John Cho Cast in Lead Role in ABC Comedy Pilot ‘Selfie’
Author: Cassandra Kwok
Posted: March 14th, 2014
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Better known for his roles in Harold &Kumar and Star Trek Into Darkness, Korean American actor John Cho is back with a new gig!

Cho will be staring in ABC’s new comedy Selfie alongside Doctor Who actress Karen Gillian.

Written by Suburgatory creator Emily Kapnek, Selfie takes inspiration from My Fair Lady to tell a story of a self-obsessed, social media crazed woman named Eliza who suffers from a highly publicized breakup. Once obsessed with getting likes, she suddenly gains much unwanted attention and “followers” when she becomes the focus of a video gone viral. In order to rid herself of this bad reputation, she looks for help from her company in hopes of repairing her ruined image.

Cho will take on the role of Henry, a confident and successful marketing expert who has a different perspective on today’s social media addiction. He decides to take on the challenge of “remarketing” his co-worker Eliza in order to change her image after the scandal.  Continue Reading »

John Cho to Host Private Sulu Fest to Raise Money for UC Berkeley
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: October 25th, 2013
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Hollywood actor John Cho is participating in a fundraiser to benefit the students of the University of California system.

The UC Berkeley alum and star of the Star Trek franchise reboot is doing his part in the “Promise for Education” campaign in which people make promises to do something if their donation goals are met. In Cho’s case, he has promised to take a random $25-plus donor to a lunch with George Takei, who played Sulu in the original Star Trek series.

Cho has earmarked his donations to specifically benefit UC Berkeley students. The only catch is the lucky winner is responsible for their own travel costs to the Los Angeles area. Continue Reading »

John Cho Ready to Star in Own TV Show, Says TV Critic
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: October 14th, 2013
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Korean American actor John Cho has come a long way since he and Kal Penn made their way to White Castle. He’s also been on other treks, including one at warp speed across the stars, aboard the USS Enterprise. He’s recognizable, and for television executives, he’s most certainly profitable.

So why isn’t Cho starring in his own show yet?

Salon’s television critic Neil Drumming posed that question in a piece published Sunday, saying that Cho was ready to “make the jump” from the silver screen to the small screen, with the advantage that he’s already on TV. He currently has a guest role in Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, and his past credits include roles on FlashForward and Off Centre, as well as guest appearances on Ugly Betty and 30 Rock. Continue Reading »

Tuesday’s Link Attack: Korea-Japan Relations Still Cold; Daniel Henney’s New Movie; John Cho’s ‘The Office’ Audition
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: August 6th, 2013
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Seoul-Tokyo ties remain icy one year after Lee’s Dokdo visit
Yonhap News

A year after former President Lee Myung-bak’s high-profile visit to Dokdo, relations between South Korea and Japan remain frosty with no signs of improvement following a recent series of provocative actions by Tokyo, analysts said Tuesday.

Bilateral ties took a major blow after the former South Korean president set foot on the easternmost South Korean islets on Aug. 10 last year, becoming the first sitting local head of state to do so.

The bold move, intended to reassert South Korea’s sovereignty over the islets, sparked a strong backlash from Tokyo, which has long laid claim to the outcroppings that lie about halfway between the countries.

Clock Ticking on Koreas’ Idled Kaesong Park
Wall Street Journal

Idle since all North Korean workers withdrew four months ago, the nine-year-old Kaesong industrial park—a rare symbol of inter-Korean cooperation—neared a crucial step Tuesday toward its potential demise.

The unification ministry in Seoul, handling cross-border relations, said Tuesday it had almost completed reviewing state-funded insurance payment for 109 of the 123 South Korean firms operating in Kaesong, paving the way for paying damages to the companies.

Upon receiving state reparation, the companies would be required to hand over control of their Kaesong assets to the Seoul government.

