne Roxanne.

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"This Is Our Watershed Moment": Hollywood's Asian-American Leaders Have a Plan to Push Inclusion
More than a dozen Asian American executives, agents, and creatives push forward a mission to give a voice to "all underrepresented people" in entertainment.

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Keiko Agena on life after 'Gilmore Girls,' her new book and how she copes with anxiety
Keiko Agena's new book, No Mistakes: A Perfect Workbook for Imperfect Artists, provides interactive pep talks for anxious artists held back by perfectionism.

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Screenwriter Sameer Gardezi on the Motivation Behind Writing 'Surina & Mel'
Sameer Gardezi's digital series, East of La Brea, centers on a diverse Muslim neighborhood in Los Angeles, and features two (two!!) South Asian American women leads.

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Mitski's Many Lives
Indie pop artist Mitski Miyawaki says she's lived many different lives in her one body. On her new album Be the Cowboy, she's taking on the spirit of a charismatic, swaggering cowboy.


8.10.2018

#NeverAgainIsNow: Why the 30th anniversary of Japanese American Redress matters today

Guest Post by Tsuya Hohri Yee, Co-Chair New York Day of Remembrance Committee; and Joseph Shoji Lachman, Co-founder of Never Again.


Photo Credit: Densho/The Kinoshita Collection & The Rafu Shimpo

August 10th marks the 30th anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which granted a presidential apology and monetary reparations to living Japanese American families who had persevered through World War II incarceration for simply looking like the enemy. Over 120,000 people were removed from their homes and imprisoned in concentration camps in remote areas of the country. The majority were U.S. citizens and 1/3 were children. While no amount of money could ever undo the damage to Japanese American families and our democracy as a whole, the Act was a landmark piece of legislation, and represented decades of grassroots organizing across the country. Many Japanese Americans, young and old were inspired to join the Redress Movement by the work of Civil Rights Movement activists of the 1960s, and mobilized our communities to come together to fight for an apology and reparations. Allies in the Black and Latinx communities came to the aid of Japanese Americans, recognizing the commonalities of our struggles, and through this powerful coalition work Japanese Americans finally saw some semblance of justice for our families.

What the Redress movement achieved went beyond the Civil Liberties Act. Our community is not monolithic and there was significant debate about how to "right this wrong," including the view that demanding compensation would bring negative attention to our community. Others felt that creating a Commission to study the incarceration, including prisoner testimonies was demeaning and unnecessary. But those disagreements didn't stop us from moving forward and when it mattered most, we rallied our support around the Civil Liberties Act. Painful divides between individuals and groups who had chosen different paths during the war that had once seemed fixed in stone, now see the possibility of eroding. As part of the healing process the Redress movement started, annual Day of Remembrance programs were organized across the country giving communities an opportunity to reflect, learn, and join together in solidarity around our common history. Japanese Americans also began journeying back to camp sites on pilgrimages to reclaim the stories of their parents and grandparents and to begin piecing together what was lost. Today we look back with admiration at what we fought for and accomplished as a community.

Angry Reader of the Week: Stephen Liu

"I'm all about connecting people whether that be for love, business or friendship."



What's up, internet friends? It is time, once again, to meet the Angry Reader of the Week, spotlighting you, the very special readers of this website. Over the years, I've been able to connect with a lot of cool folks, and this is a way of showing some appreciation and attention to the people who help make this blog what it is. This week's Angry Reader is Stephen Liu.

8.09.2018

Two teens arrested in attack on elderly Sikh man

Suspects repeatedly punched, kicked and spit on a 71-year-old man in broad daylight.



In northern California, two teens have been arrested in the brutal assault on a 71-year-old Sikh man in broad daylight. Investigators say the attack was an attempted robbery, but the victim's family is calling it a hate crime.

2 teens arrested in connection to video of elderly Sikh man being kicked, spit on

Sahib Singh Natt was taking his daily walk around a park in Manteca when he was confronted by 18-year-old Tyrone McAllister and a 16-year-old boy, who demanded money from him. When Natt, who has trouble communicating, tried to walk away, they blocked him and the confrontation became violent.

A neighbor's home surveillance video shows one of the men kicking Natt to the ground. When he attempts to get back up, he gets kicked repeatedly. They assailants start to walk away while Natt is still on the ground, but one of them returns to kick him a few more times and spit on him.

(Warning: Video contains violence.)

8.06.2018

They Call Us Bruce - Episode 44: They Call Us Crazy Rich Asians

Jeff Yang and Phil Yu present an unfiltered conversation about what's happening in Asian America.



