Forty years ago this past week, Luong was a 9-year-old boy in Saigon (now known as Ho Chi Minh City) fell to the North Vietnamese Communist and he and his family fled Vietnam to eventually settle in the United States. This NPR piece tells, in his voice, his story:
“Luong and his family spent weeks in refugee camps in the Philippines and Guam before arriving in Fort Chaffee, Ark. Eventually, they moved to California. Luong attended the University of Southern California and joined ROTC, keeping good on the promise he made on that carrier flight deck. He would join the Army. … Luong knows there is irony in his presence here: A boy who fled America’s longest war, only to grow up and advise foreign forces in what became America’s new longest war. Like many back home, he talks about the parallels between the fights in Vietnam and Afghanistan.”
I’ve always admired Asian Americans that have entered the armed services, as that is not something I had seriously considered, except briefly looking into ROTC to possibly finance my college education. I probably wouldn’t have made it through the physical requirements anyways! But I think as more and more Asian Americans enter military service, the concept of the “perpetual foreigner” will slowly get chipped away.
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Previously, the tall building to visit in Tokyo was the Tokyo Tower, which I have been before, and although it’s kinda nice and affords a decent view of the city, it wasn’t so breathtaking that I wanted to visit it again the next time I went to Japan. Now, they’ve got the brand new Tokyo Sky Tree which pretty much is now the reigning monolith in the city. I would definitely want to visit the Sky Tree again because not only is the view spectacular, but because you can see so far and wide, the time of day and the season has a dramatic impact on the view.
Luckily, this time, I was able to see an outline of Mt. Fuji from the tower 90 miles away. Ridiculous right? You can’t see it too well in this Instagram I posted on it, because of the glare of the setting sun on the window, but I would just love to see this on a blue-sky day. If only I had gotten there sooner. The cool thing they did with the windows was to frame them like postcards so that when you take a picture, it looks like a postcard, but it’s like a living one since it’s always a different picture. Very nice idea, whoever thought of that one. Definitely makes it more of an “instagram”.
I love it when I look down from a really high place and the city and all its people looks like a dynamic toy model, like so.
Clearly, I don’t really have a fear of heights, but if you do, you may want to bring some pills or something, especially if you’re going to try out that glass window in the floor you can step on and look straight down at the steep drop of the tower.
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How much is getting into a top ranked college worth? One family from Hong Kong offered up to $400K to a popular Silicon Valley consultant to get their “C” average student into a top ranked school. This raises many questions, but I’ll concentrate on just a few. Is getting into an Ivy really worth $400K? What are these rankings anyway? Are rankings and reputation the best way to select a college? How does one make a final selection between colleges? My family encountered these questions when Number One Son didn’t get into his top choice and had to decide where to register between the colleges that admitted him. When I took a closer look at a variety of ratings and rankings, I found a number of interesting points that I think are relevant to Asian American parents and parents in general. Continue Reading »
Submitted by Ruel Gaviola:
Check out the excellent biographical piece on Manny Pacquiao in Grantland by Rafe Bartholomew, author of the fantastic basketball book, Pacific Rims: Beermen Ballin’ in Flip-Flops and the Philippines’ Unlikely Love Affair with Basketball.
Manny Pacquiao of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world is Filipino and the Filipino, Filipino American, and Asian American communities are excited about his fight against Floyd Mayweather this Saturday night.
When most Americans first heard of Manny Pacquiao, the Filipino boxer’s life was presented as a fable. This is true whether they came across Pacquiao in the early 2000s, when he burst into the boxing mainstream with upsets of Lehlo Ledwaba and Marco Antonio Barrera, or whether they learned of him in 2008, when he invaded the actual mainstream with another upset, this time over Oscar De La Hoya. Even now, after years of being one of the highest-paid athletes in the world and just days away from facing Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the biggest fight of his career, Pacquiao will be introduced to casual fans as a boy who was born into intractable poverty in the southern Philippines, who started fighting professionally at age 16 to help support his mother and siblings, and who somehow slugged his way to the top of the sport.
One of the reasons I love watching mixed martial arts, especially the female fighters, is how inspiring they are in how hard they work and what they sacrifice to be the best they can be. Watching Invicta FC events always gets my blood going, and on top of that, I love following individual fighters on their Instagrams so I can see what they’re eating, how they’re working out, and the progress they make on their bodies.
