My 4th of July* is usually associated with fireworks, barbecues, carnivals, picnics, concerts, baseball games, and various other events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the good ol’ US of A. If I hadn’t already made plans to be with family this July 4th, then I’d definitely be at the Ford Amphitheatre. Why?
One of Korea’s most famous celebrities, Shin Hae Chul is regarded as a “genius” of Korean music who, along with his younger cousin Seo Taiji, transformed the Korean music industry in 1992, paving the way for the contemporary K-Pop genre. Shin Hae Chul is known for his musical experimentation, artistic excellence, controversy, and has often been compared to John Lennon.
His progressive stance on social and politic issues, including the legalization of marijuana, government control of the school system, and North Korea, has made the “Prince of Darkness” a liberal icon in South Korea, a radical voice representing a significant portion of the population. N.EX.T. (New Experimental Team) is widely acknowledged as Korea’s greatest and most exciting live rock band, known for the ability to switch through a multitude of genres.
Presented by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and Asiatic Empire, Shin Hae Chul and N.E.X.T. will appear at the historic Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood, on Saturday, July 4, 2009 for one night only.
Out of respect for the recent death of former South Korean president Roh Moo Hyun, who had a close relationship with Shin Hae Chul, N.EX.T. canceled all of its shows in Korea. So the only chance to see N.EX.T. this summer is actually at this performance.
Los Angeles is the first stop of these artists’ Awakening World Tour, but expect a solid turn-out as L.A. has the largest Korean community outside of Korea. I know from personal experience in attending concerts and performances of Korean artists that the community does come out to support. Regardless, this show is not just for the Korean community but for anyone who appreciates world music and wants to enjoy the rare treat of one of the best international rock bands that has never played in America.
If you’re curious about the music of the band, below you can access the mp3s of the songs they will be performing on July 4. Anyone can access the songlist and the mp3 soundfiles to the songs by:
1. Go to www.webhard.co.kr
2. Log in by typing in => id: humanent, pass: hm1021501
3. The directory to the info is => home/guest folder/20090704 N.EX.T in L.A.
Our friends at Asiatic Empire have kindly offered up a pair of tickets to this one-night-only event!
What you could win: a pair of free tickets to the one-night only performance of Shin Hae Chul and N.EX.T.
Saturday, 7/4/09, 7:30PM PDT
Los Angeles, CA, USA
How do you enter?
Simply leave a short comment stating why you’d like to see this show. (Be sure to use the email address you’d like to be contacted at if you’re the winner.)
Hurry, the deadline to enter is: Thursday, July 2 at 11:59 pm
One lucky winner will be randomly selected and contacted on Friday morning.
Rules for entering:
1) Please be in the Los Angeles area (or willing to travel to LA on your own dime) and serious about using these tickets; if you’re too busy to use these, please don’t take them away from someone who will!
2) Tickets are non-transferrable; they are good for you and a guest.
3) Contributors to 8Asians and their immediate family members are not eligible to win.
Prize courtesy of: Asiatic Empire
*Happy Canada Day on July 1, Canadian friends!
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A couple of years ago back in high school, I attended the National Association of Independent Schools/Student Diversity Leadership Conference in Miami. The purpose of this three to four day conference was to reinforce our racial identities through participating in “privilege” activities and brainstorming ways on how to improve diversity at our schools. Four of us represented our upper-class white school — but by some strange stroke of chance, we came to evenly distribute each race: One black, one Latina, one white, and me. We were divided into different groups; first randomly, then by race. Of course, I had no crisis figuring out where to go. In our Asian caucus, we divvied up charts taped throughout the room for us freely to scribble on stereotypes associated with the names: “Asian dating,” “Asian parents,” and one that stood out to me: “East Coast vs. West Coast Asian-Americans”.
As I was baffled on what that meant, I skipped that poster. At the end when all permanent markers dried out from our verbal rants, I saw that the majority of the comments described East Coast Asians as “ghetto” and poor, who “don’t spend our parents’ money,” while West Coast Asians were materialistic and rich, and “more Americanized”. Since I was born a NYC’er (which I guess automatically makes me a hardcore East Coast Asian-American), I replayed visually the few times I visited Los Angeles and San Francisco; I remembered noticing that many Asian girls on the street did carry Gucci and Prada purses, and the boys were mostly nicely dressed with gelled hair.
But is there really a sub-culture I’m not aware of? If there is, is it due to oh, maybe the siren-inducing obsession with celebrity in plastic Hollywood? I know these are stereotypes, but all stem from some truth. I mean, I can safely assume that there are more Japanese in Los Angeles than New York. Right? What do you think?
