Long before Linsanity, crowds in Louisiana were chanting “EJ! EJ!” for a 5-foot-6 basketball talent from South Korea. E.J. Ok would become one of the greatest point guards ever to play college basketball, yet her name and repute hardly make the radar outside of her adopted home state, where she is revered. This is the untold story of a woman—and phenomenal athlete—ahead of her time, but whose dream of winning a national title is still in play. (And don’t forget to check out Ok’s player highlights video after the story!)
by STEVE HAN
photograph by TERRANCE ARMSTARD
With three hours to go before tipoff, the line outside Ewing Coliseum on the campus of Northeast Louisiana University circled around the arena. An antsy crowd of 7,000 eagerly waited to enter for the biggest and most anticipated game of March Madness basketball in the school’s history.
The Lady Indians were about to take on their longtime rivals, Louisiana Tech, in the NCAA Midwest Regional championship game for a berth in the nation’s Final Four.
As the game got underway, fervent chants of “EJ! EJ!” from the crowd reverberated inside the arena at eardrum-splitting levels, as fans showed their appreciation for NLU’s star player, E.J., short for Eun Jung, Lee. The junior point guard, who only came to the U.S. from Gimje, South Korea, three years earlier, had already earned a special place in the hearts of these fans. Continue Reading »
The video producers behind the Jubilee Project have partnered again with basketball star Jeremy Lin and his foundation this time to inspire an “acts of love” campaign, which begins today.
To launch the campaign, the Jubilee Project and the Jeremy Lin Foundation released “Lost for Words,” an eight-minute video starring Klo Lay Pla, who plays the role of Ka Nyaw, based on his own experiences of coming to America from Burma and facing cultural barriers and bullying from classmates. Lin plays the student’s tutor, whose friendship and mentorship inspire Ka to pass on the love.
The campaign is meant to encourage young people to make a difference through acts of kindness. The Jeremy Lin Foundation has even suggested a schedule of when and how to show #ActsOfLove each day from today through April 9.
The video was produced by the Jubilee Project, which has created 120 videos that have raised more than $35,000 for causes ranging from Hepatitis B to Japan tsunami relief. The project was founded by three young Asian American men who wanted to produce videos that inspire others to do good.
Lin also starred in the popular video, “The Last Pick,” (with more than 2.8 million views) produced by the Jubilee Project last year.
A new film provides an intimate look into the journey of Jeremy Lin, from benchwarmer rookie to trailblazing sports hero.
by YOUNG RAE KIM
It was Christmas Day, 2011, and Jeremy Lin was alone on a plane flying back home to Palo Alto, Calif. The second-year NBA player had just been placed on waivers again, this time by the Houston Rockets. Two days later, Lin learned that he had been picked up by the New York Knicks. But this was not necessarily cause for celebration. After being tossed around by teams and sent to the D-League numerous times, Lin, at this point, was frustrated, burnt out and unsure of his future in the NBA.
“I am literally going into the game tomorrow night, and I have no idea who my teammates are. I never played with them one time. I have no idea what plays we run, I don’t know a single play, and I haven’t even talked to the coach yet,” said Lin. “It’s going to be interesting.”
This frank, on-camera confessional is from a new documentary, Linsanity, which gives an intimate look into one of the greatest sports phenomena in history. Continue Reading »
South Korea Expects Missile Launch by North
New York Times
The South Korean government warned on Sunday that the North might launch a missile later this week, while a top military leader postponed a scheduled trip to Washington, citing escalating tensions on the peninsula.
The warning by Kim Jang-soo, director of national security for President Park Geun-hye, came three days after the South Korea’s defense minister said that the North had moved to its east coast a missile with a “considerable range” but not capable of reaching the mainland United States.
North Korea says it’s pulling workers out of joint industrial zone
North Korea said it would pull out all its workers and temporarily suspend operations at the industrial complex it jointly operates with the South, the latest sign of deteriorating relations on the Korean Peninsula.
The North said it would also consider permanently closing down the Kaesong Industrial Complex, a shared manufacturing zone that is the last major symbol of cooperation between the two countries.
N. Korea warns foreign diplomats of ‘grave inter-Korean situations’: Seoul official
Just two days after warning foreign diplomatic missions to leave Pyongyang, North Korea briefed foreign officials on the developments on the Korean Peninsula, but did not reiterate the warning to evacuate, a senior official at Seoul’s foreign ministry said Monday.