One of the Invicta fighters I follow is Raquel Pa’aluhi from Hawaii, and just seeing her selfie updates on her progress makes me do more push ups.
After a lively weigh-in where she and her opponent basically looked like they were about to start the fight early, Pa’aluhi won by unanimous decision.
This week has been amazing! We had one job and we got it done 🙌🏽 God is so good! Thank you @robertdrysdalemma, @deweycooper, @bmstultz and @omalzafitness for preparing me for battle. This is the best I've ever been and we are just getting started. My team, thank you!!! You see greatness in me and you push me to new heights every day in the gym. It is never an easy day or an easy round. Thank you. Last but not least, my amazing sponsors! I keep just a handful because these are people that believed in me when I had absolutely nothing but a dollar and a dream. Thank you Ali'i, Gursh & Roman. @dangerousclique @romanamaguin @nuevesalon @athorganics @realwaterhawaii My team over at Suckerpunch… We are just getting started @suckerpunchent @bryanhamper @shuhirata
Pa’aluhi’s turning out to be one of Invicta’s top stars, so looking forward to seeing her next fight!
So I was a bit pre-occupied at the time and did not blog when the news that Din Tai Fung was opening a new restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area at San Jose’s Westfield Valley Fair Mall – slated for opening this October 2015. Now there is news that Din Tai Fung will be opening *another* restaurant in Southern California:
“It’s quite the coup for the seriously popular dumpling house, which started in Arcadia before branching out into bigger (and in some cases glitzier) digs elsewhere. The Santa Anita location is a welcome SGV return, and will hopefully help to quell the lines at the original location by giving people the ability to head for a larger space just blocks away. That is, assuming the original Arcadia rooms remain, given the proximity to the new location (management has no official word on if they’ll stay at this time).”
I had read elsewhere that Din Tai Fung would be closing one of its two restaurants (which were apparently right next to each other) in Arcadia, California. In any case, I can’t wait to visit the San Jose restaurant in October and the SGV (San Gabriel Valley) restaurant in the future.
After the Gundam giant robot excursion to Odaiba’s Diver City Mall, we took about a 10-15 minute walk to the nearest Tokyo Water Bus stop. Basically, it’s an boat on water that takes tourists to key points of interest. Unlike the average ferry, these “water buses” are designed for optimal enjoyment of the view, so that getting there is definitely more than half the fun.
The outside of the boat is all windows, and there’s even an observation deck on the top. It’s low to the water, so you really see every splash and whirl as you fly over it, even on top of the deck, which is actually the roof of the boat.
The story revolves around two siblings: Sora and Shiro. The 17 year-old brother and a 11 year-old sister carry an infamous reputation in the gaming world as 『 』(yes it is a blank). They live as gamer NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) and have secluded themselves from reality as they considered it “a crappy game”. One day, after beating a mysterious challenger, they receive an offer: To be reborn into a new world. Tired of their own world, they accept his offer and are summoned to the fantasy land of Disboard by Tet where everything is decided by games. Now Sora and Shiro have begun their journey in redeeming the weak human race of Imanity and conquering the world to challenge Tet for his title of One True God.
Story: This anime served as great entertainment with it’s continuous suspense from each game that 『 』and their opponent create. It creates a rich fantasy mythology that slowly deepens as we learn more about the show. Although there were multiple comedic parts that were a bit sexual, when it gets serious, it gets Serious. It also cleverly references other animes such as Ace Attorney, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Hyouka and etc. The way 『 』 use their unqiue strengths to cover each other’s weakness and win games is a joy to watch. Also Episode 12 expertly finished up an arc while leaving a bit in order to prepare for the next one.
Characters: What held the show together was 『 』. Sora who has crafty intuition and overwhelming insight but is a bit sexual deprived, and Shiro with outstanding intelligence but is a little easy-going. The other characters who joined during the season also seem a bit interesting. Stephnie Dola, the granddaughter of the late king of Imanity, is a good asset to Sora and Shiro but is sometimes a victim of their bullying. Although she has low experience winning in games, she handles her position in politics with a lair’s smile and is more grounded in reality than her friends.
