Hmmm, I wonder if the author Fran Manushkin is a neighbor of ours :)
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Katie Woo Lives Here Too!
Hmmm, I wonder if the author Fran Manushkin is a neighbor of ours :)
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Help the Alphabet Rockers Fund Their TV Pilot!
They've been writing and performing positive, educational hip-hop songs for live audiences around the country, and amassing fans of all ages along the way. One key feature of their songs is that they make tolerable the endless repetition that your toddler will inevitably demand.
They're about halfway into a $30k Kickstarter fundraising campaign to fund their pilot and have just over a week to raise the rest. Please visit their page and pitch in a few bucks -- or even a few thousand! It'd be great to see these guys on TV.
Here's their Kickstarter video:
And a few of their music videos:
Monday, September 17, 2012
For Janet Liang and for all our children, be one of #170in7
- Click on the link: http://join.bethematch.org/TeamJanet. Fill out the forms to request a free, do-it-yourself cheek swab kit.
- Tweet about it using #170in7 to be counted! Click the button to send a Tweet to your followers: If you don’t have a Twitter account, send an email to jenn [at] reappropriate [dot] co to be counted!
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Jackie Chan in the Eagle Dad's Shadow
Up until recently, I hadn't put much thought into how Jackie might be as a father. I guess I just assumed he would be Bob Ho from The Spy Next Door.As it turns out, he isn't. According to Channel News Asia, Jackie is donating his entire fortune to charity when he dies. His son, Jaycee, is not getting a dime. His rationale: "If he is capable, he can make his own money. If he is not, then he will just be wasting my money."
But it's not this decision that has me wondering about Jackie: The Father (as opposed to Jackie: The Comedian, The Actor, The Kung Fu Star). It's his reaction when his son Jaycee called concerned about his rumored death. I acknowledge that Jaycee may be exaggerating a tad and that Jackie's reaction is not atypical for the older generation of Chinese parents. But still, I imagined Jackie being a little more "progressive" than that. According to Channel News Asia, Jaycee said, "My dad scolded me 'Do you wish I were dead?' That was when I knew it was all false."
I don't think I'll ever get tired of Russell Peters' "Beat Your Children" monologue.
It's brilliant! It's funny because as the child of Asian immigrants, I can totally relate (I laugh now but it was terrible at the time) AND as an Asian parent, I have already caught myself more times than I would like whipping the same criticisms my parents beat me with __ "An 80 is a good score, if that's the best you can do…", "The teacher wrote you are creative and imaginative. Imagine all you can achieve in this world if you stopped daydreaming and focused on acing those tests…" and so on. Chinese parents are masters of the art of the backhanded compliment.
Tiger Mom, Amy Chua, Wolf Dad, Xiao Baiyou, and Eagle Dad, He Liesheng, have been elected the 21st Century ambassadors of modern Chinese parenting by the news media-at-large. Happily, at each instance of this so called " traditional Asian parenting" there have been as large a chorus of Asian outcry as there have been American ones.
It's been half a year since Duo Duo's famous run around the park, dressed in only his underwear, on a cold and snowy winter's morning. His father, the Eagle Dad, had forced him into the cold and then posted his run on YouTube because he wanted "to show that if a child can accept this kind of extreme education when they are young, they can overcome any difficulties the future might hold." He says, "I did it because I want Duo Duo to be strong."
The video of little Duo Duo's wintry run might not have seen any controversy had there been a Golden Harvest or Shaw Brothers logo in front of it. Parents who spent their adolescent years in the 80s will remember a young Gordon Liu in The 36th Chamber of Shaolin enduring a battery of imaginative (sometimes fantastical) but harsh training regiments on his path to become a "Shaolin Master Killer".
Chose any Jackie's early films and you will see the same ludicrously rough lessons. But while this form of training makes for great drama and fantastical action sequences, parents need to know that these movies are make believe and you cannot hope to apply the same tough love tactics they depict and expect to garner the same results in reality.
By Kung Fu movie standards, I am spoiling my children. But I like to think that they work as hard as they play. I also like to think that given the advantages I didn't have, they will be more successful than I have been and able to do more good. I don't believe I coddle my children. Instead I think in the amount of time I spend with them, I model positive problem solving strategies and social skills for them, while telling them they are the most cherished and important part of my life. I don't have to be the high paid executive or the biggest star as long as I ensure they can be.
In homage to the movie that inspired the title of this post, here's a trailer for Jackie Chan's Snake in the Eagle's Shadow (It includes clips of Jackie's character learning and training in Kung Fu):
Originally posted at Cranial Gunk.
Sunday, July 01, 2012
Vincent Chin, Danny Chen, and Coping with Betrayal
Last weekend marked the 30th Anniversary of the murder of Vincent Chin. The week that lead up to it was filled with posts from across the blogosphere about Vincent and the legacy of how little Judge Kaufman valued the life of a Chinese American versus the lives of the two white men murdered who him. He said, "These weren't the kind of men you send to jail." And if he were alive today, I would ask him, "Was Vincent the kind man that deserved to be bludgeoned to death?"
