Get ready for Pakistan’s first full-length feature animated film, “3 Bahadur”

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 Audrey Magazine:

In 2013, we said hello to 16-year-old Kamala Khan. More commonly known as Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan was Marvel’s very first Pakistani-American Muslim superhero. And if you were happy with just one Pakistani superhero, we have some good news. Three more are on the way!

11-year-olds Saadi, Amna and Kamil star in Pakistan’s very first full-length feature animated film, 3 Bahadur. The title, which translates to “three brave,” is quite a fitting description for our young heroes. When the three children suddenly acquire superpowers, they decide to rid their city of all the evil that plagues it.

The film was created by Pakistan’s first Oscar winner, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. In addition to her Academy Award (which she won for her documentary Saving Face), Obaid-Chinoy also has an Emmy, a Livingston Award and was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2012.

Almost 3 years ago, I had an intense desire to create an animated feature in Pakistan which would appeal to Pakistani children everywhere,” Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy told NBC News. “As a nation, we have stopped producing quality content for our children. All of our content is imported and thus our youth grows up with mentors and heroes that are far removed from what they see around them in real life.

Obaid-Chinoy had made it clear that she hopes to inspire the youth of Pakistan. In fact, the official website, which features exclusive content and releases weekly comic strips, allows children to submit stories which showcase their own “bahadury.” These inspiring tales will be considered for publication on the official website.

“3 Bahadur is not just a movie. It is a movement,” Obaid-Chinoy explained. “The message we’re sending with this film is that ‘We shall overcome.’ Like these three kids (film main characters), we can face the challenges that come our way. You don’t need to be a superhero. You are a superhero.”

Amped Asia’s Top 20 picks of Marvel’s most magnificent Asian superheroines

Amped Asia:

In the last decade we have seen an unprecedented resurgence of comic books into mainstream culture. The once niche market that many erroneously believed only appealed to the stereotypical image of the nerdy anti-social comic book fan has now become a full fledged pop culture phenomena.

Amped Asia knows a little bit of what it’s like to have what was once considered nerdy suddenly be cool. Most of what we are passionate about within Asian culture has suddenly now become cool like sushi, Asian characters for albeit terrible tattoos, K-pop, and the list goes on. And this might be hard to believe, but before we became the incredibly handsome, muscular, genius, shooting machine guns while riding dinosaurs badasses we are now, we too could be caught reading a comic book alone in our nerd hovels.

You see we were once/still are nerds. So that being said, with the comic book craze at arguably its zenith and Asian culture rapidly becoming more and more popular, we wanted to give a little love to some of the top Asian female super heroes in the Marvel Universe!

20) Lotus Shinchuko (Japanese)

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With a name like Lotus Shinchuko, one kind of expects her to be the star of a weird “exotic far east” stag film than that of a character from the Deadly Hands of Kung Fu series. Wait, scratch that, her name sounds EXACTLY like what you would expect from that exploitative 1970’s comic book. The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu piggy backed off the kung fu movie craze of the times, giving us Lotus Shinchuko; a master of the martial arts who was as deadly as she was beautiful. She might not be the most well known character on our list, but can be seen making cameo appearances in the Marvel Universe, including working as a bodyguard for Luke Cage. Although seeing her maybe a bit of a rare treat, SWEEEET CHRISTMAS are they are treat!

19) Nancy Lu (Chinese)

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Nancy Lu first started off as a member of a rival basketball team against Peter Parker’s own daughter, May “Mayday” Parker in Spider-Girl#23. After May Parker discovered that Nancy Lu had been using her mutant powers of telekinesis to win games, Lu would be convinced by Parker to use her powers for good. Soon she would establish herself as a hero, adopting the name Push, and offered an invitation to join a group called the X-People. Fortunately for Lu, it was a future incarnation of the X-Men and not a group of people really into going to raves.

18) Dust (Afghani)

As long as not EVERYTHING is sandy we aren't going to have a problem...am I right fellas?

Sometimes a little less is more, and although most of her is covered up, Dust is still one sultry super hero. A member of the X-Men and possibly the most modestly dressed comic book hero of all time, we respect Dust, AKA Sooraya Qadir’s decision to wear her niqab as a an X-Men, although we might not fully agree with it. You know, not at all because she is quite the looker underneath it all, but because.. freedoms, and Americas.. and women’s rights… yes..

17) Nico Minorou (Japanese)

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Next up is our favorite gothic character from the Runaways, and no we don’t mean Joan Jett. We are talking about Marvel’s own Nico Minorou. To say this Goth sorceress has some unusual character traits, especially in a comic book universe, would still be an understatement. You see, Nico like many Goths we know loitering outside our local mall’s Hot Topic, has a bit of an emotional, clingy, and anti-social personality. However unlike most Goths we know, she has the ability to ACTUALLY control magic, cast spells, and even has a powerful magic staff appear out of her chest whenever she bleeds! Yup EVERYTIME SHE BLEEDS.

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16) Omega Sentinel (India)

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Unlike a lot of the other X-Women on our list, Omega Sentinel, AKA Karima Shapandar  is one of the few members of the X-Men and later Excalibur, who is more or less human and not mutant at all. And we do mean more or less. You see Omega Sentinel, as her name would imply, actually started off as a human police detective in her native India, until she became a sleeper cell Sentinel agent thanks to Bastion of the Operation: Zero Tolerance program. This program, intended to hunt down all mutants across the United States, used nanite technology to augment her strength, speed, and reflexes to superhuman levels. It also equipped her with a bevy of powers including flight, regenerative abilities against damage, and built in cybernetic weapons which allow her to shoot energy blasts of radiation and electricity. She basically became a living human Sentinel however she chose to use her powers to help the X-Men rather than harm them. With all her doohickeys and power upgrades, it begs the question what other “enhancements” does she have? If she would like to test them, we will be waiting in the bedroom.

15) Honey Lemon (Japanese)

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It’s fitting to have our #15 and #14 on this list following the release of Big Hero 6. Who better embody the rise of Asian culture with the rise of comic book nerd culture than two of the characters from this great animated collaboration from Disney and Marvel? A lesser known but still very popular Marvel comic book, this is one of the few series in the Marvel Universe with a mainly Asian roster. Little is known about Aiko Miyazaki, the secret agent/genius scientist known as Honey Lemon. But we do know she has a Power Purse, or Nano Purse, that contains miniature artificial inter-universe wormholes that can be used at her discretion. She is like a hot Felix the Cat, although we would be afraid to tell her that.

