8 Asians

8A-2014-01-31-PresidentObama-LunarNewYearWhen I was a kid, it wasn’t even in the realm of imagination for the President to acknowledge Lunar New Year to the U.S. citizens who celebrate it. How things have changed!

Today, the White House released a video message from President Obama welcoming in the Lunar New Year.

Below is the transcript:

Michelle and I join millions of people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent – here in the United States and around the world – in welcoming the Lunar New Year.

The Lunar New Year reminds us that this country has always drawn strength from the rich cultures and traditions of people from all different backgrounds. It’s at the heart of who we are. It’s why we’re fighting to make sure everyone has a chance to get ahead. And it’s why we’ll continue to make sure that new ideas and new people are always welcome in America.

Today, my Administration is working harder than ever to fix an immigration system that doesn’t serve America as well as it should. We’re committed to a comprehensive plan that will continue to strengthen border security and reunite families, while creating a pathway to earned citizenship and a stronger system moving forward. We’ve already taken an important step by lifting the fear of deportation from young people, DREAMers, who are Americans in every way but on paper – kids who just want a chance to study and serve and contribute to the nation they love. And if you’re a young person who feels like you’re living in the shadows, take advantage of this opportunity. Because America needs your talent.

It’s the aspiration and optimism of the next generation of New Americans that inspires us – and gives us hope for this Year of the Horse. So, I want to wish everyone celebrating a Happy New Year. May this be a year of prosperity for you and your families, and a year of progress for this country that we love.

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8A-2014-01-31-MichellePhan-DietDrPepperI was catching up on watching The Daily Show, when I saw this Dr. Pepper commercial and noticed that the woman was beauty tip and YouTube sensation Michelle Phan.

I first noticed that she was a cute Asian woman before realizing who the woman was.

Upon closer look, her face reminds me of a younger Asian version of Jessica Alba, at least in this commercial. Very cool that Phan has a Diet Dr. Pepper commercial!

8A-2014-01-30-FungBros-LNYTomorrow (January 31, 2014) is Lunar New Year. So to prepare for the coming of the year of the Horse, is this video from the Fung Bros.

From an anonymous 8Asians tipster:

“A hilarious but educational video about Chinese New Year 2014… I think it’s really educational and funny and just the juxtaposition between ancient Chinese traditions and modern hip-hop culture (two worlds that NEVER mix) is something that’s never been done before (at least in any sort of earnest everyday way, Man With the Iron Fist doesn’t count haha).”

(My favorite moment is when Mom made it rain on those hoes bros.)

Health, Appearances, and Asian Americans

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8A-2014-01-29-CNN-FitMomVsCurvyGirls

The incident where Maria Kang was briefly kicked off of Facebook,  recent news about the “lower” rate of obesity among Asian Americans, and the debate on CNN above combine to bring up a subject that isn’t often discussed: health vs appearance. Is someone who is skinny necessarily fit? Is someone who is not so lean necessarily unfit? While I don’t doubt that Maria Kang is very fit,  Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) appearances can be deceiving with regard to health.

Research on Asian Pacific Islander BMI and waist circumference demonstrates that these standards, which often match appearances of fitness, are deceiving. Just because an AAPI doesn’t look fat doesn’t mean that they are fit and not vulnerable to heart disease – the standards for some Asian ethnic groups are lower than for whites. By the same token, just because some looks bigger doesn’t mean that they are not fit. Measures like BMI and height/waist ratio vary greatly, with Pacific Islanders having a much less stringent standard for being healthy. The LA Times article gets some things wrong – some Asian Americans can still have a BMI under 25 and under the Asian BMI standards, be overweight.

It’s worth mentioning that other conditions are important to health and the ability to look lean and cut.

Continue Reading »

8A-2014-01-28-ChloeKimChloe Kim took second in the women’s half pipe snowboard qualifier rankings, but can’t represent the US in Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics.  The problem?  At 13, she is too young.  Qualifiers need to be 15 by the end of 2013.  Chloe says that she isn’t disappointed not be going.

“I think I would be really nervous and pressured.  I’m glad that I’m not old enough, almost.”

She and her family are said to be looking forward to the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.  Chloe’s family immigrated to California from South Korea and go back to visit regularly from their home in Southern California.

8A-2014-01-27-NYT-McDonaldsVsElderlyIn Flushing, Queens, McDonald’s employees have been battling the presence of a revolving group of elderly Koreans who sometimes sit at the fast food chain’s tables from dawn to dusk. In the past few months, police have been called in a handful of times to usher the seniors out. The seniors then defiantly walk around the block and plop themselves back on McDonald’s benches minutes later.

According to the New York Times piece:

And though they have treated the corner restaurant as their own personal meeting place for more than five years, they say, the situation has escalated in recent months. The police said there had been four 911 calls since November requesting the removal of the entrenched older patrons. Officers have stopped in as frequently as three times a day while on patrol, according to the patrons, who sidle away only to boomerang right back. Medium cups of coffee ($1.09 each) have been spilled; harsh words have been exchanged. And still — proud, defiant and stuck in their ways — they file in each morning, staging a de facto sit-in amid the McNuggets.

