Monday, November 30, 2015

Don't try to silence a beauty queen, Miss World Canada issues statement via Facebook

MISS WORLD CANADA, Anastasia Lin, used her Facebook page to release her statement after being informed that she would not be invited to compete in the international pageant for women.

She traveled to Hong Kong with hopes that she could obtain a flight to Sanya, China where the Miss World pageant is being held this week. In Hong Kong, when was told that she would not be allowed to board a flight to Sanya. 

The 25-year old actress was born in China but immigrated to Canada in 2002 where she resides in Toronto. A follower of Falun Gong, a meditative practice that is banned in China, she testified earlier this year in front of the U.S. Congress on China's repressive tactics.

Anastasia Lin is being prevented from representing Canada in the Miss World pageant.
Lin's Facebook post follows:

Dear friends, at 6:00am local time on Nov 26th I arrived in Hong Kong en route to Sanya, China, host city of the 2015 Miss World competition.
Unlike all other Miss World contestants, I did not receive an invitation letter from the Chinese organizers of this event, and so was unable to obtain a visa in advance. I was never given an explanation as to why I did not receive the letter. Under Chinese law, however, Canadian citizens are eligible to obtain a landing visa upon arrival in Sanya, so I decided to try attending anyway.
Unfortunately, I was prevented from boarding the plane from Hong Kong to Sanya. No reason was given for the denial. I will be holding a press conference in Hong Kong tomorrow morning at 10am local time at the Regal Airport Hotel.
The slogan of the Miss World competition is “Beauty with a purpose.” My purpose is to advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves—those who suffer in prisons and labor camps, or whose voices have been stifled by repression and censorship. I also want to give courage to all people living under repressive systems. Many of them have lived in fear for so long that they have forgotten that they can think freely. 
This is a very personal cause for me. When I was a child growing up in China, my job as a student council president involved enforcing ideological purity among my classmates, organizing them to watch Communist propaganda. It was only after I moved to Canada that I discovered what it meant to think freely, to use my own mind, and to live without fear of arbitrary punishment or reprisal.
To me, this is the essence of being Canadian and living in a free society. And it is something I hope that all people will one day be able to experience.
In my case, this path led me to start practicing Falun Gong—a system of meditation and qigong based on the values of truth, compassion, and tolerance. I also learned about the severe persecution that people in China face for following these values. Hundreds of thousands of peaceful and law-abiding people have been imprisoned and tortured, and many have died or disappeared in custody after they refused to renounce their beliefs and swear allegiance to the Communist Party.
It is not limited to Falun Gong. Many others in China and around the world also face persecution for holding true to their convictions. And yet they persist. They refuse to be silenced or submit to fear and coercion. They have the courage to live in accordance with their conscience, no matter the price.
Their courage is a constant source of inspiration to me. It is why I have continued speaking up even after Chinese security agents visited my father and sought to intimidate him. It is why I kept going even after I didn’t receive the invitation letter from the Chinese organizers of the Miss World Final. I owed it to all those who don’t have a voice to at least try.
That is why I tried to go to Sanya. As the Canadian representative to Miss World, I have every right to be there and take my place among the other contestants and share my message.
My denial was unfortunate, but not entirely unexpected. The Chinese government has barred me from the competition for political reasons. They are trying to punish me for my beliefs and prevent me from speaking out about about human rights issues. Many others have had similar experiences: for years, the Chinese government has used the threat of visa denials to punish dissidents or anyone with unapproved views, and to bring academics and journalists to heel.
This is not conduct befitting an aspiring superpower—especially one that hopes to host international competitions such as Miss World and the upcoming Winter Olympics. Silencing beauty queens, censoring journalists, and torturing religious believers is not a sign of strength—it is a sign of profound weakness and insecurity.
If China wishes to be respected by the international community, it should abide by the norms and standards of that community. If it wishes to be strong and prosperous, it should realize that strength comes from diversity, from being able to listen to different ideas. The Chinese people have an ancient civilization with rich intellectual traditions. They are fully capable of discerning right from wrong if given a chance. It is too bad that the Chinese government will not afford them this opportunity.

