8 Asians

Asian Medical Hazard: Mongolian Spots

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“What are those?” I asked as I pointed to bruiselike, blueish black patches on The Daughter as she was being examined by her pediatrician.

“Just Mongolian spots,” replied the pediatrician.

“But we’re not Mongolian!” I said, surprised.

mongspotWhether you are Mongolian or of some other Asian descent, Mongolian spots can be a real hazard.  Some 90-95% of Asian babies are said to have them.  They aren’t a direct threat to a baby’s health, but as attested here and here, they can be the cause of false accusations of child abuse, with children even being taken from their parents by Child Protective Services when the blueish black spots are mistaken for bruises.  They typically fade away after a few months or years.  Some adoption support organizations recommend that if you adopt a Asian (or any other ethnicity) baby with Mongolian spots, that you have this well documented.  I can’t imagine what kind of anguish a parent would feel to have their baby taken away over something totally not their fault.

The Wife and I never had any problems with our three kids because of Mongolian spots, most likely because they never were in daycare as infants.  It’s also worth mentioning that African-Americans and Hispanics commonly have them, and some 10% of white people have them.  I even found an story about an African-American mother who really wanted to find one on her son.   Given some of the above incidents, it’s probably a good idea to have Mongolian spots documented in a baby’s medical record no matter what ethnicity that baby might be.

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cloned dog

South Korea may be known to many Asian Americans as the land of plastic surgery, but despite a previous cloning scandal in a different lab, it looks like a South Korean lab Sooam Biotech Research Foundation, on behalf of a U.S. company and American clients, have been able to commercially clone a dog:

“Bioarts International CEO Lou Hawthorne, a cloning and stem cell research guru, brought little Lancy to Miami International Airport from Korea. The adorable Lancy is cute as a button, but a clone is a walking controversy. “People think that cloning dogs is a stepping stone to cloning people. Dogs are actually harder to clone than people,” said Hawthorne. The 3-month old puppy is reportedly a clone of a canine the Otto family just couldn’t live without, their yellow 11-year-old Labrador Sir Lancelot, who died last year on New Year’s Eve… The price of royalty is steep. For what it cost to buy a modest home or fancy car, the Ottos cloned the dog they say was worth so much more “It cost over 150-thousand dollars, so it was a lot of money. So, as I said before I did sell something that was precious to me to get something that was even more precious to me,” said Otto.”

Over $150,000 to clone a dog! And if there’s one thing I have learned over the years, it’s the fact that Americans LOVE their dogs. The tag line for BioArt’s service for dog cloning is catchy too: “What if you could be best friends … again?” This story reminds me of something straight out of science fiction like the Arnold Schwarzenegger film, The 6th Day, and the company in the movie, RePet. Science fiction today is science fact tomorrow:

The Onion Enters White Guy/Asian Girl Fray

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asian-teen-r
Check out this great article by The Onion: Asian Teen Has Sweaty Middle Aged Man Fetish.

They went there and did it — and really, does anything more need to be said? (At least by me, anyway.) Now, discuss.

chiaother09yellow_on_the_outside“With just my three simple Asian Pride Theorems, I can reveal the truth about Asian culture — whether it’s Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, etc. — and all the reasons why Asians do the things that they do. First, Asians are obsessed with money and will do anything to get it. Second, money is conducive to the status that Asians seek, hence “doctor or lawyer.” Third and uppermost, Asians want power: the power.”

And THAT would be the abstract of Anson Chi’s online self-described novel, Yellow on the Outside, Shame on the Inside. A quick look at his resume (Paid Slavery! Miseducation!) and the stock photo of the angry shirtless guy yelling in a wheat field obviously shows that he’s got some stuff to get off his chest. Is “money, status and power” really our personal motto?

But more importantly, what would the other 8Asians.com writers think about Anson Chi’s manifesto? Find out, after the jump.
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How a Larger Jessica Simpson Affects Me

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A larger Jessica SimpsonUnless you’re anti-celebrity gossip, you’ve heard or read the uproar about Jessica Simpson’s weight gain. Sure, Ms. Simpson has packed on a few extra pounds and chose to display her curves with the most unflattering pair of high-waisted jeans. But what’s the big deal? Is the weight gain of a celebrity that big news that not only is it being written about, but other celebrities are responding to it? It seems as though we’ll never be free of hearing about the latest weight-gaining celebrity.

The case is the same in the wonderful world K-pop, and I would conclude that people are even harsher in Korea. There are celebrities who have even taken their own lives due to harsh criticism about their looks. Just last month, a K-pop blogger I enjoy reading wrote how BoA seems to have gained weight while doing some promo work in the US. Again, what’s the big deal?

Aren’t there days YOU overeat and you pack on a few? Aren’t there days YOU did not look your best? I mean come on, celebrities gain weight too — how would you like it if each time you gained weight, people plastered photos of you with a mean blurb about how you’re such a tub of lard and then encouraged others to write mean comments about how fat you’ve gotten? To borrow Shakespeare’s words, do they not bleed if you prick them?

