People often joke about their Hollywood doppelgangers — stars and starlets we like to pretend we share a striking resemblance to. But for Anais Bordier, she wasn’t looking at an accidental not-so-similar look-a-like, she was looking at her twin.
When Anais’ friends spotted American actress Samantha Futerman in a YouTube video, they couldn’t help but notice the uncanny similarity between the two Korean adoptees. Futerman, who can be seen most recently in 21 & Over, was adopted by an American family living in New Jersey, while Anais was adopted by a French family and grew up in Paris. But the two share more than eerie physical likeness — they were both born on Nov. 19, 1987 in Busan, South Korea.
The two possible sisters are now trying to raise enough funds for a reunion — Samantha is living in Los Angeles and Anais studies fashion in London — and they have started a Kickstarter campaign. They plan on documenting their experiences and their final meet up, which is sure to be an emotional, heart-warming journey, and they also plan to take a DNA test to prove they are indeed twins. Continue Reading »
Asian Americans Benefit from Diversity in Higher Education
Center for American Progress
The U.S. Supreme Court will begin hearings today on Fisher v. University of Texas, a case that challenges the future of diversity in higher education. Specifically, it will review the constitutionality of a broad affirmative action program used to admit freshmen to the flagship university in Texas. Although the current Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action in the country’s institutions of higher education—established by Grutter v. Bollinger in 2003—determined that diversity was enough of a compelling interest in education to allow institutions to consider race as one of many factors in admissions’ decisions, this case seeks to prohibit schools from considering race whatsoever in a student’s application.
Supreme Court justices skeptical of affirmative action for college
Los Angeles Times
The Supreme Court’s conservative justices sharply questioned a lawyer defending a University of Texas affirmative action policy, suggesting they are inclined to further limit the use of race in college admissions.
Since Justice Samuel Alito replaced the retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in 2006, the court has had five justices who are skeptical of affirmative action. But Wednesday marked the first time since then that the high court had heard a constitutional challenge to affirmative action in higher education.
It arose when Abigail Fisher, a rejected white applicant, sued, alleging she was denied the equal protection of the laws.
U.S. activist calls for widening Japanese understanding of sex slavery
The issue of Japan’s sexual enslavement of Korean women during World War II carries universal significance, and supporting grassroots movements among the Japanese public is the key to settling the long-time grievance, a Korean-American filmmaker and civil activist said Tuesday.
‘Korea’ brings together unusual mix of people in unusual place
Yonhap News via Korea Times
Getting to know Korea — both the language and culture — is not as easy to do in Colorado, where an estimated 30,000 Koreans live, as it is in, perhaps, California or New York. Their community mostly revloves around Korean market places and public organizations, but these days, a nascent group is attracting members who are getting to know the Asian nation in a more personal way.
Liz Salibsury, 28, is one of four people who attended the first meeting of what is now called the Denver Korean Language Meetup (DKLM). A “full-blooded Korean” as she describes herself, Salisbury was adopted from Korea and brought to America when she was three months old. Her reason for getting involved with DKLM is a common one among members. “I started attending meetups to get more acquainted with my heritage. I wanted to actually learn Korean,” she said.
Memphis police charge son in mother’s death after Cordova fire
Memphis Commercial Appeal
Estelle Carron, who had taught French at a private school in Memphis for nearly 20 years and had moved earlier this year to New Orleans, returned to Memphis for a weekend visit.
But on Sunday, Memphis firefighters discovered Carron’s body while searching her Cordova home when it was damaged by a fire. The Shelby County Medical Examiner’s Office later determined that she died from strangulation, the victim of a homicide.
On Tuesday, Memphis police charged her 22-year-old son, Alexandre A. Kim, with first-degree murder. Kim was held in Shelby County Jail with no bond set.
Reward increased in killing of Yong Suk Yun
The reward for information leading to an arrest in the killing of a Fairfax Station man has been increased to $70,000 as detectives search for new clues two years after his homicide.
Yong Suk Yun, 61, was found dead inside his home in the 5700 block of Ladues End Court on Oct. 7, 2010. Police believe his killing stemmed from a robbery.
Yun, who owned the Dr. Wash in Chantilly, was stabbled multiple times in the upper body and detectives believe more than one person might have been involved in his death.
