Today is February 28th, also abbreviated as 2/28 – but to Taiwanese around the world, it is better known as “228” and formally known as “Peace Memorial Day”
60 years ago today, February 28, 1947, a Chinese Nationalist (Kuomintang – KMT) soldiers beat a local Taiwanese woman for selling contraband cigarettes near the Taipei rail station. “The episode set off rioting throughout the island, which Nationalist reinforcements suppressed at the cost of thousands of lives. ” Native “elites” were also targeted as the Nationalists continued their stranglehold on the local population. Estimates of those killed range from 10,000 to 30,000.
For those not too familiar with Taiwanese history, at this time, the Nationalists were still fighting the Communists on Mainland China, before being fully defeated in 1949 and permanently escaping to Taiwan. The history of Taiwan is a complicated one. China (People’s Republic of China – PRC) maintains that Taiwan (Republic of China – ROC) is a renegade province. You can read more on Wikipedia about the “One China Policy.”
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I couldn’t help but get totally choked up (disclosure: I’m an adoptee searching for my birthfather, too) when I saw the news about Olympic skiing medalist Toby Dawson reuniting with his Korean birthfather. This is the answer to so many of Toby’s questions, but also the beginning of an emotional rollercoaster that comes with reunion. I couldn’t help but be moved by the father’s story – that he LOST his three year old son in a crowded market. A year later, he was placed for international adoption. The whole notion just blows me away. Is this father telling the truth? If so, what a debacle on the part of the Korean police/protocol for missing children/adoption network. It’s insane. I hate to say it, but I think these practices are more common than any of us would want to believe.
I wish Toby the best as he starts this emotional new relaitonship.
If you haven’t heard about this yet, then let me be the first to let you know. In the February 23rd edition of SF-based AsianWeek, contributor Kenneth Eng wrote the column “Why I Hate Blacks.” Now how stupid do you have to be to want to write this column at all? Not only is the title of the column racist, but the whole brief column is racist:
“Blacks hate us. [Asians]
“I would argue that blacks are weak-willed. They are the only race that has been enslaved for 300 years.”
“Blacks are easy to coerce. This is proven by the fact that so many of them … tend to be Christians… Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Christianity the religion that the whites forced upon them?”
And secondly, why did AsianWeek even publish this column? A publication should be open to a diverse range of opinons, but not something so blantly offensive and stupid.
Rightfully, Asian-American organizations all over the United States are condemning this column.
I don’t know Kenneth Eng, but apparently he is in his early 20s and looks like he definitely needs some growing up. Eng’s tagline for his column is “God of the Universe.” I thought God loved all of his people!
Well, we know for sure that Eng is clueless and AsianWeek made a mistake. Let’s hope we can all learn from our mistakes.
Hey, it wasn’t me who thought up this title. I’m just rippin’ it. It’ll make for some very interesting Google ads too, I’ll bet.
Playing at the Aratani Japan American Theatre in Los Angeles, CA, on March 2nd at 8:00pm, an all Asian American vagina, er, I mean female cast will be presenting the Vagina Monologues.
Asian-Americans are under-represented in politics – even in California – where we are the 2nd largest minority group behind Latinos. It’s nice to read in The New York Times the article about “Asians Flex Muscles in California Politics” :
“There are now nine Asian-Americans in the State Legislature, compared with one 10 years ago. In November, a Chinese-American, John Chiang, was elected state controller. Three of the five members of the Board of Equalization, which administers the state’s tax policies, are Asian-American, including Mr. Chiang.”
I know John Chiang! – John is the HIGEST ranking elected Asian-American in California. He is my friend’s friend’s husband and I have met John several times. He’s a really down-to-earth guy and truly a public servant. I am proud to say that I was a support for his campaign effort.
However, given Asian-Americans’ representation in voting is *still* under-represented:
“According to a study by S. Karthick Ramakrishnan, an assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Riverside, only 37 percent of Asian-Americans in California voted in the 2004 elections, compared with 68 percent of blacks and 73 percent of whites. Latino turnout, at 32 percent, was even lower. The disparity can partly be explained by lower rates of citizenship: only 67 percent of Asians and 59 percent of Latinos living in California at the time were citizens. But even those who were citizens had much lower rates of voter registration than other ethnic groups.”
What ever happened to The Model Minority? Obviously, the “Model Minority” is NOT the “Model U.S. Citizen.”
