After he graduated from high school this year, Number Two Son mentioned to me that one conversation he has continually had with a close Filipino American friend regards how few of their Filipino American peers were ambitious with their college choices. Their levels of achievement and college choices seemed much low, especially compared to other Asian American students at their Silicon Valley high school and despite that many of their parents were well educated. While I personally could see some examples, without real data, it was hard to say whether the kids he saw were just cherry picked examples within a self-selected group in an area heavily obsessed with education. A Pew Research Center compilation of Asian American data shows that Filipino Americans are indeed downward mobile from the initial immigrant generation (data shown above). This compilation should be useful to people who want to make data driven conclusions about Asian Americans.
The Pew Research Center has conveniently disaggregated data nicely into specific facts sheets for specific Asian American groups. A blog post looked at the aggregate data, and some of the findings surprised me – there are more than 20 million of us now and growing. Other interesting facts – Asian Americans are 11.3% of illegal immigrants, with the top country of origin being India (not what I expected). Asian Americans live in a multi-generational household more frequently than the general population (been there).
The data that shows that Filipino Americans are downward mobile doesn’t explain WHY that is the case. I looked up some work in that area and found Susan S. Kim’s Ph.D thesis comparing Korean American and Filipino American youth. The thesis concludes that Korean American communities have education institutions that encourage and support education much more heavily, and that the rapid acculturation that Filipino Americans experience, especially given the colonial history of the Philippines, doesn’t necessarily contribute to better performance. This makes a lot of sense to me. Also, I find that Filipinos, like many Americans, buy into the myth that academic performance in things like math is much more from innate abilities rather than hard work. “Such bullshit!” is Number Two Son’s comment on that myth.
While I find disaggregated data to be very useful, others find the mandated collection of disaggregated data to be objectionable. Other studies looking at Filipino American downward mobility are here and here (focusing on San Diego), and Susan Kim’s thesis contains many more references.
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From a racial perspective, the reality TV shows The Bachelor and The Bachelorette has been somewhat contorversial, considering that for most of the TV series existence, both shows has been pretty white. And 8Asians has covered this issue with blog posts such as:
Wong Fu Productions does an *awesome* and hilarious parody of the shows and highlights a lot of the issues related to the stereotypes of Asian American men.
The production quality is also through the roof – very similar to what you’d expect to see from a network show.
I thought the actress, Jamie LaBarber, who plays the Bachelorette, does a great job, and couldn’t help notice that her red dress was quite a bit revealing and loose fitting …
There were some really funny lines pick-up lines that the Asian bachelor use. But what I think the parody does best is parody the style, conflict and emotions found in the The Bachelor & The Bachelorette shows.
It’s been a long time since I last recall blogging about Target for my Asian American Commercial Watch series, but I caught this ad recently:
“Running low on the stuff you need? Time for a Target Run. Get everyday low prices on everyday essentials like milk, toothpaste and diapers. Target Run, and Done.”
The ad features an Asian American Mom:
her son & daughter:
and the kids’ grandfather:
My favorite Target ad though is the first one I had blogged about – All-American Asian Family in Target Ad:
Target, keep up the great work!
September 21 is International Peace Day, what more fitting a day than to talk about origami cranes–or at least a book on cranes. Origami Peace Cranes: Friendships Take Flight by Sue DiCicco is a children’s book about friendship and making connections despite differences. Emma–pictured center on the cover–is nervous about going to a new school and thinks no one will want to be her friend. That is of course until her teacher invites them to all make paper cranes and write messages to one another. Then, Emma makes connections with her (very multicultural) classmates. It’s a very straightforward story about accepting others and accepting yourselves. The book includes easy to follow instructions for how to make an origami crane as well as paper.
I appreciate that the story touts self-acceptance and features a diverse crew (Kumar, Juana, Takako eating a bento box for lunch…you get the drift). That being said, I really did wish reading through it, that the main character was not white. And while it may not be traditional to write on your origami crane, the author is clearly interested in fostering creativity and self-expression in all forms and I can’t criticize that.