Dark side of inter-racial adoption surfaces with arrivals of grown-up adoptees
Yonhap News via Korea Times
Adoptees’ rights activists say many of the children sent for inter-racial adoption suffer racial and other social discrimination, constantly longing for their biological parents and homeland.
In the United States, a country where adoptees must undergo a separate procedure to obtain citizenship, more than a few adoptees never become naturalized, partly due to indifference from their adoptive parents.
According to South Korea’s health and welfare ministry and an activist group devoted to Korean adoptees’ human rights, there are 23,000 Korean adoptees in the U.S. whose citizenship status the groups do not know.
South Koreans Become More Adventurous in Their Career Choices
Wall Street Journal
South Koreans have traditionally sought jobs known as the “iron pot,” referring to employment for life, particularly in government or one of the nation’s conglomerates.
But the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s and the prolonged economic downturn since 2008 have weakened job security at big companies, many of which have laid off workers and encouraged early retirement
That shift, as well as the sometimes stifling work culture at the chaebol and a desire to be more adventurous, has made Koreans more willing to jump from jobs at employers once considered highly prized.
Maroon 5 Keeps PSY Out Of Hot 100′s Summit Again
For a third week, Maroon 5′s “One More Night” and PSY’s viral smash “Gangnam Style” rank at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.
A Swede Makes K-Pop Waves
Wall Street Journal
One person uniquely positioned to know is Pelle Lidell, European executive of A&R at Universal Music Publishing, who says his roster of European songwriters have sold more than 10 million K-pop records since he began writing for them in 2008. “I’ve lost track,” he says, “it might be 20 million now.”
SM Entertainment, the nation’s largest music label, has often looked abroad for songwriters—its first big girl-group, SES, had a hit in 1998 with “Dreams Come True,” a cover of the Finnish band Nylon Beat’s “Like a Fool.” But SME was frustrated by its inability to be taken seriously by international songwriters, who either ignored it or offered second-rate scraps.
Korean eatery Gaonnuri’s view trumps the new Rainbow Room’s
New York Post
Gaonnuri’s story began 10 years ago when owner Andy Sung, an architect, was asked to design offices for a Korean bank on the 37th floor of 1250 Broadway.
The view blew him away.
“I asked about putting a restaurant” on a vacant high floor, but the landlord wasn’t interested, he recalled.
South Korea-born Sung, who’s operated several delis but never a restaurant, didn’t give up his dream of a sky-high, “authentic” Korean eatery. And one with fresher air: “A lot of places have a smell” from so much tabletop barbecue. “It’s embarrassing,” he said.
The tragic story of homeless twin sisters in Washington, D.C. has been met with anguished reactions from the Korean American community.
Korean broadcasting station SBS recently aired a one-hour documentary about the Korean American twin sisters living on the streets of our nation’s capital.
Mi-kyung and Mi-young, both 32, were only 6 years old in 1987 when their father Soon-hong Min sent them to an orphanage in South Korea. The twins’ mother passed away only three years after giving birth. Min, who struggled to make ends meet, decided to drop off his daughters at a local orphanage, where they were later adopted by American parents.
The perils Asian politicians face
New York Daily News
The headlines have a triumphalist feel. The Daily Beast: “Asian-Americans seize political spotlight in 2012.” CNN: “The growing clout of Asian-Americans.” Salon: “Will Asian voters swing the election?”
Reading such stories, you’d think that Asian-Americans had emerged as power brokers in American politics, with the ability to make and break campaigns and influence policy at will.
The truth is much more complicated — and far more sobering, as we’ve discovered in the wake of recent scandals surrounding a pair of local pols, city Controller John Liu and state Assemblywoman Grace Meng.
University brings capitalism to reclusive North Korea
Capitalism, in hermit North Korea, is normally associated with moral and economic ruin.
The Korea-born American who heads Pyongyang’s only private university is trying to change that. He believes he has the support of the man many think is emerging as the real power in the North, whose new leaders are pondering how to save their broken economy from collapse.
Daughter to tell Korean A-bomb survivor’s story
The Asahi Shimbun (Japan)
Kim Mi-mi did not find out until she entered university that her mother, Byun Yeon-ok, was a hibakusha, one of the victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
She had never heard the story of how Byun, now 76, saw victims staggering down the road, skin peeling from their backs, as she fled home from a neighborhood temple on Aug. 6, 1945.
Ballerina Jennifer Whalen closes a big distance by reuniting with her birth mother in Korea
New York Daily News
Ballerina Jennifer Whalen recently took a giant leap in her personal life.
