Award-winning filmmaker Grace Lee’s food documentary “Off the Menu: Asian America” now streaming on


Angry Asian Man:

The feature documentary Off the Menu: Asian America, produced by CAAM and KQED, is a road trip to the kitchens, factories, temples and farms of Asian Pacific America that explores how our relationship to food reflects our evolving communities. From Texas to New York and from Wisconsin to Hawaii, award-winning filmmaker Grace Lee takes audiences on a journey using our obsession with food as a launching point to delve into a wealth of stories, traditions, and unexpected characters that help nourish this nation of immigrants.

This is not your typical food travelogue. If you missed the public television broadcast of Off the Menu: Asian America, the film is currently available for streaming in its entirety on until January 5.

‘Aloha’ director apologizes for casting Emma Stone as Asian-American


Writer-director Cameron Crowe is having a tough week. His critically savaged movie, “Aloha,” performed poorly in its first weekend in theaters, collecting just $10.5 million despite a shiny pedigree and a star-studded cast. And now he’s apologizing for what critics are calling the culturally insensitive casting of actress Emma Stone as a part-Asian character.

“Thank you so much for all the impassioned comments regarding the casting of the wonderful Emma Stone in the part of Allison Ng,” Crowe wrote in a post on his personal blog. “I have heard your words and your disappointment, and I offer you a heart-felt apology to all who felt this was an odd or misguided casting choice.”

The Allison Ng character in the film is a young Air Force pilot in Hawaii with a father who is half Chinese. Ng is proud to be one-quarter Hawaiian, a fact she repeats to almost everyone she encounters.

But Stone, who grew up in Arizona, apparently has no Chinese or Pacific Islander ancestry. Native Hawaiians, Asian activists and bloggers have criticized the movie — set entirely in Hawaii — for its overwhelmingly white cast, with many singling out Stone’s casting as being especially egregious.

It’s so typical for Asian or Pacific Islanders to be rendered invisible in stories that we’re supposed to be in, in places that we live,” said Guy Aoki of the Media Action Network for Asian-Americans in an interview with the Huffington Post. “We’re 60% of the population (in Hawaii). We’d like them to reflect reality.”

Crowe, whose films include “Jerry Maguire” and “Almost Famous,” said the casting of Stone was not meant to be disrespectful.

As far back as 2007, Captain Allison Ng was written to be a super-proud ¼ Hawaiian who was frustrated that, by all outward appearances, she looked nothing like one. A half-Chinese father was meant to show the surprising mix of cultures often prevalent in Hawaii,” he wrote.

Extremely proud of her unlikely heritage, she feels personally compelled to over-explain every chance she gets. The character was based on a real-life, red-headed local who did just that.”

Aloha” is a romantic comedy-drama about a military contractor (Bradley Cooper) who returns to Hawaii to help negotiate the launch of a satellite. While there he reconnects with an old flame (Rachel McAdams) while falling for the young pilot (Stone) assigned to escort him around.

White House Summit on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, May 12th

Angry Asian Man: 

What are you doing on May 12? Save the date. The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders invites you the White House Summit on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Washington DC. The Summit will feature panels, workshops, and armchair dialogues with senior Administration officials, AAPI celebrities, and well-known community leaders, plus performances by distinguished AAPI artists.

The Summit is part of a series of events happening May 11-15 during AAPI Heritage Month in Washington, and provides a unique forum to actively engage with hundreds of AAPI leaders from across the nation. Previous AAPI Heritage Month speakers have included President Obama at the 2013 White House Celebration and Vice President Biden at the 2014 Opening Ceremony.

Programming details are still coming together, but more information on the Summit will be available in the coming months. In the meantime, visit the Summit website or subscribe to the weekly White House AAPI email newsletter. For further questions, email

Why Asians need to care about breast cancer


 Audrey Magazine:

We decided to look into how Asian Americans handle breast cancer. We were shocked by what we discovered.

