I saw an email and Facebook posting from Asian and Pacific Islander Vote (APIAVote) about a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) video that was announced as ‘A message from the Cast of Fresh Off the Boat’:
“We just wanted to remind everyone to get out and vote on November 8th.”
Make voting a family affair—go out to eat afterwards! (Maybe at an affordable family steakhouse)
If only Cattleman’s Ranch were real.
But Randall Park makes a good point—make a day out of voting! Voting impacts not just you, but your family too—and our collective futures.
So make it a family tradition. This Election Day, bring your kids, your parents, your friends—whoever is your family—with you to the polls to cast a vote. Starting this tradition ensures that our voices—and votes—can impact not just this election, but for elections to come.
Let’s #PowerUp the vote this year.
Make sure you’re ready to vote this year—have you made your plan to vote yet? Learn more here.
Be sure to share this video and continue the conversation online—and with your friends—with the hashtag #PowerUp. Be sure to tag @APIAVote and @RocktheVote when you do!
Have questions or need help voting?
Call 1-888-API-VOTE (1-888-274-8683).
One of the reasons I became so interested in politics is that lack of involvement and interest in politics by other Asian Americans, especially in California. Unfortunately, Asian Americans are one of the least likely groups to vote. If you’re a naturalized citizen, especially if you didn’t have the right to vote in your previous country, you should exercise your right AND responsibility to vote! Otherwise, why bother becoming a U.S. citizen?
I’m a big fan of APIAVote when I first learned about them at the 2012 Democratic National Convention (DNC), and also attended their 2016 DNC Briefing & Kickoff Reception. I really hope this PSA is broadcast and I hope to catch it on air!
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Dr. Ken, Season 2, Episode 6: “Ken Learns Korean”
Original airdate November 4, 2016.
Ken needs the assistance of a translator when he examines a Korean-speaking patient. When he is also teased by D.K. and D.K.’s friends for not speaking Korean, he agrees to go with Dave to his Saturday Korean language class. Clark is elected by the nurses’ union to negotiate the new contract with Welltopia’s board. Molly, in preparation for her next shot at the SAT, practices her vocabulary in an ongoing showdown against Allison.
Wow. Everything and everyone are so over the top in this episode that Pat, as much himself as ever, seems normal here. The dialogue is heavy-handed. The acting is exaggerated. The sentiment is overblown. And I’ve never belonged to a union, so maybe I just don’t know what the protocols are, but Ken and Allison are employees of the HMO, and they are Clark’s friends; wouldn’t they have more to say to Clark than “We really don’t want you to strike?”
The culture-themed episodes of Dr. Ken have consistently been my favorite, which I swear isn’t because I have a predilection for topic episodes. I do prefer shows that attempt to say or do something different from what others have done, and since Dr. Ken is treading new ground just by existing, there’s a lot of unwalked territory just waiting to be explored.
“Ken Learns Korean” touches a lot of great ideas that ring true: the language thing, of course, but also older first-gen men playing cards, the expectation that Allison will play hostess, the alien-to-most environment of Dave’s weekend language classes, the consistent and constant stress of prepping for the SAT, the unique quality of Korean television, and (for just a little, deeply true moment) the daily disconnect when first-gen parents don’t quite understand all the words their later-gen progeny use at the table. Despite all its noisy obnoxiousness, this is in some ways one of the truest episodes of the show’s run so far.
At the very end of the negotiation scene, which is kind of a clown show, Pat steers the moment to its closure with his usual weirdness, but on his way out the door, he turns, looks Clark closely in the eye, and says in a friendly, comparitively downtempo, I-got-the-better-of-you way, “Hey, this was fun,” adding a gentle shoulder-slap. It’s the best acting in the episode, the rare moment where Dave Foley quarterbacks a whole scene with Tom-Brady-like dexterity. Props to Jonathan Slavin for the assist. Slavin can fill a room, but here he plays smaller while his character tries to play bigger, allowing Foley to work toward that great payoff line. Super impressive.