In July, Anastasia Lin testifed to the U.S. Congress about religious persecution in China.
In its Sunday editorial, the state-sponsored English language newspaper Global Times was critical of Lin. It accused Anastasia Lin of criticizing the Chinese government to “gain sympathy from the Western public that already holds prejudices against China.”

The 25-year-old beauty queen testified in July at a U.S. congressional hearing on religious persecution in China and is a vocal critic of Beijing’s human-rights abuses. She is reportedly a practitioner of Falun Gong, a Buddhist- and Taoist-inspired Chinese spiritual discipline detested by the communist authorities.

“Lin has to pay a cost for being tangled with hostile forces,” the article said. “She may not know that all performers should avoid being involved in radical political issues.”

The unsigned editorial concluded: “Lin needs to learn to be responsible for her words and deeds.”

Indeed, Lin has not been shy about espousing her views, whether it be testifying before the U.S. Congress, TV interviews, motion pictures or social media

Competing in beauty pageants was another venue for her to get her message to the world. When she competed in the Miss World Canada contest for the first time in 2013, notes The Toronto Star, she performed a piano composition dedicated to “those who lost their life for their faith and the millions of people still fighting for their faith today.” She launched her bid for the 2015 crown with a video (below) saying she wished to extend “light and courage to those who still find themselves in the dark.”

Beijing’s communist rulers have no intention of giving Lin an even bigger platform from which to speak out. However, by their actions, they inadvertently gave her the platform and attention that they sought to deny.

Anastasia Lin may not win the coveted Miss World crown, but in many other ways, she has already won.


Don't forget to vote for Amy Vachal tonight on "The Voice"

Amy Vachal
AMY VACHAL may have hit upon a winning formula by covering some of today's top hits instead of redoing old standards for a spot on "The Voice" singing competition.

Last week her interpretation of Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" topped the iTune chart during the voting period at No. 4, the best among the remaining contestants.

iTune downloads are particularly valuable because if you finish in the Top Ten, the downloads are multiplied by ten. That was enough to garner the top spot among the Top 10 finishers last week.

The 26-year old Filipino/American crooner from New Jersey and Brooklyn needs the help  of the vast Asian/American social network community to counter all the pre-teen girl votes usually cast for the cutest, the most emotional or the longest note-holder. Amy is clearly, a singer who has her own unique style. It may please the judges, but the musicality is sometimes missed by the mass audience.

The Top 9 will be announced tomorrow (Dec. 1).

How to vote on "The Voice"

There is a strict 14-hour voting window from the end of the show (between 9:55 p.m. ET to 12 p.m. ET the following day). That seems unfair for the voters on the West Coast because their voting period is done at 9 p.m. PST.  Voters from Hawaii, where Vachal receives a lot of support have an even shorter period to vote. Each person can vote up to 40 times total (10 votes per each of the four ways).

1. iTunes: downloading a song counts as 10 votes. (Bonus: if it reaches the top ten on the charts it gets multiplied by 10.) (1 download per person = 10 votes)

2. Facebook: vote on The Voice Facebook page via this link. (up to 10 times per person total)

3. The App : Download The Voice App on your phone (up to 10 times total)

4. : (up to 10 times total) #TheVoice

Trouble in paradise: Justice Kennedy puts vote of Indigenous Hawaiians in limbo

At issue: self-determination for Native Hawaiians.
U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE Anthony Kennedy put a crimp on an effort to give native Hawaiians more of a say in their future. Last Friday (Nov. 27) , Kennedy ordered officials in Hawaii not to count ballots or announce the winners of an election in which only people of native Hawaiian ancestry could vote.

“The real harm of this election is it fosters a kind of racial discrimination that damages our greatest product in Hawaii, the aloha spirit,” said Keli’i Akina, president of Grassroot Institute, which sought to stop the voting process. 

