8Asians is participating in the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s Book Dragon Book Club. Posts on 8Asians will be cross-posted on their website where you can also check out other reviews and author interviews. This month’s book is Pioneer Girl, by Bich Minh Nguyen.
There’s a point in Pioneer Girl: A Novel when its heroine, Lee Lien, a recent PhD in literature stuck living at home with her mother and grandfather while she works in the family restaurant, realizes something about the literary mystery she’s been trying to solve.
Is her mother’s gold pin, left behind by an elderly American woman journalist in the early 1960s in her grandfather’s café in Vietnam, actually an heirloom that had belonged to Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House on the Prairie books? Was that journalist in fact Rose Wilder Lane, Laura’s daughter? What is this pin worth, and what will Lee do with it next?
The story of the pin that Lee has constructed, from her grandfather’s stories, her own research, and a stolen paper or two, is fantastic and almost too good to be true. But it is not really hers to share. Sure, she has driven from Illinois to Iowa to Missouri, and flown out to San Francisco for what she assumes will be a happy ending to the story of the pin. But the pin doesn’t solve the problems she has with her family, notably her reticent mother and her estranged brother, Sam.
Back in Illinois, Lee’s ma waits for her daughter to come to her senses, to settle down, and take her place behind the register at the family restaurant. She had raised Lee to live a more stable life, which doesn’t involve driving all over the Midwest engaged in research. But ma‘s own life in America, which was largely spent moving from one small town to the next, seeking work in a stream of Chinese buffets before she can find and finance her own business, is the precursor to Lee’s own journey. Ma isn’t enjoying the kind of success she might have envisioned when she and her father, Lee’s kind grandfather, escaped Vietnam for a new life in America. She wonders why neither Lee not her estranged brother Sam can understand the allure of the restaurant she struggled to open, waiting for the day her son and heir will take it over.
The melodrama that I (perhaps unfairly) expected before reading this book came from multiple viewings of The Joy Luck Club, the film adaptation of Amy Tan’s best-selling novel about a quartet of Chinese mothers and their very American daughters. If I wasn’t cheering when a daughter finally stood up to an emotionally stunted husband, or crying when a mother tells her daughter that she takes the worst quality crab because she has the best quality heart, I was rolling my eyes at how easily I could be manipulated emotionally.
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WHO: Kristina Wong, performance artist and comedian who has been publicly professing her love for Jeremy Lin for the last two years.
WHAT: Kickstarter project: I WILL MARRY JEREMY LIN.
For the last two years I have been publicly vying for the attention of NBA Superstar Jeremy Lin so that I can get married and have babies already. It’s been something of a durational performance project where my anxieties as a childless woman approaching the last of her childbearing years play out as a public spectacle that subverts gendered approaches of courtship and the otherwise emasculated media images of Asian men.
WHEN: Deadline to contribute is Friday, August 22, 2014 (1:31pm PDT).
With your Kickstarter support, I will be able to purchase 2 Court Side tickets at $2700 a piece for one Lakers game this season. I will be escorted by a Maid of Honor (person of any gender, TBD) who will keep an eye on my dress and on security. I will follow and adhere to all rules of conduct in the Staples Center as I will Jeremy to notice me.
I will keep detailed documentation in my blog and Instagram for my audience to follow.
One of my favorite lines to recall is from Drax the Destroyer: “NOTHING goes over my head!… My reflexes are too fast, I would catch it.”
So I’ve been seeing a few comments here and there about there not being any Asian American representation on this summer blockbuster hit, and I understand that it’s hard to realize that under all of those red tattoos of Drax the Destroyer is Dave Bautista, who is half Filipino (dad) and half Greek (mom).
When I saw Drax fill the screen, I didn’t realize he was Asian American either, so I, too, had to be informed that in fact, an Asian American actor was playing one of the major characters in this highly successful movie.
Fear not Asian America. Represent.
Carrying an Asian name would seem to be a liability in the many countries – actress Chloe Bennet says that changing her Asian last name resulted in her getting more acting work.
Former Apple Employee Sam Sung thought his old business card, which showed the humorous juxtaposition of a “Sam Sung” working at Apple, might be worth something. So when he put it up for bid on eBay (with proceeds going to the charity Children’s Wish), he’s received offers over US$2600! It’s good to see that an Asian name is indeed worth something!
