What a Year So Far.

Life is moving fast. 2017 was a historic year for Asian representation in America.

Photo Credit: allkp
Photo Credit: chinafilminsider.com/

Last year Liu Yifei was cast as Mulan, Kelly Marie Tran became the first Asian American lead in a Star Wars movie, Bangtan Sonyeondan – better known as BTS – became the very first K-artist, besides PSY, to ever win a Billboard Music Award and the first K-group to ever perform at the American Music Awards and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. BTS also continue to break their own records in the Billboard standings and seem to only be growing in popularity.

Photo Credit: billboard.com

Only a month into 2018 Asian representation is looking up and just a couple of days ago BTS again made history as the first K-group and second K-artist ever to earn a RIAA Gold CertificationRIAA Gold Certification for their remix of their son “Mic Drop” with Japanese American DJ Steve Aoki and rapper Desiigner; and just today (February 4) Chinese Canadian singer Kris Wu became the first Chinese Artist to ever preform at the Superbowl Half-Time Show.

Photo Credit: nerdist.com

These examples are just a couple of the milestones that have been met in just a short amount of time. Hopefully these two events this year, and several from late last year, are indicative of how the rest of this year, and the future, will go on the Asian/ East Asian Representation front.

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Super Bowl Nation

On Sunday, February 5, 2017, many amazing things happened. There was the first overtime in Super Bowl history, in the last quarter of the game the Patriots came back from a 25-point difference, and Tom Brady was awarded his fourth MVP award. This year I was a lot more in tune with what was happening on the field, but I did stick to my roots as an avid commercial watcher. This year, there were many advertisements that caught my eye.

Featuring the faces of many and the simple message that “we all belong,” Airbnb’s #weaccept commercial took my breath away. Along with spending a bucketload of money on this commercial, Airbnb is donating $4 million to the International Rescue Committee, providing for over 100,000 people in need, like refugees, for the next five years. Airbnb’s efforts are a beam of light during a time when many people’s rights have been challenged.

Another commercial that stood out was Coca Cola’s #AmericaIsBeautiful. This minute-long commercial features people singing “Amazing Grace” in over five different languages. Interestingly enough, this commercial isn’t new – in fact, it was Coca Cola’s commercial in 2014  as well. However, the beauty of this commercial is only amplified by its meaning. I think the coming together of many different people is what makes America great, and that we, as a country, should embrace those differences.

This year, I was especially excited for the Budweiser commercial, especially because of the amazing #LostPuppy commercial back in 2015. In their 29th year of Super Bowl advertising, Budweiser featured the story of one of their founders, Adolphus Busch, coming all the way from Germany to make this famous beer. This was among the many commercials to tell stories of immigration and generally embracing different cultures. The commercial shows the rough conditions that entrepreneurs had to go through to make their dreams come true – a success story that I find truly inspiring.

Unfortunately, there was one commercial that got cut short: 84 Lumber’s story about the journey of a Spanish-speaking mother and daughter. After being hotly debated, Fox decided to cut off the end of the commercial, which shows the family encountering a wall, as it was “too controversial.” Since Fox has the right to deny any advertisements they choose, the private lumber company showcased a revised version of the commercial, and prompted viewers to watch the full version on their website.

Most articles that have come out about the Super Bowl commercials have described them as overly political. I understand how the commercials could be seen that way, but the messages of acceptance are ones that need to be spread. The leaders of our country can bring up these controversial issues, but companies and organizations can’t truly voice their opinions without being seen as controversial, as many people will fight back saying that these commercials are pushing a certain agenda. How are their agendas any different from ones being presented everywhere in politics?

Vote!

This weekend, I voted as an American citizen for the first time in my life.

I was with my family in a restaurant when I was filling out the ballot. The waitress saw me voting, and came over to our table and started talking to us about her opinion. She told us she wasn’t voting because she didn’t like either one of the candidates. She said that a woman should not be a president because women are emotional, and that Trump is crazy.

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If I only had the information she had, I would probably choose not vote either. But we need to really do our own research and get the right information, so we can make intelligent and informed decisions about who to vote for. Every vote counts and our future is in our hands. We cannot let a single vote go to waste. So please everyone, if you are eligible, please VOTE!

Bang Bang

How is it possible that two people on the “Do Not Fly” list can purchase guns and ammunition?

How is it that these two people can then take those weapons to shooting ranges and practice for what would be another mass shooting?

How is it that there are loopholes like this in the system that can be so easily manipulated that 14 people loose their lives because these two dedicated terrorists decide to shoot up a building full of innocent people?

I don’t think anyone has answers, but I think it’s about time we figure out why this catastrophe was even possible.

The number of mass shootings that have occurred in the United States alone in the past year is ridiculous, people have such easy access to weapons that there is truly​ no border on what people can purchase.

We attempted to control the use of guns, but in all actuality, we are violating the second amendment in our Constitution.

So where is the middle? Where is there a safe, yet Constitution-abiding law that gives U.S. Citizens the right TO bear arms, but also puts a cap on who can purchase these deadly weapons?

I think we need to look deeper into the situation- if you are NOT a U.S. citizen, but live here, you should not be able to purchase a gun. If you have a past mental illness history, you should​ not be able to purchase a gun. If you are under the age of 18, you should not be able to purchase a gun.

This is all speculation.

Dealing with the issue of gun control and implementing laws that have the possibility of changing U.S. citizen’s second amendment rights is sensitive, but necessary for our safety.

The New America

Photo Credit: http://blog.collinsflags.com

It’s 2015 and all the good values in Americans are dead. This generation is disrespectful, uninformed, more interested in what’s trending, and drinking overpriced coffee, than finding success in life. There was a time where Americans took pride in their work, when they respected the President, and families talked about their day at meals.

