When my brother in-law told me how his fellow Asian realtors were upset about a proposed law to limit Asian enrollment in California colleges, I was initially skeptical. A law to put a cap on Asian students? But after looking at an e-mail (shown below) about that proposal that he forwarded me and doing a little research, there seemed to be something to this. State Constitutional Amendment 5 (SCA5) looks to change California’s Proposition 209, which eliminated affirmative action in the state, to once again allow racial preferences in public education. If approved by the California Assembly (it’s already approved by the State Senate), this proposal will go to California voters for approval. Some groups have reacted by putting up a petition at change.org and another at whitehouse.gov.
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Recently I was able to serve as somewhat of a tour guide to some American friends who were interested in visiting a country in Asia, specifically Taiwan.
Out of quite a lot of options, Taiwan came out as the top pick primarily because of accessibility (not TOO long a flight), safety (democratic country), and price point. My being able to speak Mandarin and Taiwanese helped in the decision too.
Previously, I visited Taiwan either to study or to visit family, so this is the first time I actually visited Taiwan as a tourist.
As a result, I was able to gather a lot of travel data that, I felt, would be best shared for others who are interested in traveling Taiwan.
The first worry about visiting a foreign country is the language barrier.
I was just scrolling down the blog Women’s MMA Today a few weeks ago and saw Jenny Liou’s name in her first pro-fight. Curious, I decided to search her up on YouTube and found this amateur fight of her from a couple years ago. The turn-around in the fight was just phenomenal and totally exciting to watch. With a jiu-jitsu background, it’s clear in this amateur fight that Liou’s ground game was pretty awesome but it’s also clear that her stand-up was not on the same level. Nevertheless, her recent pro-fight ended in a TKO win against Rachael Ostovich, so I can’t wait to see that fight. It’s always exciting to see athlete fighters grow.
Aside from being a pro-MMA fighter, Liou is also a Ph.D. in literature, a poet, and a probably soon-to-be English professor. How’s that for contrast.
Liou will be on King of the Cage today, Saturday February 22nd, fighting in Scottsdale AZ against Jillian Lybarger. In the meantime, you can check out her Fight of the Night win against Ariel Beck from a couple months ago!
As you may know, Houston Rockets basketball player Jeremy Lin endorses Volvo as one of his many sponsorships. I’ve been getting around to catching up on blog posts and Lin back in January released a viral web video to talk about his “XC60 Workout,” which basically has Lin utilizing a Volvo XC60 in a wide variety of ways in a campy video to show how he works out. Personally, I think the video is a bit too campy. Thankfully it’s not a television commercial. I wonder if Lin will be doing more of these types of videos for Volvo or his other sponsorships.
In a shocking turn not even the live news announcers fully expected, Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova took home the gold medal in ladies figure skating (her country’s first), upsetting defending gold-medalist South Korea’s Yuna Kim at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Italy’s Carolina Kostner, a veteran in the sport, took home the bronze.
The internet, as always, is ablaze in the controversy. Even the New York Times (and Kurt Browning) is confused. Essentially, it all comes down to the math of the ever-confusing scoring system (oh for the days of the perfect 6.0). The move-by-move breakdown shows where each skater gained points over the other, with Sotnikova gaining a clear edge with technical. Yet many feel she was out-skated by Kim. In my extremely non-expert opinion, Kim is a more beautiful skater in terms of artistry and grace. Both programs were near flawless, and in a sport rife with technical ambition to raise the number of triples and push for higher, faster jumps, it’s hard to know exactly what happened. Sotnikova certainly got a boost from the home crowd and did not break under what must have been immense pressure and expectations. Still, the question remains: Should Yuna Have Won?
Some accusations of controversy stem from the anonymous judging system. And that one of the judges had recently been suspended for trying to fix and event at the Winter Olympics over a decade ago and that another is married to the head of the Russian figure skating federation. A petition to investigate the judging on change.org has already reached more than 1.7 million signatures.
Kim, who announced her retirement after the free skate, has remained poised and accepting of her second-place finish: “The judges give points and I can’t do anything about that. I did all I wanted to do, like I wanted to do it…I did all I can.” A queen to the last, we salute you, Yuna.
Need more reading to help weed through the controversy?
