Just in time for the holidays, the return of a favorite 8Asians topic: dating Asian women.
Are You Interested, one of the largest Facebook-based dating apps, “analyzed over 2.4 million interactions among its current user base in the United States to discover the likelihood of users to respond to other users based on race.”
Enter funny lady Kristina Wong, who makes an unforgettable appearance on “Alicia Menendez Tonight” with Josh Fischer of “Are you Interested?,” to show us why Asian woman are so damn desirable.
(I honestly don’t know how Alicia and Josh were able to keep straight faces during this.)
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Recently on the Washington Post, Daniel Chen was interviewed about his life and the linguistic barriers that made him and his parents veritable strangers in their own home. He’s currently studying Mandarin Chinese at college to try to bridge this gap, but his parents also speak primarily Shanghainese, which is super different from standard Mandarin Chinese (think Spanish vs. Italian). This immediately reminded me of the 8Asians post I wrote about the Immigrant Linguistic Generation Gap. Chen’s situation, however, is a lot more serious than mine. He seems to barely be able to speak to his parents. At least with my parents, we have enough common linguistic ground across Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, and English (and even some Spanish) to be able to communicate in a hodgepodge sort of way. Recently, they were telling me about how in their childhood they used to get mantao white bread from the Kuo Ming Tang soldiers that occupied Taiwan after World War II and the mid-century Chinese civil war and then get their butts beat by their parents for accepting it. I’m glad I can understand enough to have that kind of access to their life story, and Chen’s story makes me value the experience all the more.
I had blogged earlier that during Obama’s visit to San Francisco where he gave a speech on immigration reform, he was heckled by an audience member. That person has now been identified as Ju Hong, 24, who is a UC Berkeley graduate who is also a member of Asian Students Promoting Immigrant Rights through Education (ASPIRE), where he shouted:
“I need your help. My family will be separated on Thanksgiving. Please use your executive order. You have the power to stop deportation.”
This was an organized and planned protest, as others from ASPIRE joined Hong in their protest, chanting, “Yes, you can. Stop the deportations! ASPIRE also issued a press release asking this question:
“Explain your legal analysis for why you, as the chief executive, do not have the authority to stop deportations today. An average of 1,100 immigrants are deported every day under your administration. How can you support immigration reform while at the same time brutally enforcing our broken immigration system at the rate and speed that you do? You referred to the holidays in your speech. Isn’t this the perfect time to finally exercise your executive powers to halt deportations and keep our families together? And won’t that put much needed pressure on the House to pass real immigration reform? We respectfully await your prompt response.”
Some quick research lead me to discover that Ju Hong is an undocumented immigrant and was interviewed in this online video last year when he was a senior at UC Berkeley:
I like the fact that Obama did highlight that immigration reform affects immigrants of all backgrounds, including Asians, as well as a Korean immigrant like Ju Hong making known his plight. However, in my opinion, the real barrier to immigration reform is not President Obama. It’s the far right Republicans in Congress. Even Obama had noted that his predecessor, President George W. Bush, tried to push comprehensive immigration reform, without much luck.
One thing that Hong did help highlight is that most people may not be aware of, but President Obama has actually been a much stronger enforcer of our immigration laws than Bush, at least in regards to when it comes to deportations:
I’ve known this fact for a while, but not sure why Obama has been more aggressive than Bush on this. Though I think everyone can agree for the deportation of criminal illegal immigrants.
As for myself, I think I have stated I am for immigration reform and the DREAM Act, however, I am also aware personally that many people have played by the rules as well. One of my best friends from undergrad waited 10 years after graduating, after being sponsored on an H1B work visa, then getting his Green Card, before ultimately becoming a U.S. citizen. But I definitely empathize with kids who grew up in the U.S. without even knowing that they weren’t American citizens.
As part of his pre-Thanksgiving West Coast trip, President Obama dropped by Chinatown in San Francisco at the Betty Ong Recreation Center (named after 9/11 flight attendant Betty Ann Ong). Obama gave some shoutouts to some prominent Californian Asian American elected officials who I believe were in attendance, including San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Congressmen Mike Honda as well as Congresswoman Judy Chu and also mentioned nearby Immigration Station at Angel Island.
President Obama emphasized that immigration reformed is not just a southern border issue (i.e. between the United States and Mexico) and that today, more than one-in-four residences born of the United States came from Asian countries. The speech didn’t really break any new policy ground, and the most interesting aspect of the speech was that it was interrupted by a heckler demanding Obama to use his executive power to stop deportations. President Obama asked the heckler not to be removed and responded to that heckler’s claim that he could not do so, that the U.S. is a country of laws and passing immigration reform into law would be the best route fixing our immigration system. You can catch Obama’s whole 29-minute speech here on C-SPAN’s website.
Screen capture courtesy of C-SPAN.