About Vannie: I’m a 20-year old Taiwanese-American female residing in New York City. I like to call myself an AAA (Aspiring Asian-American Activist.)
“Maybe we can see Kevjumba!”
The Daughter was excited about that possibility of meeting the YouTube star Kevin Wu as we neared U.C. Davis. I had a meeting there with a graduate student who I collaborate with on research, and since the Daughter was thinking about our fearless leader’s Alma mater as a prospective college, I brought her along. She was disappointed when I told her that the possibility of meeting Kevjumba would be zero, because as he points out in this video, he’s back home for the summer. What’s interesting about that video is that it isn’t in his usual channel kevjumba, but it’s in a new channel called the JumbaFund where all of his YouTube proceeds for that channel go to a charity of the viewers’ choice.
We talked before about the lack of Asians in the mainstream media and stereotyping of those who are there. We have also talked about young Asian-Americans are using social media and sites like YouTube that enable them to create works that include and speak to them. The results from the JumbaFund channel show that this new generation is really making some headway and getting some clout, at least financially. Kevjumba is making some serious money for a college student. May proceeds for the JumbaFund channel were $1708. Given that his regular channel (kevjumba) has almost 3 times the number of subscribers, if you extrapolate the number of subscribers to income as a guestimate, he is pulling in $5K a month. There are other estimates that says he is making even more than that. It’s great to see him share some of his wealth with charity. The charity that got the most votes in May was St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. College students didn’t make that kind of money or engage in philanthropy on that scale when I was an undergrad.
The Daughter liked U.C. Davis and is seriously considering it. As you can see in the Jumba fund video embedded above, U.C. Davis has Asian American Studies classes, with guest lecturers like Kevjumba. I wish my university had Asian American studies courses when I was an undergrad. Sadly, it still doesn’t, more than 20 years after I graduated. As you can see at 2:52, U.C. Davis has girls getting freaky in class. My university never had that when I was an undergrad!
This past week, I had the opportunity to attend a fundraiser for Garrett Yee, Candidate for California State Assembly, District 20 (which encompasses Fremont, Newark, Union City, Milpitas, parts of Hayward, Castro Valley, Pleasanton and San Jose). The current Assembly member, Alberto Torrico, will be termed out at the end of 2012.
Yee has served the community in a variety of elected and non-elected capacities; he has been involved in the Army Reserves since 1987, and was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It’s not often you see Asian Americans involved in the armed forces, and in keeping in touch with Otto Lee — a former Mayor of Sunnyvale currently staying in Iraq — I’ve come to appreciate what the great sacrifice that those in the military have to make while those serving in harms way.
Best of luck to Garrett! I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about him as the November 2010 elections are just around the corner.
For many students, June is a month that signifies the end of the school year and the beginning of summer. In the case of graduating students, the end of the school year means the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one. Unfortunately, the lives of two Caltech students were recently cut short as they were both victims of suicide shortly before the end of the term.
Sadly, senior Jackson Ho-Leung Wang, a mechanical engineering student from Hong Kong, died in his dorm room less than 48 hours before he was to receive his diploma, according to the article from the LA Times. His suicide followed that of junior Brian Go, a computer science and applied and computational mathematics major from Maryland who died just three weeks earlier.
A little about the two students, taken directly from other sites on the internet:
Jackson Wang [via HKSA, presumably written by himself in third person]:
Jackson (or Jack, take your pick) is just a regular Caltech student going about his normal business. During the year, half of his time is spent on pointless computations of stresses and strains. To cope with depression from inability to carry out these computations, he is known to escape to his favorite retreat, at the piano, to play 20th and 21st century classical music for hours on end, so at any given moment chances are he will be found there. He has also been observed to drown himself with boxes of Vitasoy. For a bit of trivia, insiders’ information has shown that he is prone to making random statements in French. If you are in the mood to please, a dish of authentic Kung Pao chicken has been shown to suffice, although in the case that all you have is the fake, you would be well advised to hold back.
Brian Go [via his own website]:
•I read Reddit, Reddit: Programming, and The Washington Post.
•I drive a 1974 Vespa 150 VBC Super.
•I listen to Red Hot Chili Peppers, Third Eye Blind, Angels and Airwaves, Maná, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Maroon 5, among others.
•I enjoy fencing and playing drums.
•My favorite books are For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Great Gatsby.
•I am an Eagle Scout from NCAC Boy Scout Troop 255.
