Emil Guillermo: Why I fringe: Banging my gong for AAPI Heritage Month at the Orlando Fringe Festival
May 17, 2018 3:05 PM

Among Asian Americans, Orlando is a special place for having spawned and unleashed the mashup genius of Eddie Huang of "Fresh Off the Boat" fame.

Remember, the family moves to Orlando from Washington, DC to get that fresh start? 

So it's natural for me to be here for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with my new version of me, the solo performer, taking from my columns to shape my spoken-word "Amok Monologues."

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I'm here for the 28th Orlando Fringe Festival, the oldest one in America and a theater festival in definite need of an Asian American voice or two.

I'm more than happy to fill that void, and the audiences have been great, for the most part, and very receptive. 

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Here's a clip of me during a preview teaser show.

They responded well, but there's not many Asians in the crowd.

We're still in a place where restaurants market themselves as "oriental" establishments.

Orlando is home to about 9,000 Asian Americans, about 3.64 percent of the city. That ranks about 131st among all cities, according to the Census data on USA.com.

By ethnicity, it breaks down this way for an Asian American community that looks like this, with South Asians leading the way:

Indian: 2,468 (27 percent)
Vietnamese: 1,873 (20.59 percent)
Chinese: 1,697 (18.65 percent)
Filipino: 1,291  (14.2 percent)
Korean: 649  (7 percent)
Japanese:  329 (3.6 percent)
Asian, Other:  791 (8.69 percent)

It's the new look of some of our latter-day, evolving Asian American community, where immigration is spurring growth.

The traditional Asian American communities of yesteryear had Asians staying close to ports of entry, namely California. But it's a big country, and the newer arrivals from South Asia and Southeast Asia are helping to change the face of it all. 

The new Asian America really does take a page from "Fresh Off the Boat."

But not at the Orlando Fringe quite yet.

The festival draws performers from all over the world, especially Canada and Europe.

Orlando Fringe is like a smaller version of the famed Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where Maria Askew has performed with her troupe, the Jurassic Parks.  

Half-Ecuadoran, half-British, she immediately understood my show about my father, a colonized Filipino coming to America. 

"I'm both colonized and colonizer," she said, referring to her mixed background.

Most people got the show. 

But on opening night I had what can only be described as a performer's nightmare. 

There was a woman sitting alone in the front row. And despite all the preshow chatter to turn off cell phones and devices, within the first ten minutes, she began to text.

Or as my now late and lamented writing hero, Tom Wolfe, might have noted, she was "CLICK, CLICK, CLICK, TEXXXXXXXXXTINGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!"

(R.I.P. our favorite white-suited Wolfe). 

This of course was distracting, but I was more distracted when right as I went into the story of how colonized Filipinos like my dad were treated when they arrived in 1928, she fidgeted and squirmed. As my eyes scanned across the room, it looked like she was doing yoga poses with her leg over her head. 

You're not doing that right now as you read this, are you?

Fortunately,  there was one couple sitting to the other side. And clearly they got my story.
 
The texting yoga woman ultimately left the show right in the middle, an unbearable breach of theatre ethics, even at a Fringe. But I was more than happy to gong her away, because of the one couple I noticed who were enjoying the show so much.

Afterwards, Joey Canamo and his wife, in an unsolicited way, told me how much they got out of the show. 
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"I absolutely loved it. It was very relatable," Canamo, 31, an American-born Filipino who works in Orlando's entertainment industry. "It had moments of comedy. It was very funny. But then there's the history part of it, things I didn't necessarily know. . .like the stories of your dad."

He and his wife, Cory, white and from the Detroit suburbs, met while in college in Florida. She related to my stories of going to a segregated school, and how my white buddies treated me, until our school got its first black kid.

They thought the show was a must-see before taking a family reunion later this year in the Philippines.

They're even going to bring Joey's mom and dad later in the run.

That's the beauty of a grass roots tradition like the Fringe. You tell intimate stories to a reflective audience, and a transfer of energy takes place, live and in color, as they used to say. It's an artistic sense of communion, where you realize our commonality. 

It's a different kind of discourse than we're used to on the racial and political front. 

But I haven't been too bogged down of late. Being on the road, my news consumption is down about 75 percent. 

I've realized that storytelling through solo performance has become a model for the kind of race conversations we want to have but don't. 

