Wednesday Apr 23

Debunking Asian Privilege Workshop

The NYU Center for Multicultural Education and Programs (NYU CMEP) is hosting “Debunking Asian Privilege Workshop”, an interactive workshop that will engage critically with the notion of “Asian privilege”. You will confront the notion of “Asian privilege” as an offshoot of the model minority myth and its impact on those who do not fit within the stereotypical model of East Asian America (e.g. Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders). You will also discuss how privilege as an intersectional phenomenon, manifests within the Asian American community, and the implications of “Asian privilege” for solidarity amongst Asian Americans and other people of color. 

When: Tomorrow (Thursday), April 24 from 5 PM - 7 PM

Where: Kimmel 806 (NYU CMEP)

Admission: Free! RSVP and find out more information about the workshop on their Facebook event

Avril Lavigne follows the legacy of using Asians as props.



Famed pop-punk singer Avril Lavigne has released a new music video for her song “Hello Kitty.” The song’s main theme is a thinly veiled innuendo for her…well, you know… But what is more alarming is the content of the music video which features four Asian women in uniform sweaters, shorts and bobs. They show no emotion at all and dance in a twitchy fashion Lavigne stands in front of these Japanese robots, energetically dancing, kicking and apparently having the “arigato kawaii” time of her life. She is seen running around Tokyo as if it were her own personal playground, dancing in a candy store, taking sake shots, and eating sushi. All the while, her Asian posse stands behind, as cold and robotic as ever. Is she insinuating that Asians cannot express emotion? That we all look the same? That we are all bad dancers? 

 Lavigne is not the first to turn Asians, and in particular, Japanese women, into voiceless accessories. Gwen Stefani had her infamous Harajuku girls that she dragged around for years. Katy Perry also just recently had a geisha-themed performance for the American Music Awards. 

The public reaction is perhaps the most disheartening aspect of this whole debacle. While some such as Jezabel and Bustle are outraged by the cultural appropriation, one reviewer calls the video "a love letter to Japan"  and dozen others don’t even mention the racial offenses at all. Why is it that the mainstream media continues to ignore these blatant instances or racism? Lavigne’s video is tasteless, racist and downright painful to watch. It would do us all good to recognize that. 

Tuesday Apr 22

Breaking Out of the Mold: Amartya Sen


The countries of Asia as we know them are no strangers to war, famine and poverty. With a long and storied tradition of social activists fighting against these phenomena and their perpetrators, it is easy to judge their efforts by their real-world consequences but this week we focus on a man whose theories and insight have fundamentally changed the way we look at things.

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Music Monday: Awkwafina


Happy Monday!

Awkwafina, aka. Nora Lum, seems to be the first female rapper to drop lines about her “vag.” Her hip, catchy single “My Vag,” as the title explains, is about the female anatomy. Specifically, her female anatomy. Rap fans will recognize the similarity of her song to Mickey Avalon’s “My Dick,” which caused a stir in 2006.

Though some may dismiss “My Vag” as a parody, it actually encapsulates the style of her songs - satirical, but with comic appeal. Her videos are great because Awkwafina herself is very entertaining. Those that attended NYU ACE 31: ECHO this year can probably attest to that, after seeing her guest performance with Dumbfoundead.

Hip-Hop listeners could definitely use a break and listen to something refreshing. Some of my favorite lines include: “Yo my vag Harvard Law School / Yo Vag Apex Technical.” Even if you’ve heard it before, this is a really funny song to revisit.

Enjoy the song and have a great week!

This post was a joint effort by Cui and Kim. Cui, thanks for writing most of it and suggesting that I feature Awkwafina! Until next week. 

Sunday Apr 20

On Wednesday April 16th, the MS Sewol, a South Korean ferry was capsized on its way to Jeju Island. This ship was carrying 476 people, many of whom were students from Danwon High School (Ansan City), who were travelling from Incheon to Jeju Island for their holiday trip.

Although the cause of the accident is still unclear, the prosecutor on the case has informed reporters that the third mate was steering the ship on the morning of the accident, one who has had merely six months of experience and had never steered in the area before. It appears that the vessel made an unusually sharp turn that may have caused it to tilt. The tilting of the 6,825-ton vessel in dangerous water conditions occurred rapidly which in turn did not allow the passengers on board to evacuate in time. However, prosecutors are continuing to search for other causes that may have caused the ferry to sink.

