This file photo from the New York Daily News, taken in January 2014, shows Korean American seniors involved in an earlier dispute with a Queens McDonald’s.
A Korean American senior citizen in New York has filed a $10 million dollar lawsuit against McDonald’s accusing one of its workers of racially attacking him verbally and physically, Yonhap reported today.
The 62-year-old, only identified by his last name Kim, alleges that on the afternoon of Feb. 16, a female manager at a Flushing, Queens McDonald’s hit Kim with a broom after he complained to another restaurant worker that he had waited 10 minutes to purchase a cup of coffee.
Before being struck by the broom, Kim alleges that the manager, only identified by her first name Lucy, first yelled at him to leave the restaurant, after he made the complaint, and told him that coffee is not available to “people like you,” according to the Yonhap story. When he tried to record the incident with his cell phone camera, the manager struck him with the broom, the lawsuit says.
Why It Matters When Asian Women Leave TV Shows
Someone important died this weekend on NBC’s serial-killer drama Hannibal. That should come as no surprise, beloved actors are dropping like flies on TV these days, and the stakes are always high when Dr. Lecter is involved. In the shadow of larger recent shocks like those on The Good Wife or The Walking Dead, the death of a supporting character like investigator Beverly Katz may not seem like it should hit us quite so hard. But that character happened to be portrayed by Hettienne Park, an Asian female. So what? Does being a Korean-American woman on network television mean you should be bulletproof (or in this case, carving-knife-proof)? Certainly not. But given the lack of strong, female Asian characters on television, Park’s absence carries a weight outside the fictional world of Hannibal. Aware of the uproar surrounding her character’s death, Park commented on the more extreme outcry from the show’s fandom.
Racism, Sexism, and Hannibal: Eat The Rude
Hettienne Park (Tumblr)
I’m an American actress and I play Beverly Katz on NBC’s HANNIBAL created by Bryan Fuller. (Spoiler Alert coming right now!!!) And she dies in episode 4 of Season 2. That episode got a lot of positive reviews, but it also incited an on-line storm of vitriol directed to Fuller himself for killing off Katz, or more specifically, for being racist and sexist. I caught wind of this myself via Twitter from our beloved Fannibals. And I thought maybe it’d be productive to talk about rather than ignore it.
Fuller cast me in a role that I didn’t think I had a chance in hell of getting. I rarely if ever see minorities, women, minority women, let alone Asian women, get to play characters like Beverly Katz. I rarely if ever see characters like Beverly Katz period. And her last name is Katz for Christ’s sake. Pretty open-minded, non-racist, pro-feminine writing and casting in my opinion.
Girls’ Generation’s Hyoyeon Reported To Seoul Police For Allegedly Assaulting Male Friend: Rep Calls Incident ‘Misunderstanding’
A male friend of Kim Hyoyeon has reportedly accused the Girls’ Generation singer of physically assaulting him in the Seoul neighborhood of Seobbinggo, early Saturday morning.
According to a spokesperson for the local police department, officers from the Yongsan District station quickly dismissed the male friend’s allegations since he lacked a visible injury.
“Since it was reported, we processed the charge, but because the entire case was just happenstance, we concluded [Hyoyeon was] cleared of any suspicion of assault,” the Seoul police spokesperson said, according to the publication eNEWS.
Income data show lineage still crucial to become rich in S. Korea
South Korea’s business tycoons and their family members kept top spots in terms of income in 2013, data showed Tuesday, with other highly-paid individuals barely managing to catch up to the clans who collected massive earnings from dividends.
According to the data by CEO Score, which tracks details of corporate leaders, most of the country’s top 30 income earners had kinship ties with the heads of family-controlled businesses.
Top executives of South Korean conglomerates have long been the subject of envy for salaried workers in the country, raking in incomparable paychecks compared with ordinary workers.
Korean Air Lines to Design Bobsleds
Wall Street Journal
South Korea’s bobsled team hasn’t had much success at the Winter Olympics. Now, as the country prepares to host the Games in 2018, Korean Air Lines003490.SE -0.65% is getting involved.
The national flag carrier said in a statement it will build two- and four-person bobsleds for the national team in partnership with universities in South Korea as well as the University of California.
