So not to toot our own horn or anything, but this week quickly went by with an ever-so-slight milestone: This humble blog has been around for six months. Six awkward, badly designed months, but hey. This blog was started as an experiment of many things; a way of trying to get a diverse group of people of Asian decent to talk about a myriad of topics, trying to keep it relevant about Asian-American awareness while trying not to become cliche. And while I’ve learned some stuff thus far, the experiment isn’t over yet.
So, here’s a question for you, 8Asians.com reader: how have we been doing? What topics do you want us to focus on, and what can we do to make this blog better? What kind of writers do you want us to include as part of the 8Asians? Is it possible for me to write a blog post composed completely of questions? (The answer to that one is, of course, no.)
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So no doubt, you have heard within the past few months, that Chinese food products for human and pet consumption and products have had some problems – that indeed, many of the food products have had substitute ingredients that are not exactly healthy…. The latest report being that “F.D.A. Curbs Sale of Five Seafoods Farmed in China” , “China shuts 180 food factories for using illegal chemicals” , “Tainted [Chinese-sourced] toothpaste more widespread” , “Chinese tire recall to start Monday” , ” Can tainted toys spark U.S.-China trade tiff?” , and of course, the original scandal that started things off, “FDA’s Ongoing Pet Food Investigation.”
A Taiwanese-American friend of mine questioned whether or not this was becoming an alarmist and possibly racist response for fears of China’s economic rise. To be honest, in any rapidly rising economy, I always have my doubts as to the quality (and in the case of food products, safety) of any food product or products in general. The short-term incentive is to skim on quality and purity to make a quick buck. But a country quickly learns that short-term shortcuts can cut into long-term profitability. Japan, Inc. is the clearest example that in post-World War II Japan, quality suffered, but they learned with a vengeance and now Japan = quality. China has quickly compressed its conversion to capitalism from the early 80s to the present…. and has not had the learning curve adopted over time for consumer protection and a general appreciation for quality and safety.
And surely with America’s increased dependence on imported goods, the United States needs to make more of a concerted effort to do a better job of educating exporters and hiring more inspectors.
So sorry for the time between shows – I was actually on a very long vacation – listen to the podcast to see where I went!
This edition of POP 88 has your requests, plus new music from Clazziquai, J and Crystal Kay plus winners announced from the Round 2 of the SPRING WALTZ Caption This! contest.
For playlists and artist info, you can check out Popcast88.com and leave comments. Would love to hear from you. If you would rather email, you can send it to christine [at] popcast88.com. Continue Reading »
remember that story last month about asian posergurrll at stanford?
some of you more
responsible non-violent types might be appalled. me? i’m glad, because it’s about goddamn time people realized how fucked up asian families are with their “you must getting in top ten school or should slitting wrists” attitude. (the severity of the tactic attesting of course not only to the extent of the guy’s dementia, but also the extremity of internal cultural pressure. if you think MIT is a “pressure cooker,” you should send in an application to the institution that is chinkdom)
i mean y’all whities think it’s just an exaggerated prep school attitude, but O SRSLY it is so much more
Round 2 has ended and … man … you couldn’t throw a rock without hitting a kimchee or Rain reference.
Some selected non-winning entries from Popcast88:
– “What am I doing here. This HURTS!”
– “I’m too sexy for my shirt … too sexy … too sexy.”
– “That damn Rain, thinking he’s all that with all those muscles. Well I’ll show him.”
– “How many pounds would I have to do in order to be hot?”
– “I like looking in the mirror and seeing my jersey being read
the right way.”
And the winning Entry goes to Margerthe:
“This helps keep my mind off the fact that Rain was in People” and I wasn’t.”
Some selected non-winning entries from 8 Asians:
– “Dude, when am I going to fire my stylist!”
– “Did I wash my hands after going to the bathroom?”
– Thought bubble: “Can I really bring purple back? The Gap brought pink back two summers ago. I’m ahead of the curve. Just act cool. Be cool. ACT COOL DAMNIT!
– boy thinking: “alright, i’m fresh and so clean, i’m good to bust a move. oh sh*t! my finger smells like kimchee!”
And the WINNING entry goes to Heedan Chung from NY:
“Smell my doenjang.”
(we Babelfish-lished 된장 – and got “Soybean paste”)
Congrats to our winners, we’ll be contacting you shortly.
In the meantime – we’ve still got some more to give, so here comes Round 3 … you know what to do already.
