Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Gift of Cranes

This young lady is collecting paper cranes to send to the people of Northern Japan whose lives have been so devastated by the events of 3-11. Please consider participating in her simple, yet so beautiful, project of human love and hope for one another.

This is your 'One Good Thing' for today...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Foul Fish

by 8RG

The infamous Courtney Stodden is apparently continuing to develop her acting bug. She's made a commercial for some company playing the role of a mermaid fished from the sea by two young men. One of those young men happens to be Asian (Peter Kim, according to the credits). You can find it with a search, I'm sure, if you want to see it.

Sadly, despite the fact that he 'gets the girl' in this sketch (or, actually, half the girl considering her fishy nether regions), his role is once again as a caricature of an Asian man living in the West. He wears nerdy glasses while he fishes off the cliff, and speaks in a heavy, halting, broken accent - repeating the phrase "I score!" several times.

References are then made to 'hooking up' in connection to 'scoring' by his fellow fisherman (played by Steven J. Robinson), just to make sure the audience is in the correct mindset for the next gag lined up to play on stereotypes. His first catch of the day is a smallish fish while the background music switches to a pseudo-Asian twang. His buddy proclaims it only an appetizer in frustration - since he is starving by now.

Oh, I see what you did there... yeah - a small fish - and all those other symbolic implications of small in reference to Asian men. It's all resolved of course when the Kim character gets a "bigger hook". I can only shake my head at such ham-fisted story lines - even in this small change commercial.

Courtney wearing a tail is then hauled onto shore so that she can flop around and prune up her face in her trademarked weird looking, non-sexy convulsions while making an overly obvious double entendre. Just more blah, blah, blah at this point. Nothing original or creative here.

This 'fish' is just old. And foul.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Not I," said the...

by 8RG

Anyone else remember the childhood story of 'The Little Red Hen'? It's one of those parables meant to teach a lesson about moral behavior or the basic truths of life. I remember it quite well because it was included in the set of Childcraft books that I often read.

It goes roughly like this:

There was a Little Red Hen who lived on a farm with her three friends - a dog, a cat and a duck. One day she found some seeds on the ground and decided to plant them. She asked her friends if they would help her plant the seeds.

"Not I," said the Dog.
"Not I," said the Cat.
"Not I," said the Duck.

"Alright," said the Little Red Hen, "Then I will."

Later, the seeds grew into fine stalks of wheat and again the Little Red Hen approached her friends.

"Who will help me harvest the wheat?" she asks.

"Not I," said the Dog.
"Not I," said the Cat.
"Not I," said the Duck.

"Alright," said the Little Red Hen, "Then I will."

This process repeats in the same way, through having the wheat ground into flour, and then finally into using the flour to bake a fine loaf of bread. At the end, the Little Red Hen asked her friends:

"Who will help me eat this bread?"

And they responded:

"I will!" said the Dog.
"I will!" said the Cat.
"I will!" said the Duck.

But the Little Red Hen replied:

"No. I have planted the seeds, and harvested the wheat, and ground the flour and baked the bread all alone because none of you would help me. So now I will eat this bread - all by myself."

And she did.

I really don't know if anyone will get the point I am making here by bringing this old tale up. I've learned that people will feign an intense and very convenient obtuseness when it suits them to do so. They will 'play pretend' quite a lot.

"I didn't know!"
"I didn't see that!"
"I was going to, but..."

Which is, basically, "Not I!"

Unfortunately, this just means that it will take a lot longer for any of us to get the bread, if we manage to get any at all.

Apathy is the enemy.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

YouTube Trying to Fix What "Ain't Broke"

by 8RG

We're not pleased to see that YouTube has removed our 'Friends' module (apparently this is part of the new 'upgrades' which we are avoiding as long as possible). Our purpose for having these modules visible on our page is to help others locate and support new creative artists, visionaries, histories, experiences, perspectives, opinions etc. from the Asian community.

By removing the public module and channel icons from our front page against our will and replacing it with what seems to be a clunky invisible 'Contacts' list in our 'Inbox', YouTube has destroyed what we consider to be an important networking tool in our efforts to bring more positive exposure to those in the Asian community who are working so hard to be seen.

So far, our 'Subscribers' module has survived these recent changes. Though there are no plans in the near future to create our own videos (though that may change down the road as we continue to grow), feel free to subscribe to our channel if you wish your own channel avatar and link to be more easily available to anyone who browses our pages. And of course, we attempt to subscribe ourselves to as many Asian related channels that we stumble across as we can.

We get frustrated because we feel that we have to spend as much time attempting to overcome or work around regular glitches, adapting our pages to the unexpected 'upgrades' which alters everything that we thought we had set just the way that it would work best for our purposes, or relearning where all of the functions have been moved after each 'change' as we do seeking out new Asian related information to share with others. It is even more frustrating when functions and tools that we used regularly because they best served our purposes for existing are removed completely and there is nothing that we can do about it.