For years now, Asians have been comforted by the fact that we have the lowest rate of breast cancer in the United States. Unfortunately, this assurance may be the very thing that hinders us from taking the necessary precautions.

Studies from both the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) have confirmed that Asian/Pacific Islanders have the lowest breast cancer rates.

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 2.49.46 PM Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 2.50.03 PM



Although this is true, a number of things are not taken into consideration:

There are various types of Asians.
It is not a good idea to assume you’re safe from breast cancer simply because you’re Asian. In fact, the statistics greatly differ once we take a step closer. According to, Japanese American women have the highest rate of breast cancer among Asian Americans. Furthermore, breast cancer is the leading cause of death for Filipino women. Clearly, there are technicalities within the broad term “Asian” which should be paid attention to.

Our numbers are increasing.
Sure, we have the lowest rate of breast cancer and breast cancer deaths now, but that may be changing. Our rates are increasing faster than any other ethnic group. From 1988-2005, we’ve increased approximately 1.2% every year.

Some of us are not as safe as our parents and grandparents. 
According to, “Immigrant Asian women who have been living in the United States for 10 years have an 80 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer than their newly arrived A&PI immigrant counterparts.”

We develop breast cancer at a younger age.
Compared to the other ethnic groups, we develop cancer at an earlier age, but we don’t know to address it earlier. In fact, many of us don’t address it at all.

Asian Americans are the least likely to ever get a mammogram.
Although Asian Americans need to take just as much precaution, we have the lowest rate of screenings. Is it because it’s taboo in our culture to discuss this issue? Is it because of the misconception that we’re relatively safe from breast cancer? Either way, there is clearly a lack of breast health/breast cancer education, screening and treatment among Asian American women.

Studies confirm that only 62% of Asian American women 40 and older have had a mammogram in the past two years. This is still the lowest percentage compared to every other ethnic community in America.

Some barriers to breast cancer screening include:
-Low income
-Lack of access to care (such as lack of a local (or easy to get to) mammography center or -Lack of transportation to a mammography center)
-Lack of a usual health care provider
-Lack of a recommendation from a provider to get mammography screening
-Lack of awareness of breast cancer risks and screening methods
-Cultural and language differences

– See more at:

Meet Moana: Disney announces its Ffrst Pacific Islander princess


On the heels of “Frozen” frenzy, Walt Disney Animation Studios announced its first Polynesian princess, a spirited and adventurous teenager named Moana, in Disney’s 56th animated film of the same name. Moana will also be the first Pacific Islander princess from the studio.

Described as a CG-animated comedy-adventure, and set in the ancient South Pacific world of Oceania, Moana’s adventure takes her on “an action-packed voyage, encountering sea creatures, breathtaking underworlds and ancient folklore,” according to Disney.

The film will be directed by Ron Clements and John Musker who also directed “The Little Mermaid,” “The Princess and the Frog,” and “Aladdin.”

Moana is indomitable, passionate and a dreamer with a unique connection to the ocean itself,” Musker said. “She’s the kind of character we all root for, and we can’t wait to introduce her to audiences.”

Most exciting to Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) audiences who welcome but are sometimes wary of representation from mainstream outlets is that the screenplay was written by the talented and funny Maori-Russian-Jewish New Zealand writer, director, actor, comedian, and painter Taika Waititi.

Waititi is the director of the 2010 film, “Boy” — which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and is the highest grossing local film ever in New Zealand, and the 2004 short, “Two Cars, One Night” — which was nominated for an Academy Award. He also played Tom Kalmaku in the 2011 film, “Green Lantern.” He also wrote the 2003 play, “Untold Tales of Maui,” a clever updating of the many legends of the trickster demi-god Maui.

Moana,” the movie, is expected to be released in 2016.


2014 V3 Digital Media Conference


V3con Honorees 2014 600x312 LA Ticket Giveaway: 2014 V3 Digital Media Conference



V3 Digital Media Conference is coming up right around the corner. The event kicks off on Friday June 20th with an Opening Awards Reception. Then, the all day conference takes place on Saturday June 21st. Both events are being held at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo (LA). Here is the website for more info:

Registration includes admission to Friday’s Opening Awards Reception and Saturday’s all day conference, including breakfast and lunch on Saturday. Check out the full schedule and the list of speakers.

