Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Survey: Financial preferences of Asian/American families


By Louis Chan
Reprinted from AsAm News
A new online survey of 2,000 self-identified Asian/Americans found retirement and family are particularly important in the AAPI community.

The survey conducted by Harris Poll for Prudential Financial from June 19 through July 21 found 25 percent believe taking care of family members is a financial priority versus 15 percent of the general population. 33
 percent serve as caretakers for another family member or special needs child versus 21 percent of the general population surveyed. 20 percent provide financial assistance to their relatives versus 6% of the general population.

“America is more diverse than ever, which means we need to understand the unique financial situations faced by such communities as Asian/Americans,” said Sri Reddy, senior vice president and head of Full Service Investments at Prudential Retirement. “Taking the time to partner with and learn about what they value and need is imperative for us to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to achieve their financial goals.”

The age Asian/Americans expect to retire is 64.6, 15 months earlier than the general population. In fact, retirement is the top financial priority among the Asian/Americans surveyed.

Asian/Americans are a diverse community and within the Asian American community are many differences, the survey found.

  • Chinese/Americans are older, less likely to have children and less likely to have larger households. They are self-described savers, have a higher educational level and more professional careers.
  • India/Americans are more likely to be born outside the United States and more likely to be married. As with Chinese/Americans, they are self-described savers, have a higher educational level and more professional careers.
  • Vietnamese/Americans are less likely to have children and more likely to have smaller households. They are in line with most Asian/American when it comes to their finances.
  • Filipino/Americans tend to come from larger households which are more likely to include extended family members. They are more religious and also more likely to have a higher volume of debt.
  • Korean/Americans are younger, more likely to be receiving support from family in retirement and less likely to be a caregiver for others.
  • Japanese/Americans are older and more likely to be born in the U.S. They are less likely to be caregivers or attend religious services.
You can read the entire report here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A century ago: A dinner celebrating the Philippines - without Filipino food

IF YOU'VE EVER BEEN to a Filipino household, the first or second question you're asked as you slip off your shoes, is: "Have you eaten?"

Right away, even if you are not hungry, you're swept to the kitchen table and fed whatever is on the stove or something from the fridge that can be heated up right away. You'd be wise not to refuse a helping or two if you don't want to risk offending the host or hostess.

That's why it was curious to note that 100 years ago today (Aug. 20), one of the first official State dinners held in Washington D.C occurred ... and there was no Filipino food!!!! That says a lot about the tenor of the times and the relationship between the U.S. and its newly acquired colony in the far side of the Pacific.

It seems stranger still because today, Filipino cuisine is enjoying a moment in foodie circles, spurred on by the success of food trucks, pop-up restaurants and the efforts of the Filipino Food Movement, a group trying to push Filipino food beyond the traditional boundaries of the turo-turo (literally: "point-point) markets and mom-and-pop restaurants.
The Food Movement's event, Savor Filipino (more on this in an upcoming post) is augmented by the rise of some restaurants that have garnered the attention of food critics, including Maharlika in New York City and D.C.'s Bad Saint was named the second-best new restaurant in the country by Bon App├ętit.
EDITOR'S NOTE: There are so many Filipino restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles area that the debate can go on-and-on which one is the best. It is like asking which is the best Chinese restaurant? It is impossible to reach a consensus, it seems everyone has their favorite. Readers, tell me: Which and where is the Best Filipino Restaurant?
Researching the history of Filipinos in Washington is a hobby for Erwin Tiongson, a professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and his wife, Titchie Carandang-Tiongson. 

