8 Asians

For the last few days, the Asian American websphere has been buzzing about two possibly related incidents at UCLA which campus police are investigating as hate crimes.

On Tuesday, a student discovered a piece of paper with the words “asian women R Honkie white-boy worshipping Whores” attached to a Vietnamese Student Union sign in Kerckhoff Hall at UCLA.

On Wednesday, another student found the words “Asian Women are White-Boy Worshipping Sluts” handwritten in the women’s bathroom of the library basement.

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Learn Taiwanese from Mike Campbell


Whenever I visited Taiwan as a child, my family and friends there were always so very impressed with my Taiwanese, and not just because I was the American kid. Other kids my age or generation who had grown up in Taiwan often couldn’t speak it, even if it was their home language.

In fact, kids coming back to visit Taiwan from America were often more fluent in Taiwanese than their Taiwanese counterparts, thanks to the cultural and linguistic time capsule effect that comes with immigration–we learn the language and culture of our parent’s generation and not the evolving modern one of the present day in our heritage country. So I’ve always been pretty proud to speak Taiwanese, especially when the language became politically preferred in the newly democratic Taiwan and I got extra pats on the back from family for upholding the Taiwanese heritage.

And then polyglot linguist extraordinaire Mike Campbell comes along and shatters my self-image by speaking not only Taiwanese and Mandarin fluently, but a good majority of all the dialects in Taiwan as well. Way to make me feel like an epic fail. Thanks, Campbell. You’re awesome.

“The Philippines right now is how America will be in twenty years”, says Li, a Manila resident situated in one of many Bonifacio High Street’s various cafes, in reference to two government acts under Noynoy Aquino’s leadership. The laws in question are The Reproductive Health Bill, and the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, both the subject of intense debate that highlight the political processes, pluralism, corruption, and bureaucracy that generate a problem in the form of the universal solution amongst many Filipinos: “Save up and get out now, send money home, and get everyone else out; there’s no hope here.”

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My family in Taiwan is always raving about how awesome health care is there. Some of them were recently reading off some health care prices to me. U.S. abdominal ultrasound: $500-$600. In Taiwan, it’s $27 without insurance and $1 with insurance. The difference is ridiculous.

Recently in Taiwan, someone suggested that they entice more Mainland Chinese students over to the small island’s colleges and universities by offering them health care. Of course, not a lot of people thought that was a great idea.
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Male chauvinism has taken quite some time to accept that women are not objects, that they are entitled to being who they are without interference (although half the world is still catching up). However, campaigns such as “Take Back the Night” only highlight how sad it is that people have to fight for the understanding that certain actions are not open invitations (i.e, wearing provocative clothing etc).

Likewise, it seems that a series of attacks in Australia against Koreans have had the Queensland Police Force (the state where I live) blaming the situations they were in: “vulnerable; it was late at night and they were displaying quality iPhones, iPads and the like,” (Detective Inspector Rod Kemp) rather than any actual racial motivation. Funnily enough, another recent attack against a Korean also had the same hallmarks, but the victim also claimed that not only did the police blame him for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, they also failed to properly investigate it, prompting a protest from the South Korean embassy. The victim also claims that the police officers were derogatory and said “Asians are stupid,” etc. This victim was attacked at a train station 5 minutes from where I live.

The question however remains, where are we responsible for our own safety? How do we ensure that we do not end up becoming the victim? Should we adopt a campaign similar to “take back the night”, or should we instead be a little more responsible perhaps? Perhaps a little more militant? These situations happy to all Asians, whether native or new, across all countries.

Sometimes it can be seen that rather than going and demanding that the social system obtain justice, we need to stand up and fight for it ourselves.

Over the weekend, PSY’s ubiquitous invisible horse riding dance video galloped into the record books when it beat out Justin Beiber for the top spot as the most-watched YouTube video ever, with more than 800 million views.

Since there has been no shortage of posts about Gangnam Style here on 8Asians since it hit our radars back in the summer, it makes me wonder when people are going to stop watching that video over and over again. By my estimation, I personally have contributed to several hundred views of that video when I play it whenever my (non-Asian) friends look at me with a blank stare when I mention it. (Yes, I know it’s hard to believe that there is anyone left who hasn’t seen it.)

Have you watched the video incessantly? What’s your excuse?

Andy Marra, a Korean adoptee, shares the touching story about tracking down her Korean birth mother, whose love and acceptance allowed her to continue her male-to-female transition: “To this day I am astounded by my mother’s supernatural intuition despite the language and cultural barriers that still exist between us. I felt a great sense of relief when she helped me come out. My mother started to show her acceptance through simple acts. She would brush my long hair after I took a shower. She gave me a facial to soften my skin. She asked me if I had any boys chasing after me.” Read the full article here.

Faking An Asian Language – The Right Way


Many of you may have been mocked when you were a kid by people saying to you “Ching Chong Ting Tong” or other such nonsense in a lame attempt at imitating an Asian language.  Hey, it still goes on even after you grow up!  This video by Joe Jo of Just Kidding Films says that if you are going to fake an Asian language, at least do it right! It provides fake Mandarin, fake Vietnamese, and fake Tagalog along with other examples.

(h/t Maxine)

The fight card of UFC on FOX 5 seems to have an unusually large number of Asian American fighters.  Benson Henderson defends his lightweight title against Nate Diaz, with BJ Penn also on the main card.  On the preliminary card, Nam Phan is replacing Eddie Yagin, who pulled out of his fight with Dennis Siver after being hospitalized with swelling around his brainYagin has left the hospital and is expected to fully recover.  UFC on FOX 5 is scheduled for December 8, with the main card on FOX and preliminary matches on FX.

Motorola’s latest commercial for its Droid RAZR M stars an Asian American Little Red Riding Hood, using her smartphone at the latest version of Android (“Jelly Bean”) to find a safer way to grandma’s house. I thought the commercial was cute, but wonder why Motorola chose this particular actress (besides the fact that she was cute). Not sure this fairy tale story is necessarily the best way ton convince consumers to consider a Motorola smartphone, but at least it is original.

Staff Sargent Andrew J. Van Bockel, the seventh soldier courtmartialed in association with Private Danny Chen’s suicide, received a mix of verdicts on November 20. He was convicted of hazing Chen, allowing Chen to be hazed, and maltreating Chen by calling him racist names and making him speak Chinese instead of English.  He was found innocent of maltreating Chen by making him do a low crawl and tying sandbags to his arms. Van Bockel was demoted, reprimanded, and sentenced to 60 days hard labor for his guilty verdicts.

While I thought that the MC Hammer/Psy Mashup that Psy performed on the American Music Awards was awesome, these racist tweets indicate that not everyone thought that Psy was great.   I checked on some of these tweets, and while some have been deleted, others are still there.  Sigh (pun intended).