By Eugene Hung
“Not being chosen to represent the United States at the Olympic Games in Sochi and at the 2014 World Championships in Japan has been extremely disappointing to me, and it has been very difficult for me to process. … [It] was devastating and I remain confused by US Figure Skating’s decision.”
So said Mirai Nagasu via Facebook comments posted around 3 A.M. on January 30, breaking her long English-language media silence on the controversy we’ve followed for four weeks. (She had spoken briefly to Japanese network Fuji TV while at the Four Continents Championships in Taiwan.)
She’s not the only one who’s confused. Her numerous supporters, along with many journalists, longtime figure skating observers, and figure skating fans, have also been shaking their heads, trying to make sense of it all.
Of course, no one, least of all Mirai, is confused about how U.S. Figure Skating officials justified their decision to leave her off both the Olympic and World Championship teams. Her third-place finish at Nationals was never, according to U.S. Figure Skating’s rules, going to guarantee her a place on them. The decision was based on a comparison of each skater’s 2013-14 “body of work,” meaning each skater’s results in certain major competitions during that time period.
So on this, no one is confused; U.S. Figure Skating officials were operating within their rights when they left Mirai off those teams. The skating federation’s powerful International Committee Management Subcommittee (ICMS), the nine-member group that actually makes the selections, did indeed follow their rules, based on the letter of their law.
You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got … (Crickets)
But did they follow the spirit of their law? Was their decision-making process truly fair and ethical? That’s the big question. And this is where things get confusing, because the big question raises many additional questions, none of which have answers yet. Questions like:
Lately I’ve been adding a little Muay Thai as part of my work out routine, having a blast with it, and a friend shared this muay thai Youtube with me about trainers from Thailand who came to train UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre (GSP).
I had just watched a documentary about GSP, so I was really amused by the fact that these trainers had no idea who GSP was when they were asked to train him and actually declined at first, claiming it was “too far away and too cold”. I also cracked up that Canadian immigration knew they were there to train GSP in muay thai and let them through no questions asked.
Although the average person on the street may not necessarily know what muay thai is, muay thai is definitely now becoming more and more mainstream, especially among martial arts and MMA circles. It’s nice to see another Asian martial art spread across the North American landscape.
“Do any white kids go there?
“Where do most of these kids go to school?”
“Mission San Jose.”
It turns out that Mission San Jose, a majority Asian high school in Fremont, California, made it on a list of the top 25 US high schools by SAT and ACT scores. Nine high schools with large Asian American student populations, some of which we have talked about, are in that top 25.
The number one high school for standardized tests is Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Virginia, which has an Asian American plurality. A number of these schools are in Silicon Valley, such as the Harker School (#2), Lynbrook, (#7), Henry M. Gunn (#12), Monta Vista (#15), Mission San Jose (#18), and Leland (#20). Some of these like Monte Vista, Lynbrook, and Mission San Jose have Asian American majorities, while the others have very large Asian American student populations. Stuyvesant (#4) in New York and the Illinois Math and Science Academy (#11) both have Asian American majorities. 8asians has talked about Mission San Jose and Cupertino (where Monta Vista is) schools on a number of occasions.
Does performance on standardized tests mean that those schools are doing a good job?
Back in early January, President Obama nominated Chris Lu as Deputy Secretary, Department of Labor. If his name sounds familiar, it may be because I had interviewed Lu back at the Democratic National Convention in September of 2012, when he was Obama’s cabinet secretary. Almost a year ago, Lu had stepped down as cabinet secretary to take some time off. Looks like Lu is ready to get back to work.
“Asian Americans have been pushing to fill sub-cabinet level positions -- an effort to build a strong bench for future selections to cabinet posts. Lu apparently would be only the second Asian American deputy secretary of a cabinet department in history, certainly in recent history. (Elaine Chao, former deputy secretary of Transportation in the Bush I administration, was the first.”
I’m not too surprised by this fact, but it is still kind of sad to hear there hasn’t been more progress made. But given Obama’s historic appointment of three cabinet level Asian Americans in his first term – with Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Secretary of Veteran Affairs Gen. Eric Shinseki, and Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, I think that is certainly progress! Best of luck with Lu getting confirmed. With a gridlocked Congress, you never know how much trouble Lu might have, though I don’t think his appointment will be controversial.