Comedian Aziz Ansari recently made his first appearance on The Charlie Rose Show, in part to promote his upcoming Netflix comedy special, “Buried Alive.” According to Ansari, his special’s main themes are on babies, marriage and love. Ansari is a regular on Parks & Recreations (a show I can’t say that I’m a regular viewer of) and discusses how he got into comedy, and his thoughts on growing up (in South Carolina) and becoming a more experienced and thus funnier comedian.
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: Leon Le, (Writer/Director/Editor) is a self taught filmmaker/photographer. After 13 years working as a professional dancer/actor/singer for theaters, national/international tours, Off-Broadway to Broadway; he has appeared in numerous TV series and features films in Vietnam, he finally decided to take a stab at filmmaking. His latest short film Dawn, which he wrote, directed, edited and produced garnered positive attention at more than 20 national/international film festivals. In 2012, it won Best LGBT Short, Best International Short, and Best Director awards. And in 2013, Dawn was nominated for Best Short Film, Excellent in Short Filmmaking, and the Iris Prize film award.
WHAT: Indiegogo project: Talk To Her
Talk to Her is a 12 minute film about love, acceptance, and missed opportunities. It tells the story of a young man trapped in a culture clash where traditions stunted his quest for personal happiness. The film explores the complicated relationships between Michael, a second generation Chinese American man; his mother, Mrs. Yue and; Julianne, his girlfriend of two year whom he plans to propose. After a twist of fate, Julianne accidentally discovers Michael’s secret love affair with a man. Will Michael be able to face the truth with his love ones, or most importantly himself before it’s too late?
WHEN: Deadline to contribute is Friday, November 29, 2013 (11:59pm PT).
WHY: Why is it important?
Writer/director Leon Le’s idea for Talk to Her was inspired by a true story he read a while ago about a young Chinese woman in China coming home one afternoon to discovers her newly wedded husband was having an affair with her own brother. While tradition can scaffold a strong cultural unit, it can also imprison those unable to see beyond its sooted beams. The story remains relevant today while the cultural milieu of the Asian man continues to instill the ultimate responsibility for the man to carry on his family name, pressuring many gay men into marriages ending with broken families and devastated hearts.
In standard Mandarin Chinese, tea is pronounced “cha” with a dipping tone. However, the common English word “Tea” actually derives from the Taiwanese/Minan/Fujian word for tea. In Taiwanese, I pronounce tea as “deh”, a lot more like “tea” than “cha”, so learning the fact that our English word “tea” is based on my home language pronunciation was a pleasant surprise, giving me a nice unexpected sense of unity between my English-speaking and Taiwanese-speaking selves. That and I’m a tea enthusiast.
Luckily for me, living in LA is like living in a tea wonderland. There are so many options for tea all over the Southland that I thought I’d share some of my tea knowledge in this little 6-part series for those of you looking to enjoy Los Angeles from a tea lover’s perspective.
The photo above is from a potluck tea party I had with friends a few years ago. A lovely tea time at home is a piece of cake, literally. I don’t cook or bake, but there is such a variety of bakeries here that it’s so easy to have a wonderful afternoon tea at home any day of the week, especially with our almost endless days of sunshine.
Here are some great places I frequent for cakes and desserts to go with my tea:
Susina Bakery & Cafe – European American baked fare
Urth Caffe - California fusion
Yamazaki Bakery – Japanese fusion
J.J. Bakery – Taiwanese fusion
85C Bakery Cafe – Taiwanese fusion
Nini Bakery – Taiwanese fusion
Phoenix Food Boutique – Asian fusion
Aside from top grade tea my parents or friends pick up for me on trips to Asia, I purchase most of my loose leaf teas from Bird Pick or Wing Hop Fung, both of which are basically different versions of the same store. If you do see a bag of their instant ginseng honey tea packets, pick one up for sure because this quick hot sweet drink is like a magic healing potion when you’re feeling under the weather. In this next photo, you’ll see that I sometimes splurge on my loose leaf teas.
Another cool source of high quality tea is Teavana, which most people can find in a local mall. They often boast a selection of 100 teas, but that’s still not as many as what’s available at Bird Pick/Wing Hop Fung.
Next up, Part 2: Tea Station.
Says an anonymous 8Asians tipster:
Video of Chinese Contestant on Holland’s Got Talent. The guy sings opera very well, but is continually disrespected by one of the judges.
By my count, there were actually two judges making various inappropriate jokes and comments, with the judge on the left (American choreographer Dan Karaty) mortified by the comments of his compatriots. I don’t know any Dutch jokes, otherwise, I’d make one right now.
Evidently, “Holland’s Got Talent” judge Cornelis Willem Heuckeroth, who goes by the nickname Gordon, couldn’t help but to make several Chinese jokes during Xiao Wang’s audition.
When Wang said he was going to sing La donna è mobile from Verdi’s Rigoletto, Gordon responded with, “Which (Verdi) number are you singing, number 39 with rice?”
After Wang’s performance, for which he received a standing ovation, Gordon giggled while saying, “Honestly, this is the best Chinese I’ve had in weeks, and it’s not a takeaway.”
