Asian-American voters a force in November election
A new survey suggests Asian Americans could play a more important role in this fall’s presidential election.
Asian Americans have been a factor in Washington state for some time now, but the country as a whole is just now feeling the surge in numbers created by decades of high immigration.
In 1965 Asian Americans were less than 1 percent of the national population. That year, racially discriminatory immigration laws were changed.
By 2011 Asian Americans reached 5.8 percent of the U.S. population and the numbers continue to grow rapidly.
Fighting monsters: Political outsiders are challenging Asia’s traditional elites
A NEW force is emerging in Asian politics: the non-politician—or at least the politician posing as such. In South Korea the campaign for the presidential election in December has been shaken up by the new candidacy of an independent, Ahn Chul-soo, a former doctor turned antivirus-software tycoon.
Park Geun-hye, the ruling party’s presidential candidate, is the daughter of Park Chung-hee, who seized power in a coup in 1961 and ruled until his assassination in 1979. This week Ms Park apologised for abuses during his rule, which was marked by spectacular economic advance, but fierce political repression. Facing a tough challenge from both Mr Ahn and the opposition candidate, Moon Jae-in, Ms Park took the awkward step (especially in a Confucian society) of repudiating her own father.
N. Korean spy confesses to attempt to kill Kim Jong-nam
A North Korean spy in Seoul police custody reportedly said he had been ordered to assassinate the eldest brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, prosecution sources said Thursday.
The spy, surnamed Kim, claimed Pyongyang’s security agency ordered him to assassinate Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of the leader, in July 2010, when he was carrying out espionage activities in China, according to sources.
The 50-year-old spy has been interrogated since he arrived in South Korea in June of this year, posing as a defector. During questioning, the man revealed his true identity, divulging that he is a spy working for the North’s National Security Agency.
Media Firm Specializes in Humor Websites
Wall Street Journal (subscription req’d)
Seattle-based Cheezburger landed at No. 28 on The Wall Street Journal’s annual list of the top 50 U.S. venture-backed companies.
The company, which has roughly a hundred employees, publishes more than 60 humor sites, including FAIL Blog, which highlights random acts of stupidity. The sites receive an average of 15,000 photo and video submissions a day, and while most are published, “the game is to make the home page, and only a few hundred make it,” Mr. Huh says.
Gardener starts hunger strike at Kissena Park
Times-Ledger (Queens, N.Y.)
A Flushing senior who has tilled the soil for years went on a hunger strike last week, protesting what he characterized as a city-led coup of the Flushing community garden he formerly helped run and vowing to die if control was not returned to his group.
San Ok Kim is a member of the Korean-American Senior Citizens Society of Greater New York, which has overseen operations at the public garden in Kissena Corridor Park for decades. But in March a city program took over management of the hundreds of small dirt plots, possibly in response to numerous complaints of intimidation and harassment that transpired at the site.
Google’s Schmidt Horses Around With Psy
Wall Street Journal
Google Inc. Chairman Eric Schmidt came to South Korea to meet executives at the biggest makers of Android smartphones – Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Co. – but wound up also getting a dance lesson from Psy, whose “Gangnam Style” video and song became an international hit through Google’s YouTube.
Psy (or Park Jae-sang as his parents called him) showed up at the company’s Seoul office as Mr. Schmidt conducted an all-hands videoconference for employees in Asia. Screams and cheers were heard on the speakers as Google employees reacted to his arrival.
Taunts lead to thefts of high-heeled shoes, police say
A South Korean man upset that he was teased about his height is accused of stealing high-heeled shoes from public areas and throwing them away in parks and trash bins, police said Thursday.
The 24-year-old man told police that the unusual thefts in the southern city of Busan began after his female friends repeatedly mocked him about his height, according to a local police official who led the investigation.
The suspect, who is about 165 centimeters (5 feet, 5 inches) tall, was caught Sunday after police began investigating complaints of at least three pairs of shoes being stolen from an elementary school, according to the police official, who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the news media about the matter.
Wearing Asian American Culture On Our (Short-) Sleeves
Southern California Public Radio
“I SPEAK ENGLISH.”
“GOOD ASIAN DRIVER.”
“I SUCK AT MATH.”