Their effort to recreate the historic dinner was featured in the Washington Post recently:
It was a marvelous dinner. One hundred guests, many of whom were senators or generals. An ornate banquet room in the Willard Hotel and floral arrangements of magnolias, dahlias and lilies of the valley. There was chicken Perigueux and potato Lorette, ham and an array of salads, and, for dessert, a peach mousse and petits fours. The date? Aug. 30, 1916.
One hundred years ago, this grand party at the Willard was thrown by Manuel L. Quezon, the resident commissioner who represented the Philippines in the United States, which acquired the colony following the Spanish-American War. But the Jones Act of 1916, authored by Virginia congressman William Jones, established America’s commitment to the Philippines’ independence and structured its legislature. The bill had been signed that morning, and the next morning, Quezon would depart for Manila. The dinner was his farewell.
Researching the history of Filipinos in Washington is a hobby for Erwin Tiongson, a professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and his wife, Titchie Carandang-Tiongson. It’s an effort “to make Filipino-American history a little bit more tangible and immediate to people who care about those things, including our two children,” Tiongson said.
They first learned of the dinner in a coffee-table book and then dug through old Filipino newsletters and magazines, encountering lengthy accounts of the dinner, recalling all of the speeches, the gifts, the aforementioned flower arrangements and the menu. Along with Hank Hendrickson, executive director of the US Philippines Society, they realized that they had enough information to reenact the dinner on its centennial. The menu, which was printed in French in the Philippine Review, was as follows:
Reenacting the dinner is a more immersive way for the embassy’s guests — which will include Jones’s descendants — to experience the era they are celebrating.
“You’re getting a chance to experience living in it rather than reading about it,” said Bruce Reynolds, president of the Culinary Historians of Washington D.C. Dishes from 100 years ago weren’t radically different from what we eat now, though “cooking today, I’d say, has more layers of flavor.”
Did that little introduction whet your appetite? To read the rest of the article, click here. 

AAPI volunteers sought for November election

AALDEF volunteers have been monitoring key election polls in recent elections.
ONE OF THE signature projects of the Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund is the Election Day monitoring and Asian American exit poll. 

"We're still looking for nonpartisan volunteers in 14 states to monitor polling places in the 2016 elections to be sure that all eligible Asian Americans can exercise their right to vote on Nov. 8," said AALDEF executive director Margaret Fung.  "Join us for a training session, and then help us to protect voting rights on Election Day!"

Although relatively small in number, in some key states, Asian/American voters could possibly be the difference-maker this November. The states AALDEF is targetting are: California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

There is a fear that some states will use some tactics that will suppress voter turnout of people of color, ie. purposely having fewer polling places resulting in hours-long lines, asking for additional identification, proof of address or citizenship or just having some unsavory characters hanging around polling places trying to intimidate would-be voters.

Following is from the AALDEF website:

In past elections, Asian Americans have faced a series of barriers in exercising their right to vote, including segregated "Asian" voting lines. When the news media reported on election results, Asian Americans were often overlooked. In response, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) has conducted a non-partisan exit poll of Asian American voters to document Asian American voting patterns and document instances of anti-Asian voter disenfranchisement. 

AALDEF has monitored the elections for compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act, which mandates bilingual ballots and forbids anti-Asian voter discrimination. In the 2012 elections, 850 volunteers polled 9,096 Asian American voters in 14 states and Washington, DC.

We are recruiting volunteers in the following states to work in 3-hour shifts on Election Day:
California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

There will be a one-hour training session for all volunteers in October (90 minutes for CLE credits). All AALDEF volunteers must be non-partisan during the time they are at polling places on Election Day. Please complete the form at and join us in protecting voting rights. Thank you!

For more information, contact:

  • Jerry Vattamala, Democracy Program Director
  • Iris Zalun, Voting Rights Organizer
  • 800-966-5946 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Historic bill giving farmworkers overtime equity goes to governor

LARRY ITLIIONG and Cesar Chavez, the late founders of the United Farm Workers, would have been pleased. 

The California Assembly passed AB1066 - the bill that gives farmworkers the same overtime rights as other workers. If signed, it would be the first in the nation. All that it needs to make it a law is Gov. Jerry Brown's signature.

"Proud that the Assembly helped promote more justice, equity, fairness and dignity today by passing overtime for our hard-working and invaluable farmworkers," said Assemblymember Rob Bonta, chair of the API Legislative Caucus. 

Brown hasn't indicated where he stands on the issue. Despite signing the landmark Agricultural Labor Relations Act when he was governor before, from 1975 to 1983, and the former seminarian has frequently mentioned his close friendship with Cesar Chavez, during his current stint as governor, he has sided with agribusiness and vetoed legislation that the UFW supported.

