Konnichiwa and death threats

A while ago, I used to do segments on a local radio station. It was a popular show with a host who was vaguely shock jockish. We got along fine, and it was a good forum to promote the newspaper I worked for. One day, they called me at work and put me on the air live to tell them about some of the music acts coming to town that weekend. They kept me on the line as they began another segment, in which they called a bunch of establishments that were operated by Asian Americans — dry cleaners, Chinese restaurants etc. I would soon find out that the sole purpose of these calls was to make fun of the people speaking accented English.

Defying stereotypes one role at a time

It has been almost three decades since Long Duk Dong made his appearance in “16 Candles,” and it doesn’t look like Hollywood’s perception of Asian men has changed all that much. Actor John Wusah turned down a chance to audition for a film, where the Asian character was there just to be made fun of. I can’t imagine that it’d be easy for an actor of any race to turn down an opportunity to work. So Kudos, Mr. Wusah.

Beyond funny horse-riding dance, PSY’s ‘Gangnam Style’ is sharp commentary on South Korean society

South Korean rapper PSY’s “Gangnam Style” video has more than 200 million YouTube views and counting, and it’s easy to see why. No Korean language skills are needed to enjoy the chubby, massively entertaining performer’s crazy horse-riding dance, the song’s addictive chorus and the video’s exquisitely odd series of misadventures.

PSY’s Gangnam Style’s U.S. Popularity Has Koreans Puzzled, Gratified

“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.”

With Jeremy Lin Exit, Some Asian-American Fans Feel Betrayed By Knicks

“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.”

Jeremy Lin Matters to Kyle: Comments

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 Matters to Kyle

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.

Grand scheme of adopting: Getting in front of the adoption line

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.

`Geisha’ raises fears of stereotypical movie roles

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.

‘Laguna Beach’s’ love lessons

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.

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