UPDATE: Na‘i Aupuni, the Native Hawaiian organization with a mission to establish a path to Native Hawaiian self-determination, announced Monday (Dec. 1) it is extending the deadline to vote to midnight Monday, Dec. 21.
“The net effect of a race-based election to establish a race-based government will only serve to divide people from one another. Racial tensions are already on the rise in the nation and it's a terrible thing to also see this becoming the case in the Aloha state.”
The growing movement to somehow compensate the original inhabitants of Hawaii for the questionable way they lost their lands when Hawaii became a U.S. territory, could result in giving them the same status of native Americans in the very least, or, in the other extreme, the 50th state could secede from the United States.

“People come to Hawaii and think it's just a tourist destination,” Rowena Akana told a reporter. 
“They know nothing about how the natives here have suffered and still suffer today.

"This election is very important because it’s an opportunity to seek some reparation, said Akana, a trustee of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and a candidate in the upcoming election. "This is our chance to make a comeback.”

Native Hawaiians are at the bottom of the economic ladder, have the poorest health outcomes and perform poorly in school on comparison to the Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Euro/Americans and other ethnic groups who have made Hawaii their home. Their traditional customs are constantly being eroded, they say.

For the past month native Hawaiians in Hawaii and on the mainland have been voting in what many see as the first step for self-determination. Under a definition in a 2011 law, only descendants of “the aboriginal peoples who, before 1778, occupied and exercised sovereignty in the Hawaiian islands” are eligible to vote.

The elected delegates would take part in a constitutional convention to come up with a form of self-government and to determine what relationship - if any - the islands would have with the United States.

In his temporary stay, Kennedy goes counter to the Department of the Interior and the State of Hawaii, which initiated the wheels moving towards the creation of a new sovereign nation, giving native Hawaiians the same status that Native American tribes have over their land.

Opponents, including some who would qualify to vote in this special election, say that the election is race-based thus runs counter to the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. 

The election is being run by the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, a nonprofit also called  Na’i Aupuni. In the Hawaiian language, na’i means “the one who conquered,” and aupuni means “created the kingdom.”

Queen Liliuokalani,
the last Hawaiian monarch
Election results were supposed to have been announced Dec. 1.

The movement for more self-determination for Hawaiians stems from the very start of its territorial status and has been gaining steam over the last few decades.

In 1893, Queen Liliuokalani, the last monarch of Hawaii, yielded power to a group of businessmen backed by U.S. Marines in order to avoid the bloodshed of her people. She did so believing that the U.S. government, when presented with the facts, would eventually restore the Hawaiian kingdom. Instead, the coup led to the dissolution of Hawaiian sovereignty and the islands' eventual statehood.

During the territorial stage of Hawaii's history when American businessmen held the power, much like the way Native Americans were treated on the mainland, the native-born Hawaiians had their traditional lands stolen, the hula was outlawed and their language banned in schools.

Unlike Native Americans on the mainland, Native Hawaiians didn't have a government structure to represent them in the halls of U.S. government. For over a century, native Hawaiians still don't have political representation or a say on their future.

“For the first time in over a hundred years, there will be a definitive voice on Native Hawaiian issues,” said 
Robin Danner, who was appointed to the NHRC by former Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie.  “A definitive and recognized government to speak for our culture, our people, our issues, instead of county or state government attempting to have a subcommittee within their agencies or structures to mouthpiece the value of native viewpoints, which has not worked well at all.”

The commission, led by former Hawaii Gov. John Waihee, was formed in 2011 with a mission to bring together a group of qualified and interested Native Hawaiian voters. The controversial vote, which began on Nov. 1 and ends today (Nov. 30), was to help determine who would be taking part in that vigorous discussion.

“Being native in the United States is like living a cycle of grief,” Danner said. “Because being native in the United States is to have lost something powerful. First, you're depressed. Then you're angry. Then there is some acceptance and then you get to a point where you say, 'What am I going to do about it?' As a people I think we are at the stage where we are ready to do something about it.”


