Hong Kong’s pro-democracy revolution is characterized by this powerful hashtag. I’m not a big fan of hashtags, but this one is different. And this post is long overdue. Some catch-up if you’ve been ignoring the news, and some musings after the jump.
With a name derived from the umbrellas used to protect protesters from tear gas and pepper spray on September 28 and storms on days since, this revolution is a fight for the right to elect their leader. And it is being led by students and joined by Occupy Central for Peace and Love and the people of Hong Kong. They are asking China to make good on a promise they made to the SAR (Special Administrative Region) that Hong Kong could have free elections in 2017, that they could have a “high degree of autonomy” in the first fifty years after the handover from Great Britain in 1997.
The protesters are asking to democratically choose their next elected leader in 2017, rather than elect one from a pre-selected pile of candidates that Beijing approves of. They are asking for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to step down. They are NOT looking for complete sovereignty from Beijing, nor asking for more than what had been agreed on at earlier stages in this long and complex play between the mainland and Hong Kong.
And they are finding their voice. Thousands more joined protests last Monday after the police used tear gas and pepper spray, feeling that this violence was not a part of our Hong Kong. Peacefully and continually, protesters have blocked key roads, taken over Admiralty on Hong Kong Island and Mong Kok on Kowloon side. And people around the world are showing their solidarity for the protest, physically, digitally, mentally, internationally. International news media outlets keep honing in on how the protesters are even picking up their trash, a seemingly unheard of phenomenon. Meanwhile, mainland Chinese outlets are disparaging or keeping quiet. Instagram was shut down in China the night of the tear gas-enabled police crowd control.
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A Picture of You (2014)
Jo Mei, Andrew Pang, Teyonah Parris, Lucas Dixon, Jodi Long. Directed by J.P. Chan. Written by J.P. Chan and Jo Mei.
Kyle and Jen have just lost their mother, and now they are in her rural Pennsylvania house to pack away her things. It says something that neither calls the other by name through the first half of the film, both opting for, “Hey,” which is also the extent of most of their early conversations. They clearly do not get along, and so the grieving process, stoked by the act of going through their mother’s belongings, is a lonely experience for both.
Add to this the fact that one of the siblings took care of their ill mother in the time leading to her death, while the other stayed away out of fear, and the resentment and guilt Kyle and Jen must sift through are as layered as the belongings they pull out of drawers and off shelves.
It probably sounds like several films you’ve seen or novels you’ve read, especially when the siblings discover something surprising in their mother’s computer. But this isn’t a movie about uncovering the secrets of a family’s past, though the characters do find themselves chasing down information and details in an almost screwball sequence in the final act. What makes A Picture of You worth its eighty-two minutes is that it spends its time first keeping its characters kind of mysterious, and then slowly getting us to care about them and their relationship with each other. When two of Jen’s friends show up at the house to help with the cleanup, I expected them to be a distraction from the good Kyle-Jen stuff, but they actually help it along, bringing an element of humor that had mostly been absent.
I laughed aloud multiple times, mostly at awkward interactions and silly-but-fitting conversations. There were a couple of moments where I thought, “Oh, no. Not this tired plot device,” but even this film’s direction down overly trodden movie territory is pretty enjoyable. I normally hate marijuana-as-bonding moments in movies, yet here I thought the scene was fun and effective.
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When Taiwan was handed over to Japan by China, the Japanese found lots of desirable wood on Alishan mountain and promptly began to build railroads to support the logging industry they established here. Luckily, the logging fell out of economic favor over time and tourism became the top priority, which meant that this little train station has been preserved, and visitors can experience the train station and the little boom town village around it with a nice historic ambiance. Think something between Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away all in one place.
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Boston Asian American Film Festival (BAAFF) empowers Asian Americans through film by showcasing Asian American experiences and serving as a resource to filmmakers and the Greater Boston Community.
WHAT: Indiegogo project: Boston Asian American Film Festival 2014
Every year, we strive to be better than the last, and we intend to make BAAFF 2014 one of the best experiences possible. With your help, we can make this festival a memorable event for both general attendees and special guests. The funds raised through this campaign will go towards bringing filmmakers and actors to Boston to share with festival-goers their vision and experiences.
WHEN: Deadline to contribute is Tuesday, October 21, 2014 (7:27am PDT).
Our interest resides in the passion to bring Asian American films to the public and to educate them on the experiences that Asian Americans face in society. There are many issues in our society that are not being recognized such as gentrification and discrimination; and we are here to help raise awareness to these concerns. Bringing filmmakers to Boston and supporting Asian American filmmakers will ensure we deepen the conversations that take place.
