Tag Archives: blog

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My Korean Husband: Exploring Interracial Relationships

by TAMMY TARNG

Complete with a YouTube channel, a comic series and blog posts, the website My Korean Husband, run by married couple Nichola and Hugh, documents the cultural differences and exploration of Korean and Australian culture. The site’s “About Us” page goes into further detail about the two:

“We are a married couple and we first met in Sydney, Australia. Nichola is an Australian woman and Hugh (Mr Gwon) is a Korean man. Nichola grew up in rural Australia, while Hugh grew up in rural South Korea. Growing up in very different cultures means there are many challenges to face, but there are also very many rewards.”

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The blog originally started as a creative space for Nichola’s comics to explore a wide range of issues. In the comics, the couple is portrayed as a bickering, but affectionate couple who explore Korean culture together. The adorable comics focus on everything from lack of oven mitts to the difference between Korean and Australian food.

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And in regards to communication, Nichola says, “I think all couples, even those that speak the same native language, can have this problem. We just tend to more aware of it. We are patient with each other, and don’t jump to conclusions and we ask for clarification before reacting to something. While we don’t speak the same native language, we speak the same language emotionally so we rarely have problems with communication.”

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“We’re comparing and contrasting our lives as cartoonists, English teachers, fathers and husbands,” the couple told the Korea Herald in 2013. “We’re also going to bring in guest cartoonists with connections to Korea and Japan and maybe try to open a dialogue between a few Korean and Japanese cartoonists.”

Dating someone of a different culture may be difficult at times, but as this couple proves, it has a handful of rewards along the way.

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Photos courtesy of mykoreanhusband.com 

Originally published on Audrey Magazine

The Happiest Man in America

Alvin Wong and his wife, Trudy Schandler-Wong. Such bliss.

Ever wonder who the happiest man in America is? No? Gallup’s figured it out for you anyway.

The New York Times asked Gallup, which compiled the first-ever daily assessment of U.S. resident’s health and well-being, to figure out a statistical composite for the happiest person in America.

Gallup came up with this: a tall, Asian American, observant Jew, who is at least 65 and married, has children, lives in Hawaii, runs his own business and earns more than $120,000 a year.

And yes. He exists.

Alvin Wong is a 5-foot-10, 69-year-old, Chinese American Jew, who’s married with children. He runs his own health care management business in Honolulu and earns more than $120,000 a year.

Wong told The Times that he may be the happiest man in America because “my life philosophy is, if you can’t laugh at yourself, life is going to be pretty terrible for you.”

That’s all fine and dandy, but my theory is that he’s the happiest man in America because he’s probably the ONLY PERSON WHO FITS THOSE REQUIREMENTS.

But that could be my bitterness talking, since you know, I’m short, Christian, 20-something, unmarried female who lives in California and I earn a meager salary (cough, cough). But hey, at least I’m Asian American.

In Blog We Trust: Part I of III

Phil Yu of Angry Asian Man may be the reigning king of the Asian American blogosphere, but a handful of wired scribes could soon inherit the throne.

This is part one of our cover series on the top 10 Asian American blogs to read (or watch) right now.

Jen Wang (left) with Diana Nguyen
Photographed by Eric Sueyoshi

Disgrasian

The Los Angeles-based duo behind Disgrasian, Jen Wang and Diana Nguyen, consider themselves to be Disgrasians rather than Amazians, but don’t think that they’re suffering from low self-esteem—they’re just Asian. “We totally think we’re Disgrasians,” says Wang. “Asian people are incredibly hard on themselves, so unless you think you’re doing something wrong, you’re not really Asian. So if you’re Asian, by nature and by design, you think you’re a Disgrasian.” But both Nguyen and Wang should be proud of what they’ve achieved in a little over three years. Although their blog isn’t the go-to site for breaking news, it’s become one of the most popular sites for abrasive, but hilarious commentary on Asians who are a “disgrace to the race.” Nguyen and Wang are also contributors for The Huffington Post, where they write snarky posts on topics such as U.S. Rep. Joseph Cao and the Miss USA pageant. But somehow, it’s easy to believe that the famed site stemmed from gabfests exchanged while buzzed off wine. Despite the fact that hundreds of thousands are reading their entries every day, there are enough posts about babes and bad behavior for Disgrasian to feel like a good, no-holds-barred convo between friends.” I think about Jen reading my post and almost no one else,” says Nguyen. “In a way, it’s made it possible to keep writing the way we have and preserving that original energy. That tunnel vision has been the reason we’ve been able to do it for so long.”

