Going viral out in Asia is a commercial where an old man gets sexually harassed by sexy colleagues. Complaining about his position as a massage therapist for professional models, an old man contemplate leaving his job for a less crazy schedule and work behind a desk. Three months later he lands his dream desk job, but his past catches up to him. His female co-workers find out about his massage skills and try to do whatever it takes to get massages from him. Take a closer look before you take that job. Know what you’re getting into.
Rapper Derez dropped the music video for his single “I Be Trippin” off his Derezervations mixtape. With the hard hitting beats, Derez ain’t trippin. You’ll be trippin’ if you don’t download his track for FREE here.
Asian-Americans are now the country’s best-educated, highest-earning and fastest-growing racial group. With that the Wall Street Journal wrote an article entitled “Rise of the Tiger Nation,” which attempts to parallel the success of Asian Americans with American Jews. They share both the distinction and the occasional burden of immigrant success. You can read the full article here. Author Lee Siegel uses examples like NBA’s Jeremy Lin to Survivor’s Yul Kwon to illustrate the visibility of Asian Americans. The piece offer several distinctions that helps and hurt opportunities for Asian Americans including the Chinese Exclusion Act, internment camps, and religion. From the article, “Asian-Americans have followed the opposite trajectory from Jewish-Americans. Toxic racism and then prohibitions against immigration prevented them from rising in American society for nearly a century. And then they did so with unique alacrity. Jewish immigrants, whether in the 19th century, in the 1930s as refugees from Hitler or in the 1980s as refugees from the Soviet Union, came here for the most part without a penny to their name. Today, Asian-Americans arrive in America more highly educated, and more prosperous, than any other immigrant group.” The article is an interesting read, but the parallelism aren’t quite on point. Like missing the wave of Chinese Cultural Revolution, where immigrants came over leaving everything behind in China. The author does conclude on in interesting note. “Yet the astounding success of Asian-Americans raises the dark question of how long they will be able to resist attracting the furies of fear and envy, especially during times of economic stress, or of economic and political conflict with countries like China, where the preponderance of Asian-Americans still come from. If China does one day become an explicit antagonist, it seems likely that the anxiety among Chinese-Americans will be even more intense than that of American Jews every time the allegiances of the American-Jewish lobby are questioned.”
What do you think of the article?
Also read Jeff Yang’s counterpoint Easy Tiger (Nation) here. He presents a better discussion about Asians in America.
Rise of the Tiger Nation (WSJ’s Stu Woo talks to author Lee Siegel.)
The Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) is criticizing the new Warner Brothers motion picture “Cloud Atlas”—promoted as artistically groundbreaking because its actors swap racial and sexual identities—as business-as-usual in its exclusion and offensive yellow-faced renditions of Asian people.
A multi-ethnic epic spanning 500 years and around the globe, “it’s an artistically ambitious approach to filmmaking,” according to the organization’s Founding President Guy Aoki. “Unfortunately, it reflects the same old racial pecking order that the entertainment industry has been practicing for decades.”
“Cloud Atlas,” written and directed by Tom Tykwer (“Run, Lola, Run”) and Lana and Andy Wachowski (“The Matrix” trilogy) and based on the novel by David Mitchell, utilizes an all-star cast that includes Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess, and Hugo Weaving. In order to stress a thematic continuity among the movie’s six different interwoven stories, the filmmakers cast many of the same actors as different characters in each time period. One of the stories takes place in a totalitarian, mechanized Neo Seoul Korea in the year 2144. An Asian female clone (South Korean actress Doona Bae) is encouraged by another female clone (Chinese movie star Xun Zhou) to break out of her oppressive pre-programmed routine to serve men and become an independent thinker. The segment also includes White actors Sturgess, Weaving, and James D’Arcy as ostensibly Korean characters, using eye prosthetics to make their Caucasian features look more Asian. “’Cloud Atlas’ prides itself on its ‘multi-racial cast,’” said Aoki, “but that basically means White men and women of color, like La Jolla Playhouse’s ‘The Nightingale,’ which was criticized last Summer for using only two Asian American actresses but allowing five White men to play Chinese characters.
Aoki said, “’Cloud Atlas’ missed a great opportunity. The Korea story’s protagonist is an Asian man–an action hero who defies the odds and holds off armies of attackers. He’s the one who liberates Doona Bae from her repressive life and encourages her to join the resistance against the government. It would have been a great, stereotype-busting role for an Asian American actor to play, as Asian American men aren’t allowed to be dynamic or heroic very often. “But instead, they cast Jim Sturgess in yellowface,” Aoki continued, referring to the historically frowned-upon practice of using cosmetics, such as eye prosthetics, to make Caucasian actors look Asian. “In fact, every major male character in the Korea story is played by non-Asian actors in really bad yellowface make-up. When you first see Hugo Weaving as a Korean executioner, there’s this big close-up of him in this totally unconvincing Asian make-up. The Asian Americans at the pre-screening burst out laughing because he looked terrible–like a Vulcan on ‘Star Trek.’ It took us out of the movie. And Jim Sturgess and James D’Arcy didn’t look much better.”
MANAA Vice President Miriam Nakamura-Quan stated, “In the modern age of movie make up, it is disturbing to see poorly done Asian eye prosthetics to make Caucasian men look Asian. The race-changing make-up totally disrupted the flow of the film. The old yellowface movie characters of the past like Fu Manchu and Charlie Chan looked more realistic than the characters in ‘Cloud Atlas.’ Why couldn’t they have cast a handsome Asian American actor of mixed race to play the multiple roles in Neo Seoul and the other time periods? It would have made the movie more believable.” Added Aoki, “It appears that to turn white and black actors into Asian characters (black actor Keith David was also Asian in the 2144 story), the make-up artists believed they only had to change their eyes, not their facial structure and complexion. In two scenes in other segments of the film, Bae and Zhou are made up to appear Caucasian. The filmmakers, Aoki said, “obviously took more care to make them look convincingly white. The message the movie sends is, it takes a lot of work to get Asians to look Caucasian, but you can easily turn Caucasians into Asians by just changing the shape of their eyes.”
In another story set in the South Pacific in 1849, Maori slaves are played predominantly by blacks, including Afro-British actor David Gyasi. “You have to ask yourself: Would the directors have used blackface on a white actor to play Gyasi’s role?” asked Aoki. “I don’t think so: That would have outraged African American viewers. But badly done yellowface is still OK.
“In any case, this was a lost opportunity to cast real Asian Pacific Islanders. Why weren’t there any real Asian male actors portraying any of the major characters in this supposedly racially diverse film?” Aoki concluded, “It’s a double standard: White actors are allowed to play anything–except black characters–and have the dominant roles; Asian male actors are non-existent. And Pacific Islanders are played by blacks.”
Asked Nakamura-Quan, “If, in the making of this complex movie, the creators of ‘Cloud Atlas’ can make creative leaps in time, place, characters, race and gender, why can’t they also take a creative leap in the casting?”