An earlier version of the bill failed to garner enough votes in the Assembly but with a few tweaks that gave small farmers more time to phase in the overtime rules, Ab1066 was able to garner enough votes to pass, 44-32.

“Right now, under current law, we’re telling our farmworkers, ‘You are different than other workers. You are less than other workers. You are less valued and less valuable,’” said Bonta, whose parents organized Central Valley farmworkers for the UFW.

The bill proposes that the state phase in time-and-a-half pay for farm laborers who exceed eight hours in one day by 2022 on large farms and by 2025 for farms with 25 or fewer employees
. Like other workers, farmworkers would be paid overtime if they work more than eight hours in a day or more than 40 hours in a week. It would affect about 400,000 agricultural workers. 

"We're asking for equality, eventually. It starts today however,” said Assemblymember Lorena Gonzales, one of the co-authors of AB1066.

To help persuade lawmakers sitting on the fence, the UFW brought hundreds of farmworkers today (Aug, 29) to the Capitol to help lobby for the measure.

Today's agricultural labor force is shifted dramatically since the days of the UFW's birth. It is more overwhelmingly Latino now compared to the 1960s when Filipinos instigated the 1965 Grape Strike. Most of the aged Filipino workers have retired. The Asian farmworkers have had their numbers n bolstered recently by new Hmong and Sikh immigrants in the Central Valley.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

12-year old going to Cornell

Texas Tech University
Jeremy Schuler and his parents at his high school graduation.
WHEN freshmen start school at Cornell University on Sept. 5, they might be surprised at seeing Jeremy Shuler in class with them. Jeremy is from Grand Prairie, Texas. He likes playing Minecraft, the Divergent franchise and the Diary of Wimpy Kid. He also likes math.
Jeremy is 12-years old.
Just a few months ago, he graduated from high school at Texas Tech University Independent School District, an online education program.
"Early on we realized Jeremy wasn't really ordinary," parents Harrey and Andy Shuler, both aerospace engineers, told Texas Tech Today. While the two have impressive academic backgrounds themselves, they're quick to admit that their son is "much smarter than either of us, for sure." 
At age 2 Jeremy was reading books — in English and Korean. By 5, he was studying pre-calculus, and when he took the SAT at age 10, he placed in the 99.6 percentile for all college-bound seniors that year. He also tested as "profoundly gifted" on the WISC-IV — an IQ test for children — with a score of 156, his parents told CNBC.
Instead of staying in the dorms like other freshmen, Jeremy will be allowed to live with his parents. To make Cornell a little bit more comfortable, Jeremy's father go reassigned to an office in Ithaca so the family can stay together. 
Jeremy plans to major in applied and engineering physics and minor in mathematics. For the fall semester he plans to take courses in multivariable calculus, physics in mechanics and spatial relativity, Introduction to Computing with MATLAB and introduction to linguistics or intermediate Latin, depending on his Latin placement test result.

"Uncle" Bob Santos dies; credited for saving Seattle's International District

Joe Mabel 
Seattle  community activist "Uncle" Bob Santos passed away Saturday at the age of 82.

Reprinted from AsAm News

A FILIPINO/AMERICAN who forged friendships with African/American, Latino and Native American leaders in the 60’s and 70’s and is credited with saving Seattle’s Chinatown International District died yesterday, Aug. 27, at the age of 82.

Bob Santos was known as everybody’s uncle, said Seattle’s Mayor Ed Murray to the Seattle Times.

“Bob Santos touched countless lives across every race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and age in Seattle. “He was everyone’s ‘uncle’ because of his universal and unwavering friendship, and he was a hero to many marginalized Seattleites who he tirelessly advocated for … and our city is much greater because of his life.”

He was part of the so-called Gang of Four which included Santos, African/American leader Larry Gossett, Latino activist Roberto Maestas and Native American leader Bernie Whitebear.

“It’s a great loss,” said Gossett, 71, the only surviving member of the Gang of Four. “When we celebrate his life, it’s going to be a life worth celebrating.”

When redevelopment threatened to carve up and destroy the International District, it was Santos who headed the Seattle Chinatown/International District Preservation Authority.

