Monday, November 30, 2009

The Influence of U.S. Entertainment: Asian & White

To those of you who say that the American media and entertainment industry has a trivial influence on the way people form racist views of Asian men as opposed to White men are either White American or in complete denial of reality.  A non-Asian friend of mine sent me an interesting, yet not surprising link as to how a group Japanese school girls see a video of a white guy immediately discern him as Brad Pitt. 

Now I haven't seen the video, but after perusing the comments its evident that the White guy doesn't look like Brad Pitt.  That's actually not what I find disturbing to say the least.  I know everyone views people differently and the banality of how "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" has its merit, but the point the I'm trying to make is that the depiction of Asian men are portrayed by Hollywood in a much more negative or emasculated way compared to any other ethnic group.  YES, this topic may have been beaten to a dead horse, but you're gravely mistaken. The horse is still alive and kicking and needs to be beaten further.  As the old saying goes, "The squeaky wheel gets the grease!"

Several weeks back I did a blog post of 5 Asian men making some headway into the American entertainment industry and yet I feel like it really is just blips on the radar.  Its beyond frustrating at times because for once in my life I would like to see an Asian male show some charisma, game and charm in an American movie. Is that too much to ask for?  I'm not asking for the entire world motherfuckers!

Not even Rain in Ninja Assassin, an international superstar, singerdancer and actor outside of the US, who played the lead role as Raizo, was given the opportunity to show any hints of sexuality with a woman. You know kissing and making out??  The shit that men do when we get horny and wanna fuck like any other straight male out there??  But NOOOO...once again, he is pigeonholed into playing a stereotypical martial arts role to prove the rule as opposed to being an exception to it. And for the dissident who argue that ninjas aren't supposed to fall in love are simply ignorant or think denial is just a river in Egypt.  Recall the 80's American Ninja martial farts garbage flick starring Michael Dudikoff - a White American male - gets romantically involved with the general's daughter in the movie. Nobody seemed to be talking shit about how horrible and ridiculous that movie was back then. The acting was terrible, plot worse and don't even get me started on the bitch fighting sequences...yet the main character still gets down with a girl...

At least someone else besides me fucking gets it.  Do you?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ninja Assassin Review: The Lost Scenes

I just saw the flick yesterday evening.  Surprisingly, it wasn't as bad as I had anticipated since an onslaught of movie critics were trashing the film as being "a dull blade" due to some deficient acting by Rain and other cast members, and even worse direction from the production crew.  Not exactly sure what the critics were expecting from a film budgeted only $30 million to produce, a hastily rewritten screenplay in 56 hours, and someone whose native tongue isn't English, but...I have to concur that many action scenes were filmed too dark or too close for viewers to comfortably digest and comprehend.  Lastly, by adding some depth to the characters along with a bit more suspense and thrill to the plot, Ninja Assassin would have definitely been a much better film. 

Too Dark & Too Close
I was under the impression that McTeigue would have avoided the same mistakes that plagued Batman Begins when filming the action sequences. Viewers want these crystal clear. What is the point of having an awesome fight scene if nobody can tell what's going on because its too dark? This means the camera has to zoom in on the actors so the audience can see the details. The problem with this is the camera jerks back and forth to capture a chain of movements from each character. My eyes struggle to keep up and makes it confusing. Yes, ninjas fight in the dark but that doesn't mean you can't add more lighting to provide a better viewing experience.

I was also upset with the car chasing scene being shot so close. I love movie scenes where the protagonist has to dodge and maneuver around oncoming traffic from different angles. This is when I get a good thrill ride sitting at the edge of my seat, but shooting it too close defeats the purpose. I don't see any of the potential danger!

Plot Is Too Simple & Doesn't Flow
Spending a bit more time to develop the characters and add a few scenes would have helped tremendously. The mediocre reviews regarding the plot may have turned out better as well.  For those of you who haven't seen the movie already, go watch it RIGHT NOW and then come back to read "Ninja Assassin: The Lost Scenes", or else my rendition of what should have been included won't make much sense to you.  

