In tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal, the newspaper covers the story: “Starbucks, PepsiCo Bring ‘Subopera’ to Shanghai“:
“A feel-good film about a girl from the Chinese countryside who moves to the big city to discover love, blogging and Starbucks will premier this month in an unusual venue: Shanghai’s subway. “A Sunny Day,” is scheduled to play exclusively on thousands of high-tech flat screen monitors on Shanghai’s subway cars and station platforms. Tailored for an audience of 2.2 million who cram onto China’s biggest underground railway each day, the full-length feature film will be shown in daily segments of a few minutes each over 40 weekdays, soap-opera style. Subtitles in Chinese will help commuters follow the dialogue over the subway noise, and multiple daily rebroadcasts and tie-ins on the Internet are designed to ensure no one misses any of the cliffhangers.” Instead of an ordinary film, the so-called “subopera” is a blend of drama and advertising. A venture between Starbucks Coffee Co. and PepsiCo Inc. financed and helped produce the drama as part of a campaign that kicks off today in Shanghai to introduce bottled frappuccino drinks to the Chinese market.”
If you haven’t been to Shanghai (or Beijing for that matter) lately, you will notice that there are Starbucks everywhere – at the same kind of U.S. prices (which can be up to a day’s wage for a lot of Chinese). I wonder why something like this hasn’t happened already in major U.S. cities with a lot of commuters – like in New York City, Washington, D.C., etc… ?
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This LA Times article about the Korean-American communities rethinking of achievement strikes me in a funny sort of way…and not good funny. The article asserts that, in the shadow of a few very public f-ups by a handful of Korean-Americans, the community is rethinking whether the stress generated by the struggle for academic and financial achievement is worth the toll it takes on individual members of the community.
“Other parents told me I am not a good parent — many, many times,” said Chang, 51. His perceived sin: not putting his daughter through a regimen of cram school and tutoring aimed at gaining admission to a prestigious university. But in two decades of teaching, Chang said he has seen too many kids become withdrawn or depressed because they could not meet their parents’ lofty expectations.
I don’t have a problem with the premise of the question being posed in the article, per say, but I do find fault with the journalist’s use of Seung-Hui Cho (of Virginia Tech mass murder fame) as an emblem for the extreme negative consequences of cultural pressure.
Ummm… No. Seung-Hui Cho’s actions were NOT a consequence of Korean-American pressure. His actions were a result of mental illness. Untreated mental illness.
The journalist then goes on to cite Confucius as the reason Korean-American kids are passive and aren’t willing to speak up.
“If you are passive,” he continued, “getting A’s doesn’t mean anything.” What matters is articulating thoughts, taking the risk to communicate them, he said. “Silence is not a virtue.” Still, hardly any response — at least not in front of Chang. He had an explanation for their reticence.“It’s your Confucian upbringing,” he said.
Okay, while there may be some validity in this last statement it really seems rather ambitious to blame Confucius for all the ills of an entire sub-group of people. Basically, the journalist and the sociologist are asserting that Confucius has more impact on Korean-American kids then MTV, their friends, and American culture at large.
That’s like me blaming Confucius for my bum knee because he once said self-mastery was a virtue and all that marathon training was my way of achieving self-mastery. Hmmmm… actually that’s not half bad. That’s much more interesting than telling people I blew out my knee over-training.
What do you think? Does this article ring true for you or is it way to much of an overstatement?
(Photo credit: gluemoon)
How the heck did karaoke (ka-ra-oh-
kaykeh) get pronounced carry-okie? Or is it carrie-okie?
I can understand if one or two people just screwed it up, but how did the wrong pronunciation gain popular acceptance?
I used to correct people — or rather help people how to say a word they are struggling with. But at some point I stopped trying.
I can kind of understand the “okie” part, but as for the “carry?” No way, no how, nuh uh.
What other mispronunciations really annoy you?
Oh man, what’s up with people from the television show Lost getting arrested for DUI’s? First Michelle Rodriguez, then
that white psychologist chick Cynthia Watros from Season 2, and now Daniel Dae Kim, otherwise known as Jin-Soo Kwon. It’s like they have a tight schedule: 10am-7pm: filming, 7:15pm-2am: drinking, 2am-3am: drive erratically across Hawaii until you get arrested.
Kim has gone above and beyond his drunk former co-stars however, by issuing a public statement apologizing for his behavior.
South Korean-born Daniel Dae Kim said in a statement issued through his publicist in California that he was “deeply ashamed and embarrassed” and will fully co-operate with police.
“It saddens me to know that I jeopardised the welfare of the kind people of Hawaii, a community that I love and call my home,” the statement said.
Police arrested Kim early on Thursday after an officer saw him driving erratically. He was released after posting bail. He had a blood-alcohol level of 0.168 – twice the legal limit. Kim is set to appear in court on November 23.
“To my friends, family, colleagues and fans, thank you for your kind words of support.” Kim, 39, said. “To those I have disappointed I can only ask that you accept my heartfelt apologies. I am truly, truly sorry.”
