My [Ashkenazi Jewish American] father [married to my Han Chinese American mother] emailed me about representation of Asians in media, including the current furor over Matt Damon starring in the upcoming "The Great Wall." I decided to post my response to him here for posterity.

There's been a lot of awareness on Twitter recently of the (old) trend of whitewashing Asian actors/characters and replacing them with white ones instead, under the hashtag #whitewashedOUT.

However, I am in the minority among Asian Americans regarding Matt Damon starring in "The Great Wall," in that I support the film. While I think it's unfortunate that a white actor was cast as the star and I would have liked to see more progressive (non-white) casting, I think that being angry about it is blaming the victim, and is minimizing the progress that the film does represent. The film has a Chinese director (Zhang Yimou), is produced by a Hong Kong-based production company (Legendary East, though admittedly a subsidiary company of the American Legendary Entertainment), and is financially backed by a Chinese TV company (LeEco). From the trailers it looks like the vast majority of the extras are Asian, two of the five stars are Chinese, and all of the other named cast members are Asian (I didn't take the time to check if Chinese or other Asian). Yes, it'd be better if all five of the stars were Chinese, but this is amazing progress IMO and we shouldn't throw out the baby with the bathwater. This film will increase the visibility of Chinese actors and directors, and it's amazing that a Chinese film is going to reach a wide Western audience.

The other thing that I feel like Wu (and others critical of the whitewashing of the film) fail to take into account is that as a Chinese film, American ideas of race and racism do not apply. Race is a social construct, so it has different meaning when removed from that original social context and placed into a different one. Once you start looking at media outside the USA, it's important to acknowledge the near-worship of American celebrity in many other countries. For example, there was a bizarre Chinese ad for an online video game, Call of Duty Online, released last year, which featured Chris Evans (better known as the [white] actor behind Captain America) as the only white English-speaking person while everyone else spoke Chinese. This ad was banking on the celebrity and deification of American actors because they are American - note that it's the actor who plays Captain America. If Captain America were played by Anthony Mackie (an African American, who plays another Marvel character who in the comic books later becomes Captain America), then I have no doubt that this Call of Duty Online ad would have starred Mackie instead. Similarly, the casting of not only [white] Matt Damon, but also [white] Willem Dafoe and Chilean American Pedro Pascal (better known from Game of Thrones) is actually a major coup for a Chinese film.

In idolizing American celebrity in this way, yes the makers of this film are perpetuating whitewashing, however I feel that they're more victims of racism in Hollywood than perpetrators themselves. (Much like black cops can perpetrate racist actions against African Americans, but I blame the systemic racism in policing more than I do those individual cops. And similarly, a businesswoman who is harsher towards women employees is herself a victim of internalized misogyny.) While it definitely isn't okay for this film to be perpetuating racism in the form of whitewashing, I think my energy is better spent fighting films that are creations of Hollywood directors and production companies, than fighting films that actually are Chinese in origin.

Feel free to share this with others if you like, but it's worth pointing out again that I am in the minority among Asian Americans on this.
My father's baffled by the gas shortage in NYC, so I cobbled together my best explanation of why, revised below.
  1. Right after the storm, early last week: NY Harbor closed to tankers. Some gas stations had no power so there was less gas to go around. There's a gasoline pipeline into NYC, which may have been barely enough to meet the demand at first. At this time the main demand for gas is to run generators where there's no power.

  2. A day or two after the storm, middle of last week: Those gas stations which did have power began running out of gas without sufficient resupply. Businesses reopen, but much of NYC public transit does not, increasing the usage of gas as people drive to work.

  3. End of last week: NY Harbor opened around Thursday last week, but it takes time for that gas to work its way into the system. Meanwhile, people driving to work are starting to need to gas up.

  4. Last weekend and early this week: More of the same, but panic buying sets in, which more than offsets the reduced need for gasoline for generators.

  5. Middle of this week: The gasoline pipeline into NYC suffers some sort of damage, and I think that was the straw that led Gov. Cuomo to ration gas in NYC and Long Island.