Korean Air said it plans to unveil a prototype in November and upgrade it through tests until the next Winter Olympics, which will be held in Pyeongchang, a province in northeast South Korea.
Dignitaries witness Goddess crowning
It is not unusual for a performer to receive an award for their extraordinary talent. Most often, though, that award does not bestow a title that raises the recipient’s status to one of divinity. However, Jeju Island, a traditionally matriarchal society home to 18,000 gods and goddesses, does things differently.
On Friday, March 28, Jeju Island celebrated the crowning of its first live goddess as opera singer Kang Hye-myoung was named a “Living Goddess of Jeju.” The award was given in homage to Jeju’s rich religious traditions and also to promote International Women’s Day, which passed on March 8, and the upcoming 28th BPW International Congress 2014 to be held on Jeju Island, May 23 to 27.
The Jeju club of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW International) hosted the celebration and opera showcase and funds raised from the event were donated to the Korean Council for Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan. About 2 million won will go to this Busan-based organization.
Ice Hockey Player Out to Prove She’s More Than a Pretty Face
Korea was unable to send an ice hockey team to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in February as both the men’s and women’s teams failed to make the grade. But the women’s team, first formed in 1998 and now ranked world No. 23, became one of the most-searched keywords early this month.
This happened after a photo of figure skating champion Kim Yu-na with Ahn Kun-young, a member of the national women’s ice hockey team, was posted online. It instantly grabbed people’s attention, largely due to Ahn’s pretty face.
“I was never told I was pretty until earlier this year when I lost some weight,” Ahn said. “Looks aren’t important to ice hockey players. What counts are your skills on the ice.”
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim says his is a ‘a very different bank’
From Ukraine to Russia, Tunisia to Egypt, it’s the economy, stupid, as Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign famously put it during his 1992 campaign.
How to get nations into better health, and thus greater wealth? That is the herculean task of Jim Yong Kim and the institution he leads, the World Bank.
“Twenty years ago I was actually on the streets protesting against the World Bank,” Kim said. “I was part of the ’50 years is enough’ movement, and we wanted to shut down the World Bank on its 50th anniversary.”
Now, as president of the organization, he says it is “a very different bank.”
Las Vegas nightclub and Asian bistro Tao is at the center of controversy for a sexually provocative billboard in Los Angeles that some are calling racist, LA Weekly reports.
The billboard near LAX shows an image of a woman’s back covered in Chinese character tattoos, with a caption that reads, “Always a Happy Ending.”
The “happy ending” cheekily refers to prostitution at Asian massage parlors in Las Vegas and elsewhere. The billboard was first spotted this week by Christine Lu, head of investment firm Affinity China. Lu took a photo of the billboard and posted it on Twitter.
“It’s disgusting,” Lu told LA Weekly. “As an Asian American female who has had to grow up aware of stereotypes of Asian women in this context, it’s very insulting.” Continue Reading »
This week’s video may cause you to be outraged and ruin your perfectly normal day. So consider yourself warned! Continue Reading »
The rise of North Korea’s new rich
Over the past two decades, North Korean authorities have struggled hard to keep up Stalinist appearances. Generally speaking, they have succeeded: for the casual short-term visitors can be forgiven for their belief that North Korea is still a Stalinist state. What is on display has not changed much – posters with sadistic U.S. imperialist monsters and muscular shock workers, military tunes booming out of loudspeakers and the pompous Stalinist architecture of Pyongyang being chief among them. However, there are things that officials cannot hide: the booming private economy and its unavoidable result – the growing gap between the haves and have-nots.
Nascent North Korean capitalism has produced significant material inequality. There are many very poor North Koreans, but there are also North Koreans who are quite rich – and not all of them are government officials. Apart from big market venders (whose capital can be estimated as worth hundreds of thousands of U.S. dollars), there are also a large number of successful mid-level entrepreneurs who are not particularly rich, but still make a decent living in North Korea’s informal economy – and whose income is well above nationwide average.
Ending a Feud Between Allies [OP-ED]
New York Times
Last month Japanese officials once again visited the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which many Asians deplore as a symbol of Japan’s militaristic past. Soon afterward, South Korea celebrated a law passed in 1900 that claimed sovereignty over the Liancourt Rocks, a disputed outcropping in the waters between the countries.
