When I first started blogging for 8Asians back in 2007, I started to learn more about Asian Americans in the political realm, including fundraisers such as Norman Hsu (since convicted in 2009 and imprisoned), and even blogged about him a few times as more details became available regarding his criminal charges.
Hsu was convicted in Ponzi scheme, and recently granted the Wall Street Journal his first prison interview about politics and denying that he broke campaign-finance laws:
“The 64-year-old Mr. Hsu, who admits he ran a fraudulent investment scheme, is a reminder of the risks that campaigns take in relying on big donors who round up money from others. Such “bundlers” need influence or money to tap vast networks of donors and acquaintances, and most do so within the law. But on occasion, such fundraising techniques come back to embarrass campaigns—though usually to a smaller degree. … It is illegal for supporters to give more than $2,700 to a candidate for a primary or general election. But it is legal to bundle money from friends, family and colleagues and channel it to candidates, which can reap rewards ranging from hard-to-get restaurant reservations to ambassadorships.”
Hsu seems pretty adamant that he didn’t break any campaign laws, but did mix his business interests with his interest and involvement in politics. His campaign finance violations represent 52 months of his 292-month sentence.
Hsu is somewhat reminiscent of the earlier Asian American 1996 campaign donation scandals by Charlie Trie, Johnny Chung, John Huang and James Riady, Maria Hsia, and Ted Sioeng. These series of fundraising scandals is often noted for turning off Asian Americans, especially the older first wave of immigrants from the 1960s, to participate or contribute to campaigns.
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Many statistics quoted about Silicon Valley diversity often lump Asian and Whites together vs Hispanics and African Americans. This sorting implies that there is some kind of unity between Asian and Whites in Silicon Valley. As a longtime resident, I have found that Silicon Valley is highly segregated, and this piece from a Silicon Valley student now at Harvard looks at that segregation from another perspective. Samuel Liu talks about the Asian/White divide where he went to high school, a high school where mostly white administrators worked hard to make sure that the school wouldn’t be “too Asian.” How true are his observations? I think he hits the mark on much on a lot of things, hints at phenomena that doesn’t get talked about, like the Indian party scene, but misses on other divides in the valley. Continue Reading »
I saw this Liberty Mutual Insurance commercial recently. This commercial is part of a series of commercials of insurance customers stating how insurance and insurance companies should work. This particular ad describes a decreasing car insurance deductible:
“At Liberty Mutual Insurance, for drivers who enroll in Liberty Mutual’s Deductible Fund, you could lower your deductible by $100 every year until you end up paying no deductible at all. And not only that, once your deductible is gone, you can continue to bank that $100.”
I mostly remember the ads because they are always shot with the Statue of Liberty in the background, and if I recall correctly, this is the first Asian American I’ve seen in this series of ads.
The Heian Shrine is one of those major stops in Kyoto. It’s one of the main shinto shrines in the country, and its torii is one of the largest in all of Japan.
It’s a symbol of revival for Kyoto after the capital was moved away to Tokyo, and they’ve kept the city thriving by becoming modernized while at the same time preserving a lot of the old traditions and cultures.
Alvarado Middle School in Union City California will officially change its name to Itliong-Vera Cruz Middle School this September. Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz were farm worker labor leaders instrumental in the founding of the United Farm Workers. The change was not without acrimony. The school board decision was made with a close 3-2 vote. Some parents opposed the change and set up this change.org petition to have the decision reversed. Racist graffiti was later found on local Filipino businesses, some with apparent references to Alvarado Middle School.
One fifth of Union City’s population is Filipino, as are one third of its students.
As a child growing up in America, I thought of myself as not-American. In America, I was Taiwanese, I was Chinese, I was Asian. Though I pledged my allegiance to the American flag alongside my classmates of various ethnic and heritage backgrounds, the concept that I had to be White to be American had seeped into my conciousness from popular media, from society, from Americans.
Ironically, I was most American when I was not in America. In Taiwan, my heritage country, my chopsticks would get taken away and I was always offered milk and hamburgers because that’s what American kids eat. It seems that a fish knows most that it’s a fish when it is out of water.