The last fight Michelle Waterson had was at Invicta FC 5 in April of 2013, when she won the Atomweight Championship belt from Jessica Penne. Nearly a year and a half later, she was finally able to defend her belt against Yasuko Tamada from Japan.
What was vividly clear to everyone right away at the weigh-ins and the moment Waterson stepped into the cage was that within the time she had been out of that cage, she had forged herself into a sword. Gone was the scrappy yet determined challenger who had pulled the belt right out from under her opponent with a surprising turnaround and totally unexpected submission win.
As she took on Tamada’s challenge, Waterson did what fans of combat sports refer to as “fighting like a champ”. She stood tall and proud, like a noble knight, and carefully picked apart her opponent with surgical strikes. She took no unnecessary risks and kept the whole fight standing, to her advantage. Each knee to the head and body, fist to the face, round house kick to the temple or ribs, and, yes, even a spinning back kick to ice off that flawless victory cake, was done with such poise and precision, it was quite a performance to watch. And yet, it was also hard to watch, because clearly Tamada was simply overwhelmed by Waterson’s presence and power. You can see at one point in the highlight video below that Tamada tried to hold Waterson against the cage, but the American fighter simple pushed Tamada around as if she were a feather caught up in a storm.
At the end, when the referee just had to stop the fight, Tamada’s coach, the legendary Japanese female MMA fighter Mega Megumi, looked really pained as she hugged a badly bruised up Tamada. Gotta hand it to Tamada for having a serious iron chin. Waterson went at her like a train bearing down on a hapless deer, and Tamada just kept on coming back and stayed standing even up until the last second. It was clear that if the ref hadn’t called it, Tamada would have gone the distance, Rocky style.
If you haven’t heard, actor John Cho is starring in a new show this Fall on ABC titled ‘Selfie’ and NPR highlighted Cho’s unique position on being a romantic lead for the show:
“John Cho wasn’t supposed to star in the My Fair Lady-like ABC sitcom Selfie. (The pilot, which premieres Sept. 30, is much better than its not-very-good name, sort of like the ’90s Welsh band Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci.) The producers of the show were looking for someone more in the traditional Henry Higgins mold, namely British and oldish. Cho is neither, but as creator Emily Kapnek has said, the further they got into their search, the less the older and British parts mattered. Eventually, she said, “We just need a brilliant actor — and John’s name came up.” … Still, it’s not lost on Cho that his casting — as a somewhat-possibly-romantically interesting lead opposite a white woman on a major network show — really does mean something. … What Selfie does well, at least in the pilot, is not to make an issue of Henry and Eliza’s respective races. Henry is a brilliant marketer, who happens to be Korean-American. Eliza is a self-absorbed social media addict, who happens to be white. This is how it should be. … Sure, in a perfect world, there have been so many Asian-American male romantic leads that this casting choice is hardly worth noting as unusual or counter-intuitive, but as Cho himself acknowledges we don’t live in that world. There’s a reason we still have to call it “colorblind casting” instead of just “casting.””
ABC had made the first episode available online and through other channels (I watched it via Comcast-on-Demand) prior to its broadcast debut. Overall, I think the show still needs some work. I do like Cho and his character, but it’ll be interesting to see what plotlines can be developed in this sitcom, and how a potential romance between Cho’s character Henry and his counterpart, Eliza, can work.
Tatsuya and his sister Shiba enter into the Private Magic University Affiliated High School where they will train to utilize and maximize their magic powers using technological enhancements and tools. Upon entrance, though, they have to take an examination that sorts into the Honor Students and Irregulars, or as the students call them, Blooms and Weeds. The categories create classist social system at the school, and the conflict that comes with that along with the intrigue of Tatsuya’s past drives the story forward.
Aside from the anti-standardized testing message that I love, the martial arts action animation in this is surprisingly good for a story based on magic. The use of technology to control and enhance magic is relatively unorthodox take on it, and it really comes off as more sci-fi mystery than the sort of fantasy hocus pocus you would expect from a story centered around magic. Great for those who are interested in a more cerebral mood, but there is some annoying fan service and weird hints at incest. My American sensibilities still aren’t okay with any of that even after years of exposure to Japanese anime.
As I have mentioned lately, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and often am not aware of other political races going on in the country. I was reviewing the latest email I received from the Republican National Committee and noticed a recent ad by Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley and just realized that she is running for re-election.