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Asian/American mother was a victim of Planned Parenthood domestic terrorist

Jennifer Markovsky with her daughter.
A FORMER resident of Hawaii is one of the victims of the gunman terrorist who attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado is a former resident of Hawaii.

Jennifer Markovskym 35, was at the clinic accompanying a friend when the gunman began firing indiscriminately at the clinic last Friday.

Markovsky was the mother of a daughter and son. She moved to Colorado with her husband, Paul Markovsky, who she met in Hawaii while he was stationed there in the military.

Her father, John Ah-King, posted a message on his Facebook page today (Nov. 29). “To my daughter Jennifer, I’m going to miss so much,” he wrote. “…Life was [too] short my beloved daughter, I was waiting to see you soon, I’m going to miss you, my [memories] of you will live on in my heart and mind.”

Contacted in Hawaii by the Denver Post, Ah-King told the newspaper, "She was the most lovable person. So kind-hearted, just always there when I needed her."

Ah-King said he found out about his daughter's death from his other daughter who had been contacted by friends.

"I couldn't believe it," Ah-King said through sobs. "I just messaged her Thursday to say happy Thanksgiving."

Jennifer Markovsky grew up in Waianae on the island of Oahu where she graduated from Waianae High School in 1997.

Besides Markovsky, two other people were killed in the clinic shooting: 
Ke’Arre Stewart, an Army veteran who did a tour in Iraq, and who's the father of two daughters; and Officer Garrett Swasey, a six-year veteran of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs’ police department. Swasey is survived by his wife of 17 years, Rachel; a son, Elijah; and a daughter, Faith.

Police have identified the shooter as Robert Lewis Dear.

After his arrest, Dear, 57, said "no more baby parts," according to a law enforcement official. Planned Parenthood cited witnesses as saying the terrorist was motivated by his opposition to abortion.

Campaign launched: Asian/Americans #NotTheSame

AS ASIANS, we've all had to contend with the image that most Americans have for us. Even worse, they can't tell if we are Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Vietnamese, Cambodian or any of the other 48 or more ethnicities originating in Asia that inevitably leads to that question we've all hear: "What are you?" or, "Where are you from?" which leads to the dreaded follow-up query, "Where are you REALLY from?" 

Or, they confuse you with another Asian co-worker, or they assume that we're all engineering or math students, or believe that we're united on all issues, or they think we're all alike.

Not only do we have to do something extraordinary to stand out, or assume the personality traits that are he complete opposite of the stereotypes assigned to Asians; instead of being safe, we take unnecessary risks; we laugh too loud at an unfunny joke; we tip higher than the server deserves; we drink more than we should; we drive too fast an aggressive; we don't raise our hand in class even though we might know the answer and so on, and so on.

And then, there's that darn model minority myth that hangs over all of us like a dark cloud.

To break through that cloud, a light is trying to leak through. The Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund with the partnership of a score of other agencies serving the AAPI community will begin a month-long campaign this December to raise awareness about the varied — and often unheard — stories of struggles experienced by members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

The mission of #NotTheSame is to raise awareness and to counter the "model minority" myth that assumes all young Asian/Americans and Pacific Islanders are successful and have unlimited access to college and opportunities. This campaign is inspired by the unheard AAPI stories of homelessness, poverty, refugee struggles, bullying and prejudice.

The above video was created by the Jubilee Project. A 30-second version  will air on Comcast and NBC affiliates during the month, but it will be mainly a campaign waged online and on social media. About 30 young Asian American and Pacific Islanders were asked to share their stories for the video on how the words they would hear growing up affected them. Share the video and/or join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by using #NotTheSame.

Some of the young people whose stories were featured in the video.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Canada's Miss World rep blocked from entering China

Anastasia Lin, Canada's Miss World representative 2015
CANADA'S MISS WORLD contestant was stopped in Hong Kong on Thursday (Nov. 26) and denied permission to board was barred from boarding a flight to the beauty pageant finals in another part of China, a move she alleges was punishment for speaking out against human rights abuses in the country.

