A fun romp through news, celebrity, beauty & fashion with an AsianAmerican eye

Archive for the ‘Race-Ethnicity-Nationality’ Category

‘Asian Susan Boyle’ is a Taiwanese Man-Boy Nicknamed ‘Little Fatty’

with one comment

A bow tie-wearing, chubby-cheeked 24-year-old male from Taiwan is being called the “Asian Susan Boyle.” His name is Lin Yu Chun, and he is the latest singing sensation to garner millions of views on YouTube (nearly 4 million at last count).

Never mind the shape of his haircut, Lin will bowl you over with his singing. Jaws dropped when he appeared on a talent show on Taiwanese television and sang Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.” (A monster hit of a song written by Dolly Parton in 1973, and later recorded by Houstin in 1992.)

He “floored the judges this week with his pitch-perfect rendition,” declared ABC News.

(Watch the Youtube video of his performance, below.)

Growing up a chubby kid with a plain face, Lin reveals that he was ridiculed for his appearance. “Being fat draws a lot of mockery in our society,” he told the Daily Mail in an exclusive interview. (Yes, he speaks English!)

He found solace in music, reports the Daily Mail, locking himself in his room for hours as he sang along to Celine Dion, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, especially her songs from the soundtrack, “The Bodyguard,” in which “I Will Always Love You,” is included.

“I played it again and again even though my parents couldn’t stand it any more and asked me to stop,” he said.

Lin, who loves to sing and dreamt of a career in music, finds encouragement in his newfound stardom. “I now have more confidence in pursuing a singing career,” he told the Daily Mail. “You don’t have to be a good-looking man or woman to succeed. Just be yourself and try your best.”


Written by Asianista

April 11, 2010 at 9:29 am

Padma Lakshmi’s Baby Daddy Revealed!

leave a comment »

Adam Dell and Padma Lakshmi in February 2009

Adam Dell is the father of Padma Lakshmi’s baby girl, who was born on February 20 in New York City. Till now, Lakshmi has refused to name the man who fathered her child.

“A friend revealed that he dotes on his daughter and wants to see more of her,” reports the Daily Mail. “Another said: ‘They are trying to work it out. They are trying to avoid anything messy.'”

The baby’s name is Krishna Thea Lakshmi.

Dell is a professor of business and technology at Columbia Business School in New York, invests in technology companies and is also a law professor in Texas, reports the Daily Mail.

Read more:

Padma Lakshmi dotes on her new baby.

Written by Asianista

March 18, 2010 at 11:49 pm

Asian-Americans Sleep Better Than Other Ethnic Groups, Says New Study

with one comment

Are there ethnic and cultural differences in the way we sleep? Apparently so!

The National Sleep Foundation released the results of a new study in which they examined the sleeping patterns among four ethnic groups (Whites, Blacks, Hispanics and Asians). Granted, the number of participants in the study was small (only 1,007 people were polled, aged 25 to 60), but the findings are nonetheless interesting.

Blacks are most likely to pray before bedtime — 71% of Blacks in the study reported doing so. Of the four ethnic groups, Whites reported the highest rate of diagnosis for insomnia (10%), and Blacks the highest rate of diagnosed sleep apnea (14%).

Among those who were married or partnered, Asians (28%) and Hispanics (22%) were the most likely to report that they sleep in the same room with their children, compared to only 15% of Blacks and 8% of Whites.

Everybody had trouble sleeping at some point or another, but Asians are the most likely ethnic group (84%) to say that they had a good night’s sleep at least a few nights or more a week, reports the study.

What did all four ethnic groups have in common? Among those married or living together, all ethnic groups reported being “too tired for sex frequently” (21- 26% of the time). But if sex was going to happen, it was most likely among certain groups. “Blacks and Hispanics (10% each) are ten times more likely to report having sex every night than Asians (1%) and 2.5 times more likely than Whites (4%),” says the study. Does that mean Asian people need to start having more sex?

Read more about the National Sleep Foundation’s 2010 Sleep in America poll.

Written by Asianista

March 9, 2010 at 11:49 am

Asians at the Academy Awards — Oscars Red Carpet 2010

with one comment

Well, unlike last year’s Oscars when we saw two Asians take the stage to accept their Academy Awards, this year, the only Asians we saw at the Oscars were on the red carpet on the arms of their partners.