Broadcast journalist Ann Curry, Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold and singer-songwriter Judith Hill will be honored at the 2014 V3 Digital Media Conference, presented June 20-21 in celebration of Asian American contributions to media and culture.


The third annual conference, presented by the Los Angeles Chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association, recognizes the “Vision. Visibility. Voice” of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in digital and social media, with the goal of showcasing the most influential and interesting Asian Americans online while connecting diverse communities and building new media skills.


The two-day event, which drew more than 500 attendees in each of its first two years, will consist of a gala evening awards reception Friday, June 20, to be followed by an all-day conference on Saturday, June 21, both at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles.


“As in past years, we are privileged to bring together such prominent and influential honorees,” said Jocelyn “Joz” Wang, founder and executive director-advisor of V3con. They have taken diverse paths toward a common destination of advancing the stature of Asian Americans and our culture.”

The three “V” awards given at V3con recognize the contributions, talents and values of path-breaking individuals who have enabled Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to become recognized as a significant force in media and the broader community.


This year’s recipients will be recognized at the Friday event for their roles in significantly raising the profile of the AAPI community in the mainstream.


Check out this link:

2014 V3 Digital Media Conference


NPR: Why aren’t Asian-Americans getting their ‘One Shining Moment’?




Jeremy Lin cast a long shadow in this conversation, in part because there are so few Asian-American players to cast them.

Jeremy Lin cast a long shadow in this conversation, in part because there are so few Asian-American players to cast them.

While we were looking at some NCAA stats on student athletes for a story last week, we came across a couple of numbers that made our eyes bulge: of the 5,380 men’s basketball players in Division I basketball last season, only 15 were Asian-AmericanFifteen.

That’s 0.2 percent of all men’s players. To put that in perspective, consider that about 6 percent of the country’s population is Asian-American. (We should note here that the NCAA separates out Asian-Americans from Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in its demographic data.)

It’s often presented as a given that Asian-Americans are less involved in sports than others in this country, and every few years, someone writes a column about how we might soon see a boom in Asian-American sports stars. (Take this column by Richard Lapchick on ESPN way back in 2002.)

There’s an argument to be made that Asian-Americans don’t need to be proportionally represented in basketball. And sure, that’s legit. But there’s a difference between being underrepresented and being virtually nonexistent, and it’s odd that the invisibility is in basketball — our most democratic popular sport, with relatively few obvious barriers to entry. No cleats. No ice rink. No pommel horse. Just a ball and a hoop.

And while Asian-Americans are vastly underrepresented among college basketball players, they were overrepresented in other sports, like fencing:

Other sports with above average participation (greater than the U.S. Asian-American population percentage of around 6%) were squash (8.2% for men and 10.0% for women), gymnastics for men (7.0%), and rifle shooting for women (6.3%).

So again: There were 20 Asian-American men playing Division I squash in 2012, more than there were in DI hoops, even as there were only 193 men who played Division I squash in the entire U.S. I submit to you that basketball and race are the two most important concerns in American life, and with another Final Four upon us, humor me in some back-of-the-envelope theorizing.

Might the paucity of Asian ball players be chalked up to the fact that Asian people are short? That’s the first thing folks might say, and if there are any biases at play, it’s a bias against the diminutive.

If it were simply about height, white men — who are a smidge taller than black men,according to the CDC — might outnumber black players in the college game, or at least be close to parity. But there are twice as many black men in DI ball as there are white guys. (Alas, there were no demographic data in that study about Asian-American men.)