•I am an avid player of the board game Diplomacy. My play record (all in-house games) is below.
-Aug 08 (Loss (England) to France, Germany, England).
-Jun 08 (Win: Austria, England, France),
-Mar 08 (Win: England, Russia, Austria, Turkey),
-Feb 08 (Win: Italy, England, Austria),
-Jan 08 (Win: Germany, Austria, France, Turkey),
-Dec 07 (Win: England, Austria, Turkey).
According to the L.A. Times:
In recent years, campus mental health problems have been rising nationally, a product of the growing stress of university life and the increasing number of students who arrive at college already under treatment for mental illness, university psychologists and officials say. Across the country, about 1,300 college students a year commit suicide, experts say.
Caltech has extensive counseling and suicide prevention services, and students seek help with problems ranging from mood and anxiety disorders to breakups.
Both of these suicides highlight the importance of an “institutional safety net” that schools should provide to for students in need of help. We may never know what motivated these two young men to take their own lives, but suicide is a recurring topic here on 8Asians because it is something that seems to afflict our community over and over again.
Condolences to the friends and loved ones of both Jackson and Brian; may they rest in peace.
h/t: Liz Fong
I’ve already written a couple posts about Lt. Dan Choi and his organization Knights Out that’s fighting the controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that prohibits openly gay servicemen from serving their country. Lt. Choi, a graduate of West Point that speaks fluent Arabic, was a translator (among other things) serving overseas. He was discharged in May for violating the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and is heading into trial on Tuesday. He is now asking for the public’s help in the form of a letter. Please, please spend some time to hand-write a letter and e-mail it to Lt. Choi to show your support of his effort to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. I know I am a bit behind and there are only a couple of days left before the trial, but every letter counts!
For more information: http://ltdanchoi.com/id4.html
Given yesterday’s news about Michael Jackson’s death, it only seems appropriate on this Friday afternoon to post Jane Lui’s tribute to the gloved one in the form of You Are Not Alone with an Ave Maria Gregorian Chant. She gives an absolutely haunting performance.
There’s a scene in Amy Tan‘s The Joy Luck Club, where one of the moms is preparing a crab dinner with her daughter. There’s just enough crabs so that each person gets one, but one of the crabs is too small, and appears to have spoiled. The daughter notes that her Chinese friend and her Caucasian boyfriend take the largest crabs, while her mom, takes the small, spoiled one, but doesn’t touch it through out dinner. It’s a memorable scene for me, because that mom could have easily have been my mom. My mom would never really eat until she was sure everyone else had their share. She’d make everyone else take the best pieces of food, and only take the smaller less desirable pieces for herself.
I was taken down memory lane this week because of a cryptic blog post titled Asian People Only at Resist Racism. It was a blog post by an Asian who talked about how she recently had her mom over for dinner, and some unexpected dinner guests showed up. She whispered to her mom just before dinner, asking her to say she wasn’t hungry (and not eat) if it appeared there wouldn’t be enough food. This request probably seems benign and normal to anyone from an Asian household, but may seem strange or impolite to anyone else. But in most Asian families, asking a family member to make a sacrifice is perfectly acceptable.
This blogger wrote about her dinner party since she had seen a post over at My Mom is a FOB that was a picture of a piece of paper that an Asian auntie had left on everyone’s plate at a dinner party. For most people that paper was probably indecipherable, but interestingly enough quite a few of the Asian commenters knew exactly what it meant. It was request to dinner attendees (probably all family) to take no more than 3 pieces of fish each. That kind of request is certainly not uncommon between family members, and I remember my mom making this type of request to me when we’ve had guests over for dinner, to make sure our guests had their pick of the best food first.
These posts and stories reminded me how there aren’t as many boundaries in Asian families, and how acceptable it is to have family members make sacrifices for one another.
(Want to promote your Asian American event? Add your event to our social network; events added may be blogged about on 8Asians.)
From Lawless Films co-creators Tony Murphy and Troy Antonio comes a one-minute YouTube teaser for the short film Yellow: American Dream, Chinese Ambition. As all pilots go, it’s a piece of work that will additionally be refined, but the production value, direction, and cast make this something to keep an eye on. I asked Tony about some more information about the actors, and he was nice enough to get back to me:
The lead actors are Ty Won (Chinese) and Pedro Kim (Korean). Pedro (Peter) has been in several features that have been released theatrically. I believe his biggest role to date was West 32nd Street […] but for the most part, the rest of the actors are first timers.
