Filipino Kinship Terms and their Confusing Translation into English

Number One Son has a “nephew” who is also a college student in Boston. When I mentioned this to my brother, he couldn’t understand how Number One Son could be the “uncle” of someone who is the same age and who is neither his son nor the son of The Wife’s siblings.  I told him “uncle” is the English translation of a Filipino term for a male who is one less generation away from a common ancestor than the other person being referenced.  My explanation, while totally correct, totally failed to make him understand.   If you are curious how my son can be an “uncle” or are wondering why Filipinos sometimes call each other by weird names like “kuya,” “manong,” or “ading” instead of their regular names, this article by Myles Garcia can explain.

Continue reading “Filipino Kinship Terms and their Confusing Translation into English”

‘Dr. Ken’ & ‘FOTB’ – Watershed Moments for Asian Americans Adolescents on TV

With the end of the 2016 – 2017 traditional broadcast network television season ending, it’s been an amazing season for Asian Americans – with two Asian American family show sitcoms into their second and third seasons with Dr. Ken and Fresh Off The Boat respectively. Unfortunately, Dr. Ken won’t be around in the fall for a third season.

However, I did want to highlight one aspect of the television season for both sitcoms that really stood out – the storylines of Molly & Jae on Dr. Ken and Alison & Eddie on Fresh Off The Boat. Having been born and raised in Western Massachusetts, I was only one of a handful of Asian Americans in my high school graduating class of 270+ students. The closest statistics I could find was that in 2000, my town was 3% Asian American (I grew up in the 1980s, so definitely less than 3%).

So when first seeing the episode (S02E12 – “Ken’s New Intern” – air date: January 6, 2017) where Molly and Jae express their feelings to each other and then kiss, that was a big deal to me. Now I can’t say that I’ve watched every single episode of every broadcast television series where there have been Asian American teenagers dating, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the first to show a realistic relationship between two Asian American teenagers:

I particularly like how Krista Marie Yu portrayed Molly as emotionally vulnerable and that the character Jae was not a stereotypical looking geeky Asian guy (or God forbid,  Sixteen Candles’ Long Duk Dong)

Then, a little more than a month later on Fresh Off The Boat, there’s an episode and plot line about Eddie’s first kiss with Alison (S03E13 – “Neighbors with Attitude” – airdate: February 14, 2017), where Eddie and Alison eventually do kiss, despite some obstacles in Eddie’s plan during the episode:

After getting over a bit of nostalgia from the musical interlude of Janet Jackson’s “Again” briefly playing in the background, I realized that I probably watched the first ever interracial kiss by an Asian American middle schooler and his white girlfriend on broadcast television.

Continue reading “‘Dr. Ken’ & ‘FOTB’ – Watershed Moments for Asian Americans Adolescents on TV”

Dishwashers vs. Hand-washing – Which is More Efficient?

In a recent episode of Fresh Off The Boat, Evan goes over to a white friend’s home for a family lunch, and is shocked to learn that the real use of a dishwasher is not to be used as a drying rack, but to actually wash dishes!

When I posted this video clip on Facebook, this really resonated with a lot of my Asian American friends – since most of us could relate – some of the comments I received:

  •  Lol….growing up we never used our dishwasher either. We were told it wastes water and electricity. I think ours was still unused 20 years later when we moved out to a new place. I still remember my mom’s dishwasher was a yellow Whirlpool with silver push buttons.
  • My family did. But we had to hand wash them first. The dishwasher was just to sanitize them. Now that I’m on my own. I almost exclusively rely on the dishwasher.
  • My parents bought a brand new (new construction) home in 1973, it included all brand new kitchen appliances including an avocado green dishwasher. We never used it in the 35 years they lived there. It was still unused when they sold the house and moved out.

While growing up, our family never used the dishwasher – it was considered wasteful. Additionally, as Jessica in Fresh Off the Boat, I think considered being lazy using a machine to wash dishes. But what is really more efficient – a dishwasher or hand washing dishes? According to this analysis:

“These numbers indicate that it’s possible to be more efficient when hand-washing, but it’s pretty tough. Can you successfully wash and rinse a soiled dinner plate in just over a cup of water? If you can keep the water use low, equal to an efficient machine, you’ll require less energy, but doing an entire load of dishes in 4 gallons of water is roughly equivalent to doing them all in the same amount of water you use in 96 seconds of showering (using a showerhead that emits 2.5 gallons per minute).

So, as long as you don’t often run your dishwasher when it’s only half full of dirty dishes, or unless you are very miserly with your water use (or have an old, inefficient dishwasher), the automatic dishwasher is likely to be more efficient. That is to say, it’s possible to use less water and energy by hand washing your dishes, but it’s not easy. Of course, if you do it just right, it might just be a wash.”