The NY Times seems to confirm aspects of my points 1-4.

Does anyone have things I left out, or different explanations?

Originally posted on Dreamwidth. comment count unavailable comments there. Comment here or there.
[Error: unknown template qotd]

As soon as Joe's Shanghai opens we'll place an order for their famous soupy dumplings (and other things of course) - yes, Chinese take-out. We'll take it over to Nga Boo (Chinese grandmother), who's at a Kosher Jewish nursing home. We're supposed to eat in the non-Kosher cafeteria, but that's often full on holidays so we may sneak the food upstairs and eat on her floor instead. Dad (Jewish) will of course complain that we're being horrible to do so, but he'll be the one who suggests it.

Ah, traditions. :)
Among various other achievements, Elsie B. Washington (1942-2009) is credited with being the first African American to write a romance novel with African American characters. She was also a friend of my mother's from childhood through college. They had grown apart in more recent years not through any dislike, but these things sometimes just happen.

Her brother called my parents today to say that she had passed away. It's a shame, I don't remember much about her except that she was a very vibrant woman and I was always glad to see her. I seem to recall my mother and I getting together with her a few years ago, I think when I was in grad school, and learning then that her health was poor, but I may be reconstructing something that didn't happen. I think it's a shame that my mother and her drifted out of touch, for my mother has few true friends these days.

If I am remembering my stories correctly, Mom and Elsie were fast friends throughout most of their childhoods as the two non-whites in the class. It's interesting to see how these experiences shaped them after both earned degrees in English from City College: Elsie becoming an editor and writer credited with being the "mother of the African-American romance", and my mother becoming a high school English teacher with a favorite class of Asian Literature and going to many Asian nations on a Fulbright and other such scholarships.

NY Times Obituary
Wikipedia page

I wonder who will have touched more lives in the end? I want to think my mother, out of loyalty, but in the end it's not a contest, and they both have made contributions in their own ways.


Jan. 31st, 2009 03:07 pm
A single mother friend of a friend is looking for photos of families to help her 5 year old daughter understand that families come in many shapes, sizes, and forms. So many of my LJ friends come from and have created new beautiful families, please check out her story and post or link her a photo!
asterroc: (xkcd - Fuck the Cosine)
Picking up on a suggestion from [ profile] tiurin, who'd be up for fasting next Thanksgiving?
asterroc: (Smoothie)
This recipe comes from my Nga Boo (maternal grandmother), and I think it's the first thing I learned to cook. If you're vegetarian, you're out of luck.

* Oyster sauce - you can find this in the Asian section of many grocery stores, or else find an Asian grocery store
* Soy sauce
* Terriyaki sauce (optional)
* Corn starch
* cooking wine (optional)
* 1 yellow/white onion
* garlic (pre-minced, or else a couple cloves that you mince, optional)
* olive oil / sesame oil
* 0.7 - 1.0 lb beef - preferably flank steak (but it's hard to find and expensive when you do), second choice pre-cut stirfry beef, third choice get a decent cut of steak
* some veggie (Choice 1: bok choi, canned baby corn, and portabello mushroom; Choice 2: fresh string beans or frozen french-cut green beans; Nga Boo's Choice: asparagus)
* rice (I recommend 1-1.5 cups dry)

The night before cooking this, marinate the meat. Cut into small pieces if you have the time, marinate whole if you do not. Put the meat into a tupperware and cover with soy sauce and sprinkle on corn starch - I'd say 2 tablespoons to a quarter cup of soy sauce, and up to 2 tablespoons of corn starch, but I generally eyeball it. You can add a tablespoon of a cooking wine now or later - not too much or it'll become a bit gelatin-y. Shake to distribute evenly.

This prep time is 15-30 minutes.

Rice takes the longest so I start that first, then chop the onion and garlic.

Saute onion over medium heat in a pan with the oil and the optional garlic until the union changes color to yellow (5-15 minutes?).

While onions are sauteeing, chop any fresh veggies and set aside. If using bok choi, I suggest separating the white stems from the green leaves, as they have different ideal cook times (cook the stems longer).

