It was crazy awesome news last fall when the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) reality show The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) announced that their 20th season would be the first with all female fighters, and that the winner of the TUF 20 tournament would be crowned the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Inaugural Women’s 125lb Strawweight Champion.
There are only a few spots left on the cast, and confirmed fighters gunning for those spots were just announced last week. Among the contenders is Jenny Liou who is, as far as I have found, the only Asian American female contestant. If Liou makes it on TUF, she will be the first [female] American of Asian descent on the show, and if she signs with UFC, she will be the first female Asian American UFC fighter. Trailblaze much?
Liou just made her pro-debut this year and has won both of her pro MMA fights so far. She is also a Ph.D., a college literature professor, and an a poet on top of being a professional MMA fighter. We look forward to great things from this real life woman warrior. Check out Liou’s journey to the cage in 8Questions.
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I noticed this commercial because it has many of my favorite (or perhaps least favorite) Asian American stereotypes:
The Asian guy is surprised when his cheesy line actually gets a reaction. Not appropriate behavior in the workplace, though. I do have to confess that I did laugh at that “fell from heaven” line.
Enjoy! Or perhaps, not enjoy.
When I studied Mandarin Chinese at the National Taiwan Normal University’s Mandarin Training Center in the summer of 1996, I lived right next to Da’an Forest Park for the whole three months I was there. All that time, I never knew that right down the street from the southern tip of this massive forest park was a historic, cultural, and culinary jewel called Wistaria Tea House. If I had known, I would have gone there every day.
In 1997, Wistaria was declared a Taipei City Historical Site because it had been a hub of political dissenters, trailblazers of democracy, new artists, and other avant-garde folk. The historical significance of the place was what caught my attention, and just being in such a birthplace of revolutionary and democratic passions got my Yankee blood boiling, but there was more than just ghosts in this unassuming oasis tea house hidden in a gray concrete urban jungle. Not only did the ambiance distinctly have its own flavor of Taiwanese zen, the food and drink were absolutely delicious.
When Disney’s Frozen came out last fall, I was kind of aware of the animated movie and had heard, but wasn’t really aware of how popular it has become, and has in fact, become the highest grossing animated film in history. I became more interested in the film when my niece started to become really interested in singing from Frozen the Oscar winning song, Let It Go.
So when an old college friend posted this parody of another song from the movie, a spoof of Let’s Build a Snowman as Do You Want to be My Boyfriend?, I had to take a look. I loved the parody, because it not only parodies the song, but Disney’s vision of a stereotypical “love at first sight” of a princess being ‘saved’ by a Prince Charming.
Sarah Nguyen does a fantastic job of performing (and I’m assuming singing the parody) in the video. I’ve never come across or heard of BarkadaInc, the folks who produced and uploaded the video onto YouTube, but I’m looking forward to seeing more from them. From their YouTube channel, they’ve described themselves as:
“Bar / kah / Dah, loosely translated from Tagalog simply means, “group of friends” and in many ways it also resembles a closeness of people similar to that of family.
While the group has undergone several name changes (i.e. Puff Daddy, or is it P. Diddy?), such as Remix101 and FlipSide Krew, the motivation remains constant: To Entertain.
The group developed with core members being bored High School sophomores armed with a camera, imagination, and an instinctual drive to entertain.
Flash forward years later, BARKADA’s members have increased not only to include the Originals, but also their loyal viewers, who, through a similar tastes in visual appetite are now part of a community who share ideas, laughter, tears and the same adventurous spirit.”
This parody definitely has put them on the map!
Visit Asian America. Asian America is not just an identity or an idea, it’s a place as well. It is America, and certain parts of America distinctly embody the Asian American homeland. Join us as we highlight different Asian American destinations that you can add to your next travel itinerary.
The Hsi Lai Temple is the largest Buddhist temple in the Western hemisphere. It is of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order headquartered in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
9:00am to 5:00pm daily
Self-guided audio tours are available to individual or small groups at the information center.
Veggie Buffet 11:30am to 1:30pm Monday to Friday, 11:30am to 2:30pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Free to the temple.
Veggie Buffet about $7.
Museum entrance $1.
Tea Meditation, Floral Arrangement, Chinese Calligraphy, Health Screenings, Meditation, Vegetarian Cooking, Youth Orchestra, etc.
Tel: (626) 961-9697
Fax: (626) 369-1944
7 foot 5 inch Asian Canadian Sim Bhullar (pictured here on the left next to his brother Tanveer) has decided to put himself into the NBA draft after finishing his sophomore year at New Mexico State. Bhullar averaged averaged 10.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.4 blocks in the 2013-2014 season. He has received some criticism for joining the draft (some saying that he needs to greatly improve his skills), but one writer points out that while he is unlikely to be selected, a big man’s career is short and that he should make money while he can, whether in the NBA’s Developmental League or outside of the US. His younger brother, 7 foot 3 inch Tanveer shown on the right, also played this past season for New Mexico State.
The New Mexico State Aggies won the 2014 Western Athletic Tournament, with Sim Bhullar winning tournament MVP for the second straight year. The Aggies lost to San Diego State in the first round of the NCAA tournament. If Bhullar makes it into the NBA, he would be the first NBA player of Indian descent.
I’m a TurboTax user and fan since using the annual service online since 2000. I’ve already finished my taxes (early this year!), but it’s no susprirse that Intuit is advertising TurboTax given we are at the height of the tax season.