National Geographic, Korea, and the 38th Parallel: How a National Geographic map helped divide Korea
National Geographic

Sixty years ago North and South Korea ended the “Korean Conflict” by agreeing to the Armistice Agreement for the Restoration of the South Korean State. The agreement—a cease-fire, not a peace treaty—called for the Korean peninsula to be divided by a Military Demarcation Line (MDL) and a buffer, the demilitarized zone (DMZ), whose function would be to “prevent the occurrence of incidents which might lead to a resumption of hostilities.”

The armistice line meanders in an east-west fashion across Korea, connecting what Koreans call the East Sea with Gyeonggi Bay, 148 miles (238 kilometers) away off the peninsula’s west coast.

Although it approximates the positions held by communist and U.S.-led U.N. forces for most of the last two-thirds of the war, the MDL is not the same line that had divided Korea before North invaded South in June, 1950.

Two-time North Korean defectors detained in China are in limbo
South China Morning Post

China is in a diplomatic quandary on how to treat North Korean defector Kim Kwang-ho and his family who were arrested by public security officials in the northeastern city of Yanji last month.

What complicates Kim’s case is the fact that he and his wife originally defected from the North in August 2009 and settled in South Korea in March 2010.

Chinese authorities are trying to determine whether Kim, his wife Kim Ok-sil and his one-year-old daughter should be treated as North Korean citizens or as South Koreans.

Former North Korean child beggar wins fame as TV chef

With her flower-print dress and black hair dyed a fashionable light brown, Kim Ha-na does not seem like a former child beggar who risked her life three times trying to escape from North Korea before finally fleeing at the age of 15.

Kim, 25, settled in South Korea in 2005, and has recently gained television fame with a run in the competitive cooking show Masterchef Korea.

She hopes her spell in the spotlight will help her find her father, who she last saw as they tried to flee across the North Korean border into China, with North Korean guards in hot pursuit.

Joe Yun all set for work as U.S. ambassador to Malaysia
Yonhap News via GlobalPost

Joseph Yun, a Korean-American diplomat, plans to begin his work as the new top U.S. envoy in Malaysia in late August or early September, a diplomatic source said Tuesday.

Yun, principal deputy assistant secretary of state handling Southeast Asian affairs, underwent a Senate confirmation hearing last week for his nomination as ambassador to Malaysia.

“He was confirmed by the Senate last week. He is expected to start his work in late August or early September,” the source said.

N.Y. woman indicted in murders of ex-boyfriend, River Edge woman

An Orange County woman who allegedly stalked her ex-boyfriend before killing him and his new lover has been indicted for their murders.

Monica Mogg, 49, of Washingtonville, N.Y., could face up to two consecutive life terms if convicted of murdering Arthur Noeldechen, also from Washingtonville, and Jung Yi “Lillian” Kim, 42, of River Edge, on Oct. 30. She is currently being held on $3 million bail in the Bergen County Jail, according to court records.

DREAM Riders Cross the Country to Tell Stories
Epoch Times

When Kevin Lee was little, his mother warned him to keep his families’ immigration status a secret. “Mom said, ‘Kevin, don’t say anything,’ and I knew at any moment my parents could be taken away. I knew I was undocumented. Some people find out later.”

Lee is a Dreamer, an undocumented youth who received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, (DACA). It means he can get a drivers’ license and work legally, and will not be deported. His parents could still be deported. There is no similar program for people over 30.

Before the Dream Act or DACA, Lee went to the Navy to enlist, but found he could not enlist without a Social Security number. “Even though I pledged allegiance to the flag every day (in school) I was not really an American,” he said in an American accent.

Family Ties: More Than a Face in the Crowd
Huffington Post

The bonds of family are extremely strong in most Asian-American households. So it should be no surprise that many short films screened during 2013′s CAAMFest offer unique perspectives on family relations. Three shorts stand out among this year’s crop.

Many people can point to an aunt or uncle who was always a bit odd, or danced to a different drummer. But for filmmaker Samantha Chan, her 100-year-old great aunt’s extensive film career was a mystery that needed to be solved.

Many people may have noticed Jane Chung’s cameo appearances in When Harry Met Sally, Chinatown, and The Birds. But as Chan documents in More Than a Face in the Crowd, her great aunt’s screen career (which began at a time when acting was often equated with prostitution) led to roles in more than 50 films and several television series.

