It might be just me, but I assumed that everyone had the same earwax. But while researching my last article (Do Asians Smell?) I found out that (most) Asians have completely different earwax than those of other races.
I even told my wife this fact and it blew her mind. Okay, she didn’t really care, but she did express mild surprise which is more than I can say for most of my articles so you’ll forgive me for my hyperbole.
Don’t believe me that people of different races have different types of earwax? Here’s a quote from a science news blog:
If you would describe yourself as white or black, your earwax is probably yellow and sticky. If you are East Asian or Native American, it’s likely to be dry and white.
Did you read that? Just in case you missed it, I’ll repeat it. Asian (and Native Americans) have earwax that is dry and white (or in other websites described as colorless) and non-Asians have yellow and sticky earwax.
Wondering why the differences in the type of earwax? Let’s turn to our friends over at Wikipedia for an answer:
A specific gene has been identified that determines whether people have wet or dry earwax. The difference in cerumen type has been tracked to a single base change (a single nucleotide polymorphism) in a gene known as “ATP-binding cassette C11 gene”. Dry-type individuals are homozygous for adenine whereas wet-type requires at least one guanine. Wet-type earwax is associated with armpit odor, which is increased by sweat production. The researchers conjecture that the reduction in sweat or body odor was beneficial to the ancestors of East Asians and Native Americans who are thought to have lived in cold climates.
I know. This was like finding out that Santa wasn’t real and that McDonalds’ hamburgers weren’t good for me. What’s next? I’m starting to wonder if the color of our feces is different. (BTW: Mine is purple).
There’s not much else to say about this, but while “researching” this article I did find some interesting facts about earwax and a totally amazing video subculture I never knew existed.
First, according to this NPR article, not only does earwax look different, but earwax also has different smells:
Preti says that regardless of race, we all produce the same odors — just in different amounts. For instance: White men have more volatile organic compounds in their earwax than Asian men.
Another interesting thing I learned (from that same article) was that researchers believe that earwax may hold people’s health secrets.
Ultimately, the researchers hope to mine our ears for whatever health secrets they may hold. Monell chemist George Preti calls earwax “a neglected body secretion.” Other research has shown that you can tell a person’s gender, health status and more from their underarm odors. “We think it possible that earwax may contain similar information,” Preti said on the center’s website.
And finally, there are videos (like this one with four million views!) of earwax removals. I admit, I watched the whole thing (and many more like it) and found myself oddly enjoying it.
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The recent talk at Harvard about being Asian American on college campus made me reflect.
During my senior year at Claremont McKenna College, I was the head chair of the Chinese Student Association (CSA), which was a 5-college organization that spanned the Claremont Colleges. The primary reason I joined the group was because I was at the time sort of a Chinese language and culture fanatic. I had gone on the Taiwanese Love Boat, my family was going on regular trips to Asia two to three times a year, I was studying mandarin Chinese and becoming truly fluent in it for the first time, and I was totally head-over-heals into Chinese Kung Fu movies and was systematically working through all the Jet Li and Jackie Chan movies I could find. I figured, hey, if I’m really into this stuff, I can bring that presence onto the campus through this student organization.
At small liberal arts colleges like the Claremonts, it’s very common for us students to be invited to participate in faculty meetings, interview of potential faculty candidates, have dinner with the dean, etc., so it was on one of such occasions I happen to be sitting in meeting with the Dean of Faculty discussing attrition rates. I was invited to join the discussion because I happened to be working on a paper regarding attrition at the time, and my professor thought I could bring some student perspective in this. The subject of ethnic minority students associations like CSA came up, and the Dean of Faculty at the time said something like, “Do we really need these clubs? I mean, why don’t we have an Italian American Students Association too?” Apparently, he was of Italian heritage, and he was basically trying to understand, from a White Man’s Perspective, why we would need such groups. He didn’t know I was the leadership of one of said ethnic student groups.
Being not so bright at 19, I felt the discomfort of him saying what he said, but at the same time, I couldn’t really explicate the reason for it, so I didn’t respond because I didn’t really know what to say to him. Today, the answer is perfectly clear in front of me why we should be having these sorts of groups for minorities and not for White Men:
For me, the CSA was a cool way for me to explore and share Chinese language and culture on campus. However, its real value was to build a community among the Chinese and Chinese heritage students on campus so that when needed, there was the power of numbers and the power of people who share similar challenges to form a coalition against any inequalities. Watching kung fu movies and having Chinese tea parties and all that was fun and may seem like just a waste of time and money to the casual observer, but there was actually real social capital being built with each relationship and bond created. I just wish I had been a smarter leader back then and capitalized on it to make a bigger difference on campus.