What's up, podcast listeners? We've got another episode of our podcast They Call Us Bruce. Each week, my good friend, writer/columnist Jeff Yang and I host an unfiltered conversation about what's happening in Asian America, with a strong focus on media, entertainment and popular culture.

On this episode, recorded live last May at C3: Conference for Creative Content at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, we moderate a panel discussion with director Jon M. Chu, screenwriter Adele Lim, and cast members Nico Santos and Chris Pang of Crazy Rich Asians.

8.05.2018

Read These Blogs


Sarah Jeong, New York Times Editorial Board Member, Has A Right To Be Angry
Sarah Jeong, the newest member of The New York Times' editorial board and the subject of a ferocious right-wing fake-outrage campaign, has legit reasons -- and the right -- to be angry. This matters because Asian Americans have historically been told that our rage isn't our due.

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In Latest Concession to Conservative Trolls, New York Times Blames Bigotry on Many Sides
Sarah Jeong is not "the real racist."

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In Little Saigon, anxiety after arrest of Orange County man in Vietnam
The family of a man missing for a month in Vietnam announced Thursday that he has been detained by the government and imprisoned in Ho Chi Minh City "without cause or charges
The term 'Asian American' was meant to create a collective identity. What does that mean in 2018?
In 1968, Yuji Ichioka, who was inspired by the Black Power Movement, coined the term in order to build solidarity and resistance against racism. But what is its utility 50 years later?

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Losing My Son to Reading
"Seeing my son reading, I realize he is taking one step further on his own road to independence, to being a border-crosser, someone who makes his own decisions, including what he reads and what he believes."

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The Viral Earrings Calling Out Men Who Fetishize Asian Women
Artist and jewelry-maker Ada Chen's thesis collection at Pratt Institute was titled Made in Chinese America, and explores her identity as a Chinese American woman. Specifically, she makes statements about men who fetishize Asian women, and the western gaze in general.

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'I Loved God, I Loved Believing': An Interview with R.O. Kwon
R.O. Kwon's debut novel, The Incendiaries, is a meditation on faith, extremism, and fractured identity. It's a story partly inspired by Kwon's own experiences separating from Christianity as a young woman.

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Tales of a Cartoonist Lady Person: Shopping in Korea and America
Cartoonist Dami Lee illustrates her struggles shopping in both Korea and the U.S.

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Cartoonist Thi Bui Weaves Together Personal And Political History
Cartoonist Thi Bui's Eisner Award-nominated graphic memoir The Best We Could Do is the story of her family in the years before, during and after the Vietnam War.

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The 'new Yellow Peril': How U.S. film critics reviewed Bruce Lee movies in his day
Bruce Lee's legendary breakthrough film Enter the Dragon premiered 45 years ago this month, just weeks after Lee died. The film posthumously propelled Lee to martial arts immortality and international superstardom. But what did reviewers think of the film back then?

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Welcome To The Summer Of Asian-American Rom Coms
This summer, audiences can see two romantic comedies starring Asian-American women: To All the Boys I've Loved Before and Crazy Rich Asians. And it's not a moment too soon.

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The Stakes Are High for 'Crazy Rich Asians' -- And That's the Point
The creators behind Crazy Rich Asians turned down a "gigantic payday" at Netflix to ensure the first Asian-American-focused studio movie in 25 years would be seen in theaters and, if all goes well, reshape the Hollywood landscape: "The biggest stage with the biggest stakes — that's what we asked for."

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Behind the Scenes at The Hollywood Reporter's 'Crazy Rich Asians' Cover Shoot
From a sprawling Bel Air mansion to $2 million in jewels, here's how Constance Wu, Michelle Yeoh and Henry Golding's Slim Aarons-inspired looks for that glamours Hollywood Reporter came to be.


8.01.2018

2018 Plate by Plate Presented by Project by Project

Saturday, August 4 at City Market Social House in Los Angeles.



Los Angeles! See you this Saturday for a whole lot of food, drink and community. Plate By Plate, presented by Project by Project, is an awesome annual tasting benefit featuring star chefs, top rated restaurants, and beverages from across the nation. Best of all, 100% of the net proceeds raised from Plate by Plate are remitted to a nonprofit partner organization serving the Asian American community.

This year, Plate by Plate has joined forces with OCA-GLA and to raise funds for their Mentored Path to Citizenship grant program, which provides legal assistance and helps alleviate the financial burden for those who cannot afford the naturalization application fee to apply for American citizenship.

Plate by Plate LA is happening Saturday, August 3 at City Market Social House in Downtown Los Angeles. Your evening's celebrity co-chairs are Leonardo Nam and Michelle Krusiec. Before I forget: be sure to use the discount code PBPAAM25 to get $25 off your ticket.

Here's some more information:

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