Religion and Depression in Asian Youth

No matter how often Religion and Depression in Asian Youtha topic that was blogged on 8Asians three years ago – is blogged about, written, or discussed, I’m not so sure we’ll come to a concrete, definitive conclusion. But that’s okay. I’ll pose the question here for discussion: Is religion really the cause of depression in Asian teens?

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Mixed Reactions Over Kim Jung Il’s Death

I wish my Grandfather were still alive so that I could ask him what he thinks about the passing of North Korea’s Kim Jung Il. My Grandfather was a very wise and gracious man. He never made an unfavorable comment about anyone (except this one South Korean president from the ‘80s). He’s the man who always spoke highly of Japan, its people, the country, the customs, even though he was directly affected by the occupation of Korea by the very same people. So, I wonder if he would have mixed feelings like some of the Korean Americans from North Korea are experiencing over Kim’s death.

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How I Would Make Over The Korean American Church

next door
When this article titled “Why Korean American Churches Need A Makeover” appeared in HYPHEN, I was more than happy to raise my Internet hands and take a whack at it. Reading the article flooded back memories of chatting with my fellow Korean American Christians about the state of Korean American Churches. Truth be told, I don’t attend one anymore. There are numerous reasons why. But that’s not what this space is for.

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Students Eating Instant Ramen Increase Risk of Chronic Disease

I love food; no, no, I really LOVE food. It’s a relationship that has been sacred and intimate and enjoyable. I scoff at canned soups and instant anything.

But, somewhere in my genetic makeup is a deep love for instant ramen.

I blame my Dad for this; I grew up sneaking instant ramen into my belly as often as I can. I had to hide it from the Mother who frowned upon the horror that is instant ramen. She would go on and on about how bad it was and how it’s going to ruin my health. I would have a sassy comeback and ignore her and I happily slurped through my bowl of instant goodness. I love it so  much, I even have my own little method of cooking it.

This is the reason I would never show my Mother this article on students who have ate instant foods increasing their risk of getting chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Oh, the gloating she would do and the triumph she would feel knowing that her nagging has been true all along. She would never be silenced in saying over and over again how instant ramen consumption really does have negative and horrible affects on one’s health.

Something For Your Ears: DECLARE Indie

I love music. Truthfully, good music rocks my ears off. Okay, maybe that line was cheesy and lame, but I needed something to get your attention so you don’t miss out on a great Asian American music showcase — if you would like to bring some pleasure to your eardrums, hustle yourself over to Declare INDIE, taking place in Chicago on Friday, April 16. If you need a little more convincing, let me give you three quick reasons why you should go.

Declare INDIE declares to be (shoot me, I’m in cheese mode):

  1. An Asian American music showcase with AWESOME artists.
  2. In cooperation with Kollaboration Chicago.
  3. In support of Team Connor Bone Marrow Registry Drive.

Check out the promo videos if you need more convincing. Click the link coming up to travel to their Facebook events page for what you need to know. [EDITORS NOTE: The event is also listed on our my.8asians events page, if you want to see who else is attending!]

The People I’ve Slept With Gets a TV Deal

Indulge me as I use this space to rave and brag and gush and brag and rave and – well, you get the picture – about our very own Koji Steven Sakai. Koji is a writer; you’ve actually read his stuff here at He wrote an indie sex-comedy, a well-received, well-loved, well-reviewed movie that has enjoyed sold out status at film festivals called The People I’ve Slept With. If you’re dying to see it, you’ll be happy to know that the movie has been snatched up by a US based TV station, Logo, for mass (cable) enjoyment.

Let’s take a moment and give it up for a man who has done what I only dream about doing: write something that people actually enjoy.

Apolo Ohno vs. South Korea

I realize that the 2010 Winter Olympics ended last week, and you might not care, but I do, so I’m going to keep on writing about it until the cows come home. Whatever that means.

I love the Olympics. We already covered that. My second favorite Winter Olympic sport is Short Track Speed Skating. My fandom of this sport is in large part to a certain cutie named Apolo Ohno who makes speed skating look like the hottest sport ever invented. I’ll admit that I’m pretty biased when it comes to Ohno, because even if he makes ungracious comments, I’ll overlook it, chalking it up to his good looks impairing his social graces during interviews.

I’m sure you’ve been aware, but ever since the 2002 Winter Olympics, it seems that those living in South Korea have hated on Ohno over his controversial medal.

Ohno finished runner-up to Lee Jung-Su after two other leading Koreans, Sung Si-Bak and Lee Ho-Suk, collided and crashed into the boards around the final turn in the men’s 1500m final on Saturday at the Vancouver Olympics…[The] Korean media slammed Ohno’s post-race comments that Korean skaters deserved to be disqualified in a fresh flare-up of the antipathy which surrounded him after he won the same event at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.

Anyone who has watched the sport understands that the races are intense, and that at any given second, things can take a turn for the worse or better for any or all of its competing athletes. The nature of the sport forces the contenders to skate in close quarters, where accidents are bound to happen.

So maybe you can understand my incredulousness at South Korea for singling out our Ohno as the sole contributor for things not working out well for their countrymen. Let’s just accept the fact that it is what it is in Short Track Speed Skating and let bygones be bygones. I mean, are we, America, going to hate on Canadian Short Track Speed Skaters because we had our own bit of tussle at this year’s games?

Asian Women Dominate Olympic Ice

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned how much I love the Olympics. My favorite sport for the Winter Olympics is, without a doubt, Women’s Figure Skating. There’s something about elegance meeting athleticism that really inspires me. Back in the Kristi Yamaguchi days, I would imagine myself as a beautiful figure skater . . . “Imagine” being the operative word here, folks.