I forgot when I first heard of the fashion designer Vera Wang, but I’ve mostly heard of her name associated with wedding dresses. So it came to my surprise to come across this Zales television commercial for her line Vera Wang Love diamond ring collection! By the way, I think finding the right woman is a whole lot harder than finding the right ring!
Muay thai is a boxing style that’s a staple in Mixed Martial Arts fighting. Although I’ve never been any good at combat sports myself, I’ve always enjoyed learning different martial arts for fun and fitness, and I’ve recently been adding a little muay thai to my diet, and this style is pretty devastating.
A friend shared this video with me of top 10 muay thai knockouts, and for anyone who was wondering what this style of fighting looks like, you can pretty much get a taste of it just watching this quick run-down video. However, I’d say knockout number 2 looked more like a karate spinning back kick, but hey, whatever finishes the fight right? Within rules that is.
Lesson learned: Beware of the deadly ELBOW.
We’ve blogged about the dominating Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao, and recently, he defeated Chris Algieri in a unanimous decision infront of a sold-out crowd in Macau. But here in the U.S., you can see Pacquiao in one of Foot Locker’s latest television commercials. I’m not a boxing fan at all and have never watched a boxing match or attended one live, so I had to Google exactly what Pacquiao was excited about in the commercial:
“For five long years, boxing fans have grown more and more tired of talking about “the fight,” while more casual and general sports fans care only about The Fight. At this point, Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KO) is joining the herd in just making a little fun of the situation. Foot Locker’s Week of Greatness campaign features Pacquiao thinking he got the news that he’ll be fighting [Floyd] Mayweather: It’s a fun ad, and it’s nice to laugh about the situation. Most recently, there was a story about there potentially being $1 billion in a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, which is probably a little silly, but then the whole thing is more than a little silly in 2014.”
I know boxing is popular and a big sport with big money for fights, but the idea of two boxers getting paid up to a $1 billion for a fight seems pretty ridiculous to me! In any case, I guess you have to be a boxing fan to get this, what I consider, an inside joke?
So I was re-reading “Catcher in the Rye” twenty years after I first read it as a high school teen, and aside from feeling annoyed about viewing the world through the eyes of a rich white boy, I was extra annoyed by this little discussion between Holden and his smarty pants friend Luce in chapter 19. They’re discussing Luce’s new girlfriend:
“She happens to be from Shanghai.”
“No kidding! She Chinese for Chrissake?”
“Why? I’d be interested to know–I really would.”
“I simply happen to find Eastern philosophy more satisfactory than Western. Since you ask.”
“You do? Wuddya mean ‘philosophy’? Ya mean sex and all? You mean it’s better in China? That what you mean?”
“Not necessarily in China, for God’s sake. The East I said. Must we go on with this inane conversation?”
“Listen, I’m serious,” I said. “No kidding. Why’s it better in the East?”
“They simply happen to regard sex as both a physical and a spiritual experience.”
Yes, because dating one girl from China suddenly puts you in touch with “Eastern Philosophy”.
Of course it’s the sex. Stop trying to cover up your base colonial desires with all this BS about eastern philosophy and spiritualism. Talk about a phony.
Luce is supposed to be an “intellectual” but he’s just another moron with an Asian fetish, and Holden’s a bigger phony than Luce is. He really is.
I think it is safe to say that we’ve all had moments in our life where we’ve been really hungry and our stomachs have been growling. I think Jack Link, the beef jerky company, creates a unique spin on that hunger in this commercial. Actress Joy Regullano plays a fellow test taking student in a large college lecture hall. I first became aware of Regullano in her YouTube videos spoofing ‘Yellow Fever’ recently labelled ‘White Fetish.’ Hope to see more of Regullano!
To read what the President says after his first line, “My fellow Americans, tonight, I’d like to talk with you about immigration,” you can find the transcript below:
A new AARP study tells us what all of us Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) already know. AAPIs are more likely than any other racial group to care for their elders. “Caregiving Among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders” is the title of the first of three reports by AARP about issues affecting AAPIs age 50 and older.
The study found that 73 percent of AAPIs age 45-55 are expecting to care for their aging parents and/or older relatives. This compares with just under half of the total population of the same age (49 percent). Along with caring for elders, AAPIs are more likely to talk to doctors on behalf of their elders, contribute financially, and handle paperwork and bills for their elders.