Anastasia Lin, a 25-year-old China-born actress who was crowned Miss World Canada in May, was unable to obtain a visa in advance of her arrival for the contest finals this week in Sanya, on the southern Chinese resort island of Hainan.

Based on various international reports, Lin apparently tried to enter China anyway based on a rule that allows Canadian citizens to obtain a landing visa upon arrival in Sanya.

Lin, who is a practitioner of Falun Gong, a religious group that says is repressed in China, told reporters at Hong Kong's international airport that she was prevented from boarding a Dragonair flight to Sanya. She said there has been no response from the Chinese authorities so far.

"It's very difficult to stand up for what you believe in," she said, adding: "I need to figure out what to do next.

Anastasia Lin, stuck in Hong Kong.
The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa said that Lin was not welcome in China, a Canadian newspaper reported on Wednesday.

"China does not allow any persona non grata to come to China," Yundong Yang, an embassy spokesman, told the Toronto Globe and Mail. "I simply do not understand why some people pay special attention to this matter and have raised it repeatedly."

Hmm. That response could explain the problem.

Lin testified at a U.S. congressional hearing on religious persecution in China in July. In her testimony, she said she wanted to "speak for those in China that are beaten, burned and electrocuted for holding to their beliefs", according to the text of her statement on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China's website.

Lin, who moved to Canada from China when she was 13, told a U.S. congressional hearing in July that tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been killed so their organs could be harvested and sold for transplants. The 25-year-old actress also plays an imprisoned Falun Gong practitioner in an upcoming Canadian movie, "The Bleeding Edge."

Lin alleges that after she won the Canadian title, Chinese security agents visited her father who still lives in China in an apparent attempt to intimidate her into silence. Although she hadn't received an invitation letter from organizers, and therefore was unable to obtain a Chinese visa, she said she decided to travel to China anyway in hopes of obtaining a visa on arrival.

Miss World pageant organizers said in an email they had no information as to why a visa was not granted to Lin, but said she may be offered a place in the 2016 Miss World contest.

Lin joins a growing list of celebrities who have been barred from entering or performing in China. In recent years, the authorities have canceled concerts by Bon Jovi, Linkin Park and Oasis, among other acts, apparently because the band members had previously expressed sympathy for the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader. 

Also on the unofficial blacklist are actors Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Harrison Ford and Richard Gere, all of whom have taken strong public stands on human rights.

Lin, it turns out, is not the first beauty queen to attract China's ire, according to the New York Times. Just last weekend officials with the Miss Earth contest being held in Austria, reportedly acting on China’s behest, ejected the contestant from Taiwan after she insisted on wearing a sash that said “Miss Taiwan ROC” and refused to wear the replacement that said “Miss Chinese Taipei” — which is China's attempt to have the world recognize that the self-governed Taiwan is part of Peoples Republic of China.

Lin, who apparently is media-savvy, began speaking to news agencies in Hong Kong about her David-vs-Goliath plight and was able to get international attention. In some ways, her predicament is just what China's critics want in order to draw attention to the country's repressive tactics against free-thinking or anything contrary that questions the status quo.

"If they start to censor beauty pageants — how pathetic is that?" Lin told The Associated Press in Hong Kong.

TGIF FEATURE: Make a parol lantern and join a parade

The Parol Lantern Festival, which includes a parade, is an annual tradition in San Francisco.
WITH Thanksgiving launching the month-long Holiday Season in the United States, we begin the unofficial long-wait until Christmas, then New Year's, then Martin Luther King Day in January.

The vast majority of Filipino/Americans were raised in the Roman Catholic faith (85%) and even if they are not regular church-goers, they still join in the celebrations of the most holy of days.