Bao Phi's opinion piece in the Star Tribune has been one of my favorite references when thinking about Vincent. Another favorite reference is Curtis Chin's documentary, Vincent Who? Released several years before, Curtis' film addresses the legacy of Vincent Chin and Judge Kaufman's verdict.
(I think the opening of the trailer says it all.)
And of course, there is Christina Choy's Who Killed Vincent Chin? It was the first film I saw about the case and (as far as I know) for a very long time the only film made about the case.
I was in high school in '82, the year Vincent was murdered. Billy Idol and Duran Duran, I was dealing with my own issues at the time. But as much taunting and teasing as I got for the clothes I wore and the songs I listened to, race was rarely an issue. I grew up in racially, ethnically, religiously diverse Queens. It wasn't until I meet Curtis several years after college in the '90s that Vincent Chin became an "issue".
But even after meeting Curtis and others since and learning more about Vincent Chin, I don't know that I would have answered any differently if someone were to come up to me and ask me, if I've heard of Vincent Chin?
Judge Kaufman's betrayal of justice ignited a national Asian American movement that positively changed the way I saw myself but Vincent Chin is not part of my daily psyche. I imagine, if approached, I would try to identify someone I might know personally before I would identify someone from modern history.
As a father, it my duty to tell my children that there are people out there who will hate them simply because they "look" Chinese. But my children are young, so I am just as responsible for imparting to them the faith that overall people regardless of race or religion are good. Among my challenges in fatherhood is maintaining the balance between my children having a strong sense of what the "real world" is like with what the "real world" could be. I want them to believe in their neighbors, while at the same time cautious with how quickly they embrace them.
I didn't know Danny Chen but his death has had a lingering effect on me. Danny Chen, 19 years old, enlisted in the US Army (despite the protests of his parents), allegedly committed suicide after enduring months of humiliation and torture at the hands of his Brothers in Arms.
It definitely has something to do with how young he looks in the picture that the news uses whenever they speak about him. I know he's 18 or 19 in the photo but with a little more fat on his face, he could be the same age as my kids (maybe a little older but not much more). His growing up in Chinatown and his parents speaking the same dialect as mine only adds to the sadness I feel and the worry -- the worry that my kids might be the next victims…
As disappointing as it is to have to teach my children that inevitably they will have to endure racist comments, I'm confident I can manage it. But how do I teach my children about betrayal? What makes the Danny Chen case so much more upsetting -- and why it lingers -- is his tormentors were people he was supposed to be able to rely on -- his Brothers in Arms…
Have you ever been cheated on? Have you ever felt betrayed? How do you teach that? How do you teach your children to deal?
I dug around online but the closest I came to "professional" advice was this post at Scholastic.com. It details the stages of friendship but does not offer any advice on coping with betrayal or when "clubs" shift. The author does say the parent should be supportive of the child and if there are problems go to the child's teacher but there is no instruction on talking to your child about betrayal before it happens.
That's why I like Nikki's song so much. In addition to being musically good on its own, its lyrics are offer good advice on coping with betrayal.
And while the chorus is
The one you love might be the one to let you down every time.I don't interpret it to mean "prepare yourself for a life of loneliness and antisocial behavior." I interpret it as a statement on resolve -- Be resolute and confident in who you are. Be yourself. Cultivate yourself. And Live.
That ain't right, no, that ain't right.
So just be sure you can survive without no one by your side.
'Cause in life, the strong survive.
They hurt you, they sliced at the threads of your life but what's tearing
you apart is holding on to being right.
Forgiving is hard, like breaking through prison bars but the healing
wont start til you let go of the scars.
Strong people forgive and get the pain out their system
Weak people relive and they keep playing the victim.
People always told us keep our enemies close, but I'd rather keep my
distance than be phoney to a foe.
Best wisdom to own is knowing when to let go, but that's something u
Sunday, June 24, 2012
An Asian American Summer Book List for Kids
In her own words: Mia Wenjen blogs obsessively on children's books and young adult literature at Pragmatic Mom and creative Asian Americans at JadeLuck Club when she's not chauffering around her three kids.
Additional reading suggestions welcomed! Add them to the Comments below.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Asians in the movies.
Link to the larger image: Link
116 of Hollywood’s greatest stars on one stage at one time to celebrate Paramount Studio’s 100th anniversary. It's interesting to see which stars were actually chosen. I guess in some respects you have to be happy to see at least three Asian faces in the group, from left to right: Tommy Chong, George Takei and John Cho. The interesting part to me is the under-representation of Asian females in the group (perhaps Lucy Liu and Sandra Oh were booked that day). Anyway, photographically speaking it quite a feat to have such a large group together and apparently not that much photo-shop trickery involved. For those of you photo geeks out there (like me) here's the set up info, the shot was taken by famous celebrity photographer Art Streiber:
The 40-foot stage, 116-person photo needed flattering, even light all the way across. This setup used no light stands, no C-stands and no medium or high rollers. Instead, Art’s crew of 10 assistants used 57 Profoto heads, and gridded 34 of those heads with Magnum P50 dishes as the key light. Because the stage was so wide, he couldn’t use a big side light. Instead, Art would have to light from above. He decided to mimic the “Broadway” style stage lighting, which is a fairly hard light source, up high above the audience. 63 frames on a Hasselblad H2 camera with the new Phase One IQ-160 back and a 150mm lens, provided by his digital tech, Eric Vlasic at With Technology. He shot the photo in three sections, and his retoucher, Angie Hayes at the Happy Pixel Project, seamed the images together in post. However, it’s important to note that all 116 people were on stage at one time. Nobody was stitched into the photo, nobody was added in post.Thanks to FStoppers for the post.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
How the CDC can help you shop for next winter
If you've ever looked through your kid's file at the pediatrician's office, you will notice that their height, weight and head circumference are all plotted on these same charts. Here's how it works:
- Find your child's height on the y-axis. In this example, the child is 42.5" (107.5cm) tall.