Wow, has it been four years already? It hasn’t seemed to be four years and only yesterday (more like 2 years ago), that Haley was on The Colbert Report plugging her book, Can’t Is Not an Option. I was re-reading Haley’s Wikipedia entry, and it is pretty impressive:
“Haley is the first woman to serve as Governor of South Carolina. At the age of 42, Haley is the youngest current governor in the United States. She is one of two sitting Indian American governors in the United States, the other being fellow Republican Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. She is also the third person who is not Euro-American to have been elected as governor of a Southern state, after Virginia‘s L. Douglas Wilder and Louisiana’s Jindal.”
I really don’t know if Haley has been an effective governor or not, but since I only found out that she’s running for re-election, she certainly hasn’t been in the news for any scandals either. I’m assuming no news is good news, and that as an incumbent in a fairly “red state,” Haley should easily get re-elected in November. Otherwise, I am sure I’ll hear more if and when she is defeated.
I’m more of a night owl than a morning person, but there are definitely things in this world worth getting up before dawn for, and the Alishan Sunrise experience would have to be one of those.
We were pretty bummed that the train up to Alishan was out of commission due to typhoon damage repairs, but the ride on train up to the Alishan sunrise look out point made up for that a bit.
Because I have two teenagers who are active in an extremely strenuous sport and one of them (Number Two Son) started complaining about chest pains, I started reading an article with a title about children dropping dead from exercise. What caught my attention was a story inside about a family who lost two sons to Pediatric Cardiomyopathy. I can’t imagine losing one son much less two, but Lisa Yue and her husband Eddie Yu moved beyond mourning and acceptance to starting the Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation, which is dedicated to driving research on this disease and to provide services and information to sufferers of this disease and their families.
Another shonen (boy’s) series, Fairy Tail is action packed with a lot of competition, camaraderie, and tragedy. A young wizard named Lucy joins this guild called Fairy Tail, and the story revolves around the trials and tribulations she and her teammates have to face as guild members.The characters are pretty much classic anime archetypes, dark cold guy, rambunctious hothead, strong female warrior, girly girl with a lot of heart, etc. Although there are a lot of serious scenes and major and intense battles through the series, it overall has a pretty comical undertone, so it’s generally fun to watch if you’re looking for a good laugh with some combat action along the way. Overall, a feel-good series where misfits find a place where they belong.
As I had mentioned when I had blogged about Columbia Law professor Tim Wu’s run and loss for Lt. Governor for New York in the primary, because I am living in Silicon Valley, I have not been aware of Wu being a candidate, nor until very recently, Leland Chung running for Lt. Governor of Massachusetts. I happened to be included in an email from my Aunt in the Greater Boston area, and one of her friends in an unrelated email thread was encouraging everyone on the email list to vote for Chung. What really sucks is that both Wu and Cheung both got major endorsements from their most influential local newspapers, The New York Times and Boston Globe respectively:
“Cheung, a three-term Cambridge city councilor, is the strongest candidate by dint of his determination to reject the past uses of the job as a political liaison with strong links to patronage. Instead, he plans to advocate for broadband access and high-tech jobs to underserved areas. … Cheung, however, has an entirely different and more ambitious vision for the job, a keener understanding of why it’s fallen into disrepute, and a promising record in elected office. While he plans to maintain Murray’s municipal portfolio, Cheung says he will not get involved in political hiring. Instead, Cheung wants to serve as a liaison to the innovation economy. He boasts of being the only candidate in the race (or, likely, any other statewide race) who knows how to write computer code. Cheung’s competent record on the Cambridge council suggests he has a knack for using low-profile jobs effectively, having advocated for preserving office space for small startups and helping innovative companies like Bridj take root in the city. Cheung also shows some reform inclinations: He favors abolishing the archaic Governor’s Council and changing the state constitution to make lieutenant governor a more meaningful office.”
Unfortunately, Cheung came in second in the Democratic primary, winning approximately 29% of the vote to first place winner, Stephen Kerrigan, who won 51% of the vote. If it’s any consolation, Cheung did beat out the third place candidate, who garnered only 20% of the vote. I took a quick look at Cheung’s bio, and it is pretty impressive.
I’m sorry such a qualified candidate lost, but it is kind or reassuring to see more more Asian Americans running for higher and higher offices at the local and state level – so much so that it’s hard to keep track of everyone who is running! I’ll be really,really excited when a viable Asian American runs for national office – and especially if he or she wins!