8Asians.com is a non-partisan website, and I am more than happy to get Asian Americans involved in politics representing all sides. I received this not too long ago:
You are cordially invited to join us for a campaign kick-off and lunch as we begin the 2008 Campaign to support John McCain for President
Saturday, August 9th, 2008
More information – click mccain-kickoff-9-august for more information (.pdf)
LOCATION: The Yin Ranch, 6319 Pleasants Valley Road, Vacaville, CA
RSVP: Rodney Leong, Executive Director, Northern California District
Rodney Leong, Executive Director, Northern California District, (415) 370-5918, email@example.com
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If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area (and California in general), you know we are facing a water shortage and state-wide drought. It looks like there is a public service announcement going on now…
And who is one of the faces of this campaign – apparently Jackie Wong, an Asian American kid who is a Water Saving Hero! You can take a look at some of the marketing material for the campaign here. Don’t forget to conserve – we are facing a water shortage here in California!
If you’re an active commenter on 8Asians.com – all thirteen of you, I’m looking at you – you’ve noticed that for the past couple of weeks we’ve switched up our comments to use disqus. While there are some interesting benefits – threaded comments, the ability to rate particular ones, there are also some cons as well. So if you don’t mind, I’ve thrown an impromptu straw poll. Let me know, and if there’s an overwhelming preference either way, I’ll see what I can do. (If you’ve come here through Google, well, chances are you’re just reading a blog post on interracial dating and will just click on your back button anyway.)
Source: Obama campaign.
Yesterday, Barack Obama spoke to a group of Asian Americans at a fundraiser in Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, because the fundraiser was in D.C., I could not attend… I’ve posted before about “Clinton, McCain and Obama Reach Out to Asian-Americans,” but none of them actually spoke live and in person to an Asian American specific crowd, so it was nice to read about this finally happening, even if it was at a fundraiser. The Washington Post reported about this fundraiser in “Obama, at Fundraiser, Pronounces Himself an ‘Honorary AAPI‘
“…The candidate’s entrance was greeted by an extended ovation. His 20-minute speech dwelled heavily on immigration and Asian-American issues, as well as his own background. Born in Hawaii, raised for a time in Indonesia, Obama said his first college roommates were Pakistani and Indian. “Most importantly,” he said, “I have a sister who is half Indonesian, who is married to a Chinese Canadian. I don’t know what that makes my niece.” “Being here is especially meaningful to me because I consider myself to be an honorary AAPI member, and I think I’ve got some pretty good credentials,” he said. The event was jointly sponsored by the Asian American Finance Committee and the Democratic National Committee’s AAPI Leadership Council, South Asian American Leadership Council and Indo-American Leadership Council.”
Clinton, Obama and Mccain have spoken live at other events, such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference, as well as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) conference or National Council of La Raza (the largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.
Unfortunately, the Asian American community does not have a similarly strong lobbying or civil rights group. Asian Americans are small in numbers, as well as small in political involvement and more importantly, donations (money speaks). As I have often said before, when it comes to civic engagement and involvement, Asian Americans are NOT the model minority. But I do think that Asian American civic engagement and involvement is growing, so maybe there is some longer-term hope…
On a related note, in today’s San Francisco Chronicle, columnist Jeff Yang writes: “Could Obama be the first Asian American president?” (much like how the noted Toni Morrison called Bill Clinton “our first black president.”)
“[Obama] was born and raised in Hawaii, the only majority-Asian state in the union; he spent four formative years in Jakarta, the home of his Indonesian stepfather Lolo Soetoro, where he attended local schools and learned passable Bahasa Indonesia. The family with whom he’s closest — half-sister Maya Soetoro-Ng and her Chinese Canadian husband, Konrad Ng — are Asian American. So, too, are the most senior members of his congressional team — his Senate chief of staff Pete Rouse, whose mother is Japanese American, and his legislative director Chris Lu, whose parents hail from Taiwan…”
In fact, reading this as well as reading about his fundraiser yesterday, Obama does seem to project a closeness to the Asian American community than someone like Tiger Woods, who *is* half-Asian American (according to Wikipedia, Woods is one-quarter Chinese, one-quarter Thai, one-quarter African American, one-eighth Native American, and one-eighth Dutch).