That was definitely also the case for Wong Kim Ark. Not only did leaving America make him an American, it forced the United States of America to define and defend what it means to be an American citizen.
The Chinese Exclusion Act
On May 6, 1882, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act which made it so that “the coming of the Chinese laborers to the United States be…hereby, suspended; and during such suspension it shall not be lawful for any Chinese laborer to come…to remain within the United States.” In other words, this act made it so that no new Chinese people were allowed here in the United States. This act was a product of anti-Chinese sentiment during that time period due to anger and resentment over Chinese laborers being willing to work for lower wages and taking jobs. It was also a product of just general racism towards the Chinese in America.
The Chinese Exclusion Act also included a deportation order, that “any Chinese person found unlawfully within the United States shall be caused to be removed therefrom to the country from whence he came, by direction of the President of the United States, and at the cost of the United States, after being brought before some justice, judge, or commission of a court of the United States and found to be one not lawfully entitled to be or remain in the United States.” Due to a general lack of documentation and record keeping at the time, this made it possible for people of Chinese descent to be targeted and deported.
Further, the Chinese Exclusion Act also made a clear stand on whether the Chinese could become citizens, “that hereafter no State Court or court of the United States shall admit Chinese to citzenship; and all lawas in conflict with this act are hereby repealed.” This was an unequivocal block to citizenship for anyone from China. But did it apply to those people of Chinese descent who were born here in America?
Continue Reading »
Matthew Salesses’ debut novel The Hundred Year Flood is a lyrical adventure through the streets of Prague. Young Korean American Tee at the center of everything, as he tries to reinvent himself and separate himself from his adopted parents and the apparently destructive cycle of his adopted father. He escapes to Prague following his uncle’s suicide and 9/11 hoping to shed the past. His struggles and exploits are detailed in a beautifully transient way, as the writing pulls you closer and closer to the oncoming once-in-a-hundred-years flood. Tee befriends a revolutionary artist and his wife, among other characters, in Prague, but his actions and reactions drive the story forward, all twisted in with a bit of mysticism.
I’ve put off writing this review for a few days in part because I’m still processing, probably will still be processing for a second-go-around read. And that, I feel, is a sign of a strong novel, the kind that grabs on and is confusing and real and many other things. It is both light yet complex, stirring yet sparse in just over two hundred pages. But the chapters breeze by before you realize how caught up you are, not so much in the plot, as in the writing and the emotions.
When I saw this article on 47% of Taiwan’s poulation lacks alcohol-metabolizing gene posted on Facebook and read the details, I laughed, since it is pretty common that Asians often do get the “Asian flush”. ALDH2 is an alcohol-metabolizing gene and if you lack that gene, you don’t metabolize alcohol so easily:
“The percentage of people with ALDH2 Deficiency, also known as the “alcohol flush reaction,” in Taiwan is the highest in the world at 47%, said Che-Hong Chen, senior research scientist with Stanford University’s Mochly-Rosen Lab, during a seminar the university jointly held with Taipei Medical University on Tuesday.
The deficiency is common in ethnic Han Chinese people living in coastal areas. The percentage is 35% in China, 30% in Japan and 20% in South Korea. Taiwan’s indigenous people groups do not lack the gene.”
I always thought that Koreans had a stereotype of being the biggest drinkers in Asia, but now I can understand why – they have the highest percentage of people who can hold their liquor.
There’s a downside to lacking that gene if you drink – if you drink on a regular basis, you increase risks of mouth, throat and esophageal cancers by 50-fold over people with the gene!
While you may have already seen Joshua Dela Cruz’s surprise proposal to Amanda Phillips disguised as a dance video shoot, but I thought I’d share it for three reasons. First, it’s a lot more original than a flash mob proposal–those are so 2011! Second, it portrays an Asian-White romance where the genders are atypical. Finally, it features a guy who looks like my nephew’s son. They both wear the same kind of hat, and both are excellent dancers!
Dela Cruz and Phillips originally met while dancing. Using the pretense of filming another dance seems like a clever and fitting way to propose. Joshua Dela Cruz is currently appearing on Broadway in Aladdin and is an understudy for the title role. Amanda Phillips is a working actress, singer, and dancer.