“While most of its big name new restaurants are lined up to launch in Westfield UTC this fall, it will be a slightly longer wait for dumpling specialists Din Tai Fung. As part of the shopping center’s multi-million expansion and remodel, there will be plenty of fresh food and drink options to celebrate come October including Shake Shack, Great Maple, True Food Kitchen and more, but a rep for the Taiwanese chain confirmed that it will not be opening in Westfield UTC until 2018.”
I’ve only been to San Diego for work, so I don’t think I’ve ever been to the Westfield UTC mall, but from Google Maps, it doesn’t look too far from UC San Diego (less than 3 miles).
While we have been hearing over the years about how how Asian Americans don’t hike or visit national parks, it’s great to hear about Asian Americans who do hike. In this story about the the Eagle Creek fire, a hiker talks about an Asian American named Emily who unlike most of the hikers in the area, was extremely well prepared and helped many of the more than 140 hikers who were cutoff from easy escape by the fire. They had to stay overnight and embark on a 14 mile route to escape the flames. Says stranded hiker Merribeth Midtlyng:
“She was an Asian gal named Emily, just six years in the country, and she’d read the book ‘Wild’ and knew all the things to bring on a hike,” Midtlyng said. “She had a headlamp, food, shelter and water purifier and was so helpful to a lot of people, helping them get safe water to drink.”
I saw the movie Wild, but I don’t think that I could have helped anyone if I was there. The trail in the movie ends at the Bridge of the Gods across the Columbia river, and the fire started by some moron with fireworks is around that area. Some of the area near Multnomah Falls burned but is considered mostly unscathed. I visited the area a few years ago and found it strikingly beautiful. With the current hurricane disasters, the fires choking the Pacific Northwest are going unnoticed by many.
We have written a number of articles about how Asian Americans actually do hike. It’s good that “Emily” also likes to both read and hike, which benefited of some of those trap by the awful fire.
I first met then candidate Stephanie Murphy shortly after the 2016 Democratic National Convention in July. What I didn’t realize, or had forgotten, was that Murphy had announced running for Congress in June 2016 – and essentially ran a 4-month campaign and defeating a 12-term (24 year) incumbent, Congressman John Mica. That is pretty unprecedented.
So it was with great pleasure that I was able to meet now Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy recently when she was back visiting the Bay Area. One thing I learned prior to me having the chance to interview her is that basically Mica & the Republicans took her for granted and that she had a massive get-out-the-vote ground game – where her campaign knocked on over I believe 120,000 doors in the district.
Well, this time around for November 2018, Murphy is a big target for Republicans to maintain the majority in the House. She’s one of two in Florida that the GOP is targeting:
“Florida Reps. Charlie Crist and Stephanie Murphy are among GOP targets for the midterm elections.”
In my brief interview with Murphy though, I didn’t focus in on her re-election, but how it’s been like to be in Congress, what has surprised her, what committees she’s on, as well as her recent trip to Vietnam on an official Congressional delegation and the kind words that Senator McCain had for Murphy as well as the Vietnamese American community has done for America, which I thought was quite touching.
Ever since I read Communion by Whitley Strieber, I’ve been fixated on the alien abductee experience. One of the things I’ve noticed is that a lot of the screen memories of abductees seem to involve Asians. The definition, according to Merriam-Webster, of screen memory is: “a recollection of early childhood that may be falsely recalled or magnified in importance and that masks another memory of deep emotional significance.” When used in context of an alien abduction, many seem to remember seeing an Asian person instead of an alien in their rooms. It is unclear if that’s something their own mind does to mask a traumatic experience or something their abductors put in their heads.
I was hoping to write my next 8Asians article on this phenomenon, but I was having a hard time finding anything. But during this “research” I came across the name Meng Zhaoguo, a Chinese lumberjack who believes he has had sex with an alien.
