Those that know me personally know that I’m a pretty big sports fan, with baseball being my favorite sport. I used to hate baseball up until a few years ago before I learned the nuisances of it. You can say that for just about any sport or anything for that matter, but I really like how, over the course of a 162-game season, you can quantifiablely tell where you stack up relative to your peers. Within those 162 games there will be ups and downs but they always seem to balance out by years end. So from year to year, with very little exception, your performance and your results will be the same. I find that to be a pretty good metaphor for life in general.
Perhaps another reason why I enjoy baseball is because per capita, it has more Asian athletes than any other sports. In general, there’s not a lot of talk about Asian athletes, well because, and let’s face it, there’s not a lot of superstar Asian athletes with national U.S. recognition. One can make the argument that because there aren’t many Asian athlete role models, there aren’t many kids who aspire to be athletes.
There’s plenty of other possible reasons that people have came up with, some base on reason other based on stereotypes that we’re not going to get into (though you can discuss in the comments if you want). Instead, I want to focus on the upcoming baseball All-Star game which I’ll probably be attending since it will be here in NYC at Yankee Stadium this year. New York is arguably the biggest stage for sports and the Yankees is the most successful franchise in all of sports. There’s going to be a great spotlight for potential stars to shine and it would be great if some of those stars were Asian.
Here in the lovely Puerto Vallarta, Mexico soaking up the sun and the margaritas. This place is a good getaway for a long weekend. The Sheraton Bunganvillas Resort is nothing to write home about, and the water here pales much in comparison to the blue Carribbean Sea, but the breezy wind and the beautiful sunshine that greet me here make this visit worthwhile.
In the interest of seeing more Asian movies, from time to time I would like to spotlight quality independent Asian films. If you want to see more big budget Hollywood fares with brand name Asian actors, it all starts with making the independent stuff profitable. I’m not advocating you to go see every Asian independent movie nor is it necessary for every Asian independent movie to be a success financially for changes to be seen in mainstream media.
A friend of mine sent me a press release for this documentary, Hollywood Chinese:
Hollywood Chinese is a captivating revelation on a little-known chapter of cinema: the Chinese in American feature films. From the first Chinese American film produced in 1916, to Ang Lee’s triumphant Brokeback Mountain almost a century later, Hollywood Chinese brings together a fascinating portrait of actors, directors, writers, and iconic images to show how the Chinese have been imagined in movies, and how filmmakers have and continue to navigate an industry that was often ignorant about race, but at times paradoxically receptive.
I actually haven’t seen Hollywood Chinese yet but it will be out in New York City on May 30th at the ImaginAsian Theater. Between the trailer, the website, and the friend recommendations, so far I’m sold enough to put it high on my list of Asian movies to watch list. For those of you keeping track at home, the number of movies that Ningin is officially recommending this year is now four:
There’s probably a lot more deserving movies to be on that list, but I just haven’t had the time to go through them all. Gotta finish building out Ningin and everything…
There are many fashion models in Hong Kong. While a majority of them are Chinese, the better known ones are mostly Eurasians. This is not surprising since Asians’ definition of beauty is, as Alvin blogged earlier, very Caucasian-centric. These Eurasian models have something in common aside from their partial Caucasian features. They have an English last name that the Hong Kong media and populace cannot pronounce. In order to make it easy for everyone, the media took the liberty of shortening their last names to just the first initial. This is why you have models with names like Maggie Q., Lisa S., Ana R. and Cara G in Hong Kong.
Ok… I promise this will be my last post on Faye Wong for the month (not hard since there are only nine more days to a new month!). The retired songstress flew from Beijing to Hong Kong to attend a Buddhist prayer service for the Chinese earthquake victims. It was held at the famous and somewhat dilapidated Hong Kong Coliseum (I grew up seeing so many concerts there). Faye was joined by other famous celebrities such as Jacky Cheung and Aloys Chen. Where is Tina Turner when you need her? Isn’t she a devoted Buddhist too?
A lot of people may already know about them but I came across the Youtube clips of ”Nigahiga” and the Asian teens featured on these clips were so funny. The term “Nigahiga” was coined by Ryan Higa, a 17 year old Japanese American teen who lives in Hawaii. Every week, Ryan and his friends would post funny video clips of themselves doing crazy things. All 46 videos on his Youtube site are funny, but I like these the most…
Memorial Day marks the beginning of the big summer movie season, though in recent years, it seems as it’s been expanded to the beginning of May. (I’m looking forward to when Hollywood defines summer as starting in February.) I was reading the comments in one of our Social News thread and saw this insightful comment by Jekki, our resident insightful-ist,
It’s like a new Asian movie every week here! Before I would hardly ever hear about new Asian movies.
