One of my favorite Starbucks convenience alternative stops is Tea Station. It’s a grab-and-go or sit-down place with a decent variety of tea pot loose leaf traditional hot teas, herbal teas, or sweet milk teas along with snacks or full meals. Although I’ve found their tea to be pretty good, my dad, the tea connoisseur, tried a box of their Monkey Pick tea bags and declared, “Tina sucks at buying tea.” I generally do like the teas I buy at Wing Hop Fung better, so he’s probably right in saying that the Tea Station tea isn’t as good. Nevertheless, what’s nice about this location is the functional variety of the place. It’s perfect for a quick hang out, a meeting, or a full on meal, and there’s something for everyone. Often I stop by solo to work for an hour or two while grabbing a bite to eat. Some of my favorite items are a hot pot of almond milk tea with Taiwanese sausage or a traditional tea with a bowl of red bean soup with rice balls. You can check out their entire menu online.
Next up, Part 3: Boba Shops.
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Our former 8asians.com blogger Eddy Hong reached out to me to let me know his latest television commercial gig. In this commercial Eddy plays a fan of the movie The Hobbit, dressed up as Gandalf, along with his other geeky, dorky friends. What’s amusing is that the Denny’s waitress talks to her customers in Elvish, the same language that they are speaking. Apparently Denny’s has a Hobbit-inspired menu items, a tie in with the second release of The Hobbit series, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Personally, my favorite commercial that Eddy has been in, was commercial for StreamateParty.com…
In 1887, a group of Chinese miners were killed not only for their gold but out of pure hate–not only were they shot and robbed of their gold, but they were hacked to pieces and thrown in the river. The local community in Hells Canyon, Oregan has placed a memorial in remembrance of the massacre. A new documentary is out now based on the book Massacred for Gold: The Chinese in Hells Canyon written about one of the worst racial hate crimes in American history.
Just in time for the holiday season, when kind-meaning aunties and uncles sometimes ask why you’re single, why you don’t have a date, and why you’re not giving your parents grandchildren yet, you might remember that renting a boyfriend is a thing. It’s not necessarily a new phenomenon in Asia, China, or even the whole world, but surging interests for these services in companies are generating booming businesses. With pressures mounting from parents, social situations, etc. young Chinese men and women are seeking out fake significant others for days at a time, at costs anywhere from 500 to 8,000 yuan a day (or about $82-$1313). What this says about China’s twenty-something culture is not entirely clear to me.
But what this all definitely means that Taobao.com, China’s Amazon, is more than just a place to buy a power pack for your smartphone or hot water heater, but also for renting girlfriends and boyfriends for a day. It’s possible these youngsters are overly worried about their parents worries. Parents, it would seem, still expect their children to marry young. It’s also possible they are too busy with their power careers to find serious dates or simply not interested. Or they are feeling the pressure from walking around Beijing’s public parks overwhelmed by the quantity of young couples sitting on benches and old couples ballroom dancing. One way or another, the fake boyfriend/girlfriend business seems to be staying around. And popping into the news every now and again in case we forget about it.
Just in time for the holidays, the return of a favorite 8Asians topic: dating Asian women.
Are You Interested, one of the largest Facebook-based dating apps, “analyzed over 2.4 million interactions among its current user base in the United States to discover the likelihood of users to respond to other users based on race.”
Enter funny lady Kristina Wong, who makes an unforgettable appearance on “Alicia Menendez Tonight” with Josh Fischer of “Are you Interested?,” to show us why Asian woman are so damn desirable.
(I honestly don’t know how Alicia and Josh were able to keep straight faces during this.)
Recently on the Washington Post, Daniel Chen was interviewed about his life and the linguistic barriers that made him and his parents veritable strangers in their own home. He’s currently studying Mandarin Chinese at college to try to bridge this gap, but his parents also speak primarily Shanghainese, which is super different from standard Mandarin Chinese (think Spanish vs. Italian). This immediately reminded me of the 8Asians post I wrote about the Immigrant Linguistic Generation Gap. Chen’s situation, however, is a lot more serious than mine. He seems to barely be able to speak to his parents. At least with my parents, we have enough common linguistic ground across Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, and English (and even some Spanish) to be able to communicate in a hodgepodge sort of way. Recently, they were telling me about how in their childhood they used to get mantao white bread from the Kuo Ming Tang soldiers that occupied Taiwan after World War II and the mid-century Chinese civil war and then get their butts beat by their parents for accepting it. I’m glad I can understand enough to have that kind of access to their life story, and Chen’s story makes me value the experience all the more.