The South Korean-born dancer was reunited with her birth mom last month when the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) performed in Seoul. The meeting was emotional — at least for the birth mother, Seong Cheol, who would frequently take Whalen’s hand and apologize for giving her up.
In the search for their birth parents, some Korean-Americans get help from popular TV show
New York Daily News
Thousands have traveled to Seoul in search of their family tree, including those who get clues about their birth families from TV show called ‘I Miss That Person’
What if Rhee had stayed D.C. schools chancellor?
For those needing a quick refresher on recent D.C. history, Gray was one of Rhee’s most prominent critics when he was D.C. Council chairman. After he was elected mayor, he forced her to give up her job as head of the D.C. Public Schools.
It wasn’t that Gray thought Rhee was all wrong about her reforms; he vowed that reform would continue in his administration. But the new mayor wanted a kinder, gentler approach.
Gray kept his word. Kaya Henderson, the highly capable former top Rhee aide, was appointed chancellor. And DCPS does seem a kinder, gentler place, with Henderson successfully building on the reforms that she helped Rhee to launch (as evidenced by improved test scores released last month).
South Korean immigrant shares life story
WLBT (Jackson, Miss.)
A South Korean immigrant, who struggled to make a success of her life in America by starting businesses in Mississippi, is now sharing her story.
Jeanhee Kang held a book signing Sunday afternoon at Castlewoods Country Club in Brandon.
Westerners try new tool for friendship with North Korea: frisbee
While London hosts the Olympics this summer, a different competition will get underway on the other side of the globe. But this series has no flaming torches, gold medals or even referees. The game is Ultimate Frisbee, and the venue is the North Korean capital Pyongyang.
The “Peace Tournament” is set for August 11 and is sponsored by Beijing-based Koryo Tours. The rules of Ultimate, as the sport is known for short, are a mix-match of basketball and American style football, in which one team attempts to huck, or throw, a plastic disc to a receiver in the other team’s end zone.
Network aims at growing US Asian market
Philippine Daily Inquirer
With a fast-growing population and higher than average incomes, Asian Americans are an advertiser’s dream, but the community long has had no nationwide media outlet to call its own.
In hopes of seizing an untapped market, Mnet, the first round-the-clock Asian American entertainment network, has been expanding across the United States with programs ranging from Korean pop to US-produced animation.
Mnet, which entered Washington and Philadelphia in June as its latest markets, faces a complicated task ahead as it looks to appeal to one of the most diverse demographics in the United States.
Two Charged In Alleged Fight Over GWB Carpool Ride
Teaneck Patch (N.J.)
Two men were charged with disorderly conduct Thursday morning after an alleged struggle over a carpool ride at the George Washington Bridge, police said.
The incident happened at about 9:45 a.m. at a Fort Lee bus stop on I-95 under Lemoine Avenue, where drivers looking to take advantage of the Port Authority’s discount for carpoolers typically pick up passengers, whether they know them or not, according to officials.
Malik R. Corbitt, 34, of Englewood, and Yoon S. Kwon, 39, of Little Ferry, where each charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly engaging in a physical struggle while trying to get into the same car, police said.
Giddy up! S. Korean rapper Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ is unstoppable
Los Angeles Times
The video became a huge online hit in Korea about a week before it reached viral success throughout the world, said Kevin Allocca, YouTube trends manager. As of Thursday the video was one of the most shared videos in South Korea, as well as the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, Singapore and Sweden.
It’s not just the Olympics that brings together the citizens of the world, people. It’s also completely insane, hilarious, high-energy music videos.
Insane, hilarious, high-energy music videos may be kind of a universal language of their own, but since most of the words in the song are in Korean–except for “style” and “sexy lady,”–we were curious what the song was actually about.
Reaction Vids Get a Pop With ‘Gangnam Style’
Wall Street Journal
While the Psy video when viral globally, so did some of the reaction videos, in which fans record themselves watching a video and making comments about it.
The reaction video by Katie and Mindy Anderson of Provo, Utah, became one of the most-searched-for links on South Korea’s Naver portal last week. It has been viewed nearly 400,000 times on YouTube.
The reason: their near-constant laughter and incredulity at Psy’s horse-riding dance and slow realization that they’re watching a send-up of K-pop conventions. “How can they stay straight-faced doing this?” Mindy asks near the end of watching it.