“We had to be alert to the kind of development that would have destroyed the community,” Santos said in 2005. “You don’t see a prison, a work-release center, an energy-treatment plan. We were able to build housing for seniors and working families.

“Without Uncle Bob’s voice and leadership, I think the neighborhood would probably have been gentrified out of existence,” said Ron Chew, director of the International Community Health Services Foundation. “You wouldn’t see the rich, unique character that shines through.”

Check back later for details for the services being planned for Bob Santos.
(Views from the Edge contributed to this report.)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Health: Boba may be bad for you

Those who love these boba drinks should cut back, say health advocates.

OH, NO! Boba drinks can lead to diabetes. The popular sweet drink, also known as Bubble Drinks, which has those tapioca balls floating around in them, can have up to 36 grams of sugar, or as much as a can of Coke.

Too much sugar in your diet can cause diabetes. Medical experts have already warned us about too much white rice can lead to Type 2 diabetes. Sugary drinks are the single biggest source of dietary calories and a major contributor to Type 2 diabetes.

“There’s a model minority myth for public health: If you’re skinny, you’re healthy,” says Scott Chan, program director of the Asian Pacific Islander Obesity Prevention Alliance, one of the groups behind a “Rethink Your Asian Drink” campaign.
RELATED: Study says white rice can lead to Type 2 diabetes 
While Asian Americans have a rate of diabetes at 10 percent (compared with 7 percent of whites) a recent study by the National Institute of Health (NIH) shared that more than half of Asian Americans with diabetes are undiagnosed.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are:
Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons)Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons)
Americans consume 200 to 300 more calories each day than we did 30 years ago, says the Alliance on its website. Nearly half of these extra calories come from sugar-sweetened drinks. More calories mean extra weight. One can of soda a day can add up to 10 pounds or more of weight gain in a year. But what happens when we look beyond just mainstream drinks like soda?

It's not just boba drinks. All those fruity drinks sold at many of the Asian groceries are just as bad. Many people know drinking soda everyday is not good for your health, but Asian drinks can be just as bad. For example, boba milk tea can have as many calories as a McDonalds double cheeseburger.

Friday, August 26, 2016

TGIF FEATURE: "The Rock," Jackie Chan tops list of highest paid iactors

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, left, and Jackie Chan have reason to smile since they top the highest paid actor list.

Reprinted from AsAm News
SIX OF THE highest paid actors in the world are of Asian and Pacific Islander descent, according to a list released by Forbes.

Of the seven, only one is American. Dwayne Johnson whose mother is Samoan and father is African/American, is the highest paid actor in the world. He earned $64.5 million in 2015 for his roles in Fast & Furious 7 and San Andreas

Johnson was born in Hayward, CA and has dual American and Canadian citizenship.

The prevalence of so many non-Americans on the list is perhaps an indication of the growing clout of international markets in the movie industry.

Right behind Johnson in earnings is martial arts megastar Jackie Chan. His 2015 films included Dragon Blade and Monkey King: Hero is Back. He also produced Who Am I 2015. The Hong Kong star earned $61 million.

Shah Rukh Khan from India ranked eighth among the highest paid actors in the world with a take of $33 million. He is known as the king of Bollywood and starred in the comedy Dilwale.

Rounding out the top 10 highest paid actors list is Indian/Canadian Akshay Kumar. He took in $31.5 million for his roles in Baby, Hey Bro, Gabbar is Back, Brothers and Singh is Bling.

Fan Bing Bing starred in four movies in 2015 and earned $17 million. That was enough to rank 5th among the top 10 highest paid actresses in the world. None of the Chinese actress’ movies were widely distributed in the United States.

Deepika Padukone is an Indian actress who placed 10th among the highest paid actresses in the world. She earned $10 million for her roles in My Choice, Piku, Tamasha and Bajirao Mastani. She’s set to appear in XXX: Return of Xander Cage in 2017 with Vin Diesel.