Currently, three vessels with cranes are at the accident site to prepare to salvage the ferry, but they will not hoist the ship before getting approval from family members of those still believed inside. The lifting could endanger any possible survivors believed to be on-board and result in further casualties. 

As of right now, 174 people have been rescued, the death toll has reached 59, and 243 people are still missing.

In the meantime let us all keep South Korea in our thoughts.

East Asian Studies Night, 2014


I attended EAS Night last Tuesday. Had it not been for my Chinese teacher, I would have missed out on a great show.

Students in Japanese, Chinese and Korean classes put on entertaining performances for a cheering crowd that consisted of language teachers, other students and department heads. Highlights of the night include -

  • Owarai Champloo, NYU students’ version of traditional Japanese storytelling. (My favorite, because I couldn’t stop laughing.)
  • NYU Rhythmic Impulse, who shook the room with their high energy drumming
  • a beautiful flute rendition of Magic Castle - the Classic by Eduardo Castillo
  • an abridged Japanese version of Disney’s Frozen, complete with resonant singing
  • and a charming group performance of the song 《老男孩》
    (LaoNanHai), from the Chinese comedy short film of the same name.

The night definitely had something for everybody. EAS Night was undoubtedly even more enjoyable for those that have an understanding of all three languages. I left in awe of all the performers’ talents, especially those of the advanced Japanese students’. If you missed it this year, don’t miss next year’s!

Below is just a poster from this year’s event:


Saturday Apr 19

DynamiCSS, 2014: A Cultural Medley



The lights dimmed. The auditorium hummed with excitement. The audience held its breath in anticipation of the silent stage. Spotlights – and footsteps sounded, announcing the arrival of the MCs. The audience burst into cheers and thunderous applause as the MCs, laughing good-naturedly, spoke. “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to DynamiCSS!”

April 17th marked a big night for the Chinese Student Society (CSS). Their largest annual show, “DynamiCSS,” brought together performers and talents from all over the United States to celebrate Chinese heritage. This year’s theme was “Seize the Moment,” and the show fully expressed the flavors of Asian-American culture immersed in the melting pot that is the United States.

DynamiCSS kicked off with two traditional Chinese programs: Lion Dance and Asian Fusion Dance. As the lights dimmed and the low rumble of drums grew louder, two previously-still lion costumes on the stage flared to life. Shaking their mighty heads, they circled each other in rhythmic motion to the clashes of gongs and cymbals, bringing luck and fortune to the viewers below. Next, the music and rhythm changed as a group of girls nimbly hopped onstage. Asian Fusion Dance showcased their specialty in a traditional Chinese fan dance, with simple, matching costumes that offset the flowing fabric of their fans.

The show also featured a number of vocal talents from the NYU community that performed pieces ranging from Chinese pop to rap. Eric Liu impressed the audience with a Mandarin Chinese song of his own making, and then rocked out to Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life.” Josephine Chen and Jessica Choi belted a duet that featured a medley of hip-hop tunes, ending with the Disney sensation, “Let It Go.” Most interesting was the performance Xaver Nicholas, an African-American who showcased his talents in singing and dancing K-Pop in the Asian-dominated show. The blend of music genres and cultures fully illustrated the evolution of Chinese-American culture, hitting it home with the point that no matter what race or culture you’re from, celebrating Chinese culture is not a matter of race, but of interest and appreciation.

The highlight of the show was the appearance of a short, bespectacled guy in casual clothing. This was none other than Jason Chen, the YouTube sensation with a Taiwanese-American background. His performances of American hits, including Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man,” and a piece by famous Taiwanese singer David Tao (陶喆), showcasing the American and Chinese cultural influences on young Chinese-Americans.

Though the show was entitled “Seize the Moment,” we believe DynamiCSS has done a fantastic job of bringing together the diverse talents of the Chinese-American community and celebrating what we have in common: our Chinese heritage. We’re also confident that CSS will continue to rep the Chinese-American community at NYU. Congrats, CSS!

Friday Apr 18

Happy Friday everyone!

This week’s fortune encourages you to offer that helping hand, hold the door open for a stranger, and to lend an ear to a friend in need. After all, sometimes in life we get caught up in our own lives that we forget the importance of giving to others. Sure, we may do favors and help out our pals here and there, but to really do an act of kindness is often overlooked. Take note and try giving first, without expecting anything in return.