Where else can you sit quietly and watch. Not text or do yoga. In a solo performance, I still consider it a conversation with the audience. We experience it all, and then we all walk away and reflect. 

Just like Joey and Cory Canamo.

That's the sort of thing that keeps me both column-ing here, and fringing. 

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Note: You can still get tickets to "Amok Monologues" at the Orlando Fringe Festival from May 18 to May 25 here

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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
Updates at www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in his blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.


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Emil Guillermo: The North Korea/U.S. summit--Should we be dealing with a dictator?
May 11, 2018 5:07 PM

When Donald Trump had his middle-of-the-night rendezvous with three Korean Americans this past week, it was an unintentional photo op for Asian American and Pacific Islander Month.

Freed were Tony Kim (Kim Sang-dok), an accounting professor at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, held since April 2017 for "criminal acts of hostility;"  Kim Hak-song, a colleague of Tony Kim's who has been detained a year for "hostile acts;" and businessman Kim Dong-chul, who immigrated in 1972 to the U.S. and was held nearly three years when he was suspected of espionage.

Trumped up charges (pun intended). This is what North Korea does. Imprison people unfairly.  Starve people to death. Take away rights. It's the M.O. of the dictator Kim Jong Un. Most of the victims are his own people. 

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So a trade for three Asian Americans and a peace deal to be named later, that's sort of reason to be happy. But let's not forget all the other people under Kim's thumb. I was struck by the specificity of the headline I saw in The Wall Street Journal: "North Korea Frees Three U.S. Citizens."

I guess that last detail was thrown in, just in case Americans see pictures and the videos of the freed men deplaning with Trump and wonder who are all those foreigners with our xenophobic leader? 

No, he's still the xenophobe-in-chief. He hasn't gone soft on people of color. That atmosphere of suspicion and doubt over non-white people that Trump has created in his short tenure gets turned on and off as needed. 

But three U.S. citizens is a drop in the bucket compared to the hundreds of others that remain imprisoned in North Korea.

Don't worry all you Trumpians. The U.S. isn't talking to North Korea for general humanitarian reasons. But things are just a bit different now as Trump starts acting like his buddy Don King in pre-fight promotion stage, selling the big peace summit with North Korea now set for June 12 in Singapore. 

It's "Little Rocket Man" versus "Big Rocket Mouth."  More than a pay-per-view, it's a high stakes game for world peace. 

Or will we be getting something less? Perhaps something more acceptable for political show biz, closer to the proverbial "whirled peas"? 

You see, what the world gets out of all this isn't really clear because this isn't about the world.

The summit process moves quickly because both Trump and Kim Jong Un really need this thing to happen for their own personal reasons. 

Saddled with new developments every day in the Russia probe, Michael Cohen's handling of the Stormy Daniels hush money payoff, not to mention his pay-to-play antics selling access to Trump as his personal lawyer, Trump would like one big hole-in-one. 

He's looking for a one shot big deal where he can say his unorthodox politics have taken us somewhere no previous president has even dared. (Maybe there was a good reason.) If Trump succeeds, call it a victory for on-the-job-training. It's always Trump first, remember. 

What about peace? Did you think the man who just faked out his allies and pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal is interested in peace? 

AND WHAT DOES KIM WANT?
If you haven't noticed, Kim Jong Un's stature as the mad bomber has toned down a bit over the last year, mostly because now he fears global isolation. 

"He's running out of options," said Kim Pil-Ju. "I think China turning its back was big."

Kim Pil-Ju, a college student in his 20s, has lived in South Korea the last 12 years and calls himself the "boy who got away." He escaped from the north in 2006. 

He was on the Asian Boss channel on YouTube. If you're interested in what real people in South Korea are saying about the summit, the Asian Boss YouTube Channel is a good resource.

I've been watching it for takes you won't get watching or reading the mainstream news. Who talks to regular Koreans or Korean Americans in the regular U.S. mainstream press?  

Asian Boss is run by Stephen Park in Seoul, who has been doing interviews with South Koreans (in language) on the prospects of a peace summit and reunification.

So it's a bit of a revelation to hear people like Kim Pil-Ju on Asian Boss. He feels the speed of the summit process is related to North Korea's fears that if a move toward reunification isn't done now with the current Moon administration, then all bets are off if a more conservative government takes over in the next South Korean elections. 