I had blogged earlier that during Obama’s visit to San Francisco where he gave a speech on immigration reform, he was heckled by an audience member. That person has now been identified as Ju Hong, 24, who is a UC Berkeley graduate who is also a member of Asian Students Promoting Immigrant Rights through Education (ASPIRE), where he shouted:
“I need your help. My family will be separated on Thanksgiving. Please use your executive order. You have the power to stop deportation.”
This was an organized and planned protest, as others from ASPIRE joined Hong in their protest, chanting, “Yes, you can. Stop the deportations! ASPIRE also issued a press release asking this question:
“Explain your legal analysis for why you, as the chief executive, do not have the authority to stop deportations today. An average of 1,100 immigrants are deported every day under your administration. How can you support immigration reform while at the same time brutally enforcing our broken immigration system at the rate and speed that you do? You referred to the holidays in your speech. Isn’t this the perfect time to finally exercise your executive powers to halt deportations and keep our families together? And won’t that put much needed pressure on the House to pass real immigration reform? We respectfully await your prompt response.”
Some quick research lead me to discover that Ju Hong is an undocumented immigrant and was interviewed in this online video last year when he was a senior at UC Berkeley:
I like the fact that Obama did highlight that immigration reform affects immigrants of all backgrounds, including Asians, as well as a Korean immigrant like Ju Hong making known his plight. However, in my opinion, the real barrier to immigration reform is not President Obama. It’s the far right Republicans in Congress. Even Obama had noted that his predecessor, President George W. Bush, tried to push comprehensive immigration reform, without much luck.
One thing that Hong did help highlight is that most people may not be aware of, but President Obama has actually been a much stronger enforcer of our immigration laws than Bush, at least in regards to when it comes to deportations:
I’ve known this fact for a while, but not sure why Obama has been more aggressive than Bush on this. Though I think everyone can agree for the deportation of criminal illegal immigrants.
As for myself, I think I have stated I am for immigration reform and the DREAM Act, however, I am also aware personally that many people have played by the rules as well. One of my best friends from undergrad waited 10 years after graduating, after being sponsored on an H1B work visa, then getting his Green Card, before ultimately becoming a U.S. citizen. But I definitely empathize with kids who grew up in the U.S. without even knowing that they weren’t American citizens.
As part of his pre-Thanksgiving West Coast trip, President Obama dropped by Chinatown in San Francisco at the Betty Ong Recreation Center (named after 9/11 flight attendant Betty Ann Ong). Obama gave some shoutouts to some prominent Californian Asian American elected officials who I believe were in attendance, including San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Congressmen Mike Honda as well as Congresswoman Judy Chu and also mentioned nearby Immigration Station at Angel Island.
President Obama emphasized that immigration reformed is not just a southern border issue (i.e. between the United States and Mexico) and that today, more than one-in-four residences born of the United States came from Asian countries. The speech didn’t really break any new policy ground, and the most interesting aspect of the speech was that it was interrupted by a heckler demanding Obama to use his executive power to stop deportations. President Obama asked the heckler not to be removed and responded to that heckler’s claim that he could not do so, that the U.S. is a country of laws and passing immigration reform into law would be the best route fixing our immigration system. You can catch Obama’s whole 29-minute speech here on C-SPAN’s website.
Screen capture courtesy of C-SPAN.
Comedian Aziz Ansari recently made his first appearance on The Charlie Rose Show, in part to promote his upcoming Netflix comedy special, “Buried Alive.” According to Ansari, his special’s main themes are on babies, marriage and love. Ansari is a regular on Parks & Recreations (a show I can’t say that I’m a regular viewer of) and discusses how he got into comedy, and his thoughts on growing up (in South Carolina) and becoming a more experienced and thus funnier comedian.
8$ is a series which occasionally highlights interesting crowdfunding projects. Every day, the 8Asians team is inundated by many worthy pitches. We are unable to highlight every one that comes our way, or even the ones we might individually support. The projects selected for 8$ are not endorsements by 8Asians. (To be considered for 8$, we highly suggest you not harass the writers or the editors of 8Asians.)
WHO: Leon Le, (Writer/Director/Editor) is a self taught filmmaker/photographer. After 13 years working as a professional dancer/actor/singer for theaters, national/international tours, Off-Broadway to Broadway; he has appeared in numerous TV series and features films in Vietnam, he finally decided to take a stab at filmmaking. His latest short film Dawn, which he wrote, directed, edited and produced garnered positive attention at more than 20 national/international film festivals. In 2012, it won Best LGBT Short, Best International Short, and Best Director awards. And in 2013, Dawn was nominated for Best Short Film, Excellent in Short Filmmaking, and the Iris Prize film award.
