I watched last night’s episode of 30 Rock last night, “Cougars” (Episode “207”). 30 Rock is “a workplace comedy where the workplace exists behind-the-scenes of a live variety show.” I find the show pretty entertaining and I especially like Alec Baldwin’s portrayal of GE / NBC executive Jack Donaghy.
In any case, one of the major plotlines was that Tina Fey’s character Liz Lemon (age: 37, but lied saying she was 29) going on a date with a younger guy in the office (coffee boy, page) (age: 20, but lied saying he was 25).
Here is the dialog when Liz is discussing her situation with one of her actresses on the show, Jenna:
Liz: “I can’t believe I did that, I told myself I would never lie about my age.”
Jenna: “These things happen Liz. I had my “no sex with Asians” rule, but then one day you walk into Sharper Image and there’s Kwon.”
Liz: “Forget it. I’m going to order some more coffee and then he’ll come back and I can cancel.”
Jenna: “No, this is a good thing. A hot guy thinks you’re 29.”
Liz: “Ah, he is cute. He looks like Zac Efron. That’s a thing, right?”
Jenna: “Oh go for it Liz. I always roll with it when hot guys think I am 22. What can we do?, we’re cougars.”
Liz: “We’re what?”
Jenna: “Cougars, hot older ladies pouncing on their young prey.”
“No sex with Asians rule”? Like, WTF? Note, the character Jenna plays a fairly loose woman in 30 Rock, so I was wondering – why did they have to write that dialogue. Then again, I guess they could have replaced Asians with anybody else (black, Hispanic, Jews, fat people, etc… rule) and offended another group in the name of comedy. What do you think? You can watch the episode yourself here – “Cougars” (Episode “207”) – minute 7:00 for the dialogue above. Overall, it was a pretty damn funny episode.
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So, the new trailer to 21 has been released – a movie based on the non-fiction book Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich involving a group of MIT students that, well, brought down the houses of Las Vegas casinos. It’s a Hollywood movie, starring Kevin Spacey and Laurence Fishburne.
It’s a true-story-turned-Hollywood movie in every fashion – promising MIT students, desperate to raise tuition money! Dramatic kidnappings! Kevin Spacey slowly turning evil! Oh, and one other little thing: the mostly Asian American MIT Blackjack team had been replaced with white actors.
Here’s the thing. Westerners really don’t like to give money as gifts. I couldn’t even begin to tell you why, since I myself love receiving the gift of the green, but they just don’t. I’ve heard everything from the fact that it’s impersonal to …well, just not thoughtful. They’ll even go out of their way to give gift cards instead of cash.
Yet, something about the red envelopes always signified practicality to me. If your family isn’t as well off, the money could be used in a number of different ways from helping to pay bills, to buying groceries, to even a small gift. But it gives anyone the freedom to choosing what their gift would be and how it is used. There isn’t the consumer driven mentality that you must get someone something. Anything in fact. Why do you think there are such long lines after the holidays? Returns? Know the adage about time is money? Yeah.
Now it could just be a slice of my life that I take this from and share, but the gift that come in little red envelopes has always surpassed the ones that are more … material. Not because there wasn’t as much thought put into it or that either were less appreciated than the other. But from a practicality stand point, the freedom of choice to use it how you choose seemed to always be way better than keeping a sweater that you’re terrified to go out in, but too afraid to throw it out in case the giver ever wondered about it.
Photo Credit: (Ksionic)
Besides the fact that I am neither Japanese nor male, I also have absolutely no desire to weigh 120 lbs. According to this article in the International Herald Tribune, the hottest new trend amongst hip, young Japanese men is to be slim, cute, and oh so crushable.
“It’s the men who want to be slender, vulnerable and protected. Young males between the ages of 18 and 30 make up the slimmest segment of the population and the ideal fashion weight as decreed by the apparel industry is 57 kilograms, or about 125 pounds, for a height of 175 centimeters, or 5 feet 8 inches. Many men try to adhere to that figure and some claim they want to be even skinnier.