"If a conservative party takes power, it could give North Korea an excuse to restart its nuclear program," Kim Pil-Ju said. 

The politics of South Korea will surprise you. While many Korean Americans may cry and cheer the historic nature of Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in crossing over the DMZ marker, many Koreans are deeply divided. 

Polls say most young South Koreans don't want reunification. 

If you're in your 50s and 60s, you want it. Out of nostalgia.

But younger people in their twenties know just a few things about North Korea--mostly that tthe people are poor, starving, and brainwashed. Getting the north up to speed will take money away from the south, and even raise taxes and hurt the economy.

The latest Asian Boss features Kim Pil-Ju with another defector from the North, Oh Eun-Jung, 27. She escaped to South Korea ten years ago when she was 17. 

Oh Eun-Jung was skeptical of the summit at first, especially considering the unpredictable nature of Trump. She thinks Kim Jong Un looks at Trump as someone crazier than himself. "I think he's a bit scared," she said.

But she also wonders why Kim Jong Un would give up his power. If he steps down, Kim most surely will be tried in international criminal court. "He doesn't need nuclear weapons if he can be guaranteed power," she said on the show.

Kim Pil-Ju agreed. "That's his condition for the U.S./North Korean Summit," he said. "You guarantee my regime and I will denuclearize. I think that's how it will play out."

For these North Korean defectors, as it is for the world, it's a moral dilemma. Peace is good, but should we be supporting a dictator who has killed countless people? And let him get away with it?

"If we don't give him what he wants, more lives will be lost," Oh said.

Kim Pil-Ju, who called himself a victim, points to the 31,000 defectors in South Korea, and the 100,000 in North Korea. He said that number multiplies when you consider family members left behind, many of whom remain imprisoned. He just wants to see Kim Jong Un punished. 

"He has to pay for his inhumane and unethical conduct," Kim Pil-Ju said. "He starved an entire country and executed many. . .Kim has to pay for all that."

Somehow seeing Trump at his photo op this week with the three Asian Americans, I don't think any of that registers under the presidential hair-do. I hope it does by time the summit hits. 

Three are free, but there are many, many more where they came from. Trump may not seem to care about any of them, but the closer we get to the summit, all of America, not just Korean Americans, should.

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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
Updates at www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in his blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.


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Emil Guillermo: Goddess Pele's gift for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
May 8, 2018 12:45 PM

In my one-man solo performance "Amok Monologues," which I'm bringing May 16-25 to the Orlando Fringe Festival, I talk about a lava flow of truth to describe my storytelling amokness, a metaphoric eruption. Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines was my frame. 

But in these United States, Madame Pele has delivered to us all a gift for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. 

I lived in Hawaii for a few years when I worked for what was then the largest paper in the state. I lived through an earthquake and a massive sewer backup on the Ala Wai (sort of like intestinal lava flow). But I can't imagine what the residents are going through on the Big Island.

Not Oahu, but the one that has that city The Today Show's Savannah Guthrie called "High-Low."

Of course, Hilo is pronounced "He-lo." Although when the talk is lava flow in Hawaii, it's more like "She-lo," if one is to be truly respectful while reporting on the burning black mass that eats up ground and all in her way. 

In Ben Gutierrez's report for KHNL, you can see it. But notice how he ends his report respectfully. "We're just glad to be able to come here to experience the heat, the smoke, and some of the beauty of Madame Pele," Gutierrez says admiringly. The beauty? This is Hawaii.

When you live on the island, Madame Pele always gets a nod. 

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"She is Pele-hounua-mea, Pele of the Sacred Land. She is Pele-'ai' houna, Pele the eater of land, when she devours the land with her flames," wrote Herb Kawainui Kane in Pele: Goddess of Hawaii's Volcanoes: "She who rules the volcanoes of Hawaii, and Mankind has no power to resist her. When Pele is heard from, her word is the final word."

And so while there is havoc and devastation, and lives and land masses are altered, there is a sense of respect for this spiritual force of nature.

We don't have that on the mainland.

The lava flow here is metaphoric, but there's nothing spiritual about it. 

Not when the eruption comes daily and spews out of Donald Trump, and more recently Rudy Giuliani, who comes on like Trump's dyspeptic after burp. 