There was Jason Reitman (nominated for Best Director for Up in the Air) and his wife, Michele Lee:

82nd Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
Woody Harrelson (nominated for Best Supporting Actor for The Messenger) and his wife Laura Louie:
Photo by: RE/Westcom/ 2010 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 3/7/10 Woody Harrelson and wi
George Takei (from the original Star Trek television series and his partner Brad Altman:
Photo by: RE/Westcom/ 2010 3/7/10 George Takei and Brad Altman at the 82nd
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch and wife, Wendy Deng:
82nd Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention hapa hottie, Keanu Reeves, who is partly Chinese:
82nd Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

Proof Asian Guys Can Grow Facial Hair

leave a comment »

I seem to recall hearing some scuttlebutt about Asian guys not being able to grow facial hair. Well, here’s some proof that Asian men can grow lush, thick beards if they want. But I hope they don’t. Facial hair is gross, unattractive and is horribly itchy on contact. No one looks good with facial hair except Magnum P.I.


Major leaguer Park signs with NY Yankees

Written by Asianista

March 1, 2010 at 1:34 am

Apolo Ohno’s Mother Was Teenager When She Gave Birth to Future Olympian

with 6 comments

The Today Show Gallery of Olympians

The fascination with Olympic short speedskater Apolo Ohno’s estranged mother shows no signs of abating.

The obsession is stoked, in part, because so little is known about her. It’s been reported that her name is Jerrie Lee, she is Caucasian, and she and Apolo’s dad, Yuki Ohno, divorced in 1983 when Apolo was only a year old.

It was unusual for the time, but when the couple divorced, it was the father who got full custody of the son, rather than the mother. This, despite the fact that Yuki owned a hair salon in Seattle, Wash., worked 12-hour days and had little time to take care of a small child. (One Halloween, little Apolo sat in his father’s salon wearing his costume, waiting to be taken trick-or-treating as it got darker and darker, and later and later. His father couldn’t leave; he had to tend to his clients.)

Why did Apolo’s father get custody? Why not his mother? Didn’t she want her baby?

One clue is revealed by a 2002 newspaper article which states that Apolo’s mother was only 18 years old when she married Yuki Ohno, a Japanese immigrant who was 37 years old at the time. When they divorced a year later when Apolo was still a baby, Yuki got custody. Maybe his teenaged mother knew she was ill-equipped to raise a child at the time.

Whatever the reason, it appears Apolo was raised with little or no contact with his mother, and hasn’t talked to her for decades. “After 19 years, it would be strange,” Apolo told the St. Petersburg Times in 2002. “I don’t have any (lost child) hotlines out for her.”

Yuki wants to keep his ex-wife out of the picture. ”There’s no story about her,” Yuki told Sports Illustrated in 2002. “No story. It’s insignificant to what he is now. We’ve got to keep it that way.”

Insignificant? No mother, whether estranged or not, is ever insignificant to a child. She may have had nothing to do with his becoming an Olympian, but as the person who gave birth to Apolo, she cannot be dismissed. Her non-presence has got be a factor in his life. It must affect him in some way that he did not experience a mother’s love while growing up.

As for the mysterious Jerrie Lee, does she watch Apolo on television when he competes in the Olympics? Did she watch several years ago when he won Dancing with the Stars? Does she think, “There is my child.” Or does she change the channel?

Short Track Speed Skating - Day 15

Written by Asianista

February 27, 2010 at 4:32 pm

I Wish Henry Louis Gates Was My Friend

with one comment

Faces of America DVD collection. Buy it!

Lately, I’ve been inspired by a documentary called Faces of America on PBS. In the series, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (pictured below) meets with 12 famous Americans (including two prominent Asian Americans —  yay!) and tells them how they ended up in America, which country their ancestors originated from, and the experiences their immigrant ancestors had upon first arriving in the United States.

The program examines the question, “What does an ‘American’ look like?”

As an American of Asian descent, the question is near and dear to my heart. Nobody ever views me as an American when I travel around the world. Heck, sometimes even in America, they don’t view me as American. (Has anyone ever been to Sewanee, Tennessee? I have! You haven’t experienced the South until you’ve had a bunch of grizzly white men staring at you at a truck stop while you’re trying to eat your chicken-fried steak in peace.)

Sitting in a busy piazza in Florence, I once had an Italian guy try to charm me with the opener, “Are you Chinese? Japanese?” (Except he pronounced it, “Chin-eh-zeh?” “Japon-eh-zeh?”)

I wanted to say, “I’m American.” But I knew what he was getting at. Americans were white. Or black, like Michael Jordan. (It was the ’90s.) Not Asian…right?

If you watch Faces of America, you’ll realize that everybody who is American originally came from somewhere else. (Of course, we know this, but it’s always nice to be reminded — especially those angry anti-immigrant mobs.) Stephen Colbert’s great-great grandfather came from Ireland. Famed film director Mike Nichols — The Graduate, Working Girl, Closer — was born in Germany and came to America when he was seven. Dr. Mehmet Oz’s father immigrated from Turkey.

These individuals — all who happen to be white — are rarely questioned about their American-ness, as Asian-Americans are. We’re often asked, “Where are you from?” — even though our family may have been in America for generations.