North Korea’s foreign ministry on Friday asked foreign embassy officials based in Pyongyang to leave, saying a war could break out soon and the safety of foreigners could not be guaranteed, but the call for withdrawal was not mentioned during Sunday’s meeting, according a foreign ministry official, requesting anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.
Some L.A. Koreans unfazed by North Korea’s threats
Whittier Daily News
Kyung Moon Hwang, a 45-year-old Claremont resident, has been following headlines about North Korea, but he doesn’t think the communist nation’s combative posturing will lead to war.
The USC history professor said North Korea’s saber rattling is cyclical and always happens around March when American and South Korean militaries have joint war games known as Key Resolve and Foal Eagle.
“It’s happened so many times in the past that it mitigates the alarm,” said Hwang, who studies socio-political authority and hierarchy in Korea. “It’s more internal politics than shifts in external policies, so I don’t attach too much significance to that.”
Venerating the Kims: Just one more religion?
WHAT is the tenth most widely followed religion in the world? According to www.adherents.com, a site which gathers data on faith from many sources, that honour goes to juche, the national ideology of North Korea, which is credited with 19m followers. As the site’s editors explain, “from a sociological viewpoint, it is clearly a religion”. Juche is more obviously religious in character than either Soviet communism or Maoism. Thomas J Belke, an American Protestant theologian who has writen a book about juche, agrees that it’s a religion. “It has a comprehensive belief system, holy places, distinctive customs…and it displaces other religions.”
It does not take a sociological genius to see that the cult of the North Korean state’s founder, Kim Il Sung, and of his son and successor Kim Jong Il, who ruled from 1994 to 2011, shares many features with established creeds. Images of the Kims, and their all-wise pronouncements, fill the sensory field of every North Korean, in a way that Christianity permeated daily life in medieval Europe or Byzantium. The founder is sometimes presented as a kind of god, and his successor as the “son of a god”—a formula that has echoes of Christian theology. If the latest member of the dynasty to take the helm, Kim Jong Un, has any legitimacy, it is as the grandson of one divine figure and son of another. The young scion is starting to accumulate laudatory titles of his own.
Koreatown DUI driver dies after police use Taser gun
ABC Los Angeles
An investigation is under way after a suspected drunk driver died Friday after he was Tasered by police in Koreatown Thursday.
The incident occurred near the intersection of 4th Street and Vermont Avenue. According to authorities, LAPD officers pulled up to the scene of the car wreck around 11:20 p.m. The driver, police say, appeared to be drunk and was combative.
“This individual was involved in a hit-and-run crime. There may be some intoxication involved, a lot of physical exertion and that is usually the case with Tasers,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said.
Chief Beck says a Taser was used in this case. But the man, whose name has not been released, started having health problems and was pronounced dead Friday around 1 a.m. at a local hospital.
Rockets’ Jeremy Lin says race was ‘barrier’ to interest from colleges
Jeremy Lin is 24, a global superstar, a full-time starter for the Rockets, and the recipient of a three-year contract worth more than $25 million last summer. That success on and off the court hasn’t made him forget what life was like when he was a high school senior in 2009, when he opted to play basketball for Harvard after receiving little interest from major college programs near his hometown of Palo Alto, Calif.
In a CBSSports.com preview of an upcoming interview on 60 Minutes, Lin points to his race as a factor in his lack of scholarship offers from major programs.
“I think the obvious thing, in my mind, is that I was Asian-American, which is a whole different issue,” he said. I think that was a barrier.”
Asked why race would be a barrier, as Asian-Americans are fully capable of playing basketball, Lin said: “I mean, it’s a stereotype.”
Korean’s Rise Leads to Victory in a Major: Inbee Park Wins Kraft Nabisco Championship
New York Times
After the 2008 United States Open, the major championships were supposed to flow like Champagne out of a bottle. But Inbee Park, like Tiger Woods, saw her major ambitions corked for nearly five years. The impediments, mostly mental, gave way Sunday when Park carded a three-under-par 69, for a 72-hole total of 15-under 273, to win the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club.
Now the spotlight shifts to Woods, who will try to secure his 15th major title, and his fifth green jacket, this week at the Masters.
Park, a winner in February in an L.P.G.A. event in Thailand, birdied the first two holes on her way to a four-stroke victory over her South Korean compatriot So Yeon Ryu, who said of Park’s performance, “She looks like she played another golf course.”