The listing of the highest paid actors and actresses in the world runs counter to the popular Hollywood belief that AAPI-led movies are not profitable, an excuse that rings hollow as the American motion picture industry tries to market to the rest of the world.
(Views from the Edge contributed to this report.) 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Police crackdown on Asian/American street gang nets 23 arrests

A POLICE crackdown on a Vietnamese street gang operating out of the San Francisco Bay Area resulted in 23 arrests, recovery of 69 gambling machines, 420 lbs of marijuana, one alligator and possibly, the end of the career of one law enforcement officer.
San Jose police Chief Eddie Garcia, joined by representatives of the FBI and DEA, detailed the multi-agency operation in a Wednesday news conference Wednesday, one day after the shocking announcement of the arrest of Officer Derrick Antonio for allegedly collaborating with gang members.
"We've been hearing about the Vietnamese gangs and illegal activities in coffee shops for a long time, and I'm glad they arrested these people," City Councilman Manh Nguyen told the San Jose Mercury News. "I'm calling for Vietnamese residents to fully cooperate with the police to fight crime."

Garcia described the investigation, dubbed "Operation Gang of Thrones," that began last March and drew in assistance from the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office, Milpitas Police Department, Santa Clara Police Department, Orange County Sheriff's Office, and the Louisiana State Police, which served search warrants and arrest warrants at various locations in the cities of San Jose, Santa Clara, Milpitas, Fremont, Anaheim, and an undisclosed location in the State of Louisiana.

This collaborative investigation resulted in the arrest of 23 suspects who are known members or associates of a criminal street gang in San Jose. The suspects were booked into the Santa Clara County Jail on charges ranging from extortion, public corruption, narcotic trafficking, assault, illegal gun possession, and conspiracy. Two of the suspects were arrested in Anaheim, California, by the Orange County Sheriff's Office. There are 6 suspects at large for various felonies, including; Conspiracy, Accessory After the Fact, Narcotics and Gambling.

A total of 34 search warrants were served during this investigation in California and one in Louisiana. The following evidence was seized:
  • 5 handguns
  • 69 illegal gambling machines
  • Over $200,000 in US Currency
  • Body armor, jewelry, phones, computers, and financial records
  • Investigators also recovered over 4000 Ecstasy pills, 300 Xanax pills, 200 Molly tablets, illegal steroids, over 600 pounds of Marijuana (420 lbs of which was seized by the Louisiana State Police in transit from San Jose)
  • Several vehicles were also seized; which included one with a hidden compartment containing $100,000
  • One 4-foot long alligator
During the course of the investigation, SJPD was alerted to the possible criminal involvement of a San Jose Police Officer. Upon learning this information, SJPD took immediate action by implementing extraordinary investigative measures to determine the extent of the officer's involvement in this criminal investigation.

The investigation revealed that SJPD Officer Derrick Antonio, a 9-1/2 year veteran, was providing confidential law enforcement information to members of a criminal street gang in San Jose. The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office reviewed the investigation and issued warrants for Officer Antonio's arrest on charges that he leaked sensitive information to the gang members.

On Monday, Aug. 22, Officer Antonio was arrested in the City of San Jose by members of the SJPD's Criminal Investigations Detail. He was booked into the Santa Clara County Jail on the above charges. Officer Antonio has been on paid administrative leave since June 2016."

"Today is a sad day for all of us who proudly and honorably don our SJPD uniform each day to serve the residents of our city," reads a statement from the San Jose Police Officers' Association. "If the accusations leveled against Derrick Antonio are found to be true, then he ought to be held accountable for his actions and for disparaging our profession."

The fate of the pet alligator was not clarified in the press conference.


Human trafficking ring busted in southern California; 28 victims

The suspects who allegedly operated a sex-trafficking operation, are, from top left, clockwise: Jiuyin Cu, Hsin Chieh “Jerry” Wang, Runan Xia, Yiwen Wang and Defung Hu

A HUMAN TRAFFICKING ring that forced at least 25 Chinese women into prostitution in motels across Southern California, where they earned millions of dollars for their alleged captors, was busted this month and five people were arrested, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday. 

After a six-month investigation, the local, state and federal law enforcement agencies took the five suspects, all described as Chinese nationals, into custody Aug. 4 for their alleged involvement in a human trafficking sex operation taking place in Ventura County and eight other counties.

"Commercial sex is nothing short of modern-day slavery," said Undersheriff Gary Pentis at a news conference in Thousand Oaks. He added that such operations are pervasive. "This is a hideous crime that has an impact on all of us."