The Renaissance Man: KevJumba

This is part of our cover series on Asian American YouTube stars. Check out our recent profiles on Wong Fu Productions, Dumbfoundead, Megan Lee, David Choi, Ryan Higa, Just Kidding Films and Clara Chung

Kevin Wu / kevjumba
actor, writer, comedian

Thank goodness for high school stress, or we might have never met the smooth-talking comic Kevin Wu … or his dad, YouTube’s token “DILF,” the equally adorable and hilarious Papa Wu who gets pranked to no end. The Houston born-and-bred wisecracker is the Renaissance Man of YouTube comedy. His rise to stardom began when he was in high school, escaping the pressures of SATs and college apps by animatedly talking straight into his webcam about everything from “elbow zits” to stereotypes. He’s collaborated with most of his fellow YouTube counterparts, attended two years at the University of California, Davis and even created a YouTube charity called JumbaFund. “I want to try everything,” says the 20-year-old. “I want to try having my own show; I want to do acting; I definitely want to pursue stand-up. I don’t want to be restricted by one thing.” Wu will also be appearing on a national television show, so be sure to catch him on the real tube sometime in the fall. Hint: He just might be racing around the world with a companion—his one-and-only Papa Wu.

By Julie Ma
Photographed by Eric Sueyoshi in Pasadena, California.

Check out a video of Kevin and his dad after the jump!

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My Life Is An Open Blog

By Ellyn Pak
Illustration by Noah Dempewolf

Their voices are distinct, each representing a facet of their disparate worlds. They exercise their writing chops online, providing glimpses of their lives through a window that show intimate details and thoughts on endless topics including sex, racism, food and parenting.

But together, they make up an ever-growing circle of savvy Korean American bloggers who have generated buzz and developed cyber-cred among millions of others maintaining an online diary.

They write with honesty and gusto, unencumbered by journalistic standards, and garner attention from thousands of Web surfers — some anonymous, some loyal, most curious.

“You just think you’re going to put your opinions somewhere, get it out. It can be attention-grabbing if people respond, reply, cross-list. That’s the whole dynamic of interactive and peer-driven media,” says Peter Krapp, a film and media studies professor at University of California-Irvine who has studied the blogging phenomenon.

“If they are an interesting, unorthodox, witty or disrespectful voice in a particular context, it might be nice to get a blog from them,” Krapp adds.

That’s exactly what makes these bloggers break rank from the others and garner a nod from their own peers.

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“These are opinions; nothing more, nothing less.”

Phil Yu senses a hint of disappointment when people meet him and realize he’s not as angry as they expect.

“I’m generally a nice, reasonable guy, I think,” says Yu, a 28-year-old Los Angeles resident who runs angryasianman.com. “The Web site is my persona, perhaps one I get to be outside of real life.”

The blog, launched in February 2001, started as a place for Yu to rant about issues surrounding Asian American politics, identity and representation in the media and pop culture. Yu, who works on Web content stuff by day, says there was no defining moment in his life that spurred him to write about those topics.

“It was primarily for my benefit,” Yu says. “I didn’t expect anyone to read it. Maybe my friends and random visitors. I definitely didn’t expect an audience.”

He didn’t grow up an Asian American activist, he says. He didn’t gain that perspective in college where most do. In a way, writing about certain topics pertaining to Asian Americans made him inadvertently more conscious of what was out there.

“It wasn’t anything like that. It was a gradual understanding of issues that were happening around me and observing the media,” says Yu, a self-proclaimed pop-culture junkie.

His entries started off being tongue-in-cheek, an exaggerated look at some of the things he felt compelled to write about. But the undercurrent was undoubtedly clear: that racism and stereotypes exist. What makes Yu different from others is that he isn’t afraid to point it all out. And he infuses it with a touch of humor and realism to which readers can relate.

