March Issue: Actor Christopher Larkin Co-Stars in New CW Series ‘The 100′
Author: Ruth Kim
Posted: March 19th, 2014
Filed Under: Back Issues , BLOG , March 2014
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One in a Hundred

TV and stage actor Christopher Larkin joins the cast of a new CW sci-fi series.

by RUTH KIM

Korean American actor Christopher Larkin makes no secret of his distaste for roles that perpetuate Asian American stereotypes. But he’s also the first to admit that, when you’re hungry for work, it isn’t always so easy to avoid those jobs.

“It’s a catch-22 of sorts. Sometimes those are the only roles available,” says the 26-year-old. “It takes strength. You know, I was waiting tables and working as a doorman in Times Square, and you would do anything to get out of those jobs. It takes a lot of willpower and not forgetting the power to say no, which is the only power you have, especially with your representatives trying to look out for you and progress your career. And at the same time, while you’re trying to progress your personal career, you’re progressing the image of Asian Americans. So, it’s a battle between that.”

Well, Larkin appears to be managing that battle quite well these days, sticking to his principles while also landing an exciting new—and non-stereotypical—role as a series regular on the new post-apocalyptic CW series The 100, premiering March 19.  Continue Reading »

February Issue: Lance Lim in New NBC Family Sitcom ‘Growing Up Fisher’
KoreAm
Author: KoreAm
Posted: February 19th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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Photo courtesy of NBC.

At the ripe age of 13, actor Lance Lim lands a primetime role on the NBC family comedy Growing Up Fisher.

by LORNA SOONHEE UMPHREY

Sitting casually on a couch with his hair purposely tousled and sporting a stylish jacket, jeans and sneakers, Lance Lim looks like a hipster. A 13-year-old hipster. And he speaks with such confidence and maturity that you’d think he’s been working in the business for years. That business being show biz. But, in reality, Lance has only been acting professionally for a year. And now he is set to co-star in the new NBC series Growing Up Fisher, executive produced and narrated by a former child actor like himself, Jason Bateman.

The series centers on the lives of the Fisher family, while the parents, played by J.K. Simmons and Jenna Elfman, are in the midst of getting a divorce. Bateman is the adult voice of their son, Henry (Eli Baker), an 11-year-old who had served as his blind father’s eyes, until the latter moves out of the family home and gets a seeing-eye dog. Though categorized as a comedy, Growing Up Fisher carries a sweet and nostalgic tone—no laugh track here—and may draw comparisons to The Wonder Years, the popular ABC series that ran from 1988 to 1993.

Lance plays Henry’s best friend, Runyen, who always has a precocious and cheeky comment to offer—a part not unlike Bateman’s in the ’80s sitcom Silver Spoons. He’s also in on the family “secret,” about Henry’s father being blind.  Continue Reading »

Monday’s Link Attack: ‘East Sea’ Movement Grows to Other States; San Jose Man Drowns; Shady Korean Weddings
Author: Cassandra Kwok
Posted: February 10th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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North Koreans In The South Who Want To Go Back Home
Worldcrunch

Son Jeong-hun escaped from North Korea more than 10 years ago. Since then, he has helped other North Koreans to resettle here in the south. The 49-year-old says that many were surprised when he announced that he wants to go back home.

“No one had ever asked to re-defect to North Korea before. The government said there’s no way for me to return, and that it was illegal. I was told that, at the very least, I need an invitation from North Korea if I want to visit.”

Son says he’s ill and wants to see his family in Pyongyang again before he dies. And he’s also broke – he couldn’t pay back a loan and lost his apartment. He says he now regrets coming to South Korea.

“I’m not making this up, 80 out of 100 defectors say they’d go back to North Korea to be with their families if it weren’t for the punishment they’d receive there. They’d go even if it meant they’d only be able to eat corn porridge.”

More U.S. States to Use ‘East Sea’ Name
Chosun Ilbo

More U.S. states are seeking to refer to the body of water between Korea and Japan as both “East Sea” and “Sea of Japan” in future school textbooks.

Last Thursday, a Virginia House of Delegates panel passed a bill authorizing the unusual use of both names, which goes against federal practice of settling for just one. On Friday, lawmakers in the states of New York and New Jersey proposed similar bills.

On Jan. 28, the Georgia state senate also unanimously passed a resolution to use the two names.

Korean residents’ groups in California, which is home to the biggest population of Koreans in the U.S. with 500,000 people, are pushing for the name “East Sea” to be used there as well, as do Korean residents’ groups in other states like Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Texas.