Thanks for your patience and we apologize for the changes that we really have no control over...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Baby Avy's Dream

by 8RG

In the world today there is a little light named Avy. She was born only about a year ago, but she has already faced challenges that most of us will never have to endure. Even so, she and her family are moving forward with courage and a great deal of love for each other - holding on what is good and positive and beautiful.

Baby Avy has a dream... to dance with her father.

I don't personally know Avy or her parents, but when a friend sent me the link last night I was deeply touched by their story and this simple wish. So simple, just to dance, but worth so very much. You see, Avy suffered an in-utero stroke which caused complications including cerebral palsy. And though with parents like hers she will always have the best kind of love and support - still this will not be an easy journey for her. Or an inexpensive one.

But there is a way - as simple as this wish to dance - that folks out there can help both Avy and her parents. It doesn't cost anything but some of your time (and perhaps a tiny piece of your heart). You can get all of the information at a Facebook page set up especially for Avy and her dream (it is her father's dream too).

Go to the link included in the information of the page and click 'Like' for Baby Avy's Dream. If she gets the most votes, she will receive $10,000 to help with medical expenses.

That's it... so simple. Everyone can do it.

And if you'd like to do just a bit more, spread the word to your friends.

There are so many worries and troubles in the world, I know. So many. But here is a chance to do one good thing today. One good thing. How much better life would be if everyone tried to find one good thing to do every day.

Well - it doesn't get any easier than this... here is your 'one good thing' for today.

Please visit Baby Avy's Facebook Event page here to get all of the links and info:

Baby Avy's Dream

One good thing - a sweet girl dancing with her father. A simple dream. Lets make this happen.

I hope you dance, Baby Avy... I hope you dance with your father who obviously loves you so very much.


Sunday, July 10, 2011


by 8RG

Now that we have quite a lot of content plugged in (although not even close to how much more is out there), we want to take some time to reorganize the sections to make it somewhat easier to locate what you might be interested in the most. This might be a slow process, and imperfect because sometimes it is difficult to put a label on what, for example, a specific performer does. Or that performer might dabble in many different things. We will be doing the best that we can, but we do hope that during this process you will indulge us with your patience.

We are also aware of the complexities involved with determining the criteria and definitions of any human subgroup. Though we would love to be able to create a site that reflects and represents all of the amazing variety that exists globally, we recognize our human fallibility and limitations (time, money, knowledge and so on). Forced to be realistic, we have fine tuned our focus to only certain groups that reflect what is commonly thought of as 'Asian' by North American definitions. This does not include every culture of Asia as a continent though we know that every person who can trace their lineage to that portion of the world is technically 'Asian'. We also know that other Western countries, such as England, have a different definition for 'Asian'.

But for our purposes on this site, we are mainly concentrating on those cultural roots that center around (roughly) East and South East Asia and to some lesser extent the Pacific Islands. We also recognize that 'race' is a wobbly edged subject as well, and that using the term 'Asian' automatically begins its own series of debates. Language, being as dynamic as it is, is always in flux. We do not have a perfect definition for the groups we are attempting to reflect here, and can only suggest that the patron who visits this site will hopefully, over time, develop a feel for where we are trying to go.

There is no desire to offend those subgroups who can by a greater definition also consider themselves to be Asian, yet are not represented here. We do encourage others with an interest to consider the idea of creating sites of their own that can expand on what we started here by reflecting those groups that we have not included. We would certainly be happy to link to such sites in the future.

For those personalities, performers, innovators, etc. who feel that they fall into our rough parameters of 'Asian' for the purposes of this site, and who would like to be included in our links, please send us your information at our Facebook location (the link is at the top of this page). We have a discussion area there where you can tell us everything that we need to know to include your work. That would also be the best way to send us information on any corrections that we need to make, tour information, upcoming releases or anything else you feel we should know.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Running in Circles

by 8RG:

So I've been watching a trend for many years that is an intense exercise in frustration.

Again and again I read posts from various site forum members complaining about the state of the Asian male representation in the popular Western media. The latest case of such is yet another complaint about the character created by Ken Jeong in 'Hangover 2'.

I can't speak much on the specific details because I haven't seen either of the 'Hangover' movies - I've been on a diet of around 80% International films since the creation of the home video industry in my youth and at least half or more of those are from the various movie industries of Asia. In all honesty, I've never seen any of Jeong's work beyond the little taste from research I did this morning - I had to give up my television service a while back to streamline my finances. I hate to say it - but I really don't miss it as much as I was afraid I would before cancelling. I was paying a lot of money for background noise that I found repetitive and boring most of the time, I now realize.

But from descriptions online, the complaints of these various board members and checking out a couple of bits on YouTube it doesn't sound like the specific character in this movie is a shining example of a strong Asian male representation (and I would like to clarify now that none of my comments are intended to describe Jeong the person - since I don't know him, of course).

By now you are probably thinking I'm about to go on a rant about Jeong's character and the unfair media and the problem of stereotyping and so on.

Well... I'm not. I'm laying the problem square in the laps of those who help generate it. The laps of these very board members doing the complaining - Asian American males in a lot of cases and various women who claim to be supportive of creating positive change but who ultimately are just spewing a lot of lip service to score online compliments and ego stroking from said males (without actually doing anything tangible in the real world).