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14) Gogo Tomago (Japanese)

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Another member of Big Hero 6, Leiko Tanaka, better known as Gogo Tomago, was a tough as nails youth from the streets before she joined up with Big Hero 6. It was with this team that she channeled her aggression into mastering her voice activated battle suit which allows her to absorb and amplify kinetic energy into thermochemical energy. She can even transform her body into a spherical “powerball” during which she has near invulnerability and can hurl herself at enemies, clocking in at speeds of 185 miles per hour. And as long as Gogo doesn’t hurl herself at our balls at that speed or give us blue ones, we will continue our admiration for her.

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13) Silk (Korean)

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Basically the female Korean version of Peter Parker, this web slinging heroine shares much of the same origin story as her male counterpart, even the radioactive spider that gave them their powers. However unlike Peter Parker, she creates organic web from her finger tips and in our humble opinion has a much more appealing costume. Hey maybe we are biased, but we at Amped Asia would much rather be caught in her web. Sorry Pete.

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12) Surge (Japanese)

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This electrifying member of the New Mutants is quite the survivor. Hailing from the Land of the Rising Sun, she fled to America in her teens, living on the streets until the X-Men found her and brought her back to the X-Mansion. A former drug addict, she beat her addiction to become a promising member of the New Mutants, former leader of the New X-Men, and one of only 27 mutants that retained their powers after the events of House of M story arc.

11) Karma (Vietnamese)

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Vietnamese mutant X’ian Coy Manh, better known as Karma, has the ability to take possession of the minds of other people and even animals. With this power she has the ability to change a victims’ perception of memories, command them, and basically take over their whole body to do her bidding. And as a member of the New Mutants and agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., I am sure there are many fanboys out there who wouldn’t mind seeing her using those powers on say Maria Hill or one of the other hotties on our list. You know for national security and such.

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10) Kabuki (Japanese)

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Whenever we attempt to compile a list of pop culture icons, we understand a certain amount of our readers, will shall we say, “Voice their discerning opinions” on our entries. And by that I mean whine and bitch that we included/didn’t include their favorite character because of XYZ reason. Add in the fact that comics are especially rife with cannon/non-cannon and publication semantics our next entry may stir up some hullabaloo. The tragic yet beautiful tale of the young woman named Kabuki is a good example of this. Although she is not associated with the Marvel Universe per se, and was once an Image Comics property, she is now currently being published under Icon Comics, an imprint of Marvel. So now that that is cleared up we just wanted to include the masked mysterious heroine on our list because it is a pretty great read. So quit your bitching.

9) Black Widow (Chinese)

Hate to say we told you so Nick, but should have had her sign that prenup. Also when did you become 50 Cent??

The original Black Widow is a classic, no question about that. So to be the follow up act to the widely popular Natasha Romanoff was no easy task, especially since her character has been so fully fleshed out so to speak, with the recent live action portrayal by Scarlet Johansson. But we here at Amped Asia think that the Monica Chang version of the Black Widow has done pretty well for herself. First off, she is the ex-wife of Nick Fury and that alone deserves entry onto this list. Think about what the “irreconcilable differences” must have been for that divorce. What is the alimony like? Who gets the Helicarrier nights, weekends, and every other Thursday? Anyway she even helped capture both the Punisher AND Captain America at one point. And she was the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D before Norman Osborn burned her face off. We haven’t seen an Asian do such a bang up replacement job since the Arnel Pineda era of Journey. Well done Chang, well done.

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8) Colleen Wing (Japanese)

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Although Colleen Wing possesses no super powers of her own, except incredible athleticism and detective skills, she still holds her own among Marvels’ top heroes. Armed with a 1,000 year old katana and her wits, Colleen has appeared mainly in the Iron Fist series as well as aiding the X-Men in battle. This Hero for Hire makes reading Iron Fist a little more tolerable, and looks just as sharp as her sword in her skin tight white cat suit. How she keeps it clean when so many of her readers want to see her get dirty is beyond us.

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7) Yukio (Japanese)

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This being a list of Asian female comic book characters, you knew we would eventually have a ninja on our list. And boy what a ninja do we have for you! Yukio is equal parts badass as sexy. Her character is associated mostly with the X-Men series, specifically her encounters with Wolverine. Once tasked by Shingen Yoshida to assassinate Wolverine, Yukio instead developed a crush on the Canadian Casanova. Although her appearances were sporadic her influence never was. Her short hair, sense of style, and “madness” and lust for life even inspired Storm to rock her Mohawk punk look for awhile. She was even chosen by Wolverine to raise his adoptive child, Amiko Kobayashi. So to recap, badass sexy ninja, who even Weapon X himself thinks can raise his family. That is some BAMF status.

6) Jolt (Japanese)

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Before becoming the living embodiment of electricity known as Jolt, Hallie Takahama was just your ordinary girl who happened to be a super hero buff. Not only was she a huge fan of the superhuman heroes she aspired to be, but also memorized the details of the superhuman battles that took place. Although once only a spectator, Hallie would become no stranger to the often tragic origins of becoming a hero. After her parents were killed by Sentinels, Hallie would go into hiding until she would be captured by the villainous mercenary group the Rat Pack. Their leader, the not Frank Sinatra Arnim Zola, would experiment on her along with their other victims, leaving most of them either mutated or dead. That is except for Hallie, who due to the experiments, would gain superhuman abilities, such as hyperkinetic agility, transform any type of energy into physical strength and speed, and turn her body into living electricity, allowing her to fly and shoot electrical force blasts. With all these amazing powers, you would think that she could have stopped her costume from looking like she ripped off the design from a can of Jolt Cola. But hey nobody’s perfect.

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5) Mantis (Vietnamese)

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Mantis grew up in Vietnam at the Kree alien temple of the Priests of Pama, the latter which believe she would one day become the Celestial Madonna and mate with the eldest Cotati on earth, becoming the Celestial Mother. In other words, one day become the most important being in the universe. While prepping for this role she even found time to master martial arts, become a member of the Avengers, and even act as a counselor for the Guardians of the Galaxy. With all this life experience, her next role in the Marvel Universe may not be the Celestial Mother, but Marvels’ toughest Asian tiger mom.