Twenty-five-year-old Junichi Shirakawa, who works at the denim boutique 45 RPM, said that his goal is to get his weight down from 57 to 55 kilograms, although his height is 182 centimeters. “Being really skinny is essential, not just for fashion and work purposes but also because girls seem to go for thin guys,” he said.”
Okay folks, lets put this into perspective. Paula Radcliffe, the woman who just won the New York City Marathon, is 5’8″ and 119 lbs. Dude! She looked like a skeleton with skin stretched over it. But I digress.
One has to wonder what crazy psycho-social dynamics are propelling these young, Japanese men to aspire and conform to such a severe body image. Here are a couple of my theories:
While you guys ponder these theories and come up with your own, I’m going to take my 5’7″ 140lb culo to the nearest cupcake shop.
(Photo credit: Jim Epler)
Hey everyone! Just a reminder that tomorrow is the 8Asians.com hapihour, in conjunction with our friends at hapihour.org. Come get
completely smashed delightfully social with a bunch of 8A writers, past and present! If you’re in the San Francisco area, swing by – it’ll be at 6:30pm at Louie’s Bar and Grill. (Or check the embedded google map.) You can RSVP for the event on Facebook or Upcoming.
There is a $10 suggested donation at the door, a portion of the proceeds go to the Karitika Review.
I was reading the blog Angry Asian Man, and came across The Boston Globe article on “Asian-Americans notch wins in municipal elections.” I’m originally from Massachusetts (as stated in my profile – I grew up in Western Massachusetts), so it was really interesting to read:
“Several Chinese-American politicians won election in Newton, Brookline, and other posts around the region this month, as Asian-Americans made some strides in increasing representation in the area. Paul Watanabe, director of the University of Massachusetts at Boston’s Institute for Asian American Studies, pointed to evidence of a growing trend with the victories on Nov. 6, including in two races in Newton, where Greer Tan Swiston was elected to the Board of Aldermen in Ward 3’s at-large race, and Alderwoman at Large Amy Mah Sangiolo was reelected in Ward 4. Also, Donald H. Wong was elected to the Saugus Board of Selectmen, and then named chairman by the board, and Lisa Wong was elected mayor of Fitchburg. Other Chinese-Americans to win office include Brookline School Committee member Ira Chan and former Brookline School Committee member Terry Kwan. Watanabe said Asian-Americans from other ethnic backgrounds who have also won seats include Sam Yoon, a Korean-American just reelected to a second term on the Boston City Council; Rithy Uong, a Cambodian-American who served on the Lowell City Council; Dean Tran, a Vietnamese-American who just won a second term on the Fitchburg City Council; and Lexington School Committee member Ravi K. Sakhuja and Norfolk Selectman Ramesh Advani, both Indian-Americans. He said the success of those candidates has spurred other Asian-Americans to run, noting for example two Chinese-Americans who ran unsuccessfully for City Council in Quincy this year.”
Massachusetts is about 5% Asian, and a lot of those Asians live in the greater Boston area (for reference: California’s population is about 12.5% Asian). I’ve actually met Sam Yoon a few years ago at a Democratic National Committee Asian-American conference in San Jose, so it was nice to read that he got re-elected. In any case, there are not nearly as large congregations of Asian-Americans in Massachusetts cities as there are in California, so I imagine many of these candidates who got elected are breaking new ground.
When following some November election news, I did come across a Boston Globe’s article on Lisa Wong, 28, winning the Fitchburg mayoral race “Wong romps for mayor in Fitchburg” with over 75% of the vote, becoming the first minority mayor of Fitchburg ever in its 243-year history, defeating a four-term city councilor.
The LA Times ran a story about possible tunnels in Fresno’s Chinatown. Urban legend says that there is a system of tunnels under the streets, that extends for blocks and once led to speakeasies and brothels in the late 19th century through World War II. Right now the evidence consists of a recently discovered crawl space, boarded up archways, and oral history from a few survivors of the time when the tunnels would have been active.