Yang makes an interesting case as to how a lot of minorities reflect their own experiences against Obama’s. Obama’s multi-ethnic background and upbringing is different from every president since the founding of this nation with Washington, but then again, maybe that is why the president’s home has always been called The White House (besides being painted white) :-). Obama is starting to reflect what America is becoming – a more multi-ethnic society beyond the shores of Western Europe. As one of Obama’s staffers commented in Yang’s piece: “It’s amusing watching people come up with these caricatures suggesting he’s not American,” notes Lu. “He’s not only American, his story is the quintessential American story. It’s the story that our nation is all about.”
I came across this study that was just published by Media Matters in America titled, “Gender And Ethnic Diversity in Prime-Time Cable News” – where the non-profit media watchdog group examined four programs on each of the three cable news networks during prime time, and recorded the gender and ethnicity of every guest who appeared during the month of May 2008 (nearly 1,700 guest appearances in all.) The results:
“A number of ethnic groups were shut out entirely, or nearly so, on some networks. During the month of May, Fox News and MSNBC each featured a single Asian-American guest. Across the three cable networks, there were only four appearances by guests of Middle Eastern descent, two on Fox and two on CNN. There was not a single appearance by a Native American during the entire month.”
Just as I had blogged about in the business world, it seems like the only newsworthy and trustworthy source of news primarily comes from white males. Of those appearing on a news program, 1.1% of the guests were Asian American. Considering that Asian Americans have the highest average education and average income of all groups in America (including whites), you think the cable news shows would have no problem finding experts in their field who happen to be Asian American? Especially in large metro markets where these cable news stations have studios in (NYC, D.C., Los Angeles).
What I find really shocking is the lack of representation by those of Middle Eastern decent – considering that we are waging wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and trying to bring peace in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. I’ve got to think that there are some naturalized and native born Middle Eastern Americans who are experts in the region, right?
I am devastated. I was reading The New York Times online (as I usually do every evening), and came across an article on Isarali billionaire and international man of mystery, Aviv Nevo – Zhang Ziyi’s boyfriend for the past few years. Anyone who knows me knows I love Zhang Ziyi ever since I saw her in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. A friend even gave me a stock photo poster of her to me (she had a copy for work) which is hanging in my room now :-). Yes, she’s beautiful, but I’d like to think also a talented actress.
Vivi Nevo is profiled as a “Media Powerhouse Everyone and Nobody Knows” and his friends do call him an “International man of mystery”:
“A wind-up doll of kinetic energy, who bounds about like a shortstop, Mr. Nevo, who is 43, is said to be the largest individual shareholder of Time Warner, was once the largest private investor in Goldman Sachs, is engaged to China’s most famous actress, vacations on Rupert Murdoch‘s sailboat, is the godfather of Lachlan Murdoch‘s son, counts Lenny Kravitz as a good friend and attended Madonna’s wedding in 2000… And many people, including even some of his close friends — have no idea what his background is or how exactly he made his fortune.
Supposedly Nevo is a “self-made” billionaire who only started off with $10 million from an inheritance from his mother… Give me $10 million and I’m sure I could do pretty well with it… but maybe not turn it into a few billion.
I have heard and read that a lot of mainland Chinese (as well as my Taiwanese cousin) do not consider Zhang Ziyi to be that extraordinarily attractive or pretty. To be honest, beyond “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” Ziyi’s movies haven’t been nearly as iconic with Memoirs of a Geisha or House of Flying Daggers probably being her next most well known role, at least to American audiences (she was in Rush Hour 2, but had a limited speaking role). And despite trying to break into the American movie industry and improving her English, from what I can tell, at least from when she presented at the Oscars, she has not made much progress.