As an adult, I definitely use the dishwasher whenever I can – usually saving up enough dishes for the dishwasher to be full. It’s just easier and saves time.

Revisiting the question of whether Filipinos are Asians or Pacific Islanders

pacificislanderfilipinoAre Filipinos Asians or Pacific Islanders?  That is a question we dealt with on 8asians a long time ago, and most questionnaires and surveys put Filipinos into the Asian category.  The question does come up peridiocally, as the Fung brothers put out a video on the subject in 2014 and here on Quora in 2016.  When the Adobo Chronicles, an Onion like fake news site, put out a story in 2015 that the US Census Bureau would reclassify Filipinos as Pacific Islanders, enough controversy ensued that the US Census bureau responded a month later saying that they would continue to classify Filipinos as Asians.  The Adobo Chronicles was delighted, saying that they were happy that the US Census bureau follows them!

Still, not everyone follows the Census Bureau guidelines.  The Wife was renewing her Registered Nurse license at the California Board of Registered Nursing web site when she didn’t find Filipino under the Asian Category.  Turns out that Filipinos are under the Pacific Islander category, as shown in the screen capture above.

Looking over how the question has come up so many times in the past, two other questions come into mind.  First, why do people really care enough about this question to bring it up so often, and second, why do so many people take the Adobo Chronicles as real news?

 

#SubmitToHate and “ThankYouDonald” on Instagram is documenting social media accounts of #WhiteLash

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I am just going to link to ThankYouDonald and let the posts speak for themselves.

The account description is:

Thank You, Donald. Bearing witness to the #WhiteLash. Contribute photos/screenshots by tagging them with #SubmitToHate. I wish this account didn’t need to exist.

I wish this account didn’t need to exist, either.

(Note: I am not the person who started that account)

The 2016 US Election is over. What is your reaction?

8a-2016-11-2016electionI feel that this is a good time for us to revisit one of the original goals of 8Asians– to hear the diverse voices and opinions from our multifaceted communities of Asian Americans/Asian Canadians/Asian Australians/English speaking Asians from around the world.

Our writers used to regularly TalkAbout things, but we fell out of that habit.

So I ask you, do you have something to say to our community? What is your post-election reaction?

Let us know in the comments (be civil!), click the moodthingy below, message us privately, or submit a guest post.

3 Things “Enlightened” White People Can Stop Saying

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By Sophia Chang

So you’re an enlightened, non-racist, totally conscious white person. In that case, you can stop saying these 3 things:

1) “My husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/superPCterm is Fill-in-the-Color so I get it.”

You know how when skinny people talk about how fat they are, it’s totally obnoxious? It’s because they’ll never know what it’s like to actually be in a body that isn’t skinny.

It doesn’t mean skinny people don’t have self-esteem issues (we do, all the time) – but it’s NOT THE SAME. It will NEVER BE THE SAME. And pretending we get it is not only pointless, but annoying to people who actually have bodies that don’t fit the cultural beauty norm.

When I had a black boyfriend, I experienced what it was like to walk down the street and see someone cross it when they saw him coming. I viewed the police differently. Does this mean I get what being black is about? No. I will never know what being black is like. When I walk away, I’m still Asian. I grew up in this skin, not his skin. I have my family, not his family. The world sees me like me, not him.

2) “I experienced racism too; this one time…”

You know that friend who always needs to turn the conversation back to themselves? If you got mugged three times, they need to talk about that one time their wallet was almost stolen, but it wasn’t, it was just a false alarm and not anything like the trauma you experienced repeatedly.

Don’t be that friend.

And while we’re at it, let’s cut the reverse racism bullshit. You want to date an Asian and you’re annoyed her family is weird around you? We don’t want to hear it any more than you want to hear about how we hear stupid shit EVERYWHERE WE GO and we just have to let it slide because if we go around complaining every five seconds, we wouldn’t have time for all the violin practice.

3) “It’s not just Asians, MY family also…”

Remember when Black Lives Matter started and lots of people were against it because “All lives matter”? And we were like, “Yes, they do, but…THAT’S NOT THE POINT.”

White people, YOU DON’T NEED TO OWN EVERYTHING in the world. It’s like a compulsion. Like you get itchy if Asians are allowed to be unique and have our own culture.

What is it, does it remind you that we’re actually different from you? (And different is bad!) Does it threaten you so much that our culture has things you’re not a part of for once, that you may not know how to deal with? Things we may be proud of, or hurts and pains that we accept enough to joke about, or just something that isn’t yours?

It’s okay. Let Asians have some things for ourselves. You’ve already taken my people’s masculinity, let us have our in-jokes the way the other minorities do. We need it to get through our day, trust us.