So I’ve seen a shorter version of this TurboTax commercial on TV lately and what struck me was the mix raced couple of an Asian American man with a white women (AM/WF) getting married and being a couple. As I have blogged before, the most common interracial couple to be depicted in television commercials (and I am sure in television shows and movies), has been the White Male / Asian Female (WM/AF) couple. The most recent AM/WF that I had blogged previously before was this odd, but funny Old Spice commercial.
The above picture is a scoop of curry ice cream from Snow King in Taipei, Taiwan. The first bite I took was surprisingly creamy with a bit of the curry spice kick at the end. I thought I would be able to finish this unassuming little scoop, but alas, after about the eighth bite, I had to tap out. The pleasant little curry spice kick at the end started to wear on my nerves that kept expecting pure creamy sweetness only to be disrupted by the curry. Nevertheless, it was an experience, and there are plenty of other interesting flavors at this little unique hole-in-the-wall ice cream shop. Is that Kidney Ice Cream I see at the bottom of that menu?
Image courtesy of NPR – Chris Pizzello/AP.
Apparently, National Public Radio has started a new series of interviews titled My Big Break, and doctor / comedian Ken Jeong gives his account how he moved from being a doctor to a comedian / actor.
Jeong says his big break was when he played a character named Dr. Kuni in the 2007 film Knocked Up.
Personally, I’ve not necessarily been a big fan of Jeong’s characters in the move The Hangover or in Community, but I am sure glad he is a Hollywood actor representing Asian Americans in non-traditional personalities (he’s also a fellow Duke alum, which I think is pretty cool).
It’s not always easy to find Asian American Female MMA Fighters because they’re often in disguise. For example, when I found Michelle Waterson, it was only because I painstakingly read through each female MMA fighter’s bio that I could find, since her name clearly doesn’t give any clue that she has any Asian heritage. With Jinh Yu Frey, her name at least clues us in that she is probably of some form of Asian heritage American. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find bio information about up and coming fighters to confirm, so if I’m wrong about Jinh Yu being APIA, please someone tell me.
In any case, Jinh Yu created quite the viral video when she executed a total knock out of Darla Harris in her last pro-bout, hitting over two million views and breaking her hand. The other good news is that she has been signed to Invicta FC.
— Jinh Yu Frey (@littleroo1two) March 12, 2014
If you’re a Chinese American child of Chinese American immigrants, then it’s quite likely you spent part of your childhood attending Chinese school. It’s a coming of age ritual of growing up ½ or 1st generation Chinese American. And of course we all hated it when we were going to Chinese school, complained to our parents about it, and if our parents caved we eventually got out of it. It’s also true that once you’re an adult, you realize your parents were right all along, and almost all of us wish we had stuck with it, and learned more in that dreaded Chinese school.
I’m no exception. When I was a kid, my parents sent me off to Chinese school, but since we had emigrated to a part of the country with few Chinese residents, it was not until I was older, almost a teenager, that I actually went to Chinese school, attending a school where the other kids were mostly in kindergarten and first grade. As you can imagine, my rebellion against going to Chinese school was about as strong as you can get for a kid my age, and my parents relented pretty quickly, letting me and my siblings out of the horror of hanging out and sitting in a class with what we considered the toddler set.
Fast forward a few decades, and now I have my own daughter, my own regrets about not having toughed it out in Chinese school, and my own realization that it’s incredibly important for her to learn Chinese. I want her to have an understanding and connection to her heritage and a connection to her relatives in China and Taiwan, and to succeed in a world where knowing Chinese is increasingly becoming important.
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If you’re in the smartphone industry, you know that Samsung and Apple have been suing each other over patent infringement for the past few years, and the case happens to be overseen by Silicon Valley based judge and coincidentally, Korean American Lucy Koh. The New York Times does a nice brief profile in a blog posting on her:
“Appointed to the federal court in 2010, Judge Koh, 45, is the first Asian-American district judge in the Northern District of California. She lives in Silicon Valley with her husband, a Stanford law professor, and their two children. Judge Koh was born in the United States after her family immigrated from South Korea, and grew up in Mississippi. Her father, who died soon after the first Apple and Samsung patent trial, owned a sandwich shop, where the judge worked while she was a student. Her mother, a college professor, fled North Korea for Seoul when she was young. The judge attended Harvard for her undergraduate studies and law school, and then worked in Washington for the Senate Judiciary Committee and later for the Justice Department. In 1997, she moved to California to become a federal criminal prosecutor for the United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles. Three years later, she moved to Silicon Valley to be closer to her grandparents, and joined the law firm McDermott Will & Emery, working as a patent litigator for tech companies. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger nominated her to be a judge for the Superior Court of California for Santa Clara County, where she served from 2008 to 2010. In 2010, President Obama nominated her to the federal bench.””
It’s a small Silicon Valley and even smaller Korean American community in the Bay Area, so I wouldn’t be surprised that someone I know knows her. As for Apple vs. Samsung, maybe there is or not validity in Apple’s claims against Samsung. But personally, I have always found it interesting that Apple claims that Microsoft ripped off Apple with its Windows, when Steve Jobs and Apple clearly got their ideas and implementation of the Graphical User Interface (GUI) for the Macintosh based on XEROX’s work. And if you think about it, a lot of the User Interface (UI) elements of iOS and the iPhone are based on the work of Palm and their OS.