I was especially invested in this year’s Women’s Figure Skating because of Kim Yuna and Mao Asada. I remember watching them when they were just starting out, reading articles of their rivalry and how each girl was motivated by the other (by the competition) to get better. In a rather unpatriotic move, I wanted so much for either Kim or Asada to win the 2010 gold. Although I adore Mirai Nagasu, I hoped that Kim and Asada’s years of hard work and determination would pay off with a nice shiny medal.

You can imagine my joy with the result of Women’s Figure Skating, where Yuna and Asada respectively placed gold and silver. Well, I would have loved it more if Nagasu won Bronze, but hey, we can’t have it all! Kim excelled in both her programs to win the gold medal, along with the respect of so many people. My worry that all the pressure on her slight, but strong shoulders would be too much for her was all for naught. Even though Asada expressed regret at the free skate program, I’m also proud of her all the same.

I can’t end this post without giving a special shout out to Nagasu who had a great showing at her first Olympics. She was 6th going into the Free Skate and after a beautiful program, she bested Miki Ando and Rachael Flatt to finish 4th. She captured the attention of the global community as a hopeful medalist for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

I think it’s appropriate for me to wrap this up with a quote from one of my friends who surprisingly enjoyed Women’s Figure Skating. “What’s with these Asian girls who dominate in figure skating?”

(Image Credit: NBC Olympics)

Asians Representin’ in the Olympics

I’m not ashamed to admit that I get pretty stoked and giddy each time the Olympics come around. Summer or Winter, I love them all. I’m always amazed and inspired at what each athlete is trying to accomplish. I can only imagine the training, the sweat, and determination they pour in to just make it to the Olympics. Like most, I have my favorite events and favorites athletes.

Top on my list for the Winter Olympics are Short Track and Figure Skating. A definite draw for short track is Apolo Ohno. To put it simply, he’s adorable. As sad as I am that this is his last skate at the Olympics, there is another cutie taking his place, J.R. Celski. I watched with great anticipation and nerves Saturday night when the two skated for gold in the Men’s 1500m Short Track. I was a little disappointed that U.S. did not get gold, but it was nice to have three Asian athletes medal.

Enough about short track. Check out all the other Asians representing (USA) in this year’s Winter Olympics.

Hines Ward Helps Biracial Youths

Pittsburgh Steelers v Kansas City Chiefs

Back when Hines Ward was a rookie, I knew about his career. Not because I followed him, but because my friends would be sure to keep me updated. I have to admit, I do pay closer attention to Korean news makers so I can keep up with the people I’m lumped with by ethnicity, and I guess I swell with pride when “my people” do good and feel shame when they act like buffoons.  I feel the same way about any Asian American news makers.

Hines Ward has been a bleep on my radar ever since my friends told me about his NFL career way back when. Since I don’t really follow any football unless it’s about the Colts, I hadn’t kept up with Ward religiously. But I recently (and by recently, I mean November of 2009) read something about Ward that made me smile: Hines Ward is doing his part in trying to help other Korean biracial youths.

I have a biracial cousin I don’t see as often as I would like, but I remember how hard it was for her to be the only biracial kid in our family. She wasn’t loved any less, but there seemed to be a certain divide; while I have no firsthand experience on how challenging it can be to live as a biracial Korean, I’ve witnessed enough hurdles here and there to appreciate what Ward is doing.

Even as a non-biracial Korean, and Korean being my first language, I lived with certain prejudices from my fellow countrymen back when I lived in South Korea. I still feel it when I venture into Korea Town and felt a smidge when I visited Korea in 2008, so it’s no surprise that the plight of biracial kids in South Korea was mostly ignored until 2006, when Ward became MVP of Superbowl XL. And while the plight still continues, Ward is doing what he can to help and I appreciate his efforts. I’m thankful that he is being vocal about it so that it leaves less room for South Koreans to try and ignore a glaring problem.

Facebook Reunites Vietnam Vet Father and Son

I’m a Facebook newbie — some might even call me an anti-Facebookie. It’s not that I’m anti; it’s that I didn’t get on board with all the hype and hullabaloo.

I caved and joined the craze not too long ago and I have to admit, it’s been nice to find old friends and connect with new ones. I still prefer the person to person hangout and interactions, but Facebook does its thing. I even reconnected with an old high school bud and actually met up with him in person. Yeah, wow.

Facebook did not just help this sista out — it was instrumental in reuniting a long-lost son with his Vietnam Vet Dad.  Peter McKibben was able to connect with his long-lost son via messages on Facebook. I like a happy ending as much as the next person, and I’m happy for McKibben and the happy ending he got, thanks to Facebook.

For Korean Parents, Height can Change Fate

How important is height? For South Korean parents, it’s more than important. I’m not sure why, but ever since I can remember, I knew the parentals in South Korea were obsessed with the height of their children; it would come up in daily conversation as moms shared about their children’s height and the mom with the shortest kid would hang her head in shame.

You can read this New York Times articleto learn more about the obsession of these ambitious parents. My favorite quote is “Here, if you change your height, you can change your fate.”

I’m not sure what height has to do with your fate, but I know that South Korean parents believe your height — and your looks — can pave a better and brighter future. And then it makes me wonder why they slave-drive their children to study so hard; after all, according to these same South Korean parents, a short-smart kid has a dismal future ahead compared to a tall-dumb kid.