(Flickr photo credit: Tomi Knuutila, used under Creative Commons License)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sophia is an aerial dancer, an admissions coach, and the world’s first iPod silhouette model. She graduated from Harvard at the age of 20, worked as a film/TV actor and playwright, and now writes fantasy novels. Sophia just completed 13 months of nomadic travel around the globe. Follow her adventures at www.sophiachang.com

ICYMI: NYTimes: Open Season on Jeremy Lin? In Video, Fan Highlights Hard Fouls

If you read 8Asians.com, you’ve probably already come across a Jeremy Lin fan video highlighting the injustices against opponents flagrantly fouling him titled, Jeremy Lin: Too Flagrant Not to Call and his opponents not getting called a foul. I’ve watched the video, and it’s not pretty.

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I was surprised that THE New York Times covered the issue and even more surprised by who put the video together:

“Hsiu-Chen Kuei waited until her husband and three sons had gone to bed one night recently before surreptitiously beginning work on an ambitious personal project.

As they slept, Kuei, 48, a stay-at-home mother from San Jose, Calif., hunkered down at her computer and began poring over highlight videos featuring Charlotte Hornets guard Jeremy Lin, her favorite N.B.A. player. She fumbled around on Final Cut Pro, a video-editing program, splicing together the specific clips she had sought. She did this for six straight nights, three hours each night.

On April 5, Kuei uploaded her finished product, a six-and-a-half-minute video, to YouTube. She called it “Jeremy Lin: Too Flagrant Not to Call.”Piecing together clips of Lin over the years getting whacked in the face, clotheslined, bleeding, tumbling to the floor — all without ever drawing a flagrant foul — Kuei tried to convey that Lin, an American-born son of immigrants from Taiwan, was the victim of excessive physicality from opponents and insufficient protection from the league and its referees.

To Kuei’s surprise, the video soon attracted close to a million views, capturing the attention of basketball fans around the world and the eye of the league — even if no one quite knew who was behind it.”

The NBA did respond to a fan email regarding the video. Basically, the NBA said that:

Flagrant Foul given the full circumstances, angles and comparables from past games. Referees do make mistakes, which means they miss calls that should have been made. When that occurs, we collect the data and provide referees with feedback to ensure improvement.”

I read the New York Times article online, so I was even more surprised to see the Jeremy Lin article made it to the print edition’s FRONT PAGE! (at least of the National Edition). A friend of mine (h/t to Vitus), sent me this photo of his print edition of the Times, where the article headline is Fan’s Video Calls Foul on How N.B.A. Treats Asian-American:

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I can’t say I watch enough Jeremy Lin these days to make a judgement on the officiating, since I mostly follow my local and awesome team, the Golden State Warriors. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was unconscious bias against Lin on not calling fouls against his opponents. Too bad the Warriors traded Lin a long time ago – would be great if he returned.

 

Indiegogo: Before Tinder, there was the Taiwan Love Boat

There’s a new Indigogo fundraising for a documentary about the “Love Boat” – titled “Before Tinder, there was the Taiwan Love Boat”– asking for contributions of $20 to $5,000, with various levels of rewards for your level of contribution. And for a limited time (until the Indiegogo campaign reaches $14,000), those contributions will be matched by an anonymous donor

As I had blogged about before, when I first started writing for 8Asians, I wondered until how long it would be that I would be writing about the “Love Boat” (as well as another 8Asians blogger did as well). For those who aren’t Chinese or Taiwanese American (or even if you are), the “Love Boat” is a Taiwanese government sponsored Chinese language and cultural study tour of Taiwan for overseas Chinese and Taiwanese, from the U.S. and Canada as well as from what I recall, a separate European one.

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The program started in the late 1960s and started to have a growing reputation more for fun and sometimes for a few, love, and its popularity started to gain during the popularity of the American television show the Love Boat (which debuted in 1977). I’ve also thought the nickname kind of came about while looking at Taiwan on a map, which is sort of a shape of a boat from looking from above, that is in an ocean.

From the documentary press release I received:

“[Filmmaker Valerie] Soe observes, “The Taiwanese government used the Love Boat to get political support from Taiwanese and Chinese American and Canadian college kids, their parents used the trip to try to continue their bloodlines, and the kids used the trip to party and find romance for six weeks in Taiwan. It was a win-win-win situation for everyone concerned.”

A while back, I had seen a newly created Facebook page for the making of the Love Boat documentary – that was using my Study Tour ID card! That is when I contacted the Facebook page administrator to please remove my photo for her Facebook page’s profile photo! Recently, I got a chance to speak over the phone with the Soe and her Indiegogo fundraing campaign.