“Lately, it’s when I see ad campaigns that rely on those really basic stereotypes that you would’ve thought we got over a long time ago,” he says. “It’s like, why would you think that was innovative or creative to sell the products? It really shows we’ve not made any progress.”

Yu’s site, which attracts about 200,000 viewers each month, now has a cult following from a loyal and quickly growing audience. Readers link his posts to other blogs. They send him articles that may be fodder for his site.

“I used to be happy when I would get 10 visitors a day,” Yu says. “I didn’t intend for an audience. The audience found me.”

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“This blog will essentially be about my experiences as a new father. But of course, I’ve never met a microphone I didn’t like.”

Pierre Kim’s topic of choice isn’t as racy as others, but blogging about being a father and parenting is common ground for many and an outlet for fathers who have trouble finding blogs that cater to them.

Kim says he started freaking out about being a father three years ago, just before his daughter was born. It hit him hard. His previous lifestyle with his wife revolved around selfish luxury, traveling and going out. Having a baby was a drastic change, and he caught himself wondering how he was going to pay for his unborn child’s college, about his daughter’s future boyfriends.

“I can’t be the only guy thinking about this,” he thought.

He turned to the Internet for reassuring words, but most of the blogs were centered on the experiences of women and their parenting woes. He decided to start one of his own, metrodad.com. It would be a creative outlet for writing and a place he could vent.

“I joked that I do it because it’s cheaper than therapy,” says Kim, 38, who lives in New York City with his daughter and wife, a successful fashion executive.

Kim says he never promoted his online journal. Somehow, moms, dads and 20-somethings discovered his humorous anecdotes and it began to get passed around.

Kim hit a nerve with readers and also found his niche: writing about being a father of a little girl who is trying to balance his marriage and social life, all with a mix of hilarity and honesty.

Take this entry, dated Feb. 28, 2007: “Your child’s memory will amaze you. Things you said months ago when she was a little infant will now come back to haunt you. For example, this morning, you will be speaking to a matronly woman in the lobby of your building and her shoe will squeak on the rubber mat. Your innocent little child (who has been shyly clinging to your leg in total silence for 10 minutes) will suddenly look up alertly and yell, ‘WHO FART, DADDY?’”

Kim says he’ll show his blog entries to his daughter one day.

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“We’re just a community of mothers writing about Korean identity, race, culture, and parenting. Please keep your comments respectful and on-topic … or fear the wrath of the Korean mother-in-law.”

Stefania Pomponi Butler and six other mothers who are Korean or have a Korean child found their niche a year ago.

“There was absolutely no voice out there for Koreans or half-Koreans. There was no parenting voice for those women. When people find that niche, that community, it just grows. Over the year, it just exploded,” Butler says.

Kimchimamas.typepad.com, that is.

Butler, a 37-year-old mother of two who lives in the Bay Area, is the more experienced blogger of the group. She’s a writer and editor who maintains a personal blog and contributes to four other sites.

Butler — a stay-at-home turned work-at-home mom — wanted to read more about being a parent. She turned to blogs because they were written honestly by real people. She felt less isolated and connected to a community of people to whom she could relate.

Kimchi Mamas, made up of various Korean American experiences is, in some way, a collective voice to moms balancing culture, identity and race. The blog garners more than 24,000 page views a month, Butler says, and attracts an audience seeking similar parenting experiences.

“We are bold. Strong opinions are absolutely encouraged in everything we post … We can play off the fact that Koreans are opinioned and hot.”

Like Pierre Kim, Butler says she’ll show her daughters her blog entries when they get older. Unlike journaling or keeping a diary, having a blog means you have an audience, and are perhaps more likely to write. Which means Butler’s kids will end up with a lengthy read. “Through it all, I hope they see how much I love them,” she says. “It’s a chance to be real and honest. It’s a testament to my love for them.”

At the same time, Butler says the wide audience for favored blogs is a way to counter how Asian Americans are portrayed in the media.

“Asians are multi-dimensional. We’re funny. We’re irreverent. And we’re just like everyone else,” she says.