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4) Armor (Japanese)

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Look, we hate stereotypes just as much as the next person, and well aware that a good amount of our list is comprised of characters that are either ninjas, wield katanas, or are throwbacks to Chopsocky Kung Fu exploitation flicks of the 1970’s. So naturally adding a Japanese female character whose mutant powers allow her to create a psionic mecha exoskeleton kind of puts us in an awkward position.

However the fact that this character was created by Joss Whedon, who as we all know would never use Asian culture for his own gain *coughFIREFLYcough*definitely makes up for it. Indicative of Whedon’s work, her character is as well written as it is interesting. We got to admit, her psionic mecha exoskeleton is pretty badass, and even though old man Logan gives her guff for her choice of codename, that Armor is one tough costumer. While surrounded by her exoskeleton she is nearly impervious, and has veteran X-Men such as Wolverine and Cyclops taking her under their wings. So all joking aside, ya did good again Mr. Whedon. P.S. Don’t mind that Firefly crack; we actually really enjoy that show here at Amped Asia.

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3) Jubilee (Chinese-American)

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With her giant yellow trench coat, oversized neon pink sunglasses, and mall brat attitude there seems to be no better representative on our list of the 1990’s era comic book industry than Jubilee. Hell she was even a member of GENERATION X, all she was missing was some superfluous Jim Lee inspired pouches, a can of Surge, and a copy of Nirvana’s Nevermind and she might as well be a Smithsonian time capsule of the 1990’s. But despite all that, and possessing mutant powers that fellow X-Men Dazzler would even find lame, Jubilee was one fiiiiiiine member of the X-Men. No on looked better in a pair of roller blades and walkman better than her back in the day.

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2) Ms. Marvel (Pakistani)

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Kamala Khan is not only the first Asian Ms. Marvel, but also the first Muslim character to star in her own series in the Marvel Universe. Debuting in Captain Marvel #14 in 2013, the new Ms. Marvel has helped shatter stereotypes of what Asian American heroes can be as well as Muslim characters. No small feat considering the post 9/11 political climate she debuted in, as well as high expectations set by the previous Ms. Marvels when she took over the mantle. Nothing has held this character’s raising popularity back. Kamala Khan has overcome ethnic and religious stereotypes and bigotry, and most impressive of all, proved that even someone from Jersey City, New Jersey could do great things. Seriously, NEW JERSEY. And that is a super power within itself my friend.

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1) Psylocke (Japanese-British)

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As with most popular comic book characters, Psylocke’s origins and story have been retconned and rebooted so many times it’s hard to keep up with what is cannon and what is not. What we do know is at some point the British born Elizabeth “Betsy” Braddock became the Japanese Psylocke, becoming one of the most popular female X-Men as well as fan favorite of cosplayers world wide. And I think we can all agree that an Asian looking girl with a British accent parading around in a leotard is something we can all enjoy.

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Plan the perfect trip with Ruzwana Bashir’s PEEK.com

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 Audrey Magazine:

I realized that I was a travel junkie because, even after visiting over 40 countries, from Iran to Cambodia, there were still so many other places I wanted to go,” says Ruzwana Bashir, founder and CEO of Peek.com.

It explains why the 31-year-old, a woman clearly of many talents — the British Pakistani was the first woman of Asian descent to become president of the Oxford Union, was a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard Business School and worked as an investment banker in London — decided to start an online travel company that provides celebrity-curated travel recommendations and high quality activities and tours. Backed by tech giants like Jack Dorsey and Eric Schmidt, Peek allows real-time bookings on their app and website in 17 American cities, as well as London and Paris.

But it’s not just a to-do list — it’s the how-to-do list that’s key. Bashir has used her considerable influence (she was named in Forbes’ “30 Under 30” in tech list in 2012 and Silicon Valley’s Most Stylish in Vanity Fair) to cull from the famous and well connected their own personal recommendations and travel itineraries. Do a foodie crawl in San Francisco like Chinese American chef Brandon Jew; plan a perfect Napa Valley trip à la Japanese American model Devon Aoki; see Vegas the way ultimate Vegas insider Tony Hsieh of Zappos does; or experience “the closest thing to heaven on Earth” on Kauai’s north shore courtesy of Bloomberg’s Emily Chang.

I travel to see awe-inspiring sights, to be enthralled by new cultures and to seek out those special experiences that end up being truly unforgettable,” says Bashir. She recommends that travelers “embark on adventures that push you out of your comfort zone, as these will help you learn about yourself and create fantastic memories that you’ll cherish forever.”

 

Audrey Magazine: What’s your favorite itinerary or activity on Peek right now?

Ruzwana Bashir: I love views of beautiful landscapes, so my favorite experiences are floating over Napa in a hot air balloon and taking an amazing helicopter tour in Hawaii. Not only do you fly over the world’s most active volcano, you also enjoy stunning views of the hidden tropical valleys, lush rainforests and roaring waterfalls below.

AM: Where are two places you haven’t been to yet and are dying to go to?
RB:
I’m really excited to head to the Okavango Delta in Botswana for a safari. I’m also desperate to visit Bhutan, to trek through the countryside, visit beautiful monasteries and immerse myself in a fascinating culture.

AM: Where are you off to next?
RB:
This month I’m staying in the States, with visits to Aspen, Yellowstone Park and Lake Tahoe.

AM: Pick one: free clothes from your favorite designer for a lifetime or a trip around the world?
RB:
Numerous research studies have shown that having experiences makes us twice as happy as buying products, so I would have to go for the trip around the world!

AM: You’re now based in San Francisco. Describe your own perfect day there.
RB:
My perfect day in SF would include visiting the Ferry Building for breakfast, and then taking a seaplane over the Golden Gate Bridge for majestic views of the city. Then I would head to Golden Gate Park to see the California Academy of Sciences — at heart, I’m a geek who is obsessed with nature, so this place is a feast for the senses. Then I would have a pit stop at the Japanese Tea Garden, followed by Foreign Cinema in the Mission District for dinner with a film in the background. Finally, on my way home I’d stop by Bi-Rite for an ice cream sandwich.

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Ninth Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival to launch in Pittsburgh on April 25

 

The joint will be jumping when the ninth annual Silk Screen film festival kicks off with a party at the Rivers Club, Downtown, April 25 with ethnic cuisine, jazz music, Asian performers and a DJ known as Pandemic Pete.

Tickets are now on sale for the opening gala that will start at 6:30 p.m. with a VIP champagne reception featuring the four-piece jazz ensemble the Cadillac Club.

