12 Year old Filipina American Gabrielle Molina committed suicide last month, citing cyberbullying in her suicide note. She joins Audrie Potts and other teens and adolescents around the world for whom cyberbullying was a factor in their deaths. One doesn’t hear about Filipino American suicides that often (one report claims that they have a lower suicide rate), but this one hit home because another young Filipino American, the brother of one of my sons’ classmates, also recently killed himself. News of Gabrielle’s death made it across the Pacific with this report and video from the Philippine’s GMA News. What can parents do to prevent these deaths?
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Bamboo Blade is basically a sports anime. Sports anime are ones that focus on a sport or activity through which a main protagonist, with a cohort of friends providing plenty of back stories to explore, works on improving in that sport over time with lots of drama and conflict to make things interesting. Generally, I tend to like these types of anime because they get pretty technical about the sport or activity the story revolves around. This one in particular is about kendo, Japanese sword fighting.
A group of students try desperately to put together a viable kendo club at their school, and their dead beat teacher, who used to be a kendo champion, only finally gets motivated to help them become competitive when he’s offered free sushi meals for a year if they win. Overall, the story is pretty tame and fun, good for someone who just wants generally light-hearted comedy and drama. And happily, really minimal on the sexist objectification of women. Thank goodness. Definitely good to watch.
Opening June 14th at the Four Star Theatre in San Francisco and already available on iTunes & VOD, The Guillotines tells the story of a brotherhood of secret assassins who find themselves in the middle of a rebellion conflicted between both sides. Trained to only have one function in the Emperor’s court, they are armed with their trademark weapon which launches like a boomerang decapitating their intended target.
An entertaining watch, but by no means quality viewing, the story starts off decently, but quickly becomes undone by its preachy narrative. Its usage of monologues and flashbacks attempts to lend more insight to its characters but often raises more questions creating further cracks to an already brittle plot. The result is a film heavily laced with propaganda hitting you on the head over and over again.
Its saving grace just may be in the form of eye candy. The action sequences, when they do appear, are quite the feast, in particular the complexity of how the CG guillotine weapon works. The martial arts fighting scenes are fun viewing and unexpectedly well done. Wang Xiaoming Jesus-inspired look really works for his chiseled features. Not so lucky is Taiwanese heartthrob Ethan Ruan, who’s Qing dynasty queue does not do him justice.
Still, the small audience who screened with me mused that while there was nothing inherently wrong with the film, you still felt you were being scolded like a child.
Psycho-Pass is an anime that is very reminiscent of the movie Minority Report. The story revolves around a new Inspector Akane who has to learn to work with Enforcers in a society where people are sorted by their Crime Coefficient, a number that determines how likely a person is to commit a crime. Inspectors are law enforcement officials who have low Crime Coefficients whereas Enforcers are law enforcement with high Crime Coefficients. Basically, Enforcers are “latent criminals”, officials with a Crime Coefficient that is too high and cannot be reduced, but are still useful and effective as peacekeepers.
The weapons they are armed with are extremely interesting. Called “Dominators”, these weapons measure a person’s Crime Coefficient and will only activate and fire on a person with a high enough coefficient. And when they fire, it’s not a clean bullet. Human targets of the Dominators rounds bubble up and burst into a bloody, pulpy mess. Judge, jury, and messy executioner. The main antagonist starts with a terrorist who is basically messing with the Crime Coefficient system, but the case leads to more than just a simple crime solved. So yeah, this anime is not for the faint of heart, but it is for people who really enjoy sci-fi psychological thrillers. Unlike some good anime that just go on and on and on and on…this one does have an end, and a very good one at that.
If you can’t wait to see the highly-anticipated Man of Steel, then pay attention!
“Man of Steel,”™ starring Henry Cavill in the role of Clark Kent/Kal-El under the direction of Zack Snyder will open in 3D and 2D in select theaters and IMAX Friday, June 14. The film also stars four-time Oscar® nominee Amy Adams, Oscar® nominee Michael Shannon, Academy Award® winner Kevin Costner, Oscar® nominee Diane Lane, Oscar® nominee Laurence Fishburne, and Academy Award® winner Russell Crowe (“Gladiator”).
Born Kal-El of Krypton, raised Clark Kent on Earth. What world does he belong to? What world does he fight for? Those are the questions confronting Superman, and the choices he makes will determine the fate of the planet he has always called home.
“In the world of Super Heroes, Superman is the completely uncompromising figure who exists to represent the best that all of us can be,” director Zack Snyder states. “He is the ideal; he’s what we strive for, that magical, golden god, the kind of icon that has extended beyond the comics world and into all of popular culture.”