When onions are yellow, lower heat to medium-low and add beef. Also add a generous amount of oyster sauce (I think I do around 1/4 cup); optionally add more soy sauce, terriyaki, and cooking wine. Cover. Stir frequently. As it cooks, the sauce will first become more watery as the beef juices come out, and then thicken up a bit again as the moisture evaporates.

At/near sea level: Add the veggies when the meat has lost most of the pinkness, since they usually take less time. I suggest adding the veggies that take longer to cook sooner (e.g., bok choi stems, asparagus), and adding things that take shorter time to cook or come frozen or in a can later (e.g., mushrooms, canned baby corn, green bok choi leaves).

At high elevations: Add the veggies earlier than at sea level, while the meat is still mostly pink, as the lower temperature of the liquid means that they will take longer to cook than at sea level. Again, add in order of how long they take to cook.

Cooking/prep time: 1 hour. This serves 2-3 meals, depending on the size of your appetite. There will be LOTS of sauce, it's the best part.
Well, off to NYC for a few days for [ profile] rosefox's birthday fun this evening (my Mom says one of her coworkers says the spa place is great!) and to see my parents and Nga Boo the rest of the weekend. I probably won't be reading much LJ, but then again I'm so addicted I might...

Grr, stupid going back to an unpaid account and my NYC icon being gone. I don't feel like feeding LJ any more money right now though.

1930's Wife

Jun. 6th, 2008 05:39 pm


As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Poor (Failure)

Take the test!

"Puts her cold feet on husband at night to warm them."

Ah, the quintessential sign of a good wife!



As a 1930s husband, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

The tests are quite unbalanced, as would be expected for the 1930's.
asterroc: (doll)
Earlier this year, one of my Mom's cousins emailed us a crapload of family photos, mostly from the 1920's and 20's I think, that he'd scanned and color-corrected. I've finally uploaded them to Flickr and added some of my own commentary. In case you'd like to see a few samples and don't want to go there, here's some of my favorites.

If the flower in the girl's hair is is white, that means she lost a mother or father recently, according to [ profile] blahblahboy's mother. Seeing as these are "family" photos, and no one else in the family there has a flower in their hair, I suspect the girl is a family servant. (Then again, would a servant have been in a family photo?)

Oh yeah, did I mention they were stinkin' rich? That's real fur.

There's so much character revealed in their faces, and more yet hidden.

I actually know everyone in this photo. It's Atlantic City, 1960's.

Nga Boo on the left. I wear that jacket in the summer now. The same jacket, not a repro. I'm guessing 1970's-80's?

Forwarded to me by "Foxtrot", who got it from [ profile] tiurin42...

ETA: My [Jewish] Dad's response -
That's both disrespectful & ridiculous.
Spiral cuts are totally against Jewish tradition!!
asterroc: (xkcd - Fuck the Cosine)
For those of you who aren't already familiar with my skin condition, hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), you may wish to skim that link. [ profile] framefolly, remember how I said the other day that you shouldn't post anything unlocked that you wouldn't get up in front of a room and tell your whole class? Well, my posts on HS are my exception to that rule, b/c I want to make the condition more well-known and remove the stigma from it. I *still* wouldn't stand up in front of a class and tell them about it, primarily b/c it's not relevant to the class, but I have talked about it with a couple individual students.

So, back to the reason for this post. I've got a cyst at the belt line. I haven't had one this big in months, that much is great, but getting one now isn't. It's probably *because* of pants that I have it in the first place - pants rub on your waist, but you don't ever notice it until you have a horrible painful bump right under that rubbing spot. How painful?

This painful: (photo) )

Yeah, I've never shown pictures of it before, not sure what prompted me to do so now.