Republicans on mission to win over Asian-American voters
Southern California Public Radio

The Grace Ministries complex, spread over 26 acres in Fullerton, is where some 6,000 Korean-Americans worship.

But on a recent weekday, the turnout was much smaller. Just 70 people gathered in the church’s fellowship hall as Sharon Day, co-chair of the Republican National Committee, made a passionate pitch.

“We’re committed to tell you why the Republican party is the Asian party — why that’s where you should be,” Day said.

Surveys show Asian-Americans have made the biggest pivot away from the Republican party of any ethnic group in recent years. And now the GOP is doing its best to woo them back.

New York exhibition celebrates awakening of Asian-American identity in the 1970s
South China Morning Post

Asian Americans have a reputation for being apolitical, passive members of society. But that is not so, and has never been so, says Ryan Wong, curator of “Serve the People: The Asian American Movement in New York”, an exhibition now on at the Interference Archive in the Big Apple.

The exhibition, which runs until February 23, brings together posters, artworks, photography, magazines and music produced by social and political activist groups that were active in the city during the 1970s. It also shines a light on the years that saw the birth of the term – and the concept of – “Asian American”.

“The idea is to look at the identity of Asian Americans in a political context,” Wong says in an office of the Interference Archive, a Brooklyn-based organisation that focuses on documenting materials created by social movements. “It’s focused on the Asian-American movement, a constellation of activists and organisations in America, especially in Los Angeles, the Bay Area and New York City, in the early 1970s. At that time, there was an amazing outpouring of art, culture, and activism that was trying to identify the idea of Asian American-ness, as well as to put Asian Americans at the forefront of the international social movements that were happening.”

The Problem With The Asian American Consumer Report
Forbes.com

As evidenced by a compilation of ads by top brands marketing to Chinese residents of North America during the Lunar New Year, the Nielsen report on Asian Americans may have finally succeeded in convincing corporate America to pay more attention to the fastest-growing U.S. multicultural segment. But Asian American scholars say the report may be a step backward for smaller Asian groups that are underserved and misrepresented.

All things considered, the holiday is also shared by other groups who were not particularly marketed to.

“There will always be diverse populations within Asian America that may not be successful,” said Vu Pham, former Asian American studies researcher and lecturer at UCLA. “We do need to work harder than 100% to achieve 100%.”

Orange County Gangster Says Restitution To His Attempted Murder Victim is Unfair
OC Weekly

No, Buena Park’s Kim is literally dirt poor.

He earns 13 cents an hour working in a prison laundry room and is irked that the government wants to take about half of that impressive income and give it to another man.

Outrageous, isn’t it?

Well, no.

In March 2008, 17-year-old Kim, a Sunny Hills High School student, and his fellow Korean criminal street gang punks decided to prove their toughness by trying to kill an innocent man visiting Emery Park in Fullerton.

According to law enforcement reports, Kim was the leader of the scumbags, who repeatedly shoved a knife into Jack Stotts and then took turns beating him with a baseball bat.

Coroner: San Jose man accidentally drowned at Santa Cruz wharf
San Jose Mercury News

A 31-year-old San Jose man who was found dead near the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf on Feb. 1 died from accidental drowning, according to the Santa Cruz County Coroner’s Office.

Ryan Kim was found unconscious and fully clothed in the water about 1 p.m., but it remains unclear how he got there, said Santa Cruz County sheriff’s deputy Ryan Kennedy. Kim apparently tried to climb the mussel encrusted wharf pylons and cut his hands and arms, authorities said.

An investigation concluded that there were no signs that Kim was suicidal and his death does not appear to be a suicide, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

How ‘Frozen’ took over Korean cinema
Korea Times

Stella Chung, a 39-year-old mom with two pre-school girls, thought that she was well past Disney movies until “Frozen” started sweeping local theaters. Following a friend’s recommendation, Chung took her family to the theater over the Lunar New Year holidays.

“It was the best Disney movie I’d seen in a long time,” Chung said. “I was as impressed with Frozen as I was with the old Disney classics I grew up watching, like Sleeping Beauty (1959) and Beauty and the Beast (1992). Frozen really combines all the qualities women look for in an animated film — a gripping storyline, lovely characters and unforgettable music.”

Chung is among many Korean women in their 30s who are revisiting their youth through “Frozen.” A recent report showed that the women in their 30s were the driving force behind the movie’s record-breaking performance at the box office in the last few weeks here since its local release on Jan. 16.

‘Mistresses’ Adds ‘General Hospital’ Alum for Season 2 (Exclusive)
Hollywood Reporter

Mistresses has added two characters for the new season.