And let’s consider some data points from Interbasket, a website for fans of international basketball. In 2011, it published a chart ranking the average heights of 20-year-old men from different countries. The list found that men in Asian countries were generally shorter — India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines were all at the very bottom of the list, with average heights falling between 5-foot-3 and 5-foot-4. The height of men in Asian countries doesn’t tell us much about men of Asian descent in this country. But consider that Nigeria was seventh from the bottom on that list, with an average height of 5 feet 5 inches. An Interbasket user decided to rank all of the active Nigerian players playing Division I college basketball in the U.S. in 2011, from best to worst, and he came up with a list that was 116 players long.

We couldn’t find out the median or average height for college basketball players, but we did find a recruiting guide for the National Collegiate Scouting Association, which links middle-school students and high-schoolers to college sports recruiters. They gave a list of the ideal attributes that coaches should look for in Division I players by basketball position. The guide suggested that point guards, usually the smallest guys on the court, should be around 6 feet tall, while centers, usually the game’s Goliaths, should be around 6 feet 9 inches.

In other words, anyone who plays DI basketball is going to be something of a physical outlier. Pointing to height across big populations tells us very little.

Might there be cultural factors at play? You know, maybe Asian folks just don’t like basketball. I turned to Bo Noung — who runs, a site about Asian basketball players — to tease this idea out some.

Noung’s family moved from Cambodia to Atlanta in the 1980s, and he grew up hooping with black kids. Even though he was only 5-foot-10, he was jumping center in high school games — he got by on a ridiculous 40-inch vertical. (I asked him if he could still get up like that. “I’ll be 37 this year, but I still do my thing,” he said.)

But his parents were not having it. Even though he was a straight-A student, they thought the community he was growing up in — and its black sport — was a bad influence on him.

“My mom told me not to play sports,” he said. “She told me straight up: You’re not playing sports, you’re not playing basketball. Just focus on school.”

So he hid his basketball from his parents, who eventually found out and made him quit the team. It’s still a sore spot. “I play basketball to this day against my parents’ wishes,” he said.

Noung said that in his experience, Asian-American parents were stricter about athletics than others. And he said that in the larger culture, our racial binaries mean that Tiger Woods — one of the most famous people of Asian heritage on the planet — is viewed simply as a black guy.

When I told Noung that there were 15 Asian players in college ball last year, he seemed surprised. “That’s a high number to me,” he said.

But consider the fact that basketball is a central component of the culture in many Asian-American communities, particularly on the West Coast. Take, for example, the enormously influential Japanese- and Chinese-American rec leagues in California. Colorlines‘ Jamilah King reported on how those leagues have been central to the organization of their communities since the early 20th century.

“For people my age, fourth-generation Japanese-Americans, [basketball] is in a weird way the main cultural hub and the one commonality that most Japanese-Americans have with each other,” says Tadashi Nakamura, a filmmaker.

“It’s not language, it’s not religion. Japanese-American basketball leagues have become such institutions that you’re raised in a basketball culture. You go to your older sister or older brother’s games when you’re little. Sometimes even your parents have played against each other.”

Nakamura continued, bringing his point home: “I actually knew almost every Japanese-American guy at UCLA my freshman year because we’d played against each other in the basketball leagues.”

The social benefits of basketball are also felt in the Chinese-American leagues. Cynthia Ting is a Chinese-American basketball player who grew up just south of San Francisco. Ting says she grew up as a shy kid and had a hard time coming out of her shell. “Asian league basketball has allowed me to form some of my closest friendships,” Ting says.

One person’s taboo is another person’s communal pastime, because, as always, a group’s “cultural inclinations” tend to defy simplicity. That goes doubly for “Asian-Americans,” a title used to designate millions of folks whose roots reach back to dozens of different countries.

Clearly, there are lots of folks who grow up hoop-obsessed in California’s popular Asian rec leagues. So why haven’t those leagues been a pipeline for DI teams? Chalk some of this up to how basketball talent is scouted and recruited. Certain school leagues and AAU teams become known as hotbeds of hoops talent, and so that’s where recruiters focus their attentions. Many big-city school systems have relatively few Asian-Americans. If there are Asian-American players out there who could thrive on the DI level, they’re probably not where folks typically look for basketball talent. And it’s possible they’re missing what’s in front of them.