Why the public statement? Maybe it’s because right after Rodriguez and Watros got arrested for DUI, their characters were coincidentally killed off in one of Lost’s frequent cliffhanger episodes. Shot in the stomach, no less. Maybe he’s covering his ass so he doesn’t read a script to find his character shot in the face by The Others or starved to death or some other way beautiful people die on a mysterious island.
National past times are going international. The NFL has a Dolphins/Giants game on today being played in London. The NBA is playing a few preseason (aka practice) games overseas. Of key interest is China. People paid upwards of $550 per ticket. To put it in perspective, that can buy you 551 bootleg dvds.
[“King” Lebron James and Billy “the soldier”]
$550 for a preseason game. Wow. It goes to show you the NBA’s popularity. And with over a billion people strong, that’s a huge fan base. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the near future, an Asian offshoot league forms and the winner of that league plays the winner of our pro league here in the States. Sort of akin to the current “conferences”. A logistical nightmare, I’m sure. But never underestimate the power and motivation of money.
Of course from a country that gives us Gushi jeans, Lenny Vuitton handbags and Starbox coffee, referring to this new league as part of the NBA (National Basketball Associaiton) would be in poor taste. They’d have to call it the National Basket-Ball Association, or something. The NBBA. The extra “B” is good luck because B’s look like 8’s. Perfect.
Post script – The funniest thing is the young fan in the article who calls himself “MC Hotdog“. I’m guessing he said it in Chinese and then it was translated to English. The closest thing I can think of to hotdogs are Chinese sausages. ‘MC Chinese Sausage’. (If you said it in Chinese, it’s funny.)
Mike posted about presidential candidate Obama having a profile page on Asian Avenue, which now goes by Asian Ave, and that prompted me to sign up for an account. Not because I support Obama as President, but because I used to have an Asian Avenue account in high school and wanted to see how the site may or may not have evolved in 10 years. So I register with the alias I always use when I go undercover: Paroxya. (I suppose now I have to think up a new alias…) I debated whether to post a profile photo of my cat or me, and went with an overexposed photo of me where you can’t see my face.
After an hour of checking out hot Asian chics (I would have checked out hot Asian dudes, but there weren’t any), I tired of the site and logged out. That was the end of that, I thought.
If you haven’t picked up a print newspaper in the last few months, or read Asian American Village, then, like me, you probably haven’t heard of Secret Asian Man either. But soon, newspaper-reading people across the US will know of it.
Written and drawn by cartoonist Tak Toyoshima, in May 2007 Secret Asian Man became the first comic strip featuring an Asian American leading character to become nationally syndicated in the US. Way to go Tak!
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James Watson, co-discoverer of DNA’s double helix shape and probably one of the most well known figures in modern science, announced today that he would be resigning from his position as chancellor of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and from its board. This follows after some comments he made earlier this week questioning the intelligence of people of African descent. Here are some choice quotes:
[I’m] “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa [because] all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really…people who have to deal with black employees find this not true”.
“there is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so”.
There is a lot that can be (and has been) said about his comments but one thing missing from the dialogue is the the difference (if any) of his obviously negative stereotypes about people of African descent and the (presumed) positive stereotypes of people of Asian descent. We’re all familiar with the ‘Asian’s are better at math & science’, ‘Asian’s are more analytical’ shtick. How are these stereotypes any less harmful than what Watson said about Africans? Don’t they both distill an entire racial group into a two dimensional caricature? Yet you don’t see scientific leaders or captains of industry resigning from their posts when they make statements qualifying Asian intelligence.
Of course, varying degrees of outrage is an all too familiar story in the world of racial politics. Asian-American’s are lucky if we see a single media mention when some radio DJ or television show decides we’re fair game. I don’t assume this chasm of racial outrage will be assuaged any time soon…but that doesn’t mean we should stop trying.
When we see white people in America from Generation X or Y, we stereotype them by cliques. Their dress gives us the clues we need to tuck them into a specific social category, like prep, goth, nerd, punk, hippie, and so on. When we see non-white people in America from Generation X or Y, no matter what they’re wearing, we stereotype them by race and leave it at that. Unless, of course, that non-white person is Asian, in which case we judge that person by race and clique, because “Asian kids are gaining ground in white culture” and “Asians are the closest to white people.” That is why Asians “are more easily able to transcend their race and find themselves in another social category.”
At least this is the contention of an op-ed article I ran into this morning at the Vanguard, see here.
Putting aside my opinion that this is a load of crap, I’m curious about why: 1) the author of this article, who I presume is white based on context, thinks Asians are more like white people than, say, Latinos or Eastern Europeans, and 2) by Asians, he must mean the yellow ones and not the brown ones and why did he completely and unabashedly omit brown Asians?