The five suspects who were arrested in connection with operating and controlling the operation were identified by the authorities as 40-year-old Hsin Chieh "Jerry" Wang of Covina, 33-year-old Defung Hu of San Gabriel, 42-year-old Yiwen Wang of Covina, 63-year-old Jiuyin Cui of Rosemead, and, 32-year-old Runan Xia of Alambra.

In February of 2016, members of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office, Oxnard Police Department and the Ventura County District Attorney's Office conducted prostitution stings at local motels in Ventura County. The stings were aimed at targeting advertisements for sex found on the social website  Following the stings, detectives identified a potential victim of human trafficking and uncovered evidence revealing a larger group was operating across the region.  
RELATED: Faces of human trafficking may look familiar
A task force was formed from local, state, and federal agencies to gather additional evidence. The investigation revealed a sophisticated human trafficking network responsible for trafficking women for the purpose of commercial sex.  The network was run much like a corporation and investigators identified five members of the organization.    

Wang was identified as the head of the human trafficking ring.  Wang oversaw the organization and worked with a Defeng Hu.  Hu coordinated the transportation and lodging of the victims at various motels in nine California counties.  Hu was identified as the network's dispatcher and took calls from hundreds of men each month who were answering sexually explicit ads found on  Hu negotiated sex with the men and directed them to motel rooms occupied by the victims. 

The "sex for money" transactions ranged from $100 to $160 dollars and proceeds from the crimes were laundered through as many as 50 bank accounts at nine financial institutions. Investigators obtained substantial evidence showing that Jerry Wang and Defeng Hu were responsible for running the overall network and benefiting from the proceeds. Investigators also determined that Jerry Wang's sister, Yiwen Wang, laundered the illicit proceeds from the commercial sex by investing in real estate.  

Franchise Tax Board investigators determined that Hu and Yiwen Wang both failed to report the illicit income earned from the human trafficking ring on their state income taxes.  

Jiuyin Cui and Runan Xia were responsible for transporting women between the different motels in the nine California counties and for maintaining the motel rooms. They also provided the bare necessities for the victims, which included food, water and toiletries.

Detectives identified approximately 28 victims in central and southern California. All of the victims were identified as Chinese women in their 30s and 40s, who were in the country for a short time on what appeared to be legitimate visas for tourists or students.  

After arriving in the country, some of the victims relinquished their passports to members of the human trafficking organization.  Most of the victims spoke little or no English and they were placed in motels and areas that were often unfamiliar to them. 

Once placed in a motel, they rarely came out of their rooms for any reason.  The victims were expected to engage in commercial sex acts from early in the morning until late at night, every day, as directed by Hu.  During the investigation, some victims were found to have also been victims of physical abuse and robbery by commercial sex customers.  Hu compelled the women to continue providing commercial sex acts despite their repeated objections and requests to stop working. 

The victims continuously incurred debt as they were forced to pay the drivers, Cui and Xia, for transportation between motels, motel room costs, food, and in some cases, the advertisements on the Internet placed by Wang and Hu.

Investigators executed search warrants and arrested the five subjects on Aug. 4. Bail for each suspect was set at $5-million by the Ventura County Superior Court. 

At the same time as the arrests, investigators from the FBI, local law enforcement agencies and victim services advocates from local agencies contacted eight victims who were actively operating out of motels throughout central and southern California.  The victims were offered services, including food, shelter, transportation, clothing and medical services.  

In addition to the arrests, investigators seized approximately $350,000 in cash at the various locations, froze bank accounts containing approximately $730,000, a car valued at $30,000 and froze three residential properties valued at approximately $1.8 million.  These assets were frozen because investigators believed they were profits from the criminal organization and as a result of money laundering.       

For more information on human trafficking, go to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center website.

Top student files complaint vs. Cornell, Columbia after being denied admission

Hubert Zhao
By Louis Chan
Reprinted from AsAm News

A CHINESE/AMERICAN student from Orlando with a 5.3 weighted GPA has filed a complaint against Cornell and Columbia Universities after being rejected for admission.

Hubert Zhao is a National Merit Scholarship winner and was president and captain of his high school’s Science Olympiad, Debate, and Science Bowl teams.