Art: The art is simply stunning. It has one of the most eye-catching and unique art styles in the season. It’s also a bit refreshing to see a bright color palette once in a while.
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8Asians is proud to be a community co-presenter of at the 2015 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF). As a reader of 8Asians, please enjoy a discount to this and other films using the code: 8ASIANS15
Monday, April 27 at 7:00 PM (Downtown Independent, DTLA)
Wednesday, April 29 at 9:15 PM (Japanese American National Museum, Little Tokyo)
Happy-go-lucky Jake Chen (Anthony Ma) puts both heart and soul into perfecting his signature blends of sweet, creamy, and chewy goodness at his parents’ modest boba tea shop located in a sleepy corner plaza of sunny and suburban Arcadia, CA in the heart of the “626” (an area code symbolic of the material home of recent highly educated and solidly middle class Chinese immigrants from Taiwan and the Mainland). This influx of high rolling investors and consumers as new additions to the Chinese diaspora in the U.S. and specifically here in the West Coast, plays a central critical role in the plot of this big hearted, Taiwanese American romantic comedy-drama. As home-grown as it comes, director Lawrence Gan and screenwriter Theresa Chiu concoct this affable micro indie as both love letter to celebrate the continued, strong bonds of family and friendship in the contemporary Chinese American community and as a signpost of the burgeoning powerhouse, immigrant community planting roots and asserting economic and cultural influences in CA and the U.S.
Jake’s family business faces extinction when Joanna Lee (Michelle Huang), the precocious, no holds barred, uptight daughter of a Taiwanese real estate developer, steps into his shop to avail herself of wi-fi and simultaneously, sweeps him off his feet by her candor and confidence. Her presence sets off a chain reaction in Jake’s daily life forcing him to question his own direction. Should he go off to college like his peers and/or pursue his dream of becoming a chef? His contented attachment to home and hearth, his kind, supportive BFFs, Louie (Arvin Lee) and Samantha (Lana McKissack), and his little patch in the Shire may not be enough anymore. Can love conquer his Hobbit-like ways and teach him a thing or two about growing up and realizing his full potential?
The sugar rush comes to a head at Louie’s big brother’s wedding, where we get served cake, Shakespearian dramatics of a best man’s speech, and resolutions to long-standing family and community grievances. Transformation, reconciliation, “Arcadian Sunrise,” and maybe, a “Phoenix Surprise” await you. It is truly sweets to the sweet.
Cast & Crew
Executive Producer: Theresa Chiu, Matt Dau, Josh Owen
Producer: Lawrence Gan, Dave Grabarek
Director: Lawrence Gan
Assistant Director: Roxy Shih
Writer: Theresa Chiu
Director of Photography: Daniel Cotroneo
Associate Producer: Arthur Wu
Production Designer: Arthur Wu
Music Composer: Kiran Gupta
Editor: Lawrence Gan
Cast: Garrett Bales, Lee Chen, Lon Fiala, James Gan, Michelle Huang, Clint Jung, George Kerr, Cici Lau, Arvin Lee, Hong Lei, Anthony Ma, Lana McKissack, Richard Ouyang, Bryan Truong, Vladimir Velasco, Dominic Zhai
Costume Designer: Pei-Lynn Juang
Visual Effects: James Brady
Sound: Andy Edelman, John Rhoads
8Asians is proud to be a community co-presenter of KTown Cowboys at the 2015 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF). As a reader of 8Asians, please enjoy a discount to this film using the code: KC15 or other films with 8ASIANS15
Saturday, April 25 at 8:00 PM (Aratani Theatre, Little Tokyo)
Wednesday, April 29 at 9:15 PM (CGV Cinemas 1, KTown)
What a difference five years makes: back in 2010, music video director and online content developer Daniel Park brought his brilliantly rude, crass, and homemade web series KTOWN COWBOYS to the Film Festival as a self-contained featurette, with one crucial detail — he stitched together all but the last of eight episodes to create a work that would deliver to him the Festival’s Special Jury Award for Best First Feature, and compelled viewers to visit the film’s website to discover how the whole story ended. A brilliant example of transmedia, certainly, but an experience that screamed out for a fuller, more complete story. So, working with many of the principals from the web series, director Park returned to K-Town, so to speak, and revisited much of the same terrain covered in that earlier, heralded work. The result, also named KTOWN COWBOYS, should not be confused with the earlier feature: taking place months before the events of the web series, this new iteration of the adventures of Jason (Shane Yoon), Sunny (Sunn Wee), Peter (Peter Jae), Danny (Danny Cho), and Robby (Bobby Choy, aka folk guitarist Big Phony) is even more of a comedy caper than the earlier effort, and renders obsolete Chris Chan Lee’s classic YELLOW (Festival 1997), acknowledged as the progenitor of modern Korean American cinema.