Nevertheless, I am devastated to read that Zhang Ziyi is engaged! Well, it’s not like I had a chance to begin with… How does one become an International Man of Mystery? Anybody want to give me $10 million so I can try to be a “self made” billionaire :-)?
I saw this television ad for Wells Fargo last week and realized that this was depicting an Asian American man about to take an Asian American woman on a movie date. I think this is the first time I’ve seen an Asian American couple in a TV ad. If you slow down the commercial (at least on my DVR), you can see the woman’s facial expression of surprise and bewilderment as she sees how old and torn up the couch is, which is pretty funny.
I had blogged previously about an Asian American man in a, what I thought was a funny, CareerBuilder.com commercial. We at 8Asians.com have also blogged about Lucy Liu’s character dating and kissing a fellow Asian American in Cashmere Mafia – shocking, I know, to actually see an Asian American couple on a major television network show.
We know Asian Americans aren’t really represented well in the media. I had previously posted about Entertainment Weekly’s write-up on the issue: EW: Diversity in Entertainment: Why Is TV So White? So even something as minor as having an Asian American couple in a TV commercial, well, it’s a small big deal, at least for a post on 8Asians!
And my least favorite television commercial featuring an Asian American in recent years – Kaiser Permanente’s “Thrive” campaign, titled “Entourage”:
In general, I have liked Kaiser Permanente’s “Thrive” commercial campaign. It’s just that in this particular ad, the only ad to feature a couple, they highlight a White male, coming home after a hard day’s work, to his subservient welcoming Asian wife and head immediately to the bedroom so they can make a baby. Maybe I am being over-sensitive, but this commercial just rubbed me the wrong way.
Okay, apologies in advance for the worst post title EVER. But I couldn’t resist. I have the corniest sense of humor.
2008 marks the 100th anniversary of the popular period novel, Anne of Green Gables, written by my personal heroine and Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery. If you’ve never heard of this book, then you’re either male or a very confused female. Just kidding about confused. I really meant that you’ll never be my friend in real life.
Written as a newspaper serial and published in 1908, Anne illustrated the life of a young red-haired orphan who was mistakenly adopted by Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, two siblings looking for help on their farm on Prince Edward Island. She arrives and chaos ensues, but Anne ends up capturing the hearts of the Avonlea townsfolk and then (in the next eight or nine books–depending on whether you count the shorts stories that Montgomery wrote up later in life) she becomes a teacher, earns a Bachelors degree (which was pretty unique at the time), falls in love, has A LOT of kids and basically leads the best live EVER.
Continue Reading »
Oh joy. Thanks to the Two Chinese Characters for yet another informative Chinese lesson.
(clap clap) Jia You!
Meh. (Someone doesn’t have the Olympic Spirit yet. Her name starts with J and it ends in oz.)
Asian stoners, rejoice! Variety reports this morning that Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, the writers of the first two Harold & Kumar movies, are back together for a third installment with Kal Penn and John Cho.
As much as I like to pretend to be a movie snob, I’m proud to admit that I’m super excited about this news.
I remember when I first heard about Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (most probably on angryasianman.com) and my excitement to learn that it was the first major feature film starring Asian American actors in the lead roles. Yeah, I know we all supported Better Luck Tomorrow (starring John Cho, again!) but to actually see a widely released, mainstream film with Asian actors? CRAZY.
And then the sequel?? EVEN CRAZIER.
And now a TRILOGY??? AHHH!
Alright, in all seriousness, I know that this is just another pot movie and like the farthest thing from being the latest Oscar contender or breaking any sort of Dark Knight box office records…but I’ll say it first. I’m glad to see Hollywood embrace a movie franchise (can it even be called that?) that can combine good humor (YES IT’S FUNNY. DON’T HATE.) and the Asian American identity. Not only that, our Asian American duos clearly do drugs, thus breaking ground in the well-established model minority stereotypes. WE DO DRUGS. YEAH! Plus, both dudes hook up with white chicks in the second movie. Take that, America (and Esther Ku)! Think Asian girls are out of their league?? Who cares when they can get with white girls!