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Soe and her family will be spending the summer in Taiwan on a Fulbright Fellowship and use the funds to do key interviews with the Taiwanese government officials who dreamed up and organized the Love Boat, the local counselors who worked on the Love Boat, and the Taiwanese American and Chinese American ex-pats whose summer on the Love Boat convinced them to move to Asia. She’s also going to shoot this year’s edition of the Love Boat in Taiwan – which has apparently been scaled down in size and length since its peak (down to 3 weeks instead of 6 weeks) and officially known as the Expatriate Youth Taiwan Study Tour.

She also mentioned she’d like to do the documentary focused on the perspectives of those Taiwanese and Chinese Americans that had attended as well as their parents and both of their motivations for attending.

Unfortunately, given her busy academic schedule and other obligations, as well as of course doing primary research and interviews, Soe doesn’t anticipate the documentary coming out until some time in 2018. That is one thing that I’ve always been hesitant about in regards to funding Kickstarter or Indigogo or other crowd-sourced campaigns – the delivery date upon any project is often a long way off, and I’m an impatient person!

I’m really glad Soe is producing this documentary – I think it is a critical piece of understand the Taiwanese (and to a degree the Chinese) American experience. Given the short history of Taiwanese American history – which I believe predominately started in the early-to-mid-1960s, the Love Boat is a shared experience or acknowledged by a great number of folks that should be documented.

For more information about the documentaryBefore Tinder, there was the Taiwan Love Boat:

I can’t wait to contribute to the film and eventually watch it!

Apparently in Silicon Valley, only non-Asians are allowed to have fun

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By Leeland Lee

The New York Times recently published a collection of photographs by Laura Morton depicting the “entrepreneurs, geniuses, idealists” who have flooded Silicon Valley in search of vast riches.

In image after image, we see millennial techies in situ, both at work and at play. But only some of these techies are drinking beer and smoking stogies and, well, enjoying life. Those would be the white techies. The Asian techies, most of them, just look utterly miserable.

Entitled “The Silicon Valley Hustle,” the photo montage is an interesting study of contrasts. The white techies, mostly young men, are dressed in plaid or light-colored shirts. They strike animated poses, they point, they laugh, they are the cynosure of attention.

Meanwhile, there’s a photo of their Asian counterparts, an undifferentiated mass competing in a recent hackathon. These techies stare intensely at their laptops and wear boring T-shirts. They’re surrounded by human detritus and penned in like farm animals. These little techies won’t be allowed to go home tonight.

Moving back to white person world, we see a young techie coding from the airy rooftop of his Sunset apartment. We see techies chasing after venture capital tail at an industry mixer. And of course, what would this photo collection be without an image of white techies posing in—what else?—the backyard of a fraternity.

Want to see something really depressing? Scroll down a little farther and you’ll see an Asian techie asleep at her computer. Her mouth is agape, she is burnt out from hours of non-stop coding. Do white techies sleep as well? Why yes they do, as evidenced by a photo of a young man resting comfortably on fake grass.

Apparently when white techies sleep, they even do so in a way that’s vaguely photogenic.

Looking through these photos, you might wonder: Certainly, Asian techies must have some fun—sometimes? After all, remember, Asians are also human! And if you look hard enough, finally you see her: A lone Asian woman at a dinner party. She is staring up at her white techie co-worker, who just made a hilariously bombastic remark.

And so there you have it, an insider’s view of how Silicon Valley really operates. As I scrolled through these photos, I couldn’t help but think about our Asian parents, and how they groomed us into becoming academic superstars. Have we forgotten that rote memorization and perfect SAT scores can only get you so far? Have we failed to grasp the value of exposing ourselves and our youngsters to varied and unpredictable social situations to foster valuable communication skills down the road?

As these photos remind us, even in Silicon Valley some of the most crucial moments in life occur serendipitously at its ragged edges, far from the classroom, cubicle or computer.

Photo credit: Original photos by Laura Morton; compiled as a montage by 8Asians from screenshots for this piece

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Leeland Lee has written previously for 8Asians.com about two Asian Americans set up on a blind date

Tila Tequila and the N-Word

Tila Tequila became famous for being a MySpace model and somehow turned that into a reality TV career. I had forgotten about her when this news story came out:

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Here are her tweets, which seem to get progressively worse:

 

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Continue reading “Tila Tequila and the N-Word”

West Coast vs East Coast Asian Americans


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A month after Number One Son left California to start college in Boston, I asked him if he found East Coast Asian Americans to be different from those from the West Coast.  He definitely did, saying that most of them did not grow up in largely Asian communities like the one from where he moved.  That is just one of the differences mentioned in this recent Fung Brothers video, East Coast Asian vs West Coast Asian, one of a number of videos I found on the subject.  Many of the observations about the differences between East and West Coast Asian Americans match those that John found when he moved to the West Coast, like being surprised at meeting older Asian Americans who spoke English without an Asian accent.  Other observations from these videos were completely new to me.

Continue reading “West Coast vs East Coast Asian Americans”