General Hospital alum Rebeka Montoya and Catherine Kim, who was discovered at ABC casting department’s Los Angeles talent showcase, have joined the second season, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Both will recur.

Mistresses, from executive producer K.J. Steinberg, is a remake of the British series of the same name. Alyssa Milano, Yunjim Kim, Rochelle Aytes, Jes Macallan, Brett Tucker and Jason George star. Rina Mimoun and Bob Sertner are also executive producers.

Montoya will play Toni, a Latina lawyer whose ambition is matched by her beauty and whose presence will shake things up more than a few of the main characters. Kim, meanwhile, has been cast as Mia, Karen’s patient who leads the psychiatrist down a twisted path.

Viktor Ahn 1, Korea 0
Korea Times

The much-anticipated Viktor Ahn versus Korea showdown almost didn’t happen. And when it did, their drama proved merely a foil to the greatness of Canada’s Charles Hamelin, who won his third-career Olympic gold in the men’s 1,500-meter event at the Sochi Olympics on Monday.

Ahn, a three-time gold winner for Korea, trailed Hamelin and China’s Han Tianyu for the bronze, hauling in his first medal for his adopted homeland Russia, which had previously never won a medal in short track.

Hamelin, who took gold in the men’s 500 meters and 3,000-meter relay at the 2010 Vancouver Games, was considered a surprise winner as the 1,500 meters has never been the best event for the 29-year-old. Now, the Quebec native is favored to win multiple medals in Sochi.

Rejecting the U.S. to Skate for Russia
New York Times

In 2011, the South Korean short-track speedskating star Ahn Hyun-soo became a Russian citizen, changed his name to Viktor Ahn and pledged to compete for his adopted homeland at the Sochi Games. President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was said to be especially pleased.

But what if Ahn Hyun-soo had not become Viktor Ahn? What if he had become Joe (or Mike, or Bill) Ahn instead?

That seemingly unlikely situation is not so far-fetched. When Ahn, 28, went searching for a new Olympic allegiance after a falling-out with the South Korean skating federation, he and his father examined naturalization for top athletes in several countries — with the United States and Russia being the final two possibilities, said Jang Kwon-ok, a former Russian speedskating coach who helped recruit Ahn.

Jang, who has also coached the national teams of South Korea, Australia and the United States, said last week that Ahn, who will compete in the men’s 1,500-meter race on Monday, considered trying to switch to the American skating program but ultimately chose to go with Russia because it was an easier and more lucrative process.

South Korea: It’s a nice day for a shady wedding
GlobalPost

Weddings here are not just huge American-style parties. They’re lavish, anxiety-inducing celebrations. They’re even sometimes used for nefarious purposes, such as influence peddling.

Families take the events very seriously. Their honor is at stake in a society where social stature is paramount.

Forget the American ideal of intimate affairs in bucolic settings. Families here are eager to show off their wealth and personal relationships, judged by the number of guests and the unbridled opulence of the event. Hundreds of co-workers, friends and distant relatives arrive even if they’ve never met the bride and groom. Otherwise, the hosts could lose face.

For some young couples, the demands are so grueling they lead to a pile-up of debt and fighting later in life

Korean-based operation takes stink, mess out of hog farming
West Hawaii Today

A Korean-based method of managing animal waste is improving hog farming conditions and garnering support on Hawaii Island.

“There seems to be a growing interest in natural farming,” Donn Mende, Hawaii County research and development deputy director, said.

Sim Mook Kang, owner of Kang Farms in Mountain View, adopted the practice for his piggery outside of Kurtistown in 2009. It was the first of its kind in the United States to use innovative waste management technology that, according to Kang, leaves most visitors surprised.

“It’s a pretty good system because there’s no smell,” Kang said.

World’s first robot theme park to open in South Korea
CTV News

A massive project is underway in South Korea that would bring the Will Smith movie “I, Robot” to life with the opening of the world’s first theme park devoted to robotics and artificial intelligence.

Slated to open in 2016, Robot Land will include a family-friendly amusement park with rides and attractions, waterpark and hotel, but will also be home to a graduate school for robotics, research and development lab, as well as a residential complex, retail center and condominium.

Spanning 387,505 square meters in Incheon, 30 km from Seoul and 15 minutes from the Incheon airport, Robot Land is a tri-level investment from national and local governments, as well as private developers, and is estimated to cost US$625 million.

Though details remain scarce, one of the main mandates will be to offer more “Asian and Korean content” in order to differentiate itself from other theme parks.