The Philippines observes the longest Christmas season, from Sambang Gabi (Night Mass), or Misa de Gallo (Rooster's Mass), a nine-day of early morning masses, all the way through Christmas to the Feast of the Epiphany (Three Kings) on Jan. 6, the Santo Nino celebrations on/around the third Sunday of January. The long holiday season ends with the Feb. 2 observance of the Feast of Our Lady of the Candles, Nuestra Señora de la Purification y Cadelaria, the purification of Mary. (In some cultures, this is called Candlemas.)

One aspect of the Philippines' long celebration of Christmas that is gaining public notice in the United States is the parol, a paper lantern lighting the windows of many Filipino/American windows. The parol lantern is the quintessential Filipino symbol of hope, blessings, luck, peace, and light during the holiday season. It began with a candle but for safety reasons, Filipinos use light bulbs inside the colorful paper lanterns.

In San Francisco, on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, the community will be holding the 13th Annual San Francisco Parol Lantern Festival – a must-see event during the holiday season that is organized by the Filipino-American Development Foundation and Kularts.

Parols can be simple ...
This year, the parol parade and festival will be held in Yerba Buena Lane, Jessie Square and St. Patrick’s Church, the religious center of the Filipino district, South of Market, (SoMa). Participants are expected from over 25 local organizations as well of dozens of individuals with their home-made parole to gather for a lively parade and festival which includes performances, community presentations and the annual Tala Awards for the best parol lanterns.

This year participating contingents who are vying for the Tala Awards are expected to incorporate the theme - "Giving Light to the Future" - in the design of their parol 
... or, ornate as you want.
lanterns and presentation in conjunction with the unveiling of the SoMa Pilipinas, a Filipino Social Heritage Special Use District in San Francisco.

    • To be an official entry in the parole parade and be eligible for a prize, register here.
    • To encourage participation and to bolster the Filipino tradition, the Filipino-American Development  Foundation and Kularts are sponsoring a series of parol-making workshops on Fridays prior to the parade and festival. The workshops started in October but the last workshop is Dec 4. The workshop will be held ad the Bayanihan Communitiy Center, 1010 Mission St., 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Basic supplies are provided but if you want to get fancier or bigger, supplies are available for a fee. If you bring your own lights, they can also help you set up lights inside your parol. The organizers suggest LED Christmas lights for durability and energy-efficiency.

    Thursday, November 26, 2015

    Thanksgiving greetings: You have got to be kidding department

    FILE THIS under the "You have gotta be kidding" department. I don't want to spoil your big ol' meal, but ...

    The NFL team based in  Washington with the racist mascot and whose name we swore to never mention in this blog, just Tweeted out a Happy Thanksgiving greeting.  The  Twitterverse responded quickly:

    More Tweets here.

    The truth and myths about Thanksgiving. My apologies for my international followers. All this probably doesn't make sense to you.

    Everything in perspective. Enjoy the day off.

    Tuesday, November 24, 2015

    Amy Vachal's journey continues on "The Voice's" Top 10

    AMY VACHAL of Team Adam (Levine) may have hit upon a formula for her to go deep in The Voice singing competion. For the second week in a row, she has taken a Top 10 hit and made it her own by it adding her own unique style. The Filipina/American's performance - sometimes unconsciously strumming an imaginary ukulele - was good enough to get her into next week's show for the ten finalists.

    Last week she left behind the old standards that she is so comfortable with and gave Drake's "Hotline Bling" the Amy Vachal treatment. This week she did it again with Taylor Swift's "Blank Space." which she turned into a folksy, more playful version of the chart topper. That's her strength. She didn't try to imitate Swift, but she turned the American Music Awards Song of the Year into her own creation. 

    "Adam came up with the song, it wasn't on any of my lists," Vachal said with a laugh after her performance. "We collaborated and tried a bunch of different songs, and finally he said, 'We are doing this.' I started out playing the guitar, but as an art piece it didn't fit. Still I did get to play air ukulele, and I infused a vintage feel to it." 