The Asian American Coalition for Education has written a letter to the U.S. Department of Education asking for a full investigation into Zhao’s complaint.

“What happened to Hubert Zhao is another example of the widespread and systematic illegal discrimination against Asian American students by many colleges,” AACE wrote in its letter. “The members of AACE are outraged by such blatant discrimination. Tens of thousands of talented Asian American children are treated as second-class citizens who are less 'diverse' solely because of their race.”

Hubert is the son of Yukong Zhao, the president of AACE which has filed numerous discrimination complaints against top schools across the country. The letter implies Hubert was rejected in retaliation for his father’s activism.

RELATED: Who is really behind complaint against Ivy League colleges?
The group also pointed out that out of Zhao’s class of 700 students, only he and an unnamed Indian/American student were named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists. Neither were accepted to any top 20 schools while others of other racial groups in their class were.

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court found no discrimination against Asian Americans in holistic admissions used by Ivy League schools and the University of Texas. 
AACE also weighed in against affirmative action in the Supreme Court case of Fisher v. University of Texas. The U.S. Supreme Court sided with the U. of Texas. 
RELATED: Asian/Americans support affirmative action
Last summer, the Department of Education rejected a discrimination complaint filed against Harvard. Two months later, a similar complaint against Princeton also was rejected.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer announces his retirement

Nick Ut with the photo that impacted Americans' view of the Vietnam War.
Reprinted from AsAm News
AFTER 51 years with the Associated Press, Nick Ut says he will retire in March of next year, reports Ahn Do of the Los Angeles Times.

Ut, 66, is best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning 1972 photograph of a naked Vietnamese girl running in terror after being badly burned by napalm.

Today Ut is a fixture at many of Los Angeles’ biggest stories including the Michael Jackson, OJ Simpson and Night Stalker trials.

“I’m a lucky guy,” said Ut. “They knew my picture and they welcomed me. That picture gave me respect and allowed me to keep doing my job.” After 51 years with the Associated Press, Nick Ut says he will retire in March of next year, reports the L.A. Times.

Today Ut is a fixture at many of Los Angeles’ biggest stories including the Michael Jackson, OJ Simpson and Night Stalker trials.

Nick Ut/Associated Press
Nick Ut's famous photo showing Kim Phuc Phan  and other children running away from a napalm attack.

“I’m a lucky guy,” said Ut. “They knew my picture and they welcomed me. That picture gave me respect and allowed me to keep doing my job.”

The napalm girl was later identified as Kim Phuc Phan. The two remain friends to this day. It was Ut who took her and some of the other children to the hospital before he ran back to AP to develop his photos.

“Kim’s picture continue making me famous,” he said.

“That photograph is more powerful than bombs,” Phuc said this summer at a Los Angeles Press Club gala, presenting a career achievement award to her “Uncle Ut.”

After the fall of Saigon in 1975, Ut was assigned to Tokyo where he remained until his arrival in the United States two years later.
(Views from the Edge contributed to this report.)

HBO sponsors Asian Pacific American Visionaries Short Film Competition

DO YOU THINK that someone has noticed the rising number of Asian/American directors helming some of today's commercially successful and critically acclaimed movies?

Maybe that's why HBO is launching a talent search especially directed at AAPI filmmakers.

"At a time when the most personal of stories are also the most universal, the diversity of our storytellers is more important than ever," stated Jackie Gagne, VP Multicultural Marketing at HBO. "Our competition is designed to celebrate the unique experiences and unsung talent that exist within the Asian Pacific American community."

Sure, we have a ways to go to achieve any sort of parity, but we also have to admit, Hollywood has never seen this level of influence of Asian and AAPI directors and producers.

A lot of it has to do with America's moviemakers trying to make their product more appealing to the Asian market, which if it reaches its potential, would dwarf the American market. Along the way, studios led by decision-makers unfamiliar with Asia, have made some embarrassing, and frankly, stupid, mistakes.
At any rate, studios can no longer say there isn't any talent among AAPI filmmakers, Just to name a few:  Justin Lin (Star Trek Beyond and Fast & Furious), Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding), Ang Lee (Life of Pi and the forthcoming Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, John Chu (Crazy Rich Asians), James Wan (Aquaman), Taiki Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok), Wayne Wang (Joy Luck Club, Because of Winn Dixie), Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham, Paris, Je T'aime), James Wan (The Conjuring) and Cary Fukunaga (Beasts of No Nation & he's in negotiations for HBO's Napoleon).