Created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster and first appearing in the comic book Action Comics #1, published on April 18, 1938, Superman quickly became a cultural phenomenon, winning fans around the world in live-action and animated form in nearly every known entertainment medium. In feature films, TV shows, radio, video games, social media and literature, he has battled some of the greatest villains of all time.
Ok, ok, you just want to know how to win? Read on!
A new report out from the University of California, Los Angeles is reporting that some sub groups of Asian Americans are among the nation’s poorest populations, based on income sources, home foreclosures and housing burden. While at first glance this may seem contrary to the stereotype about successful Asian Americans, this shouldn’t be a surprise given 8Asians has already reported on higher poverty rates in the Asian American community in 2011, Asian Americans being more adversely affected by the housing downturn, Asian Americans being affected most by long term unemployment , and Asian American seniors being hit harder by the recession.
Southeast Asians seem to be among the hardest hit, even after four decades of living in the United States. Researchers found that language barriers remained persistent as did access to new labor markets.
The UCLA report examined home ownership, income sources and other assets of Asian-Americans in eight states. In the eight states examined, including California and Mississippi (with the largest and one of the smallest Asian American populations), foreign-born Asian Americans accounted for at least 64 percent of the group, a rate higher that of foreign-born Latinos.
Southeast Asians, including Hmong and Cambodian Americans were more likely to receive cash public assistance compared with Asian Americans as a whole or the Caucasian population.
The rate of home ownership among Asian Americans as a whole declined 1.5 times faster than that among Caucasians during the recession. The subgroups hit hardest lost as much as 20 percent of their home value. In some areas of the country, Cambodians, Filipinos and Koreans lost their homes to foreclosure at rates twice that of Whites.
The new report points out once again, that it’s necessary to break out Asian Americans into the sub-groups, because we’re not all the same, and some of us could use a hand, and those that could use a hand may also be the ones least likely to go looking for a hand out. My own parents lived close to the poverty line when they first moved to the United States, but refused to go in search of a hand out, always making sure we lived on what my dad made and brought home. I wrote in a previous 8Asians piece about how my parents helped stretch my dad’s income by fishing for snappers and making rou-song from the snappers. I also heard on NPR this morning that those who are in need and living in the suburbs are the hardest to see, because they try to blend in and don’t necessarily want to be helped, like my parents.
Photo Credit: Lee Wag
I admit, there was a time when I was tempted to walk into a kendo dojo and ask if they taught Hiten Mitsurugi-ryu (Flying Heavenly Govern Sword-Style).
Sounds impressive right?
Except that it’s a fictional sword art. That’s right. Fake.
But I loved watching the anime Rurouni Kenshin so much that, much like the universe of Star Trek, it was real enough to me.
I just read the free sample first chapter, and I gotta say, it was fun to see the old characters come back alive. Guess I’d better dust off that old wooden bokken sword and get swinging again.
As most of you know, the bloggers here at 8Asians have day jobs, and blogging is really a side activity for most of us. My day job is working as a marketing executive at a high technology company in the heart of Silicon Valley. With that type of responsibility comes the need to be in touch with co-workers and the home office during my busy travel schedule. It’s no surprise I was an early adopter of smartphones.
Back when Blackberry was first popular, I actually shunned them in favor of Palm Treo devices, which have now gone the way of Osborne, DEC, and GRiD. My reasoning at the time was that open source was better than proprietary, something I still believe in strongly today. I’ve since discovered (rather late in technology life spans), the Apple iPhone, and started with an iPhone 3GS when most hipsters were sporting iPhone 4S devices. It was a revolutionary change to my daily work experience and convinced me to do an upgrade as soon as the iPhone 5 was available and it is now the device I live on during my busy work schedule. So, when I was given the opportunity to carry a Blackberry Z10 with Verizon Wireless service for two weeks, I was curious if it could match up to my expectations and my needs as a busy road warrior.
It’s Hip to be Asian in the US by Elizabeth Lee of Voice of America, argues that there is a new coolness in being Asian.
I have noticed it too. Asian America isn’t as much on the fringes (of popular culture) as it was when I was younger. It has become much more part of society in general. One great example of this is boba tea.
In the early 90s, I had to go to hole in the wall Taiwanese places in the middle of the San Gabriel Valley to get boba. Now they are everywhere. I remember the first time I saw a non-Asian person drinking boba on the street, I almost crashed my car.
Now everyone drinks it. Asians and non-Asians alike.
I thought boba was just a fad, like frozen yogurt or those nasty tiny ice cream balls that they have at the mall. But it’s been around for more than a decade and I believe it’s safe to say it’s here to stay.