There are a number of senior and civic centers in the surrounding area and there are even other Burger Kings and McDonald’s in the vicinity, but none hold the draw of this particular McDonald’s. So why there?

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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.)

8A-2014-01-26-ArtForAFreeTaiwan

WHO: Direct Arts, a new intercultural company, dedicated to producing plays and films that explore the intersection between different cultures, founded by Victoria Linchong.

WHAT: Indiegogo project: Art for a Free Taiwan

Art for a Free Taiwan is a traveling art show that will tour 3-5 cities in the United States in tandem with promotional efforts for ALMOST HOME: TAIWAN, a documentary about Taiwan’s struggle for democracy by Victoria Linchong.

The exhibit will feature 6 to 8 posters created by artists in Taiwan and the United States in the tradition of resistance art from the Spanish Civil War, the United Farm Workers movement, and Mai 1968. The show will travel from NYC to Boston, Washington DC, San Francisco and Seattle at the end of February through March to coincide with commemorations for the 228 Massacre. Posters from the exhibit will be available for sale at the art opening, which will also feature a sneak preview of the film. While the screening will be free for people who supported the making of the film from 2008 to 2012, a limited number of tickets will be sold to offset additional expenses.

By commissioning renowned political artists to create work about Taiwan, Art for a Free Taiwan aims to raise international concern for Taiwan’s continuing struggle for democracy. We have a $3,000 grant from Taiwan Democracy Fund but this is far less than is needed to make this project happen – and beside we have to match the grant! The Taiwanese movement hasn’t yet tapped the power of art to move the public. Your contribution will help create a new platform for discussions about Taiwan’s democratic movement.

WHEN: Deadline to contribute is Monday, February 10, 2014 (11:59pm PT).

WHY:

The story of Taiwan’s democracy is extraordinary and inspiring. Yet few people outside of Taiwan are aware of the bravery, passion and self-sacrifice that transformed Taiwan from a one-party state to one of the first democracies in Asia. Taiwan is in the peculiar position of being a country that is not really considered a country, of being a homegrown democracy that should be valued by the Western world, but is instead considered a nuisance and a threat to global peace. International pressure for Taiwan to unite with China rarely considers what would happen to Taiwan’s hard-won civil rights and democracy. The Taiwanese are never part of the One China debate, even though the political status of Taiwan is a central issue. It’s almost as if the Taiwanese don’t exist.

Some considerations:

  • For over 50 years, Taiwan’s identity has been subsumed or repressed. Taiwan has its own unique history and culture that deserves to be celebrated. The majority of Taiwanese people are of Chinese descent, but Taiwan is not China. If that sounds confusing, just think of it this way: the U.S. is definitely not England although we speak English in America and a good percentage of us are of English descent.
  • The Taiwanese should be included in the One China debate, which is couched as a power struggle between two Chinese powers (the Nationalists and the Communists). All people should have the right of self-determination, but the Taiwanese are never considered when it comes to political jurisdiction over their own island.
  • Taiwan’s freedom of speech, direct elections, and human rights need to be considered in the cry for unification with China. While unification with China may mean “cross-strait peace” for the Nationalists and the Communists, it would be a big step backward for the Taiwanese in terms of the democratic rights that they won with much tears and bloodshed.

Efforts to consolidate support for Taiwan’s democracy have largely concentrated on higher political circles. Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) has been very successful in rallying Congress to sign up for the Taiwan Congressional Caucus. It’s currently the second largest country caucus with over 150 members who receive a steady stream of current information on Taiwan. But advocacy in higher government is only one ingredient of a strong and successful movement; there needs to also be intense international concern and pressure.

UPDATE 1/28/2014: Congratulations to the winner, Andy Au! Thanks to all the entrants and have a happy lunar new year!

8A-2014-01-21-Godiva 50 Box_0089_72dpiLunar New Year is about to gallop into our lives: the Year of the Horse is almost upon us, with Chinese Year 4712 beginning on January 31, 2014.

GODIVA, the famous chocolatier, will celebrate the traditional Asian holiday – and its 88th anniversary – by offering limited edition Lunar New Year gift boxes.

Building off of the success of the Mid-Autumn Festival Chocolate Mooncakes in 2013 (yay! mooncakes with no red beans!), GODIVA is once again offering consumers a limited edition product to celebrate one of the most important holidays for the Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean communities. The year 2014 also marks the 88th anniversary of GODIVA, which began creating chocolate masterpieces in Belgium in 1926.