Animosity between Japan and Korea is nothing new. But these latest events have taken relations to a new low and threaten American interests just as President Obama has embarked on a new effort to improve Washington’s position in the region.
Korean-Japanese tensions date from Japan’s invasion of the Korean Peninsula in the late 16th century. But the sorest point remains Japan’s 35-year occupation of Korea through the end of World War II. Japan may have lost the war, but the Japanese have maintained an attitude of national superiority over Koreans, which is matched by a Korean sense of resentment and outrage.
South Korea: Ground Zero for Food Sovereignty and Community Resilience
The bustling, fast-paced, wired metropolis city of Seoul is what most people know of South Korea. Now the fifteenth largest economy in the world, South Korea’s economy is driven by the exports sector controlled by corporations like Samsung, Hyundai, LG and Daewoo. These chaebols have significant global market share: 37 percent in LCD TVs, 33 percent in hand-held phones and 9 percent in automobiles. The term “chaebol nation” aptly describes South Korea’s economy: the top 30 chaebols account for 82 percent of the country’s exports.
It’s hard to imagine that just two generations ago, farming fueled the nation’s economy. In the 1970s, farmers accounted for half the population; today, they represent only 6.2 percent. South Korea’s rapid transformation from an agrarian economy to a highly industrialized one wasn’t accidental; it was the outcome of the central government’s development and trade liberalization policies that in the early 1980s began to see farming as part of Korea’s past, not its future.
The major blow to Korean agriculture fell in 1994, when South Korea joined the WTO and the Agreement on Agriculture, which effectively forced the government to eliminate quotas and tariffs even while major agriculture exporting blocs like the United States and European Union still gave billions in subsidies to their own farmers. The result of all this liberalization: South Korea is only 20-percent self-sufficient in grain production, compared with the 1970s when it was at 70 percent.
A cleaner Flushing is pushed by Kim
Queens Chronicle (New York)
A new initiative to clean up Flushing got underway last week outside the historic St. George’s Episcopal Church on Main Street.
Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) organized area elected officials, volunteers and Home Depot to get behind his project to power wash streets for a cleaner and less smelly environment.
“I am starting the CleanFlushing Initiative to raise awareness of the difference we can make together to improve the quality of life in our community,” Kim said. “Everyone here has a role to play.”
Daniel Park is seeing green for Tenafly
Councilman-elect Daniel Park, 29, pledges to keep Tenafly green by introducing new ideas and technologies during his three-year term which begins in 2014.
Though the new ideas may be expensive, he believes it’s just a matter of time before more technology, such as solar power and rain gardens, are implemented — thus benefiting the environment.
“It’s long term,” Park said. “When it comes to stuff like that, my inner nerd cries out. I love new tech, I love science so when there’s a chance to push solar or new technologies I’m all for it. It’s just the natural evolution and there’s no stopping it. It just makes sense.”
Harvard professor named head of UF pediatric neurology
Gainesville Sun (Florida)
Dr. Peter Kang from Harvard University is the new chief of pediatric neurology at the University of Florida College of Medicine, according to a UF media release.
Kang started at UF on Nov. 1. Previously, he was an associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and the director of the electromyography laboratory at Boston Children’s Hospital. He also started a research laboratory on the genetics of muscular dystrophy and other pediatric neuromuscular disorders, which he intends to expand at UF, according to the media release.
Kang is also the principal investigator on grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Tribeca Film Festival sues in Pier 57 redesign battle
New York Post
The developer selected to modernize the historic Pier 57 on W. 15th Street into a hip retail and cultural center partnered with Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Film Festival to gain city approval and then dumped the organization to maximize profits, according to a new lawsuit.
The famous festival claims Young Woo & Associates reneged on a deal to give them naming rights to the rehabbed pier plus $5 million to create a mostly free public arts venue on the roof.
Tribeca began working with the Lower Manhattan-based developer in 2008 to win a bid for the waterfront space from the Hudson River Park Trust, the Manhattan Supreme Court suit says.
