As Asian-Americans’ Numbers Grow, So Does Their Philanthropy
New York Times
About 800 people gathered in November in a ballroom in Midtown Manhattan for one of the year’s more elegant galas. They dined on beef tenderloin with truffle butter, bid on ski and golf vacations in a charity auction, and gave more than $1 million to a nonprofit group based in New York.
But this was not an old-money event. The donors were largely Korean immigrants and their children.
Members of a new class of affluent Asian-Americans, many of whom have benefited from booms in finance and technology, are making their mark on philanthropy in the United States. They are donating large sums to groups focused on their own diasporas or their homelands, like the organization that held the fund-raiser, the Korean American Community Foundation.
Korean Americans lobby US government for greater involvement in Korea
As one of its major goals for 2013, Korean American Civic Empowerment (KACE), an organization for Americans of Korean descent, has decided to urge the Obama administration to engage directly with North Korea to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula. KACE has already started seeking out help from congress.
Getting involved in the North Korean issue is unusual for KACE, which until now has directed its influence on Capitol Hill toward achieving greater rights for Korean Americans, such as visa waivers and immigration reform.
Leonia’s first Korean-American councilman is honored as he steps down
Bergen County Record (N.J.)
The borough’s first Korean-American councilman, Philip Choi, received a rousing sendoff at the borough’s reorganization meeting Monday, accepting proclamations from state officials and gratitude from his political colleagues.
“You have been a friends and a great supporter to the people of Leonia,” state Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-Teaneck, said as the crowd gave a standing ovation. “We know we haven’t heard the last of you in public office.”
Choi, a Democrat who joined the council in 2006, chose not to run for another term after running unsuccessfully for mayor as an independent in 2011. His opponent, Mayor John DeSimone, embraced Choi after presenting him with a proclamation to recognize his service.
What’s missing from Michelle Rhee’s memoir
Michelle Rhee left town more than two years ago, but the debate about her stint as D.C. schools chancellor shows no signs of cooling. It remains a hot button for the education commentariat and is the subject of a “Frontline” documentary that airs Tuesday evening. And now Rhee has produced “Radical: Fighting to Put Students First” a memoir/manifesto to to be published next month.
She offers some interesting coming-of-age detail, especially about life with her staunchly traditional Korean immigrant parents who expected her to wash the dishes after every meal and clean up after her brothers. We learn that she was a college sophomore the first time she fired someone, while managing a deli called Grumpy’s. As a lefty Cornell undergrad in the early nineties, she registered her opposition to President George H.W. Bush’s policies on reproductive rights with a button on her backpack that read “Bush, Stay Out of Mine.”
San Jose man, 79, identified as person killed Friday while walking on freeway
San Jose Mercury News (Calif.)
A man who was struck and killed Friday while walking in lanes of traffic on Highway 101 has been identified as Hyuk Joon Kim, 79, of San Jose.
Callers reported a man in the traffic lanes around 7:18 p.m., and he was struck by at least one vehicle a short time later, according to the California Highway Patrol. Kim was pronounced dead at the scene.
Gordon Flake on Japan-Korea Ties
Wall Street Journal
Gordon Flake, a Korea specialist and executive director of the Mansfield Foundation in Washington, is a regular visitor to South Korea and the Northeast Asia region.
As new administrations in Seoul and Tokyo take tentative steps to improve relations following a deterioration of ties last year, Mr. Flake spoke at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul on Tuesday about the importance of the bilateral relationship for both countries, the U.S., and security in the region.
North Korean adoptions approved in US
The Telegraph (U.K.)
The US Congress has approved a bill which aims to make it possible for Americans to adopt orphaned North Korean children.
Down-Home American, Korean Style
New York Times
Charlie’s Main Street Cafe in the heart of downtown here is a monument to small-town Americana.
The purveyor at this landmark of deeply American culture in a town that is more than 97 percent American-born happens to be a South Korean immigrant who traces her earliest awareness of the United States to a story her mom told her when she was in elementary school in Seoul, about a place that boasted of 31 flavors of ice cream.
When Geewon Anderson, 48, bought Charlie’s in May, she not only embraced the tradition the cafe represented, she also worked to bolster it.
Coming to Britain: Koreans make a home in the heart of England
Arriving in the United Kingdom as a single mother with three young children in the late 1980s, Hyeon-ja Jo harbored great expectations.
“I’d thought that Britain would be a great place,” says Jo. “But in fact, when I got here it was rather disappointing. Arriving at Gatwick (London’s second-largest airport), it felt like Gimpo (an international airport in Seoul): small, kind of provincial. Americans are so tall, but British men … weren’t.”
Twenty-four years later, despite her initial misgivings, Jo remains firmly in the U.K. Arriving in the very year South Korea was announcing its own accession onto the world stage with the 1988 Seoul Olympics, she settled in southern England, where she subsequently remarried, raised her family, and built up a successful restaurant business that now employs all of her children.
Korean-American Actress Won’t Be Pinned Down
Korean-American actress Esther Chae has built up her filmography with roles in popular soap operas such as “The West Wing” and “The Shield,” while continuing to write scripts, act and direct plays.
In her latest work, a one-person play called “So the Arrow Flies,” Chae plays four roles to portray a cat-and-mouse game between a North Korean spy and an FBI agent who is in hot pursuit. The play has received much critical acclaim and was invited to a number of international events, including the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Chae was born in Oregon, while her parents were studying there, and her family moved to Korea when she was five. After graduating from Korea University, she returned to the U.S. with a long-held dream of becoming an actress. She then graduated from the Yale School of Drama before making her stage debut.