A live auction will begin at 7:45 p.m. and Asian dance groups will take the floor from 8 to 9:30 p.m., with Pandemic Pete then spinning a hybrid of traditional folk and contemporary dance music from around the world until midnight.

A VIP ticket, $125 until April 18 and $150 after, includes admission at 6:30 p.m., dinner, drinks, dessert, performances by Pittsburgh dance and martial arts groups and the night-capping dance party.

A late-night ticket, $40 before April 18 and $50 after, grants entry to the dance party starting at 9:30 p.m., along with drinks and dessert. The first 50 guests will receive a Silk Screen T-shirt.

Go to www.showclix.com/event/SilkScreenOpeningNightGala to buy tickets.

The festival, a showcase of Asian films and filmmakers with origins in Asian cultures, will open the next day, April 26, with the Oscar-nominated “Omar,” from Palestine, and close with the Japanese film “Mourning Recipe.” In between will be movies from around the globe, including the United States.

Films will be shown at the Regent Square Theater, 1035 S. Braddock Ave.; Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ Melwood Screening Room and Classroom, 477 Melwood Ave.; and Carnegie Museum of Natural History Earth Theater, 4400 Forbes Ave. (use portal entry, rear of museum). Waterworks Cinemas will screen one movie, also.

Opening night movie, $20, and closing night, $15. A four-ticket pack is $30 and eight tickets, $60, also at showclix.com.

Regular tickets, $10 or $5 for students, available at the box office before screenings. Scheduled to be shown:

• “A Respectable Family” (Iran/France) — Director Massoud Bakhshi’s semi-autobiographical tale about a man haunted by the Iran-Iraq War. Screens at 7 p.m. April 29, repeats 7 p.m. May 2, both at Regent Square Theater.

 “A Time in Quchi” (Taiwan) — Drama about a 10-year-old boy from Taipei who is sent, with his sister, to rural Quchi for the summer to live with their elderly widowed grandfather in the wake of their parents’ divorce. 1 p.m. April 27, Melwood; repeats 2 p.m. April 30, Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Earth Theater.

• “Ankhon Dekhi” (India) — Tale of the spiritual and ontological awakening of an ordinary man whose tenement flat in crowded old Delhi is cramped with people and personal dramas. The 55-year-old vows to believe only what he sees with his own eyes and experiences in his own life. 1:30 p.m. April 27, repeats 4:30 p.m. May 3, both Regent Square.

 “Apur Panchali” (India) — Real-life story inspired by Subir Banerjee, the child actor who played Apu in Satyajit Ray’s “Pather Panchali.” 9 p.m. April 29, repeats 2 p.m. May 4, both Regent Square.

• “Beyond All Boundaries” (India) — Audience favorite, about three cricket players from poor backgrounds, at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles. Paired with short, “Kush.” 4:30 p.m. April 27, repeats 7 p.m. May 2, both Melwood.

 “Bonta” (China/USA) — Animated sci-fi adventure. 2 p.m. April 27, repeats 6 p.m. May 1, both Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

• “Confession of Murder” (South Korea) — A young man emerges from nowhere and publishes a biography in which he admits to killing 10 women. The statute of limitations has expired, but a detective whose fiancee was a victim thinks the confessed killer is a con man and tries to find the truth. 8 p.m. April 30, repeats 9:30 p.m. May 2, both Melwood.

• “Garden of Words” (Japan) — When a young high school student decides to skip school one day in favor of sketching in a rainy garden, he has no idea how much his life will change when he encounters a young woman in this animated film from Makoto Shinkai. Paired with short, “Cheong.” 7 p.m. April 26, repeats 9 p.m. April 28, both Melwood.

 “Hank & Asha” (USA) — Romantic comedy about an Indian woman studying in Prague and a lonely New Yorker who begin an unconventional video correspondence and must decide if they should meet. 4:30 p.m. April 26, repeats 7:30 p.m. May 3, both Melwood.

• “Hide and Seek” (South Korea) — The stable life of a successful businessman is upended by strange, inexplicable visions and a spike in people squatting in homes in this indie horror-mystery hit. 7 p.m. April 27, repeats 9 p.m. May 1, both Melwood.

• “Jadoo” (UK/India) — Story of two brothers, both great chefs, who fall out so badly that they rip the family recipe book in half and set up rival restaurants. Twenty years later, a daughter is determined to persuade them to cook for her wedding banquet — together. 2 p.m. April 26, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, repeats 7 p.m. May 1 at Waterworks Cinemas.

• “Liar’s Dice” (India) — Against the advice of their elders, a woman and her young daughter leave their home to search for a husband and father who has not been heard from in five months. On the road, the pair finds an unlikely ally in a free-spirited wanderer. 4 p.m. April 27, repeats 7 p.m. April 30, both Regent Square.

• “Mourning Recipe” (Japan) — A deeply depressed widower and his daughter, whose marriage is failing, are given a “recipe book” for a happy life from their late loved one in this family drama. 5 p.m. May 4, Regent Square.

 “Norte, The End of History” (Philippines) — With a running time of 250 minutes, this story of a man wrongly jailed for murder while the real killer roams free is a loose, partial adaptation of “Crime and Punishment.” 2 p.m. May 3, Melwood.

• “Omar” (Palestine/Belgium) — Oscar-nominated thriller about betrayal, suspected and real. Omar is a Palestinian baker who routinely climbs over the separation wall to see his girlfriend. Arrested after the killing of an Israeli soldier and tricked into an admission of guilt by association, he agrees to work as an informant. But is he playing his Israeli handler or will he betray his cause? 7 p.m. April 26, Regent Square.

• “Red Obsession” (Australia) — Russell Crowe narrates this documentary exploring the obsession with Bordeaux by a booming and voracious Chinese wine market. 6:30 p.m. May 1, repeats 2 p.m. May 4, both Melwood.

• “Sake-Bomb” (USA/Japan) — A sarcastic and self-deprecating Asian-American must take his naive Japanese cousin on a road trip along the California coast to find his ex-girlfriend. Title also means a cocktail created by dropping a shot of sake into a pint of beer. 9:30 p.m. May 1, repeats 9:30 p.m. May 3, both Regent Square.

