8 Asians

8A-2013-10-31-KPCCHalloweenCostumesHalloween is a time for candy and costumes. It’s also a time for us to talk about when someone’s costume has crossed the line.

(See Moye’s timeless posts about offensive Halloween costumes and her ever-popular suggestions for costumes for Asian Americans: 2010 edition and 2011 edition)

Our own senior contributor, John, joined KPCC’s AirTalk’s Larry Mantle to talk about the subject.

It’s not uncommon during Halloween for people to dress up like a Geisha, a Mexican in a mariachi suit, or like a redneck. But for some people, these costumes are just promoting stereotypes and are offensive.

Students from the Ohio University have started a campaign: “We’re a culture, not a costume.” This campaign is aimed at promoting awareness against racial stereotypes, and instead promoting dialogue. In the ad campaign different students hold a photo of an ethnic stereotype costume.

For example, a Muslim student holds a photo of a white person dressed up in a traditional ghutra with bombs strapped to his chest. The images from the campaign have been making their rounds online igniting the ongoing debate of how far is too far with Halloween costumes.

It is offensive to wear a costume from a different race or culture? How do you draw the line?

John Lin, senior contributor for 8Asians.com, an online publication focusing on issues that affect the Asian American and Asian Canadian communities

Ruth Hopkins, founding writer of LastRealIndians.com, columnist for Indian Country Today Media Network. She is also chief judge for Spirit Lake Tribal Court in North Dakota

Take a listen and let us know what you think.

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rajpaulpannuWhile I have seen many heavily Asian American teams at high school cross country meets, one thing that I have recently began to notice is that increasingly, some of the winners are Asian Americans.   After seeing this interview with runner Cameron Tu, who I saw win at the Lowell Invitational this year, and later this interview of an Asian American cross country runner Rajpaul Pannu, who competes at the Division I collegiate level, I began to wonder:   is this an ideal sport for Asian American youth?  I think it could be for many, for several reasons which I’ll talk about.

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I’ve only recently become obsessed with female MMA fighters, so I decided to embark on a search for Asian American female MMA fighters. In my search, I found Michelle “Karate Hottie” Waterson. My first impression when I saw all the scantily clad model pics of her online was, “Oh no, she’s not one of those models who are only cashing in on the attention by pretending to be a MMA fighter, is she?” I cringed at all the objectifying images of her that far overwhelmed any actual fighter photos of her. And “Karate Hottie”? I was mortified over the nickname. I hate those “top hottest female MMA fighter” lists because it’s like, come on, they’re fighters not playboy pinups! Can’t a girl be measured by the content of her fists instead of the size of her bust? Feeling the gloom of disappointment looming overhead, I decided to go where the truth can always be found–in the ring, where fists don’t lie.
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With Halloween here, and it’s no surprise that Snickers is advertising. I thought the boy made a good looking Dracula. Personally, I’m thinking of dressing up as Breaking Bad’s Walter White in a yellow hazmat suit…

During the 2012 Olympics, I read Jeff’s post about Asian Americans that were competing, and I immediately zoomed in on Clarissa Chun and became a huge fan of hers and totally rooted for her as she won the bronze. She was my facebook wallpaper for a while there.

If you missed her Olympic bronze match, here it is, starting at 12:00.

saleclipartWhen this article about Asian buyers making cash offers on million plus dollar Bay Area homes circulated on the internal 8asians mailing list, one of our writers lamented that  Chinese investors making cash offers were frustrating her home purchase efforts, even at lower price ranges.  Another said that the same phenomenon was also happening in Southern California.  I showed this article to my Brother-In-Law (BIL), a Bay Area real estate agent in a firm that caters to Asians and Asians Americans. He merely sighed and said that this was old news, adding that the situation was changing in some ways.

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ZTE_HR_photo_press_confRecently, ZTE the world’s 4th largest smartphone OEM, announced that it was making ZTE the official smartphone of the Houston Rockets for the 2013-14 NBA season:

“As part of the partnership, ZTE will have an opportunity to engage directly with the fans of the Rockets around the world through a variety of avenues, including key Rockets events, television and digital exposure, and customized in-game activation …”

You’ve probably never heard of ZTE. I barely had heard of them prior to me joining the company. Even though ZTE is the 4th largest smartphone OEM, outside of the Chinese domestic market, a lot of ZTE’s phones are white-labelled under a carrier’s brand. Of course, the Houston Rockets are very well known in China due to Yao Ming’s tenure on the team, but this deal looks like it is focused on the U.S.

According to a news report, Chandler Parsons has also signed an endorsement deal with ZTE. Which makes me ask, why not Jeremy Lin? Maybe Lin is going to endorse (or maybe not due to the ZTE-Houston Rockets deal) Taiwan-based HTC?