What fascinates me about Meng, other than the fact that he claims to have had sexual relations with a being not from this world, is that he’s Asian. Why is that unusual? The world of UFOs and aliens—most of the paranormal realm in fact—is very Western. The first UFO sighting—at least in the modern sense of it—was in the late 40s in Roswell, New Mexico and most of the sightings and other related events seem to take place exclusively in the English-speaking world. This isn’t to say that there haven’t been cases that have taken place in other parts of our planet—there have—but they have been much less common.
This is why when I came across Meng Zhaoguo’s story, I was instantly interested. Here’s the quick synopsis of his story:
In 1994, Meng thought he saw a helicopter crash in a remote Northeast corner of China. When he went to investigate, he was knocked out. He woke up back at his place. A few nights later, he was sleeping in bed with his wife and daughter when a nearly ten foot tall, twelve fingered woman with thighs coated with braided hair came to his room, levitated him, and then they engaged in a forty minute love making session.
According to interviews, Meng claimed that he was taken aboard a space ship on numerous occasions after this first encounter. He learned about a human/alien hybrid program and was warned that humans were destroying the Earth.
I was not able to verify this, but many articles claim that Meng successfully passed a lie detector test conducted by the police. In the Wikipedia entry about this case, the UFO Enthusiasts Club at Wuhan University came to the conclusion that the first encounter “may have occurred, the subsequent reported events were almost certainly untrue.”
I won’t pass judgement on whether or not any of this actually happened. But I am suspicious. It is believed that he “received numerous gifts as a result of his abduction, including a Sony television, a cow and, most notably, a job at a Harbin university.” (Source) If someone offered me an expensive TV to say that I had sex with an alien, I’d probably consider it. That’s not true. Buy me a nice dinner and a movie and I’ll say whatever you want me to say. But to be fair to Meng, he’s not the only one in the world who had made this particular claim. This Buzzfeed article highlights six cases of people claiming to have had sex with an alien.
As I looked into the story, one of the things that I found interesting was the attitude of the Chinese government toward the UFO/alien abduction phenomenon. From what I could find, the government’s position on such matters is pretty open:
The PRC once held a very conservative attitude to UFOs and forbid any reports until Reform and Opening Up. “It involved things like location and political factors,” says Wu. “But now we welcome UFOs and aliens and expect we could gain their materials and learn their techniques in order to improve our science. If we discover aliens some day, I hope I could communicate and establish a harmonious relationship with them. People could treat them peacefully.” (Source)
What do you think? Do you think Meng Zhaoguo slept with an alien? Tell me in the comments below.
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It’s been a while since I had a Snapple, and maybe that’s why the company is advertising again (or maybe I just noticed), and I came across this commercial recently with an Asian American male office worker:
and you get to see the guy drink a Snapple in a more private office:
I have no idea who the actor is, but hopefully his career will move on to bigger and better things. These kinds of commercials is what I recall Randall Park doing before he got he made it big in movies and television.
In July, I went with my family and friends to Las Vegas to watch my Los Angeles Lakers play in the Summer League. For those who don’t know, Summer League is sort of like Major League Baseball’s spring training but with rookies and second year players. This year was an extra special because we got to watch the young UCLA phenomenon and Lakers’ #2 draft pick Lonzo Ball play—by the way, he’s as good as advertised.
Because Vegas is so close to LA, many of the people who go to Summer League games are there to see the Lakers. In other words, it means you have to get there early if you want to score good seats—other than the front rows, seating is open. On the night we went, the Lakers were playing at 7:00 pm so we got there around four.
It’s not that exciting to watch games where you don’t have a vested interest in the players or the team. So we were watching the non-Lakers games sort of passively. And being the father of a five-year-old who has the attention span of a gnat, I spent a lot of the non-Lakers games trying to keep my son amused and well fed. That’s why it took me a while before I noticed something unusual.