 “The Haumana” (USA) — Teenage boys begin a journey of self-discovery through their mastery of the hula dance and participate in a competition doubling as a rite of passage. 6 p.m. April 29, Melwood; repeats 3 p.m. May 4 at Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

• “Things Left Behind” (USA/Japan/Canada) — Linda Hoaglund explores the transformative power of the first major international art exhibition devoted to the atomic bomb. It presented Ishiuchi Miyako’s color prints of clothing and personal effects that once belonged to the people of Hiroshima. 2 p.m. May 2, repeats 2 p.m. May 3, both Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

 “Touch of the Light” (Taiwan) — Drama based on the real-life experiences of blind Taiwanese piano prodigy Huang Yu-Siang, who portrays himself, and his encounter with an aspiring dancer. Paired with short, “Cheong.” 7 p.m. April 28, Melwood; repeats 1:30 p.m. May 1, at Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

• “Trap Street” (China) — Kafkaesque story of a young, impressionable teen working for a digital mapping and surveying company. He falls for a mysterious young woman and becomes tangled in a web of lies, deceit and privacy issues. 8:30 p.m. April 29 at Melwood, repeats 7 p.m. May 3, Regent Square.

 “Unforgiven” (Japan) — Ken Watanabe plays an aging samurai in a Japanese adaptation of Clint Eastwood’s 1992 Oscar winner. The story has been moved to Japan in the late 19th century. 9:30 p.m. April 26, repeats 7:30 p.m. April 28, both Regent Square.

• “Why Don’t You Play in Hell?” (Japan) — An eager but untalented group of wannabe filmmakers discover they may be able to shoot a classic battle between yakuzas in what the director calls “an action film about the love of 35mm.” 9:30 p.m. May 2 at Regent Square; repeats 9:30 p.m. May 3, Melwood.

 “With You, Without You” (Sri Lanka) — A modern adaptation of Dostoevsky’s short story “The Meek One.” A chance encounter between two people in post-war Sri Lanka leads to romance and cultural complications. 2 p.m. April 26, repeats 9:15 p.m. April 30, both Regent Square.

• “Zinda Bhaag” (Pakistan) — Pakistan’s Oscar submission for 2013 foreign language film about three friends in Lahore trying to escape from their everyday lives and looking westward for something more than mere existence. 7 p.m. May 1, repeats 2 p.m. May 3, both Regent Square.

See www.silkscreenfestival.org for more details.

 

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Ninth Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival to launch in Pittsburgh on April 25

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Asian-American domination in elite schools triggers resentment and soul searching

 

Student at Stuyvesant High School
Student at Stuyvesant High School Wikipedia

The rise of Asian-Americans and their dominance in academia may be exemplified by the extraordinary performance of Asian-American students in New York City.

According to recent media reports, Asian-American students account for almost three-fourths of the enrollment at Stuyvesant High School, one of the city’s eight specialized, elite public schools that strictly use test scores for admission. Asians represent less than 14 percent of the city’s entire public school student body, meaning they are disproportionately represented at Stuyvesant by a magnitude of about five. (In 1970, Asians accounted for only 6 percent of Stuyvesant’s student body.) Whites, including Jewish students whose numbers made them prominent as a group at the school, now represent less than a fourth (24 percent) of Stuyvesant’s enrollment, down from 79 percent in 1970.

In stark contrast, the enrollment of blacks and Hispanics (who together account for about three-fourths of the city’s entire public school system) at Stuyvesant is almost minimal — and falling. According to the New York Times, only seven black students were admitted to Stuyvesant this year (down from nine last year), while the number of Latinos dropped from 24 to 21. (Stuyvesant has a total enrollment of about 3,300.)

At two other prominent elite public schools in New York, Brooklyn Technical High School and Bronx High School of Science, the number of black pupils is also small, and it’s declining compared to previous recent years, the Times noted. For example, black enrollment at Stuyvesant peaked in 1975 at 12 percent of the student body.

Some critics blame the low enrollment of blacks and Hispanics at Stuyvesant (and the other specialized schools) on one principal factor: their lack of access to test preparation academies and tutoring classes.

Reportedly, many students in impoverished black and Latino neighborhood schools are not even aware of the testing procedures and how to prepare for them, nor can many afford the costly classes to train for these crucial pretest examinations.

The city’s Education Department said that 28,000 students across the city took the “Specialized High School Admissions Test” last year, and about 5,700 of them were offered admission to the elite schools. Of that figure, 53 percent were Asian, 26 percent were white, but only 5 percent were black and 7 percent Hispanic.

Two of the city’s most powerful voices, newly elected Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, have called for a revamp of admission policies and procedures.

We must do more to reflect the diversity of our city in our top-tier schools — and we are committed to doing just that,” Fariña told the Daily News. “In the coming months we will be looking at ways to address the gap that has left so many of our black and Latino students out of specialized high schools.”

De Blasio, whose mixed-race son, Dante, attends one of the elite public schools, Brooklyn Tech, has promised to change the admissions procedures, although any proposal he makes is subject to approval by the state Legislature in Albany, which made the single-test admission requirement state law in 1971.

These schools are the jewels in the crown for our public school system,” de Blasio said at a news conference. “This is a city blessed with such diversity. Our schools, especially our particularly exceptional schools, need to reflect that diversity.”

Karim Camara, a Democratic assemblyman from Brooklyn, is preparing a revised bill that would give the city power to control admissions rules in the elite public schools.

The Brooklyn Reader reported that Reginald Richardson, a high school principal in Brooklyn, said that while the enrollment numbers for blacks and Latinos at elite public schools are unacceptable, the root problem is that there are insufficient educational opportunities available to non-Asian minorities, and the main problem is not the testing.

These outcomes tell us that the education that black and Latino kids are receiving in the elementary schools and middle schools in the city is poor, and that they’re not able to be competitive,” he said. “But those same kids are going to have to sit for the SATs when it’s time to go to college, and you won’t be able to change the metrics for the SATs. We need to address the fundamental problem of all kids getting a great education. And that’s not happening in the city. And these results of these entrance examinations in the schools are just evidence of it.”

Academics are divided over these various issues: why Asians perform so well academically, and whether testing should be the sole basis of admission to top schools.

Guofang Li, an associate professor of second language and literacy education in the Department of Teacher Education of Michigan State University, is one scholar who does not believe that admission-by-testing is unfair to anyone.

In a culture where Asians are still a minority group — and often marginalized in society– tests are actually providing a good pathway for Asians to get opportunities like … attending a good school with good resources … which can help them get into a better university and hopefully better employment in the future,” she said in an interview.