If good intentions and good ideas were all that mattered, this might be one for the academy’s consideration. However, it tries to use a chainsaw to carve something intricate. It’s doable, but this one just doesn’t pull it off. Two and a half prescription pads out of five.
Rarely does the topic of Asian Americans and the U.S. presidential elections come up, but this is not a normal election. Specifically, Republican candidate Donald Trump is not your normal candidate. The Times did a nice article outlining the growing political trends of Asian Americans to lean Democratic and that Trump is helping that trend:
“Republicans’ difficulties with Asian-Americans are similar to those the party has faced with most minority groups. A sense that the party is hostile to immigrants and minorities has driven more Asian-American voters into the Democratic Party lately, political scientists and community leaders said. And if Republicans do not make more of an effort, those voting shifts could harden, just as Hispanics’ voting patterns have.
“What we see now are some early indications that people who either leaned toward the Democratic Party or did not identify with either party are now starting to identify as Democrats,” said Karthick Ramakrishnan, a professor of political science at the University of California, Riverside. “This is still a group that is making up its mind,” he added, “but it should be concerning to the Republican Party that you’re starting to see this crystallization.””
“In Nevada and Virginia, two states where polls show the presidential race is down to single digits, the Asian-American population sits at 8.5% and 6.5% respectively—higher than the national average of 5.6%—and is climbing. That works out to hundreds of thousands of voters in states where the contest will be decided by thin margins and may help determine the next president.
On the national level, Hillary Clinton’s campaign employs a director of Asian-American and Pacific Islander outreach, who oversees field programs concentrated in Virginia and Pennsylvania, to which they are bussing Asian volunteers from nearby New York and New Jersey. The campaign has a separate staffer specifically directing such efforts in Nevada.”
This past September, Trump’s campaign did finally announce their Asian Pacific American Advisory Council:
“Donald J. Trump is pleased to announce his Asian Pacific American Advisory Committee. The women and men on the committee are elected, appointed and grassroots leaders who will engage Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) on relevant issues to these important and vibrant communities. Governors Eddie Calvo and Ralph Torres of Guam and Northern Mariana Islands (NMI) respectively, will serve as the Council’s Co-Chairs.”
“The meeting follows a survey released in early October that showed Trumptrailing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by 41 points among registered Asian-American voters. The meeting was also a day before the third and final presidential debate, also to be held in Las Vegas.”
The complete set of slides can be found here. What I find interesting is that foreign born Asian Americans tended to like Clinton more than native-born Asian Americans, and the opposite view for Trump – which is much more unfavorably by native-born Asian Americans than foreign born Asian Americans. Given Trump’s anti-illegal immigrant rhetoric, you would think foreign born Asian Americans would find Trump more unfavorable.
Then again, I have heard that there has also apparently been a relatively strong Chinese American grassroots group of supporters (usually foreign born Asian Americans):
“Like Zeng, an immigrant from China who lives in San Diego, many of Trump’s Chinese American supporters are relatively recent arrivals from mainland China with strong nationalistic leanings, a certain reverence for wealth and a firm belief that U.S. immigration laws should be followed.
Many say they have been politicized by recent battles over affirmative action on college campuses, where some Chinese Americans fear their numbers are being held down by efforts to advance other ethnic and racial groups. That issue, along with a recent controversy over the police shooting of an unarmed man by a Chinese American police officer in New York, has opened fissures in the Chinese American community between older, more progressive generations and newer, more conservative arrivals.”
I’ve been told have a few popular U.S.-based WeChat groups to discuss their support. Overall though, the data clearly shows that Asian Americans have been leaning strongly Democratic, and I will be surprised if Hillary Clinton doesn’t do better than Obama’s 71% of the Asian American vote.