HBO Asian Pacific American Visionaries is a short film competition sponsored by Home Box Office, Inc. (“HBO”) that provides emerging directors of Asian and/or Pacific Islander descent (one with origins in any of the peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, Indian subcontinent or Pacific Islands (e.g., China, India, Japan, Korea, the Philippine Islands and Samoa) the opportunity to showcase their work.

Judged by HBO executives and a panel of industry experts, the competition seeks to identify cinematic storytellers who offer unique perspectives of the Asian Pacific American experience.

Three films will be selected to make their premiere at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival in April 2017 and offered the opportunity to license their film to premiere exclusively on HBO (and/or its on-demand, digital and/or social platforms) during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May 2017.

Winners will be announced in January 2017. Film premieres will be at HBO's sole discretion.

To help publicize the contest, HBO has produced a promotional video, below, featuring Silicon Valley star Jimmy O. Yang encouraging AAPI directors to submit their films.

"It's inspiring to see a global entertainment brand like HBO take a leadership role in creating opportunities for Asian Pacific American filmmakers," said Francis Cullado, executive director of Visual Communications, the organization that produces the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. "The exposure provided for the winners of this competition is truly incredible and worthy of our community's full support."

Monday, August 22, 2016

Vincent Rodriguez III celebrates first anniversary with his husband

VINCENT RODRIGUEZ III, who plays Josh Chan in the incredibly entertaining television show, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, celebrated his first anniversary at the place where he made his proposal -- Disneyland.

He took his husband, Gregory Wright, back to the Happiest Place On Earth, Sunday (Aug. 21) where he popped the question on Aug. 23, last year.

Rodriguez shared a collage of the weekend to Instagram to commemorate the special occasion:

Awww! Who knew the Filipino/American actor was such a big fan of the Magic Kingdom?
CEG has started filming its second season. According to Rodriguez, the first season was just a "prologue."

“There’s talk that season 1 was actually a prologue to the story,” Rodriguez said at the PEOPLE and EW Upfronts party in New York City last week. “At the season finale of season 1, it was like, ‘Now the story’s going to actually start.’ So that’s what’s exciting about season 2: all that stuff that happened in season 1, that was just the precursor. Now what’s going to happen? From what I’ve heard, it’s pretty exciting.”

Less we forget, the character Josh who Rodriguez portrays on CEG, is Filipino/American and that opened the door for TV's first historic depiction of a Filipino/American family, accents and all.

But before we get to the second season, there's next month's Emmy Awards, where CEG was nominated in several categories, including Outstanding Choreography in a musical number that featured Rodriguez as the four members of a boy band. (You have to see it to appreciate it.).


Turns out, 'Superstore's' Filipino/American character is undocumented

Reprinted from AsAm News
FOR THE FIRST TIME on network TV, a regular character is being depicted as an undocumented immigrant, reports the Inquirer.

Filipino/American Nico Santos plays Mateo on the NBC comedy Superstore, which already broke ground by introducing Mateo as gay.

In the Olympic episode which aired recently in prime time right after the Olympics' closing ceremony, Mateo learns for the first time he is undocumented.

Nico Santos
It’s a good bet Superstore will return to this plot line in the future, although NBC has not confirmed this.

RELATED: Asians-on-TV revolution continues into 2016
Define American, a nonprofit which strives to improve the portrayal of immigration in the media, posted the above clip on YouTube. In the description beneath the video, Define American wrote:

“On the premiere of season 2 of NBC sitcom, Superstore, Mateo, a gay character from the Philippines, discovers that he is an undocumented immigrant. In humorous form, he discovers that the green card he has is fake. This strains an already contentious relationship with Glenn, his manager. While Mateo tries to convey this fact to Glenn, his boss; he is supported enthusiastically without real comprehension about his status.”