Then Phil, who’s easily our best Asian movie guru said,
There are tons of Asian movies being made…China and India are the two largest producers of feature-length films in the world (US is number 1). Hope that the ones that make it to US theaters get great audience turnouts. The more successful they are, the better chances are that more get distributed…
As you can plainly see, we have quite the intellectual stimulating conversation within the comments on this site. My curiosity was stimulated enough to make me want to go and figure out how many Asian or Asian related movie there are this summer. Below is the list that I found with my comments about the movie which you should probably ignore. It’s sorted by release date so for those that think there’s deeper meaning to my blog posts, don’t dwell too much on the order.
5/9 - Speed Racer
Stars: Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, John Goodman, Matthew Fox, Rain.
Directors: Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski
Plot: The story begins with Speed Racer who is a young man with natural racing instincts whose goal is to win The Crucible…
My Take: While the Wachowski brothers experiment into hyper-reality movie making advance American cinema nearly two centuries forward, I predict it will bomb in the box offices on how many seizure related deaths it caused. (Note: I actually wrote this three weeks ago, so the prediction is still valid.)
5/23 - Children of Huang Shi
Stars: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Radha Mitchell, Chow Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh
Directors: Roger Spottiswoode
Plot: About young British journalist, George Hogg, who with the assistance of a courageous Australian nurse, saves a group of orphaned children during the Japanese occupation of China in 1937.
My Take: While the title suggest otherwise, this is not a children’s flick. I’m down for any movie that has the legendary actors Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh.
Greetings from Chicago! Let’s me digress for a bit here. I am here for the annual National Restaurant Association Show (*yawn*). This is a show in which food manufacturers across the country get together and introduce the trendiest food or beverage items to the restaurant operators. Two years ago they introduced edamame and attendees, especially those from Middle America, were simply thrilled and thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. These two women from Texas, spotting a big hair as expected, were so excited at the testing booth that they kept uttering to each other “wow, these green peas from Japan are delicious!” More »
Dear Ningin Community,
In the past week, Asia has endured two massive natural disasters, a cyclone in Myanmar and a magnitude 7.9 earthquake in China’s central Sichuan province. Combined, these two events leave possibly 100,000+ people dead and hundreds of thousands more homeless, hungry, and suffering.
While the majority of the news and content on Ningin is entertainment focus, allow me to interrupt you from that and ask for your help. You see, after reading about the NYTimes article about a school collapse in the Chinese city of Duijiangyan killing 900 school children and watching videos of terrified kids huddling under tables, I was overcame with unbearable sadness.
It’s very easy to get absorbed in our own lives, not noticing the rest of the world. However, the scale and depth of the tragedy and lost of life suffered is just too devastating for me not to do something.
Both Mixr Media (parent company of Ningin) and I personally will be making donations to the Red Cross and MercyCorps. These are two charities with tremendous track record for providing aid. It is my wish that you all do the same with whatever you can spare.
Thank you for your help.
Asia’s King of Pop, Andy Lau, has remained “single” for as long as anyone can remember. Like Jackie Chan, he is worried (or in Jackie’s case, was worried) that revealing his relationship status will cost him the support of his female fans. Jackie Chan did not own up to having a wife (Joan Lin) and a 20-something year old son (Jaycee Chan) only until five or six years ago. Andy Lau, who is in his mid-40s now, is clearly following in Jackie Chan’s footsteps. There were countless rumors surrounding Andy’s sexuality. When I attended a wedding in Hong Kong a few years ago, I sat next to this chatterbox who told me that Andy Lau would often travel to Taiwan to hook up with younger men. She used to work for a gossip magazine so there could be an ounce of truth in what she said. Gay men usually buy the gay story if the person in question is attractive.
Due to its worldwide box office success, The Forbidden Kingdom is getting a sequel. This chop-suey of Chinese fable will reunite the two big Chinese martial arts stars, Jet Li and Jackie Chan, and will likely feature a romance between Jet Li and Li Bingbing‘s characters, according to the Beijing Times report. Wait, the romancing of the Monkey God and the Grey Haired Lady aka Moonlight Witch? Now that’s a first. A better storyline would be to have Jet Li play a mute guy. This is certainly fitting since he uttered no more than 10 sentences in the first movie, and most were incomprehensible.