Jason, a reluctant heir and caretaker to the family-run business, is in trouble as this new story opens: no thanks to an embezzlement scheme perpetrated by a mid-level manager (a deliciously twisted cameo by comedian Steve Byrne), the company teeters on the brink of collapse. As Jason’s straight-laced uncle and v-e-r-y loopy and self-absorbed cousin Mindy (Angie Kim) fly in from Seoul to confront Jason, his buddies confront problems of their own. Sunny, an aspiring entrepreneur, chafes at the prospect of inheriting the family-owned liquor store. Hot-headed macho-man Peter toils by day at the Fashion Institute, where none of his fellow buddies can see his nascent talents as a dress designer. Danny, a struggling comic, wonders if his big break will ever come. And Robby, a Korean adoptee ensconced in a mind-numbingly suburban reality, begins to get in touch with his Koreanness and contemplates a return to the motherland to find his roots. Together, the five join forces with Mindy to seek out a solution to Jason’s problems — a trek that will take them through Koreatown’s designer hotels, noraebangs, K-BBQ hangouts, afterhours drinking spots, and lounges.
If the aforementioned YELLOW served as a travelogue through Los Angeles’ Koreatown for the uninitiated, then KTOWN COWBOYS uses a roadmap that can’t be found in any MapQuest or Google Earth app. Indeed, today’s K-Town, a “vertical city” that mimics South Korea’s own high-rise profile, is cosmopolitan, urbane, and trendy in its own right. And with such sharply-dress denizens as Jason and crew, not to mention a soundtrack inspired by state-of-the-art K-Pop, who’s to say that KTOWN COWBOYS isn’t a case of the hallyu wave breaking back across the Pacific, to where it all started? Director Park has updated and contemporized the K-Town story while — with a huge assist from screenwriters Danny Cho and Brian Chung — judiciously makes sure not to throw everything and the kitchen sink into the whole mix. Gotta save something for the next story, you know…
Cast & Crew
Executive Producer: Sam Chi, Ken Jeong
Producer: Gregory Bishop, Brian Chung, Daniel Sollinger
Director: Daniel Park
Writer: Danny Cho
Cast: Steve Byrne, Danny Cho, Bobby Choy, Peter Jae, Young Chul Kim, Daniel Dae Kim, Simon Rhee, Eric Roberts, Sunn Wee, Shane Yoon
Tonight’s Invicta FC 12 card will feature some APIA fighters.
Finally, although not of APIA heritage, Roxanne Modafferi (17-11) fought for about a decade out of Japan as one of women’s MMA’s trailblazers before moving to Syndicate MMA in Las Vegas to reinvent her game. She’ll be having a rematch with Vanessa Porto (17-6).
The event is available on UFC Fight Pass.
I’m not a Verizon Wireless subscriber, though after seeing Verizon’s commercials, sometimes I wonder if I should be, since with my current carrier, my 4G LTE data coverage often sucks and am amazed that I get switched to 3G – and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area! But generally, Verizon is usually more expensive (but I guess you get what you pay for…)
If you follow the mobile handset industry, you know that the Samsung Galaxy S6 was announced a few months ago and will be released soon. The woman in the commercial (who definitely caught my eye – who’s the actress?) loves her Galaxy S6 and loves her Verizon coverage.
With the current price wars going on started by T-Mobile, matched by Sprint and being aggressively defended by AT&T and also Verizon, it’s not a surprise that Verizon is trying to compete on quality of service rather than on price – something Verizon has always done since its very successful “Can You Hear Me Now?” campaign with “Test Man.“