8 Asians

This American Life headed back towards China this week but don’t worry, they’re not talking about the Foxconn factory and iPads–nor are they retracting their retraction. This past week’s episode, “Americans in China,” cover what life is like for ex-pats living in there right now, from the numerous requests to appear on TV and rediscovering your American identity abroad and life in the rural provinces. I was most fascinated with Kaiser Kuo’s story who first found success in the country as a rock star but was forced to accept his own outsider status as an American after the 199 US bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. As Asian Americans, we’re treated as Asian in America but American in Asia. Will we ever find a happy balance?

PS. Check out music from Kaiser Kuo’s band, Tang Dynasty, on Xxxtine’s POP 88 podcast here!

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Growing up in the US, and specifically in a Christian community, I recall doing very little in the way of volunteerism, service, or even mission projects (loosely defined as going out and working with another community). It’s ironic since the example set by Jesus largely has to do with compassionate works and self-sacrifice. It wasn’t until late college I discovered that for me to truly engage in my faith it would mean engaging in social and political issues. I couldn’t in good conscience simply sit idly by and not voice an opinion about poverty, the war in Iraq, or even the recent immigration controversies.

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I’ve been meaning to write about Nate Shinagawa for a while. Now I have a better reason to. Shinagawa is currently a Tompkins County Legislature in upstate New York and just won the Democratic nomination for New York’s 23rd Congressional District Democratic nomination this past Tuesday:

“In returns from 589 of the sprawling district’s 596 precincts at about 11:45 p.m., Shinagawa had 55 percent of the vote. Leslie Danks Burke had 37 percent and Melissa Dobson 7 percent.Shinagawa will be the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican Tom Reed of Corning in November.”

From what I can tell from the Ithaca Journal, Shinagawa was a strong opponent of “fracking” – hydraulic fracturing – a technique used to release natural gas from rock. This has been an issue of great concern with a lot of potential natural gas reserves being drilled. The environmental safety of fracking is a concern to many citizens of the Congressional district. Hyphen Magazine recently did an excellent piece on Shinagawa about his campaign and the issues he’s been fight for.

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The Face Of The Asian American

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By Jenny Hones

In the 1940s, many Asian immigrants from Japan, China, Korea and the Philippines came to United States with the goal to earn enough money for a better life back in the home country. Most never intended to stay but, after building a life in America, many found brides through arrange marriages and started families. Some came for other personal reasons like my paternal great grandparents. They were from a small village in Japan. In those days, when children were born, they were often betrothed to their cousins. But, love has a way of changing our paths in life. So instead of marrying their parent’s intended choice, they decided to elope.

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After the September 11 attacks, Asian American cab drivers, particularly those of South Asian origin, were the victims of racism as some Americans spat upon, cursed, and even stabbed any one they thought was “Middle Eastern.” At the same time, these drivers have been accused of being unwilling to pick up black and Hispanic passengers.  In this column in the International Business Times, Palash Ghosh takes a look at this contradiction.

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Nerdcore hip-hop artist Adam WarRock (Eugene Ahn) is back with a brand new (and very first) music video for “This Song.” The new piece marks his two year anniversary of pursuing music full-time, as well as his annual fundraiser to continue his tradition of producing free songs for fans, performing live across the country and reminding us that hey, going after that dream job is totally worth it!

Click here to donate! And like every true generous Asian, Eugene will be giving every donor free downloads, an exclusive mixtape album, a copy of the Adam WarRock comic, a sketch from artist Chris Haley and a hug.*

*I may or may not have made up this part.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Last week, Pew Research Center released their study of “The Rise of Asian Americans.” MSNBC did a segment on the report and discuss the importance of the Asian vote. Although Asian American make up only 6% of the overall U.S. population, their numbers in a few battleground states  – especially in Nevada and Virgina – could help swing the vote for Obama or Romney. Given that Asian Americans generally lean Democratic, it’s no wonder that Obama has been paying a little bit more attentions to the Asian American community lately. In a future follow-up post, I’ll go into more of the details of the Pew report’s results on Asian Americans and their views on politics.

Is Asian Immigration making America less religious?

Asian immigration has been the focus of many, many claims to society ills. They include the usual load of “they taking our jobs” or “damn, they soaking our social services”  etc. But funnily enough, immigrant Asians have now been accused of “y’all ain’t believing enough!”. According to Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation, Asian immigrants are making the United States less religious.

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If you were a stupid teenage boy, what would you do on an afternoon bike ride? Why, grope a jogging girl who’s family owns a martial arts school of course! That’s exactly what a pair of 16 and 18 year old boys did to Priscilla Dang, who’s family owns their own Summit Wushu Academy up in Clackamas, Oregon.

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One part of the college admissions process that you may encounter is the interview. Some colleges require it, while two out of the three high schools that Number One Son applied to required interviews. Although The Daughter did not have any college interviews, I have been an alumni interviewer for my college for several years and will pass on my experiences. As with everything, some preparation can go a long way with making the admissions interview a positive experience.

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Our Jeremy Linspiration

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By Sheldon

My friend and I were brought together through our common passion of creating and directing videos that will connect to people who have shared our experiences as first-generation Asian Americans. We, like many others, were inspired by the events of Linsanity and grateful for the ways in which Jeremy has paved the way for countless Asian Americans not only in sports, but also in film, music, etc. Jeremy’s impact on how Asian Americans such as myself are treated, viewed and represented in society cannot be overstated nor fully appreciated until years down the road. We hope that this short film is the first of many to come, and will continue the momentum of Linsanity and help to carry it over to the next NBA season.

The characters include Sheldon as the lead, who is an aspiring Asian-American actor in Los Angeles, Brian Ji, a MD/PhD student at Columbia University, and finally the mailman Charlie Kim, an aspiring musician in Los Angeles.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sheldon Zhai is an Asian American actor in Los Angeles.

Editor’s Note: 8Asians.com is a media sponsor of Vincent Chin 30: Standing Up Then and Now.

In 1982, Vincent Chin was the victim of a hate crime murder in Detroit. Thirty years later, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders continue to face discrimination and bullying. In light of recent tragedies like the extreme hazing and subsequent death of Pvt. Danny Chen and the continuing effects of 9/11, what can Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders do to stand up against racism and discrimination?

On Saturday, June 23, 2012, Asian Pacific Americans for Progress (APAP), the national network of progressive Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and allies, presents “Vincent Chin 30: Standing Up Then and Now,” a nationwide Google Hangout with leading civil rights leaders from around the country to discuss hate crimes and bullying in the community.

The one-hour panel discussion, to be moderated by Phil Yu of AngryAsianMan.com, will feature Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32), chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC); Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations San Francisco Bay Area chapter; Tom Hayashi, executive director of OCA, and Mee Moua, president and executive director of Asian American Justice Center; and more.

The Google Hangout will be held from 11 a.m. to noon (Pacific Time) on June 23. Viewing parties have been organized in more 30 cities. In Los Angeles, the viewing party will be held at The National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, at 111 N. Central Ave. in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles.

Doors open at 10:30 a.m. Following the hangout, there will be a half-hour conversation with Stewart Kwoh, Executive Director, Asian Pacific American Legal Center and L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. The event ends at 2:00 p.m.
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