Get to know the writers who make 8Asians possible! Joz started the “Meet the 8Asians” series a while back when she introduced our then resident heartthrob Brian. Now meet some of our new writers on staff, Shako, a Los Angeles based multimedia journalist.
Shako Liu has covered news on Syria and North Korean refugees, poverty in the U.S., undocumented immigrants, and now she writes for us at 8Asians. How lucky are we!
Shako first worked as a journalist in Beijing, then attended USC to obtain her master’s degree in journalism. She has also been actively involved in parliamentary debate and has traveled the world to compete in both international and regional debate tournaments.
She’ll be writing about her passions here on 8A, which include issues in immigration, gender and racial equality, and political participation of minority communities.
Lee Byung-hun, Ryoo Seung-ryong, Han Hyo-joo, Jang Gwang, Shim Eun-kyung. Directed by Choo Chang-min. Korean with English subtitles.
The Korean historical drama Masquerade has plot elements similar to that of Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper and will therefore remind people of many adaptations of the Twain story, but it reminds me most of “Boss for a Day,” that episode of The Flintstones where the Great Gazoo uses his magic to make Fred the head of a company for one day. You know the one: Without knowing what any of it means, Fred shouts, “Whose baby is that?” “What’s your angle?” and “I’ll buy that!” to whoever seeks his opinion or assistance.
I make this comparison because most synopses of the film call it a historical drama, a genre not generally thought of as whimsical or humorous, and while Masquerade carries the gravitas of a nation’s history and is framed with all the costumes and set-pieces of a period drama, its intention is to uplift and inspire, and its first act is at least as humorous as The Flintstones on a good day.
Lee Byung-hun stars in the dual roles of King Gwanghae, a paranoid ruler who is considering executing his queen’s brother for the crime of treason, and Ha-sun, a local comic actor who performs sketches mimicking the king. Gwanghae is poisoned and rendered incapable of governing while he recovers, so Ha-sun is called in as a substitute to present the illusion of strength and competence.
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V3 Digital Media Conference is coming up right around the corner. The event kicks off, on Friday June 14th, with an Opening Awards Reception at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena. Then, the all day conference takes place, on Saturday June 25th, at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo (LA). Here is the website for more info: http://v3con.com/.
Registration includes admission to Friday’s Opening Awards Reception and Saturday’s all day conference, including breakfast and lunch on Saturday. Check out the full schedule and the list of speakers.
On June 14-15, the Asian American Journalists Association‒Los Angeles presents its second annual V3 Digital Media Conference, dedicated to showcasing the “Vision. Visibility. Voice.” of the most pioneering, interesting and influential Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in today’s evolving digital media landscape.
We hope you’ll come along for our exciting and affordable V-Ticket ride. For as little as $40, you can meet, explore alongside and be inspired by hundreds of experts, thought leaders and fellow adventurers in creating or consuming blogs, social media and other new forms of communication. We’ll make sure to feed your appetites as well as your brains, with great food and drink, including Roy’s Hawaiian fusion classic dishes, the famous Kogi BBQ truck’s signature tacos and fare from McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Kirin, among others.
Did we mention pioneering? We’ll recognize four leading Asian American voices and visionaries — restaurateur Roy Choi of Kogi fame, civil rights hero Grace Lee Boggs and journalists Richard Lui and Gil Asakawa — at an evening awards reception at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena on June 14. We’ll reconvene the next morning at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles for an entire day of panels and workshops on the digital theme.
Did we mention interesting? Panel and plenary topics include “Asian Visibility in Hollywood and Globally Online,” “The Future of Journalism in the Digital World,” “Social Media Lessons From the 2012 Presidential Campaign,” “Creating Moving Messaging: Nonprofits and Digital Media Options” and “Sustainability: Success as a Woman in Digital Media.” Hands-on workshops will cover subjects as varied as taking better mobile photos, growing your digital footprint and giving a good interview, and with Verizon we’ll demonstrate the latest in smart accessories and devices.
Did we mention influential? Panelists include blogger Phil Yu (a.k.a. “Angry Asian Man”); marketing legend Bill Imada of IW Group; Elisa Camahort Page, co-founder of BlogHer; actor Parvesh Cheena; actress Lynn Chen; visual journalist Marilyn Chung; filmmaker Patrick Epino; digital editor Megan Garvey of the Los Angeles Times; tech editor Gregory Han; leading web journalist Robert Hernandez of USC; Pradeepa Jeeva, head of production at YOMYOMF; consumer Internet executive Harry Lin; and Canadian broadcaster Tetsuro Shigematsu.
Five lucky 8Asians’ readers will each win a pair of registrations to the upcoming V3con!
Ok, ok, so you think you’re ready to enter? Read on!
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