What lessons could public schools take from South Korean cram schools?

The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating article on South Korea’s hagwons, the for-profit cram schools that nearly three out of four South Korean students attend. What can American public schools learn from a country where top tutors can earn up to $4 million a year?

Update: This is one of those posts where the best nuggets, in my opinion, are in the comments. There are some great discussions going on from people with experience in both the US and South Korean educational systems.

It’s interesting to compare this world of private tutoring, where parents shell out more to have their students taught by top-performing tutors, with Finland’s entirely public education system, in which schools provide education as well as food, counseling, and medical care. Two very different educational cultures, both marked by highly motivated teachers—at least according to the WSJ piece on the South Korean side.

Crystal Kim ’15 Examines Korean Fever for Education
Hamilton College

Crystal Kim ’15 grew up in America with South Korean parents, and she was often struck by the difference between her American education and her Korean upbringing. Upon realizing that education is a central part of Korean culture, she decided that she needed to gain a better understanding of Korea and of her own heritage. She is taking advantage of the summer to do just that with an Emerson Foundation grant, “The Korean Fever for Education: An Examination of Historical Foundations, Cultural Transmittance, Educational Inequalities, and Social Issues,” working with Director of the Education Studies Program Susan Mason as her advisor.

Last summer, as an intern with KoreAm Journal, a monthly Korean-American culture and news magazine, she read multiple articles about education, which sparked her interest in the topic. Her goal this summer is to gain a broad understanding of Korean education. In order to do so, Kim is reading many books and articles that discuss modern Korea and the history that led to the current educational system. In particular, she is researching “Education Fever,” a cultural obsession with education and educational credentials as a primary means of societal success and recognition. Kim described it as “almost a religious fervor.”

Daniel Henney to Return with New Film
Chosun Ilbo

Heartthrob Daniel Henney on Monday appeared with other cast members at a press event to promote his new movie “The Spy,” which is set to be released in early September.

He was accompanied by fellow stars Sol Kyung-gu and Moon So-ri.

The comic action film set in Bangkok, Thailand is the story of a spy and his wife, who has no idea what he does for a living.

‘The Office’: Watch Adam Scott, John Cho and more audition for the show

In 2003, as the American version of “The Office” was just getting off the ground, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn and Bob Odenkirk were among the actors who auditioned for the roles of Jim, Pam and Michael.

Press reports from that time, and a Facebook post by “Office” star Rainn Wilson from earlier this year, clued us in to some of the people who read for roles on the show. Now, you can actually see some of those auditions.

Readings by Scott and John Cho (Jim), Seth Rogen (Dwight), Odenkirk (Michael), Hahn (Pam) and future “Modern Family” star Eric Stonestreet (Kevin) are part of an extra feature on “The Office” Season 9 Blu-ray and DVD sets. You can get a glimpse of their readings in the clip below.

Crayon Pop Does The Straight-Five Engine Dance
Wall Street Journal

Are these five jumping girls on their way to produce this year’s “Gangnam Style?”

“Bar Bar Bar,” the latest single by girl group Crayon Pop, is emerging from left field in South Korea with eccentric choreography that has pundits comparing with Psy’s famous horse-dance routine.

Known as the “Straight-Five Engine Dance,” the five girls jump up and down during the track’s refrain, mirroring the movements of five engine cylinders.

How To Say Goodbye by Dia Frampton
Channel APA

Former Voice contestant singer Dia Frampton released her original song “How To Say Goodbye”. The break up song ponders on where the relationship went wrong, but the only thing to do now is to say goodbye. The separation is heart breaking and leaves an indelible mark on everyone involved. In the video, her vocals are backed by a quartet of guitars, a mandolin, and a cello.

Park In-bee ready to start fresh after disappointing Women’s British Open
Yonhap News

After coming up short in winning her fourth straight LPGA major last weekend, South Korean star Park In-bee said Tuesday she is ready to put the disappointment behind her.