It's a political tour-de-force unlike anything we've seen, unfortunately, and it's burning and displacing all that we hold dear. Institutions of democracy? Political norms? Think of how the political landscape has changed since Jan. 2017. And now the U.S. pulls out of an Iran deal that is working? Iran's in compliance and the U.S. is not.

Pele has given us a gift of how to view what's happening to our country. It's the slow burn of lava creep. But unlike the Goddess' flow, we are not powerless. 

We can do something about our commander-in-creep, a/k/a the spewing president who thinks he's above the truth.

We must ask him about the lies, the cheating, the hush payments. We must not lose sight of Russia, his conflicts, his business deals. His eruptions and the disaster they cause are all manmade. 

Trump's no Madame Pele.

WEN HO LEE?
I've had the honor to pinch-hit and teach a course on diversity in journalism this semester at San Francisco State University. 

Diversity in journalism? You mean the uphill battle I've waged against the media in radio, TV, newspapers and the web starting from the mid-70s? 

You mean when Asian Americans were less than 1 percent of our country and people thought by my last name that I must be Mexican? 

For me, teaching a course in diversity in journalism has been like a Vietnam vet coming back to teach the war to students who were eager to learn what too many people are willing to forget.

Being a person of color in the media during these formative times has not been easy. I started not long after the Civil Rights Act, and a few years after the Kerner Commission suggested news organizations reach out to hire blacks. Asians? No one knew what a Filipino was. Not in an America that was trying to forget the Spanish American War. (I talk about this in my show,  "Amok Monologues.")

Imagine how every year since I began as a young reporter, the American Society of Newspaper Editors kept establishing the goal of our newsrooms looking like the nation's population. Perfect mirror of the audience and the media reporting on it?  The goals were never achieved. After failing each deadline, ASNE kept extending it another 5 to 10 years. It's become a joke. And now the test is if newspapers will survive before ASNE can ever reach its diversity goals.  

I do tell the students there is hope. 

There are so many different places to get the news, not just in one place. But the news is all segregated. Asian American press? That's cool. But it's like a modern version of the Negro Leagues in baseball. 

The best diversity can do seems to be vertical silos addressing separate niche audiences. Separate and hardly equal. The challenge is for one media to bring us all together as one, cover all our concerns.

The Washington Post? The New York Times?

Oh yeah, and then I get to tell them about Wen Ho Lee.

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Who he? That's what the students said. He's the U.S. nuclear scientist born in Taiwan who spent nine months in solitary confinement after Times reporters parroted government sources claiming Lee gave away the biggest nuclear secrets to China.

But he didn't.

The Times even admitted it could have painted a more human portrait of Lee in an extraordinary "clarification." 

You don't see that kind of semi-mea culpa in journalism.

A little more diversity among the top editors, and in approach, could have helped 16 years ago.

More on Dr. Lee and why he's a great case for diversity in a future column. Let's see what my students say in their final exams.
 
But for now, let's consider the joys of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. And because of the 1965 Immigration law that lifted discriminatory quotas on Asians coming to this country, we're now up to more than  21 million Asian Americans in the U.S. 

Just think, before the 1965 law, Asians Americans were less than 1 percent of the population. 

It's like someone had placed an invisible wall and shut us all out. It's called politics.

And now Hawaii is the most Asian American state by percentage (around 44 percent) and California is the largest by population (around 6 million), and I'm going to Orlando to do my show for AAPI Heritage Month, where the Asian population is like it is in most of America. Around two to three percent. It's like going back 20 years or more. 

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No doubt our visibility has improved. We're dozens of Asian ethnicities under one broad umbrella to celebrate a sense of us. Chinese, Korean, South Asian, Filipino, Hmong, Vietnamese, and more.

May is our month. Feel it.

The Goddess Pele has made it special by giving all of America a metaphor to ponder. 

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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
Updates at www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in his blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.


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Emil Guillermo: When women were finally believed, Cosby could no longer tread water
April 26, 2018 9:44 PM

"Noah, how long can you tread water?"

Delivered as if the voice of God, it''s a classic Cosby punch line from one of the first Bill Cosby records I ever owned.
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"Bill Cosby Is a Very Funny Fellow" was the name of the album.

The modern remix has renamed it: Bill Cosby is a very funny felon. 

And let's not forget the tag: "Right."