Understanding Racism in Korea
We recently posted a video that discussed anti-Japanese sentiment in Korea. In the video we said that in general, older Koreans are anti-Japanese and that younger people are not as racist. And then we got a flood of comments from Korean netizens saying things like “You’re wrong! I hate Japanese people!” … Idiots. I don’t think they realize how ridiculous they seem to the rest of the world. But they have their reasons, and I understand where they’re coming from.
Author’s Note: Racism is a very sensitive subject, and an ultimately complicated issue. A blog post is way too short to fully analyze and explain racist sentiments in any country. But I’m going to try anyway. I’m sure I’ll get some backlash in some form. But remember, these are only my opinions and conclusions, and I take full responsibility for any hate comments or racist internet trolls to come. Let’s get it on!
Justin Chon talks Kdramas, Twilight, and being a Korean American actor with DramaFever
DramaFever was lucky enough to be able to sit down with the Korean American actor, Justin Chon, who you may know from 21 & Over, Crossing Over, and Twilight, to talk about his upcoming roles, what it’s like to be an Asian American actor, and, of course, Kdramas.
1. On His Upcoming Roles:
This evening, Justin guest stars on a new episode of the hit television show, New Girl. He says it’s been a pleasure working with Zooey Deschanel and that she is a complete sweetheart. Justin’s excited to see how tonight’s show turns out because his role as a young Chinese restaurant owner, who is in hot pursuit of Deschanel’s character, has an interesting twist to it that pushes against conventional Asian American stereotypes in Hollywood. Check it out tonight to see for yourself!
K-pop: A horror show for masochists
Do you like being treated like rubbish? Do you enjoy having your warmth and kisses rewarded with a fist to the face and a vacuum cleaner nozzle down your wallet? Do you sometimes find normal pop artists simply too talented, or just too nice?
If you said yes to any of the above, you will just love K-pop, that sugary, neon-coloured funtime that combines the best of a plastic surgery trade show and a mugging in a dark alley.
A few months ago, for example, I saw dozens of fans yelled at, marched out of the Singapore Indoor Stadium by security staff and have their belongings confiscated. Why? Because they dared take photographs of a Korean boy band during a show. Because if there is one place in which an artiste absolutely needs his privacy, it is up on stage in front of 20,000 people.
Lydia Ko Ranked Among World’s Most Influential Teens
Korean-New Zealander Lydia Ko has been included in TIME’s list of the 16 most influential teens in the world for 2013. The U.S. magazine released the list on its website on Tuesday.
“She turned pro this year — the LPGA waived the age requirement for her to join — and she’s already fifth in the women’s world rankings,” the magazine said. “She’s the youngest person ever to win a professional golf tour event and the youngest person ever to win an LPGA tour event (and the only amateur to ever win two LPGA tour events).”
Others on the list include American singer Justin Bieber and swimmer Missy Franklin, who won six gold medals at last year’s Olympics, and New Zealand singer Lorde, who recently topped the Billboard single chart.
Shin-Soo Choo would be an ideal fit for Red Sox under different circumstances
Playing nine innings while wondering how often Masahiro Tanaka’s pitched to the score while going 24-0 last season …
1. Under different circumstances, Shin-Soo Choo might be heavily coveted by the Red Sox. The Reds’ leadoff hitter last season reached base at a .423 clip last season, with an NL-best 112 walks; David Ortiz led the Red Sox in OBP at .395. Choo has power (21 homers), decent speed (20 steals, but in an inefficient 31 attempts), and is capable enough defensively that Dusty Baker was comfortable using him in center field. Unfortunately, he’s represented by Scott Boras, who also reps Jacoby Ellsbury, and it’s hard to figure on the Sox signing one Boras client to replace another, especially when Choo’s asking price is said to be in the range of Jayson Werth’s $126 million deal.
Former N.Korean Striker to Wed in December
Suwon Samsung Bluewings striker Jong Tae-se will marry a flight attendant who works for a Korean airline in December.
The parents of the couple recently agreed to their marriage and set the wedding date for Dec. 14.
Jong and his fiancée have been dating since May, when they met through mutual friends.
WATCH: The Little-Known History of Asian Takeout in America
When a dish really hits a nerve with the American palate, it can really take off across the entire country, facilitated by food vendors’ freedom to copy good ideas. We saw it happen with General Tso’s chicken. We’re seeing it happen with other Asian-influenced culinary creations too.
