They Call Us Bruce: Episode 70 - We Call Us Tzi Ma's Lost Daughters

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. (Almost) 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 catch up and discuss The Good, The Bad and The WTF of what's going on in Asian America, including Lulu Wang's wonderful film The Farewell, Scarlett Johansson's dumbshit comments, and the perpetual gut punch of "go back to where you came from."


Read These Blogs

16,000 Readers Shared Their Experiences of Being Told to 'Go Back.' Here Are Some of Their Stories.
"Go back to where you came from." These seven words are seared into the minds of countless Americans -- a reminder that they haven't always been welcome in the country where they were born or naturalized because of their appearance, language or religion. The New York Times collected some of their stories.

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In Trump's vision of a white America, immigrants should be grateful and servile
What "go back" really means.

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'Go back' denies the sacrifice my parents made to be Americans
"Immigrants and people of color actively choose to be American over and over again, even when this country tramples their humanity and disputes how genuine their intentions are."

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I was a girl in Daisy Scouts the first time I was told to 'go back home'
We are not going anywhere because we are already home.

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What happened when they told me, 'go back to your country'
Professor Karthick Ramakrishnan recalls a time 28 years ago when his high school classmates told him to "go back to his country," and the school principal denied that the act was racist.

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The Rich, Complex History Hiding Within Chinese Plate Designs
If you've eaten at a Chinese restaurant, chances are, you've seen the iconic design painted on the bowls and plates. Soleil Ho looks into the history of these Chinese plate designs.

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The Stories We Tell, and Don't Tell, About Asian-American Lives
In Racial Melancholia, Racial Dissociation: On the Social and Psychic Lives of Asian Americans, published earlier this year, a literary critic and a psychotherapist study broken narratives and missing words to understand what a diverse cohort has in common.

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Make-Believe in Macau
A novelist's stint impersonating the ultra-rich in China.

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Eat Your Grief: 'The Farewell,' My Family, and the Burden of Food
"How Lulu Wang's film brought me back to my grandparents' dining table in China."

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"I needed to do this movie": Awkwafina on her star-making role in The Farewell
Awkwafina talks about death, humor, and learning Chinese for her new movie.

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Simu Liu, Marvel's latest leading man, will soon be a 'household name'
If you don't know his name already, you will soon.

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Marvel's Shang-Chi: five reasons Tony Leung’s casting is huge
Screen legend Tony Leung Chiu-wai will be the first Hong Kong actor to star in a Marvel Cinematic Universe film.

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Meet Zhao Shuzhen, the Breakout Star of 'The Farewell'
One of the biggest breakthrough performances of the year comes in an unexpected package; The Farewell introduces audiences to 75-year-old Chinese actress Zhao Shuzhen in her dazzling American film debut.


Simu Liu to star as Marvel's 'Shang-Chi'

'Kim's Convenience' actor will play the Master of Kung Fu in 'Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings.'

It's official. We have a Shang-Chi. Simu Liu will star as Marvel's Master of Kung-Fu in Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

The casting was announced Saturday afternoon at Marvel's highly anticipated Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con, in which the studio announced continuing plans for Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The cast of Shang Chi will also include Awkwafina and Tony Leung. Exclamation points!

Liu, who hails from Toronto, is best known for playing Jung on the hit Canadian sitcom Kim's Convenience, which recently wrapped its fourth season. He's also had various guest starring and recurring roles on Taken, The Expanse, Blood and Water, Fresh Off The Boat, and several Wong Fu films, among others.

And if you're wondering if Simu's got the moves to play Shang Chi, yeah, he's got the moves.


Producers wanted to give 'The Farewell' a white boyfriend

What the bad alternate universe version of Lulu Wang's film might look like.

Writer/director Lulu Wang's feature The Farewell is based on real events from the filmmaker's own life, when her grandmother in China was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, but went on unaware after the family decided to shield her from the news. Instead, the family orchestrated a fake wedding so that loved ones could say goodbye.

The film has received rave reviews and opened to stellar box office numbers. But audiences might have seen an entirely different movie if some producers had their way. Wang shares that when she first started pitching the film in 2014, producers suggested a decidedly different take on the film's fake wedding premise.