    Unlike the other performers who try to reproduce hit songs note by note, Vachal has the talent to turn almost any song into her soft, sweet style. This will do her well  in The Voice because fans begin know whet style to expect from her.

    Amy Vachal sings Taylor Swift.
    Pharrell Wilson, her former coach, said, “The way you are doing these songs, it frames your voice so well.” Coach Adam told her, “I am so proud of you, the way you’ve won this season is taking your own approach to songs. That is the artistry that I love.”He also urged fans to buy Vachal's cover on iTunes, one of the ways fans can vote. Those iTunes votes are multiplied by 10 if the download finishes in the top ten. By the time voting was over, Vachal had the No. 4 downloaded song on the streaming site.

    Blake Shelton, who wanted Vachal on his team, commented, “I love these flips that you guys are doing. That may be my favorite vocal from you so far. To hear the lower register of your voice … I have never heard it so clear and so loud.” 

    Vachal's own coach Adam Levine said, "The way you've won this season is by taking your own approach to songs. You've completely triumphed. I'm as pleased as I could possibly be," said the lead singer for Maroon 5.

    This was the first time Vachal iTune downloads surpassed favorite Jordan Smith, who finished at eighth. Voice contestant Emily Ann Roberts finished tenth. Joining Vachal, Smith and Roberts in the final 10 are: Braiden Sunshine, Zach Seabaugh, Madi Davis, Barrett Baber, Jeffrey Austin, Lorin Bukowski and Shelby Brown. Jeffery Austin went home.

    The competition only gets more tense as the ten remaining singers return next Monday (Nov. 30) to pursue their dreams on another round of The Voice.

    Rep.Ted Lieu grilled by Hot Dog highlights lack of racial diversity on Sunday talk shows

    WHO NEEDS the serious "hhrumph-hhrumph" Sunday talk shows of white-haired Beltway pundits when you've being interviewed by Hot Dog, a puppet?

    Rep. Ted Lieu of California joined Hot Dog to discuss the biggest problem facing young voters. Hot Dog also grilled the Congressman on using Bitcoin to purchase endangered animals, and airplane mode vs. à la mode.

    Lieu, from Torrance, California, represents the 33rd Congressional District which encompasses the Southern California coastal communities, from Malibu to Long Beach.

    Hmmm. I don't know how this "interview" was arranged, but Fusion's Hot Dog's viewership is typically your young adult or teen, the demographic sometimes called the Millennials. I guess if you want to reach that age group, you can't expect to reach them via the traditional media. You have to go where they hang out. It's an unusual setting for an establishment politician but that's a pretty crafty strategy for the 46-year-old Asian/American Stanford grad.

    Speaking of the Sunday talk shows, why do they seem to overlook our Asian/American politicians when discussing weighty subjects?

    On the four broadcast shows and CNN, white men represented a majority of all guests, according to a 2014 Media Matters report.

    The report states: 60 percent on This Week, 67 percent on Face the Nation, 67 percent on Fox News Sunday, 62 percent on Meet the Press, and 54 percent on State of the Union. 

    On Up and Melissa Harris-Perry, white men represented a plurality of guests at 42 percent and 27 percent, respectively. Melissa Harris-Perry deserves special mention for having a much more diverse guest list than the other programs; 26 percent of guests were African-American women, 20 percent were African-American men, and 16 percent were white women. Up also featured significantly more women and people of color than CNN or the broadcast shows.

    Asian/American, Latino and Middle Eastern guests continued to rank in the single digits or not at all among every show. The lack of Asian/American talking heads on these panels or round tables contributes to Asian/America's invisibility. 

    Unfortunately, no similar data was collected for Hot Dog.

    Monday, November 23, 2015

    Amy Vachal needs your votes on "The Voice" tonight

    Amy Vachal
    BEFORE she was "discovered" and auditioned for The Voice, Amy Vachal was playing the small cafes in Manhattan and Brooklyn. 

