“People are surprised — bewildered, really — at PSY’s popularity abroad,” says Susan Kang, chief evangelist for Soompi.com, the mammoth online site dedicated to Korean pop music. “You have people saying, ‘We have all these beautiful guys and girls that have tried to break through to the U.S. market with little success. So why PSY?’ But of course they are embracing it to the fullest, and it’s causing a renewed interest in and respect for his music.”
“People who say Lin is an opportunist expected him to be a meek, quiet Asian man who wouldn’t cause waves,” says Jae-Ha Kim, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. “This discussion about what he’s worth is insulting. Clearly these teams aren’t offering him this money out of the goodness of their hearts. And for what it’s worth, I’m a Bulls fan — I’ll just miss seeing Spike Lee go nuts over Lin.”
When my Op-Ed piece on Jeremy Lin ran in the Chicago Tribune, a lot of people wrote in to comment about their own experiences growing up. More than a few questioned the veracity of my experiences. Here are just some of the comments that the Tribune published.
Jeremy Lin is riding a well-deserved wave of goodwill and adulation. After being undrafted and waived by not one, but two, NBA teams last year–the 23-year-old point guard for the New York Knicks has become the sport’s latest sensation. And Asian Americans are loving it. Each time Lin shows off his skills on the basketball court or does an on-air interview where—surprise!–he has no accent, he helps Asian Americans get one step closer to being accepted as “real” Americans.
A couple years ago, actress Katherine Heigl and her husband Josh Kelley adopted an adorable little baby girl from South Korea. No one would deny that they didn’t deserve to be parents. But what some folks—myself included—found curious was that they had been married for less than two years when they were matched with their child.
December 14, 2005
Posted by: Jae-Ha Kim
Category: Features, Issues
Tags: Ally McBeal, Arthur Golden, Chiyo, Devon Aoki, Eriko Imai, geisha, Geisha of Gion: The Memoir of Mineko Iwasaki, Gong Li, Grinnell College, Japan, Ji-Yeon Yuh, Kyoko Fukada, L.S. Kim, Liza Dalby, Lucy Liu, Michelle Yeoh, Miho Matsugu, Mineko Iwasaki, Northwestern University, Peter Feng, Richard Corliss, Rob Marshall, Sayuri, Ziyi Zhang
In both the book “Memoirs of a Geisha” and its film adaptation, women fall into two categories: sexy geisha and conniving dragon ladies, two stereotypes about Asian women that linger today. Already some members of the Asian-American community are worried that the film, which opens locally Friday, may reinforce unflattering images of Asian women as being submissive, sexual objects.
Every woman in a relationship should watch at least one episode of “Laguna Beach,” MTV’s reality series about a group of young, beautiful and rich kids from Orange County, Calif. This suggestion isn’t being made for the eye candy elements of the show — though there’s plenty. Rather, the male-female dynamics are something familiar to most women in their 20s, 30s and, yes, even 40s. And sometimes just turning on the TV can give you the dating pointers that your friends aren’t.
April 13, 2005
Posted by: Jae-Ha Kim
Category: Features, Issues
Tags: "Lost", "Memoirs of a Geisha", "Miss Saigon", "Sideways", Asian actors, Asian American, Bai Ling, Daniel Dae Kim, geisha, Gong Li, Grey's Anatomy, Jet Li, Korean, Korean-American, Sandra Oh, Steven Spielberg, Yunjin Kim, Ziyi Zhang
Once relegated to playing houseboys, prostitutes and extras on “M*A*S*H,” Asian-American actors are now appearing on prime-time television not as exoticized versions of reality, but as real people. Sandra Oh, superb in “Sideways,” is a star in the new medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” which has kicked “Boston Legal” to the curb and taken the prime slot after “Desperate Housewives” on Sunday nights at ABC. Or turn on ABC’s other hit drama, “Lost,” and you’ll notice not one, but two Asian regulars. Korean-American actors Daniel Dae Kim and Yunjin Kim (no relation to each other — or me) portray a married Korean couple stranded on the creepy island with a crew of folks including a pregnant woman, an Iraqi hottie, a fat dude, an African-American father and his son, a dog and a hobbit (or at least a guy who played a hobbit in “Lord of the Rings”).
“I am your No. 1 fan.” And so began Paul Sheldon’s terrifying encounter with Annie Wilkes, the obsessed character in Stephen King’s Misery who chopped off her idol’s feet so he couldn’t escape. (In the film version, she merely broke his ankles.) In real life, celebrities such as Sheryl Crow, Mel Gibson and Catherine Zeta-Jones are dealing with their own slew of “No. 1 fans.” Some go to prison for their obsessive behavior. But others don’t.
This forum isn’t questioning whether William Kennedy Smith or Kobe Bryant are rapists. It’s about why people have been so hesitant to believe their accusers might be telling the truth. Audra Soulias says Smith raped her five years ago — and then had a consensual sexual relationship with her. Bryant — whose criminal case was dropped Wednesday because the accuser no longer wanted to participate in the proceedings — admitted to having sex with the young woman in Colorado, but insisted it was consensual.