Korean R&B pop sensation, Rain, was on The Colbert Report earlier this week. The Michael Jackson of Asia was in LA for the promotion of his movie, ”Speed Racer” and decided to pay the funny man Stephen Colbert a visit for a dance off. The segment was pre-taped due to Rain’s limited English proficiency. This is how it started—In 2007, Time magazine conducted an online poll of the 100 most influential people of the year and Rain was number 1 while Stephen tailed him as the runner up. Ever since then, Rain had become Stephen’s arch nemesis and the comedian even joked about him and imitated a scene from his music video. (You can download high quality clips of their performance after the jump.)
Most Filipinos I know can sing very well, But none of them has a voice as big and a body frame as small as Charice Pempengco. Apparently this 15-year old girl who found her stardom on youtube just taped a segment on Oprah’s show earlier this week. Charice also made an appearance on the The Ellen DeGeneres Show late last year and performed two songs. I saw this clip of her singing “And I Tell You I’m Not Going” and her voice simply blew me away. She has the voice of Whitney but the body of Britney (when Britney was 15 that is. She is probably thrice the size of Charice now).
Things have been pretty slow in the Asian celeb world these two days so let’s talk about food (another subject I love dearly!). Ramen has been all the rage in the major U.S. cities as of late. I am not talking about the little ramen packets that you used to eat in college to save money for drinking. I am talking about a steamy bowl of noodles served in a delicious broth with some sliced pork, egg and seaweed (I am salivating as I am writing this) . There are four common types of ramen - shio (salt), tonkatsu (pork bone), shoyu (soy sauce) and miso ramen. My personal favorite is the tonkatsu ramen. I used to get my ramen fix at one of the many hole in the wall japanese noodles/yakitori places on St. Marks Place, where your entrance and exit are usually accompanied by a loud and zesty Japanese greeting by the restaurant staff. Now I get them at newer establishments that specialize in serving ramen. These places seem to be popping up in the city like mushroom. Every month there is a new ramen place for New Yorkers to try out.
This is probably the most exciting news I have received in weeks! Apparently Live Nation, Madonna’s current recording label, is interested in expanding into Asia and has offered the ultimate Asian Diva Faye Wong a recording contract worth HKD100 Million (USD$13 Million). Ever since Faye released her last album “To Love” in 2001, she has retired into her domesticated life in Beijing. Her daily routine probably consists of screaming at her maid, singing karaoke and playing mahjong with her gal pals. “Fayenatics” around the world like me have been hoping that she would get tired of this lifestyle one day (but seriously, who would?) and come out to bedazzle us with another album. There is not a single female recording artist from Hong Kong, Taiwan or Mainland China that has proven worthy to replace Faye since her unofficial retirement seven years ago.
Andy Lau, Maggie Q & Sammo Hung. A trio I would have never thought to see on the big screen together, join forces for director Daniel Lee’s (Black Mask) epic tale.
AP Photo: Kin Cheung
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I saw the lineup…especially with Maggie Q (Mission Impossible III, Live Free, Die Hard) thrown into the mix. I was quite anxious however to see Andy Lau’s (House of Flying Daggers) performance as well as Sammo Hung’s, mostly cause I hadn’t seen Sammo on screen in quite awhile.
There’s nothing in the world that is more embarassing to us Asians than to admit that this freak show (Bai Ling) is one of our people. From her imitation of Madonna on VH1’s ”But Can They Sing?” to her recent shoplifting at a LAX gift shop, she is nothing but a media whore who gives Asians a bad name. She shows up at every movie premiere (even though the movie has nothing to do with her) and wears really outlandish outfits that would put another Asian freak show Bobby Trendy to shame. The paparrazi in LA adore her because she helps fill up their time with her bizzare behaviors, strange outfits and often incomprehensible comments.
While it’s been a challenge for many Asian American actors and actresses to break into Hollywood, it’s a much easier road for their Asian counterparts to make a debut there. This month, Korean heartthrob Rain will make his debut in Hollywood with the famous 60s-anime-turned-movie ”Speed Racer”, playing an Asian racer that is forced to defend his family name. Another Asian heartthrob, Takuya Kimura, is also said to be coming to Hollywood this year. He is set to star opposite hottie Josh Harnett in a movie titled ”I Come With The Rain”, along with korean actor Lee Byung-hun. A veteran actress from Hong Kong, Charlie Yeung, is also making her debut in Hollywood this year. She will star opposite Nicolas Cage in ”Bangkok Dangerous” and will probably play a damsel in distress (how else will Hollywood portray a petite Asian girl?).