In fact, Clinton has been a very strong supporter for Asian Americans and back on January 7th of this year, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton launched her AAPI outreach efforts in San Gabriel:
and had hired back in August 2015 an AAPI Outreach Director. And in that speech, Clinton reminded the audience that her husband, President Bill Clinton, was the first to start the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, back in 1999.
Even back in May (which seems like a lifetime ago), a survey was done, and Trump was overwhelmingly seen as unfavorable by Asian Americans:
“Only 19 percent of Asian Americans hold a favorable view of the presumptive Republican nominee, according to a survey of more than 1,000 registered Asian Americans conducted by three Asian-American NGOs, while 61 percent view him unfavorably.
That’s nearly the opposite of Hillary Clinton, who is viewed favorably by 62 percent of Asian Americans — one of the fastest-growing minority populations in the country — and unfavorably by 26 percent.”
So it’s no surprise that The Republican Party is concerned as to what Trump is doing to the their brand, and more importantly, how Asian Americans are voting – especially in key swing states of Nevada and Virginia. But at the time of this writing, Virginia looks to be a clear win for Clinton and Nevada is still borderline, but leaning Blue. I anticipate that Clinton will surpass Obama’s 71% of the Asian American electorate.
Fresh Off the Boat, Season 3, Episode 4: “Citizen Jessica”
Original airdate November 1, 2016.
Microsynopsis: Cattleman’s Ranch is serving as a polling place for the 1996 general election. Jessica and Louis take opposing sides on a proposition to build a wall keeping illegal immigrants out of Florida, while Emery and Evan support opposing candidates in the Clinton-Dole presidential election. In a move to get wall protestors removed from the premises, Jessica discovers that she is herself an illegal immigrant. Eddie can’t be bothered with trivialities like presidential elections: he is too consumed with the recent murder of Tupac Shakur, while tensions with his friends over who killed him threaten their relationships.
Good: I love the concept of using the elections of twenty years ago to make a statement about the elections today, and I love the table-turning on Jessica as she discovers she’s officially in the country illegally. There’s a really funny argument at the lunch table with Eddie and his friends, and it’s funny how Grandma has an opinion about who killed Tupac.
Bad: It’s really difficult to be genuinely funny when you spend so much time preaching, and this is a very preachy episode. Louis preaches to Jessica about the importance of voting, and later he preaches to her about Hector’s difficult situation. Grandma preaches to Eddie about keeping his friendships intact. Evan preaches to Louis about the electoral college. Emery even kind of preaches to a customer about the futility of voting for a third-party candidate. And I get that Jessica is super competitive, but calling the INS on Louis’s cook is way over the line, even for her. Ugh.
FOB moment: “I’m a legal immigrant. I did it the right way. I went through the immigration process; I waited my turn. I didn’t jump the line. This is just about fairness.” — Jessica, unaware that she’s actually in the country illegally.
Soundtrack flashback: “Toss it Up” by Tupac (1996).
Final grade, this episode: This is an uncharacteristically unfunny episode, a clever idea that doesn’t work because it smacks us over the head with its messages. C-minus.
The Cambodian Dancer: Sophany’s Gift of Hope is a beautiful children’s picture book about a young Cambodian girl forced to leave her country who finds strength in traditional dance steps. The illustrations are well-done and in a style that matches the spirit of the book’s title character Sophany. Though not written by a Cambodian, it is based on the true story of a friend of the author.
As to be expected, the book only lightly touches on the cause of Sophany’s flight from her country — “The Khmer Rouge are bad” — while focusing more on the struggle to find one self and the reclaiming of culture and identity in her new home in America.
Beginning with Sophany learning dance in Cambodia before leaving the country as a child, the book ends on a lovely note of Sophany teaching other girls traditional Cambodian dance. It quickly covers her growth from child to adult, to then highlight the kind of inter-generational care she shows in establishing a Cambodian community in the United States.
The Cambodian Dancer was recently awarded the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards Silver Medal for Non-Fiction Picture Book.