Tuesday’s Link Attack: Choco Pies on Black Market in NKorea; Adoptee’s Search for Birth Mother Stalls; Kim Yuna’s Good Draw
Author: Cassandra Kwok
Posted: January 28th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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How Choco Pie infiltrated North Korea’s sweet tooth
CNN

The first time the South Korean factory owner watched his North Korean employees nibble on a Choco Pie, they appeared shocked — even overwhelmed.

He summed up their reaction to the South Korean snack in one word: “Ecstasy.”

Much like what Twinkies are to Americans, South Korea’s Choco Pies — two disc-shaped, chocolate-covered cakes, sandwiching a rubbery layer of marshmallow cream — are ubiquitous, cost less than 50 cents and are full of empty calories.

S. Korea holds live-fire drill despite North’s warning
Yonhap News

South Korea on Tuesday carried out a live-fire drill on its northwestern islands despite North Korea’s warning of “grave consequences,” but the closely-watched exercise ended without clashes with the communist state.

South Korea has carried out live-fire exercises on the frontline islands every two or three months to improve Marine Corps’ readiness. The drills have often been met by protest from Pyongyang.

Ahead of Tuesday’s exercise, the North’s National Defense Commission sent a fax through the western military hotline to National Security Office chief Kim Jang-soo urging President Park Geun-hye to cancel it, defense ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said.

Korea slams Japan over Dokdo
Korea Times

South Korea Tuesday denounced Japan for Claiming Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo in its newly revised teaching manuals for Middle and high schools.

The denouncement follows the Japanese Education ministry’s Disclosure of new manuals stating that Dokdo is Japanese Territory, rejecting Seoul’s earlier Call to withdraw the Claim.

“Japan Will Face the consequences,” said Cho Tai-Young, a Spokesman at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Decision to keep U of I Urbana-Champaign campus open leads to twitter firestorm
Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Ill.)

No disciplinary action is planned against the students who sent racist, sexist and threatening tweets targeting University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise who declined to offer a day off due to the weather on Monday.

The tweets were sent after an email was delivered to all students in the Urbana-Champaign campus Sunday that advised them to bundle up and be careful Monday because of the extreme cold, said University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign spokeswoman Robin Kaler.

Kaler said they notified university police, who determined there was no “threat.” The university is not planning any disciplinary action, characterizing it as “a free speech issue.’’

Sacramento-area woman’s quest for Korean birth mother stalls
Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)

Fawn Press-Dawson’s quest to find her birth mother has stalled after two weeks in South Korea.

The 21-year-old from Gold River – whose well-chronicled search has drawn international attention – flew to Seoul with her adoptive mom, Andee Press-Dawson, on Jan. 10, armed with her adoption papers, her birth mother’s name and the knowledge that only a tiny number of Korean adoptees actually find their biological parents.

Last Thursday, Andee came home while Fawn moved into a guest house for Korean adoptees searching for their roots operated by South Korea’s Eastern Social Welfare Society.

Lawsuit filed in collapse of Rittenhouse fire escape
ABC Local

A civil lawsuit has been filed against the owner and landlord of a Center City apartment building where a fire escape collapsed, killing one man and seriously injuring two women.

The suit was filed on Monday on behalf of the families of 22-year-old Albert Suh and 24-year-old Laura O’Brien.

It was just before midnight on January 12th when Suh, O’Brien, and a thirdperson, identified as Nancy Chen, were standing on the fire escape outside their fourth floor apartment, located at 229 South 22nd Street in the city’s Rittenhouse section.

The roommates were throwing a party, and had allegedly stepped out onto the fire escape when the collapse occurred, sending all three plummeting 40 feet to the ground below.

Vienna man sentenced in largest-ever bid-rigging scheme
Fairfax News

Oh Sung Kwon, 48, a Northern Virginia businessman, was sentenced yesterday to 46 months in prison on federal charges stemming from a bribery scheme in which he paid thousands of dollars to an Army official in return for government contracts, as well as a separate scheme involving fraudulent real estate sales and refinances.

Kwon, also known as Thomas Kwon, of Vienna, pled guilty in September 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count each of bribery, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and willful failure to file a tax return. He was sentenced by the Hon. Emmet G. Sullivan. Judge Sullivan also ordered Kwon to pay $1,188,500 in restitution and the same amount in a forfeiture money judgment. Upon completion of his prison term, Kwon will be placed on three years of supervised release.

Kwon was the co-founder and chief executive officer of Avenciatech Inc., a government contractor based in Annandale. He is among 17 people and one corporation that pled guilty to federal charges for their roles in the largest domestic bribery and bid-rigging scheme in the history of federal contracting. The investigation is continuing.

Internet Cafes Get a Makeover
Wall Street Journal

In South Korea, Internet cafes, known as PC Bangs, have long been places of refuge for hardcore video gamers battling it out in games like League of Legends.