Sushi robots on the job at ‘Best of Philly’ restaurant
A sushi and yogurt shop in Suburban Station has been recognized by Philadelphia Magazine for its “cheap eats.”
There’s something very different about part of the 9-month-old store’s offerings — sushi chefs make the sushi with the help of sushi robots.
Walk in the entrance of Yoshi Sushi in Suburban Station and it looks like just about any other restaurant. There’s a big fan, a counter with customers and cashiers and individually wrapped sushi on display.
Margaret Cho Disinfects Airport Armrests, Can Fall Asleep Anywhere
Conde Nast Traveler
We’re big fans of funny woman (and first-time Emmy nominee) Margaret Cho in her many roles: Kim Jong-il and -un on 30 Rock, Terri Lee on Drop Dead Diva, which returns from hiatus today, and, of course, as a ballsy stand-up comedian. All that work means she’s essentially a professional traveler, flying from show to show and living out of a carry-on for long stretches at a time, so we figured she might have a few tips on how to travel nonstop. Turns out, it all comes down to antibacterial wipes and sleeping in really uncomfortable chairs…oh, and then there’s the belly dancing.
Sorry for winning gold, says Jin
South Korean shooter Jin Jong-oh apologized for breaking the heart of compatriot Choi Young-rae on Sunday by overcoming a huge deficit to retain the men’s 50 meter pistol title for his second gold of the Games.
Jin began the 10-shot final seven points behind Choi but after a run of impressive scoring, he finished with a total of 662.0 ahead of Choi on 661.5. Zhiwei Wang of China was a distant third on 658.6.
“Today I am so happy but I’m sorry to Mr Choi that I intercepted the gold medal,” a beaming Jin told reporters through a translator.
Blurry Target Is No Trouble for Ace Archer
New York Times
The target sits 70 meters away, three-quarters of the length of a football field. Ten concentric circles telescope from white to black to blue to red to gold in a bull’s-eye the size of a grapefruit. For Im Dong-hyun of South Korea, considered by many the world’s greatest archer, the colors appear blurry. He described them Saturday as paint dropped in water.
Im gave his vision as 20 percent of normal in one eye and 30 percent in the other. He said through an interpreter that at 26 he has the eyes “of an old man.” Yet he also said that articles depicting him as legally blind were inaccurate. If that were true, Im said, he would compete in the Paralympics, not the Olympics. Im called himself farsighted but said that he wore glasses to read only when tired and that he could drive without wearing glasses.
Choi appreciates 5-time champ Pak paving way for Koreans
Toledo Blade (Ohio)
In ’98, Pak was the only South Korean player on the LPGA Tour. Within 10 years 44 others had joined her on the U.S.-based circuit.
One of them, Na Yeon Choi, was 10 years old in the summer of ’98 when, inspired by Pak’s exploits, she picked up a golf club for the first time.
Now, Choi is the highest ranked among the Korean contingent, an accomplishment of which she is justifiably proud.
The Book We’re Talking About: ‘The Dead Do Not Improve’ By Jay Caspian Kang
Who will read it?
Fans of dark humor, smart plot-driven reads and Haruki Murakami. Also, those interested in learning more about Korean American culture and the millennial mindset.
How to become a pro at ‘StarCraft II’
If you know much about the real-time strategy game “StarCraft II,” you may have heard a term that will sound completely bizarre to people outside the video game world: A.P.M.
It stands for Actions Per Minute, and it refers to the number of keyboard and mouse clicks a person can make during 60 seconds of time. The best players tend to average about 200 to 400 actions per minute, said Park Sang-ik, a “StarCraft II” coach in South Korea, which long has been home to the world’s best players, who train professionally and can earn six figures.
“I don’t think there is a particular way to make your hands move faster,” he said.
Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts honor veterans
Los Angeles Daily News
[Pfc. Samuel Sungjune Lee], a Korean-American soldier who died less than two weeks before his 20th birthday while serving in the Army during the Iraq War, was unknown to the members of Boy Scout Troop 777, based out of Koreatown.
But his service and death carried special significance to the group, which had made it tradition to seek out all Korean-American soldiers buried at the cemetery to pay tribute. So far, they had found five.
Slain Qns. woman blew boyfriend’s life savings gambling: landlady
New York Post
A Queens man who allegedly stabbed his girlfriend to death was furious with her for gambling away his life savings and leaving him thousands of dollars in debt, his landlady said yesterday.