What happened to the hard-working American? The ones that took pride in their work and came home each day satisfied and tired? Nowadays everyone complains about their work; they think being a barista is a career, and that their life’s so hard.

60% of United States citizens don’t graduate college. If anyone from that 60% says life is hard, they are full of crap. They do less than the 40%, and they complain just as much. How hard can their job be?

If anyone comes home from work not tired, they did it wrong. This is America, what was once the best nation in the world. What happened to this generation? How did one generation completely ruin all American values? I am ashamed to be a part of the worst generation in American history. What happened to the good old American ideal that we could always do better?

The lazy baristas and interns aren’t just bad employees; they are just plain disrespectful. Everywhere I go, I will see at least one kid being extremely disrespectful. There’s a difference between teenage trouble making and pure disrespect.

The disrespect is  rudeness, like knocking stuff down and not picking it up because it’s not their job. It’s okay to not agree, but to disrespect publicly is wrong. Everyone from my generation, including me, does this. I’m not proud when I do it, but it’s just something everyone does now.

This is the generation of social media where we can say anything without repercussions. Free speech is great, but what no one understands anymore is just because it can be said, it doesn’t mean it should be. I would classify myself as a Republican, but I don’t trash talk Obama.

In fact, I think Obama has done a damn good job. Obama is a great example to show what’s wrong with the nation. When I say that, I don’t mean the government; I mean the people in it. What is wrong with people who think it’s okay to question whether Obama was born in the states?

What happened that made it okay for the media to falsely state Obama’s plans? The biggest incident was post Sandy Hook, when the news was telling everyone Obama is taking their guns away. But in reality, he has done more for gun nuts than against.

I’m not saying it’s the parents of this generation to blame. It’s the biased news that is viewed by everyone, manipulating the public. It is the uninformed social media users spreading non-factual crap that makes the government look like a joke. What makes this country so bad? It’s the people who say the country is bad, but don’t realize that they are the ones who need to change it. They are the ones who make America bad.

I hope that someday people once again look up to the President with the highest level of respect, even those that don’t agree. The people make the country, not the government. It’s the whole damn reason the government was designed the way it was.

American Football Meets Crumpets

October 25 marked the thirteenth NFL game in London’s Wembley stadium since 2007. The less than disappointing bout between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars was witnessed by over 84,000 cheering Brits.

Picture Credit: “www.usnews.com”

I hope that they know they are cheering for the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars…

Regardless of what low echelon team plays in Wembley, the soccer loving British will always find a way to fill the seats.

They have managed to hold two sell-out games in two weeks. The Bills versus Jags, and the Kansas City Chiefs versus the Detroit Lions.

In the 2015 season there are three scheduled games in London, next year league officials have told London fans that there are to be four.

This growing popularity in pigskin slinging in London has encouraged London officials to encourage a permanent team in England.

The most popular NFL team in London are the Jacksonville Jaguars – yeah I know.

NFL representatives are optimistic that a team could be moved to the crumpet-munchers around 2022.

What Would You Do?

“What Would You Do” – It’s my favorite American TV show.

The show is about exactly what its name states.

It sets up very dramatic situations, involves ordinary people in them, and watches their reactions to the dilemmas given, with the hidden cameras rolling.

It usually deals with serious social issues, and a lot of its episodes have unexpected touching results, in which people step up and take action without hesitation in order to do the right thing.

However, in this particular episode, the result surprised me in a quite different way.

It takes place at a family restaurant in Utah, where African-Americans take up only 0.05% of its population.

In this scenario, a white girl introduces her black boyfriend to her father. Unlike what she expects, the father rejects her boyfriend because of his race.

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As she rushes out of the restaurant with her boyfriend, an old lady sitting next to his table talks to the father. “I am with you,” She says. “I think they should stay with their own.”

A woman behind her, nodding in agreement, is brought to tears.

“I have a daughter,” She tells her story in a shaky voice. “She has a friend that’s black… I told her, “He’s fine to be your friend, you are never going to get involved with him…” They were just friends, but… I worried about that.”

Then, the old lady adds her racist comment: “A pretty girl like her would pick something like that.”

Photo Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UuEegi4Ojo

Trying not to get emotional about her cutting comments, dying inside, the actor keeps the conversation going, asking if he is wrong.

“I was very proud of you,” The old lady responds. “Because that’s a shock to anybody.”

When the reporter of the show, John Quiñones, shows up in the restaurant, explains her about the show, and interviews her, the old lady tells us about her strong belief.

“I’m sorry,” She says. “If you are white, you are white. If you are colored, you go with colored people. And keep it in your family. Don’t put it in somebody else’s.”

She ends her comments with another incomprehensible statement: “It’s alright if you are a Mexican person, they are still white people,” She explains. “But black people and white people, no. I’m sorry, it breaks my heart.”

Finally, Quiñones introduces the man who acted a black boyfriend to the old lady. As they shake their hands, the guy asks her for a hug.

To my surprise, as she gives him a hug, she says, “You know, but I just think we should stay with our own, don’t you?”

This Episode shocked me. I thought racism was dead in America.

As an international student in California, I never considered rejecting an interracial couple as an option.

I heard of the word, “colored people,” for the first time in my life when I was studying To Kill a Mockingbird in my English class. Also, I was surprised when I learned that the setting of the story was within less than a hundred years.

Some people might think that racism no longer exists in America. However, for a lot of people, racism is still a big issue in their lives. A big chunk of generations was taught to be racist in its youth.

Now, the real question is, how should we react to this issue?

The episode ends with an interview with the African-American actor.

Quiñones asks, “She even hugged you. How did that feel?”

“Very weird, but I believe in people,” the actor answers. “I wanted her to know that, no matter what she thought, I was still going to shake her hand and I was still going to hug her because that’s how I am.”