But some now feel they’re under attack from a push to make PC Bangs more hygienic, including a complete smoking ban from this year. The core clientele of PC Bangs have long been predominantly male, many of whom enjoy a good smoke while gaming.

Some in the industry are scrambling to find ways to attract new clients by giving PC Bang interiors drastic makeovers and looking for alternative sources of revenue, such as by turning into hybrid restaurants. The changes aren’t being welcomed by regulars of these cafes.

The Bachelor’ week 4 recap: Juan Pablo takes ladies to South Korea
Cleveland.com

The fourth episode of this season’s “The Bachelor” saw Juan Pablo take the ladies outside of the country for the first time. JuanPabs and the ladies flew to Seoul, South Korea. There was a one-on-one date and two group dates.

Lots of kissing, flesh-eating fish, tears, a Korean pop group, eating octopus and, yes, more cattiness. Monday night’s episode had it all. When the episode finished, two more ladies were sent home and the plan to travel to Vietnam was revealed as the remaining ladies sipped champagne.

The group arrived in South Korea for a few days. Juan Pablo can’t even speak English all that well and now, going to Korea, he was forced to try his hand at another language.

The first date card arrived and read, “Pop!”

Korean SNL to meet original SNL
Korea Times

Hosts of the Korean version of Saturday Night Live (SNL) will fly to New York City this week to watch the live taping of an episode of the original SNL.

A spokesman for tvN, a cable channel that produces SNL Korea, said on Monday top comedian Shin Dong-yup and Yoo Se-yoon will depart for NYC on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, at the invitation of NBC, a major American broadcaster that created the widely beloved late-night live television sketch comedy show in 1975.

“The two will visit the live studio for SNL and meet with its directors,” tvN said in a statement. “They will discuss a variety of production issues with the directors. They also plan to participate in events promoting Korean culture.”

Kim Yu-na gets favorable draw
Korea Times

Figure-skating megastar Kim Yu-na is about as sure-fire a gold-medal candidate as there is among the athletes booked for the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Now, observers think her odds improved even further after she was placed in the fourth group of skaters competing in the women’s individual competition that begins on Feb. 20.

In the Olympics, athletes in figure-skating appear in reverse order of the world rankings.

While Kim, the reigning Olympic champion, is clearly the woman to beat at Sochi, her world ranking slipped to No. 15 as she missed several scheduled appearances during the 2013-14 season after suffering a foot injury in September.

On a sled and a prayer, Korea’s ‘Miracles on Asphalt’
Reuters

For South Korea’s “Miracles on Asphalt” bobsleigh team, having ice on the track is a big problem.

Chilled to the bone by the biting cold of the Taebaek Mountain range, officials from the Korea Bobsleigh Skeleton Federation use shovels and mops to smash and sweep ice from the ‘push track’, which simulates the action at the start of a run.

The Alpensia Ski Resort in Pyeongchang, which is to host the 2018 Winter Games, has no proper ice track and athletes have to push their sleds on rails to practice the all-important start.

Despite the inadequate facilities, South Korea will compete in the skeleton at the February 7-23 Sochi Games, as well as sending two teams in both the men’s two- and four-man bobsleigh events and a two-woman bobsleigh team.

Lydia Ko’s profile expected to soar in the USA
Stuff (New Zealand)

Lydia Ko is already a huge name in golf, but one of the world’s leading golf writers predicts she could follow the likes of Tiger Woods and Michelle Wie and have an appeal that transcends the sport.

Two months after turning professional, 16-year-old Ko is the talk of the US golf scene as she heads to Christchurch to defend her New Zealand Women’s Open title at Clearwater, starting on Friday.

The start of her rookie season at the Bahamas Classic this week when she finished seventh equal made headlines as did her switch from Kiwi coach of 11 years Guy Wilson to David Leadbetter, the self-proclaimed “world’s leading golf instructor”.

Cuba Shows Unexpected Love for ‘K-Doramas’
Author: Steve Han
Posted: December 17th, 2013
Filed Under: BLOG
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The Hallyu Wave has made its way to one of the world’s last Communist countries. No, not that one.

At a stall that sells film and TV series in Havana, Cuba, half of the “doramas” in sale are Korean soap operas dubbed into Spanish. Korean shows, such as Queen of Housewives, My Fair Lady, Dream High and Secret Garden have been on the small screen in Cuba since earlier this year, reports AFP.

Cubans are sharing Korean shows with one another as video files on USB flash drives, a commonly used electronic device for Cubans since Internet access on the Communist island isn’t widespread. Continue Reading »

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