8 Asians

A friend of mine on Facebook had posted this interesting article in Harvard Magazine aboout social psychologist Professor Amy Cuddy, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School, and her study on how people perceive and categorize others – in particular – in snap judgments (or how what Malcom Gladwell would pontificate in a book like Blink.)

The article goes on to describe how people perceive each other in convenient two attributes: warmth (does this person feel warm or cold to me?) and competence (how capable is someone of getting something done?) – which leads to a equivalently convenient two-by-two matrix.

One example quickly stuck out when I read the article:

Another example: a new pupil in a mathematics class is told to pair up with another student to work on a problem. Research suggests that a pupil who knows no one in the class will tend to partner with an Asian student; Asians are stereotyped as cold/competent. “People are willing to team up with them, but it’s only out of self-interest,” says Cuddy…However, there’s a far darker side to the cold/competent stereotype … ‘We respect you, there’s something you have that we like, but we kind of resent you for having it—and you’re not the majority.” Asian-Americans, career women, and black professionals also tend to be perceived in the cold/competent quadrant.

The example of  the stereotype of Asian Americans being “good at math” is not really surprising and this thought “experiment” was never actually conducted. But this really got me to thinking about past discussed blogged topics, such as hitting the “bamboo ceiling (glass ceiling),” where are the Asian CEOs, along with but not limited to – Americans expect business leaders to be white.

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Bang Bang Official Trailer


Bang bang! Sometimes it’s nice to see a movie with Asian Americans that’s not about ninjas, samurais or martial arts. Check out the official trailer for Bang Bang, an independent film starring Thai Viet G and David Huynh. The gritty film follows the friendship of two young men from opposite sides of the track who find their friendship torn between gang warfare. It’s refreshing to see Asian American male roles that aren’t relegated to emasculated or asexual characters–and also a film that delves into a world of Asian gangs, a topic that often doesn’t receive much attention in pop culture, so I’m looking forward to seeing how well this film will be received. Bang Bang should hit the film festival circuit sometime in 2011.

Life is hard enough as an Asian. Not all of us can get perfect SAT  scores, graduate from medical school or trick out a Honda Civic. The  pressure to embrace our culture remains but sometimes, we just don’t  want to. How To Be A Bad Asian is an ongoing series of personal essays  by the 8Asians writers about what sets us apart from the API community,  how we deal with the stereotypes that we put upon ourselves and why we  all can’t be that perfect Asian. It’s time to be bad.

We often write on 8asians about Asian Americans being portrayed in American media as being “other/non-American” and being exoticized.   Just seeing Asian Americans portrayed as regular and normal Americans in commercials can seem like a major triumph.   Movies like Big Trouble in Little China seems to fall in the category of movies that reinforce stereotypes of Asian Americans as weird,mystical, exotic, and un-American. But in this regard I am a bad Asian – I love Big Trouble in Little China!

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Akufuncture Fall/Winter 2010 Collection


If you’re interested in adding to your wardrobe, then we suggest you check out the new Fall/Winter 2010 Collection from Akufuncture with new designs that focus on China’s historical “Romance of the Three Kingdoms.”

During this era, China was divided into many factions and with time, ended with three major powers struggling for the control of China. While there were many prominent figures during the era, we focused on the two most famous (and perhaps infamous) generals: Guan Yu and Lu Bu.

This Mask shirt ($24.99) features General Guan Yu in a simple red design to represent his legendary warrior skills, loyalty and righteousness. Just like you, right?

By PeterLo

Two weeks before my father’s wedding, his mother tells him: “You know, we’d really prefer if you’d marry someone Chinese.” Flash forward about 26 years. My parents are still married, and my sister and I are the living products of an Asian guy/white girl couple (yes, my dad was pimp enough to get a white girl). So, what happened to my Chinese grandparents’ expectation for their number one son to maintain their proud Chinese traditions?

Perhaps some tradition was lost. The family poem made from the names of progeny from each new generation died with my generation. I hated dim sum growing up. Up until three years ago I had never been to mainland China. My first language is English and I’m struggling to learn Mandarin to fit in with my girlfriend’s family.

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Asian American Top 10 Lists for 2010


Editors of one of the top 10 Asian American blogs for 2010

As is typical towards year end, top 10 lists for the year are coming out, and there are a number of lists for things Asian American.  Northwest Asian Weekly has put out a list of the top 10 Asian American Achievers for 2010.  Heading their list is Lt. Dan Choi and his struggle to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” Bruno Mars is at the top of the list of the top 10 Asian Americans in popular culture. He has written or performed many hits, and as the list states, his arrest on cocaine possession charges guarantees that he will be in the public eye for some time.  The list of the 10 best Asian or Asian American themed movies includes Mao’s Last Dancer.   Harimaya Bridge looks really interesting.

Moving from popular culture to sports, Northwest Asian Weekly has the top 10 Asian American sports figures of 2010.   Somehow they include Manny Pacquiao, who isn’t Asian American, although he is in the US a fair amount.

There are some non-people lists also.   Here is a list of the 10 ten cities for Asian Americans that came out recently.  During November 2010, iamkoream.com published a list of the top 10 Asian American blogs to read right now.   8asians made the list of course (how could you have any doubt?).

So what do you all think?  Are these top 10 lists reasonable?  Are there any gross injustices done by any of these lists?  One notable blog we found missing from the top 10 blog list was Sepia Mutiny, one of the original Asian American collaborative blogs and one that sees a lot of traffic.  Any notable top 10 lists we missed here?  Let us know!

The Shui Kuen and Allen Chin Scholarship was established to honor the values of restaurant owners Shui Kuen and Allen Chin through supporting the educational aspirations of children of workers in the Asian/Pacific Islander food service industry in the United States of America.

