Monthly Archives: September 2010

dispatches from san fran: why does mike chang get no love?

posted by kltw
Update: just realized that the topic of Mike Chang was covered 3 days ago?  I guess he is getting some love, just not on the show.
I hope you haven’t been holding your breath since the last “dispatch from san fran” (all the way back inJune, about why Azns should care about what’s happening in Arizona.  As we all should).  This time around, I want to take a look at one of the new developments in the latest season of Glee.  If you haven’t caught up, you should; if you have, then surely you’ve witnessed the drama between Arty and Azn #1 (aka Tina).

Spoiler Alert

So the story goes that during the summer, Tina and Azn #2 (aka Mike Chang, or “The Situa-azn” for you Jersey Shore fans) got together as tutors at “Asian Camp”; which apparently means a bunch of Azn kids sitting around in a bamboo hut, decked out in stereotypical Azn decor, playing with tech gadgets (because obviously we are all nerds); but I digress.  Anyway, with the emergence of Mike Chang as someone who actually gets some lines in the show, I was hopeful that an Azn man will, for once, be portrayed as a desirable partner in a romantic context in pop culture.  Despite the fact that this relationship has already been written off by some as Azn-fusion (because the only reason why the two are together is because they’re both Azn, right?), I remained optimistic to see the development of a new side Mike Chang

However, through the first two episodes, all we’ve seen are efforts on Arty’s end to try and win back Tina’s affection, despite the fact that Tina told him the reasons why he’s a bad boyfriend.  Drama ensues as Arty tries to join the football team to get Mike Chang-esque abs…etc etc…  What the show has failed to illustrate so far, has been the agency of both Tina and Mike as the masters of their own relationship.  All we’ve been shown so far is how Tina’s feelings for Arty can be swayed if only he could do something that is impressive enough, rather than the fact that the two Azn characters could actually be in a meaningful relationship.  Although I’m relatively hopeful that we’ll get Tina’s perspective in the near future, I’m a bit more hesitant to believe that Mike Chang will have anything to say about the future of Azn².  Maybe it’s just me, but I’d hate to see Mike Chang’s foray into romance be as brief as other Azn men in popular culture.

I’m not saying I’d rather see Tina with Mike, or Tina with Arty or Tina with whoever else, I’m simply wondering that, given the way the story has unfolded, why don’t they give Mike Chang some love?

What do you think?

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technology at its worst

posted by jroselkim

Well, folks – it looks like Asian women can stop existing now, because now you can just download an iPhone app to design your perfect Asian woman. So much more convenient and simple! Not only can you design her perfect face (with options like “change lips”) but you can also “share your girl,” “save your girl,” or “make another.” Charming.

I was trying for half an hour to find a “Report this App” page on the Apple website to no avail. So I resorted to doing this instead:

My email to Steve Jobs

Hey, I hear sometimes he actually responds to people! Maybe today is my lucky day.

Source: Angry Asian Man

[image from “Design Your Dream Asian Girl” application page:


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hot azn alert: harry shum jr. and racism in glee

posted by mshehe

Harry Shum Jr. plays Mike Chang (the “Other Azn”/background dancer/football player turned chorus member) on Glee. As usual, most of the show’s main characters are white and the Azns (Mike Chang included) are left as background dancers/singers who utter a few words here and there.

The show premiered its second season last week and I was excited to find out that it will be developing some supporting characters, one of which will be Mike Chang! Harry Shum Jr. is a talented dancer and rising star, and has starred in Step Up 3D, Stomp the Yard, You Got Served, and as a silhouette in iPod commercials. His dancing career also includes being one of the lead dancers for Beyonce and Mariah Carey.