Somehow we got this far without mentioning Jeremy Lin.

Lin is an outlier, and one of the reasons his story is so fascinating is that it flies in the face of these explanations.

Too short? Nope. At 6 feet 3 inches tall, he has prototypical point-guard height.

Familial/cultural aversion to sports? His dad was a basketball junkie, his mom attended all of his high school games, and both of his brothers played ball.

Was he off the radar? Lin was regularly featured in his local Bay Area newspaper in high school. As a senior he was named California’s co-player of the year for his division — a year in which his high school, Palo Alto High, won the state championship.

But despite that impressive resume, not one of the 351 colleges with a Division I basketball program offered him a scholarship to play ball for them. He eventually decided to play ball at Harvard, which doesn’t offer athletic scholarships.

Lin has said repeatedly that the fact that he’s Asian-American did not work to his advantage after his high school or college playing days. “Well, the obvious thing in my mind is that I was Asian-American,” he told 60 Minutes’ Charlie Rose. “I think that was a barrier.”

The NBA’s then-commissioner David Stern agreed when he was asked if Lin’s racial background hurt him. “I think in the true sense the answer to that is yes,” Stern told Rose. “In terms of looking at somebody … I don’t know whether he was discriminated against because he was at Harvard or because he was Asian.”

It’s always hard to prove counterfactuals. And there have been other players who have risen from obscurity to basketball fame, like Scottie Pippin and Dennis Rodman. But if scouts couldn’t envision someone with Lin’s height and resume as a scholarship-level athlete, one wonders how many other potential college standouts don’t pass the eye test.

We tend to think of sports as a meritocracy, as a rare space where talent will always out. But sports looks just like the rest of the world when it comes to how talent is located and groomed. Over time, informal networks become the structure of recruiting, the gateway through which everyone must pass.

So what am I missing here? Are there any other reasons Asian-Americans might be next to invisible in college hoops? If you’re Asian-American and played intercollegiate college hoops at any level, we’d love to hear about your experiences.


Check out this link:


NPR: Why aren’t Asian-Americans getting their ‘One Shining Moment’?


New York mayor Bill De Blasio’s New Year shout out to the Chinese community rankles some Korean leaders

NY Daily News:

Yoonhee Choi of the Korean American Parents Association of Greater New York said Mayor deBlasio needs to recognize Koreans and other Asian groups during the Lunar New Year holiday. She said the mayor made a mistake by singling out Chinese-Americans in his holiday greeting.

Yoonhee Choi of the Korean American Parents Association of Greater New York said Mayor deBlasio needs to recognize Koreans and other Asian groups during the Lunar New Year holiday. She said the mayor made a mistake by singling out Chinese-Americans in his holiday greeting.

Lunar New Year isn’t just for the Chinese.

That was the message to Mayor de Blasio by some Korean civic leaders who were miffed the holiday greeting that he sent out Friday singled out the Chinese-American community.

[The] Lunar New Year is not a Chinese holiday — it’s the celebration of many Asians including Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese,” said Yoonhee Choi of the Korean American Parents Association of Greater New York, who fired off a letter to de Blasio and his staff Monday morning.

She also said de Blasio’s greeting — which was written in Mandarin and English — should have been translated into several Asian languages instead of only the two.

New York City is exceptionally proud of its vibrant Chinese community,” de Blasio said in his holiday statement issued Friday to the press, including Chinese- and Korean-language media outlets. “We thank our Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for all of their contributions to this city and nation — be it in art, history or economic vitality.”

J.D. Kim of the Korean American Association of Queens said he wanted to “gently inform the mayor that Lunar New Year has also been celebrated for centuries by Koreans and that Korean-Americans in New York City have certainly carried on that tradition.”


Queens lawmakers and civic leaders including (left to right) Yoonhee Choi ,  Assemblyman Ron Kim,  Borough President Melinda Katz , U.S. Rep. Grace Meng ,  City Councilman Peter Koo.