Michelle Wie’s new putting stance is a source of confusion
Michelle Wie has been many things in her up-and-down career, and polarizing is definitely at the top of that list.
She’s turning heads again this season with a strange new putting stance in which she bends her body in a 90 degree angle to get her head out over the ball. You can see the video above.
Wie is playing the Kraft Nabisco Championship this week (the first major of the year) and sat tied for 12th at 2 under.
A lot of people are questioning Wie’s tactics (Annika Sorenstam questioned her talent earlier in the week), as this is the first year for her to use the bent-over sideways putting style.
Shin-Soo Choo getting on base, setting Reds’ table
The Reds went out and traded for Shin-Soo Choo in an attempt to get a leadoff man who would get on base on a consistent basis. So far through six games, he’s done just that — by any means necessary. His .516 on-base percentage has been aided by getting hit by pitches four times in his first six games as a Red.
“I don’t think they’re trying to hit me. I don’t mind getting by hit by a pitch,” said Choo, who has reached safely in each of the team’s first six games so far this season. “I’ll take it. The second game (of the season, against the Angels), I scored after getting hit by a pitch. I had a lot of hit-by-pitch last year.”
Dodgers pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu buys downtown condo
Los Angeles Times
Hyun-jin Ryu, the Dodgers’ new starting pitcher from South Korea, has bought a unit at the Ritz-Carlton Residences at L.A. Live.
The two-bedroom, three-bathroom condominium has 2,082 square feet of living space. Features include 10-foot-high ceilings, expansive windows and views of the Hollywood Hills, the ocean and the downtown skyline. The sales price was not disclosed.
Park Ji-sung ‘Set to Lose Spot on QPR’
With the prospect of relegation for the Queens Park Rangers in the English Premier League looming large, there is speculation that Park Ji-sung will have to leave the club after this season.
The Daily Mirror in an article, headlined “QPR set to offload Park Ji-sung, Julio Cesar, Loic Remy and Chris Samba regardless of relegation,” said on Saturday, “Rangers owner Tony Fernandes needs to reduce costs by offloading overpaid misfits in the summer.” The paper added, “[Park] is set to become the first victim of QPR’s nightmare season.”
In Koreatown, the Lakers are the team holding court
Los Angeles Times
For years, the purple and gold claimed a steady fan base in the sprawling community, but this season the intensity has been amplified — with games now broadcast in Korean, a first in the NBA.
Check out our story on the Lakers commentators from the February 2013 issue:
February Issue: Korean Lakers Commentators Talk About Their Dream Job
A priest in Korea played matchmaker for this Lee’s Summit couple
Have you met Maija Rhee yet?” the priest asked 25-year-old Michael Devine for the third time. It was March 1970, and Michael was a Peace Corps volunteer teaching English at a Jesuit college in Seoul, South Korea.
The priests were extremely proud of Maija Rhee, 26. She had graduated from the college, gone to St. Louis for additional studies and returned to South Korea to teach. Michael finally phoned Maija, and they arranged to meet at a tearoom.
Maija: “I was shocked because he was 6 feet, 3 inches, and I’m 5 feet. But I really liked the stories he told. They all contained a natural humor, and that really appealed to me.”
Michael. “I thought she was cute. I enjoyed talking with her, and I was impressed with her zest for life and her wide range of interests.”
DFLA – f(x)’s newest member?! Anna Kendrick Behind the Scenes & Interview
MnetAmerica via YouTube
For South Koreans, a familiar tone from Pyongyang
As a child, Lee Yoon Jung used to hide underground with her classmates when the sirens rang at her school. The emergency drills were held in case of a North Korean attack.
Lee, now 46, has children of her own, who do not have such exercises at their schools in Ulsan, South Korea.
It represents the attitude shift over recent decades of tension between the two Koreas. South Koreans have become accustomed to living next to their northern neighbor, which often releases bellicose statements and calls it a “group of puppet traitors.”
U.S. May Have Trouble Gauging North Korean Nuclear Test
New York Times
Even if North Korea follows through with its threat to conduct a third nuclear test, Washington and its allies will have difficulty determining whether the device detonated is made of plutonium or uranium, a prominent American nuclear scientist and South Korean officials said on Tuesday.