‘Top Chef: Seattle’: Kentwood’s Kristen Kish talks about being the frontrunner of the current season
Kristen Kish is currently the darling of “Top Chef: Seattle.”
Nine episodes into the current season of Bravo’s battling-chef reality show, the cook from Kentwood is easily the frontrunner among the remaining contestants. She has won three Elimination Challenges, with her victor’s spoils totaling $35,000, plus a Healthy Choice frozen entrée based on her winning pot pie recipe. The judges often lavish praise on her work, and fans of the show have buried her with compliments and accolades.
Now, Kish is just enjoying her time in the spotlight. The 2002 East Kentwood High School grad called me from Boston, where she lives and works as Chef de Cuisine at Stir, to talk about her newfound fame, her non-strategy strategy and, of course, her flirty little asides with fellow contestant Stefan Richter.
Girls Generation’s New Album Already a Hit with U.S. Media
Girls’ Generation’s new album “I Got a Boy” is receiving rave reviews from the U.S. media.
Billboard on Friday ran a review on all the tracks on the album and described them as “polished K-pop confections that combine elements of forward-thinking EDM (electronic dance music), classic and modern R&B, 80s new wave, and more.” It added that “it should more than satisfy not only K-pop fans but also listeners of all types of popular music.”
Buenos Dia: Dia Frampton live in Manila
Organizers said they had just over a week to plan for the one-night-only show of Dia Frampton in the Philippines.
The first season runner-up of hit reality singing show “The Voice” is in the midst of the Southeast Asia leg of a tour to promote her debut album “Red.”
After Vietnam, she expressed interest to come to Manila. “My guitarist is Filipino,” she said.
WHAT I’M READING: PROPHECY BY ELLEN OH
I just cracked open Prophecy, the debut novel by Ellen Oh.
It’s a young adult fantasy adventure rooted in ancient Korean folklore, about a badass young female warrior outcast named Kira who has crazy yellow eyes and slays demons. It has a kingdom in peril, a dangerous quest, a ragtag crew and a villainous Demon Lord. You know, everything a proper fantasy adventure tale needs. And swords.
Kim: Missing Korean Studies
The Dartmouth (Dartmouth College)
Every Ivy League university other than Dartmouth currently has a Korean language or studies program as part of its regular curriculum. This has been the case since the early 1990s. On this matter, the College is literally decades behind its peers.
Over these last two decades, South Korea’s importance in the global economic and political system has continued to grow. The country currently has the 12th largest economy in the world, when measured at purchasing power parity. Furthermore, with a vibrant democracy and a liberal economic system, South Korea shares many similarities with America and its European allies. South Korea also plays a crucial role in the United States’ negotiations with North Korea and China. If the College wishes to continue to send its graduates to the forefront of global politics and business, then the formal establishment of a Korean studies program, including language courses, would be a key step towards this goal.
Jong wants to be Korean ‘ambassador’
North Korea striker Jong Tae-se has said he wants to be an ambassador between the two Koreas after finalising his move to South Korean club Suwon Samsung.
Jong, 28, was born in Japan but has a North Korean passport because his mother is North Korean.
He represented North Korea at the 2010 World Cup and has scored 15 international goals. His move to Suwon Samsung makes him the fourth, and so far the best-known, North Korean to play in the South.
The man accused of killing seven former classmates at a small private college in Oakland, Calif., was deemed mentally incompetent by two court-appointed psychiatrist and will not stand trial for murder, according to news reports.
A psychiatrist evaluated One Goh, 44, and found the former nursing student has been been suffering from paranoid schizophrenia for several years, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Another psychiatrist reached a similar diagnosis in November, prompting Alameda County Superior Court Judge Carrie Panetta to declare Goh unfit for trial on Monday.
The judge ordered Goh to return to the court in three weeks in order to be placed in a mental institution. Continue Reading »
Korean Americans are the heaviest and most frequent binge drinkers among Asian Americans, according to a study by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and a team led by Lee Hae-kook at Catholic University Medical Center.
Among 8,900 adults of five ethnic groups who participated in the survey, 51.8 percent of Korean Americans said they drink at least once a month, putting themselves ahead of Japanese (49.7 percent), Chinese (42 percent), Filipinos (37.9 percent) and Indians (34 percent).
Additionally, 24.6 percent of Korean Americans said they drink more than five glasses of alcohol in one sitting, two to three times more than other Asian Americans. Continue Reading »
Olympic gold medalist Kim Yuna again celebrated her return to competitive figure skating by putting in another sparkling performance to win the ladies’ singles event at the 2013 Korean Figure Skating Championships in Seoul.
With the victory, Kim earned an expected automatic berth at the 2013 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, which will be held in Canada in March.
Performing her free skating program to a compilation of songs from the “Les Misérables” original soundtrack, Kim received 145.80 points. Combined with 64.97 points from her short program on the previous day, she won the competition comfortably with a total of 210.77 points to topple Park So-youn who finished second with 161.88 points. Continue Reading »
Former Korean baseball star Cho Sung-min, who was better known as the ex-husband of superstar actress Choi Jin-sil, was found dead in an apparent suicide on Sunday at his girlfriend’s home in Seoul.
Cho’s death came as a shock for many as the tragic suicide of national sweetheart Choi in 2008 still remains vivid in the Korean public’s memory.
Cho sent text messages to his girlfriend and mother prior to his death, hinting that he was having suicidal thoughts, according to police reports. “Thanks for everything. Even without me, please be strong,” read one message. Continue Reading »