Queens lawmakers and civic leaders including (left to right) Yoonhee Choi , Assemblyman Ron Kim, Borough President Melinda Katz , U.S. Rep. Grace Meng , City Councilman Peter Koo.

Kim pointed out that Korean-Americans have become a vital part of city life.

Two small examples (are) that Korean-Americans run roughly 80 percent of all dry cleaning business and have made fresh produce available in many areas in the city that would otherwise have been cut off from access,” Kim said.

De Blasio’s office told The News that the mayor is “deeply grateful for the contributions of the Korean-American community to the fabric of our city.”

Assemblyman Ron Kim, the first Korean-American elected to statewide office, came to de Blasio’s defense.

I know for a fact that the mayor and his staff are aware that Lunar New Year is celebrated by many Asian American groups, including the Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Korean communities,” the lawmaker said.

He also pointed out deBlasio has joined Asian-American leaders to back a plan that would make Lunar New Year a school holiday.

But Choi said this is not the first time she has tried to correct de Blasio on the issue. During the campaign season, Choi said she reached out to one of his staffers about referring to the holiday as Chinese New Year.

As the New York City mayor, he must understand the correct information of the nature of Asian culture,” she said.

Check out this link:

New York mayor Bill De Blasio’s New Year shout out to the Chinese community rankles some Korean leaders


As parents age, Asian-Americans struggle to obey a cultural code


New York Times:

Savan Mok, a home health aide, assisting Oun Oy, 90, right, who had a stroke in 2012. Ms. Oy is from Cambodia and lives in Jenkintown, Pa., with her son and his wife, at rear. 

Two thick blankets wrapped in a cloth tie lay near a pillow on the red leather sofa in Phuong Lu’s living room. Doanh Nguyen, Ms. Lu’s 81-year-old mother, had prepared the blankets for a trip she wanted to take. “She’s ready to go to Vietnam,” Ms. Lu said.

But Ms. Nguyen would not be leaving. The doors were locked from the inside to prevent her from going anywhere — not into the snow that had coated the ground that day outside Ms. Lu’s suburban Philadelphia home, and certainly not to her home country, Vietnam.

Ms. Nguyen has Alzheimer’s disease, and Ms. Lu, 61, a manicurist who stopped working two years ago when her mother’s condition worsened, is her full-time caretaker. In Vietnam, children must stay home and care for their aging parents, Ms. Lu said. Elders “don’t want nursing home,” she said: Being in a nursing home creates “trouble in the head.” The family now relies financially on Ms. Lu’s husband, a construction worker.

In a country that is growing older and more diverse, elder care issues are playing out with particular resonance for many Asian-Americans. The suicide rate for Asian-American and Pacific Islander women over 75 is almost twice that of other women the same age. In 2012, 12.3 percent of Asian-Americans over 65 lived in poverty, compared with 9.1 percent of all Americans over 65. Nearly three-quarters of the 17.3 million Asians in the United States were born abroad, and they face the most vexing issues.

Penn Asian Senior Services, led by Im Ja Choi, helps Asian-Americans who face language and other barriers to elder care. 

Language barriers and cultural traditions that put a premium on living with and caring for the elderly further complicate the issue at a time when the population of older Asian-Americans is surging. According to the Administration on Aging, an agency of the Health and Human Services Department, the number of Asian, Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders over age 65 is expected to grow to 2.5 million by 2020 and 7.6 million by 2050, from fewer than one million in 2000.

Asian-Americans are hardly alone in their desire to care for aging relatives themselves. Many Hispanic families share a similar commitment. But despite those expectations, more Latinos are entering nursing homes, and facilities that specifically serve Latinos are increasingly in demand. Also, finding a home health aide or nursing home supervisor who speaks Spanish is usually easier than finding one who speaks, say, Khmer.