  1. In the beginning when Raizo is in the laundry mat, the movie should have shown the entire fight sequence with the other ninja. There's a saying you shouldn't start a fight if you can't finish it. We never see any hand-to-hand combat which would have been nice since there was hardly any throughout the film.
  2. Raizo leaves his apartment after he finishes exercising in his room and walks into the back of a restaurant. From there we learn he is working as part of the kitchen staff cutting meat or slicing and dicing vegetables. This ties in well with his ninja sword skills.
  3. After Mika reviews the video recording which captured Raizo's face, she calls Ryan requests a dinner meeting at a restaurant. Ryan says, "I know just the place" and they both meet at the restaurant which Raizo is working at.
  4. While having dinner Mika is quietly explaining to Ryan what she's discovered and shows him documents containing screen captures of Raizo. Meanwhile Raizo steps into the dining area to go use the restroom and overhears Mika mentioning the words "ninjas" as well as the captured video. Raizo sees something in Mika that reminds him of the girl he had feelings for, immediately puts his head down and returns to the kitchen.
  5. The movie could've expanded on this scene by having Raizo's brother leading a group of ninjas to kill the lights and clean out the restaurant. Mika and Ryan barely flee the place while Raizo is fighting off the ninjas with a butcher knifes and meat cleavers. Then the following scene where Raizo stops a ninja from killing Mika in her own apartment would have made the plot more fluid. It didn't make sense to me when Raizo suddenly decides to rescue this Europol agent in her own apartment for no reason.  How did he know of her to begin with?  Why did he do it?  At least point 4 fills in that gap.
So there you have it. That's pretty much the gist of what I would've modified and added to enhance the movie overall. If you've seen the movie, I'm curious as to what you think would've improved it and just for giggles, what you think of my recommendations.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

First off I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.  It is important we take the time out of our day everyday to say thank you for what we have and mean it with sincerity.  I take things for granted all the time; having both arms and legs intact, having my health, having family members and friends, and most of all having you as a reader.

I miss you California.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Movie critic dogs Rain and I dog the critic.

I've already been reading up on some of the reviews for Ninja Assassin. Apparently, its a dud and receiving a number of bad reviews from critics all over, and that's fine.  Harsh criticisms for the movie are probably quite reasonable, but do critics like this asshole need to talk shit about Rain by downplaying his talent and success?
Rain, apparently a music superstar in Korea, must have more presence on stage than he does on screen
How about a music superstar all throughout Asia and most other parts of the world besides the US mainstream?  You forgot to mention that English is his 2nd language and probably had trouble expressing his feelings because of this simple fact.  But just to insure Rain's character was chagrined sufficiently, he leaves readers with the following,
Did you know? Rain’s Korean movie debut in “I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK” opened at the top of the local box office before collapsing in its second weekend and disappearing from theaters just a few weeks later.
Yes I did know that asshole, thanks to Wikipedia.  It was still considered a local box office success.  Why not point out the rest of the "Did you know" facts like,
Did you know? I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK won the Alfred Bauer Award at the 57th Berlin International Film Festival and was selected as the opening film for the Hong Kong International Film Festival.
How about,
Did you know? Rain was nominated for and won Best New Actor at the 43rd Baeksang Awards.
Or did you simply omit or conveniently forget to mention those things in your review as well?  I'm sure you wouldn't be doing this because Rain is an upcoming, charismatic, talented and popular Asian male heartthrob with the potential of cracking the US market.  That would be inconceivable!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fuck You Amy Tan's of the World

To the beloved Amy Tan's of the World,

Two simple words.  Fuck you.  Let me put it in bold as well for even more emphasis. Fuck you If you are wondering why I have so much animosity for this despicable, poor excuse for an Asian American, please proceed. 

This so-called "author", known for her anecdotal diatribes on Asian American men in The Joy Fuck - excuse me - Luck Club, is at best an abomination to the entire Asian community and I say "Asian community" since these notions can extend beyond the borders of North America.  It was just recently that I had ran across her book and movie again which triggered my recollections of one of the story's main themes - burlesquing, criticizing and betraying the integrity of Asian American men. Talk about throwing your own men under the bus!!  Tan's literature has been subliminally planting seeds of ethnic chagrin and cultural self-degradation in the hearts and minds of many Americans since her book became mainstream.  She is the quintessential SELL OUT of the Asian American community while undermining her fellow brothers in the process.

By no means am I claiming that we, Asian American men, are completely excused from the dating mishaps and stereotypes which the rest of America is all too familiar with.  Though I have witnessed this within my social circle, it has been the exception not the rule.  I do relate and concur with Tan that for 2nd generation Asian Americans or recent immigrants, there is a cultural and generational gap between between parents and children that may serve as a plausible explanation to some of the issues addressed in JLC. However, was it really necessary to taint the image of Asian men in almost every way, shape or form imaginable?  JLC essentially gives any non-Asian person the ammunition to shoot down our character and aspirations of being a normal, sought after, or God forbid to the Amy Tans of the world, American lover.

Luckily we have real Asian American women who see through the deplorable pretenses and laughable stereotypes in JLC,
My angst with JLC is that it plays upon all of the Asian stereotypes that were described in my opening paragraph. Asian women are depicted as lonely miserable characters whose ultimate salvation comes when united in marriage with a white male. Furthermore, the author mercilessly smears all of the Asian male characters, confining them to the role of the wife-abuser, or the nit-picking egomaniac.
I support Julia Oh in her campaign to replace or supplement Amy Tan's garbage with literature that is a more accurate portrayal of Asian Americans.  The AA community will not turn a blind eye to the racist rhetoric that either Tan or anyone else in her sphere of influence continues to beckon. Enough is enough.

Sometimes I wonder, did Tan ever acknowledge the fact that Chinese mothers - yes, women - are partially responsible for all of the wretched behaviors and attitudes found in the very men she ridicules? These men had to have learned their mannerisms from someone in the family!  If not, perhaps they were the few bad apples of the group. What about the rest?  For some inexplicable reason, she wasn't able to find a single example of a decent Chinese guy as an exceptional husband.  Was Tan the perfect woman to all of her AM counterparts?  I highly doubt it.  Look Amy, if reincarnation does exist then you must have been one helluva bitch to all Chinese men in your previous life to have encountered so many assholes.  

Go fuck yourself.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Kristie Yamaguchi, Michelle Kwan and now Yuna Kim

She glides across the frozen stage spinning triple axel and toe-loop combinations immaculately yet easily. Powerfully yet gracefully.  On par with other Asian skating legends Kristie Yamaguchi and Michelle Kwan, Yuna Kim, representing South Korea, has become the new poster child of the classic winter sport and achieved celebrity status back home. No joke. I see her in advertisements practically everywhere I go in Seoul.  By the way, her name is pronounced YUH-na, NOT YOO-na. 

At only 19 years young, she has gone from an upcoming woman's figure skater to a reigning world champion dazzling audiences, judge panels and viewers like myself. I'll be the first to admit, I'm not a die hard fan of the sport unless I'm watching skating prodigy Jimmy McElroy and sex addict Chazz Michael Michaels competing on ice.  When I found out about Yuna Kim however, I took notice of the new Blades of Glory immediately, not only because she's Asian, but primarily because South Korea has never been reputable for ice skating.  

So how cute...I mean good is she really?  The most recent event was at Skate America which consists of two performances - one short program, the other a lengthier free skate.  If you can fall flat on your ass in the free skate portion of the competition which is almost doubly weighted and still manage to win the gold by a hefty 13 point margin, that's plenty good.  In fact, that's Jimmy McElroy good.  She's so damn good Yuna Kim's main rival isn't even another skater either - its herself.  Albeit, she isn't infallible so her coronation as Olympic Champion has been deferred until February.  

However, next month's Grand Prix finals in Tokyo will give Yuna the chance of redeeming herself from her recent missteps and reinforcing her title as the new reigning supreme of woman's figure skating.  Hey...even Michael Jordan had an off day.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Google's Aspirations of World Domination

It's quite amazing what Google has done to enhance our online experience on a daily basis.  Several years ago my roommate and I had a brief discussion about Google's unprecedented growth and juggernaut presence beginning to mirror the likes of Microsoft.  We discussed it half-jokingly because I didn't think much of it at the time.  It was obvious that Google revolutionized the web with its sophisticated PageRank algorithm search engine.  In no time Google effortlessly surpassed the search engine pioneers of the dot com era until they became a faded memory: MSN, AltaVista, Excite and even Yahoo! Oddly enough everything else Google followed up with seemed either mediocre or just wasn't getting as much traction...for a while at least.  

For instance, many users were still using Mapquest instead of Google Maps to look up directions, and when the social networking frenzy caught on, Google released Orkut; another "me too" social networking site against market leaders Friendster and MySpace where users could join by invitation only.  Then where was Froogle.  A nice pun on frugal, but its price comparison service was a flop never gaining momentum to go head-to-head with Priceline or EBay.  After the acquisition of YouTube however, I thought this would be the perfect complement to expand Google's ad service business but it still has yet to turn a profit.  There was one point back in 2006 where I even questioned whether the company was overvalued pushing 500 bucks per share because of its growth as a business seemed a bit stagnant.

Perhaps I was too ignorant back then to notice Google clandestinely chipping away from every corner of virtually every IT company to become the next Microsoft.  In fact, I think Google has aspirations of world domination by becoming much bigger, more powerful and even scarier Microsoft. Let's not forget either, Google is less than a decade young!  There's a only one startling contrast between the two software giants.  One makes quality software and the other one, with the exception of MS Office, does not.  

The moment it dawned on me I instantly got up and began searching for articles related to Google's threat to the information technology industry. Now Google has always been good to me by helping me find answers to most of my questions.  So I went ahead and typed in the exact phrase "Who's afraid of Google?" and it returned, "...Everyone." See what I mean???

Actually, the result was a link to an article with a title matching my query from WIRED magazine.  The article summarizes it best here:
...Google has always wanted to be more than a search engine. Even in the early days, its ultimate goal was extravagant: to organize the world's information. High-minded as that sounds, Google's ever-expanding agenda has put it on a collision course with nearly every company in the information technology industry...
Yelp.  That sounds about right.  It continues on giving warranted examples of the markets Google is ambitious of conquering and which companies are panicking as a result.  The list consists of everything and everyone from video, frightening cable and TV networks like Comcast, to the biggest fish in the sea of IT, like Microsoft and Apple, with the release of its new Chrome operating system.

Out of the seven markets which Google is pursuing I still think the list comes up short so I'm adding to it.
  • GPS, PND
    • Background:  Google kept improving its map user interface and functionality and is almost tied with Mapquest, but it wasn't until the release of Apple's iPhone that probably got portable navigation device manufacturers shitting in their pants.  Garmin in response released a GPS integrated smartphone while TomTom began selling a GPS application for the iPhone at the App store.
    • Google Enters:  Both Garmin and TomTom appeared as if they were gradually making a comeback after a severe beating both companies took from the economic downturn.  Then in early October Google dropped the A-Bomb (A for Android OS) with built-in turn-by-turn navigation functionality.
    • Market Impact:  I actually invested in Garmin for a while since I thought the company was undervalued given their zero-debt balance sheet and share price trading barely over 11 times earnings.  Quite low for such a solid hi-tech company.  Luckily I sold my shares roughly two weeks before to buy none other than Google.  In one day the A-Bomb announcement caused Garmin to drop by $1.5 billion in market value.  Now market and financial analysts are questioning the likelihood of their long term survival going up against the GDragon.
    • Background:  Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.  Nuff said.
    • Google Enters:  So Orkut wasn't much of a success BUT, have you seen Google Wave?  It fuckin' incredible.  Combine chatting, email and social networking to the next level above and beyond are current notion of Web 2.0.  That's Wave.  It still isn't available to the public just yet unless you're a developer or invited by another user of Wave already.  For those who are interested in the meantime, and if not this willwatch the demo of what Google's developed.  Prepare to be blown away.  Don't forget that everything being done is in a standard html web browser.
    • Market Impact:  I use Gmail as my primary email account already.  Replace that with Wave and you can kiss standard email and social networking goodbye.  It looks rudimentary in comparison.
    • Background:  Before Google even released its first version of Android the smartphone market was in its infancy.  In 2005 I was listening to an analyst's remarks about RIM's earnings outlook for the following year while touting how the Blackberry maker was "crushing the competition".  He was right but also failed to realize one simple fact.  There really was no competition.  I never saw Palm and Microsoft as formidable contenders despite what others thought.  Inevitably the landscape changed abruptly in mid 2007 when Apple entered the market.
    • Google Enters:  Google was barely dipping its toes into the water with Android 1.0.  It failed to pose as a potential threat to the iPhone, Blackberry, Pre or Windows Mobile, but the release of Android 2.0 last month turned that potential threat into a real and dangerous one.  
    • Market Impact:  Unless either Palm or Microsoft come up with something radically innovative that sticks, they might as well call it quits and sell the business while its still possible.  My prediction; Apple and Google to be the best of breed remaining in the smartphone OS market by early 2011.  As Windows left PC makers at the mercy of Microsoft, Google's Android may do the same for non-Apple smartphone makers.  Don't believe me?  Motorola, Samsung, LG and Nokia are already turning to Android in the smartphone wars.  You have to admit though, that's pretty amazing coming from a company who's core business is founded on search.
While digesting all of this information I started to wonder, "What is stopping Google from accomplishing its ultimate extravagant goal of not only organizing the world's information, but also having us completely dependent on them?"

Just last week I went to a Starbucks in Seoul and found out Google is providing free WI-FI service there.  Turns out it is offering free WI-FI service to all US airports this holiday season as well and doesn't look like its slowing down either.  Now imagine if Google were to offer free WI-FI at all airports, Starbucks, Coffee Beans and Barnes & Nobles just for starters.  Do you see where this is going?  Combine these hot spots, Android, a new Chrome OS along with an IT industry continuing to embrace cloud computing and what do you end up with?  A company who not only "organizes the world's information" but also completely controls it.

For example, I wouldn't need to install MS Office because I'd be managing all of my documents, spreadsheets and presentations via the web with no need for backups!  If I really need to I'm sure Google will create some lightweight client applications for offline editing. 

Who needs telecommunications when you have Google providing voice, email and instant messaging services for practically for free?  Google Voice does a pretty good job already. 

What about all that multimedia?  Movies, TV series, MP3s, etc.  Well who needs that when there's YouTube?  I've listened to more mixtapes, leaked albums and oldschool classics on YouTube for free.  As for video, if its a fast enough connection in HD quality, there's no reason for me to even have cable.  I hate the cable companies anyway.  They've been reluctant to introduce a la carte services for the longest time making me foot the bill for channels I never watch.  But as the cable networks like to argue, giving viewers the option to choose will leave a lot of networks such as Playboy or ESPN out of business.  Riiiiiight.

So how many Google applications do I use regularly now?  Let's see,
  1. Google Search
  2. Gmail
  3. Chrome (used to be FireFox until it started crashing on me once a day).
  4. Gtalk: Chat, voice, video
  5. YouTube: Music videos and songs, short TV programs, movies, instructional and educational videos
  6. Google Finance
  7. Picasa
  8. Blogspot
  9. Google Maps
  10. Google Reader
10 items doesn't seem like much but bare in mind that I don't have an Android smartphone and haven't used Google's Wi-Fi service either.  By adding either Android or WiFi to my list and the likelihood of having me switch over to more Google based applications goes up.  Ultimately, the release of Chrome OS due next year may increase my use of Google applications exponentially.  If Chrome OS fulfills the productivity needs of the average PC user, Google may very well accomplish its ultimate extravagant goal of not only organizing the world's information, but also having us completely dependent on them for all means of communication, productivity and information retrieval.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Destroy & Rebuild

It hasn't even been a month yet but I decided to change the name of my blog to something with a much more meaningful purpose - Destroy & Rebuild - and I'll explain why.  Initially the title of my blog was "MaSir Jones" just like my blog handle as a dedication to one of my favorite emcees of all time.  But after contemplating on it for a bit I realized that MaSir Jones just doesn't send the right message I want to convey.

While listening to a track from NaS's critically acclaimed Stillmatic titled "Destroy Rebuild" that's when it hit me.  This is the theme of my blog that I've been wanting to showcase all along!  Destroy and rebuild is the perfect undertone.  Destroy the negative ki and Rebuild with with positive ki.

Positive Energy A Critical Element for success.

"They say the bridge is over, the bridge is over.  Nah this is a time we destroy and rebuild it"  -NaS, 2001

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Why Social Networking Is So Successful And Why I've Grown Sick Of It

The other day I asked myself why social networking has become such a phenomenal success and the answer became quite clear to me. Its all ego-driven. If you disagree with me then consider this. How fun would Facebook, Blogspot, YouTube or any other social networking site be if nobody gave your page any attention; kind of like my page right now? Hahaha. I'm not begging the question either. I think the question answers itself.

The issue I find with Web 2.0 sites whose entire platform is strictly based on social networking such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and others is that there are very few barriers to entry if none at all. I can say this with conviction because two other colleagues and I made one in less than 6 months! Granted it wasn't exactly successful because I failed to lead my team with the proper focus, strategy and execution. I think it also helps to have the financial backing like Facebook's Zuckerberg probably did being a Harvard student. Nevertheless, social networking can be replicated quite easily. There isn't any major initial cost or overhead to getting started either as opposed to say trying to develop an iPhone killer.

Let me revisit the history of social networking to further my argument. First of all, it was Friendster that created a such an enormous buzz they amassed a cult following in a short time frame. Now if you're going to have a problem when starting a dot com, then that's definitely a good one to have right? Normally I would say yes, but in Friendster's case the exponential growth of user traffic overwhelmed their infrastructure degrading performance so badly they needed IT Viagra. MySpace superseded by capitalizing on their performance issues while catering to artists, musicians and trendies. However MySpace's major mistake was pimping out the entire site with advertisements where ever and whenever possible. After a while, it seemed like MySpace was no longer "A Place For Friends" but merely "A Place For Ads" or "A Place For Spam". Maybe that's why MySpace removed that slogan because they knew the site was no longer a place for friends but just an advertising whore house. Sounds like something NewsCorp would do. A couple of years later, Facebook would dethrone MySpace from its long uncontested reign as king. They were intelligent enough to focus on enhancing the overall social networking experience by not shoving ads down my throat. But sure enough a new player by the name of Twitter entered the market and is now a formidable contender to Facebook.

So with all these one-of-a-kind social networking sites out there, which one do I choose from? I hate to admit it but Facebook has done the best job since Friendster so far, but guess what? I'm already getting sick of it too. As I already mentioned earlier its all ego-driven, and frankly a handful probably sincerely give a shit about my life and how well or horrible I'm doing compared to you. For instance, how many of you have started using the "See less about [User XYZ]" feature on your Wall so you don't get obliterated with everyone else's status BS updates?? I sure have!!

In addition, how many of you have all these so-called "friends" that you actually keep in contact with enough for the both of you to even consider each other as friends? If you were to send them a personal message, would they even respond? I can honestly say with confidence, "Not many." Maybe its just a reflection of my character. Maybe I'm not proactive enough in maintaining relationships with all plus or minus 200 friends I have. Or. . . maybe its because after a while, nobody really gives a shit and we move onto the next trendy site to feed our insatiable egos. That'll probably explain why I rarely log on, update my status, upload new photos or message people like I used to. Besides a few outliers here and there nobody cares 'cause I ain't doing shit.

My words may sound a bit harsh with punctuated hints of cynicism but the point I'm trying to make is quite simple. Instead of just connecting me with people who would probably never try to contact me except to fulfill their curiosity how I've changed, why not provide real purpose services such as LinkedIn, YouTube and Blogspot. I understand the underpinning idea of the network is the same, but its their focus and service offering that makes them distinct and quite useful. One helps me land a job. One helps me learn, laugh, sing and dance. And one helps me practice writing by lauding, lamenting and lambasting about the things I encounter like social networking sites.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

5 Asian Men Changing The Face Of American Entertainment

Recently I've become much more aware of the involvement of Asian men in American entertainment. They're not your stereotypical Asian males portraying repulsive William Hung like traits causing nearly every Asian American male to cringe with embarrassment and sheer contempt. In fact, these guys really do possess talent and confidence. Confidence is of significance here since it is one of the major things Asian American women complain about their fellow Asian brethren lacking.

I remember I went on a verbal rampage complaining about how the White majority controlled media and entertainment industry continues to use these token ugly, dorky, fobby Asian males to incessantly reinforce and perpetuate negative stereotypes. This kind of shit had plagued me since the days of Long Duck Dong from Sixteen Candles. But even with the barrage of racist depictions of Asian men, I believe something positive transpired from it. William Hung may indeed be the Asian Male Anti-Christ but he also re-ignited a sense of social awareness absent in the Asian American community since the tragic death of Vincent Chin. And with awareness, change usually follows.

Granted there will always be those who only pitch-a-bitch about racial inequalities in society without actually trying to better themselves. I find this pointless since it does nothing for the advancement of the community after a while. I have no qualms over complaining if it is legitimate but it can lose its effectiveness over time if there is no follow up with action. Thankfully there are also those who use negativity as a driving force to break through racial barriers imposed upon us. They are the trailblazers who pave the way for others and serve as inspiration to succeed.

I consider the following Asian men as trailblazers. I look to them for inspiration in bettering myself.

  • Rain (Bi) - What can I say? The man is complete. Yes he's a tall singer, dancer, actor, fashion artist and owner of an entertainment company. Rain is a world renown artist despite what some of you may think. *AHEM* Newsweek. To call Rain "little-known on the global stage" is grossly inaccurate. He was voted as Time's Most Influential Person in 2006 which hit a nerve with Stephen Colbert envying Rain's top spot on the Time 100 list over his 2nd. LoL. They settled their beef on The Colbert Report in a danceoff. Steve, I love you man but just like a lame hip hop dance movie, "You Got Served!" Even if you're not a fan of his music, you have to respect his diligence and dedication in whatever project he takes on. Its no wonder why the Wachowski Bros. were blown away by his performance in Speed Racer and strongly recommended him as the LEAD ROLE for the upcoming blockbuster Ninja Assassin.
  • Eliot Chang - One of the funniest standup comedians I've seen in a long time and it's refreshing. He is clearly a professional. If he keeps it up, I will definitely put him in the same league of standup legends like Carlin, Pryor, Murphy, Hedburg and Chappelle. Some of you may disagree with me but this guy is seriously a pro. Just watch one of my favorite bits he does on "Dumb Girls". I cried out of laughter.

    I truly believe he doesn't get much exposure as other comedians because 1) he's an Asian American male and 2) doesn't cater to pleasing the mainstream by reinforcing negative stereotypes. Eliot even addresses this issue in a standup comparing Asian American comedians to UFOs. "You know there out there but you just haven't seen one." If that doesn't convince you then think of it this way. When an Asian guy comes on stage most of you aren't saying to yourself, "Finally! An Asian. Now its gonna get good!". Guilty as charged.
  • John Cho - He popularized the acronym MILF from American Pie. Now how awesome is that? So awesome that I'm sure it gave him an unrelenting drive to make it in Hollywood. He was able to score in several comedy flicks such the American Pie and Harold & Kumar series, to a sitcom Off Centre, the role as Hikaru Sulu in Star Trek and now a TV science fiction series FlashForward. That's quite a journey from the humble MILF beginnings.

  • Byung-Hun Lee - Many of you may not know of him but he was already famous in Asia prior to his US debut as Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe. Byung-Hun or Brian Lee has been acting for almost 20 years. I was really impressed with him for a couple of reasons after watching him in G.I. Joe. First, his acting was pretty good given the cultural differences between Hollywood and Hallyu. 2nd, his English was quite good with a hint of an accent which I barely even noticed. Last year when I saw him in The Good, The Bad, The Weird I thought he played a really good bad guy (contradictory I know). About a month ago I then saw A Bittersweet Life and was blown away by his performance where he plays a ruthless gangster and catches feelings for his Boss's girlfriend. Byung-Hun is scheduled to be in the next G.I. Joe. We'll see if he makes his way into other American flicks. Not bad for someone who's approaching 40!
  • Daniel Henney - Yes fuckers. I KNOW he's half British-American but he's also HALF Korean and embraces that side tremendously. He looks more Asian to me than he does White. Regardless, his rise to stardom began in Korea by debuting in a Korean TV drama called My Lovely Sam Soon. Apparently Hollywood kept trying to typecast him for stereotypical Asian roles so he went to Korea to jump start his acting career. From there he starred in movies such as Seducing Mr. Perfect and My Father made his Hollywood debut playing AgentZero in Wolverine. Daniel is now part of a CBS TV hospital drama, Three Rivers where he plays a womanizing doctor. See?? Asian men are the comeuppance sex symbols in America not just Asian women. Now I haven't been able to watch the show actually since I'm currently out of the states. When I return you can be sure I'll be watching some of the episodes online. Daniel definitely has the potential to become an even bigger star and better actor but I feel he needs more energy when he's in character. Maybe its because of his suave appeal or the "ladies man" swagger he carries or because he needs to polish his acting skills a bit more. Whatever it may be, I hope he keeps at it and becomes mainstream enough for him to hold a leading role by himself in a Hollywood blockbuster.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What's with the name Masir Jones?

