An Open Letter to the Producers of the Anna May Wong Biopic

Anna May Wong (left) & Fan Bingbing

Anna May Wong (left) & Fan Bingbing

Dear Producers at Shanghai-based Fundamental Films:

You announced last week that you will be producing a film entitled Dragon Lady, based on the life of pioneering Chinese American movie star Anna May Wong to potentially star Chinese actress Fan Bingbing (most recently seen as one of the mutants in X-Men: Days of Future Past). Before I start, I’d like to offer my congratulations! Wong is a true Asian American icon and it’s great that more people will be exposed to her story. You’ve already hired American writers Jonathan Keasey and Brant Boivin (writers of the upcoming Will Smith-produced My Wife Hates Your Wife) so it looks like you’re well into the development of the project.

As I’m sure you already know, but for the benefit of our readers who may not be aware of who Wong is, a short bio: her career spanned several decades from the silent film era (where she made her mark in films like The Toll of the Sea and Piccadilly) to her death in 1961. Along the way, she starred alongside idols like Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express and Douglas Fairbanks in The Thief of Bagdad, but faced her share of obstacles including losing the female lead role in The Good Earth to Caucasian actress Luise Rainer who played a Chinese peasant in yellow face and won an Academy Award for it.

I’ve no doubt you will do your best to produce a biopic that does justice to Wong’s life and career, which is why there’s one aspect of this news that bothers me. And that’s the casting of Fan Bingbing as Wong.

Letter To A Douchebag

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There are many ways to identify douchebags: their open shirts, their indoor sunglasses, their liberal use of hair product, but what about their parking habits?

I hate people who park in other people’s reserved spaces.  That whole sense of entitlement, of thinking the rules don’t apply to you.  Ugh.  And then there are those people who straddle the yellow dividing lines, hogging up two spots.  And don’t get me started on the goons who park illegally in handicapped spots – in my book, you’ve just booked a seat on the karmic express to hell.

So why on earth did I receive this charming letter the other day?

An Open Letter In Defense Of Justin Bieber

By now you’ve all probably heard about the petition to have Justin Bieber deported.

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Over 100,000 American citizens signed it, asking the Obama administration to kick the Beebs’ butt back to Canada for his “…dangerous, reckless, destructive and drug abusing (behavior).  He is not only threatening the safety of our people, but he is also a terrible influence on our nation’s youth.”

There are many reasons to hate Bieber – two undeserved Grammy nominations and wearing a backwards baseball cap to court come to mind – but reckless, destructive behavior?  Last time I checked, those were prerequisites for even applying for the position of pop star.  Who is kidding who?  This poor kid would pass out from the air inside a Motley Crue tour bus, for chrissake.

An Open Letter to the Racist/Sexist University of Illinois Students who Won’t be Having a Snow Day

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Dear Racist/Sexist University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Students:

So apparently this polar vortex thingie is going to be hitting you hard today dropping temperatures to below zero. I live in Los Angeles where the sun is currently out and I’m pondering whether or not I should trim my toenails before I got out in my sandals so I get that I’m coming from a position of temperature privilege, but I’d still like to give you a bit of free advice.

I don’t know how this whole “snow day” thingie works because, again, I live in L.A., but I get you’re upset that your Chancellor Phyllis Wise has decided to not a call a snow day and classes will continue as usual today.

Outdoors while Asian… The campground battleground

Oh god, I must be a hippie.

Oh god, I must be a hippie.

Why oh why do we need a reservation for a CAMPGROUND?!?

Is this how the world works? Does anyone still just jump in their car and see ‘where the world takes you’?

Remember the days when you could just pull up into a car campground and with a humble offer of weed and/or alcohol or food, you could guarantee a shared campsite with a bunch of homeless annual rock climbers?!?! (Okay, you’re right, that method still works.)

An Open Letter to the Residents of Irwindale Regarding the ‘Sweet’ Smell of Sriracha

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Dear Irwindale residents:

So last week, a judge ordered the partial shutdown of Sriracha manufacturer Huy Fong Foods’ plant located within your city borders. For those who may not know, your community is a quaint suburb located east of Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Valley.

The order came down as a result of some of you complaining about the odors the plant is allegedly emitting. You have claimed that it is a “spicy, painful” smell that has led to respiratory problems, nosebleeds and other problems. This despite the fact that inspectors with the South Coast Air Quality Management District have investigated and found the plant does not meet the threshold to be considered a public nuisance or that the plant’s previous location in the neighboring (and more densely populated) city of Rosemead never presented similar complaints according to Rosemead City Councilman Steven Ly.

Now, I grew up in the San Gabriel Valley so I’m very familiar with your fair city. For example, on many occasions as a youth, I would bike to your Santa Fe Recreational Dam to enjoy the sort of innocent fun that a young lad would experience at a dam built for recreation. So when I offer the following bit of advice, understand that it’s coming from someone who knows and understands your city.

Love to my YOMYOMF Family

Paul Walker and his Fast and Furious family.