Joz just discussed those who wish they weren’t Asian and now Boston Progress Radio (BPR) writes about those who perhaps wish they were. BPR is an online radio station dedicated to featuring Asian-American music, and they recently posted this humorous list of 7 Mainstream Artists You Thought Were Asian but Aren’t.
Some artists made the list thanks to rumors, others thanks to their um, paying homage to elements of Asian culture via wardrobe or the set of their music videos or concerts. I wonder, is this imitation the ultimate form of flattery or is it kind of insulting? I think it depends.
One example that comes to mind is Quentin Tarantino. Or should I say, that motherfucker Quentin Tarantino, if only to use his own played out vernacular. I am seriously annoyed with Tarantino lately, especially after this lame spread in GQ. Dude, QT, I get it. You dig a certain genre of Asian films. You’ve worked hard to
rip them off pay tribute to them and have been mildly entertaining at times. But you have crossed the line, the line of respect and common sense, and it is not motherfucking cool. It’s like watching an adolescent boy who doesn’t know how to express his feelings for a girl beat her up.
So some unsolicited advice to those who would um, pay homage to other cultures or even represent*: be mindful. It’s a fine line between imitation and mockery, flattery and jackassery.
*see what I mean
College-level activists know how invaluable their leadership experiences with student organizations become once they graduate and enter the professional world. Managing an office staff or working as part of a Board of Directors seems strikingly similar to serving as president of an undergraduate student association. For instance, the hierarchies and interpersonal relationships of corporate America eerily resemble participation in a social fraternity. These extracurricular activities prepare a young professional for her career more effectively than how seriously she took her academic major or that un-compelling internship she landed sophomore year where her most important duty each day was to present hot coffee to the boss. Yet academic studies and internships are the very activities that a professional resume emphasizes, meanwhile allowing no room for the activities that actually matter.
Large conservative corporations may be impressed by high GPAs or college degrees, but rarely do these same companies value zealous efforts in, say, the Asian American Student Union. Who cares that one published dozens of widely disseminated articles on human rights in China or spoke out against the political apathy of Diasporic Asians? In this entry, I want to raise an issue I see many APAs struggle with, but rarely has it been addressed in isolation with the attention it deserves: the professional stigma attached to being a political activist in one’s ethnic community.
A friend of mine recently wrote about a childhood magnet she found under her parents’ fridge (ew, what was she doing down there?). The magnet says “Ellen is a Super Kid” (obviously her parents have an ironic sense of humor). She added something about the story that caught my eye though:
As you may notice, the girl on the magnet originally had blond hair. I colored it with a black sharpee when I was about 7 years old. See, I was such a smart kid. Make that a “SUPER KID”!
No, it’s not that she’s got a corny sense of humor, it’s that the magnet’s little girl was originally blond.
How many times, in your past, have you had gifts & items with Caucasian characters on them?
To be fair, businesses have noticed this and entrepreneurs are already rising to fill the niche of non-Caucasian characters for minority markets. Like Dolls Like Me, for instance. (And if you see a niche not yet filled, what are you waiting for?)
Which makes me wonder – is anyone going to fill the niche of creating Japanese-looking mannequins in Japan? That’s got to be a great niche. And filling it would make you a… Super Asian American!
Shocked? Of course you are. And, after some investigation by gigglesugar reader vegan musician, that’s exactly the kind of response they’re looking for, albeit in a slightly roundabout way:
I looked on their website. they’re an anti-homosexuality “ministry.” someone doctored their sign [in Photoshop] to try to make the point that trying to change someone’s ethnicity is as ridiculous as trying to change their sexuality.
here’s the link.
While I’m happy that it isn’t for real, a part of me wonders if people casually glancing by the billboard would make the link that undoing your gayness is just as outrageous as undoing your ethnicity. Also, “asian” should be capitalized, but hey, those are just details.
Twenty-five years ago this week, Chinese-American Vincent Chin was murdered. Who is Vincent Chin you ask? Vincent Chin was a draftsman who was bludgeoned to death 25 years ago in Highland Park, Michigan by two men who blamed Japanese carmakers for the demise of the U.S. auto industry (and thought incorrectly, like as if that would make things right, that Chin was Japanese-American instead of Chinese-American). To many in America, Asian-Americans are all the same. Chin was celebrating his bachelor party at a topless bar on June 19, 1982 and was beaten by two displaced autoworkers, Ronald Ebens and his stepson Michael Nitz. As The Detroit Free press goes on to describe in “Fighting hate, 25 years later“:
The men reportedly mistook Chin for Japanese and blamed him for their unemployment. The men later tracked Chin down at a nearby McDonald’s parking lot, where Ebens admitted to repeatedly bashing Chin’s skull with a baseball bat. Chin was buried the day after he was to be married.