The judge continued on his racist rampage after the reality show hopeful left the stage, turning to the audience and saying in Dutch, “he looks like a waiter from a Chinese restaurant.”
Dan Karaty, who is an American judge on the show, was clearly shocked by Gordon’s comments, telling him, “You’re really not supposed to say things like that to people.” [full story]
The female judge, Dutch actress Chantal Janzen, doesn’t get off scot free here. It could be said that she started off the condescension when she asked Xiao Wang his name and after he responds, she quips, “Aw, that’s ok.”
I’m not sure if Xiao understood everything that was happening, but to his credit, he laughs everything off.
Everyone’s been wanting to see this fight, so here’s a way to experience the fight fictionally, Hajime no Ippo anime style. I know I’m excited to see it!
I’m already getting goosebumps from just this teaser video. Makes me wish I could spend all of today at the boxing gym!
Brooklyn, center of all things hipster and edgy, is home to a bar. That bar is hosting a party. That party is called “Madam Wu’s Good Luck Banquet of the Senses.” It is not edgy. It it also what one might call, rife with problems.
Ignoring for now the fact that the title is written in a font that I hate and that “Confucius say” jokes are still not funny, the event poster suggests dress for “travel along the Silk Road, tea with the emperor, dragon dancing, coolie couture, silk pajamas.” UM, no. Dressing as an indentured servant/basically slave is not desirable, encouraged, or acceptable. Hats off to a Facebook comment (and Jezebel) for thoroughly debunking “coolie couture”: “Coolies were Asian laborers – some of these laborers signed contracts based on misleading promises, some were kidnapped, some were victims of violence…Their voyages…were as inhumane and dangerous as the notorious Middle Passage.” And when this person says Asian, it wasn’t just Chinese, but also Central Asians, Indians, Filipinos, and Southeast Asians.
Apparently, the party organizers have apologized (somewhat), but also claimed that it was sort-of-ok because it was an art party, that it was a “theme based on the kind of art we like to make.” That totally makes it okay! Come on creative types, do something new. This is not me with a pitchfork yelling at all the people, it is me asking you to be conscious that these images and ideas have a long history – one of discriminatory public portrayals of Asians that were insidious and widespread within American society. Brooklyn is full of books, it might be worth reading about this and rethinking whether or not we can call this kind of theme, “art.”
Cranston City Mayor Allan Fung on November 5th announced his candidacy for Governor of Rhode Island. One of Fung’s unique distinction is that he is Rhode Island’s first ever Asian American mayor (and he happens to also be a Republican) and would be Rhode Island’s first Asian American governor if elected. That may not sounds like much, but Asian Americans constitute only 3.4% of Rhode Island’s overall population. Cranston itself is Rhode Island’s 3rd largest city, with a population of approximately 80,000 people (Rhode Island’s overall population is about 1 million). More on Fung’s background:
“Fung, 43, was first elected mayor of the state’s third-largest city in 2008. Before that, he served as a city councilman and worked in the private sector as a lawyer for MetLife. If elected, Fung would become the first Asian-American governor in Rhode Island history. His parents immigrated to Rhode Island 44 years ago from Hong Kong and owned a restaurant in Cranston a few blocks from where he made his announcement. He said he started working there at age 9, busing tables and washing dishes. He grew up in Providence and graduated from the city’s elite magnet school, Classical High School, where he became close friends with Taveras. He went on to graduate from Rhode Island College and later got his law degree from Suffolk University in Boston. He is not married but his girlfriend, Barbara Ann Fenton, is chair of the Rhody Young Republicans.”
Fung’s family background reminds me a little bit of Connecticut State Representative William Tong (who ran for U.S. Senate), since Tong also came from an immigrant family and had owned and operated a Chinese restaurant. What is interesting about Rhode Island is how “elastic” the state is politically:
“Rhode Island is the most elastic state, a large swatch of its electorate are persuadable voters unaligned with either political party. Rhode Island has very few Republicans (10 percent of registered voters), a ton of Democrats (41 percent), but even more unaffiliated voters (49 percent).”
Given that Asian Americans tend to lean either Democratic or Independent, Fung is quite a rarity in a state like Connecticut.
Last spring, I went on a trip to North Cali to research for my book series about Chinese in the American Old West. For fun, my brother and I did a fight video with a filmmaker friend of ours iMakeDumbFilms, and here was the result. After we had our fun, I considered the Asian stereotypes that we reinforced:
Nevermind that my brother and I are Americans or that we aren’t at all professional martial artists. The moves we can do are just a few leftovers from past lives in some kung fu, wushu, and karate classes we took as kids, like millions of other American kids. I do love kung fu and martial arts, so I’ve come to terms with the fact that my sincere interest in martial arts will be overgeneralized by simple-minded and ignorant folk who will think that what is true for one American of Asian descent will be automatically true for all Asians period.
Comedian Dat Phan knows what I’m talking about.