In last week’s episode of Glee, we saw a relationship developing between the two Azn characters. While it sucks that they are stereotyped as the token Azns (who got together working at an Azn camp teaching tech-savvy Azn kids), at least they are getting more screen time. Hopefully we’ll get to see another side of Mike Chang, and see the screenwriters break him out of his silent, quiet Azn-boy shell. Yes, I know some find the show very offensive, but for now, let’s just appreciate Harry Shum Jr. for showing us Azn men can dance, and can look hot!

and more

and even more …

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a note on incendies, québécois cinema and its race politics

posted by jroselkim

If you haven’t marked Denis Villeneuve’s new film Incendies as one of the films to check out this year, you should. It’s a beautiful and compelling story of two Montreal siblings on a journey of self-discovery to their homeland Lebanon (which they left as infants with their mother). The film screened at TIFF to a very positive and receptive crowd and opened in Montreal on September 17 – I believe (I hope?) there will be a Canada-wide screening soon. The non-linear storytelling is both intricate and startling, leading to a very shocking twist at the end – which, I must say, does not really make sense chronologically. I can’t say much else about it, because I would have to spoil the ending for you.

However, the movie still displays some problems when it comes to its casting. Both of the main actors, Melissa Desormeaux-Poulin and Maxim Gaudette, are of Québécois decent and not Lebanese. This leaves Lubna Azabal, who plays the mother Nawal, as the only actress of colour in a film that centres around a Lebanese-Canadian family (Azabal is a Belgian-Moroccan actress).

This is not to say that white people can’t “act” in other ethnic parts. But when opportunities for actors of colour are already so limited as they are at the moment, why is it that studios would give opportunities to other white actors where an actor/actress of colour would be perfect for the part?

I am reminded of Jacob Tierney (director of The Trotsky, yet another excellent Québécois fare, anglo-style)’s recent interview with La Presse, where he bluntly stated: “Quebec society is extremely turned in on itself. Our art and our culture shows only white francophones. Anglophones and immigrants are ignored. They have no place in the québécois dream. It’s shameful.”


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“dude, you have no qur’an”

posted by theinvazn

“i was like, ‘dude, you have no qur’an’ and ran off.” credit to the unshakeable @raza_syed for this amazing vid.

so, dear readers, we gonna make this a meme or what?

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wassup ninjas?

posted by missmsian

Ninja win:

Ninja fail:

Nice try, Steve-o.

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is malaysian joke. laugh la.

posted by missmsian

My dad’s accent, mannerisms and sense of humour make him an older Douglas Lim. No joke.

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why an atheist cares about islamophobia

posted by ellephanta

Inspired by and in response to and shamelessly following missmsian’s amazing post.

I care about Islamophobia:

Because I’m a humanist. Because not believing in a god certainly doesn’t excuse me from being a decent and loving human being. In fact, because I believe that we are solely responsible for our actions and consequences, our collective and individual lives, I am more pressed than ever to be a decent and loving human being that gives a lot of crap about people. Because I don’t believe in a god that cares about us, I can’t help but believe that we must care for each other. This means I must get off my couch and speak up when there is systemic hate against members of my global community. And yes, the human race includes the ones I passionately disagree with too.

Because if you know anything about the human race at all, it should be glaringly obvious that Islamophobia is not about disagreeing with someone else’s theological beliefs. It’s about race and hatred and scapegoating and ignorance. It’s about all that’s ugly in people – irrationality, stupidity, cowardice, smallness of heart – and not about this god or that god or god’s absence. That’s just a diversionary narrative to weave a story that sells. One’s relationship/non-relationship with god is an individual’s incredibly personal, intimate, and often traumatic experience – which is now being exploited everywhere to feed human ugliness that inevitably rears its head during difficult times. If you are a thinking person, this should be farcically obvious.

Because – as is any form of bigotry – Islamophobia is not only violent in its sentiment, but its actions. How can you say nothing against violence committed against human beings based on one’s religious beliefs, especially if you believe what is taught by religions to be unreal anyway? For a humanist, a real person’s well-being and freedom trumps ideas – every time, always.

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america’s next top “high fashion” model is…not diverse

posted by jroselkim

This is what high fashion looks like, according to Tyra Banks.

It feels like that time when I was a bit full but still insisted on an all-you-can-eat option at a Japanese-Korean food restaurant (which I just knew wasn’t going to be good but couldn’t resist), the restaurant would be controlling my meal by giving it to me in portions and refused to actually let me eat the promised menu unless I finished every course.

In other words – I feel a complicated mix of self-loathing and outrage after watching the premier of America’s Next Top Model, Cycle 15. Self-loathing because I am a) constantly sucked into this hysterical and cringe-worthy “reality” and b) admitting that I have watched all of the freaking 14 previous cycles (wow, how many hours of my life is that where I could’ve enriched my brain with, say, foreign language learning?) The outrage, however, stems from how the idea of “high-fashion” (though, this is still Tyra’s version so it probably means nothing to someone like Karl Lagerfeld) still being so exclusionary and exclusive.

So, America’s Next Top Model is like, totally changed, you guys. Instead of a fashion spread in Seventeen magazine, the winner now gets a fashion spread in Italian Vogue, which apparently is the mecca of all models and launches high-fashion model careers all the time. This means nothing to the plebians like me who can’t even sift through American Vogue on a regular basis.

But what does this REALLY mean for the show? So far, it means:

1) no more body diversity: there has been at least one plus-sized girl that gets picked every season, and Tyra gives some mandatory spiel about how all body sizes are beautiful. The plus-sized girl would stick around for a while, only to be booted off after the judges would start making comments about them looking too ordinary, commercial, old, or all of the above. Except for that one time when that plus-sized girl won, because I guess they needed to pay lip service or something. But there is NONE of that – not even the superficial lip-service part – this season.

2) no Asian girls: I admit, Asian contestants are pretty rare on the show to begin with, but there’s been a smattering of them. April in season 1 was half-Japanese and went pretty far in the competition. I remember Gina from Season 6, who was a textbook bimbo case and said she only liked dating white guys, and was generally embarrassing to watch. Then there was Sheena in Season 11 who was Japanese and Korea, who eventually got booted off because she was too “sexual.” This cycle, I did not see a single Asian face even in the “semi-final” stage.

Granted, ethnic diversity is hard to come by in the fashion world. But Asian-Americans are so rarely represented as potential for top models. Not that I look to this show as some kind of an anchor for American culture. But from the continuation of the show and the frenzy some of the contestants display, it certainly serves as some kind of a cultural milestone for some. So where the azns at, Tyra??

Reality TV, I wish I could quit you.

[Photo from]

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why a christian cares about islamophobia

posted by missmsian

Because I could be the victim tomorrow. It seems that all it takes is for a news network or political party to create an invisible, overpowering fear and we, as media consumers, either become really stupid or remain purposely ignorant to the truth (which is worse?)

I know it’s almost ludicrous to put myself in a Muslim person’s shoes in the West where Judeo-Christian values are so celebrated–and I have relatively light skin, to boot! But there are places where Christians are discriminated against as badly as Muslims are here. It just shows how precarious our “rights” are and how much they depend on respect and the recognition of one another’s humanity.

Because disagreeing theologically isn’t the same as being racist. Do I believe that my religion has the answers to questions about faith? Yes.

However, this belief doesn’t give me any right or reason to be Islamophobic. Islamophobia deals with feelings of hatred and/or suspicion of Muslims that is often coupled with actions meant to curb their civil and/or human rights. The Park 51 Islamic centre (misnomer: “Ground Zero mosque”) debate is one example. In Canada, we have the proposed niqab ban in Quebec and the unfair detention and trial of Omar Khadr, to name a few high-profile cases … not to mention the numerous “everyday” situations where we attempt to expel Muslims from the community via verbal threats, economic exclusions, etc. 

Disagreeing about faith, on the other hand, means that I still treat those who disagree with me over who Jesus is as precious people, loved by Him.

Because the church doesn’t have a clean slate, so how dare we speculate on what Muslims are or aren’t.

We don’t even need to go as far back as the Crusades to see this. When people say Canada and the U.S. were founded on Christian values, I always feel uncomfortable, because these nations were founded on the rape, plunder and killing of Indigenous peoples and their land. How can we call Muslims “terrorists” when churches have allowed and encouraged the Atlantic slave trade and Canadian residential schools, to name only a few injustices done in the name of God?

Because I believe in a gospel of love and that’s a gospel nobody’s going to pay attention to if I’m speaking about it while holding matches and a Quran in my hands.

*When I use “we,” I’m loosely referring to Western society, which I believe is overwhelmed by white, Christian discourse even though not everyone in the West adheres to those beliefs or even fits into those categories.

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