• http://www.michellewoo.com michelle woo

    I don’t know him, but I am so proud of Jason Wu. (Maybe because his name is kinda like mine.) Loved the dress, love Michelle, loved the first dance.
    Great post.

  • steve

    a thing i’m bummed about, the print and online media have not once said taiwan in referring to jason’s birthplace. i’ve seen taipei and, of all things, chinese taipei! crazy to think that china continues to have influence over the language used to describe the birthplace of the designer of the new president’s wife’s dress. but i guess the point would be moot if he doesn’t claim taiwanese…

  • Phở Kinh Bích

    Does it matter if they said Taiwan or not? If they still mention Taipei, then that basically is Taiwan. At the end of the day, it’s still clear how Taiwanese basically is Chinese.

    It doesn’t matter what part of China or Taiwan Jason Wu is from. His face and name are already printed in the history books. Then if people want to know more about Jason Wu, they can find out on their own where he’s from.

  • http://www.jozjozjoz.com jozjozjoz

    Phở Kinh Bích: You obviously need a lesson on Taiwanese history.

    Let’s make this simple: Taiwanese ≠ Chinese

  • http://www.littleyellowdifferent.com Ernie


    Now, to defend Phở Kinh Bích – it depends on who you ask. To you, totally. To my grandfather and dad who fought under Chiang Kai-Shek, my dad would tell you in a heartbeat that we are Chinese and would chew you out in a heartbeat if you say anything otherwise. (I’m finally at the point when my dad says “someday China and Taiwan will unite under democracy” and I don’t roll my eyes.) But we’ve talked about this before, I think.

    Also, omgthatdresslollollol.

  • http://www.jozjozjoz.com jozjozjoz

    Ernie, I acknowledge that some people think Taiwanese = Chinese… but what Phở Kinh Bích said was:

    “At the end of the day, it’s still clear how Taiwanese basically is Chinese.”

    But our little back and forth just proved that this is in fact, NOT CLEAR!

  • Phở Kinh Bích

    JozJozJoz…don’t get so butt-hurt over it. China doesn’t even recognize Taiwan as its own separate entity. Taiwanese people are ethnically and culturally Chinese. So it is clear that Taiwanese is Chinese.

    What’s the next thing are you going to say? Hong Kong people aren’t Chinese neither? lmao.

    These arguments are as fun as “Filipinos aren’t Asian”. Shall we look into their history too and judge that?

  • http://jenchang.blogspot.com Jen

    Michelle’s gown was a beautiful dress…but i must say, it really helps to have Obama by her side, he’s the best looking accessory to any outfit, isn’t he?

  • http://www.8asians.com John

    @Phở Kinh Bích
    “How I Became a Taiwanese-American and why It Matters”

  • Tim

    I spent a lifetime figuring this out, and have decided I too am Taiwanese (and also Chinese). But technically, there are 3 types of Taiwanese. First, those who are truly Taiwanese, because they are indigenous to Taiwan (like Indians to America), there’s actually aboriginal tribal groups in Taiwan and you can visit their reservations. Second those that call themselves Taiwanese because their families have been in Taiwan for many generations (I fall in this category – mom’s side). And third those that emigrated to Taiwan with Chiang Kai Shek (I also fall into this category – dad’s side). The latter tend not to call themselves Taiwanese though.

    Just to be clear, the indigenous Taiwanese, are less culturally Chinese than any other group, and their culture is much more similar to American Indian or Australian Aborigine. If you want more on them read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiwanese_aborigines. They have more claim to the word “Taiwanese” than anyone else.

  • Phở Kinh Bích

    The Indigenous Taiwanese can be grouped with the Austronesians. These are the people that also have populations in other Asian countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Then of course the “Pacific Islanders”.

    Thank you for the story John. It’s a good story, it really is…but it does nothing to change my opinion that the Taiwanese of today are still Chinese. I’ve met plenty of people, including friends and family, who have different opinions on this and have given really good to really ignorant reasoning. Just like I have heard many different opinions how people from Hong Kong think they are not Chinese, some just think they are better than other Chinese because the British gave them a better education. Just like I’ve heard many other opinions as to why Filipinos aren’t Asian.

    Yes we know the Chinese government has a history of being evil, but so have many other governments. North Korea and South Korea haven’t had the best history either, but are any Koreans going to complain that they are labeled as Korean? Nope. Are Vietnamese people complaining about being called Vietnamese? No it’s the governments that they don’t support.

    It’s good to know that USA is saving Taiwan from big bad China, since USA is the savior and all, but whatever happened to the US promise to free the Hmong people after the Hmong people chose to become allies with the U.S.? hmmm.

    Anyways since I was kindly shown that story from a “Taiwanese” perspective, which I’ve heard plenty. I would recommend for people to also read about both the Hmong and Cambodian history.

    But again, congratulations to John Wu. I wonder what the origin of his last name is…Wu.

  • number6

    That dress looks like the some kind of rare stinging moth larva. For that Chicago rally, it was an adult stinging red and black wasp. Stinging yellow jacket with black stripes are next!

  • Tim

    It’s funny you say you say the Vietnamese people wouldn’t complain about being called Vietnamese. Phở Kinh Bích, I don’t know where you live, but I live in the San Jose area, where recently we named a section of the city “Little Saigon”, but only after much uproar from the Vietnamese community. The district was originally supposed to get the name “Vietnamese Business District”, but Vietnamese leaders claimed it would tie the district to the Vietnamese government and lobbied hard for the change in name.