"As I was pitching to producers, they were like, 'It's obvious -- if you’re going to make a wedding movie, then the main character has to be the bride,'" Wang tells The Washington Post. "And she doesn't get along with her boyfriend anymore. And he's American. He's a white guy. But somehow she convinces him, and they come and they force this wedding. And they end up falling in love again.'"

If you were wondering what the bad alternate universe version of The Farewell might look like.

More here: Lulu Wang nearly compromised with 'The Farewell.' Then she stayed true to her story.


Read These Blogs

When a Lie Becomes Your Breakout Film
With The Farewell, released in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, writer-director Lulu Wang has made a bittersweet drama about her family's choice to deceive one of their own.

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'The Farewell's' Lulu Wang and Awkwafina want you to cry, then call your grandma
"My goal is to leave people talking about the film, or talking about their own lives and their own family, or calling their grandma. That's my gift to the world. We should all call our grandmas more."

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Crazy Rich Asians Kicked Down the Door. Now Asian Americans Are Fighting To Stay in the Room
"Increasingly, it’s up to the Asian-American power players working behind the scenes to ensure that their community, so long ignored or tokenized, isn't treated as a fad—and that they become integral to the worlds of film and TV."

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How magazines made Asian America
A brief history of Asian American magazines, and how their circulation sparked and shaped national conversations about identity and politics.

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Politicians often overlook Asian American voters. They shouldn’t, especially in 2020.
Asian Americans are often relegated to, at best, a footnote in conversations about national politics. Thanks to changes to the 2020 Democratic primary calendar that give Asian American voters more influence, this could change. Smart politicians would be wise to figure out how to win them over.

* * *

A Woman's Place is in Space: Meet Eight Asian American Women Reaching for the Stars
For every person and vehicle that NASA has launched beyond Earth's atmosphere, there have been numerous Asian American women who made those journeys possible.

* * *

When a Dating Dare Leads to Months of Soul Searching
It had been a glorious first date for Andrew and Sarah, but for her there was a problem: They were both of Asian descent.

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George Takei on the Return of Concentration Camps in America
A Q&A with actor and activist George Takei on his experience in the U.S. concentration camps for Japanese Americans during World War II, and the U.S. border situation today.

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Cinematographer on the Rise Finds Connection in Urban Oasis
Quyen Tran, DP for HBO's Camping and Netflix's Unbelievable, transformed her life and career after a brush with terror and tragedy.

* * *

Jamie Yancovitz & Kristen Cabildo Are Redefining The Practice Of Filipino Martial Arts For Women
Two women are working to create a safe space for women, especially Filipinas, to learn self-defense and cultural heritage through Filipino Martial Arts.

* * *

Utah's 'Tandoori Taqueria' Brings Unexpected Indian Spice To Cowboy Country
Five years ago, Ripple Desai opened the Tandoori Taqueria in rural Utah, serving up a fusion of traditional Indian dishes with that beloved Mexican staple -- tacos. She uses naan bread as the tortilla.

* * *

Dan the Automator follows his own lane to food, movies, 'Always Be My Maybe'
San Francisco producer and artist Dan the Automator spent years in the rap and indie music worlds. Now, he's scoring movies, including Always Be My Maybe and the recent Booksmart.


Angry Reader of the Week: Thuc Nguyen

"Things that make me angry aren't tough fixes. They take awareness."

What's good, 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 Thuc Nguyen.


Swords! Arrows! Horses! Mulan! Live-Action! Trailer!

Disney drops the first teaser trailer for the live-action remake of 'Mulan.'

This is a proper teaser trailer. Disney has dropped the first look at its upcoming live-action remake of Mulan, based on the tale of China's legendary woman warrior. Let me just say, if you want to get me excited about this Mulan movie I've been a little skeptical about up to now, this is how you do it. Sign me up.

The film tells the story of Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, who steps in to take the place of her ailing father when the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders. Masquerading as a man, Hua Jun, she is tested every step of the way and must harness her inner-strength and embrace her true potential. The epic journey will transform her into an honored warrior and earn her the respect of a grateful nation... and a proud father.

The trailer reveals familiar beats of the animated film, while offering the scale and scope of a period war epic. You've got our heroine expected to be a dutiful daughter and marry her match, juxtaposed against scenes of Mulan riding a horse, wielding a sword, doing gung fu flippity flips, scaling rooftops and shooting off a shitload of arrows. All while maintaining the glorious curls in her hair.

Check it out:

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