Second, the borderline defined by the author is wrong. People who see race more prominently than social cliques will see race first, even if that individual is Asian. Whites who see race more prominently may not call out the race of other white folks, but non-whites certainly do. “See that white hipster boy over there?” we say. People who see cliques more prominently than race may likely exclude race entirely. I’ve seen that happen before, too.
All in all, though, I’m glad Asians “are more easily able to transcend their race.” I mean, that’s why we have sites like APIA Blog Network, Angry Asian Man, the Model Minority forum, APAs for Progress, Hyphen, and heck, 8Asians, and why every established university in this country has to have an Asian American studies program. What kind of Asians have this author been mingling with? The white-washed ones?
I kind of laughed when I read in today’s San Jose Mercury News about “Chinese-American women create a line-dancing craze.” Not because line-dancing is funny, but because my mother has done some line-dancing at the local senior centers in Palo Alto and Mountain View in the past and am surprised I didn’t come across an article on this trend earlier:
“…Sue Hsu, 47, and Kathy Chang, 48, are becoming a must-stop on Silicon Valley’s line-dancing circuit. They also are the first teachers to tailor their upbeat dance classes to a predominantly Chinese crowd. What started as a class of six women in Chang’s Cupertino living room 14 months ago has cha-cha-cha-ed into eight weekly classes plus a “Saturday Night Social” at two strip-mall studios that attract nearly 400 students. Not to mention the 106 videos of their dance classes on YouTube, which they say have netted 200,000 hits from as far away as Australia and Singapore. Their secret to success? Tapping into a niche market, they say. Their students are mostly people like themselves: first-generation Chinese women, many with advanced degrees, who need a hobby to blow off some steam. Plus, they grin, line dancing has an added benefit. “You don’t need partners,” Chang said. “So that’s why all the Chinese women take this. They don’t need their husbands to come with them… Teachers Hsu and Chang also have worked to “raise the bar” of the line-dancing community because of their Web site, www.suenkathy.com, said Dorothy Bender of Palo Alto, the only non-Asian student on this particular day. She’s an admitted line-dance junkie, taking classes wherever they’re offered. Though she thought she’d be intimidated by taking class with mostly Chinese students, Bender is glad line-dancing steps are universal. And she’s proud to have made a few new friends while learning a phrase or two in Mandarin.“”
I can totally picture this, especially the husbands not wanting to dance. I have to imagine, with most of the women participating are immigrants, that as one has a family, it’s harder to meet others with a similar background in a social setting and make new friends.
It’s interesting when you read about things that are made in China. I mean, who really doesn’t know that things are manufactured there anyways? Anything you pick up practically has the little sticker on it. But something that I didn’t realize was this little fact:
“Ever wondered why Coach has so many stores in China? Easy – they make virtually all their bags here. Prada, LV, Furla – all now largely made in China.”
Are you serious? Those bags aren’t made in Italy?
And they make a minimum of 15% margin? Note that it was a minimum. This just goes to show that the while there has been a lot of talk about even American firms trying to defeat the global manufacturing juggernaut, there really isn’t anything that can stop the greed. And if anything proves it, the fact that designer bags are being made there should be the last sign that you’ll ever need. Globalization of corporate America has in the last twenty or so years given China the means to hold all the strings. And who suffers if you try to cut these strings? We the consumers do.
Unfortunately, that’s just how the cookie crumbles. We Americans want to super-size everything for cheap. Nicer things for lower prices. Ahh.. the smell of capitalism.
And for that, the Chinese just snicker softly whenever we complain about jobs being lost and American manufacturing industry taking a nosedive. Need any more proof? See if you can’t get away from that little white sticker that says “Made in China.”
1. For some of the heavily commented blog entries on 8Asians, some people have requested a way to find out if someone has followed-up to a person’s comment. In addition to the existing comments feed, there’s now a way to subscribe to comments – just check the checkbox marked “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail” to, uhm, be notified of followup comments via e-mail.
2. To better understand the demographics of the people reading this blog, we’ve created a quick two-page survey for people to complete. While it’s completely optional, filling out the survey helps us make a better 8Asians.com for you guys, and there’ll also be a drawing for some free 8Asians.com shwag to a lucky survey reader. (Whether it’s a tote bag, a t-shirt or a bumper sticker depends on how much out-of-pocket money I feel like personally sending.)
3. We’re still looking for writers, but we’re now ready to present our first batch of Associate writers. “Associate writers?” you ask. “What the hell is that?” In a nutshell, they’re simply writers whose photos aren’t at the top of the page yet. They’ll be able to post to the blog like everyone else for a couple of weeks, and if they don’t feel like it’s going the way they had thought or life gets in the way and they can’t commit to writing for a long period of time, no worries. If things DO go well, then I’ll rotate out some of the more inactive writers of 8A with Associate writers. Hopefully this will maintain a constant stream of diverse voices. Who ARE these new people, you ask? You’ll be able to read their bios (and look at their photos!) after the jump. And be on the lookout for another announcement of Associate writers, very soon.