“I WILL NOT LOVE YOU LONG TIME.”
These are all satirical phrases boldly emblazoned on t-shirts made by Torrance-based clothing company Blacklava, popular in the community for its designs — be they social-conscience heavy or light-hearted alike — which convey a decidedly Asian American perspective.
The shirts debunk stereotypes, respond to incidents of racism, celebrate Asian American icons, and parody contemporary corporate imagery with ethnic-specific references — sometimes all on the same shirt. And people of Asian descent (even those of non-Asian descent as well) — generally teens to fortysomethings — wear Blacklava gear as a form of cultural expression and pride.
Figure skater Kim Yu-na not tied to controversial statue: agency
Figure skater Kim Yu-na has no connection with a controversial statue of a figure skater in her adopted hometown, her agency here said Thursday.
In a statement, All That Sports said the so-called “Kim Yu-na Statue” in the city of Gunpo, Gyeonggi Province, was erected without the skater’s knowledge. Kim, 22, was born in Bucheon, also in Gyeonggi, and was raised in Gunpo, south of Seoul.
The statue, which depicts a female figure skater with outstretched arms and one leg in a spiral position, was erected in November 2010 to commemorate Kim’s Olympic gold medal in Vancouver earlier the same year. On Monday of this week, a civic group in Gunpo alleged the design companies that worked on the statue deliberately exaggerated the cost and did not follow the original design, and claimed the 500 million won ($447,000) project was a waste of taxpayers’ money.
Korea Gets Favorable Pool in World Baseball Classic
The groupings and timetable of the Third World Baseball Classic have now almost been finalized. Korea is in Pool B with Australia, the Netherlands and another team that has yet to advance from the regional preliminaries. The first round of the WBC will kick off on March 2 in Taichung, Taiwan.
North Korea farmers to test regime appetite for reform
Los Angeles Times
North Korea’s communist leadership is now reported by recent visitors to be experimenting with smaller-sized farming cooperatives and incentives for expanding food production by letting farmers keep and sell more of what they grow.
The dilemma faced by the Pyongyang regime, say academics who scrutinize the hermetic state, is whether opening the agricultural sector will rescue the economy, as it did in China, or whet North Koreans’ appetite for more opportunity and political choice, thereby bringing down one-party rule, as it did in the Soviet Union.
Skull injury, other evidence don’t match Rhee’s story witness says
The Denver Post
A picture of Hae C. Park’s skull showed a hole the size of a man’s hand that a police witness said was created by up to seven blows from a blunt object, testimony that cast doubt on his accused murderer’s story Tuesday.
Park’s business partner, Joong Rhee, 68, is accused of killing Park and dumping the body in the Utah desert.
Under questioning by Denver prosecutor Adrienne Greene, Rhee said Park attacked him on March 27, 2010, when they met at Rhee’s Denver office. The two exchanged blows, with both falling to the floor at different times.
Oh Sung Kwon pleads guilty in Army Corps of Engineers bribery scheme
WJLA (Vienna, Va.)
A Vienna, Va. businessman pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges stemming from the bribery of an Army official in exchange for government contracts.
Oh Sung Kwon, 47, pleaded guilty in D.C. federal court to one count each of bribery, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and willful failure to file a tax return.
Teen Sentenced in Mr. Yang Robbery, Beating
Patch.com (Easttown, Pa.)
Sean Christopher Mitten of Phoenixville will be spending the next 21-56 months in state prison for his role in the robbery and beating of Yong Yang outside Yang’s market in Berwyn.
Mitten, 18, was convicted and sentenced as an adult in Chester County Common Plea Court Tuesday afternoon in West Chester. The sentence was imposed by Judge Phyllis Streitel in a hearing that lasted nearly an hour in courtroom 14 on the sixth floor of the County Courthouse.
Mitten was 17 when he and Ocatvio Sandoval plotted, scoped out and finally jumped, beat and robbed Yang as he got into his delivery van after closing the produce market he owned and operated for 14 years in Berwyn. Sandoval, who was 18, faces sentencing for his role in the crime on October 9.
Byung-Hun Lee Is a Big Deal in South Korea. But Not in the U.S. Yet.