Because here is what happens. 

You see, these folks knew going in - before handing their dosh over to the ticket seller - that they were probably going to hate this character. They were already aware of what it was going to be like because they had already seen the first 'Hangover' movie. And complained about it at the time!

And yet - having the freedom of choice that we all have - they voted with their wallets and supported the very characterization that they claimed to despise by going to see the sequel. They gave money to the the Money Men (and Women) for a role that the Money Men now assume (since it made them a profit) must be the right direction to head in to make more money. The end.

In the last couple of years there have been some forays into the 'heroic Asian male lead'/'romantic Asian male lead' genre by the Money Men here in the West. They weren't exactly my favorite kinds of  films because they were more of the 'action adventure/martial arts' business favored by the masses. If you ever do start checking out the offerings from Asia itself you will find far superior, far more interesting work (even in the Action categories).

Be that as it may - these attempts to present the Asian male in a heroic light on Western big screens appeared. And many of these very same complainers went in one of three directions concerning this most recent 'testing of the waters' by Hollywood:

  • They didn't see the movie in theaters but waited to watch it at a discount from a rental service.

  • They didn't see the movie in theaters but waited to download it somehow illegally and watch it for free.

  • They didn't see the movie at all.

Following that - many of them went in another two directions (often at the same time):

  • They didn't purchase the follow up DVD or any other support products.

  • They complained long and loud publicly that the movies sucked (by their apparently very sophisticated standards).

One of those movies grossed around $5,666,340. A loss for the Money Men.

What is the price of a movie ticket these days?

If every person who claimed to be Asian or part-Asian in the US during the most recent census count had purchased a ticket - that same movie might have made something more like $138,566,848. A profit for the Money Men.

Of course - some of that number would need to be reduced to reflect the very old and the very young in the community who would not be buying a ticket, but if perhaps the rest would go see the movie twice or - I dunno - take a date, that amount could easily be made up or even surpassed. If these so called 'supportive women' of every race had also purchased a ticket or two - even more so.

And it goes beyond the cinema. What about musicians and other performers?

There have recently been quite a number of opportunities to purchase tickets for tours and local shows in North America from both Native Asian groups (mostly from Corea and Japan) and Asian American groups.

Off the top of my head, I can recall events on North American soil involving Wonder Girls with 2PM', BoA, Kangta, Zhang Li Yin, VAMPS, Steve Byrne, X Japan, International Secret Agents, Miyavi, David Choi, Super Junior, Far East Movement, Luna Sea, Kazha, Girls Generation, Kollaboration, Henry Cho, The Slants, and so on...

How many of this complaining set purchased a ticket for one of these shows?

When asked why they don't support Asian artists and performers in the real world versus endless chit chat about why Asian artists aren't successful in the West online (usually it is the fault, in their opinion, of those other people keepin' the Asian man down), they have a litany of convenient (but hollow sounding) excuses.

Among other things:

  • They are too tapped out financially and their life is such a struggle because of some terrible tragic complication (although they go on fancy trips, buy tickets for non-Asian artists, can afford to be on the internet all of the time and seem to dress quite well).

  • They just don't like any of the Asian artists they see (among the thousands that are out there hustling their creative blood, sweat and tears from every field, every day).

  • The work is crap (apparently, by their impeccable standards, all of it).

  • They live too far away from the action - no Asian work at all in their down in the boondocks world (though the last time I checked there are movie theaters all over the place, you can buy tickets, DVDs and CDs among other things online, iTunes now exists, Amazon still sells books and Asian people often write them, shows are streamed online and so on...)

    • They are waiting for a specific artist to come to their area - then they will surely buy a ticket to see that one single artist (even if that artist had just been in their area a month or two before this was mentioned and yet they apparently did not buy a ticket at that time).

    They are just empty excuses when someone happens to notice that they are all talk and no walk, of course. At least buy a DVD or a  CD once in a while.

    If they don't support the artists who are out there in the middle of the fray hustling their hearts out for their art - what sort of message does that send to the Money Men who have the power to fund more of these events in the future? The Money Men are in the business to make a profit. It is as simple as that. If a group makes them money hand over fist - they will not care what their race is. If Asian performers start making bank for the Money Men - the Money Men will hire more Asian performers. If positive Asian portrayals make more money than negative ones - there will be more positive portrayals.

    If the complainers could pause for breath long enough to actually get in the game and support real change - then real change will begin to manifest.

    So I've rather lost a lot of sympathy for the complainers and their complaints. They are just wasting time running in circles.

    I for one have never seen 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' though I am quite the old movie fan and even generally appreciate Audrey Hepburn. I've had some people furrow their brows at my stance on this, confused because it is "such a classic!".

    But I have never seen it because I know of the existence of the awful Rooney yellow face character - Mr. Yunioshi. I've never offered a dime or my time to support it. Curiosity about what I might be missing has not been enough to override my financial vote on the matter.

    And that's how it's done, folks.