I think I take every stab and put-down about celebrities’ weight gain more personally, as I grew up in an Asian household surrounded by extremely petite women. I went to college and lived with very petite sized Asian gals, all the while having my grandfather’s not so typical Asian frame (he was Korean, but he was quite well built for a man born in his generation). I’m short — 5’2” short to be exact — but I’m bigger boned, and pleasantly chubby, unlike the petite Asian women I was surrounded by; it was natural for me to think I was overweight, large and in charge. And because I have a fairly blunt family, I was told I was big at every family gathering, getting criticism about my size and weight for as long as I can remember. Truthfully, it can really tear you down; each time someone rants about a certain celebrities’ weight gain, I hear it directed at me.

Big, small, plump, or stick, let’s just embrace the size we were made to be and stay healthy in whatever size we are. I think it would be scary to be surrounded by stick skinny women; I’m not sure if its lies, but I do hear that some men actually prefer a woman with some meat on her bones.

peanutsIf you’ve been watching the news at all lately you already know that the Chinese government has sentenced to death those responsible for the milk contamination that caused the death of Chinese babies and sickened thousands more. And if you’ve been watching the U.S. news you know that the U.S. government just found out that the Georgia firm that sold salmonella tainted peanut butter did so knowingly 12 times in the past year.

There’s still debate about whether or not there’s even a criminal violation in the U.S. case, but in China the government vowed to prosecute from the beginning.

My dad used to talk about the difference between Western culture and Asian culture and he described it as the difference between right brain thinking and left brain thinking. For the Chinese there was no doubt that poisoning milk was a criminal act, for Americans it’s not so clear cut. My guess is in the U.S., the execs involved will get no more than a slap on the hand and possibly fired for their actions, and as someone else mentioned, we in the U.S. will forget all about this in a year.

That brings me to something my mom always used to say, Chinese memories are long, and the Chinese people don’t forget. That’s why they’re so careful to remember when you’ve given them a gift and always give a gift in return. This might explain the difference in response between the Chinese food scare and the American one.

So the question here is whether those who knowingly sell tainted food have committed a crime? And if you believe it is, does that make you Asian?

Breaking News: Jason Wu Is Gay!

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jason_wu_on_guys_lapAlso, the sky is blue.

Competitor blog Jezebel (I say competitor because we’re up against them for Best Group Blog in the 2008 Bloggies — please vote for us!) reported yesterday that Jason Wu was upset that the big New York Times article published recently outed him to his Taiwanese family.

The 26 year old designer made headlines after Michelle Obama chose his dress for her Inaugural ball gown. Yes, he’s Asian and yes, we already cheered him on.

The tipster explains that he overheard Wu saying that while his parents knew he is gay, some of his other relatives did not, and that the frank revelation has caused some awkward conversations. The tipster says the Taiwan-born designer’s parents were “disappointed” their son couldn’t have been more “discreet.”

Scandalous!!! OMG!!! How could you, esteemed New York Times! Though the reporter now claims that Wu allowed him to write about his boyfriend and their relationship, I can’t help but wonder if people are just looking for gossip fodder. And is that really Wu’s concern right now? The First Lady donned his beautiful gown, and now he unfortunately has to face awkward conversations with his aunts and uncles? I seriously doubt that he would be truly upset with something like this.

Here’s what I’m more concerned about. How did this family NOT know Jason was gay? He’s in fashion, he designs couture gowns for Barbie dolls, including one specifically for RuPaul and he even admitted to crying while watching Milk.

My gaydar is sounding off pretty loudly right now.

Hey, Wu family. Welcome to 2009. Your son is gay. He’s also going to be one of the most sought-after fashion designers this year. Cry me a river.

On the upside, these articles led to a fun conversation about 8Asian bloggers coming out of the closet to their more traditional families. I think these are awesome, so feel free to share your stories, too!



8asian writers, originally uploaded by simbuyo.

On a cool, Thursday evening, Ernie and I drove up from Palo Alto to San Francisco. We met up with some of the other writers (Bo, Efren, Jen, John, and Genghis) for dinner at Ponzu SF. This was my first time meeting everybody else from 8Asians, and from what I can recall I was a bit nervous or slightly intimidated. These are writers that I read on a frequent basis; how would I hold up next to them? As I pondered that thought, I began pondering over the menu.

It is commonly acknowledged that food brings people closer. It’s that added comfort for those not at ease. It is a conversation starter that leads to other topics. It is also something that is shared between those sitting at the table. Words were swarming over the air. Drinks were being sipped. Food was being photographed by yours truly and then devoured just as quickly. Laughter was passed back and forth with abundance. By the end of the night, I wanted to adjust my belt from all the tasty deliciousness my mouth had experienced. The biggest insight I got that night (aside from realizing my buddy Ernie gets red after only a few sips of alcohol) is that the people I was sharing a meal with carry similar experiences that transcend cultural boundaries. If anything, that created the gates for new friendships. The night ended on a great note: it was a celebration of each person’s contribution as well as 8Asians’ success as a whole.