Feuk Youn Yoon, 56, and Yunhee Shin, 57, were fighting in his basement apartment on 214th Street in Bayside just before he allegedly killed her, police said.
Firefighters responding to calls reporting a small blaze in the home found Shin on the bed with two knife wounds to the neck and Yoon in a closet trying to hang himself.
30 North Korean officials involved in South talks die ‘in traffic accidents’
The Telegraph (U.K.)
Thirty officials of the North Korean regime who were involved in talks with South Korea have been executed or died in “staged traffic accidents,” according to a human rights report.
Theater artists find depth in search for families
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Sun Mee Chomet and Katie Hae Leo, both adoptees, talk about their search for their relatives in Korea.
S. Korean student graduates Harvard as ‘highest ranking undergraduate’
A South Korean student has graduated from Harvard University as a “highest ranking undergraduate,” the first time a Korean student has won the honor.
Economics major Jin Kwon-young, 20, and one other graduate were assessed equal best of 1,552 students who graduated from the prestigious university in a ceremony on Thursday.
The Harvard Business Student Who Landed a Spot on the Home Shopping Network & Created Her Own Skincare Line
By age 25, Grace Choi had already invented four medical devices. By age 26, her first consumer retail invention in jewelry was picked up by the Home Shopping Network, following a televised nationwide search by TV personality Kelly Ripa. And now, as a Harvard MBA, she’s debuting her all-in-one cosmetic skincare line: Grace Choi Porcelian Skin BB Cream.
Asian-American Week: Korean-American Pop Star’s Popularity Extends To New York
He’s a singer, dancer and rapper but his fans say that still doesn’t begin to describe Jay Park’s talent.
The 25-year-old Korean-American phenom has millions of fans across Asia. But if you want proof of his popularity in New York, look no further than a line for his recent concert in Midtown that wound around the corner and stretched for several blocks 8 hours before the show.
“I guess I’m a really dedicated Jay Park fan,” said one fan who waited for over 24 hours for tickets. “I don’t want to take the chance that anyone else got those front-row seats. I’m making sure I’m here first.”
A Rapper Ravaged By An Online Firestorm
Wired‘s Josh Davis speaks with NPR about his recent follow-up article on the Tablo online witch hunt. Stupid Koreans.
Earlier this month, 12 people who posted false accusations online were put on trial in Korea for criminal defamation against Tablo. They could face jail time.
Meanwhile, Tablo has recorded a new album about his ordeal, named Fever’s End. It’s put him right back at the top of the charts, but after such an experience, he’s still not ready to perform publicly again.
SDSU’s Kang has big personality to match game
San Diego Union-Tribune
Soon, [Alex] Kang will turn pro after his final season at SDSU, but this week he is a critical player in the Aztecs’ hopes to win their first NCAA championship in men’s golf. The national tournament begins Tuesday at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades. The top eight teams after three rounds of stroke play will advance to single-elimination match play. The champion will be decided on Sunday.
Conger misses callup opportunity with injury
The messages began rolling in for Hank Conger on May 11, the day Angels catcher Chris Iannetta underwent right wrist surgery and John Hester was called up to take his place on the roster.
“People were like, ‘Where you at? Why aren’t they calling you up?’” Conger recalled.
And that’s when the Angels’ prospect catcher would have to explain that he’s on the Minor League disabled list, rehabbing a right elbow injury that dates back to the second series of the Triple-A season and has had him on the shelf for more than a month.
B.J. Penn doesn’t think Frankie Edgar deserves UFC Title rematch with Ben Henderson
Appearing on Thursday’s MMA Uncensored Live on Spike TV, former UFC Lightweight Champion B.J. Penn discusses why he doesn’t think Frankie Edgar deserved a rematch against Benson Henderson.
Visions of the Hermit Kingdom
Wall Street Journal
Chances are, you aren’t going to North Korea any time soon. But armchair travelers can take a virtual tour with “Architectural and Cultural Guide Pyongyang,” edited by Philipp Meuser (DOM Publishers, $49.95).
It’s a two-volume set, the first of which contains photographs and descriptions from the North Korean government’s Pyongyang Foreign Languages Publishing House. The contract required Mr. Meuser to run the images with the official captions, without critical commentary. So volume two provides more photos, history and context, with essays on topics like urban planning, mass gymnastics and propaganda posters.