The only thing he's quoted as saying on Thursday came after his three guilty verdicts on aggravated indecent assault were read. The prosecution mentioned that Cosby, who faces up to ten years per charge, had a private plane and could be a flight risk.

The thought of that made Cosby blurt out in rage, according to reporters.

"He doesn't have a plane, you asshole," said Cosby.

It was a kind of showstopper in this whole five-year ordeal. 

From the start, I had hoped it wouldn't happen. But the evidence was so great, I knew it would.

I'm not pro-rapist. In this case, I'm pro-woman.

It's just that growing up in America, Bill Cosby was like a beacon of comedic hope for any non-white person in America.
 
He may have been known as America's dad in the '80s for his TV show. 

But in the 60's, even for an Asian American kid, Cosby could have been my dad. 

At least, he spoke English well.

Consider that in 1963 when my Cosby album was released, America's Asian community was unnaturally suppressed.

Discriminatory immigration quotas virtually eliminated the rise of Asians to America.

You may gloat over having an Asian American population approaching 21 million people today.

In 1963, when I listened to my Cosby album, the population looked like this:

Whites: 75 percent 
Blacks: 4 percent 
Hispanics: 8 percent 
Asians: Less than 1 percent 

We found our affinities where we could. For me, it was Cosby on my record player. A funny black man telling stories coming from a round black vinyl record called an LP  (for "long play"), and spinning at 33-1/3 revolutions.

It was a revolution.

I remembered listening to Cosby so much, over and over again. I'd get the power of his timing and his stories. They were universal. 

I think about them when I put together my own one-man-show, " Amok Monologues," coming to the Orlando Fringe Festival May 15-28.

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That Cosby was black didn't matter. 

He told stories about those "little tiny hairs on my face," which even made a pre-pubescent boy like me laugh.

And then there were the biblical Noah stories, where the voice of God asks, "Noah, how long can you tread water?"

It didn't work on the nuns at my catechism classes, but it worked on me. 

I loved that Bill Cosby.

More so than all the other versions of Cos. 

He's been the TV Spy; the TV Dad; the doctorate in education from U. Mass; the moralizing parent chiding others to teach their children; and now this new version, the 77-year old who prefers silence when it comes to rape.

It was in 2013 when the whole rape saga began.

You'll recall it was a video tape of another black comedian Hannibal Buress that called Cosby out. 

Buress just told it like it was. In 2013, Cosby was the African American scold, telling young men to "pull up your pants," criticizing black families for how they were raising their kids. 

On the cultural front, Cosby was being hailed by conservatives like Bill O'Reilly as a great example for the African American community.

Funny how that all worked out. 

In 2018, O'Reilly is out of his job at Fox as a serial sexual harasser. Cosby has fallen so hard he faces up to ten years in prison for each of his three guilty verdicts.

And it wouldn't have happened if Buress didn't use his standup one night to point out the hypocrisy of Cosby, that the moralist was a rapist.

"Google Bill Cosby and rape," Buress said on the hand-held phone video of his show that went viral. 


The power of the story, the internet, and the truth.

It was the beginning. 

One by one, women came forward.  

And on Thursday, four of them together, led by accuser Andrea Constandt, won their day in court.

It's quite a milestone. America believed women over a powerful, rich, iconic man. 

The qualuudes wore off.

Those who've followed Cosby all our lives know the significance. Look at our diverse country with its emerging minority majority, with more than 20 million Asian Americans among women and people of color.

It's a wave so great, one can no longer tread water anymore.

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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
Updates at www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in his blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.


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Emil Guillermo: Will "Crazy Rich Asians" make us forget the "screwed over poor Asian Americans," and all the rest of us?
April 23, 2018 7:03 PM

Yes, we know Asian Americans are not a monolith. But pop culture is about to give us all a facelift.

This is fair warning if you are one of the baby boomer Asian Americans, offspring of the early pioneer immigrants, both before and after 1965. 

If you were a descendent of legendary civil rights plaintiffs like Yick Wo or Wong Kim Ark, you represent four or five generations of ABCs (American born Chinese), and you have the scars to prove it.

If you are American Filipino like me, whose father arrived in 1928, same diff. 

You might even be asking if your Asianness is wearing off. Aren't we just American yet? 