Usually, the question isn’t mean-spirited, but it is inadvertently offensive. The question implies Asians look “different” and are somehow not really “American,” and in any event, are the “other.”

Premiere screening of Faces of America with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

It’s heart-breaking to watch the moment in Faces of America, when Professor Gates tells Japanese American, Kristi Yamaguchi — whose paternal grandfather immigrated to the U.S. in 1899 — that her entire family was incarcerated in Japanese internment camps in the Arizona desert during World War II. And that her maternal grandfather fought for America alongside white soldiers, even though his wife and children were imprisoned in the concentration camps in the Arizona desert.

Throughout the series, Professor Gates approaches the sensitive issues of race and nationality with compassion, light humor and a deep understanding of America as a hyper-racialized society. The message he puts across in Faces of America seems to be: we’re all from somewhere else. So what does an “American” look like? Black, white, yellow, brown and everything in between.

Go to the Faces of America website and watch Professor Gates talk with: Mario Batali, Meryl Streep, Eva Longoria, Queen Noor, Dr. Oz, Mike Nichols, Malcolm Gladwell, Louise Erdrich, Elizabeth Alexander, Yo-Yo Ma, Stephen Colbert and Kristi Yamaguchi.

Australian Skater Cheltzie Lee is Chinese and African-American

with one comment

Figure Skating - Ladies Short Program - Day 12

When Australian figure skater Cheltzie Lee skated onto the ice this evening for the women’s short program during the Winter Olympics, I thought she had a spray-on tan. It turns out, Lee’s caramel-colored skin is natural. According to the NBC commentator, Lee’s father is Chinese (born in Bangladesh) and her mother is African-American (born in Louisiana).

Figure Skating - Ladies Short Program - Day 12

Written by Asianista

February 24, 2010 at 2:28 am

Tiger Woods Press Conference – I’m a bad Buddhist and that’s why I had rampant, adulterous sex

with 2 comments

Tiger Woods on February 19, 2010. (AP)

Well, for once it’s refreshing and new to hear a disgraced celebrity cite — not God or Christianity  — as the path to redemption, but Buddhism! That’s what happens when your mother is originally from Thailand and raises you Buddhist.

Tiger Woods, looking bloated, puffy and chipmunk-cheeked, gave a press conference today to address the numerous, scandalous affairs that brought him tumbling down from his pedestal last November and threatened to destroy his career and marriage. Standing before a carefully assembled group of friends, business associates, his mother and hand-picked reporters, Woods admitted, “I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated.”

Why he had affairs with all those women: “I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled.”

He was selfish and thought only of himself, admits Woods. His mother, Kultida Punsawad Woods, who is originally from Thailand, was at the conference and hugged her son afterwards. The person glaringly absent from the press conference was Woods’ wife, Elin Nordegren. (I could have you told you she wasn’t going to be there.)

The press conference was carefully controlled. Woods’ team only invited a hand-picked small group of reporters from the Associated Press, Reuters and Bloomberg News. No questions were allowed. Tiger simply read from a statement that was 14 minutes long. (Watch the video and read his entire statement here.)

Woods said that he has had intense therapy (though he wouldn’t specify whether it was for sexual addiction) and is trying to rebuild his marriage and his career. Will he and his wife stay married? That is between them as husband and wife, Woods said.

I have a lot of work to do, and I intend to dedicate myself to doing it. Part of following this path for me is Buddhism, which my mother taught me at a young age. People probably don’t realize it, but I was raised a Buddhist, and I actively practiced my faith from childhood until I drifted away from it in recent years. Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside ourselves causes an unhappy and pointless search for security. It teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously, I lost track of what I was taught.

One wonders. Who helped Tiger write that speech?

Written by Asianista

February 19, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Kate Beckinsale is part Asian?

leave a comment »

Kate Beckinsale is part Asian. Yes, indeedy.You’d never guess, but British actress Kate Beckinsale — star of Underworld, Pearl Harbor, and all around gorgeous girl — is the tiniest bit Burmese. Her father, Richard Beckinsale was 1/4 Burmese. (His paternal grandfather was full Burmese.) Therefore, Kate Beckinsale is 1/8 Burmese.

Learning of this, one idiot reporter described Kate as “faintly sloe-eyed.”

Having never heard the term “sloe-eyed” before, I looked it up and discovered that it is defined as :

1 : having soft dark bluish- or purplish-black eyes
2 : having slanted eyes

Since Kate’s eyes are greenish-hazel, the reporter must have meant the latter definition, which is simply ridiculous, not to mention offensive.

Kate revealed that as a child, she was “very oriental looking”— “Not that there’s anything wrong with it!” she might have added — but as an adult, how can anyone say her eyes look faintly slanted? Phhhft!

Written by Asianista

July 18, 2009 at 4:07 pm