Zhanlian Feng, a senior research analyst at RTI International who has studied demographic shifts, said that filial piety, or respect for one’s elders — a concept based on Confucian philosophy — was a large part of Asian-Americans’ cultural expectations.

This idea that the younger generation is culturally mandated to take care of their parents is deeply ingrained in the Chinese culture,” Mr. Feng said. “Children are supposed to take care of older parents in need.” But that tradition is being eroded, he said, by the increasing number of families that are geographically dispersed or in which both spouses have to work.

That is changing somewhat, both here and in Asia. The aging population has forced some communities in China to create nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, which barely existed there years ago, Mr. Feng said. And retirement communities for Asian-Americans are increasingly popular.

Health care providers in the United States confront culturally sensitive questions like whether to address patients by their first name or whether to ask someone who may have been a refugee about war trauma. Language barriers are another hurdle, said Kun Chang, Northeast regional coordinator at the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging.

Mr. Chang said limited English proficiency among older Asian-Americans was “the No. 1 issue.” “Are we able to address that culturally and with linguistic services?” he said.

For Ms. Lu, putting her mother in a nursing home where she would be unable to communicate with the staff is not currently an option. Instead, through a program offered by Penn Asian Senior Services, known as Passi, she is learning to care for her mother at home. But despite Ms. Lu’s sunny demeanor, the strain is evident.

I don’t work, but I’m so tired,” she said. “Sometimes it makes me crazy, too.

She began to lock the doors after Ms. Nguyen left one night and walked a few miles before the police found her. Ms. Nguyen has also been known to remove framed family portraits from the living room wall to take on her imaginary trips to Vietnam.

If I can’t take care,” Ms. Lu said, she will have to consider a nursing home. “But not now,” she said. “In the nursing home, she’s scared.

The challenges Ms. Lu and so many others are facing underscore the need for culturally competent elder care services for Asian-Americans, said Im Ja Choi, founder and executive director of Passi, which trains home health aides who speak languages including Korean, Mandarin and Vietnamese.

Ms. Choi founded the organization after her own mother developed stomach cancer. “When she was sick, I could not just abandon her at a nursing home,” she said. “That’s not in my culture, either.” She added: “That’s the agony of Asian-Americans. They have to work, and their children go to school and their parents remain at home by themselves. They put them in a senior housing complex, and there they are alone.”

The need for services that would let Asian-Americans keep their loved ones at home, where they can speak their own language and eat familiar foods, has influenced Ms. Choi’s organization. It is expanding to a new two-building, 29,300-square-foot facility in Philadelphia, where it will provide ethnic meals, a community center, counseling, caregiver training and other activities for clients of a variety of Asian nationalities. Ms. Choi said the center would also serve non-Asian clients.

I am a proponent for home care because my mother, who everybody predicted wouldn’t live more than two months, lived eight years under my care,” she said. “That’s living proof.”

Pheng Kho, 68, came to the United States from Cambodia in 1981 with his wife, his two children and his mother, Oun Oy. In 2012, Ms. Oy, 90, had a stroke that left her unable to perform many daily tasks. “After she left from the hospital, at that time she cannot stay home alone,” Mr. Kho said.

He and his wife tried to care for Ms. Oy alone but soon realized that while they did not want to send her to a nursing home, they needed help. In the summer of 2012, they contacted Passi, and a Cambodian home health aide now visits twice a week.

Mr. Chang of the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging said that as the Asian-American population aged, he expected to see more community groups and nonprofits trying to provide tailored services. Mainstream elder care providers are just beginning to realize the challenges in serving this demographic, he said.

They haven’t figured this out because they have to think in a very different way,” Mr. Chang said. “They have to hire more bilingual staff to design these services. It’s a cultural change.”

AARP is also setting its sights on Asian-Americans, said Daphne Kwok, the organization’s vice president for multicultural markets and engagement for Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders. It has been meeting with groups like Mr. Chang’s to learn more about the needs of the population and to recruit members.

Ms. Kwok described the term “caregiving” as “mainstream terminology.” For Asian-Americans, “it is what is expected of us,” she said. “We don’t see it as caregiving in the American definition of caregiving.

