Category Archives: humor

Alexandra Wallace for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Queen?

In the nearly 15 years of  writing my “Amok” column in that historic ethnic media publication known as Asian Week, I can’t recall ever seeing a force unite such a disparate group as Asian Americans so totally. And just in time for heritage month.

Given our ethnic variety, never mind our generational differences, it would take a phenomenon of sorts to bring us all together. But then, there she was, like no one else in history, unifying us in these digital times, simply by appearing on the screen and saying the magic words: “Ching, chong, ting, tong, ling long.”

You mean Alexandra Wallace, that ex-UCLA chick who went viral on YouTube?

Wallace, the fresh face of unconscious racism,  gets my vote for San Francisco’s Asian Heritage Street Fair Queen. You might say, we don’t have a queen, at least not that kind. Or that in these modern times a queen is so passé.  But in 2011, Wallace, that ditzy blonde with a webcam and pushup bra, deserves something for waking up a community that normally stays silent.

Quiet Asians?  Not after Wallace did her thing.

If you’ve been living under a large ramen bowl the last six months, google Wallace and you’ll see how she castigated Asians at UCLA for being loud in the library, talking on their cell phones to call people about the Japanese earthquake and practically turning the dorms into Asian ghettoes.

Boorish and graceless, sure.  But then Wallace added a racist touch with her “ching-chong” talk.

It’s just so natural when you want to mock an Asian to get your “ching-chong” on.
The “ching-chong” joke has been with us for ages, just as fried chicken and watermelon jokes have hounded blacks since slavery. Today, only a truly racist and ignorant lout would be so unoriginal.

But sensitivity to Asians and Asian Americans just isn’t that far along. So we must endure the Wallaces of the world (and there are millions of them out there) and witness as they discover for the first time their inner “ching-chong” and think they’re being hysterically funny.

Blame it on the media. Trickle down doesn’t work in economic, but it does in pop culture.

Rosie O’Donnell, Rush Limbaugh, Adam Carolla et al. have all fed at the “ching-chong” trough. Morning DJs are notorious. Despite community protests, there’s still a green light that says mock away.

It’s about time the green light turns red.

As a private person, Wallace may deserve an ounce of sympathy. But in this case, she did it for world to see, on the internet, where revolutions are spawned.
Inadvertantly,she ushered in the anti-“ching-chong” revolution.

Web-savvy Asian Americans irate at Wallace’s insensitivity responded with videos of their own, some  showing real style..

Wallace ultimately took down her video and apologized. I’m sure she got some menacing taunts, but many more responses I saw seemed to be creative reactions from young Asian Americans.

Historically, Asian Americans have always been slow to meet the challenge of negative speech. A Wallace rant? It’s an invitation to debate. As a first amendment absolutist, I always believe in more speech not less. This time, the internet allowed Asian Americans to speak out.

Her political science professor, Phil Gussin thought some of it was too harsh..

“What Wallace did was hurtful and inexcusable, but the response has been far more egregious,” Gussin reportedly told the UCLA campus paper, the Daily Bruin. “ [Asian Americans] responded with greater levels of intolerance.”

No, I’d say Asian Americans woke up and decided it was time to stand up and be heard.

Besides, if there’s no hate behind her statements, just ignorance, then Wallace has nothing to fear.

She should have stayed in school. Maybe started dating Asian guys.

Remember, any negatives Wallace experienced are just a fraction of what Asian Americans have experienced since coming to America. From Exclusion Acts, to anti-miscegenation laws, to internment camps, Asian Americans have endured it all. We didn’t go away. If we had, there’d be no community worth being part of.

So, yo, Alexandra, thanks for bringing us all together.  Here’s an olive branch—to stand on—my unofficial  street fair queen. See you at the balut-eating contest?

I’m emceeing the event at the Street Fair in San Francisco. Wouldn’t it bee neat to see Alexandra suck a fertilized duck egg? I have one with her name on it!

Royal Wedding of Kate and Guillermo? Couldn’t do it. Not even for another Guillermo. What was 1776 all about? We left all that remember?

I was up. It was there for me to turn on.  I could have seen it live.

Instead, valuing my sleep, I resisted. If I see any of the hooha, I’ll catch a processed snippet. 

That may be  like shunning the cheddar for the Velveeta.  That should make you want to go vegan.  

Cutting out dairy? I cut out the Royal Wedding.

I had zero interest in the Royal Wedding.  The pre-wedding, the wedding-wedding, the post-wedding.

Everything about royalty is anti-democratic.  You’re born into it, unless you sleep into it. We celebrate that?

The royals aren’t particularly pretty, smart, or interesting. Everyone looks like Charles. Even the girls.

Do we really need another distraction? Aren’t the extremely long NHL/NBA playoffs enough?

By the way, hundreds of people are dead in the South, there’s several wars going on, Japan’s a wreck, people are out of work.  Here’s a job for them. Count the number of ugly hats at the Royal Wedding.

What we need in order to get re-focused on what matters is a distraction from  the distraction. Where’s the Tea Party on this issue when we really need them?

Why doesn’t the master of distraction, Donald Trump, turn his focus to the Royals. Someone tell him it’s better to be king than president. He could  raise the virginity issue for kicks as some did when Diana and Charles did their thing. He could demand to see blood test records. Have a reality show for Andrew’s real bride. He could use these antics to establish his foreign policy cred.  If only.