Sam Sung is currently working as a headhunter in the Vancouver area. Bidding on the business card ended on August 15, 2014.
In the book 1001 Natural Wonders You Must See Before You Die, one item in this big bucket list is right in the heart of Taiwan–Taroko Gorge. I guess you could say this is sort of like Taiwan’s Grand Canyon. Construction of this park started when Taiwan was still under Japanese rule, and, reminiscent of the Great Wall of China, many laborers, forced and otherwise, died building the roads into this massive gorge.
This gorge was carved by the Liwu river, and if you can’t tell from image above, the thing is made primarily of marble. It’s gorgeous to say the least. I used to wonder why so many of my relatives homes in Taiwan were filled with marble tables, floors, and even walls. I had thought it was to keep the house cool in the hot, humid island weather, which it indeed does, but it wasn’t till I realized this gorge was made of marble that I realized that Taiwan has a massive source of marble right in its own back yard.
It wouldn’t have been easy for us to make the trip into the Taroko park on our own as it’s quite large and full of treacherous roads. My parents have driven me through it before when I was a kid, but I don’t exactly have a Taiwan driver’s license myself. So we joined a Taiwan Tour Bus group for this one.
Chef Roy Choi has just revealed he is shooting “Street Food”, a new series for CNN. [Eater]
Author Eric Liu talks to NPR about his new book A Chinaman’s Chance, which is both a memoir and an examination of Chinese Americans today. [NPR]
Ever wonder why a lot of folks don’t like Katy Perry? This Tumblr post may help explain. [Racialicious]
Panda triplets were born in Guangzhou, China on July 29. [Chicago Sun-Times]
Hyphen looks at why New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle” is the Asian American anthem. [Hyphen]
Asian Americans remember the life and career of Robin Williams, who died on Monday, August 11. [AsAm News]
An excerpt from “Farewell to Robin Williams…“:
I was lucky to work with him as an actor and witness first hand the magic of what made him a legend, the wit and other worldly improv skills. As well as see him single handedly put the morale of a movie set, easily hundreds of people, on his shoulders and kept everyone laughing as they worked long hours for what seemed like months on end. And at the same time, I was fortunate to spend private times, many mornings in the makeup chair, (which with my tri-hawk hair took hours), just talking about poetry… And soft spoken and introspectively we would discuss Walt Whitman and Charles Bukowski.
With “Hook” and so many other films, I, like millions of others became a fan and was always delightfully surprised by the performances he managed to produce, but with his passing, I can’t help to feel, along with my generation… I can’t help feeling like it’s the death of my childhood. I guess we can’t stay in Neverland forever, we must all grow up.
But I just want to bid a sorrowful farewell to one of the greatest I’ve been able to work with and be around and I’ll always remember my time with you as some of the greatest moments in my life… and just like the rest of the world, I’ll remember you with joy and laughter.
O’ Captain! My Captain! See you in Neverland…
Founded in 1988 by May Louie, the San Francisco Chinatown Merchants Association (SFCMA) is an independent community organization dedicated to the revitalization of commerce and tourism in one of America’s most unique historic neighborhoods. In 1991, shortly after the devastating Loma Prieta earthquake which destroyed the direct freeway link to Chinatown, SFCMA held our first Autumn Moon Festival. Through our annual sponsorship of tradition-based events like the Annual Autumn Moon Festival, the SFCMA seeks to help visitors and locals alike appreciate the rich cultural heritage of Chinatown and all those who live and work in the neighborhood.
2014 SF Chinatown Autumn Moon Festival Photo Contest
1) San Francisco Chinatown
Show us the best parts of San Francisco Chinatown. What are your favorite places to visit, places to eat, or your favorite places to go?
2) How do you celebrate the Moon Festival?
Show us how you celebrate the Moon Festival! What foods do you make, decorations do you put up, or family traditions you have to celebrate the moon festival?
GRAND PRIZE | $500 Cash
2nd Prize (1 for each category) | $100 gift certificate
3rd Prize (1 for each category) | $50 gift certificate
Top 10 photos will be displayed at the San Francisco Autumn Moon Festival September 6th & 7th, 2014 and on Facebook.