When I was researching my book on Chinese food in America, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, which was the basis of my TED Talk, it puzzled me why Korean cuisine (unlike many of its Asian brethren) had not gone mainstream yet.
Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian and Vietnamese restaurants had all hit critical mass, with footholds in suburban towns. But Korean cuisine remained mostly ensconced within Korean-American communities, with an occasional lone outpost defiantly offering bibimbap. This puzzled me, because Korean savory barbecued meats — short ribs, grilled marinated beef — should be widely appealing to an American palate which never met a barbecue recipe it didn’t like. But Korean restaurants basically remained serving Korean clientele, with the occasional Chinese family, like mine, that celebrated our Thanksgivings there.
G Street Food to open third location with dinner service
When David Choi parted ways with Wall Street, not long after the subprime mortgage crisis threw us into recession, the former investment banker cold-called Mark Furstenberg and convinced the chef and baker to open G Street Food together in 2009. From the start, the street-food-themed operation struggled to find an audience, despite a quick expansion of the menu and despite engineering one of the best (if untraditional) banh mi sandwiches in the area.
Within weeks of opening, Choi and consultant Furstenberg went their separate ways. Furstenberg’s now in the process of opening Bread Furst on Connecticut Avenue NW, which could debut as early as February. Choi is in the process of opening his third location of G Street Food on 15th Street NW, which he hopes to launch in mid-December.
Beyond ethnicity: Korea Americans’ clout growing in US literary scene
When new ethnic writers began gaining recognition on the U.S. literary scene in the 1990s, a sudden surge of work by Korean-American authors led to something akin to a “Korean American literary renaissance.” Now, the American literary world is an open port for ethnic literature, offering further opportunities for Korean American authors.
As the presence of Korean-American writers grows there, academic circles here have recently begun to pay more attention to them in a bid to embrace their work as a separate genre within Korean literature.
“Understanding Korean-American Literature” (Variety Crossing Press, Canada, 2013), a recent book, written by Yoo Sun-mo in English, professor emeritus at Kyonggi University’s Department of English Literature, offers a glimpse of the short history of Korean-American literature from its early period in the 1930s up to the present day and the future potential for it through diverse theme changes over time.
Dongdaemun, Korea’s fashion mecca, tells a unique story
Tourist attractions reveal a nation’s lifestyle, ideas and socio-political changes. Dongdaemun, Korea’s fashion mecca, also tells us a unique story.
Today, Dongdaemun is one of the most popular destinations for foreigners, especially Japanese and Chinese, whose main reason for visiting Korea is shopping. The area posted a record 20 trillion won sales revenue last year, comparable to the total sales of nationwide department stores. But did you know that Dongdaemun has been a shopping center since six centuries ago?
Seoul’s New Modern Art Museum Opens
Wall Street Journal
South Korea this week opened a $230 million modern art museum, with the ambition of becoming a center for visual art that crosses over with technology and scientific innovation.
Known as the MMCA Seoul, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art’s new branch in the South Korean capital is the city’s first national museum dedicated to works from the 20th century and later. It replaces the old headquarters, located 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) south of Seoul, as the country’s main modern-art showcase, offering more than 10,000 square meters of exhibition space. The museum’s other branches include a 1930’s pavilion inside a royal estate in central Seoul and a future conservation center at a site 130 kilometers south of the capital.
South Korea Reveals Moon-Lander Plans
South Korea has unveiled designs for its planned Moon lander, a key part of President Park Geun-hye’s pledge to revitalize the country’s aerospace industry and space program.
The uncrewed module — of which a scaled-down mock-up was unveiled to the press on 22 October — will travel on board a Korea Space Launch Vehicle-2 rocket and is designed to carry a lunar rover weighing 10–20 kilograms, which will look for signs of rare minerals on the Moon’s surface. A robotic orbiter will also circle above the lunar landscape for more than a year at an altitude of about 100 km.
Fifteen government-funded research institutions, led by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) in Daejeon, have agreed to start collaborating in 2014 to develop foundation technologies for the mission next year, the country’s Ministry of Science has said.