    In the accompanying video, the Filipina/American singer performed La Vie en Rose made famous by the famous French chanteuse Edith Piaf. Take this song as a fitting tribute to Parisians, still suffering from the terrorist attacks from last weekend.

    After barely scraping by in the Knockout rounds where she had to be "saved" by her coach, the New Jersey-raised Vachal was able to get enough viewer votes last week to make it to the Top 11 this week.

    Even though the soft, sultry jazz style of the singer has impressed the judges, the American voting audience appears to favor the more familiar religious, country or blues singing of the other contestants so Vachal will need all the votes she can get from us.

    The fate of the remaining performers on the show is now left in the hands of the viewing audience. You Asian/American social networkers out there - and I know that there are lot of you in greater proportion to our population percentage - should get busy on the keyboards tonight and vote for Amy so she can make it to the finals in December.

    The Voice airs tonight, 8 p.m./7 p.m. central on NBC.

    How to vote on "The Voice"

    There is a strict 14-hour voting window from the end of the show (between 9:55 p.m. ET to 12 p.m. ET the following day). That seems unfair for the voters on the West Coast because their voting period is done at 9 p.m. PST.  Voters from Hawaii, where Vachal receives a lot of support have an even shorter period to vote. Each person can vote up to 40 times total (10 votes per each of the four ways).

    1. iTunes: downloading a song counts as 10 votes. (Bonus: if it reaches the top ten on the charts it gets multiplied by 10.) (1 download per person = 10 votes)

    2. Facebook: vote on The Voice Facebook page via this link. (up to 10 times per person total)

    3. The App : Download The Voice App on your phone (up to 10 times total)

    4. : (up to 10 times total) #TheVoice

    Sunday, November 22, 2015

    Glenn lives - for now

    The old hiding-under-the-dumpster trick saves Glenn's life.
    WHEW! You can all exhale now. That was a close one. It took four episodes but we finally know that our Asian/American hero, Glenn Rhee, (Stephen Yeun) survived. As many of you surmised, Glenn slipped under the dumpster to escape the hungry zombies. The guts we saw being eaten by the undead were the intestines of Nicholas.

    That meant four weeks of agony, speculation and grief counseling.

    As we breathe a sigh of relief, it may be only a temporary reprieve. Followers of the comic books know that Negan, one of the show's worst villains is about to be introduced. 


    In the comic book, Negan kills Glenn by bashing his head in with a baseball bat. Is that that be the same fate of the TV show's Glenn? Let's hope not. 

    The television show has diverted from the comic book plot several times in the past and has allowed characters live on that were killed off in the pulp version. i.e.. Carol and 

    Besides, he is one of the few genuinely good guys in the show. His wife Maggie is pregnant. Their family represents hope in a bleak world without hope.  "We're not supposed to let the world die," he says in the latest episode.

    Besides, Glenn may be the only Asian/American left on the entire planet. Really! In the six seasons of the show, he has been the only one! 

    Which gives rise to the far-out theory that Asians may be genetically immune to the zombie disease and are all hiding out somewhere. I don't think very highly about that theory, but anything is possible.

    All the other characters are flawed to varying degrees. In a way, even though they are alive, they've become ... the walking dead. 

    All you social networkers out there, keep Tweeting, texting, emailing the show. #SaveGlenn, #KeepGlennAlive, #PizzaForAll

    UPDATE (NOV. 23): I really need to commend the Walking Dead writers and producers for creating a true interactive experience between the show and its audience. The grief, confusion and speculation came through the TV screen to give us fans a roller-coaster ride of emotions, the like I have rarely experienced.

    Shortly after his appearance in "Talking Dead," Steven Yeun's Twitter account was reactivated.

    “It proves this world can take the story of the good guy winning sometimes,” The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun told Talking Dead tonight of the reaction of the seemingly apparent death of his Glenn Rhee character on October 25’s show. As fans of the AMC series learned tonight on the penultimate episode of 2015, Yeun’s Glenn is not dead.