Check out this link:

As parents age, Asian-Americans struggle to obey a cultural code


LA Daily News: Asian-Americans One Of The Hardest-Hit Ethnic Groups In LA During Recession


Daily News (Los Angeles):

While Los Angeles County‘s Asian-American population is its fastest growing ethnic group, it was also one of the hardest hit during the recession, according to a new report issued Wednesday.

Other than Native Americans, the Asian-American, Pacific Islander and Hawaiian populations saw the biggest growth in unemployment and poverty from 2007 to 2011, according to a report from the group Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

Between 2007 and 2011, the number of Asian-Americans in Los Angeles County living in poverty increased 20 percent to nearly 177,000 people while the number of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders living in poverty increased 84 percent to nearly 7,000 people. That’s compared to a 14 percent increase for whites and an 11 percent increase for all groups countywide, according to the group’s report “A Community of Contrasts: Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in Los Angeles County.

The number of unemployed Asian-Americans in L.A. County increased 89 percent to about 71,500 people in that period while the number of unemployed in the NHPI communities increased 111 percent, to about 3,500, in the same period. That’s compared to an 88 percent increase for Latinos, a 54 percent increase among blacks or African-Americans, and a 79 percent increase countywide.

(For) Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders, the poverty level is still at a very high level — over 25 percent. What is also alarming is that there’s a rapid increase in unemployment and poverty in the overall Asian-American community,” said Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of Advancing Justice-Los Angeles. “We think part of it may be that so many people don’t speak English well. When the Asian businesses that they work for go out of business, that they have less options because they don’t speak English and they can’t get more mobility in the workforce … We need to restore some of the English-language programs and build in English-language training into job training programs if we’re going to tackle that challenge.”

Los Angeles County’s total population grew only 3 percent between 2000 and 2010, while its diverse Asian- American population increased 20 percent during the same period — nearly twice as fast as any other racial group countywide.

Also, 64 percent of the county’s Asian-Americans are foreign born compared to 44 percent of Latinos, according to the report’s analysis of census data from 2006 to 2010. In addition, 39 percent of the county’s Asian-Americans age 5 and older are “limited English proficient,” which is comparable to the 41 percent of Latinos in this category.

Yet the county’s diverse Asian-American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander populations — which represent more than 45 ethnic groups and speak 28 languages — vary greatly when it comes to economic, education and English proficiency levels, the report demonstrated.

Based on U.S. Census Bureau data from 2006 to 2010, the report found that more than half of Tongan Americans and a quarter of Cambodian Americans countywide lived below the poverty line compared to 21 percent of Latinos, 9 percent of whites and 20 percent of blacks.

Thirteen percent of the county’s ethnic Chinese and Korean populations lived in poverty compared to 16 percent of the total population, while 8 percent of ethnic Japanese and 5 percent of ethnic Filipinos lived below the poverty line.

Poverty rates among Asian-Americans are highest in the cities of El Monte, Long Beach, Pomona, Alhambra and Rosemead, while poverty among Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders is highest in Compton, Long Beach and Los Angeles.

The report also outlined some of the contributions of these communities, finding that 180,000 Asian-American-owned businesses in L.A. County employ nearly 360,000 people issuing over $10 billion in payroll. It also found that from 2002 to 2007, the number of people employed by these businesses grew 31 percent. In the political realm, the report found that the number of Asian-Americans who voted countywide increased from 210,000 in 2000 to a record number 290,000 in 2008.

Although we can see Asian-Americans and NHPI are making vital contributions to the social and economic fabric of our county, to only focus only on these success stories further perpetuates a deceptive and damaging model-minority myth, masking the considerable challenges many in our community face on a daily basis,” said Kristin Sakaguchi, a research analyst for Advancing Justice-Los Angeles. “This report hopes to shed light on these challenges and provide a deeper look at our diverse communities.”

“A Community of Contrasts” can be viewed online at