Well, no. In the white tilt of the Trump administration, foreignness is an issue. And as I said, we are about to get some new media treatment that will almost surely overturn the dim sum cart.

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In August, the movie version of Kevin Kwan's book, "Crazy Rich Asians," is due, and judging from the just-released trailers that came to my inbox on Monday, it could modernize the view of Asian Americans.


But not necessarily for the good.

If you don't know Kwan's wildly successful book series, maybe it's time you do.

Kwan was born in Singapore, came to America at 11, went to the University of Houston and Parsons School of Design, and then went to New York to work with Interview magazine and Martha Stewart. Soon after, he began his own consulting business working with household names. But it's his writing where he's made an impact, telling the story of rich Asians who come west for school, then return to their privileged Asian life style--totally different and alienated from their Asian homeland.

Kwan tells mostly their story. 

This is different from those of us born here to immigrants, get a western education because, well, we're here. Some of us get elite educations, and then can find ourselves totally alienated.

Same thing, sort of. We just don't have to travel as far. We're already home.

The title of Kwan's book signifies the main differentiator, as the "Crazy Rich Asians" are in a wealth stratosphere of their own. Whereas the ABC types might be comfortably upper middle class as doctors, lawyers, or professionals. They may be in the 1 percent, but are they "crazy" rich? Likely not. At least not to the point requiring psychotropics.

But "crazy rich" is the media image about to hit the big screen come August.

These Asians are in a $ league of their own, and not to be confused with real Asian Americans.

Indeed, they are global capitalists, modern jetsetters, a kind of Asian wealthocracy. 

Can they even relate to the nine Korean American waiters and waitresses for whom AALDEF recently won a wage theft judgment of $2.7 million against Ji Sung Yoo, owner of the Kum Gang San restaurants in New York City? 

The crazy rich Asians probably relate more with Yoo, the restaurant owner, but probably don't even consider him that crazy rich if he wasn't able to get away with defrauding some low wage Korean American waiters and waitresses. (Two Latino bussers were also included in the judgment.)

If you ask me, Asian American life is a whole lot closer to the waiters and waitresses who worked 12-hour shifts without break for six to seven days without overtime pay. The restaurant owners even kept some of their tips, and ordered them to do extra work on a local farm to harvest vegetables. If the workers didn't comply, they lost their jobs. Those who threatened to sue faced deportation. They sued anyway

Last week, a federal judge stopped the owner from hiding his assets and forced him to pay a $2.7 million judgment for the workers.

They don't become crazy rich, right away, if ever. They still have to collect it from the restaurant owners. 

But what they got is something much rarer for an Asian American to get in America. They got a taste of justice for the unfairness they were forced to endure.

These are the hard-working Asian Americans who are about to be eclipsed by this new image that comes out of "Crazy Rich Asians" in August.

Don't get me wrong. I wish Kwan and his movie all the best. 

The movie trailer looks like a Full Employment Act for Asian American Actors, and I'm all for that ,dabbling in a little stage work myself (Amok Monologues coming to the Orlando Fringe in May). 

The movie has "Fresh Off the Boat" star Constance Wu playing an American-born economics professor who gets involved with a crazy rich Asian, played by Henry Golding, a Malaysian/Singaporean. Wu is the Asian American we know and love, and she sets up the class dichotomy of the movie. Ken Jeong is in the house, as well as Michelle Yeoh, and even Filipino American Nico Santos, the flamingly funny Mateo in NBC's "SuperStore."  Even "Silicon Valley" star Jimmy Yang is in it. It's a who's who of underutilized Asian American actors.

But what was Hollywood going to do? Cast whites in yellowface? 

So there are good points about the film. In general, I'll reserve judgment until I see more than just a trailer. Will it become "The Joy Luck Club" for a new generation of worldly jet-setting Asians--who knows? 

Still, this image of the  crazy rich worries me. 

Most Americans already have such a monolithic view of Asian Americans. They don't even see the Asian American poor in our communities. 

We know how the Asian American STEM/Tech millionaire thing is already pervasive.  But a STEM millionaire is just middle class compared to the Asian crazy rich. 

The immigrant prince who comes west for school then goes back east to the homeland as a new kind of hybrid Asian may lead to a whole new reaction. And the evolution of a whole new stereotype.

Is this what has become of the "Model Minority"?

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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
Updates at www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in his blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.



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