But Jennifer Lee, a professor of sociology at the University of California, Irvine, believes that admission testing is quite unfair to economically disadvantaged Hispanics and blacks.

Access to unequal resources will result in unequal outcomes,” she said. “Until we can provide adequate resources for all New York City children to prepare for admissions tests, we will continue see racial disparities in admissions to schools like Stuyvesant.”

On the other side of the argument, Li  believes that applying affirmative action-type policies to public school admissions would be disastrous.

[Stuyvesant] is diverse, just [with] different [racial] ratios,” she said. “Normally, most schools in suburban areas are 75 percent white and 25 percent other ethnic groups, while urban schools [may typically have a] 75 percent black or Hispanic population and 25 percent other ethnic groups.” She noted that such school racial compositions are accepted by most people as “diverse,” but when Asians form the dominant ethnic group (as in Stuyvesant), suddenly questions and complaints arise.

I do think people have a perception [of] what a diverse school has to be,” she said. “[But] if Asians are in good schools, they have a problem with it.”

Jerome Krase of the sociology department at Brooklyn College-CUNY, author of “Seeing Cities Change: Local Culture and Class,” said that if de Blasio and Fariña want to change admission policies at elite high schools, it would defeat the schools’ very purpose. But he does see race playing a role in denying opportunities to blacks and Latinos.

[It would be] better to improve the local schools and improve the life conditions of those who are disadvantaged,” Krase said. “They could also make sure that all schools provide the best education possible for all students. [But] this is not likely, because it means paying higher taxes to help other peoples’ children. New York City and Americans in general are no longer as generous when it comes to helping those in need, especially as the composition of those in need have become less ‘European’.”

Asians in New York City, who comprise a broad array of ethnic groups, including Pakistanis, Chinese, Indians, and Koreans, among many others, are uncomfortable with comments suggesting that there are “too many” of them in the metropolis’ best public schools. This perception puts many Asian students and their families on the defensive about their cultures’ emphasis on education and personal sacrifice, and many feel it also can lead to racially biased statements about the work habits and intelligence of other ethnic groups.

Jan Michael Vicencio, a Filipino student at Brooklyn Tech, explained to the Times how Asian students are both ridiculed and praised for their academic excellence. “You know, [other kids say] ‘You’re Asian, you must be smart,’ ” he said. “And you’re not sure [if] it’s a compliment or an insult. We get that a lot.”

Other Asian students point out that parental discipline and rigorous scholarship, which are common in their cultures, explain their relatively superior performance in American schools, not any innate intelligence or intellectual superiority.

Most of our parents don’t believe in [the word] ‘gifted,’” Riyan Iqbal, a son of Bangladeshi immigrants and a student at Bronx Science, said. “It’s all about hard work.”

Citing the poverty and hardships his family experienced in their native Bangladesh, Riyan added: “You try to make up for their hardships. I knew my parents would still love me if I didn’t get into Bronx Science. But they would be very disappointed.”

Asians in general value education, according to Li.

“[The] education of their children is often a family affair, and the whole family [invests] a lot of time, resources and efforts, even soon after a child is born,” Li said. “Many Asian families invest a lot of money [in] their children’s studies, including preparing for exams and tests.

But, again, Lee takes a somewhat different view on why Asians perform well on tests. She says that some Asian immigrants — especially Chinese, Koreans and Vietnamese — hail from countries where the only means of gaining admission into universities is through a rigorous, national entrance exam.

So, they are more accustomed to the practice of test-taking for school admissions,” Lee said. “And because of the high stakes of students’ performance on this test, Asian parents are more likely to invest their resources in supplemental education for their children to ensure that they perform well on these tests.”

Lee added that some of this supplemental education is offered at no or little cost in ethnic communities through community organizations, while churches also help poor and working-class Chinese overcome their class disadvantages.

So it’s not that certain groups or certain cultures value education more than others,” Lee insisted. “All groups value education. Rather, groups have differential access to available resources to help them gain access into these competitive magnet schools.”

Lee noted that Asian immigrants tend to come from countries in which effort, rather than ability alone, is hailed as the route to achievement.

Because Asian immigrant parents believe that increased effort leads to continuous improvement, they are more likely to invest their resources in supplemental education for their children compared to native-born American parents,” she said.

On a national basis, some Asian immigrants and Asian-Americans are both puzzled and outraged over quota and affirmative action programs that hurt them despite their status as “racial minorities.”

Irwin Tang, an Austin, Texas-based psychotherapist, told Diverse Education that he believes some of the nation’s elite universities impose “unofficial” quotas to limit Asian enrollment, as they once did for Jews. According to reports, up to 18 percent of Ivy League school students are now of Asian descent, and Harvard’s incoming class last year was more than one-fifth Asian. At Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 28 percent of students are Asian-American, while at University of California at Berkeley, the figure is 39 percent.

Affirmative action lowers the bar for black and Hispanic students,” Tang said. “They don’t have to score high or have as high of a GPA compared to an Asian student. That’s why many Asian students are being advised not to reveal their race.”

Tang added that he would like to see high schools and elementary schools improve across the board. “The solution is not affirmative action. The solution is to have equal standards for everyone and an improved education system,” he said.

Ron Unz, the publisher of the American Conservative magazine, wrote in an op-ed in the Times in December 2012 that quotas on Asians at Harvard and other elite colleges — the allegations are widely denied by university officials — echo similar quotas imposed on Jews decades ago. Unz argued that while the Asian-American population has about doubled since the early 1990s, their presence in Ivy League institutions has either remained flat or fallen slightly.

The last 20 years have brought a huge rise in the number of Asians winning top academic awards in our high schools or being named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists,” Unz wrote. “It seems quite suspicious that none of [these] trends have been reflected in their increased enrollment at Harvard and other top Ivy League universities.”

Despite the stellar performance of Asians in U.S. high schools and colleges, their ascendance to high positions in corporations has not caught up.

Many outstanding Asians from top colleges often experience barriers to promotion and advancement at work,”  Li said. “Few Asians are in leadership or management positions [at top firms].”

Indeed, a report by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from 2008 revealed that Asians experience multiple forms of discrimination in corporate America.

There is also a separate issue to consider — given how bewilderingly diverse and large the Asian-American community is, not all segments of this group are doing well, either academically or professionally. Generally speaking, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and Indians have excelled academically and earn higher-than-average incomes. But, other Asians, particularly Bangladeshis and some Southeast Asians (e.g., Cambodians, Hmong, Laotians, etc.) remain poor, undereducated and underemployed. These facts would seem to provide evidence that “Asian cultural values” do not necessarily guarantee success, given some harsh socio-economic realities.