Park arrived home on Tuesday to rest after competing at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at the Old Course in St Andrews, Scotland. She was seeking to become the first golfer, male or female, to win four consecutive professional majors in the same season, but she finished tied for 42nd at 6-over par, 14 shots behind the champion, Stacy Lewis of the United States.

At Incheon International Airport, Park, the world’s No. 1-ranked female golfer, said she was relieved to be done with the event.

SPORTS BRIEFS: Generals’ Ji-Man Choi is Southern League Hitter of the Week
Jackson Sun (Tenn.)

Jackson infielder Ji-Man Choi has been named the Southern League’s Hitter of the Week for the week July 29-August 4. During the last week Choi batted .350 with four extra base hits and 10 RBI. Choi also drew eight walks and registered a .536 on-base percentage.

Choi is a native of Kwang Yeuk, South Korea and was signed by Seattle as a non-drafted free agent in 2009. He was a member of the World squad during the 2013 Futures Game in New York.

Monday’s game was postponed to today.

World’s first road-powered electric vehicle network switches on in South Korea

South Korea has rolled out the world’s first road-powered electric vehicle network. The network consists of special roads that have electrical cables buried just below the surface, which wirelessly transfer energy to electric vehicles via magnetic resonance. Road-powered electric vehicles are exciting because they only require small batteries, significantly reducing their overall weight and thus their energy consumption. There’s also the small fact that, with an electrified roadway, you never have to plug your vehicle in to recharge it, removing most of the risk and range anxiety associated with electric vehicles (EVs).

The network consists of 24 kilometers (15 miles) of road in the city of Gumi, South Korea. For now, the only vehicles that can use the network are two Online Electric Vehicles (OLEV) — public transport buses that run between the train station and In-dong.

Monday’s Link Attack: North Korea Missile Launches; John Cho; Grace Park
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: May 20th, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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North Korea Launches Missiles for 3rd Straight Day
New York Times

North Korea launched two short-range projectiles into waters off its east coast for a third straight day on Monday, officials here said, despite warnings from the United States and South Korea against increasing tensions.

The North has conducted six such launchings since Saturday, in what are believed to be tests of short-range guided missiles or rockets from multiple launchers, officials said.

“We remain vigilant for the possibility that the North may launch more,” a spokesman for the South Korean Defense Ministry said, insisting upon anonymity until his government made a formal announcement.

Kenneth Bae: Get him out, but also watch where you are [OPINION]
Seattle Times

For all the fanciful exaggeration of the charges against him, Bae is in a serious fix. North Korea is the most paranoid government on the planet. And Bae is ethnically Korean. Note that his captors use his Korean name, Pae Jun Ho. To them, he is one of theirs.

But he is an American, and our government needs to get him out of there. A diplomatic rescue is, however, going to cost something, and more than money.

More South Koreans support developing nuclear weapons
Los Angeles Times

Perhaps it is merely basic human desire to keep up with the neighbors, but an increasing number of South Koreans are saying that they want nuclear weapons too.

Even in Japan, a country still traumatized by the legacy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there is a debate about the once-taboo topic of nuclear weapons.

The mere fact that the bomb is being discussed as a policy option shows how North Korea’s nuclear program could trigger a new arms race in East Asia, unraveling decades of nonproliferation efforts. The government in Pyongyang conducted its third nuclear test in February and is believed to be preparing a fourth.

In South Korea, high-profile defector is accused of spying for the North — by his sister
Washington Post

Earlier this year, one of the most prominent North Korean defectors, Yoo Woo-sung, walked out of his apartment building here and found four South Korean government vehicles waiting for him.

Authorities hauled Yoo away and arrested him on charges of espionage. They had learned of his alleged crime, court documents show, thanks to testimony from his sister, who said Yoo had been sent on a mission by North Korea’s secret police to infiltrate the defector community and pass back information about the people he met.

Yoo, 32, is being held at a detention center on the outskirts of Seoul, his case a reminder of how this peninsula’s messy and sometimes covert conflict has left the South on edge, with people here unsure whom they can trust.