For now I shall give you, dear readers, some eye candy to glaze over.

tuna tartar

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madison_nguyen_no_recall

In 2005, Madison Nguyen made history by becoming the first Vietnamese American to be elected to San Jose’s City Council, but there has been a lot of controversy over naming a section of San Jose “Little Saigon” versus names such as Saigon Business District, to the outrage of the San Jose Vietnamese American community. The naming decision was eventually overturned and allowed to be renamed “Little Saigon,” yet many in the Vietnamese Americans community felt so betrayed by Nguyen; so much so they have organized a recall election of Nguyen, which has come to fruition this March as reported in the Mercury News:

“On March 3, a saga that sprang from a name and a cherished symbol — “Little Saigon” — and that quickly ballooned into a battle for the soul of San Jose’s Vietnamese community, will come to a head. And thousands of residents throughout District 7— nearly three-quarters of whom are not Vietnamese — will decide whether Nguyen should stay or go, just the third time in the city’s history that voters will consider such a question… [The recall backers] also dispute the notion, stressed by Nguyen’s supporters, that this fight is all about a name and a waste of city money …  they argue that crime and gang violence have risen under her watch, that she has been a poor steward of the city’s money amid a burgeoning budget deficit, that she has been too cozy with developers and deal makers — and that she has stopped listening to the community. Nguyen, however, says she is more than happy to make the race about her record: new neighborhood parks and a Vietnamese community center, 1,000 jobs at a shopping center at Monterey Highway and Curtner Avenue, and 700 new units of affordable housing.”

I’ve seen Madison a few times at a few Democratic or Asian American political get-togethers, but really don’t know how she has led or governed on the city council for her constituents in San Jose. That said, I am against recall elections; if people are really unhappy with her, I would tell Nguyen’s detractors to run against her when her term is up.

[Jan 30] SOUTHERN CA: ComedyZEN

New Zealanders like Asians!

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A good close friend in New Zealand (that’s by Australia to all you geographically challenged folk) pointed me to an article from the New Zealand Herald declaring that New Zealanders like Asians!

In rather broad strokes (and the rather odd picture from the Asians that was included in the online article), the article talks about the positive impact that Asians have had in New Zealander culture, stating that Asians bring “much needed cultural diversity” and will be a more positive force to New Zealand, more than North America or Europe.  Given the proximity of New Zealand to Asia, it seems to obviously make sense that Asians would have a broader impact on the New Zealand economy than us in North America or Europeans.  It doesn’t say specifically what the positive impact Asians have in New Zealand, though I’m assuming it means pumping in money to the national economy and providing New Zealand with technical skills.

What’s particularly infuriating, but alas, not surprising, is that the term “New Zealanders” are meant to include everyone white or indigenous, and that New Zealanders who are of Asian descent simply don’t exist.  My friend stated that there are people of Asian descent in powerful positions in the national government, but that fact has been glossed over to make  a rather insidious backhanded compliment to the Asian New Zealander community.

If you’ve never heard of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog then you’re obviously not a Joss Whedon fan, but I’ll make it brief: TV writers go on strike, that writer guy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer writes a musical starring Doogie Howser for Internet distribution while funding everything himself and the DVD does surprisingly well. As for the Asian chick above, that’s Maurissa Tancharoen, one of the writers of Dr. Horrible, fiancée of composer Jed Whedon, and has a brief cameo as superhero/supervillain groupie #1 — kind of the Greek chorus.

Bit parts are played by Asians all the time, sure. But now that the DVD has been released, Joss Wheldon has included a commentary track in the format of — what else — a musical track called Commentary!. And there’s Maurissa, singing a track called, heh, Nobody’s Asian In The Movies.

Jed: But Maurissa, movies couldn’t even be made without Asians. We need them to play the parts we’re not willing to.
Maurissa: You’re right, Jed!

WITHOUT THE ASIANS IN THE MOVIES
WITHOUT THE ASIANS ON TV
WHO’D PLAY THE GOOFY MATHEMATICIAN
THE COMPUTER TECHNICIAN
A WISE OLD HEALER FROM JAPAN
A SHORT BUT WEALTHY BUSINESSMAN
SELL KOREAN GROCERIES
DO YOUR LAUNDRY THANK YOU, PRREASE
WE’RE THE VICTIMS OF A CRIME
WE’LL BE LOVING YOU LONG TIME
IF YOUR MOVIE IS A BORE JUST
WATCH THE GROUPIE IN THE CHORUS
THAT’S ME

The song is tongue-in-cheek, the writing is snarky and self-deprecating and those keyboard stabs may offend the very many AngryAsianMen out there, but given all the news in the blogosphere about that Avatar movie, the song feels less like irony and more like a honest to God statement on how Asian Americans are portrayed by the media these days. With keyboard stabs.