Oftentimes when we give to others, we inadvertently help ourselves. See what happens the next time you hold a door open for a stranger. The surprised smile that sweeps across their face could put you in a cheery mood. Keep that positive energy in your mind and soul. Positivity is contagious and can be a great mood and outlook enhancer. With that pleasant attitude, you never know what you can accomplish!

Here’s to spreading smiles and merry vibes this weekend!

Friday Apr 11

Happy Friday everyone!

This week, our fortune nudges you to take ownership of your efforts and to have assurance in yourself. Confidence provides the kick to get us going, the faith to persevere, and the fearlessness to snatch the opportunity when it finally arises. Whether you’re a discouraged self-proclaimed chef dispirited by your unappetizing carrot cake, or an aspiring veterinarian who still can’t overcome giving shots to squirming animals, remember to be certain in yourself. 

Mishaps happen, but the situation can be amended. You can still be a beginner, but the necessary skills can be learned and sharpened. But if you don’t possess the certainty of success, you lack the critical drive to help see your dreams through. 

Be the chef who rightfully earned your skills through under-cooked poultry and overly-flavored pastries. Your now acclaimed carrot cake will taste that much sweeter. 

Have a tenacious weekend everyone!

Thursday Apr 10

Kollaboration New York 9 Showcase Applications Now Open

Applications for Kollaboration New York’s 9th annual showcase have officially opened and will close on April 17, 2014 at 11:59 PM EST.

Kollaboration New York, the New York branch of the national nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering Asian American performers, will hold its annual showcase on August 30, 2014 in New York, NY. Attracting more than 700 audience members last year, the showcase is the nonprofit’s biggest event of the year.

Aspiring Asian American musicians audition for a comprehensive winner’s package comprised of an extensive publicity package across Kollaboration’s networks nationwide, professional recording time, an opportunity to record a full-length music video, guaranteed spots at Kollaboration New York’s various open mic events throughout the year and full access to Kollaboration’s network of artist development professionals in the Tri-state region and beyond. Last but not not least, the winner will get the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles, California to compete in the national Kollaboration Star show against other local Kollaboration winners for grand prize of $10,000.

Showcase applications are available on Kollaboration New York’s website. To audition, interested parties must submit a detailed application and include a video link of the talent he/she would like to audition with. The video may be a past performance or a home recording. Acts will undergo a selection process by the Kollaboration New York staff. Selected applicants will move on to participate in the Live Auditions.

About Kollaboration New York

Kollaboration is a 501(c)3 chartered organization with an annual showcase produced entirely by Asian and Pacific Islander (API) professionals and students throughout the New York City area. We are proud to be part of the larger, nationwide Kollaboration movement which spans across twelve major cities across the US and Canada.

Our primary mission is “Empowerment through Entertainment,” and we are dedicated to providing API youth with a creative outlet to showcase their talents on stage. By hosting shows across the nation, Kollaboration seeks to gather diverse Asian American talent and bring their presence into mainstream media and the entertainment industry.

Asian Apparel: Eva Chen




In a world of allusive and old fashioned fashion magazine power players, Lucky Magazine’s editor-in-chief, Eva Chen stands out from the crowd. At thirty-three years old, Chen is the youngest editor-in-chief of a major fashion publication and is considered “the first editor-in-chief of our generation.” Not only is Chen the first editor, but perhaps the model for the fashion figure today. With her thousands of Instagram and twitter followers, Chen has redefined the role of an editor for a major fashion magazine. Instead of holding a chilly power over her readers, Chen utilizes social media to interact with her fans daily via her daily shoe pictures and casual tweets about topics such as Game of Thrones. Chen externalizes her fresh and youthful attitude with a colorful and whimsically experimental wardrobe that reaches all over the place. 


Another factor that is unique to Eva Chen is her Taiwanese-Shanghainese heritage. After three years as a beauty editor for Elle and eight years at Teen Vogue as the Beauty and Health director, Eva Chen is the first Asian American to hold the title of Editor-In-Chief for a Conde Nast publication. Not only is this a major milestone for Asian Americans in publication, but perhaps it also reflects the rise of the Asian presence in fashion. Eva Chen serves as an inspiration to thousands of readers and embodies the new multi-cultural face of fashion.