8$ is a series which occasionally highlights interesting crowdfunding projects. Every day, the 8Asians team is inundated by many worthy pitches. We are unable to highlight every one that comes our way, or even the ones we might individually support. The projects selected for 8$ are not endorsements by 8Asians. (To be considered for 8$, we highly suggest you not harass the writers or the editors of 8Asians.)
WHO: Jane Kim is a soulful singer based in San Francisco by way of New York. She is pursuing her dream of recording her debut EP.
WHAT: Kickstarter project: Jane Kim’s Debut EP
Dreams – especially creative ones – are thrilling and inspiring. They test your belief in yourself and launch a roller coaster ride. Sounds crazy, right?! And yet, here I am… I’m going for it!
Recording and releasing this EP means so much to me for many reasons. It’s an opportunity for me to share some of the songs I’ve written in recent years, work with an amazing group of talented friends, head back into the recording studio after a long hiatus…the list goes on. But most importantly, it’s a chance for me to kick start this next phase of my life, one in which I finally get to pick up where I had to leave off.
Why now? A few years ago, I had to pause everything related to singing and my music. It was one of the most difficult and heartbreaking experiences, but it was necessary at the time. For a long while, our family had to overcome some major medical and financial hurdles, and we all had to make sacrifices in order to lend a hand. I put a lot of things on hold so that I could focus on and support my family, but that didn’t mean I stopped dreaming. Now that my family is thankfully in a much better place, God willing – and with the help of the Kickstarter community – I get to go after my dream!
WHEN: Deadline to contribute is Sunday, February 23, 2014 (3:00 PM PST).
About the Kickstarter, from Jane:
An incredibly gifted and passionate team of people have already partnered with me to help bring this EP to fruition. I am so grateful for them! The money that I’m trying to raise will go towards paying them and covering everything else involved with releasing an EP.
I’m aiming to raise $14,000 for this project. This amount will help cover the costs for the recording studio and recording equipment rental, the producer, and the musicians, as well as the costs to edit, mix, master, design, duplicate, print, and finally, ship the EP.
Whew, that was a mouthful! As you can see, so much is involved in a project such as this, and it requires so many people!
By Sean Miura
In high school I had a crush on this girl.
She was funny and bubbly and outgoing. I was serious and self deprecating and reclusive. Perfect match.
15 year old Sean had no idea how the whole dating thing worked (likewise 25 year old Sean has no idea how the whole dating thing works) but he did know from Asian dramas that the best way to ask someone out is not to just, you know, ask them out, but instead to do something romantic that implies your affection so that without anyone saying anything you’ll both end up on the same page and in a long lasting relationship until Asian drama disease etc.
So Valentines Day came. And my school had a chocolate rose fundraiser. And chocolate roses are something romantic for sure.
So instead of buying an Uncrustable after algebra I put my $1.50 down and bought a chocolate rose, hiding it in my backpack until after school.
I’m not sure how but we ended up alone. The lights were down low as the school day had long ended. The sun filtered through classroom windows as the faint hum of our busted heating system lingered in the distance.
We walked down the hall in silence. I stopped periodically to adjust my cargo pants as my discman was weighing them down. My heart was beating out of my chest. What if she said no? What if the rose melted and she was like “Gross what is that”? What if she was lactose intolerant and couldn’t eat chocolate?
My ears grew hot. I had to just do it. No words. Just pass it to her. That’s all I had to do. She will know what it means. She will see it, and we will make eye contact, and we will smile at each other, and then we will walk down this hallway hand in hand. That’s how it works in Asian TV shows.
I had to do it now.
At the end of January, the Golden State Warriors had their annual Asian Heritage Night themed game. This was the first time in a while that I recall that did not feature Jeremy Lin playing (even though he has since moved on from the Warriors) to the Houston Rockets.
This year seemed a little bit more subdued. Fans who purchased an Asian Heritage Night event ticket received a limited-edition Asian Heritage Night t-shirt. The big “event” happened during half-time, with the GenRyu Arts music and dance group performing, which was entertaining to see, especially the cute kids performing. But personally, I think I enjoyed the taiko drumming a bit more.
The Warriors wound up losing to the Washington Wizards 88-to-85.