Anime Review: Blue Exorcist


Sometimes Euro-centric anime can get pretty annoying to me, since I generally am not a fan of European art, architecture, or designs. Plus, Asian Europhilia unfortunately smells too much like rotting colonial imperialism leftovers. So when I see an anime based on European themes, my initial reaction is usually averse. The anime Blue Exorcist, however, is not only tolerable, it’s quite good, and what makes it good is the characters.
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Out of all the professional sports in the United States, I think it is safe to say that the NBA is probably the most popular internationally. I mean, it’s not like a lot of other countries have professional teams in American football or baseball. So it’s no surprise that the NBA makes an effort to promote itself overseas during the pre-season, which is exactly what Jeremy Lin and the rest of the Houston Rockets did recently – playing some pre-season exhibition games against the Indiana Pacers in the Philippines and Taiwan (where as we know, Lin’s parents emigrated from).

As we had seen in Lin’s 60 Minutes interview earlier this year as well as his annual summer trip to Taiwan, Lin is definitely a rock star in Taiwan.

In this video, Lin’s teammates Chandler Parson and Dwight Howard chime in on Taiwan and Lin, as well as show Lin teaching the game of basketball to Taiwanese kids.  The Houston Rockets kickoff the regular season against the Charlotte Bobcats on October 30th.


First Annual LA Sriracha Festival


About time. I love sriracha, but not as much as most people I know, and certainly not as much as the guy in the video above. On ice cream? Seriously?

Anyways, the festival is brought to you by the author of The Sriracha Cookbook, Randy Clemens, and Josh Lurie of Food GPS. The event will feature a variety of gourmet chefs concocting their best with the magic potion of delicious that is sriracha. To make the event even more palatable is the fact that a portion of proceeds will be going to Food Forward, bringing fresh produce people in need.

h/t John

By Shelly Chen

8A-2013-10-24-QASpaceDuring my 2nd year of college, an organization called API Equality-LA came to my school to conduct a training. They were advocates of LGBT rights in Asian and Pacific Islander communities, and I remember being simultaneously intrigued and terrified; excited that such an organization existed, but afraid of anything that might expose my queer identity.

Fast forward a few years. I was going through what some might call a quarter life crisis – I was a senior, I had dropped the career path I’d been on for years, and I had no idea what I was going to do after graduation. After much reevaluating, I concluded that: 1. Being queer and Asian American were integral parts of my identity, and I wanted to do social justice work in those communities, and 2. In order to be myself and do the work I wanted to do, it was important for me to come out to my parents before I graduated.

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Reverse Racism in Taiwan


Lianne Lin with some substitute teaching students in Taiwan

Lianne Lin with some substitute teaching students in Taiwan

By Lianne Lin

I lived in Taiwan (Taipei and Taichung) for three years, and though I had an amazing time, I experienced a more harmful type of racism there than I ever have in my home country.  Born and raised in America, I would occasionally get teased or put down for being Asian, which was definitely damaging to the ego.  However, that could not compare to the devastation of being turned down for job after job because of the way I look.

I’m an ABC (American Born Chinese) and come from the same ethnic background as 98% of the people in Taiwan today: Han Chinese.  I was shocked to find myself facing discrimination in a country where I totally blended in with the locals, and heartbroken to feel rejected by a country I loved so much.

I moved to Taipei in early 2010 to study Mandarin and learn about my mother’s birthplace.  I looked for ways to get a work visa so I could try and stay long term.   Work visas must go through an approval process and require companies to pay high fees and taxes, so it isn’t easy for foreigners to get sponsored for most jobs.  However, if you have a bachelor’s degree and a passport from the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland or South Africa, it’s supposedly not hard to find an English teaching job.

I applied to every major school I could find in Taipei but got very few replies, just a few interviews that went nowhere.  I got some substitute teaching gigs at kids’ schools through friends and started tutoring privately on my own.  (Freelance work, unfortunately, does not lead to a work visa.) Another friend set me up with an interview at his school, where I was offered a position with an “ABC pay rate”, which is only 400 NTD per hour ($13.50 USD).  This was ridiculous because I knew the rate should 600 NTD ($20 USD) or higher.  This was my first time ever facing pay rate inequality, and I didn’t accept the job. Another friend who is hapa (mixed Asian/white), easily got a job at a well-known adults’ school and helped me turn in a resume.  But later, my friend told me that his boss said that they didn’t want to hire ABC teachers.  Apparently, as soon as the schools see either my photo or my Chinese last name, my resume goes into the trash.

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