Although by now he’s proved his talent as an international actor, Lee is as unpretentious and humble as they get. When asked if he had met any crazy fans here, he says jokingly, “I’ve never really seen American fans. Maybe someday.” The actor adds, “Although there was this group of girls. One of them came up to me and asked, ‘Are you a movie star?’”
To which he responded, “How do you know?” He starts to laugh. “She said, ‘Wow, Hangover was so fun!’”
Cashing in Gangnam Style: Halloween costumes, fashion … fries?
Los Angeles Times
Really, we’re surprised it didn’t happen sooner, the flood of entrepreneurs and experts trying to cash in on the explosive popularity of “Gangnam Style.”
The unavoidably catchy song and peppy video from South Korean performer Psy has translated into the usual influx of branded T-shirts and mugs. But “Gangnam Style” logos and images of the goofy horse-ride dance are also being plastered on French fries, new clothing lines, Halloween costumes and the Harvard Business Review website.
South Korean semiconductor company D I Corp. got a huge stock boost from the song, surging about $101 million, according to Reuters. The firm’s chairman and controlling shareholder is Psy’s father, Park Won-ho.
Asian? It’s a Spectrum! (Part One)
The first Asian American performer I saw on Broadway was Lucy Liu in God of Carnage. She was, at that point, already internationally famous, and was cast not for her ethnicity, but for her skill as an actress. After that, most Asian performers I saw on stage were either mute, in the chorus or stereotypical (South Pacific, La Bete, Anything Goes, etc). Of course there was Chinglish, the only story about Asian culture in modern times on Broadway in the last few years (although personally I didn’t find it accurately reflects the present business world of China). It wasn’t until Godspell that I saw another Asian face (Telly Leung) stopping the show and setting the audience on fire of delight and applause.
“We want to be cast for who we are and what we can do, not for our looks,” expressed one of the many Asian American performers I talked to in the past few months. They want to show off their skills, and play parts where their ethnicity isn’t the prerequisite.
Test Driving Chego’s New Menu + Korean Pizza Coming Soon
Word came down from the Kogi blog today that Roy Choi was dropping his revamped menu at Chego, his popular rice bowl haven in Palms.
Some of the more popular original items like the pork belly bowl, “Ooey Gooey” fries and the “Rock Yer Road” were left intact, but for the most part the change was pretty significant. There are 8 new dishes, in all — 2 salads, 2 appetizers, 3 bowls, and a dessert — and we sampled them all in service to you, loyal reader. (Forget Mumford & Sons, this was by far the biggest Tuesday release).
John Cho Swears He’s Not Stalking Matthew Perry
AP via YouTube
Actor John Cho talks about working with his ‘Go On’ co-star Matthew Perry and recalls his favorite episode of ‘Friends.’ (Sept. 25)
by MONICA Y. HONG
Coming off of a rocky week of less-than-stellar sales, the boys of Seoul Sausage Company are looking to become men. We want our money back! With only three teams remaining, will Cleveland turn out to be oh-so-ordinary or oh-so-extraordinary for Ted, Yong and Chris?
Before the teams start out on their food truckin’, host Tyler has them buy three locally grown Ohio tomatoes from the West Side Market, a 100-year old Cleveland landmark. These mysterious red juicy fruits will come in handy later.
Since this week’s seed money is a mere $100, the SSC heads to an Asian supermarket to get what Chris calls the “Asian homey hook-up.” It goes like this: Asians walk into Asian market. Asian employee notices fellow Asians who are wearing matching outfits. Employee decides to help a brother out. Employee rings them up and total comes to $133. Employee gives them a discount. New total is $92.77. Asian homey hook-up alert! Mad props to the Asian checkout dude from Cleveland! Continue Reading »
North Korea Promises Improvements to Its Educational System
New York Times
North Korea’s Parliament convened on Tuesday for a rare second session in a single year, amid speculation among outside analysts that the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, might use the meeting to reshuffle his government and discuss economic reforms.
But the one-day session ended instead with an announcement of changes to the isolated country’s educational system — changes that analysts saw as potentially popular with the North Korean people. The rubber-stamp legislature extended compulsory education to 12 years from 11, promised more classrooms and said that teachers would be given priority in the distribution of food and fuel rations, according to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.
Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders Ready To Celebrate National Voter Registration Day
The stakes are high this year for the Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. According to a recent Pew Center study, AAPIs are the fastest growing racial minority in the country. From 2000 to 2010, the AAPI community grew 46% with an estimated number of 17.3 million US residents of Asian decent totaling 5.6% of the total population. There are a record number of AAPI candidates running for Congress and many are poised for victory this coming November. Despite all of this, our community has the lowest voter registration rates compared to other racial groups.
Psy: The Homecoming
Wall Street Journal
At a press conference in a hotel in Gangnam (where else?) on Tuesday afternoon, Psy met with more than 500 local and foreign reporters and reflected on his meteoric rise to become one of the best-known South Koreans on the planet.
“Things happening right now are beyond my understanding. I am still bewildered because I never expected this kind of thing to happen to me,” he said. “I didn’t have much time to think about and analyze what’s going on.”
“It feels like The Truman Show, you know, like it is all staged for a hidden camera,” he said.
Growing Up Gangnam-Style: What the Seoul Neighborhood Was Really Like
Irony is that special privilege of wealthy nations — Aristophanes, possibly the world’s first satirist, wrote his plays as Athens was becoming the dominant power in the region; Cervantes wrote at the height of Spain’s naval wealth; and Alexander Pope was born the year that England defeated the Spanish Armada. First, one scrambles for wealth; then one luxuriates in mocking the effeteness that comes with it.
Thus “Gangnam Style” signals the emergence of irony in South Korea, meaning that the country has reached the final stage in any state’s evolution. If you don’t think that irony is a measure of eliteness, think of how annoyed you were the last time you were accused of not having any. Americans have told me that Asians have no irony; in Europe, where I last lived, I was told that Americans have none.
Hawaii Five-0 Postmortem: Daniel Dae Kim on Chin Ho’s Tough Choice and His Search for Peace [SPOILERS]
Last season’s finale of Hawaii Five-0 presented Daniel Dae Kim’s Chin Ho Kelly with an impossible choice: save his wife Malia or save his drowning cousin and team member, Kono (Grace Park).
Seeking: Attractive Asian male
The Daily Pennsylvanian (Univ. of Pennsylvania)
In 2010, Time published an article on interracial dating that cited a study which examined 1,558 Yahoo! Personals profiles. Asians won the prize for having the least attractive men — fewer than 10 percent of those surveyed expressed an interest in them. After a similar study of 1 million users, OkCupid.com concluded in a blog that “racism is alive and well.”
How did Asian males become the least sexy species in America? While there may be evolutionary underpinnings to why we find symmetrical faces and certain body types attractive, racial preferences are socially constructed. The number of condoms we use today also suggests we have long passed our evolutionary stage.
Park Ji-Sung: “Results will come soon”
Queens Park Rangers captain Park Ji-Sung has expressed his belief that his side are not far away from recording their first win of the new Premier League season.
Mark Hughes’s side have collected just two points from their opening five matches and as a result find themselves 19th in the table. However, skipper Park is “confident” that the R’s will soon discover some winning form.
How John Cho Got Slapped Down by Morrissey
Vulture via New York Magazine
Today, a Kumar-less Harold himself, Go On’s John Cho, tells of his early love of the Smiths, and how he was shocked to one day encounter his musical idol, Morrissey, at a Filipino-gangster bar. Cho dug deep and worked up the courage to share his deepest feelings with the singer and got a very Morrissey-like response that gave him an important lesson on celebrity behavior that would serve him well later in life.
Signs Emerge Of Economic Change In North Korea
An unusual parliamentary meeting is due to open Tuesday in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, amid speculation of sweeping changes ahead. In the first such confirmation from within the country, farmers told The Associated Press they would be given more control over their crops under new agricultural rules. Long seen as an economic basket case, North Korea now could be on the cusp of economic change.
Will North Korea Strike Again In NLL Area?
Wall Street Journal
For months, South Korean politicians and spectators have been speculating about what North Korea may do to influence the outcome of the December presidential election. Guesses have ranged from some type of skirmish in Yellow Sea where there’s been action before, to small-scale terrorist-like action by North Korean agents in the country to a surprise summit between Kim Jong Eun and Lee Myung-bak.