Now I had heard that pole dancing had become popular in the United States, but had not hear about the rising popularity of the “exercise” in China. In today’s New York Times, the newspaper reports “From the Erotic Domain, an Aerobic Trend in China” and interviews the woman who brought pole dancing into the mainstream in China:
“The woman who claims to have brought pole dancing to China, Luo Lan, 39, is from Yichun, a small town in Jiangxi Province in southeastern China… She traveled to Paris in 2006 for vacation. It was there that she first saw pole dancing… Ms. Luo, who quickly discovered that pole dancing for fitness was popular in America, realized that if she could take away the shadier aspects of the erotic dance and repackage it into an activity more acceptable to mainstream Chinese women, she might create a Chinese fitness revolution. Here was an exercise that would allow women to stay fit and express their sexuality with an unprecedented degree of openness and freedom. But she remained keenly aware of the challenges in a society where traditional values dictate that women be loyal, faithful and modestly dressed.”
I am all for more exercise! :-). Seriously, I wonder if the average Chinese woman taking pole dancing lessons knows about the shadier purposes of pole dancing in West and whether or not she would take up pole dancing if she knew? I don’t recall seeing any strip clubs in my travels in China (but I wasn’t exactly looking). I don’t even know if strip clubs are legal in China ?
I had blogged about “Chinese-American women create a line-dancing craze,” but somehow, I just don’t see pole dancing at least in my parents’ generation becoming too popular… But maybe a future competition in the Miss Chinatown USA Pageant? I’d like to see that! (OK, I’m a pig…) Actually, I have never been to the Miss Chinatown USA Pageant competition – which is I believe held every year in San Francisco. Maybe I will in February 2009. Maybe I can get press credentials as a blogger (hey, 8Asians actually gets invitations for all sorts of events, screenings, etc.)
I don’t watch Last Coming Standing, but someone brought this to my attention and now she’s been drawing particular ire b/c of Esther Ku‘s “…Asian women are out of Asian men’s league” joke. I have to defend her on this, because there’s some truth to it — the fact that some women feel this way. And I actually laughed out loud — LOL-style! — when I heard that punchline.
(see @ approx. 1:30-2:10)
You can’t take a comedian’s material literally; that defeats the purpose of the entire art form (Yes, it’s actually an art form. We’re not assholes who wake up one day and say, “I’m just going to talk in front of strangers.”) A comedian’s bits, stories and jokes are based on truth but it’s being reflected through a fun-house mirror; it’s perverted, distorted, digested and shat out for your listening approval; the cheesecake of truth we eat at noon becomes the feces of humor by sundown. The end might bear only a faint resemblance to its beginning because the filtering process has taken its liberties. Does Esther Ku really think Asian guys aren’t worthy of Asian women? C’mon… use your fucking brain. She’s making commentary.
Being a comedian of sorts, I don’t like to judge another person’s material — it’s sort of an unspoken rule — but I will say this: I hear Black and Hispanic comedians do it ALL THE TIME. No one (White comedians) says shit. Turn on BET’s Comic View and tell me 90% of the material isn’t self conscious racial humor. But, hey now! The comedy police suddenly shuts the fuck up and hide behind their mommy’s skirts. Why don’t they criticize the Black comedians? I guess that’d be racist.
I’m not saying Esther Ku is the second coming. I’m saying if that’s her material, then that’s her material. Laugh or don’t. I do pedophile, rape, bestiality, incest, and midget-donkey-orgy jokes. It’s not for everyone and I apologize to no one. But if you’re going to criticize the subject matter of her material, then apply that criticism uniformly. Don’t say Asians have to stop doing Asian jokes but then conveniently avoid criticizing comedians of other races.