The two later pleaded guilty to manslaughter, sentenced to three years of probation. Rightfully so, there was an outcry of injustice by Asian-American organizations and civil rights groups and the Department of Justice ordered an investigation to see if Chin’s civil rights were violated (you think?). Ebens was found guilty by a federal court jury in 1984 of violating Chin’s civil rights and sentenced to 25 years in prison (Nitz was acquitted). BUT, get this, the decision was overturned two years later after it was proven that a witness was (illegally) coached. There was a retrial and Ebens was cleared of ALL charges!
This was the first modern day hate crime murder of an Asian-American to be nationally covered and considered a seminal event in Asian-American history, uniting disparate groups of Asian-Americans. In 1987, there was an Oscar nominated film released titled “Who Killed Vincent Chin” I think I recall first learning about Vincent Chin in a 60 Minutes piece on the events and feeling outraged and revulsion that those who had killed Chin had gotten away with murder. That makes you wonder – what is the value of an Asian-American’s life in America?
May we all take a moment of silence to remember Vincent Chin twenty five years – may he rest in peace.
(Full disclosure: I previously worked for Yahoo!, as well as Genghis and John. Mike currently works for Yahoo! as well.)
So, the geeks in Silicon Valley are currently talking about Yahoo! founder Jerry Yang taking becoming the new CEO of Yahoo!, replacing former Hollywood mogul Terry Semel. As a former Yahoo! employee, I would see Jerry in the cafeteria every so often, talking to an executive or someone from the media, and he definitely has a larger-than-life-presence. (He’s pretty tall, but then again, I’m 5’7″ – so most everyone is pretty tall to me.) Times like that make you forget that Yahoo! was started in 1994 with some humble beginnings:
There’s still a fairy tale quality to the events that began in the spring of 1994 when Yang put up a web page containing his name in Chinese characters, his golf scores and a list of his favorite internet sites. Six months later he and David Filo hit on the idea of Yahoo!, a name suggested by a slur tossed at them by Filo’s dad. The yahoos turned it into an acronym by reverse-engineering the mock-sonorous “Yet Another Highly Officious Oracle.” Whatever, it worked. By early 1995 the site was bookmarked on every browser in cyberspace.
The fact that Jerry Yang grew up in Taiwan, “Yahoo!” is easily pronounceable in Chinese and has had an relatively early Internet presence (Yahoo! China, Yahoo! Taiwan, and Yahoo! US sites in Chinese exist) also make it a big hit with my elderly parents as well, who constantly remind me that I “lost face” when I left Yahoo! last year.
If you have been following San Francisco local politics, you will have heard that Ed Jew, one of eleven members of the city’s Board of Supervisors (Jew represents District 4), is accused of falsifying his residency on 28th Avenue while actually living in Burlingame three-plus years before he filed to run for his seat in 2006. As The San Francisco Chronicle has reported:
“It wasn’t just Chinese Americans sticking up for Jew at the rally Friday. Joe O’Donoghue, former head of the Residential Builders Association, said Jew should stay in office and fight what he characterized as a media witch hunt. “The press has not played fair,” he said. “If you’re an immigrant or a minority, you’re a second-class citizen in this country.” Rita Goldberger, a Sunset resident and a Green Party member, said she just about always disagrees politically with Jew, a former member of the Republican Party. But she thinks it’s unfair that several of Jew’s more liberal colleagues on the Board of Supervisors are calling for his resignation. “Not one of them cares where Ed sleeps,” she said. “The only thing they care about is how he votes.”
From the little I have read and seen in local TV, the evidence against Jew does seem damning, but the media coverage and Jew’s critics have been calling for his immediate resignation. But I do agree, that in the United States, one is innocent until proven guilty. It’s interesting to see how the “race card” in this incident is being played up, and there is great sensitivity since Ed Jew is Chinese, as San Francisco has a lot of Asian Americans:
“Asian Americans are often called “the sleeping giant” in San Francisco politics because they make up a third of city residents, but don’t have much political representation. Jew is the only Asian American on the Board of Supervisors.”
I kind of always knew the percentage of Asian Americans in San Francisco was high, but am always surprised to always read the actual figure.