Actually, it’s great that the wedding took place so early in the morning. I wake and I’m done with it, like it never happened.  I’m up and ready for  the honeymoon. 

Maybe, I’d change my mind if William went by the more exotic Guillermo?  Nah.

Have a great day!

Toeing the secular line: On the Easter Bunny, Hell and Crucifixion

Before you get to your Easter ham, we have to get through the solemn Passion period, the holiest week of the religious year. 

Then you can wash your hands of everything.

Sorry to break it to you, but you will kindly notice there is no Easter Bunny present at the Last Supper.

Personally, I like the Easter Bunny and all he/she represents in that euphemistic parallel world that honors the coming of Spring. 

In the prolific bunny, the ears may be large and the teeth cry out for orthodontia, but we really have the perfect symbol for life and renewal. 

It’s just not very spiritual.

Deep in the throes of an economic recession, with no real end in sight and the partisans bickering about bottom lines and Donald Trump’s hairline, it doesn’t’ surprise me if  you are yearning for something slightly more spiritual than an Easter Bunny can provide.

As a journalist, I’m conditioned to keep things in the Easter Bunny realm, unless I’m doing a story about  organized religion. When I covered Papal visits to America, I didn’t have to get into whether there was really a God. Or if Martin Luther was re ally right.  I just had to report on the guy in the Pope-Mobile.

That’s the standard approach by the media: Keep God out of it. What’s he got to do with anything.  We’re covering humans and what they say.  God?  Show me two sources.

It’s an important distinction. Reporters are information providers, not missionaries. And we’re respectful of the line that keeps the Holy Spirit on one side and Lady Gaga on the other.

Constitutionally, that’s what America guarantees. You’re free.  You can be God-fearing or God-less, no problem. We keep God out of our policy debates. And we keep him out of our reporting.

Reporters only pray when deadline approaches. Just like athletes only thank God when they win. (I didn’t hear anyone on the Knicks after losing by a point to the Celtics on Palm Sunday say, “O God, why have you forsaken me?”)

But Easter and Christmas are different for the media when it comes to approaching religious ideas, mostly because this is the time when even the non-believing believers start to believe.  It’s a spiritual migration. 


This year the mainstream media’s  most spiritual reflection apppears to be Time Magazine’s  “Is Hell Dead?”,8816,2065080,00.html

Asking if there is a hell  is really just another way of asking the age old question ,” Is there a God?”

You can’t have one without the other, right?

That a young evangelical reverend like Rob Bell has a best selling book, “Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell and the Fate of Every Person Who ever Lived,” is a nice timely excuse for some kind of re-examination.

I actually like the idea that if the churches were full of love and not guilt, fear, and repression, we’d see more people at churches.

Bell is proof of that. He’s  packing in the people.  And more conservative pastors  consider some of what he says to be  pure heresy. But someone wants what he’s selling. 

The questions he raises are worth discussion.  If there is no hell, does that mean there are no consequences? 

If hell is the place for punishment, and it didn’t exist, wouldn’t that be like closing down Rikers Island?  If that happened we could save money, make the “bad guys” stay at home, give the cops more to do.

OK, maybe we really could use a hell.

But does hell act as a deterrent?

Does it make you want to commit fewer ill-advised acts?  Or do you even think about it at all?

For a minute, let’s say you are a hell believer. Would it be terribly disappointing if in the afterlife, you show up all virtuous, and then it’s revealed that there wasn’t a real place called hell after all.

“Hell? “a voice would say. “That’s a placebo.”

Ah, didn’t you know, you were in “hell” when you committed that act?

Why would God want to create a new place just for you and your bad-acting kind?

Besides, Hell isn’t green. Too big a carbon foot-print.  Without it, think of God’s energy savings.

If you’re non-Christian, all this hypothesizing may make you feel superior as a Buddhist or Muslim, or perhaps an atheist.  Or not.

But whatever your perspective, an examination of conscience, a spiritual tune-up is always worthwhile. (Don’t worry. No one is trying to inculcate. No missionary will call.)


For me, I am a traditionalist in the organized realm. I’m a Filipino American, and the Spanish got there first.  I am a Catholic.

As a reporter, I don’t know if there’s a hell or heaven. But as a believer, I have faith in the teachings that  there is a there there.

Given that, here’s my secret Spring Break/Holy Week  fling:

I’d like to go to the Philippines to see a crucifixion. Maybe even my own.

Call it “Extreme Catholicism,” though I’m really more curious than passionate about driving some nails into my hands.

One guy Ruben Enaje is practically a professional. He’s been nailed 24 years in a row.

 It’s good to see that in the Philippines, crucifixion is an equal opportunity thing.

Given that the Church will frock a man, but not frock a woman, to crucify a woman is practically a sign of progress. Imagine you can have his and her crucifixions, maybe even re-do your marital vows on the cross.

Of course, if I go, I’d have some practical concerns. For example, wouldn’t you want to make sure the nails are sterilized first? Maybe bring your own nails?

And I’m not sure if I’d want to go all-nail  the first time around anyway. It may be better to gradually take it in. Perhaps a little back-whipping self-flagellation (not the metaphorical kind) then do a cross on a subsequent trip.

What do you think? Maybe next year we can organized a “Passion Pilgrimage.”

Too real?

Well,  now you know why God created the Easter Bunny.