In addition to the historical preservation and archaeological aspect of “underground Chinatown,” the article also addresses criticism of the urban legend. Skeptics say that the tunnels are merely “connected basements” and that the tales told abet xenophobia. They cast the Chinese as a “population of undesirables” and make them mysterious. The population of the Fresno Chinatown, founded in 1872, consisted largely of California railroad workers.
This is certainly a concern- one hopes that the tunnels, or whatever one wants to call them, could be used to promote understanding, not engender racism or prejudice. Perhaps the tales could be reframed so as to not be xenophobic. The very idea of xenophobia assumes the point of view of the mainstream looking at the outsider. But what about the outsider looking in- what was it like to be that underground person, what did the world look like from that perspective?
If they do exist, they could be used to illuminate some truth of the times. And there’s something inherently fascinating about tunnels aside from the allure of secrets. One thinks of other things also; of burrowing, of the womb, of the inexhaustible theme of appearance versus reality. At any rate, one hopes that the historical preservationists capture what pieces of the story they can from remaining septuagenarians, rather than let it slip away. It’s a much better one than that of Manhattan Chinatown, where the underground lives today, and is used to cache faux designer handbags.
A Chinese artist was selected to sculpt the planned Martin Luther King Jr. tribute in Washington D.C. and now the CA chapter of the NAACP, black artists, and American granite workers are in a xenophobic tizzy. Objectors have taken issue with the fact that 1) Sculptor Lei Yixin is Chinese and not American, 2) He’s Asian and not Black, and 3) He’ll probably use Chinese granite rather than American granite for the project.
A Black artist in Altanta has even gone as far as to create a protest website: www.kingisours.com
“It is disgraceful that there will be a sculpture to honor a black man for his fight against racism in this country and we couldn’t find one black person on earth to interpret his likeness,” Young said. “It is insulting and does not serve my people well. It makes us invisible.
“I do not think that anyone outside of my immediate community should have been looked at first. We need a black artist to interpret Dr. King and a black name at the base of the monument, because he died for us.”
Wasn’t it King who stated that men should not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character?
Of course, memorial controversy is nothing new. People protested the choice of Maya Lin for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Apparently a Chinese-American was thought to be an unsuitable choice at the time. Ironic that the Vietnam Memorial is now one of the most iconic and beloved memorials in our nation’s capital.
I think the choice of Lei Yixin is a tribute to an amazing man who’s message of hope and positive social change reached way beyond the borders of America. Martin Luther King Jr is a global hero and his memorial doesn’t deserve to be sullied by such a parochial assault of narrowminded racism.
This isn’t any new news: Homeland Security has been attempting deport many illegals back to their homelands. And quite frankly they are deporting many who may have fallen through technicalities in the system. Dr. Pedro Servano and his wife received notification the day after the Thanksgiving holiday that they were to pack their bags and be processed for deportation at the Allenwood Federal Prison in Pennsylvania. These aren’t illegal immigrants who crossed the border and have been living secret lives in American society. These are well educated, well-to-do contributors to society who help others in their community and have tried legally to attain citizenship from the U.S. Government.
The Servano’s applied for their visas as single when they first entered the U.S. in the early 80’s because they were not married yet. Then in 1987, the couple officially wed and a few years later applied for legal citizenship as a married couple. During the process, an immigration official accused them of having misrepresented their marital status.
The couple have done nothing wrong except that their visa applications wrongly stated they were single, which was true when the applications were submitted, their attorney said.
Dr. Pedro Servano and his wife, Salvacion, obeyed an order to meet with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in Philadelphia and were told to report back in 60 days, attorney Gregg Cotler said. No deportation date was set, he said.
The couple has attempted to follow all laws and rules by Immigration officials. And now they must wait it out till their fate is decided from a mistake that was made years ago. Support is brewing for the Sevrano’s. Stay tuned for more info…
I remember running home from grade school to watch Fist of Fury, Way of the Dragon, and Game of Death as a kid. Then I’d daydream about being a kung fu master and practice my moves on my little brother. Hwah! Hwah! Hwaaah!