Paul Walker and his Fast and Furious family.


“Heaven must be full of angels. So many have departed this year.”

Someone wrote that on his Facebook wall about a month ago.

Death is a strange bedfellow, we americans are more insulated from it than say, an Afgan or a Chad or Niger citizen, but there the grim reaper sits… ready.

I didn’t know Paul Walker the actor myself, but a lot of the YOMYOMF crew did. They’ve either acted with him or have directed him or have had a late night dinner with him. And although Justin and I haven’t talked much in the last few years (he’s always off filming that Fast and Furious thing), I know his feelings run deep for those people in whom he places his trust.

An Open Letter to Love-Sick Depressed Dudes Considering Chopping Off Their Penis

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Dear Love-Sick Depressed Dude Considering Chopping Off Your Penis:

I just read about 26-year-old Yang Hu from Jiaxing, China, who was so depressed by his lack of a love life that he chopped off his own penis. Realizing his mistake, he rode his bicycle to the hospital to get his penis reattached only to find that he had forgotten to bring along his penis and therefore had to ride back home, retrieve the penis and return to the hospital. By that point, it was too late and doctors were unable to reattach the penis.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that this story is tragic on a number of levels, but in case you’re too depressed about your love life to think clearly, all you need to do is remember this—if you think your love life sucks now, I guarantee it will be much worse if you don’t have a penis.

An Open Letter to White People on Their Love for Madama Butterfly

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Dear White People:

Since I’m not one to beat around the bush, let me get straight to the question at hand—what’s up with your love for the Madama Butterfly story?

In recent weeks, we’ve been experiencing what sounds like the beginnings of a Butterfly renaissance. There was the announcement that Brett Ratner (of Rush Hour fame) will be producing a modern version of the story entitled Magnitude 9 set against the backdrop of the 2011 earthquake/tsunami in Japan. The upcoming 25th Anniversary London revival of the musical Miss Saigon (based on the Madama Butterfly story) is breaking box office records and a revival currently running at the Ordway Center for Performing Arts in St. Paul is drawing the ire of Asian American activists.

For those reading this who may not be aware of the Madama Butterfly narrative, here’s a quick rundown: the most famous iteration of the story is Puccini’s 1904 opera of the same name which is about an American naval officer in Japan who marries a Japanese woman and gets her pregnant before bailing for America; leaving the woman (his “Butterfly”) pining for his return. When he does return, it’s with his new American wife. The heart-broken Butterfly agrees to give up her son for the American couple to raise and commits hara-kiri with a knife.

An Open Letter to Guys Whose Girlfriends Ask You to Help Torture and Murder Their Ex

Dear Dudes:

I totally understand that we are often driven by our horniness biological need to do things for women who put out we are attracted to that we normally wouldn’t do in order to get laid make a positive impression on these women, but if your girl asks you to help kidnap, torture and kill her ex-boyfriend, there is only one thing you should do—get the fuck out of there and go to the police!

Now, that may sound like the obvious thing to do in such a situation, but when we’re thinking with our little head not thinking clearly, it’s easy to make the wrong decision.

Take the recent case of 22-year-old UC Riverside student Barbara Wu. Not only did she solicit her current boyfriend’s help to kidnap her ex-boyfriend, torture him with “needles” and then kill and dump his body in Mexico—but this is the second time she’s done this. Yup, there was another ex-boyfriend that she asked to do the very same thing.

An Open Letter to My Fellow Koreans on Their Misplaced Shame

Dear fellow Koreans:

I get it—we’re a very proud and nationalistic people. When one of our own makes an impact outside of the motherland, it’s a cause for celebration—think Psy and the unprecedented global success of “Gangnam Style”—but let’s not go overboard with this.

I’m talking about how in the aftermath of the Asiana plane crash at SFO, South Koreans are feeling a sense of national shame and embarrassment at the fact that it was a South Korean plane that crashed. For example, the president of the airline not only apologized to the people affected by the crash, but to all of South Korea.

And this isn’t the first or only time this has happened. Remember back in 2007 when Korean American student Seung-Hui Cho went on a shooting rampage at Virginia Tech, and prominent Korean and Korean Americans took it upon themselves to publicly apologize to America on behalf of Korean and Korean Americans?

To which I say—what the fuck?!

An Open Letter to my Fellow Asian Americans on Giving Too Much Racial Credence to White People

Dear fellow Asian Americans:

So many of the folks who happen to inhabit my social media feeds are fellow Asian Americans and this past week, I’ve noticed you’ve been busy sharing two news items involving our community/racism/Hollywood.

The first is a piece that ran on Jezebel entitled “Why Aren’t Asian Actors Getting Leading Roles in Hollywood” (click here to read in full) and the other are the stories about the racist tweets that have been flying around in the wake of the new film Olympus Has Fallen which once again features North Koreans as the baddies.

And all I have to say is—this has to stop! Now! Why you gotta be kissing the white man’s ass when it comes to anti-Asian racism? Let me explain: