American Born Chinese – 美國土生華人

June 20, 2007

The Ed Jew Scandal: Its Impact upon the Chinese American Community Over the S.F. Supervisor’s Arrest

Filed under: Asia America, Media — americanbornchinese @ 11:57 am

I happened to have read an article concerning a recent event dealing with the arrest of Ed Jew, the only San Francisco Asian American supervisor whose arrest may possibly shape the fate of future political participation and involvement predominantly among Chinese Americans. What was the rationale of his arrest? His act of misdemeanor rested in the criminal charges of bribery in which he was alleged to have accepted $40,000 in cash from Quickly, a tapioca drink shop chain, to assist with city permit issues, and he is now being investigated by the FBI. Additionally, he had been charged with a number of felonies with regard to the allegation that he did not reside at the Sunset District where he ran for candidacy prior to his election.

Since Ed Jew is the first Chinese-American official in San Francisco who had been accused of a fraudulent act and had therefore been faced with criminal charges, a column in Sing Tao Daily reported that these charges may have created an impact upon him as well as for the rest of the Chinese American community. Throughout the Bay Area, news of the charges against this official have flashed all over the headlines of Chinese-language media including television news reports and newspaper columns. And as Ed Jew represents the Chinese American community within San Francisco, a question that arises among many Chinese is whether this particular scandal generally reflects the overall integrity and future of other Chinese American politicians as well, rendering a sort of “negative” scrutiny upon the ethnic minority group.

According to Harrison Lim, president of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, he had been quoted in the Chinese-language World Journal newspaper saying, “When something happens to one person, it not only impacts him but also his family, and the image of the whole Chinese-American society,” (Chien). Though many are concerned about the impact, the Chinese community’s support for Jew remains questionable as Chinese-language media might not necessarily act any more sympathetic to Jew simply because he is also Chinese.

This also raises the issue of whether Ed Jew is the target of racial oppression due to the fact that he is an individual of ethnic minority and that many Asian Americans are generally deemed by the mainstream media to be politically apathetic, uninvolved, or even ignorant, thus promoting the perception that the community, on the whole, has little political representation. It seems as though more political participation on the part of the Chinese American community is necessary in order to further integrate into mainstream society and to fully manifest our rights and privileges under the scrutiny of the American media and population.

If you wish to find out more detailed information about Ed Jew’s scandal, I encourage you to read more about it in these articles below.

Primary Article Source:

Chinese Media Sad and Concerned Over Supervisor’s Arrest (New America Media)
By Eugenia Chien (June 13, 2007)

Related Articles of Interest:

Supporters Say Ed Jew is Victim of Racism (San Francisco Chronicle)
S.F. Attorney May Move to Oust Ed Jew from Office (CBS 5)

General Blog Update/News:
I will not be able to update for another two weeks from now since I will not be available until then, but stay tuned for updates as I will post whenever I discover something of interest! For my regular readers, thank you for your continual support and interest in visiting my blog and reading my entries. I hadn’t expected word to spread out so quickly about my site and I’ve discovered recently that I’ve gotten a lot of visitors so far! I will try to update more consistently in the future.

June 4, 2007

A Conversation Between American-born and Chinese Immigrants

Filed under: Asia America, Eastern/Western Ties, Media — americanbornchinese @ 8:05 pm

Wow, I just realized I haven’t blogged here for a long time. Things have been quite busy lately. For those who have been waiting for me to post, I apologize for the idle state of my blog.

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to blog about this, but I haven’t had the chance to do so for the past week. I happened to stop by a website belonging to the Chinese Cultural Center in San Francisco that, according to the website, is “a major community-based, non-profit organization established in 1965 to foster the understanding and appreciation of Chinese and Chinese American art, history, and culture in the United States.”

On the website, there’s a particular article called “Mirror On the Wall: A Conversation Between American-born and Chinese Immigrants” that caught my attention, and within the audio podcast provided, I listened a facilitated community discussion between Chinese Americans and newcomers from China to share personal experiences and their own opinions on effective ways of establishing common ground via communication across different generations and backgrounds within the Chinese community.

To find out more information and to listen to the podcast dialogue, visit this link:

May 16, 2007

Jin releases his all-Cantonese album “ABC”

Filed under: Asia America, Media — americanbornchinese @ 6:38 am

During the month of February, Jin Au-Yeung (歐陽靖), a popular Chinese-American hip-hop artist known for his freestyle rapping abilities, released his fourth album titled “ABC,” an acrynom that stands for “American Born Chinese.” This album was recorded almost entirely in Cantonese with the exception of a few English phrases and words thrown about randomly in his songs. The first and most popular single in his album is his song called “ABC” in which he raps about his personal experiences as a 竹升 (“jook-sing” – English meaning equivalent to “banana”) along with the issues of discrimination and what it means to be “truly Chinese.” Ultimately, throughout his entire album, he succeeds in establishing a personal connection to his own Chinese roots and his ethnic identity through his songs, which generally reflect the struggles of most ABCs (as well as many other overseas Chinese) regarding the struggles of society’s scrutiny upon them to the issue of assimilation in the U.S. and their removal from their own cultural background.

On his ABC website, Jin mentions on his biography a statement of which I wholeheartedly agree with:

“For many, being an ABC often means being subjected to a certain degree of scrutiny. On one hand, because of your bloodline and complexion you are viewed as a foreigner in your own place of birth. Meanwhile, because of your geographical origins your peers back in China claim you are not ‘truly Chinese.'”

From the nostalgic reminiscing of his visit to his city of origin, Hong Kong (“1997”), to the ramblings of his difficulties in reading and writing Chinese (“Speak Can’t Read”), Jin’s circumstances are often the mirrored results of what it means to be an individual of Chinese descent born on foreign soil, which in this case, is America. Listening to this album has allowed me to empathize with Jin’s situation, and fortunately, I am able to understand his songs because I grew up speaking in Cantonese with my parents and relatives as well (and because of the fact that he uses informal Cantonese to rap, which is apparently easier to understand than the latter).

Okay, so after all that mindless rambling that must’ve bored you to death, I’m sure you would want a visual/audio glimpse of what I’m talking about? Here’s Jin’s music video for his “ABC” single that I found on YouTube:

External Links

Jin’s ABC album (
Jin’s Official ABC Website
Jin’s ABC Xanga
Jin’s Myspace Fan Page

May 11, 2007

The “Asianization” of American Culture

Filed under: Media — americanbornchinese @ 10:29 pm

(My evaluation of contemporary culture/society)

I originally took this from my Blogger since this was written a while back and I would like to post it here too because of its relevancy.


The aspects of Asian culture are starting to emerge and become readily apparent in American society today. Various cultural elements ranging from food to movies play a vital role in the mainstream, shaping the way that Asian Americans regard themselves and the way that other cultures regard them as well. From the incorporation of Japanese animation into multimedia and film-making to using Asian American celebrities in commercials to sell a product of the latest technology, the Asian culture is beginning to blend into what is considered “hip” and popular in the American culture. Besides that, there is a multiple of other aspects of Asian culture that have been accepted into the mainstream.

In this present day, Asian Americans are considered the “model minority” group by stereotype, meaning that the group has been more successful than the majority racial population by socioeconomic standards, which attribute to different factors such as family income, academic performance and education, and low crime rate. They also hold the reputation of high prestige as an ethnic group that is more superior in the areas of achievement and success than other groups by their determination and hard work, much like the Jewish Americans to whom they are regarded as parallel to. Much of this integration of cultural aspects and a sense of ethnic pride have boosted the ego of many Asians as they warmly welcome their gradual acceptance into society, believing that this process of assimilation can promote greater familiarity and understanding of their own history and racial background.

However, with regard to the overall success rate of Asians by the concept of a “model minority” group and their incorporation of elements into the mainstream culture, there are those who also perceive the “Asianization” of American culture in a broader sense, considering the possibility that Asian Americans still remain the targets of prejudice and racial discrimination in many ways. For instance, Asians may generally be regarded as “nerds” or “geeks” due to their demonstration of high academic achievement in the overall population of university/high school students. Though this common stereotype praises their academic standing among the majority racial population, it secludes them from those who are considered “normal” or “cool” and denounces their status immediately on the spot. In movies, Asians are portrayed as wearing large glasses because their vision has suffered due to the straining of the eyes in reading too many textbooks. Then they are looked on as the smart, school-loving, work-oriented teachers’ pets whose primary goal in life is to attend an ivy-league university such as Harvard or Princeton, graduate with a doctorate degree in mathematics, law, engineering, business, or liberal arts, and possibly emerge as an entrepreneur in the business world. Secondly, there is the issue of cultural aspects being absorbed into that of the American society where martial arts films, such as the recently released “Kung Fu Hustle” or the popular Jackie Chan movies (now being made into the cartoon TV series, “Jackie Chan Adventures” on Kids’ WB), promote the assumption among many that Asians, particularly Chinese, are constantly occupied with or normally engage in this type of defense art.

Much debate and controversy exist today about whether Asian Americans are equally represented as the Anglo-Saxons. To this day, many of the interracial relations have improved not just between these two particular ethnic groups, but in the overall scheme of things among different groups as well. However, one may argue that though this may be true, there is a deficiency in meeting up to this standard of equal representation. Major television networks and movie productions have mostly employed an overwhelming number of White actors and actresses to fill the primary roles of their shows/plays and have rarely employed members of ethnic minorities who may have the necessary skills/talent to perform equally as well or better. Also, there is an expectation of Asians to act or appear a certain way when being featured on a movie screen in an American movie, whether it is to exaggerate an Asian accent or to learn martial arts/kung fu. Consequently, others may have adopted these assumptions into their mind and will therefore regard Asians as having the tendency to behave the same way in real life as in a movie. This is the issue of conforming to America’s expectations that are attributed to stereotypes not necessarily in accordance with actuality. In order to get a clear image of what the Asian American culture is really about, one must look past the superficiality of these stereotypes and reveal our culture in its authentic state based on what is truly acceptable to us.

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