Archive for the 'Current Events' Category

Yay for the 7307 Takei Asteroid!

George Takei AsteroidGeorge Takei has had an asteroid named after him!

“I am now a heavenly body,” Takei said Tuesday, laughing. “I found out about it yesterday. … I was blown away. It came out of the clear, blue sky — just like an asteroid.”

You can look it up on the NASA asteroid database browser:
http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=Takei

Rock on, Takei!

Photo: AP Photo
Continue reading ‘Yay for the 7307 Takei Asteroid!’

In Memory: Wai ‘Ray’ Ng

Ray NgEvery so often, I surf through Facebook and I see a heartbreaking group such as this one:
R.I.P Ray Ng we miss you (Facebook account needed to see link)

Son gives his mom night off, is slain
From The Miami Herald (May 15, 2007)

TAMARAC – For Mother’s Day this year, Wai Ng may have saved his mother’s life.

His gift to her was simple: The 28-year-old son, known to friends as Ray, offered to work his mother’s shift on Sunday at the family’s Chinese restaurant in Tamarac.

But late that night, authorities said, a gunman stormed into the almost-empty restaurant and demanded money. Before making his exit, cash in hand, the stranger fired a single shot, leaving Ng dead on the floor.

…Ten years ago, Ng’s older sister died of breast cancer. She left behind The Hong Kong City BBQ, the Chinese restaurant she had owned on North State Road 7.

Pui Ng (Ray’s Mom) took over as owner. Ray Ng dropped out of high school to help.

Even though this happened in back in May, I thought this was worth mentioning because I know so many Asian Americans work in family businesses and can relate to the hard working owners of a family business. This is one of the saddest stories I’ve heard, particularly because Ray’s mom was a single mom and had already lost one of her children 10 years earlier. Now to lose a second child on Mother’s Day is absolutely heartbreaking.

Some additional coverage at this Yelp Talk topic (Yelp account needed)

One of the good things to come out of this tragic event was that the local Chinese community joined forces with the local police departments to hold two Crime Prevention Community Forums to address the issues of protecting oneself when a crime occurs and how to minimize potential risks of a crime.

SAFETY TIPS
Source: North Miami Beach Police Department

What to do before, during and after a robbery.

Before
• Make sure your business is well lit on the inside and outside.
• Make sure your windows are clear so you can see in from the outside.
• At night leave your cash register open so people can see there is nothing in it.
• Keep ruler tape or some form of measurement gauge on the door to estimate the height of the intruder.

During
• Never resist, don’t scream or do anything that will call attention.
• Only talk to answer the robber’s questions.
• Pay close attention to details of the intruder.
• Stay calm.

After
• Call police immediately.
• Do not disturb the crime scene.
• Write down everything you remember about the intruder immediately.
• Try to separate the witnesses so that each has his own story of what happened.

Ray did everything right and still lost his life. What a shame.

Even though it’s months later, my deepest sympathies go out to Ray’s friends and loved ones.

::Ray Ng Memorial Website::

Push to achieve tied to suicide in Asian-American women

Um, duh.

Ok, now that I’m done with that insightful commentary, I just want to say that not getting straight A’s has never been so horrifying to me that I would want to commit suicide over my grades. (That doesn’t stop me from petitioning my school to reinstate my A from last term so my GPA doesn’t drop.)

In all seriousness, in 2005, the United States Department of Health and Human Services reported that Asian American females between the ages of 15 and 24 had the highest suicide rate among all women in that age range.
Continue reading ‘Push to achieve tied to suicide in Asian-American women’

Pat Buchanan: Why does anyone listen to this crackpot?

Pat Buchanan - AP PhotoI hesitate to even quote this Pat Buchanan idiot, but it’s relevant to the previous discussions we’ve been having here about the aftermath of the Virginia Tech masscre. Buchanan is blaming Seung Cho’s psychotic and deranged actions on IMMIGRATION.

He recently wrote an article at townhall.com called The Dark Side of Diversity. With a title like that you can imagine where this article is going.

Here are some choice excerpts (my commentary in bold italics):
Continue reading ‘Pat Buchanan: Why does anyone listen to this crackpot?’

Cleaners are taken to the cleaners.

Jin Nam Chung and Ki ChungThe Washington Post reports on a story involving a South Korean immigrant family, their small dry cleaning business, and a judge who is suing them for $65 million.

That’s not a typo: SIXTY-FIVE MILLION DOLLARS!

What did Jin Nam Chung, Ki Chung and their son, Soo Chung do that was so egregrious that District of Columbia administrative hearings judge, Roy Pearson would file this suit against them? They (temporarily) lost a pair of his pants (his suit was purportedly worth approximately $1000).