It is critical to underscore that ‘Asian-American’ is a broad and diverse category that includes immigrant groups who arrive as highly selected and highly educated, as well as others who arrive as poorly educated immigrants or refugees with little formal education and few skills,” Lee said.

 

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Asian-American domination in elite schools triggers resentment and soul searching

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Pakistan to award slain teen for foiling suicide bombing

 

Pakistani villagers pray for 17-year-old student Aitzaz Hasan, who residents and police say died this week while trying to stop a suicide bomber who was targeting his school in a remote village in Hangu. 

Pakistan’s prime minister announced Friday that a teenage boy who sacrificed his life to stop a suicide bomber who wanted to attack his school should be honored with the nation’s highest civil award of bravery.

Aitzaz Hasan, 17, died Monday in a remote village in Hangu, a district in northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Pakistanis have praised the boy since his teacher told police that he saw Hasan chasing the bomber, who detonated his explosives, killing the teen.

On Friday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif praised the boy in a statement, saying his “brave act saved the lives of hundreds of students and established a sterling example of gallantry and patriotism.” Sharif advised President Mamnoon Hussain to approve the conferment of Pakistan’s Star of Bravery to Hasan, the statement said.

The award is given by the president on the advice of the prime minister.

On Friday, Hasan’s teacher Azmat Ali told AP Television News that the boy “played a significant role while stopping the suicide bomber. Our school is really proud of him.”

He remembered Hasan as a brave, sincere and an obedient student.

Classmate Naseeb Ali also praised Hasan, saying he was a very bold and kind boy.

We felt sorry after losing him but we are proud of being his friends,” Ali said.

The area where Hasan lived is home to many members of a minority Shiite Muslim sect who have often been killed by militants who view them as heretics.

Pakistan has witnessed scores of suicide bombings in recent years.

Meanwhile Friday, gunmen killed two workers at the shrine of Ghazi Shah Baba in the northwestern city of Mardan in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, local police official Iqbal Khan said. Mardan lies 50 kilometers (30 miles) east of the northwestern city of Peshawar.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Pakistani Taliban, who follow a strict interpretation of Islam, have in recent years targeted shrines, which they consider to be sacrilegious. Last week, militants killed six people at the shrine of a Sufi saint in the port city of Karachi.

Khan said an investigating is underway to determine whether the two attacks are connected.

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Pakistan to award slain teen for foiling suicide bombing

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First look at the new Ms. Marvel: Marvel Comics’ newest superhero, a 16-year-old Pakistani American teenager from New Jersey

Wired:

Late last year, Marvel Comics announced that it would reboot Ms. Marvel in February and put an all-new superheroine at the helm: Kamala Khan, a 16-year-old Muslim girl who lives in New Jersey. WIRED has the first look at Kamala from her Ms. Marvel debut, a preview that also will appear in the All-New Marvel NOW! Point One issue on sale in print and digital versions tomorrow.

Kamala, a second-generation Pakistani-American, isn’t Marvel’s first Muslim superhero, but she is the first to get a solo title — and certainly the first to get the title of Ms. Marvel. Although the most popular superheroes tend to be white guys created decades ago, legacy heroes who pass their familiar names to new characters are one way publishers like Marvel and DC Comics have brought greater diversity to their fictional worlds. (They do tend to revert to their original hosts as time goes on, however, making the added diversity seem a bit more tenuous.) If you’re wondering what happened to the original Ms. Marvel, Carol Danvers, she’s the star of her own title under the moniker Captain Marvel — another legacy title.

The new Ms. Marvel, which comes out in print and digital on Feb. 5, is illustrated by Adrian Alphona (RunawaysUncanny X-Force) and scripted by G. Willow Wilson, a writer and novelist whose work includes the comics CairoAir and Mystic, as well as the World Fantasy Award-winning novel Alif the Unseen. Wilson, a convert to Islam, spoke to WIRED about the challenges of writing a high-profile Muslim superheroine who struggles with identity issues even before acquiring shapeshifting powers.

WIRED: There’s been a lot of scrutiny of the character since the announcement, particularly because of her Muslim faith. Do you feel like there’s extra pressure to treat her as a representative for all Muslims?

Wilson: There’s a burden of representation that comes into play when there aren’t enough representatives of a certain group in popular culture. So the few ones that do exist come under increased scrutiny and pressure, because they’re expected to represent everybody. Obviously, you can’t do that with one character and you shouldn’t, because it would stifle the narrative and prevent them from becoming a fully-realized person. So I think in situations like that, you just have to tread lightly and trust your gut. Kamala is not a token anything in any way. She’s very much her own quirky, unique, wonderful person. She’s not a poster girl for her religion and she doesn’t fall into any neat little box.

If you put the shoe on the other foot and said we’re going to have one Christian character that represents all Christians, the ridiculousness would be obvious right away. Are you talking about white Methodists from Oklahoma? Are you talking about Anglicans in Africa, who are the fastest growing group of Christians on planet Earth? It’s patently impossible for a Muslim character to represent “all Muslims.”

WIRED: What sort of response have you gotten since the character was announced in November? Has there been any backlash?

Wilson: There’s been some hate from people who don’t read comics, which I ignore because in terms of this medium, they are illiterate. There’s this sense that [Muslims] shouldn’t even be there because it’s somehow un-American… Especially in comics, because [comics] are seen — by people who don’t read comics – as this wholesome, 100% “truth, justice and the American way” product. They’re not thinking about manga; they’re not thinking about all the changes that have occurred in comics over the last decade or so. They don’t know the history of the medium that well… and the medium has evolved.

On the other side, there’s a certain amount of apprehension from the Muslim community about whether or not [Kamala] is going to be a stereotype or a whitewashing. I think lot of Muslims have gotten fatigued by the way Muslim characters, even “positive” ones, are portrayed in the media. But I think that [apprehension] will go away when the book actually comes out, because no one’s actually read it yet! It’s something that we really put our heart and soul into. I’ve spent my entire adult life in Muslim communities of various kinds both abroad and here in the U.S. and these are issues that are really close to my heart. So I hope people will be pleasantly surprised.

WIRED: Do you think the fact that Kamala is a woman as well as a Muslim will provoke different reactions?

