8 Asians

Mizuki Oval Rhodium Hana Mizuki Pendant

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Whether you’re single or in a happy relationship, it’s Valentine’s Day. Instead of going for a typical heart necklace, try this Hana Mizuki Pendant ($150) is a unique gift for yourself or someone else. Made of rhodium over sterling silver, this necklace is sure to please.

Check out this product on our shopping blog, GASP!

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Ben Henderson Wins UFC Lightweight Championship

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I have written about a number of Asians Americans in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), such as Mark Munoz and Nam Phan. One that I haven’t talked about is Ben “Smooth” Henderson, who won the UFC lightweight championship at UFC 144 in Japan on February 25 by defeating Frankie Edgar in a controversially close decision. Here he is with his mom, who is holding his championship belt.

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Having An Asian Moment: The FP Trailer

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The FP is a revelation in film — and it’s too bad that I had to wait until now to see it.

Before I get into why I had an Asian moment with this film, let us explore the wonder of The FP. The movie’s title refers to Frazier Park, a suburb in Southern California — this is where this glorious tale takes place.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=714SjIUPJkM

While American Idol isn’t doing too well in the ratings this season – they recently had their lost-rated episode ever – Heejun Han, the token Asian American American Idol contest of the season has caught the attention of critics and APA bloggers alike. His audition tape sets Heejun up to the audience as a goofy William Hung-like auditioner and then bolting out a pitch-perfection rendition of Michael Bolton’s “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You.” Lisa de Moraes from the Washington Post sums it up best: “… the judges just got punked on their own racial stereotypes.” And 95% of the American audience, the ones that weren’t too busy watching Big Bang Theory.

Positive media portrayal aside – you know how it is and how quickly it turned on Jeremy Lin – Idol is bonafide American pop culture phenomena, whether you love the show or hate it. Here are a list of the Top 8 Asian American contestants, not including Heejun Han, that have made the biggest impact – for better, or for worse – in American pop culture.

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Hidden Wall Safe

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We all know criminals aren’t the smartest people on the block, but even the slyest thief would have a hard time finding your valuables in this Hidden Wall Safe ($7.99). This tricky hidey hole is a small and discrete wall unit that is perfect for concealing a few valuable items or a stash of cash. At less than $10, it may be worth the price of protecting something that is worth a whole lot more.

From Chosun: “North Korea has deployed an improved, longer-range version of its 240 mm multiple rocket launchers, military sources said Monday. It is expected to unveil them during a parade to mark the centennial of regime founder Kim Il-sung’s birthday on April 15. One military source cited intelligence reports saying the North spent several years trying to improve the rocket launchers and has now completed the work. To test the upgraded version, it reportedly imported 300 mm shells from Russia and test-fired them for years off the west coast.” I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised that NK is beefing up their military – that place is so fragile right now, I feel like we can only expect instability.

Time Magazine issued an apology last week, February 24, 2012 for using a photo of an Arizona man, who it turns out is not Latino, on a cover about Latino voting power. The cover used a collage of 24 people, presumably of Hispanic descent. It included a picture of Michael Schennum, who does not identify himself as Latino. The cover is titled: “Yo Decido. Why Latinos Will Pick The Next President.”

Schennum said he was at Arizona State University when an associate photo editor from the magazine approached him, asked him if he was a registered voter and took his photo. Schennum is actually part Norwegian, part Chinese and part Irish. An ethnic mix that some would refer to as Hapa.

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David Choe Art Tees

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People think Facebook’s recent IPO filing has made California artist David Choe a rich man, but they are grossly mistaken. Choe was already a rich man. And he wasn’t homeless (Choe owns a home but lives out of hotels as he travels a lot). But you can describe him as an avid gambler, ex-con, looter, Howard Stern’s adopted son Kim Jong Stern, touring musician, and anything else that is true.

Media has romanticized Choe’s debut on mainstream culture as the tale of a rags-to-riches street artist. Actually, Choe was already a thriving, successful underground artist. He may have had a criminal past, looting against the L.A. rioters and spending time in a Japanese jail, but now he prefers to live dangerously the Las Vegas way. As a high roller, Choe frequents the Strip where he has a free place to stay at all the major casino resorts. His newly found Facebook fortune has brought him one thing though: loss of privacy. “I cannot buy my privacy back. What the hell is happening” Choe said in an interview with Barbara Walters. So respect the artist, cop one of these cool tees ($24-26) from the Upper Playground store, and leave David Choe alone.

Check out this product on our shopping blog, GASP!

When Vivek Wadhwa founded a tech company, he was advised by fellow Indian Americans to have a white “front man” to pitch company to venture capitalists. Moving to academia in an attempt to slow down from the hectic tech business world,  one of his studies found that in 2005, 52.4% of Silicon Valley startups were founded by immigrants from all over the world. Is Silicon Valley a place of pure meritocracy, where people from anywhere can make it big? Before moving there, he thought so, but after attending some local events he changed his mind. When he pointed out issues with race and gender in Silicon Valley, he was shocked at the backlash.

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From the New York Times: “As of last March, 30.4 percent of people over age 25 in the United States held at least a bachelor’s degree, and 10.9 percent held a graduate degree, up from 26.2 percent and 8.7 percent 10 years earlier. … Asian-Americans remain the nation’s best-educated racial group, with 50.3 percent having bachelor’s degrees, and 19.5 percent holding graduate degrees.”

Lucky Peach magazine

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The growing prevalence of food culture has put America long past the days of grilled cheese (-product) sandwiches and unfulfilling TV dinners. We know the difference between macaroon and macaron, that grass-fed beef tastes better, and why Monsanto needs to go down. Chefs, and even the food itself, have become celebrities while we take both our cameras and cell phones to the table.

If you don’t know your taiyaki from takoyaki, or still think food trucks are only for construction workers and industrial park tenants, then you’ll need to brush up on your gastronomy. Try skimming through the pages of the quarterly Lucky Peach magazine ($12 per issue or $28 for a subscription).

A culinary journal by momofuku majesty David Chang and New York Times’ food columnist Peter Meehan, Lucky Peach will provide hours of gustatory pleasure and enlightenment. Contributors like Anthony Bourdain and Ferran Adria share their insight while cult-favorite cooks like Christina Tosi and Wylie Dufresne share their recipes. Each issue has a prevailing theme, and the magazine is currently on its third issue.

Still not convinced? Maybe this live ramen demonstration by David Chang will do the trick.

President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III of the Philippines is single but may be looking to change that, as reported by The Guardian:

“Given the burdens of this office, if there were someone you could confide in, someone you could talk to, someone who would tell you ‘You’re still doing OK’, then of course that would be a key to your inspiration,” Aquino told reporters. “I’ve been planning [marriage] for a long time, since college even. But I’ve just been unlucky.”

If the President is addled by his romantic woes, he may not be the only one.

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