During the Boston-Dallas game people were going crazy and cheering every time one player touched the ball. I quickly realized it was the Asian (Chinese) player, Ding Yanyuhang. Not only would they cheer, but they would shout MVP. Here’s a YouTube clip I found. Around minute 2:14 you can hear the audience chanting.
I did not cheer or chant because I wasn’t sure if the crowd was genuinely excited to see this particular Asian player or because they were mocking him. My first instinct was that they were making fun of him. Of course, I assume they were going for the old cliché that Asian guys are short and can’t play sports—this even though Ding is 6’7”.
When I realized what was going on, I asked my friends if they thought the crowd was mocking Ding. They all shrugged—they weren’t sure either. I would like to note that none of them participated in the cheering or chanting with the rest of the crowd.
I would have overlooked all of this had I not heard what was coming out of the mouths of a group of young girls about half-dozen rows above me. They were making chopstick references as they cheered Ding on. I turned around and glared at them and tried to catch the eye of one of the parents or chaperones but they didn’t notice me.
Thinking back now, I would like to believe that the entire arena wasn’t being racist—or at the very least insensitive. I mean, I would have thought that with the successes of Asian baseball players and Yao Ming/Jeremy Lin, we would be past the stereotype that Asians couldn’t play sports.
To be fair, no one was shouting racist epithets at the player—as far as I knew—and there were Asians (Americans?) in the arena who were cheering along with everyone else—even in the above clip. And I only found this out while writing this article, but Ding really was the MVP of the Chinese league. So shouting MVP was at least accurate because he was in fact a most valuable player—although I’d be surprised if the crowd watching the game that day actually knew that.
The reason I’m writing this a month after it happened is because it still bothers me. I vacillate between feeling outraged and also wondering if I was being too sensitive. What do you think?
I think I first heard of Kristina Wong (“solo performer, writer, actor, educator, culture jammer, and filmmaker”) around her antics of trying to marry her dream husband, Taiwanese American NBA basketball player Jeremy Lin, and her viral TV interview on which was freaking hilarious on why everyone wants to date Asian women. Last April 2016, I also had a chance to catch her live in her excellent, excellent solo performance of “The Wong Street Journal.”
Wong has now released a web series called “Kristina Wong’s How to Pick Up Asian Chicks” that has funny women like me, Asa Akira (the porn star), Amy Hill (“Crazy Ex Girlfriend” and “Unreal”) and child actor Aubrey Anderson-Emmons (“Modern Family”) and 15 other APIA women. The premise goes:
“Essentially, there exists a genre of self-published books written by white men on how to pick-up Asian women with such literary titles as “Asian Milf Hunting” and “Everyman’s Guide to Asian Sex.” In the spirit of Jimmy Kimmel’s “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets” I had Asian American women read and respond to some of their writing on camera. I bought six of these books (with my hard earned money) and we are releasing one episode per book!”
Here are the videos – enjoy!
NBA / Brooklyn Nets basketball player Jeremy Lin during the offseason returns to his native Bay Area for a short while before he does his annual pilgrimage to Asia – usually Taiwan and China, where he has a strong fan base. Recently, he posted what life is like on YouTube when he’s back:
“Just another day in the life in the Bay Area! Working on staying healthy and excited for this upcoming season. Make sure you subscribe and leave a comment with what types of videos you’d like to see!”
I’m assuming Lin crashes at his parents’ place in Palo Alto, but I could be wrong. The Bay Area is expensive, but Lin could certainly afford a place given the NBA contracts he’s signed (which would have been a good investment since real estate has gone stratospheric in the past five+ years). Although I live in the next town over, I have yet to bump into Lin during the offseason, even though I’ve been confused for his father at least once and live in the next town over!
From the video, it looks like he eats lunch at the Chipotle near the Costco I shop at in Mountain View. And he has acupuncture in Mountain View as well – at HZ Acupuncture.
I’d still love to interview him one-on-one one of these days, though I do see him whenever he’s in the Bay Area playing against the Golden State Warriors.