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J.K. Simmons reprises his role as Farmers Insurance spokesman as he goes on to pass along some travel and somewhat helpful insurance-related other tips to a quiet but attentive Asian American woman. I think Progressive Insurances’ commercial was more entertaining (with a quiet Asian American couple). What’s with these voiceless parts?
We covered a variety of subjects, from movies and MMA to the differences between Chinese and American martial artists.
If you read on, you can find out about deleted scenes in The Grandmaster, how Cung is learning Mandarin, and even on how he tries to balance family, movie making, and fighting.
We’ve covered Cung Le on 8Asians before, but check out his candor when I spoke to him last week.
Here is the edited transcript of our conversation.
By Joy Yun
After seeing Dove’s most recent “Real Beauty” Campaign video, I was inspired to write this. I generally found the piece uplifting and agree with its message. There is truth in what they are saying: when it comes to self image, as women we are our own worst critic. It’s all true. I think if I were the typical all-American girl, my thoughts would end there. “Great. Moving. Going to share on FB! We, as women, need to see the beauty that others see in us!” However, I didn’t grow up us as a typical all-American girl and because of my experiences as a Korean American, while watching the video, there were certain nagging questions I had ringing in my mind. While I just wanted to be moved by the message, like a boiling kettle, the more moved I was supposed to be, the louder the questions became.
What if we ourselves are not the worst critic, but others are the ones causing harm to our self image? What are young girls, especially Asian American girls, supposed to think when others, a predominantly white community, tell them they are ugly?
When I lived in upstate New York, there was a decent amount of diversity in the school I attended. I never felt looked down upon for being Asian. I also had a pretty good self image. I never wished I looked like anyone other than myself….
…Until I moved to New Jersey.
I was watching the post-finale “Bachelorette” show this past week (out of curiosity – I haven’t followed the series in a gazllion years, honestly!), and saw this Clorox commercial. At first, I wasn’t too sure what this commercial was all about. But afterwards, I laughed out loud. I liked the fact that one of the pseudo bachelors in the commercials was a pretty buff Asian American male. Too bad The Bachelor / Bachelorette series has been pretty white historically … (or maybe it has changed? Like I said, I haven’t watched the series in a loooooong time).
From the NY Times: The difficulties in meeting potential spouses have exacerbated an increasing tendency among South Koreans to marry late. As young women have gotten better jobs, analysts say, many are loath to give them up to shepherd children through a hypercompetitive education system and care for aging in-laws. In 2011, the average age of a first marriage for South Korean women hit 29.14, up from 24.8 in 1990; for men it jumped to 31.8 from 27.9 in 1990. The birthrate sunk to 1.15 children per woman, the lowest among the world’s most developed countries.“ The dating scene is difficult enough but adding pressure from the government for the sake of population growth? Oy the awkwardness at so many levels is painful.
Waltaar, an avid lover of Mithai (Indian Sweets) finds out that he has been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, which constrains him from consuming any more Mithai due to the high sugar content. So as a solution, Waltaar, alongside his former student Jassi, begin cooking fat free, low sugar, healthy Mithai and begin selling it on the streets… which leads to all sorts of drama.
Any discussion about caps on Asian American college enrollment needs to be accompanied by definition what criteria should be used for admissions. University of Miami sociology professor Frank L. Samson found that white Californians that he surveyed strongly supported GPA and test scores as their definition of college admissions merit. When another group of white Californians heard first about how Asian Americans are twice their population proportion in the University of California (UC) system, Sampson found that this group had a different point of view. They favored a lesser emphasis on grades and test scores and more on nebulous qualities like “leadership” where Asians Americans are thought to be less successful.
In this Inside Higher Ed article, Samson sums up his results:
“Sociologists have found that whites refer to ‘qualifications’ and a meritocratic distribution of opportunities and rewards, and the purported failure of blacks to live up to this meritocratic standard, to bolster the belief that racial inequality in the United States has some legitimacy. However, the results here suggest that the importance of meritocratic criteria for whites varies depending upon certain circumstances. To wit, white Californians do not hold a principled commitment to a fixed standard of merit.”
In other words, Samson found that many whites like meritocracy when it keeps outs blacks, but like it much less when it ends up including lots of Asian Americans. He proposes that the perception of a group threat from Asian Americans is skewing their attitudes. You might think, “sadly true, but how does it affect Asian Americans?”
Houston Rockets player Jeremy Lin released another video recently, on top of the one he just released a few weeks ago. This time, Lin parodies himself on how supposedly his fame has gone to his head and how he has changed – according to everyone around him. Whether or not Lin has actually changed, well, only those who knew Lin before and after LINSANITY will really know. His fellow Houston Rockets teammate James Harden and NBA legend and current LA Laker Steve Nash make cameos, as well as well known Asian American YouTube stars such as Ryan Higa, Kevin Wu (“KevJumba”) and Phil Wang (Wong Fu Productions) guest star in the video.
UPDATE 9/1/2013: Congrats to the grand prize winner: Becca K of New York and the runner up: Alexis of Georgia! Thanks to all the entrants and don’t forget to take the pledge!
I’m old enough to remember a time when you didn’t have to put on your seatbelt when you got in the car. At first, it seemed like an annoyance, but after a while– and the threat of being ticketed– putting on a seatbelt has become second-nature to most of us. In fact, if I have to drive even a short block (I DO live in L.A., after all!), I can’t image not putting my seatbelt on!
With the rise of texting as a daily part of our lives, texting and driving has become a huge public safety threat.
Did you know?
It’s my hope that, like putting on a seatbelt, putting your phone aside while you’re driving will become second nature to us all. AT&T is doing its part with the #ItCanWait campaign:
What is #ItCanWait?
Texting and driving can be fatal. That’s why we’re asking everyone to join us in a pledging to never text and drive. This initiative focuses on educating people – especially teens – about the dangers of texting and driving. The message is simple, yet vital: When it comes to texting and driving, IT CAN WAIT.
Each pledge made to never text while driving is a symbol of commitment to be part of a movement that helps everyone make safe choices with their wireless devices on the road. So we want to partner with YOU to get the word out about the serious effect texting and driving could have on our children, their friends, their loved ones and their future. Together, we can all have a part in making sure that no more lives are lost. No message is so urgent that it is worth diverting attention from the road and risking lives in the process. #ItCanWait.
Modern mainstream thought places “progress” in the hands of the west. After all, human rights, Democracy, the Enlightenment, Philosophy, English, and soccer all came from Europe and spread around the world. Ignoring the atrocity of colonialism, the modern world of nation-states and capitalism is decidedly European in flavor and substance. The passports we hold, the languages we speak, all reflect this one-sided view of progress.
But on one particular issue, it is Asia which is, surprisingly, leading the way, and history shows that, here, progress comes from a different source.
From the Southern California Public Radio:
“About 55 percent of Asian-American immigration into the United States has been due to family preferences… More young Asian-Americans who grew up in the U.S. without papers have been going public with their status, as have young Latinos and other activists.”
But a lot of the issues around the current reform doesn’t address family immigration. Asian Americans are stepping up to advocate for these realities and helping to shape the conversation since “Immigration from Asia recently surpassed new arrivals from Latin America, with Asians becoming the nation’s fastest-growing racial group.”