Wilson: Possibly yes. We have this conversation in the American Muslim community a lot. Because the traditional mode of dress for Muslim women is so distinct – the headcovering, which is not there for guys – women carry a greater burden of representation than Muslim men do in non-Muslim societies. So there is that extra level of scrutiny about things like how the character is dressed or whom she interacts with. In the case of Kamala, I really wanted her to be representative of young American Muslims as they are, not how we idealize them. Most young American Muslim women do not cover their hair, so she doesn’t cover her hair… The key thing is authenticity, and not trying to please everybody with a cardboard cutout that doesn’t feel like a human being with flaws and quirks and charms.

 

WIRED: There’s a long tradition of super-powered characters like the X-Men in superhero comics serving as metaphors for issues of societal prejudice. Is there a metaphor behind Kamala’s shapeshifting powers?

Wilson: At the very early stages, I [said] I did not want her to have stereotypical girl powers. Nothing’s going to sparkle; she’s not going to float. I wanted her to have something kinetic and physical that would look fun on the page. There was a lot of back and forth about what her power set should be, and we settled on making her a polymorph.

Polymorphs have a very interesting history in comics, though, because they’re most often bad guys. They’re painted in a negative light because their powers are considered somewhat sneaky compared to the classic power sets like being strong or flying or shooting lightning bolts. So when we decided to make her a polymorph, it was very fraught because she can use her powers to escape what she sees as the conflict in her life between her family and faith and being an American teen. She can hide [from it], and that temptation is there. She can use her powers to try and be all things to all people, which also isn’t healthy. In a way, you’re unpacking two stereotypes, one about Muslims and one about shapeshifters, which I thought meshed nicely with the storyline. But it was a big risk. And I’m still having conversations about what lines to cross and which ones not to cross.

WIRED: In terms of her faith or her powers?

Wilson Both. Actually, in a lot of ways I’m a less concerned about the religious aspect. I’ve been writing about religion for a decade now and I’ve had these conversations many times. But when it comes to a polymorph, that means that you can change the look of a character in ways that are often very intrinsic to identity. You can change the character’s outward appearance of gender, you can change the character’s outward appearance of race.

WIRED: Do you think that the negative associations with polymorphs come, to some degree, from a cultural fear about fluidity of personal identity?

Wilson: Yes, I think that’s a huge part of it. I think you’ve put your finger on it. We do like to put people in boxes. We do feel more comfortable when people are something we can define. That way we can know what to avoid, what to say or not say. When there is fluidity involved, it makes it more complicated. It’s interesting to be writing this particular character at this point in history when we are starting to have a lot of those debates about gender, about race.

My children are – well, there’s a whole debate about whether or not Arabs are white or not white that feeds into this whole conversation. But they’re half-Egyptian, so they’re of mixed ethnicity. And the year my older daughter was born, 2011, was the first year that the majority of the babies born in the U.S. were non-white. The entire makeup of the United States is starting to change. There is more fluidity. There are many more people now who are the children of multi-racial, multi-ethnic families. We are starting to grapple as a nation with this idea of fluidity. In more than one way, this is a character whose time has come.

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First look at the new Ms. Marvel, a 16-year-old Pakistani American teenager from New Jersey

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World’s 15 Most Followed Asian Male Celebrities on Twitter

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Audrey Magazine presents the “World’s 15 Most Followed Asian Male Celebrities on Twitter”

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1. Filipino-Puerto Rican American singer Bruno Mars
(@BrunoMars) 17,273,611 FOLLOWERS

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2. Pakistani British singer Zayn Malik
(@zaynmalik) 11,112,943 FOLLOWERS

bachchan

3. Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan
(@SrBachchan) 7,245,204 FOLLOWERS

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4. Indonesian comedian Raditya Dika
(@radityadika) 6,100,709 FOLLOWERS

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5. Indian actor Shahrukh Khan
(@iamsrk) 5,885,231 FOLLOWERS

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6. Samoan American entertainer Dwayne Johnson
(@TheRock) 5,899,783 FOLLOWERS

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7. Indian actor Salman Khan
(@BeingSalmanKhan) 5,561,015 FOLLOWERS

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8. Indonesian singer Afgan Syahreza
(@afgansyah_reza) 5,473,243 FOLLOWERS

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9. Indonesian singer Vidi Aldiano
(@vidialdiano) 5,438,481 FOLLOWERS

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10. Indian actor Aamir Khan
(@aamir_khan) 4,969,511 FOLLOWERS

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11.  Indian actor Hrithik Roshan
(@iHrithik) 4,578,189 FOLLOWERS

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12. Indonesian entertainer Olga Syahputra
(@dahsyatnyaolga) 3,984,078 FOLLOWERS

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13. Indian entertainer Akshay Kumar
(@akshaykumar) 3,887,178 FOLLOWERS

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14. South Korean entertainer Choi Siwon
(@siwon407) 3,839,988 FOLLOWERS

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15. South Korean entertainer Psy
(@psy_oppa) 3,479,872 FOLLOWERS

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Marvel Comics unveils a new Ms. Marvel… who is a Muslim, Pakistani-American teenager!

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The New York Times broke news yesterday of a new solo superhero title launching from Marvel early next year — and this one comes as a welcome change of pace for readers who want to see more diversity in their super-books.

Ms Marvel #1, from writer G. Willow Wilson (Cairo) and artist Adrian Alphona (Runaways), introduces the world to the young Muslim woman who takes on the mantle of Ms. Marvel formerly held by Carol Danvers, the current Captain Marvel. The new Ms. Marvel will be the first Muslim character to get her own ongoing solo series at Marvel, one of a growing number of female solo leads, and the only person of color headlining a solo book.

The star of the new title is Kamala Khan, the daughter of Pakistani immigrants living in New Jersey. As described by Wilson and series editor Sana Amanat, the character will balance fighting super villains and coming to grips with her body-morphing powers against the pressures of her conservative family background. She takes the name Ms. Marvel because of her longstanding admiration of Danvers.

Captain Marvel represents an ideal that Kamala pines for,” Ms. Wilson told NYT. “She’s strong, beautiful and doesn’t have any of the baggage of being Pakistani and ‘different.’”

The writer added that Ms. Marvel will be “about the universal experience of all American teenagers, feeling kind of isolated and finding what they are” but “through the lens of being a Muslim-American” with superpowers.

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Marvel Comics unveils a new Ms. Marvel… who is a Muslim, Pakistani-American teenager!