Friday, August 31, 2007

the reigning champ...

this peter hartlaub article at sfgate identifies rosie o'donnell as the "reigning champ" of "the non-apology apology":

"The non-apology apology: There's no more passive-aggressive phrase on the planet than, "I apologize to anyone who might have been offended" - which is usually followed by a long-winded explanation about why the offended party was wrong in the first place. While the phrase "I'm sorry" may come out of the apologizer's mouth, he or she wants to make it clear that you're the one who has the problem. Rosie O'Donnell is the reigning champ in this category, for her Asian stereotype "Ching-chong, ching-chong" non-apology on "The View" in December, which actually included the words 'there's a good chance that I'll do something like that again.'"

the article doesn't mention her final apology that appeared on her blog after she saw beau sia's response video:

speaking of reigning champs, an interview by christine lee with beau sia is in the august/september '07 issue of audrey magazine. his latest project is "a full length, interactive theatrical piece for the museum of chinese in the americas (moca) in new york city... a reflection of themes...ideas and thoughts around individual and ethnic identity and how outside perspectives play into it...the final piece will debut in the spring of 2008".

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Cho's race as an issue in Virginia Tech massacre

MTV's SuChin Pak wrote an article a few months ago about her feelings on the Virginia Tech massacre. Here is an excerpt:

"I've been continually stunned to see how in very subtle ways people have been trying to create a false sense of truth by attributing Cho's "foreign-ness" as part of the answer. When we are continuously bombarded with media headlines or sound bites that use the words "Virginia Tech Massacre" and "Korean National," a subtle connection is made. The assumption is made that somehow Cho's place of birth, his immigrant status, has something to do with the massacre. It doesn't matter if the rest of an article goes on to talk about Cho's schizophrenia or troubled past or gun control or violent movies, the implication is there. Cho is a foreigner, let's get that straight from the beginning, let's make sure that's part of the conversation.

I've been struggling to understand how some have found comfort in identifying Cho Seung-Hui as a foreigner, as an immigrant and as someone who is certainly not American. It's just a seemingly slight change of language, dropping the word "American" from "Korean-American" and replacing it with "national." You also put his last name first, like they do in "other" countries. There you have it; suddenly, he's not one of us.

There has been a proliferation of groups on Facebook, blogs and online chatter about how Cho's foreign status should factor into the conversation about the deadliest shooting massacre in American history. I'm confused why anyone would want to discuss if Cho should be allowed to be buried in this country, or how someone would write that a "foreigner should never be allowed in this country to kill real Americans." "

Saturday, August 25, 2007

ching chong chinaman - the play

i know. if you can, try to look beyond the picture at left..

i just read this positive review of "ching chong chinaman" a play performed by bathwater productions at The New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC). my curiosity and interest were piqued to say the least. i'd really like to see this show - unfortunately, the last performance is tonight:

"Ching Chong Chinaman
reviewed by Kat Chamberlain
Aug 19, 2007

I don't want to claim that being an Asian American myself makes me any expert on the subject of "Asian-American-ness"; no more than, say, being a woman helps me know more about "woman-ness" than any man does. We all have blind spots, especially when it comes to seeing ourselves. But Ching Chong Chinaman by Lauren Yee truly surprised me, in a highly entertaining and informative way.

The Wongs are your notoriously typical middle-class suburban American family, set in their blissfully content and carefree ways. They are seventh and eighth generation Chinese Americans: Upton, the son, living in the world of Warcraft; Desdemona, the daughter, trying her darnedest to get into Princeton; Grace, the clueless Mom; and Ed, the work-and-golf Dad.

Their insulated life gets a jolt when Upton brings home Ching Chong, and explains that the man is one of the "Indentured servants—workers from Third World countries whose time is worth far less than my own." He bought Ching Chong a one-way plane ticket to America and forged a student visa. In return Ching Chong will complete his homework, chores, and familial obligations. "Cheaper than minimum wage labor, indentured servants present a solution that is amenable to both sides."

The Wongs are so culturally removed from their heritage that, when first spotting Ching Chong with Upton, Desdemona asks, "Who's that Asian guy?" Replies Grace before seeing the man, "Don't talk about your brother like that!" But before long Grace falls for Ching Chong, and Desdemona, feeling the need to get closer to her roots, sets out to be, well, more "Chinese."