The Chung family were just pursuing their American dream when they opened their dry-cleaning business seven years ago in Washington, DC. Unfortunately, they have spent the last two years with the litigation of this lawsuit. Is it any wonder they are so disheartened that they are considering moving back to Seoul?

Continue reading ‘Cleaners are taken to the cleaners.’

The story of just one of the many heroes of 4/16/07 from VT

haiyancheng.jpgAccording to her (google cached) VT homepage as of 5/1/05, Haiyan Cheng:

I am a PhD student in Computer Science. My academic advisor is Dr. Adrian Sandu.

I obtained a Master’s degree in Applied Mathematics from Michigan Technological University, and a Master’s degree in Computer Science from University of Windsor. My previous research interests were integral methods applied to image reconstruction and security authorization for computational grids. My current reserach interests are the scientific computation and high performance computing.

I am working on the uncertainty quantification using polynomial chaos for Atmospherical Chemical Transport Model (CTM) as a research assistant.

On 4/16/07, she became a hero, saving the lives of the students in the class she was substitute teaching.
Continue reading ‘The story of just one of the many heroes of 4/16/07 from VT’

Virginia Tech: The Day After / Media Advisory from the AAJA

By now, most everyone is aware of yesterday’s tragic events as well as much of the aftermath, including the identity of the mass murderer as Cho Seung-Hui.

While more information will continue to surface, we’ll leave the “breaking news” to other outlets who have full-time staff covering the events.

Speaking of professional journalists, the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) issued a media advisory yesterday urging media to use caution in how the suspected shooter’s ethnicity factors into any coverage.

Here is an excerpt of the original statement on 4/16:

As coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting continues to unfold, AAJA urges all media to avoid using racial identifiers unless there is a compelling or germane reason. There is no evidence at this early point that the race or ethnicity of the suspected gunman has anything to do with the incident, and to include such mention serves only to unfairly portray an entire people.

The effect of mentioning race can be powerfully harmful. It can subject people to unfair treatment based simply on skin color and heritage.

We further remind members of the media that the standards of news reporting should be universal and applied equally no matter the platform or medium, including blogs.

A second, follow-up media advisory released by AAJA on 4/17 says the following:

Now that the identity of the suspected shooter at Virginia Tech is known, AAJA cautions the use of his heritage or immigrant status in news coverage.

We understand the need to research the background of Seung-Hui Cho (first name is pronounced “sung hee”) and to provide details about him as a nation struggles to make sense of the horrific incident.

But we are disturbed by some media outlets’ prominent mention that the suspect is an immigrant from South Korea when such a revelation provides no insight or relevance to the story. The fact he is not a U.S. citizen and was here on the basis of a green card, while interesting, should not be a primary focus in the profiling of him. To highlight that suggests his immigration status played a role in the shootings; there’s been no such evidence.

We remind the media that the use of racial and other identifiers must be accompanied with context and relevance. Without it, we open the door to subjecting an entire people to unfair treatment or portrayal based on their skin color or national heritage.

For the record, although I am currently not a member of AAJA, I have attended various AAJA functions in the past and may possibly join in the future. I am all about “supporting the community,” “fair and accurate coverage of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders,” etc, etc.

That said, I have to say that the first media advisory suggesting coverage should “avoid using racial identifiers unless there is a compelling or germane reason” is an odd request given the context of the breaking news. Without official confirmation of the killer, the only information used to describe the gunman was that he was “Asian.” Various reports added other details, such as what he was wearing. But at the time of a breaking news story, the best information journalists had to go on was eyewitness reports, most of whom described the gunman as being “Asian.” That seems to be a pretty compelling and germane reason to bring a racial descriptor into use, at least in that cursory manner. Yes, it would have been unfortunate if that information was wrong, but in this day in age, people still identify others visually by race and any eyewitnesses and victims who described the gunman described him as such.

Regarding the second media advisory, it is obvious that AAJA’s language has changed: “We remind the media that the use of racial and other identifiers must be accompanied with context and relevance.” (No more request of “compelling and germane.”)

That is probably because there was quite a bit of backlash against the request against using “racial identifiers” as descriptors. And considering the request came from an organization that describes itself using a racial identifier (Asian American Journalists Association), it’s no surprise that some people found the advisory a tad hypocritical. (Note: In case it’s not clear, *I* am not saying the AAJA was hypocritical… just saying that some people thought that.)