South Korea: The little dynamo that sneaked up on the world
Christian Science Monitor

South Korea, long in the shadow of other Asian ‘tiger economies,’ is suddenly hip and enormously prosperous – so much so that it may have outgrown its thankless dream of reuniting with the North.

Undocumented Asian Americans are now sharing personal stories online — and onstage
New York Daily News

The crowd that had descended on Washington, D.C. included a great many undocumented immigrants like Pang, yet she felt as if she were an outsider amid the sea of humanity.

“We felt kind of alienated,” said Pang, 23, who was born in Singapore and moved to New York when she was 14. “There weren’t many Asian-American faces.”

Many undocumented Latino students have gone public with their stories, but it’s far less common for Asian-Americans to do the same — even though Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and activist Jose Antonio Vargas, arguably the country’s most high-profile undocumented immigrant, is from the Philippines.

About 1.3 million of the country’s 11.5 million undocumented immigrants were born in Asia, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimates.

Asian-Americans: Smart, High-Incomes And … Poor?

Asian-Americans have the highest income and education levels of any racial group in the country. So it might be surprising that they have a higher poverty rate than non-Hispanic whites. Michel Martin discusses the issue with Algernon Austin of the Economic Policy Institute and Rosalind Chou, co-author of The Myth of the Model Minority.

Is it time to kiss Michelle Rhee goodbye?
Washington Post

Is is time to kiss America’s most famous school reformer goodbye? Larry Cuban thinks so — and below he explains why. Cuban was high school social studies teacher for 14 years, a district superintendent (seven years in Arlington, VA), and professor emeritus of education at Stanford University, where he has taught for more than 20 years. His new book is “Inside the Black Box of Classroom Practice: Change without Reform in American Education.” This post appeared on his blog.

In a drive toward reform, World Bank’s Jim Yong Kim turns to a ‘deliverologist’
Washington Post

[Sir Michael Barber] has caught Kim’s ear in particular and has been counseling the new World Bank president trying to focus an organization that internal documents describe as “overstretched.”

Barber’s philosophy lays out a tough road — one that would force the bank to change the way it sets internal budgets and be stricter in ensuring projects that countries want funded align with its overarching goals. Kim has made the top priority clear: eliminating extreme poverty by 2030. Reshaping how the bank operates to further that end may require a deep change in culture — and Barber’s ideas about service delivery are driving the process.

John Cho: ‘Harold & Kumar animated series pilot is written’
Digital Spy

John Cho has revealed that a pilot for the Harold & Kumar animated show on Adult Swim has been written.

Last year, it was announced that an animated version of the film franchise will be included in Adult Swim’s 2012-2013 season.

Vancouver’s Grace Park arresting in Hawaii Five-O
Vancouver Sun

As Hawaii Five-O prepares to wrap its third hit season, Vancouver’s Grace Park is almost as famous a fixture in Honolulu as the landmarks that flash on the screen in the show’s opening credits in sync with the best TV theme music of all time.

Park has chosen an isolated Honolulu hotel to meet with The Vancouver Sun, a place where no one will make a fuss over her. But the taxi drivers and hotel staff are still buzzing as she passes by dressed in a casual outfit: “Isn’t that … Yes, it is … that’s Kono.”

Kono Kalakaua, Park’s onscreen alter-ego, is the only female member of the elite Five O police squad that keeps the televised version of Hawaii safe from global organized crime lords with a tendency to arrive on the island and blow a lot of things up, because huge explosions look kinda awesome with a tropical backdrop and sunsets the colour of overripe papayas.

Conger and Wilson proving to be a good battery

While Hank Conger is focused on establishing a connection with every pitcher on the Angels’ pitching staff, he has developed a strong bond with left-hander C.J. Wilson.

That relationship is getting Conger into the lineup — he has caught six of Wilson’s last seven starts — and helping Wilson, as well.

“There’s a comfort level there that’s starting to develop,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said after Friday’s game, albeit a 3-0 loss to White Sox ace Chris Sale. “Hank didn’t really catch him last year, but it started in the spring. They are working well together.”

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