The play is boldly satirical and mocks all the major stereotypes—not only about Asians but also Americans. It pushes the envelope with mirth and produces big laughs. It is also an equal-opportunity offender, and there lies a problem: the characters get jeered at so much that they become thoroughly ridiculous, and that makes it hard for us to care about them. Ching Chong is not developed enough, either, to serve as a mirror or an inspiration.

Although the plot is less than satisfying, the dialogue and critiquing is marvelously sharp-witted and penetrating. It turns clich├ęs on their heads. My favorite part is about Desdemona sponsoring a Korean girl and trying to use that fact to pump up her college application. There is also a golf speech that is destined to be a classic.

The cast is superb, with Jamie Yuen-Shore as Desdemona and Cirocco Dunlap in multiple roles being standouts. Director Anne Marie Bookwalter makes the scene changes as fun as the play itself, and keeps the pace snappy and tight. The stage is smartly arranged and utilized. Overall, regardless of whatever faults Ching Chong Chinaman may have, this play is too smart and funny to miss. It makes me wonder at a few things I do as Asian and American, respectively and together. And they are funny.

Written/created by: Lauren Yee
Directed by Anne Marie Bookwalter
Presented by Bathwater Productions"

Monday, August 20, 2007

English ain't easy...

Apparently, China is cracking down on improperly translated signs (Chinese to English) in preparation for the 2008 Olympics. For any Asian person who struggled to explain a concept IN English that was originally expressed in their native language, this article is for you...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

race - that four letter word

half mama has published a post at parenting called "race - that four letter word". in her post, she recalls two of her indelible experiences with ching chong. it's a powerful and heartbreaking post that reminds me of my own angry, fearful, hate filled memories associated with hearing ching chong.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Michelle Malkin / Chingchong Video

I just did a search on YouTube for "ching chong" to see what videos might be out there, while of course there were tons of videos about Rosie's "ching chong" on the View, I also found this video. It happens that it is also a response to Rosie's "ching chong" however it is well done and interesting in its own right.

Also interesting is Michelle Malkin herself whom I had not heard of before. It seems that she is a well known writer with several best selling books. On her blog about page she describes herself as a "conservative syndicated columnist" and has authored books such as In Defense of Internment. I don't think I agree with her politics ( although I should probably read more than the 10 minutes I have just spent before commenting on them ), but I did find her "ching chong" video amusing.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Ching Chong, Mr. Wong

Ernie posted an entry a few months back on 8Asians called "Mister Wong, the offensive social bookmarking portal." He talked about how the phrase "ping pong king kong Mr. Wong" on the popular site made him mad because he interpreted it as “ching chong, Mister Wong.” He also took issue with the logo caricature of "Mr. Wong" (a dumpy, slant-eyed, balding nerd). I think I understand Ernie's need to vent. As for his detractors, the act of questioning why someone is offended by a stereotypical image is like discounting their experience of racism. People who haven't been there, of course don't understand. They don't see it the same way because they haven't been mocked throughout their life by people making slant eyes at them. Therefore they draw the conclusion that the feelings are not valid--then deny and belittle. IMHO, dismissing a person's experience of racism can be a hurtful as racism itself.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Chingchong Ads

I don't usually like looking at ads but noticed these little "gems" hiding at the bottom of this blog. While I am really curious to click on them to see what they are about I didn't since I agreed to some Terms of Service when moving this site to blogger that I would not click on my "own" ads nor would I ever encourage people visiting this website to click on them either. Still hopefully without breaking any terms of service I can still comment on how I find them amusing.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Who is Amy Sedaris?

I was just talking with mamazilla about one of her posts and she mentioned to me that I should check out this video of Amy Sedaris. While a bit odd, I don't even know who Amy Sedaris is exactly, but I did find the Wikipedia entry about "chingchong" that the first comment mentions pretty interesting. It looks like that Wikipedia entry has been updated since the last time I checked it out.

Asian Lead Character, a Comic Strip

I just read a short article indicating that an Asian American character has emerged as the lead in a comic strip. The strip is titled "Secret Asian Man" and it's available on The author of the strip, Tak Toyoshima, is an art director at a newsweekly called Boston's Weekly Dig. For more on Tak and Secret Asian Man, visit

At least it's a step in the right direction. Go SAM!