And of course, many more AAPIs, age 50 and above, live in multi-generational households compared with the total population of Americans (17 percent versus 7 percent).
Like most Asian Americans I was raised with the expectation that I’d be caring for my parents as they got older. I’ve written about some of my experience with caring for my aging parents in a previous 8Asians article that focused on which child got to take care of their parents as they got older.
The AARP report though focuses on a few other aspects of caring for an immigrant parent that many children of immigrants take for granted, and for those who’ve never had the experience, probably never even realized was part of the immigrant experience. Since my mother never spent the time to perfect her English, my siblings and I were always the one to translate at the doctor’s office, and just about everywhere else starting from the time we were small kids. We also filled out all the paperwork for our parents even though we were just small children.
Translating and taking care of paperwork and bills was just something that continued on into adulthood and into elder care. By the time my parents moved into my home as senior citizens, so that I could care for them more easily, I was again taking them to doctor’s appointments, and also translating, and filling out paperwork. And this time around, I was also the main financial support for the whole family. I tell this story to my own elementary school age daughter, but she doesn’t get it.
Every night my daughter expects us to answer questions for her about her homework and help her figure out problems she doesn’t understand. I tell her I never had help with my homework. I mean really I had no one who would have understood the English in my homework to help. I say this and my daughter looks at me blankly, and my husband, just tells me, he’s heard it already, and enough, we’re helping our daughter with her homework. At the same time, we don’t set any expectations that our daughter will care for us when we’re older. I guess we’re too American for that. Instead my husband has purchased long-term care insurance, and tells us to put him in a nursing home when it’s time.
But secretly, inside my mind, I wish my daughter will remember and will be the one to care for me when I get older.
Dear 8Asians readers, After a long long long hiatus, I’m back! And asking the hard hitting questions I’ve come to be known for. Please send me questions that you want answered! Today’s topic is—drum roll please—“Do Asians Smell?” (This should not be mistaken for my article, “Do Asians have the worst smelling farts?”)
Before I begin, let me be clear: I don’t smell. Never have. At least, I don’ t think so. Any ex-girlfriends out there who can dispute my claim? Speak up now or forever hold your peace. When I was in college, I used deodorant because I felt it was weird that I didn’t use deodorant. But then times got tough (News flash: writers don’t make any money) and I had to cut back on things. The thing I cut back on was buying deodorant that I didn’t need.
I hadn’t thought about my lack of smell until recently when I got into a spirited conversation with a friend. I told her that I didn’t use deodorant and she freaked out on me. It was as though I had told her that I worshiped Satan and ate babies or something. I told my friend to smell me. She refused (which is the proper thing to do when asked to smell another person), but I assured her that I didn’t smell. She told me that if she didn’t use deodorant, she would smell bad after only a few hours. This got me thinking. Do Asians have a smell? And I guess the bigger question is this: Do people of different races smell differently?
First, being the intrepid reporter and researcher I am, I did a Google search on whether Asians smelled. I was surprised to find out that people—many of them—thought that Asians not only smelled, but smelled bad. Here were some of the more common ones I read: rice cakes (cliche), fish (sushi?), Chop Suey (of course we do), Chinese food going bad in the refrigerator (oddly specific), old women and noodles (should be a perfume), sour and malodorous (whatever that smells like), moth balls (a very common answer), feces (this link was found at a bodybuilding website, but they weren’t the only ones), curry (a sad story from Australia), and I can go and on, but I think you get the point.
Continue Reading »
Since I got my UFC Fight Pass to watch Invicta Fights, I have been watching a lot of the other content available on UFC TV, including all the previous UFC fights and some of the shows such as The Ultimate Fighter. The newest season of TUF, season 20, has featured the first all-women cast, and on top of that, all of these women are vying for the UFC strawweight (115 lbs) championship belt. Although I have been enjoying the show, I’ve been sad to note that there is not a single female fighter of Asian or Pacifica Islander descent among all 18 of the contenders, at least not one that I know of. It’s possible one of them is a ninja APIA, the way Shayna Baszler was in TUF 18, the first season to have women on the show as well as female coaches. In any case, hopefully we’ll see more APIA women fighting on TUF and in the UFC in the future.
California’s 41st district representative Mark Takano taught 20 years of high school English, so when he got a letter from a Republican against the Senate’s recent immigration bill, he put on his teacher hat, pulled out a red pen, and corrected the paper. He gave the Republican an F, noting the lack of evidence, contradictory statements, and failing to address the issue at hand. Takano’s family is from Riverside, CA, and his parents and grandparents were sent to Japanese American Internment camps during World War II.