We are in the process of finalizing the music with the composer and then finishing up the sound design. We are using the teaser, the completed short and the treatment to try to pitch to American cable networks. The goal is a Chinese “Sopranos meets The Wire” set in Chinatown, NYC with the underlying theme of “identity” and how we, Asian Americans fit into the larger American society.
We write a good amount about television on this blog, and a lot of it revolves around the same theme: blah blah, Asians are always the model minority, why are we always geeks or extras in a Vietnam war movie, blah blah blah. All of that said, the characters on Yellow aren’t what we’ve seen in the movies or in television; they aren’t thugs in the “hey, this CSI Episode needs some actors to play as Triads” sense, but the “holy shit don’t look at him cross-eyed or he will fucking SHOOT you” sense. (Not to imply that it’s just Boyz in the Hood with Asians; the creators still emphasize the theme of fitting into the environment around you while still adapting your culture.) Hopefully this pilot will be green-lit, for no other reason than to start the dialogue of why we see too many “bad” Asian Americans as opposed to not seeing enough of them. (Or any at all.)
(Disclaimer: Apologizes for not getting around to posting the podcast here – but better late than never right? Please enjoy.)
Happy June Everyone! Sorry about the delay in getting this show out. I was prepping my application for grants and stuff. *crossing fingers* This episode is a mixed pot of a whole bunch of stuff – most of which are taken from here and there including covers, new music, remixes and mash-ups.
Links mentioned in this episode:
If you like what you hear, please show your support by supporting the artists and buy their CDs and DVDs using the links provided on this site. For any requests, comments, suggests, dedications or feedback, feel free to leave a comment at Popcast88.com or send an email.
Growing up, I would visit Hong Kong and/or Taiwan every year to visit family and see my birthplace. At first, during these visits, I would try to read signs or menus using whatever Chinese characters I could muster. However, as I progressed through the American school system, it became much easier and comfortable to read the English translations. Even in my early teens, it was easy to tell that some of these translations had critical grammatical, diction, and spelling errors. In most cases, one could easily decipher what the phrase truly meant, but in others… You always figured someone would start a hefty business correcting such errors, or at the very least, be low-cost translators for small businesses. Guess not.
“Engrish” or “Chinglish”, as a phenomenon, has permeated through so much of Asian culture that some people are considering it to be beyond a parody of grammar and instead believe that it is an integral part of modern Asian culture. However, even if one does consider “Engrish” to be the – for the lack of a better word – “progression” of English in certain parts of the world; many social problems, especially in our increasingly border-less world, become more and more pertinent as “Engrish” becomes more socially appropriate and accessible. “Engrish” doesn’t necessarily promote a good image on behalf of Asians; it’s hard to be proud of something like this because it ultimately reflects the ignorance, and even a bit of stupidity, on those who create the signs. Not to mention, those who do need English to navigate themselves through Asia could easily have trouble understanding “Engrish” signs.
It also promotes the use of “Engrish” to those who are not native English speakers. Many times, we hear stories of or see “Fobs”, the immigrants who are “Fresh off the Boat” that subsequently do not have proper mastery of colloquial English. From what I remember, elementary school teachers used stop signs or stop lights to promote the learning of spelling and language. The same can be said of learning a second language. If all around you, there are signs using English that is grammatically incorrect, and you assume it is correct, why should you not think that its a proper usage of the English language?
The question of: “Tomorrow we don’t have class?” can be qualified by multiple answers:
1) Yes. – Yes we have class.
2) Yes. – Yes, we don’t have class.
3) No. – No, we have class.
4) No. – No, we don’t have class.
1 and 4 are essentially the same as are 2 and 3. But it depends on how you phrase the question and how the answer is phrased.. Also, negations in Chinese are tied to specifics. You rarely say bu (不), and instead you say buyao (不要), or meiyou(沒有). In any case, this guy is… simplifying it too much.
He’s right. The author’s oversimplifying the concept, but there have been instances, with my aunts, cousins, and even my mother, where I have had to clarify because they answer simply with a word. So a “Yes” to the question like “I can’t stay out past midnight?” (because sometimes even 18 year old college students have curfew when they’re back home) makes me question “‘Yes, I can’ or ‘Yes, I can’t’?” Ultimately the best solution is to ask a better question: “Can I stay out past midnight tonight” which leads to “Yes” or “No” with no confusion.
Still, this phenomenon, and the ramifications it carries, only further accentuates the difficulties of crossing cultural borders splitting the East and the West. Widespread change and corrections throughout Asia is highly unlikely, and “Engrish” is without a doubt going to stay, cultural impacts or not.