    Note, I’m not disagreeing that most Taiwanese shouldn’t or can’t also be called Chinese, I just think there’s room for both designations, and people can call themselves whatever makes them comfortable.

  • http://pretendingtobe.wordpress.com jun

    Im mehhhh on the dress…
    but are the Obama’s really a fan of Wu’s designs???
    or did they just pick an Asian Designer or pick an Asian-designer-sake?

    is “Phở Kinh Bích” a real name?
    its Viet, im assuming if it is?
    Im in no win situation asking this question, it proves im either stupid or ignorant…
    but if it is a real name, its totally badass

  • JJ

    No offense guys…but honestly?. In light of Obama becoming President and overcoming race issues and attempting to cross and unit boundaries, can’t we just say that Jason Wu is an Asian-American and that he is an example of an Asian-American breaking out of stereotypes and doing the Asian-American community proud? Can’t we do that instead of bickering about what is Taiwanese and what is Chinese. Instead of uniting together, somehow us Taiwanese/Chinese love the draw the lines. We’re humanity, we’re a community and being a Taiwanese or Chinese doesn’t make you better than the other person. Whether or not we’re Taiwanese or Chinese really doesn’t matter in the bigger context of things, of things such like helping out your neighbor, making sure that the economy doesn’t collapse. Instead creating boundaries, why don’t we look at the positive commonalities between the different cultures, get over ourselves, and start working together instead of pointing fingers! Isn’t that partially why Obama’s election was so momentous? He overcame all of this separatist attitudes!

  • steve

    We need to come together as Asian Americans, absolutely. One of the struggles I believe we face as a community is invisibility or indifference from non-asians. In popular media, Asians are more often than not the usual foreigner stereotypes, peripherally American if at all if you look at the recent examples of Hollywood films like ‘21’ or ‘Avatar.’

    Similarly, Taiwanese suffer a similar fate here and abroad. Despite communities in Taiwan and across the world claiming Taiwanese identity, we are all lumped into ‘Chinese’. My claiming Taiwanese does not take anything away from those who identify as Chinese. But those who insist I am Chinese don’t even allow me to exist. What prompted the original post was that, similarly, mainstream media often doesn’t allow ‘Taiwan’ or the contesting of Taiwan to exist either. It’s ‘Taiwan Province’ or the even more ridiculous ‘Chinese Taipei’ (find that on a map) which MSNBC used in describing Jason Wu’s roots.

    In a country where a bi-racial man can self-identify, be seen as, valued for his identity enough to be elected to the highest office in this country, should not the same principles be extended to those everywhere?

  • Phở Kinh Yue

    Tim. I’m aware of the San Jose situation, again governments seem to have a major role in these situations. Little Saigons are historic to Vietnamese people, because many of the refugees were from South Vietnam. The Saigon of today is known as Ho Chi Minh City. I would think it would also be giving homage to the fallen city of Saigon as well. Vietnam of today is communist, as simple as that.

    If you were to open a business in any of those Little Saigons, and put the communist flag in front of your store…most likely you’re not going to meet many friendly Vietnamese people. Some of the Vietnamese will also protest if the Communist flag is beign used to represent VIetnam. However, ask any person of Vietnamese descent if they are offended if they are called “Vietnamese”. I would say no. Are they going to complain and asked to be be something called like “Saigonese?” similar to how people from Hong Kong would rather be called something like Hong Kongnese rather than Chinese? .

    I’m not saying don’t say Taiwan or Taiwanese, I’m simply saying the Taiwan people of today can and are considered as Chinese. I’m simply also saying the people of Hong Kong, can and are considered as Chinese. Just like the South Vietnamese of Vietnam, can and are considered as Vietnamese. The people of South Korea can and are considered as Korean. To expand that as well, the people of the Philippines can and are considered as Asian.

    To Jun: Bích is a Vietnamese name, just like Phúc is as well. Kinh is the ethnic group that originates from Vietnam. Since Phở seems to be the most popular Vietnamese food, I chose to combine all 3. I will also use Phở Kinh Yue, as Yue would also be showing tribute to not only the Kinh but also the Yue of Vietnam.

    Steve: I agree with your opinion, but I also see there’s a lot of internval rivarly and hate between Asians. It’s become so ridiculous that you have certain groups in USA that are extremely offended by the term, “ASIAN” i.e. Filipino-Americans, and will use ignorant stereotypes to justify that they are not Asian. Some examples would be “Hey! we don’t have slanted eyes!….hey! Our island is in the Pacific! hey! we’re brown”. Since you know it seems many people believe that Asian is exclusive to East Asians, or in particular only Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans.

    Steve: I understand how you would rather be known as Taiwanese, I really do and I’m not saying don’t call yourself Taiwanese either. I also have family and friends from Taiwan as well and I don’t care if they would rather be called Taiwanese. It’s just my opinion that people of today, from Taiwan, can and are considered as Chinese.

    I would like to conclude this with a quote from the movie, Cool Runnings.

    “If we look Jamaicain, walk Jamaican, talk Jamaicain, and is Jamaican. Then we sure as hell bobsled Jamaican.”

  • Jinra

    Heard of Alexander Wang? He was heavily regarded by the fashion blogosphere as the ‘IT’ designer of 2008. He also picked up a CDFA award last year — the equivalent of an Oscar in the fashion world.

  • http://www.8asians.com John

    A nice profile of Jason Wu in The New York Times:

    The Spotlight Finds Jason Wu

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