Sue Lee, Executive Director of the Chinatown Historical Society of America
Andria Lo, Photographer
Valerie Luu, chef and author of Chinatown Sartorialist
To enter email [email protected]
with the following:
Rules: Photos should be at least 300dpi, no more than 3 photo entries per contestant. Please email [email protected] with “Photo Contest” as the subject and your name (as you would like it to appear in credits), contact info, and digital photos to by AUGUST 27th, 11:59PM.
Photo Entry Instructions:
- Photos should be at least 300dpi resolution
- Photos should be labeled with your first and last name, category, and number (1,2,3) i.e. JenniferWuChinatown1.jpg
- Please submit no more than than 3 photo entries per person
- No photos will be accepted after AUGUST 27th, 11:59PM
The Chinatown Merchants Association reserves the right to use photo entries for promotional purposes with credit given to the photographer.
For more information, please visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1449153348689201
While typical media images of “The O.C.” are those of fashionable young white people or white surfers in beach communities, Orange County has grown to contain the third largest Asian American population of any county in the U.S., behind Los Angeles County and Santa Clara county. This LA Times article states how the Asian American Population grew substantially between 2000 and 2010. It also says that the Asian American population has grown in patterns not typically seen elsewhere.
Continue Reading »
With his signature wit and charm, host George Takei explores the world of technology, trends, current events and pop culture. From the adorable to the riveting to the absurd, Takei’s Take delves into our shared experience and navigates the strange, ever-changing online world.
This episode strays a bit from the regular format, which is typically fun and funny. Revisiting “man’s worst use of technology” in the dropping of the first nuclear bomb in the city of Hiroshima, George shares his own family connections to Hiroshima as well as the city’s ongoing commitment to peace.
Considering that this week is the 69th anniversary of the bomb, which happened August 6, 1945, take a moment to watch and reflect with George and his husband Brad.
Produced by AARP, with a focus on technology, in the second season of Takei’s Take, host George Takei leaves the studio and voyages across the globe, exploring technology and trends that change the way we live and reshape our world. From MIT’s Age Lab in Boston to Tokyo’s next generation robotics, Takei provides viewers with unprecedented access to cutting edge innovation and the scientists, artists and engineers making it all happen.
h/t: Gil A
All that is about to change.
This female- and minority-driven dramedy follows the girls as they sort through boy troubles, career trials, financial woes, and the social muck of being “ethnically ambiguous” in the arts.
Ultimately 2 Girls | 1 Asian tells the story of two girls who value their friendship above all else.
From Kelly Colburn + Kaela Mei-Shing Garvin:
2 Girls | 1 Asian is devoted to diversity, gender equality, and tackling topics that aren’t readily addressed in mainstream entertainment today. Our series passes the Bechdel test, presents characters outside of Asian-American stereotypes, and features young independent artists of all races, backgrounds and disciplines–including the musicians whose songs we showcase weekly on our soundtrack. As an independently-produced small webseries (we produced the entire first season over 25 days of filming for under $3000!), we are maintaining a devoted fan base. With your help, we would love to expand that number and share our series with the world.
How many Asian Food nights do we need?
Well, there can never be enough, according to LuckyRice Festival founder Danielle Chang. “Asian food is everyday grub,” Chang says.
Getting a jump start on the major foodie events in August—LA Food and Wine Fest and LA Times The Taste occur near the end of the month— LuckyRice comes to Los Angeles for the first time ever. And the organizers follow that up with a San Francisco event just after Labor Day.
So Californians no longer have to trek to Vegas to get LuckyRice. And who better to usher in the fest than Chef Sang Yoon, that hunky Top Chef Masters star and owner of Lukshon and Father’s Office. No word on what he’ll bring—Yoon brought savory Dan Dan noodles to The Taste and LAFW last year, not tastings of his famous burger which was voted the country’s best by both Esquire and the Today show. But there’s more than enough to excite your palette. Everyone’s favorite Starry Kitchen will be there along with Katsuya, Phorage, Bling Bling Dumplings, RockSugar, Fluff Ice, Hamasaku, Dirty Habit, and E+O Asian Kitchen just to name a few.
Oh, and there will be cocktails, Asahi beer, wine, and Bruce Cost Ginger Ales, a handmade take on the standard beverage.