- Find your child's age on the x-axis. In this example, the child is 5 years, 4 months (metric equivalent unknown :).
- Find out where those coordinates meet, and find the closest percentile curve upon which your child's measurement lies. In this example, the child is on the 25th percentile (the line right below the heavy red line which represents the 50th percentile).
- Since the child in this example will be about six years old next winter, trace that age from the x-axis up to where it intersects with the percentile curve your child is on. On the 25th percentile in this case, it appears that the child will be about 44" (111.5cm) tall by this coming winter. That's a growth of about 1 1/2 inches.
Tuesday, May 08, 2012
CD Giveaway! Mista Cookie Jar's Ultramagnetic Universal Love Revolution
If you're not familiar with the music of Mista Cookie Jar, a.k.a. C.J. Pizarro, he calls it "Urban-Island-Funky-Rock-N-Roll for the Inner Child." His first album, The Love Bubble, has been on repeat in our house for a long time, and it definitely makes children of all ages get up and dance.
Case in point: I just hit "play" on the video below for "Happy Place," off the new album, while writing this and my three-year-old daughter just ran over to the computer for the other room where she was playing with my iPhone.
perform at a reading for Rad Dad: Dispatches from the Frontiers of Fatherhood.
Enjoy the "Happy Place" video then scroll down for how to enter to win your own signed copy of Ultramagnetic Universal Love Revolution:
To enter to win one of five signed copies of Ultramagnetic Universal Love Revolution by Mista Cookie Jar and the Chocolate Chips, send an email with "Mista Cookie Jar" in the subject line to email@example.com by this Friday, May 11, at midnight PDT. To purchase your own copy now on CD or download, go to cdbaby or iTunes.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
That's someone's child
I’m an avid road cyclist, and my riding buddies fit the stereotype: tough, quiet, spandexed. Before Eliot was born, I liked to soften these guys up by telling them how excited I was about my imminent fatherhood. I remember one of them—one of our team’s tougher, quieter, more spandexed members—telling me that after having his first child he could no longer watch Law & Order or CSI, or any of those procedurals whose drama revolves around the killed and the killing, or the dead and the dying.
“That’s someone’s child,” he said. “I just can’t handle it anymore.”
It’s a simple sentiment, perhaps, but the force of its generalization still moves me. Even if I felt then that it was somewhat overstated, it feels considerably less so now that I’ve made the transition from expectant father to father. At the very least, it’s become far more difficult to handle stories about children dying—and almost impossible to hear about them being killed.
There’s nothing I can say about Trayvon Martin, or his case, that hasn’t already been said. Ta-Nehisi Coates and his Atlantic Monthly colleagues have been our best guides to his story's twists and turns. Bruce Reyes-Chow at Hyphen’s blog has even tried to make sense of the overlap of Asian American privilege and what he calls “white” privilege that he sees lurking beneath the “lack of privilege” that marked Trayvon as a body to be targeted, pursued and shot down. Numerous others have attempted to see themselves through the lens of Trayvon’s death, and to mourn the persistence of racism.
But the voices that have affected me the most aren’t the angry ones, or the historical ones, or the legal or political ones, though each of these have played a crucial part in how I’ve come to understand Trayvon’s death. The most affecting voices have been the ones that see their own children in Trayvon, or even their own hypothetical children. I’m not in the habit of being moved by the emotional ploys of politicians, but I really did believe in the pain Obama was trying to convey when he said that if he had had a son, he would have looked like Trayvon.
Trayvon’s death hurts in many ways, not least of them historically, so of course the old divisions have been busy policing the authenticity of pain and identification. Black commentators have criticized white commentators’ claims that Trayvon reminds them of their own children, and confessionals of white guilt have flooded the airwaves and blogosphere. These discussions certainly have their place and I think we owe it to Trayvon to think through them as carefully as possible, in all their uncomfortable complexity. But the reason I’m writing this post is not to add to any of that.
The reason is because… well, it’s because I thought I'd ask us to pause for a moment and look at Trayvon's face. I think most of us have already done this, but there's something important in that pause. There's a feeling I get that I think most of you get as well, and I'd venture to say it's the powerful feeling of the general and specific coinciding. He belongs to us—and that matters tremendously.
Just look at him.