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So, I was watching Grey’s Anatomy on Sunday. If you follow this blog you will know that I watch it because I like Sandra Oh and also well, as a friend of mine puts it, it’s like Ally McBeal MD. Totally guilty pleasure.
The show is about surgical interns at a Seattle hospital. The title character, Meredith Grey, has been depressed lately because a one-night stand turned out to be her boss at the hospital, and then turned out to be married and on the run from his cheating wife. Meredith knew nothing about the existence of her boyfriend's wife. At the end of last season, Wifey, also a top-notch surgeon, shows up the hospital to win her husband back. So this season, they reconciled. Everyone works together, just to make it as drama-filled as possible. Yes, Meredith has a totally unenviable situation, but must she go through every episode whining, pouting and being completely self-absorbed? (I am so over her character.) To deal with her pain, she’s having lots of one-night stands.
Like George Bush, I recently took a trip to the border town of El Paso. My brother moved there in July to begin his four year stint at the nearby Holloman Air Force Base. El Paso is a fascinating place. Just across the border from Juarez, the fourth biggest city in Mexico, it is also home to Fort Bliss Military Base – which is receiving over 16,000 new troops this year from the series of military base closings and restructurings. Being in this super militarized border town made even a trip to the corner store steeped in layers and layers of socio-political context. My family refused to accompany me on a photography trip to the Juarez border after Thanksgiving, so I decided to visit the National Border Patrol Museum. I was expecting the skewed discourse about the hordes of illegal Mexican immigrants trying to break into America’s Southern Frontier at any cost, which there was plenty of. Occasionally the literature on the walls of the museum would ask questions like: “Will the trend of illegal immigration continue?” And the answer would be: “Yes. As long as people of the world quest for a better life, the rise of illegal entries will continue.”
Bruce Lee was honored in Bosnia and Hong Kong with statues for what would have been his 65th birthday over the weekend.
However, a few hours after the statue in Bosnia was dedicated, it was vandalized.
The day after Thanksgiving, on what they call Black Friday, I was awoken by a phone call. It was from my sister and mother, who were pawing their way through an outlet mall. They had called to say they wished I was there to help with the shopping. (I suppose it's a tradition in my family, like so many other people's -- this shopping on the busiest shopping day.) They were a few hours ahead of me in Texas, so I forgave them for calling so early, mumbled a few words of encouragement, and fell back asleep. Later in the day, they called again to tell me what spoils they had won. The were at the mall for about 4 hours and had only managed to go to 3 stores. "We didn't even get to look at handbags and shoes!" my mother exclaimed. And I knew she would have stayed another 3 hours to look at handbags and shoes if only other family functions had not gotten in the way.
There's a story in today's SF Chronicle about Asian American entertainers becoming stars overseas. The first couple paragraphs sums it up nicely: audition for bit parts in Hollywood playing stereotypes, or take a gamble in Asia where you have a better chance of interesting work, even if you can't speak an Asian language.
R.I.P. Pat Morita, forever immortalized as Mr. Miyagi on The Karate Kid and formerly of Happy Days fame. A pioneering Asian American actor, comedian, and internment camp survivor, Morita was the first Asian American actor I ever saw in a lead role on the big screen.
There's been a lot in the news lately about overachieving Asian American students. You've probably already heard about the book above. The Korean American sisters who wrote it were recently profiled in the New York Times, extolling the virtues of strict Asian parenting. (Neither of them are educators or parents for that matter.) Their message seemed to be, "Hey, we're not really all that smart and neither are other Asians. We just work really hard and our parents made us do it!" Now, lucky you, they’ve written this book so that you non-Asians can learn these mysterious Asian secrets and succeed too!
An Asian American guy with a really bad haircut looks out from my TV screen. "All my life, I wanted to be an American," he says. "I'm sansei, that means I'm the third generation to be born in this country." I missed big chunks of the rest of the commercial because of the yelling. My yelling. Have you seen this spot? It's on PBS. The guy goes on to say that his family was interned during the war, and that he always wanted to be an American but never felt like one until he saw Ken Burn's Civil War documentary on PBS.
OK, so this is not exactly serious hard news here, but we could all use a little hard body news once in a while... Daniel Dae Kim has made People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" list. On their website, you can see some of the photos of those who made the list, which includes the usual suspects (Matt Damon, Matthew McConaughey, blah blah). Vince Vaughn made the list (eh?) and there's a really super cheesy photo of Mr. Jessica Simpson (or maybe not anymore, is the ring on or off?) -- Nick Lachey. But who cares, back to Daniel.