The selfless commitment and hard work of Shui Kuen and Allen Chin, co-owners and operators of Chung’s, a well-known Chinese restaurant in the greater Detroit area, allowed their six children to successfully complete post-secondary education and pursue a diverse range of career paths. With pride, the Chins regularly shared news of their children’s latest accomplishments with long-time and new restaurant customers alike. On October 11, 2005, Allen Chin lost his life on his way to the restaurant. Shui Kuen Chin survived the car accident and provided encouragement to her children as they sought to turn the family tragedy into something positive. The Chin children have decided that The SKAC Foundation’s support of educational aspirations will take the form of an annual scholarship award program to be known as The SKAC Scholarship.

The Shui Kuen and Allen Chin Scholarship is now accepting applications for 2011. Two $1,000 scholarships for restaurant workers and children of restaurant workers are available from the Shui Kuen and Allen Chin Scholarship, a program of the Asian Pacific Fund.

Eligibility criteria are:

  • Self or parent currently or formerly employed at an Asian-owned or Asian cuisine restaurant
  • Community advocacy and social justice work on behalf of Asian American, immigrant, gay and lesbian and other progressive causes
  • Grade level: Incoming freshman or current, full-time undergraduate in 2011-12
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Status: U.S. citizenship or permanent residence

Completed application includes:

  1. Online application with essays
  2. Resume (paid or unpaid work experience, school activities, family responsibilities, community service, honors and awards)
  3. Two letters of recommendation, at least on of which is a from a current teacher or professor
  4. FAFSA Student Aid Report

Application Deadline: March 17, 2011

The Asian Pacific Fund is a community foundation established to improve the health and well-being of all Asian Americans in the Bay Area.

h/t: Curtis Chin of Asian Pacific Americans for Progress, one of the Chin children

Olivia Munn in NBC’s Perfect Couples


I saw a recent promotional commercial on NBC for their new show, Perfect Couples, with Olivia Munn starring as Leigh, one of the girls in the three couples being highlighted in what appears to be a romantic comedy sitcom. Hopefully Munn’s acting and comedic timing will be improved over her past Daily Show appearances… The show officially starts in January, but there was recently a “sneak peak” which is now available online here.

You’ll be seeing less of the much blogged about Jeremy Lin, at least for the time being: “The Golden State Warriors plan to send rookie point guard Jeremy Lin to their NBA D-League team [the Reno Bighorns] soon, although he will be with Golden State on Monday night, a league source told FanHouse’s Sam Amick. … Lin is still developing as a point guard, but the Warriors clearly haven’t seen enough as they recently signed Acie Law, clearing the way for Lin to be assigned to the D-League.”

Merry Christmas Happy Early Lunar New Year by a couple of months Happy Holidays, from all of us at 8Asians.com! Our family being the standard Chinese converted-Baptists ripped apart by parental divorce and family problems, our family traditions have been less the sitting around eating Christmas Ham and steamed rice, and more taking my mom out to the Elephant Bar for lunch. I am, however, eagerly looking forward to Sunday, where a bunch of 8Asians.com bloggers – past and present – will meet up for a nice dinner. Hopefully that’ll be a nice tradition.

But enough about me — what about you? As a lot of us our children of immigrants that don’t celebrate Christmas in the traditional way, what are your family traditions? Leave a comment below and join in on the conversation!

(Flickr photo credit: w00kie)

As the New Year approaches, not only has the San Francisco local media covered the political guessing game as to who will be the next mayor, but so has the national media. The other day, the Wall Street Journal profiled current San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu and his odd circumstances of possibly becoming the next mayor:

Mr. Chiu’s unusual situation is the result of the vacancy being created by departing San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who leaves for Sacramento next month to take the job of California lieutenant governor. That leaves San Francisco’s 11-member Board of Supervisors with the option of choosing an interim mayor to serve out the remaining year of Mr. Newsom’s term. If Mr. Chiu were selected, he would resign his supervisory post, a spokesman said. But if no interim mayoral candidate can win six board votes, it would fall to Mr. Chiu as board president to oversee both branches of city government as “acting mayor.”

Now, the basic tenets of our government is the separation of powers and checks and balances, certainly at least at the federal level, but I believe this applies to all levels of government in the United States. Chiu has also expressed how demanding holding down two jobs would be! There has been some speculation as to whether or not Chiu wants to be just the interim mayor as well as the next elected mayor. With California Attorney General-elect Kamala Harris vacating San Francisco District Attorney seat, some have suggested that Gavin Newsom may be appoint David Chiu the next attorney general to replace Harris.

I first met David a little over two years ago when he was first running for supervisor for District 3, and got to know him a little bit better during his campaign through a mutual friend and even volunteered by walking some precincts putting door hangers in the district.

With a few weeks to go, we could have two Asian American mayors in the Bay Area – the first for San Francisco and the first for Oakland, and that would truly be historic. I can’t wait to see what happens.

flickr photo credit: Storm Crypt

“We have to be there at 5 AM.”

My kids were rather unhappy that our first trip to Simbang Gabi was going to require waking up extremely early during their Christmas vacation.  What is Simbang Gabi?  It is a traditional Filipino practice during the Christmas Season – a series of nine early morning masses starting on December 16 and ending on Christmas Eve.  Even though I grew up in the Bay Area with a lot of Filipinos, I had never been to any part of Simbang Gabi or even heard of it when I was growing up.  But now, despite the pain of getting up to go to church before the sun comes up, this tradition seems to be spreading in the US.

What is the appeal of Simbang Gabi?  Continue Reading »