Whether North Korea will set off a uranium bomb is a question high on the minds of policy makers and analysts in Northeast Asia. A failure to answer it would complicate their efforts to assess North Korea’s nuclear weapons capabilities.
U.N. urged to probe North Korean leaders’ role in abuses
Reuters via Yahoo News
North Korea’s leaders are likely to be the target of a U.N. investigation into their personal responsibility for rapes, torture, executions, arbitrary arrests and abductions, following an expert report published on Tuesday.
The report by Marzuki Darusman, an Indonesian lawyer who is the U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, said North Korea’s “grave, systematic and widespread” human rights violations ought to be laid bare before the U.N. Human Rights Council and the U.N. General Assembly.
More diversity among Asian Americans than meets the myth
Southern California Public Radio
Many observers regard Asian Americans as the nation’s most successful immigrants. But a new report details how the nation’s fastest-growing racial group is far more diverse a population, socioeconomically and otherwise, than “model minority” myths might indicate.
The stereotype of a generally well-educated, well-paid group doesn’t play out in the report by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, a civil rights and legal organization in Los Angeles.
While some Asian American groups in Southern California do earn more than non-Latino whites, the study also found that some groups, such as Cambodians, Bangladeshis and Tongans, tend to earn less than blacks and Latinos. And Korean Americans in the region, for example, are as just as likely as Latinos to lack medical insurance.
Big Korean Business Dominates Super Bowl Ads
Big Korean companies flashed their growing global presence with their Super Bowl ads on Sunday.
A total of 37 companies from around the world invested US$300 million in TV commercials during the Super Bowl between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans, Louisiana on Sunday.
Korean giants like Samsung, Hyundai and Kia all paid a massive share.
Jon Stewart tests Michelle Rhee, defends teachers
Jon Stewart invited Michelle Rhee on “The Daily Show” Monday night and, while he didn’t skewer her the way some Rhee critics would have liked, he kept challenging her about whether her brand of school reform unfairly targets teachers. He also said something that Rhee and other reformers could take to be something of a slap: that there has been “no real innovation in education since John Dewey.”
See the video here.
L.A. CHEF SANG YOON GOES FOR PIG’S BLOOD SOUP AT RUEN PAIR
Sang Yoon, the chef behind L.A.’s Father’s Office (and its world-famous burger), avant Asian bistro Lukshon and the forthcoming Helms Bakery, a project that sees the chef partnering with Sherry Yard (pastry chef for Wolfgang Puck) to re-open the classic L.A. institution that closed in the late 60s and turn it into a “bakery/cafe rooted in the old Americana,” Yoon tells us. Read on for his late-night picks.
Where’s your favorite place to go in L.A. for a late-night bite after you leave the kitchen?
The thing about L.A., especially the West Side of L.A., is that it’s not really known as a late-night town. But luckily, we have an amazing Koreatown and Thaitown so between the two — which are in the middle of the city — you have a lot of late-night options. In the Thai neighborhood there’s a place called Ruen Pair. It’s very popular amongst the Thai population — it’s quite authentic. [It's also] a favorite among chefs. I know several guys who end up over there and I think they’re open til at least 3 or 4 in the morning.
Crayon Pop Subvert Sexy Stereotypes
Stereotypical and over-abundant may be appropriate words to describe the current crop of K-pop singers. There are so many generic bands with similar looks that it is difficult to distinguish one from another.
But Crayon Pop defy such stereotypes by thumbing their nose at sexy girl bands and they are far from the cookie-cutter mold.
On anniversary of Linsanity craze, Jeremy Lin spends day nursing sprained ankle with Houston Rockets
New York Daily News
Lin was on the verge of being cut by the Knicks last Feb. 4 when then-coach Mike D’Antoni inserted him off the end of the bench for a 25-point outburst to lead the Knicks to a victory over the Nets, igniting a season-saving seven-game winning streak.
South Korean teenager youngest player in field
Monterey County Herald
South Korean teenager Si Woo Kim simply cannot believe that it’s all happening. Back in December, the 17-year-old’s wild ride first began when he became the youngest player to ever earn his PGA Tour card at what was the final Q-School where players could advance directly to the tour.
Kim made it through all four stages of Q-School, including pre-qualifying in September.
A few weeks ago, Kim’s good fortune continued when he got a call from Monterey Peninsula Foundation CEO Steve John, telling him that he’d be getting a sponsor’s exemption to play in this week’s AT&T Pro-Am.