Bruce Lee would be 67 years old today. He was born in San Francisco, CA, then raised in Hong Kong, where he learned Chinese martial arts and started making Hong Kong martial arts films.
He also attended the University of Washington from 1960-1963, where he majored in drama major and took some philosophy classes, while working at Ruby Chow’s restaurant (on Broadway and Jefferson). It was here that he met his future wife, Linda Emery.
The students of UW are holding a rally to support a Bruce Lee memorial today, from Noon-1:00pm on the campus’ Red Square. The memorial would include a statue of Bruce Lee, which “could potentially be the best statue ever.” Heh. (BTW, the photo featured here is the statue of Bruce Lee in Hong Kong).
I wasn’t able to find any celebratory events for Bruce Lee in San Francisco though. So in lieu of that, here’s my birthday song to the master:
Happy birthday to you,
You have awesome kung fu,
You totally kicked Chuck Norris’ ass,
And Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s too!
Happy Birthday Bruce Lee!
in what could be considered a response to (or therapy for dealing with) the myth/existence of the apathetic asian american*, the venerable Kearny Street Workshop (an asian pacific american arts nonprofit based in san francisco) is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, and one of its 35th anniversary programs, Activist Imagination, kicks off tonight at the Manilatown Center International Hotel in San Francisco’s chinatown. Wah! how exciting.
as an arts organization, KSW is rooted in activism, and the Activist Imagination program is recognizing that history while also inviting a group of visual artists, as well as activists and other community members, to consider the past and present of activism, and imagine (hence the imagination part of the program’s title….) forms of activism that might hold relevance and be effective in the future. the full AI program runs tonight through may 2008, and includes a series of discussions as well as a visual arts exhibition at KSW’s space180 in SF’s mission district. Tonight’s event is a discussion focusing on the last three and a half decades of activism–quite a broad area, but it’s an impressive line up of panelists–nancy hom, oscar penaranda, min paek, and alison satake–so i think they will tackle the subject matter admirably, with enthusiasm & precision. The event is free, as are all the AI events, and the full description is here; information on the full AI program is here.
Also, in true APA spirit, they’ve started a blog about the program. Viva the APA bloggers. and APA activists.
*asterisked note to my own post–when you google “apathetic asian,” what should come up first? a february 2007 post from 8asians‘ own.
**mystery double-asterisk not referencing any particular point in my post: have ‘a-p-a’ ALways been the first three letters of the word ‘apathetic’? why have i not noticed this before? now i can go around saying “[insert name of asian-american-person-to-be-insulted here] puts the APA in apathetic.” we ALL can.
anyway, that was an irrelevant side note. yay irrelevant side notes.
The 2004 movie “A Day Without a Mexican” took a comical look at what would happen if all Mexican immigrants up and disappeared overnight. As you might imagine, much dismay and hilarity ensued. The US economy comes to a grinding halt and good ‘ol boys are shown desperately beseeching Mexicans to return to the US to take their righful place as the lowest men on the economic totem pole.
If this New York Times article about the impact of immigrants on the economy of New York State is correct, fiction may be closer to the truth than many Republican law makers might want to admit.
In the suburbs north and east of [New York City], about 4 of every 10 doctors and more than one-fourth of college professors were foreign-born, the study by the private Fiscal Policy Institute found. In upstate New York, where just 5 percent of residents are foreign-born, immigrants accounted for about one-fifth of the professors and more than one-third of the doctors, according to the study.
How much do you want to bet that the vast majority of those doctors and professors are East and Southeast Asian immigrants?
This research is another piece of data to refute what I feel is an entirely misguided and and unjustified immigration debate. While most of the debate is consumed by discourse on the negative impact of illegal [mostly Mexican] immigrants (which is debatable), law makers and regular joes forget about the positive, rejuvinating impact of legal, often highly educated immigrants (like yours truly!).
Three cheers to our good health…and the foreign-born immigrants who ensure it remains that way!