"NaS is like the Afrocentric Asian. Half man, half amazin'"

If you're a huge fan of hip hop like I am you'll recognize where I came up with my blog name right off the bat. Any true hip hop fan will concur that Nasir Jones AKA NaS, Nasty Nas, Esco, God's Son, etc. is one of the best rappers of all time. He is a rapper's rapper. A poster child of hip hop. He maintains his allegiance to the sub-culture that nurtured him to become the prolific rapper he is while balancing out thought provoking lyrics with beats stylized to captivate the mainstream. Aside from Eminem and Jay-Z, there aren't many other emcees in the industry who are not only on his level lyrically, but also capable of crossing over and appealing to both audiences.

NaS entered the scene during the early to mid 90s, hip hop's "golden age", when hip hop was at its lyrical and beat production apex. Just as how Eric B. and Rakim's Paid In Full revolutionized hip hop music, NaS's Illmatic would follow suit. I once read that if you wanted to illustrate hip hop in a single album, then Illmatic is it. I 2nd that notion and still listen to it on a regular basis like Michael Jackson's Thriller.

Nowadays though I'm a bit disappointed with his recent work. I just don't feel the same kind of vigor in his music I once heard on albums like Illmatic, It Was Written, Stillmatic and God's Son. There were only a couple of tracks I enjoyed listening to on his latest Untitled. "Hero" being one of them. Nevertheless, I still place NaS up there with some of my other all time favorites: Eric B. and Rakim, A Tribe Called Quest, The Pharcyde, AZ, Lupe Fiasco, Jay-Z and Wu-Tang.

NaS, if you're reading this, please make some new jams with Premo and Pete Rock again!

Favorite lines from NaS,
"You couldn't catch me in the streets without a ton of reefer, that's like Malcom X catchin' a jungle fever."
"Slammin' emcees on cement, 'cause verbally, I'm iller than an AIDs patient."
"I squeeze nipples like pimples to get the puss."
"I got sons with guns, they all done crimes. They so wild they even scare my ass sometimes."
"My first album had no famous guest appearances. The outcome? I'm crowned the best lyricist."

A Blogger's Genesis

Ahhh yes. F-F-Finally! My first blog composition ever. A Blogger's Genesis.

I hope whatever it is you find here is either intellectually stimulating, inspirational or enlightening to some degree. I will try my best to keep my posts relatively concise and to the point so that you will still be inclined to read through each blog post in its entirety.

The main reason I'm getting into blogging is quite simple. I want to improve my writing skills. You see, a few days ago a cohort of mine recommended that I watch "The Last Lecture" by Professor Randy Pausch who is now deceased sad to say due to pancreatic cancer. If you have a childhood dream you want to achieve or any dream for that matter, I highly suggest you watch this or read his book. Just by watching him for one hour, I could instantly tell he inspired the lives of numerous college students and professionals as well. There are many key takeaways from Pausch but one in particular struck a chord with me so deeply I decided to put it into practice immediately and indefinitely. It is the power of indirect learning which he calls a head fake, "The best way to teach somebody something is to have them think they’re learning something else." In blogging about topics I have a concern with or interest in, ultimately, I hope to improve my style and writing speed.

Let me set the record straight though before I embark on my journey into this new world of blogging. There will be times where I may offend you or somebody else from the web. If you dislike or disagree with whatever blog I've posted, please feel free to comment. I know you will regardless! Constructive criticism is always welcome. I am a firm believer in that debating is healthy and a good thing as long as it is comprised of well thought out and articulated, rational arguments. Otherwise it is merely a claim - A meaningless and empty statement with no impact.

So with that, let the blogging begin!