Behind North Korea’s propaganda star, a darker story
This summer, a 66-year-old woman surfaced at a news conference in North Korea to tell of her jubilant homecoming after six years in the “miserable” South.
As a private citizen and a defector, the woman, Pak Jong Suk, made for an unlikely national symbol. But she also had the pitch-perfect tale for an authoritarian North Korea straining for new ways to make its people love their leader and stay within the country’s borders.
S.Korea’s Park Apologizes to People Hurt by Father’s Rule
South Korea ruling party presidential nominee Park Geun Hye apologized to the victims of her father Park Chung Hee’s 18-year dictatorship, saying it delayed the country’s democratic development.
“I understand that the end does not justify the means, and this should be a lasting value for democracy,” Park said today at a press conference in Seoul. “I apologize to the families of victims hurt from the dictatorial rule in this regard. I will try my very best to heal those scars.”
Korean-American confirmed by Senate as U.S. arts council member
Yonhap via The Korea Herald
The U.S. Senate has approved President Barack Obama’s nomination of a Korean-American professor to become a member of the National Council on the Arts to review the U.S. government’s policy and funding for cultural and artistic projects.
In May, Obama announced his choice of Emil J. Kang, the executive director for the arts and professor of the practice of music at the University of North Carolina, to be a member of the 14-person council.
Adoption: My parents have moved on but I’m living in the past
HeeRa Heaser was adopted at the age of two into an American family. Reconnecting with her biological parents in South Korea satisfied a yearning for her roots, but it also left many questions unanswered.
“Our life doesn’t begin at an airport,” says HeeRa Heaser, 31, a Korean American adoptee and a PhD student at the University of New South Wales.
Fall TV Lineup: 2 Shows Star Asian-American Women
Indian-American Mindy Kaling has her own show on Fox called The Mindy Project. Chinese-American Lucy Liu is Dr. Watson in a modern Sherlock Holmes story on CBS called Elementary. TV critic Eric Deggans says neither show gives any indication there might be anything culturally Indian or Chinese about their characters.
Super Sub Park Chu-young First Korean to Score in La Liga
Park Chu-young scored the game winner with an electrifying finish to see new club Celta Vigo down Getafe 2-1 at the club’s Balaidos Stadium in Vigo on Sunday (Korean time).
It was only Park’s second match for the Spanish La Liga outfit, and the first goal ever scored by a Korean in La Liga.
Unlikely Journey Takes Tour Rookie to Playoffs
New York Times
At the turn of the Tour Championship’s first round Thursday, John Huh was even par, seemingly as relaxed as if he were playing with the Cal State Northridge Matadors.
Wait. A problem with Huh’s high school transcript foiled his enrollment, and he never attended college, unlike nearly all the PGA Tour players who attended high school in the United States.
MLB INSIDER: Tribe likely to trade Choo before end of 2013
The Morning Journal
The question isn’t “if” the Indians will trade Shin-Soo Choo, but rather “when?”
The three most likely times are: 1. anytime during the off-season, 2. at the end of spring training next year, or 3, at the July 31 trade deadline next year.
It’s going to happen during one of those three windows, for two reasons: Choo can become a free agent after next season and his agent is Scott Boras. Reason No. 2 guarantees reason No. 1. Boras clients almost always test the free agent market.
Seoul: backwards and forwards in South Korea’s capital
The Telegraph (U.K.)
‘Do you want extra spicy, too spicy or most spicy kimchi?” asks my waiter in response to my request for the quintessential Korean dish. As I look at him in alarm he rolls his eyes and laughs, says “joking” and hands me a roll of lavatory paper to use as napkins.
I can’t help but think he is right to laugh at me. There is so much more to Korea than kimchi, and nowhere is this more obvious than in Seoul. Long underrated and overlooked by tourists in favour of Tokyo and Beijing, in the past few years the capital has been undergoing a renaissance. Old neighbourhoods are being restored and preserved, the populace is becoming less homogenous and initiatives to beautify the city and make it more eco-friendly are under way. With its ancient palaces, world-class museums, non‑stop shopping and esoteric and vibrant markets, Seoul has everything to offer but crowds.