In fact, here is what one former AAJA member, Christine Suh, has to say:

I hope members out there are as perplexed as I am by the advisory, but the fact that the group’s leadership thought to promote such a poor practice tells me there are members out there who agree that ignoring the identity of the shooter would be acceptable in this story. [full story]

Here is the response from Jeanne Mariani-Beling, AAJA national president:

The comments made by Christine Suh mischaracterize AAJA’s position. AAJA never advocated “ignoring the identity of the shooter” as Ms. Suh stated. Our media advisory, which was issued yesterday prior to the identity of the shooter being released, dealt specifically with using race as an identifier. [full story]

Here is a sampling of other coverage and reactions:
::newsbusters:: ::Asian Journalists Call for Censorship:: ::CBS News:: ::Asian American Journalists Association: Embargo Race And National Origin of Killer Cho:: ::Missing From the News::

There has been some concern about how Cho’s killing spree could potentially create a backlash to Koreans/South Koreans/Korean Americans/Asians/Asian Americans/etc. What about the backlash to the AAJA? Just blog search AAJA this week for more reactions…

All that said, I do personally feel that there seems to be an over-emphasis on Cho’s immigrant/nationality status and I do hope that other contributors to 8Asians will address this in the days to come. Additionally, I also want to state for the record that I am glad there is an Asian American Journalists Association out there with thousands of reporters dedicated to good journalism and avoiding “unfairly portraying an entire people.” I am glad there is an organization to issue such media advisories, if necessary. However, as much as I want to say race isn’t a factor in this particular story, it’s becoming pretty clear to me that in the eyes of many Americans, it is.

Virginia Tech gunman allegedly Asian man

If you have been following the news today then you are aware of the horrific and tragic events that have unfolded this morning at Virginia Tech. First, I’d like to send my heartfelt sympathies to the families of all the victims, many of whom may not know at this moment that their loved ones were harmed.

I first heard about this developing story when I arrived at work and logged into my gmail. I saw the message under the screenname of my brother’s girlfriend “Campus shooting. Under lockdown.” She is a student (graduates next month) at VT who lives on campus. I immediately IMed her and was glad to hear that she was okay. I have been on IM with her all morning, keeping up with the latest news reports as we get them. She still under lockdown in her dorm, waiting for formal evacuation even though it has been hours now.

I was shocked when I realized how close her dorm is to West Ambler Johnston Hall (site of the first shooting in the dorm); WAJ is literally up the hill from her dorm. We heard that the first shooting was a result of a guy arguing with his girlfriend, an RA approached them about the argument and he shot the RA and his gf. I am not sure if this is true, but the report on the other shootings in Norris (Engineering) building is that the gunman lined people up and shot them executioner style.

The gunman is reported to be a male, “Asian, wearing a vest with an “ungodly” amount of ammunition, firing at will.” I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some speculation about race in this event. (We all know about the stereotypes about Asians and engineering.) Over the weekend there were closures due to multiple bomb threats to the Engineering building. With the bulk of the deaths occurring in the Engineering building today, one wonders if there is a connection.

While much more about this story will undoubted be revealed over time, I’d like to take this opportunity to set one thing straight. There is a photo of an Asian man getting cuffed (arrested) being circulated on the AP with the following caption:

An unidentified man is arrested. It is unclear what role he played in the shooting

This is not the shooter!

The crack newsteam at 8asians wants to be first to report that the Asian man seen being cuffed in this photo is Shaozhuo Cui, a photographer for the VT student newspaper. HE IS NOT “THE SHOOTER!” The only thing Shao can be accused of shooting is photographs. Without having heard from him yet, I assume that maybe he got too close to the action before the police took him down. (We will try to get Shao’s story here.)

Many people are circulating this photo of Shao and “connecting the dots” between the alleged Asian gunman and this image.

While that’s an interesting thought, all reports are currently reporting that the actual gunman is dead by his own hand…

More to come on this developing story…

UPDATE: Luboš Motl reports a rumor with further details about the identity of the gunman.

According to unconfirmed rumors available to The Reference Frame, the killer was a 6-foot tall male Asian student between 20 and 25 years from Radford University whose girlfriend from Virginia Tech left him. [From Ernie: The killer has been verified as Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year old Senior from South Korea.] He had two guns and wore a vest with too much ammunition.

In the morning, he went to her dormitory. She was not there so he shot her roommate and some staff of the dormitory. They didn’t shut down the university, so he continued and tried to find the girlfriend in the classroom. He didn’t know the exact location, so he has shot a couple of classes and then himself.

UPDATE: Continuing coverage at metblogs/DC and PlanetBlacksburg

UPDATE @ 5:04pm PST: Shao’s been released, according to the live news conference happening right now. They didn’t name him by name but they said but the “student that was taking pictures and was handcuffed” and now been released.

Tim Hardaway’s Gay Bashing rant and George Takei’s Response

George Takei has been long known in the Asian American community as an activist for civil rights and more recently, for gay rights.

Hats off to George Takei for his brave PSA addressing Tim Hardaway’s recent homophobic rants.

George, you are my hero.

Hat tip: Jimmy Kimmel




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