WHAT: Indiegogo project: Talk To Her
Talk to Her is a 12 minute film about love, acceptance, and missed opportunities. It tells the story of a young man trapped in a culture clash where traditions stunted his quest for personal happiness. The film explores the complicated relationships between Michael, a second generation Chinese American man; his mother, Mrs. Yue and; Julianne, his girlfriend of two year whom he plans to propose. After a twist of fate, Julianne accidentally discovers Michael’s secret love affair with a man. Will Michael be able to face the truth with his love ones, or most importantly himself before it’s too late?
WHEN: Deadline to contribute is Friday, November 29, 2013 (11:59pm PT).
WHY: Why is it important?
Writer/director Leon Le’s idea for Talk to Her was inspired by a true story he read a while ago about a young Chinese woman in China coming home one afternoon to discovers her newly wedded husband was having an affair with her own brother. While tradition can scaffold a strong cultural unit, it can also imprison those unable to see beyond its sooted beams. The story remains relevant today while the cultural milieu of the Asian man continues to instill the ultimate responsibility for the man to carry on his family name, pressuring many gay men into marriages ending with broken families and devastated hearts.
In standard Mandarin Chinese, tea is pronounced “cha” with a dipping tone. However, the common English word “Tea” actually derives from the Taiwanese/Minan/Fujian word for tea. In Taiwanese, I pronounce tea as “deh”, a lot more like “tea” than “cha”, so learning the fact that our English word “tea” is based on my home language pronunciation was a pleasant surprise, giving me a nice unexpected sense of unity between my English-speaking and Taiwanese-speaking selves. That and I’m a tea enthusiast.
Luckily for me, living in LA is like living in a tea wonderland. There are so many options for tea all over the Southland that I thought I’d share some of my tea knowledge in this little 6-part series for those of you looking to enjoy Los Angeles from a tea lover’s perspective.
The photo above is from a potluck tea party I had with friends a few years ago. A lovely tea time at home is a piece of cake, literally. I don’t cook or bake, but there is such a variety of bakeries here that it’s so easy to have a wonderful afternoon tea at home any day of the week, especially with our almost endless days of sunshine.
Here are some great places I frequent for cakes and desserts to go with my tea:
Susina Bakery & Cafe – European American baked fare
Urth Caffe – California fusion
Yamazaki Bakery – Japanese fusion
J.J. Bakery – Taiwanese fusion
85C Bakery Cafe – Taiwanese fusion
Nini Bakery – Taiwanese fusion
Phoenix Food Boutique – Asian fusion
Aside from top grade tea my parents or friends pick up for me on trips to Asia, I purchase most of my loose leaf teas from Bird Pick or Wing Hop Fung, both of which are basically different versions of the same store. If you do see a bag of their instant ginseng honey tea packets, pick one up for sure because this quick hot sweet drink is like a magic healing potion when you’re feeling under the weather. In this next photo, you’ll see that I sometimes splurge on my loose leaf teas.
Another cool source of high quality tea is Teavana, which most people can find in a local mall. They often boast a selection of 100 teas, but that’s still not as many as what’s available at Bird Pick/Wing Hop Fung.
Next up, Part 2: Tea Station.
Says an anonymous 8Asians tipster:
Video of Chinese Contestant on Holland’s Got Talent. The guy sings opera very well, but is continually disrespected by one of the judges.
By my count, there were actually two judges making various inappropriate jokes and comments, with the judge on the left (American choreographer Dan Karaty) mortified by the comments of his compatriots. I don’t know any Dutch jokes, otherwise, I’d make one right now.
Evidently, “Holland’s Got Talent” judge Cornelis Willem Heuckeroth, who goes by the nickname Gordon, couldn’t help but to make several Chinese jokes during Xiao Wang’s audition.
When Wang said he was going to sing La donna è mobile from Verdi’s Rigoletto, Gordon responded with, “Which (Verdi) number are you singing, number 39 with rice?”
After Wang’s performance, for which he received a standing ovation, Gordon giggled while saying, “Honestly, this is the best Chinese I’ve had in weeks, and it’s not a takeaway.”
The judge continued on his racist rampage after the reality show hopeful left the stage, turning to the audience and saying in Dutch, “he looks like a waiter from a Chinese restaurant.”
Dan Karaty, who is an American judge on the show, was clearly shocked by Gordon’s comments, telling him, “You’re really not supposed to say things like that to people.” [full story]
The female judge, Dutch actress Chantal Janzen, doesn’t get off scot free here. It could be said that she started off the condescension when she asked Xiao Wang his name and after he responds, she quips, “Aw, that’s ok.”
I’m not sure if Xiao understood everything that was happening, but to his credit, he laughs everything off.