The Chinese taxi driver had a big incredulous smile plastered over his face. “Where are you from?!” he asked, hardly containing his laughter. To any ordinary foreigner this is an ordinary question. But to a Chinese Australian in China, the question contains an unintended implication which stings, just a little.
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While some Asian Americans/Canadians fish for recreation, others fish in order to use their catch to directly feed their families. The Sierra Club is publicizing a study showing how mercury pollution in fish is affecting Hispanic communities, with some Hispanic anglers exposed to almost twice the levels of mercury recommended by the EPA. A blog post from New America Media states that certain Asian Americans are exposed to even higher levels of mercury, twice as much as Hispanics. The post cites this study from UC Davis that finds that Southeast Asians in the California’s Delta, and Laotians in particular, do extensive amounts of subsistence fishing and thus have significant mercury exposure. Some of the mercury in the Delta is natural, while some comes from mines created during the Gold Rush.
APA Spotlight is a weekly interview of Asian Pacific Islander Americans (APIA) community leaders. It is a spotlight on individuals who have dedicated their careers to issues surrounding the APIA community with the goal of bringing much deserved recognition to their work and cause(s).
Aldous Davidson is an NYU film graduate who has been acting and directing for the past 10 years and his recent short film How to Greet the Dead was an Interpretations Film Award winner. He is currently a co-manager of the Asian American Film Lab, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping Asian Americans find film and acting resources in the New York City area.
What is your organization’s mission statement?
The AAFilmLab is a collaborative non-profit organization of New York based Asian American filmmakers, writers and actors who meet twice a month to hone their craft, share resources, educate, challenge and support one another. We organize monthly script readings and screenings with constructive feedback as well as industry meet and greets.
Just because you’re a celebrity doesn’t mean you can go anywhere you want. Actress Michelle Yeoh discovered this after she was deported and blacklisted from Myanmar for her role in the upcoming movie about Suu Kyi: “The Malaysian actress arrived in the country’s main city, Yangon, on June 22 and was deported the same day… a government official said… But Myanmar’s repressive government has routinely rejected visa requests of journalists and perceived critics for years. The Luc Besson movie about Suu Kyi’s life, The Lady, is due out later this year, and Yeoh has said she hopes her portrayal of Suu Kyi will raise awareness about the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s story.”
One of our readers passed along this funny commercial for Hornitos Tequila, featuring a very a horny hot brunette Jen who confesses missing fellow not-as-hot classmate Don Chao in geometry class. Don doesn’t recall Jen being in geometry; Jane mentions she was shy in that class. At the end of the brief commercial, we’re all surprised to find out that Jen was in the class, but not as a student! Maybe it’s the tequila at work – I love Hornitos’ tag line – “Purer than one’s intentions.” Kind of appropriate for the product as well as a little disconcerting when you think about it.
I’ve been to three reunions in my life thus far and unfortunately, I can’t say that I’ve been surprised by the revelation of a secret crush at any of them, let alone a former teacher or professor!
[Hat tip to Halls]
Awww, isn’t this cute? ABC’s dating reality show The Bachelorette could have taken Bachelorette Ashley and her suitors to Paris or the Caribbean, but the show decided to take them to Taiwan instead. Taiwan! I know! Attached is an outtake of the show where the Bachelorette, host and suitors gush over Taiwan for a minute and a half. It’s an outtake, because it’s a minute and a half of gushing over a country, instead of people gushing over each other or Ashley sobbing on her bed because it’s so hard to love so many guys at once and like only choose one. Also, they probably needed to produce a package to impress the Taiwan Tourism Bureau.
From the Honolulu Star-Advertiser: “Hawaii slack key guitar and ukulele musician Ledward Kaapana was named as a 2011 National Heritage Fellowship recipient, the nation’s highest honor in folk and traditional arts… Kaapana, who grew up in Kalapana on the Big Island but now lives in Kaneohe, was recognized for entertaining audiences for more than 40 years. He learned music from his mother, Mama Tina Kaapana and an uncle, Fred Punahoa.” Now that the Grammy’s have dropped the Hawaiian Music category, it’s nice to know that some people still appreciate this type of music.
I saw Number Two Son watching A.N.T. Farm on the Disney Channel, about a group of brilliant middle school students who go to a San Francisco high school. They are part of a gifted program for students who have “Advanced Natural Talents.” Usually in this series, I write about the cool Asian American things that my kids find on TV or on the Internet. What I found with my son this time was a show with a stunning lack of Asian Americans.
Given that San Francisco is a city with more than 30% of the population being Asian American and that Lowell High School, an academic magnet high school in the city, is more than 50% Asian, it seems weird that none of main characters or recurring characters are Asian American. Sure, there are a few in the background, but nothing like I would expect from a San Francisco high school. Ironically, the main character is named “Chyna” and is played by actress China Anne McClain.
From the Chronicle of Higher Education: “Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders are, as a whole, not as well educated and financially successful as prevailing stereotypes often suggest, according to the preliminary findings of a report released on Monday. […] In fact, nearly half of all Asian-American and Pacific Islander students attend community colleges, and many of their ethnic groups have some of the lowest high-school-graduation and college-degree-attainment rates in the United States.” In other news, the sky is blue.
If you really want to screw with your mind without taking drugs, just watch this guy’s optical illusion video. For a while there, I had thought they were four separate rings, but they’re actually two rings that are touching each in the first part of the video. What is totally wacky is how this Japanese guy has amazingly steady hands and knows about how far a ring’s diameter is to move them so that they actually look like synchronized movement. You’re half waiting for him to pull his hands back and the rings just move by themselves. Completely trippy stuff.
On June 16th, the House of Representatives’ Committee on Foreign Affairs conducted a full committee hearing on “Why Taiwan Matters.” Unlike most issues in Congress, supporting Taiwan is not a partisan issue – both Democrats and Republicans support Taiwan and there are open repeated efforts to sell to Taiwan advanced weapons for Taiwan to defend herself:
Over the past two days on June 24th and 25th, I had a chance to check out six of the numerous performances (much thanks to Ami Patel for providing the hookup) at the 3rd National Asian American Theater Festival in Los Angeles, including Sunoh! Tell Me Sister, Dictee, Ten Reasons Why I’d Be a Bad Porn Star,Archipelago, Pull, and Encounter. Read my honest reviews of each of these performances after the cut.