I cannot wear normal pants b/c the belt line falls right atop the cyst. I can't wear low-rise jeans b/c the very top edge of the waist rubs against the bottom of the cyst. I can't even wear normal sleep pants, despite how soft they are. What I'm wearing right now is these cotton super thin sleep pants without elastic that are basically the scrubs you wear as a hospitial patient. I tie them very loose so they're nearly falling off my hips and then they're below the cyst enough that it only irritates a little. Yes, that's my pink undies you see right below the cyst, bikini style, that's how low I have to wear these sleep pants. And I'm currently wearing a sweatshirt without any elastic at the bottom, because again the elastic would rub on it. Even so, moving around too much hurts because your skin always flexes. (Never noticed that before, did you?)

So what do I wear to work? I had to dress nice today for a luncheon, so I found a long sleeve slightly formless dress (c/o the last chorus I was in), in black velvet(een?). Since it was black, I spruced it up with red and green so it wouldn't look like I was going to a funeral - it's appropriate for a NYC wedding instead. ;)

See? )

Tomorrow if it's clear I'm going to have to stay out late with a class doing an extra-credit observing session, so a dress is out. I'm debating wearing a dress during the day and changing into overalls, or just wearing overalls. I'm probably going to go with the overalls just b/c changing's ridiculous. I don't like dressing that sloppy, but I think it's warranted - overalls are also warmer than normal pants. Ooh, I can wear the ones Mom made me, out of really nice white tapestry material. If I already sewed the button back on, hm, maybe not. :-\

I hate my skin. Back to soaking it.


Apr. 3rd, 2007 09:09 am
I was some sort of military/mercenary/assassin on a battlefield in the middle of a busy tourist beach. My handgun wasn't doing much against the enemy tower, but it drew their attention, so as my dad and I assembled a rocket launcher, an enemy soldier came out with his. Hers. She shot it at us before we'd finished assembling ours, so we ran down the beach. We realized it was following us - it must've been heat seeking, and *we* were the target, not our fortifications that we were running from. We threw ourselves to the ground and it hit the beach near us. Thankfully not any civillians. I crawled over to the enemy soldier and begged her, crying, not to keep shooting at civillians. She said that her orders said she could. She was also some sorta mercenary. She said the only way I could stop civillians dying was if I killed a high ranking general, a kinda Cheney/Rumsfield sorta person. I think he was on my side, but I wasn't sure. One of my compatriots told me a lot about how bad a person he was, but since I was still an assassin-in-training I wasn't sure I could do it. I had great potential, if I managed to live through this, and I started to tell the other woman so when she hushed me so we could watch the Bushes hugging. She said this was the last time we'd see them do this, as Sr. was going to go senile soon.

Alarm woke me.


There was more dream before it. Something at a car repair shop, I was trying to find something inside my car, so I had to find my car first, but there was a scrapyard/yardsale on the side of the building also run by a mechanics, they gave me a bike and found a couple locks I'd have to pay for. He was trying to convince me they were high quality locks. I kept rummaging and found a few boxes of dominoes. I was thinking about calling Dad and telling him about them since he was talking about drilling holes in mahjong tiles and selling them on Etsy.


Dagmar (freshman roommate) wanted to come to my house which was my parents' house to cook one day this week. But I'd already told someone else (I forget her name, she was one of Dagmar's friends) that she could come two different other nights, so I wasn't sure when Dagmar could come. Dagmar said it was b/c she was going to see a Mets game, and she wanted to bring all the other people. I wasn't sure my parents would go for that.

I woke up for the first time.


Dec. 19th, 2006 10:08 am
asterroc: (doll)
Very complex one again. My Dad and I were trying to get into a museum? The Rotary was outside it, connected to The Boulevard. (I didn't realize there were street sets in my dreamscape.) We had to get on a subway, but the subway wasn't stopping at that station. In fact, it was passing through the passengers standing on the platform. Some of them were slightly injured in the process. My Dad couldn't fly so I flew to the next station, it was The Elevated Station. No tangible trains there either, though someone had gotten third degree burns by one passing through her, so they were getting more real. I flew to the next station, The Underground Station. Also no real trains. Well, Dad could fly, but only by putting one foot in front of the other exactly like he was walking on air, so he was limited by how fast he could walk and I could fly faster than that. And we had to get back to ??? which was three piers away or so, too far to walk easily, so I was scouting out other methods of transport so Dad could get there.