The collection features three exceptionally delectable chocolate pieces that contain ingredients popular with Asian consumers, such as pears, cherries and pineapples. The pieces, which are sold as a part of a selection of Lunar New Year gift boxes, include:

  • Dark Caramel Pear – crunchy caramel pear ganache made with a blend of Venezuela milk chocolate and Santo Domingo dark chocolate and a touch of vanilla, enrobed in dark chocolate
  • Milk Cherry Almond – crunchy almond praline blended with Vanuatu-origin chocolate, sour cherry and a hint of honey, enrobed in milk chocolate
  • White Pineapple Macadamia – sweet Dominican Republic white chocolate ganache blended with nutty macadamia cream and fruity pineapple, enrobed in white chocolate

The 20-piece Lunar New Year Gift Box is encased in a red cover with an iconic image of Lady Godiva on her galloping horse embossed in gold. The 32-piece Luxury Gift Box is covered in red velvet, offering customers a treasured keepsake beyond the Lunar New Year holiday. With its gold and red-themed design, both gift boxes are perfect for gifting to friends and family during the Lunar New Year.

The “Year of the Horse” collection also holds special significance since the company’s logo is Lady Godiva on horseback, an image replicated in this collection’s pieces.

The GODIVA “Year of the Horse” collection is available as a $50 gift and a $120 luxury gift box at GODIVA boutiques nationwide. They will be in stores and online for a limited time only until Jan. 31. Visit www.GODIVA.com for more information for the Lunar New Year collection and for store locations.

Ok, ok… you want a chance to win the gift box? Read on!

Continue Reading »

Slapmaster in "Slapsgiving #3: Slappointment” Episode 13 of Season 9.  In an attempt to deliver a devastating final slap to Barney, Marshall explains how he mastered the Slap of A Million Exploding Suns. Pictured: Jason Segel as Marshall. Photo: Ron P. Jaffe/Fox © 2013 Fox Television. All rights reserved

Slapmaster in “Slapsgiving #3: Slappointment” Episode 13 of Season 9. In an attempt to deliver a devastating final slap to Barney, Marshall explains how he mastered the Slap of A Million Exploding Suns. Pictured: Jason Segel as Marshall. Photo: Ron P. Jaffe/Fox © 2013 Fox Television. All rights reserved

Dear How I Met Your Mother,

I have been a fan of your show since I was introduced in the second season. In fact, friends and I marathoned the entire first season on a day off with our ribs hurting from laughter. Even with the decidedly more frequent comic misses of this season and the last, I have watched. And I was sad to find you in the news over this latest bout of televised racism, so I finally watched the latest slap bet episode. I wanted to see if I agreed with the accusations over yellow face.

And I took notes. Here is what I wrote:

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8A-2014-01-17-WhoDidThis

Photo credit: OC Weekly.

Photo credit: OC Weekly.

An Asian American woman (who has not yet been identified by the press, by request of family) was brutally beaten and later died (as reported by OC Weekly) after a fight outside of The Crosby, a Santa Ana (Orange County, California) nightclub, in the early morning hours of Saturday, January 18, 2014.

Evidently, the young woman was waiting in line with friends to enter The Crosby, when an argument ensued with another group of people in line (reportedly “three females, two males, all Hispanic between 20 and 25 years of age”). The argument escalated and after the victim fell to the ground the assailants continued to stomp and kick her until she was unconscious. The police responded and she was rushed to the hospital, where she later passed away.

New Santa Ana asks if this event was racially motivated as this is not the first time an Asian American was killed in the same area. In 2010, Jeffrey Lee Chung was shot and killed after partying at a different bar in the Artists Village area of Santa Ana.

A memorial has sprung up on an electrical box near where the woman was left unconscious, with flowers and posters asking any witnesses to step forward.

Police are also seeking help from the public for any videos or photos taken of the incident:
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8A-2014-01-17-OldSpiceBowlAdI saw this commercial post by a friend on Facebook, who had noticed that the Asian American man starring in this commercial had a cute, white, female girlfriend. The only other commercial I recall that has such an Asian Male / White Female (AM/WF) combination in a commercial is the McDonald’s commercial talking about how a white woman thought his Asian boyfriend was the “Egg McMuffin of Boyfriends. As I had blogged before, the most common interracial couple pairing in American television commercials today is the White Male / Asian Female combination. Nice to see a change for once.

What was also interesting and entertaining about this commercial was the watchful Asian American mom – which kind of reminded me of this awesome old Target commercial. Personally, I find it ridiculous that any company would advertise their product thinking that by simply using their product that a man will instantly be able to attract a woman to like them.

8A-2014-01-17-Scottrade-RonTradeI caught this television commercial for discount stock broker Scottrade, with “Ron” discussing why he uses Scottrade.

Essentially, Scott trade is trying to promote itself as a place where their costumers can get individualized service for the way they trade stocks – you’re a name, not a number, and how at Scottrade, you can actually speak to people over the phone or visit actual physical offices (I know, what a concept!).

I’m guessing Scottrade is aiming at their competitors like E*trade and TD Ameritrade.