So, there’s a Chinese restaurant in my hometown that has two very distinct sides; the side that caters to the non-Chinese people and serve Lemon chicken, Honey Walnut Prawns and the Sweet and Sour [INSERT MEAT HERE], and then there’s the hard-core side with the Chinese-only menus that serves traditional northern Chinese food, and very rarely do those sides meet. It’s kinda like In-N-Out’s secret menu, except you have to learn another language and cheese isn’t involved.
Well in this case, a restaurant in New York was dinged for it by the NYC Human Rights Commission. Lesson learned: make sure your Chinese-only dishes are SO foreign that no sane white person would ever order from it.
David Lopez, a visitor from Wisconsin, contacted the commission after eating at the restaurant with several friends last October.
He and his girlfriend knew something was wrong when a waiter told them that a serving of rice would cost them extra. They had noticed Asian customers munching on similar dishes served over a bed of rice.
“Being Hispanic, we both like rice,” said 46-year-old Lopez. “We saw other customers getting a different menu. We were told we could order from it if we spoke Chinese.”
The prices on that menu, written in Chinese, were an average of $1 cheaper per dish.
Months ago before Donald Trump, TV talk show co-host of The View, Rosie O’Donnell, did something most of us would deem to be … inappropriate. I don’t need to further say anything, because I think most who read here know EXACTLY what happened. So why am I bringing it up?
About a month ago I ran across the YouTube open letter to Rosie by poet Beau Sia.
It was perhaps the most well articulated response I’ve ever seen – EVER. I mean, most responses to inappropriate comments are usually done with a knee-jerk reaction, filled with anger, crying for blood and lack the insight needed to make the uninformed party informed. Beau, on the other hand, did it in such a way everyone had to respect him for it. Not only did he understand his responsibility in this issue, he actually did something about it. He was articulate, well-informed and above all, he got through to Rosie.
She had this to say after seeing his video.
So, this is my open letter to Beau … I’ve got a crush on you.
SnapDragon Consultants, a NYC-based research & branded entertainment boutique, recently released a report entitled: “Ten Things Every Brand Should Know About Asian-American Youth“. With the help of Asian American comedian & entertainer Kate Riggs, they interviewed hundreds of students aged 14-23 all across the US. It’s part of an “ongoing initiative to deliver qualitative research and high-level insights on Asian-American youth to marketers interested in reaching this influential and growing demographic.”
Some interesting points from this study: Continue Reading »
Our hopes for an Asian-American Idol were cut down 33% last Thursday after learning that Paul Kim was voted off in the first round of eliminations on American Idol. Maybe it was because he was sick that week; maybe Americans were tired of his good luck charms (singing barefoot, wearing lucky underwear) after everyone got tired of Jasmine Trias wearing that damn flower in her hair every week.
Most likely it was because he sang Wham’s “Careless Whisper,” which songwise is the kiss of death for any Idol contestant anywhere, ever. Dear anyone who tries out for American Idol: DO NOT SING CARELESS WHISPER. (Ditto for girls that sing “I Feel The Earth Move [Under My Skin].”)
Instead, 8Asians.com’s official vote of confidence goes for AJ Talbado, who was one of the more standout male performers. If only I can get over those weird hand movements he does, though.
For those of you who listen to the radio in the Bay Area, you may be familiar with public radio KQED’s Pacific Tiime:
“Reporting from both sides of the Pacific Ocean, KQED’s Pacific Time explores the ideas, trends and cultural patterns that flow back and forth between Asia and America.”
Tonight’s program had a few interesting segments, including one on Minidoka (located in Idaho, Minidoka was one of the ten camps where Japanese Americans were held.) February 19th was the 65th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 which provided the framework for the forced relocation of 120,000 people of Japanese descent from the West Coast, the majority of whom were American citizens.
It always amazes me to think that 120,000 (or so) AMERICAN’s civil liberties were so blatantly violated. Could it happen today? Hopefully not!
George Takei has been long known in the Asian American community as an activist for civil rights and more recently, for gay rights.
George, you are my hero.
Hat tip: Jimmy Kimmel
So often Asian people are convinced that they can “tell” who their fellow Korean- or Japanese- or Chinese-Americans are. Or that they can identify members of other Asian-American groups. But can we really?
When I pass other Asian-Americans on the street, I feel myself doing the Guessing Game, and I often assume I am right in my guesses. But I am chagrined to say that I have taken the face test TWICE over at AllLookSame, and both times I have failed miserably. (7 out of 18 correct is my average)
Take the test. Can YOU tell the difference?