I went back above ground and somehow found a bus being driven by one of my students, standing next to him was [ profile] kadath. At first I wasn't sure it was her, she was really short, had curly dark brown hair, big rimmed glasses, and a white sweatshirt, but then we both said "hi". I found myself thinking half outside the dream "ah, we were supposed to meet tonight so I guess this is instead." I asked my student / the driver to try and find my Dad and we stopped outside a coffeeshop that was also some sort of ethnic food resturaunt. The driver stopped really close to the building, on the sidewalk, so the doors could barely open so the other passengers wouldn't get out. We didn't want them to know I was picking up my Dad and we'd kinda hijacked the bus route. I went inside the shop and found Dad in the back, yelled and waved at him that I'd found a bus, and he came out.
If you're planning on mailing cards or packages to friends or relatives, the following links may be helpful to you.

To ship via USPS without leaving your house:

  1. Find the Zip Code (+4)

  2. Print Shipping Labels

  3. Schedule a Pickup

If you do want to leave the home, Find a Post Office.
My Dad apparently has whooping cough, and I was apparently exposed to it while visiting for Thanksgiving. Teh intarwebs mentions that vaccination while incubating can stop it, and otherwise you can be sick AND contagious for months, so I'm going to call up my doctor tomorrow and find out if I should get a vaccination.

ETA: Turns out Dad hasn't been diagnosed yet. His doctor has been out of the office for a week (his own daughter's sick), and while Dad has a 103ยบ fever apparently it's not bad enough to yet find another doctor or go to an emergency room... He's been partly self-diagnosing, and partly talking with a friend who is a doctor about it. If either Dad gets an official diagnosis or I experience symptoms I will IMMEDIATELY get myself to my doctor. Whooping cough would put me out of school for up to two months, either b/c I'd feel so crappy, or b/c it's so contagious.
I realized the other day that one of the top reasons for dying my hair inhuman colors is entertainment. For the first two weeks, every time I caught sight of myself in the mirror I'd yell "OH MY GOD, MY HEAD'S ON FIRE!" Every single time. It took at least a week for it to wear out.

Now the entertainment lies in other people's reactions. A coworker nearly jumped out of his skin. One of my students' eyes popped out, another was just speechless and immobile. My longest-standing friend said I looked like a Muppet - I think that was my favorite comment. It also reveals a lot about the asker. One of Dad's neighbors first asked me if it was food coloring, then disapprovingly asked what my father thought. I wanted to reply that he thought I was damned well old enough to be making my own decisions. As for Dad himself, I actually walked into the house with a five-dollar straw hat on my head. He said it was ugly, and when I took it off, he said it was an improvement. :-P


Apr. 9th, 2006 07:47 pm
I posted this as a comment to [ profile] amavia's post on class structure in the US, and thought it deserved space of its own.

Sometimes I am amazed by people's stories of different classes. My Nga Boo (maternal grandmother) was from a rich family in Shanghai. They had servants, wet-nurses (Ama), and "companions" (as my family calls them) - I think a companion is the child of the wet nurse who was born at roughly the same time as the family member.

She was a rebel though, she broke off an arranged marriage to marry a Cantonese peasant, who later was part of the Nationalist Army. He (my Nga Cone) borrowed an army buddy's passport which had permissions to come to the US, and somehow arranged for asslyum for my Nga Boo and infant mother. They took a boat here, my Nga Boo strapping my three-year-old mother to her back so that she wouldn't get washed overboard on the stormy journey. Once here, Nga Cone opened a resturaunt, Nga Boo waited tables, and Mom bussed the tables after school.

And at family reunions not only do I bow to my Boo-boo's (grand aunts), but also to one woman who was the companion of a Boo-boo. She never married: even here in America her main goal in life was to serve as my Boo-boo's companion. She could have left at any point in time, but she never did.



April 2017

232425 26272829


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 24th, 2017 06:39 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios