One Night in Shenzhen

I’ve been discovering Shenzhen, a neighboring city of Hong Kong with a population of over 10 million people, since last year and I decided to spend a day and a night vacationing there. “What? Vacationing in Shenzhen!?” exclaimed my Hong Kong friends.

(A hotel you can rent a room by the hour a block from Luo Hu’s Shangri-La)

(A hotel you can rent a room by the hour a block from Luo Hu’s Shangri-La)

“Yes, I really quite like the city, which is the youngest and most modern city in China,” I said. “And I have a few friends up there.”

My Chinese American friend Gary came up for the day and joined me at the Shangri-la, the first major hotel that opened in Shenzhen literally adjacent to the Luo Hu train station. I spent the day diddling on my laptop by the pool until Gary came and we went out to Coco Park for dinner.

This Week in Internet Cuteness: Baby Panda Kindergarten

Fifteen baby pandas, including six sets of twins, were introduced to the public as part of the baby giant panda “kindergarten” class of 2016 at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China over the weekend. And yes, they are as cute as all hell:


The pandas were bred earlier this year through artificial insemination and are “graduating” from the breeding center now that they’re older. Giant pandas are considered an endangered species with only about 1,900 currently in the wild. The Chengdu Center has so far successfully bred 172 baby giant pandas and…damn it, they’re cute so let’s just look at this:

South Korean Pride

It was fitting that SCOTUS’ ruling on marriage equality should come on the eve of Pride weekend. And while this news added an even more celebratory mood to the festivities here in the U.S., I was also curious to see how this weekend would play out elsewhere, particularly in South Korea—the country of my birth.


South Korea is a heavily Christian country so I don’t think it’s a surprise to know that there are strong anti-gay sentiments among Koreans. In fact, the annual gay pride parade that took place in Seoul yesterday was almost shut down due to protests by Christian activist groups until the courts ruled that the parade could continue.

According to a PEW research study, 57 percent of South Koreans find homosexuality to be “unacceptable” while 18 percent found it acceptable. It’s not much better here in the U.S. For example, a 2010 Field Poll of California voters, revealed that Asian Americans are more opposed to same-sex marriage than other racial groups and within Asians, Korean Americans were the most opposed; disapproving of same-sex marriage by a margin of 70 to 25 percent.

Justin Lin and HOLLYWOOD ADVENTURES honored at Hollywood Handprint Ceremony


Today was an auspicious day in Hollywood. At the famed TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, which was bought by TCL, a Chinese conglomerate) was the handprint ceremony to honor director (and YOMYOMF fearless leader) Justin Lin, and Chinese superstars Zhao Wei and Huang Xiaoming. It’s auspicious because it was a true East meets West event, to highlight the upcoming release of HOLLYWOOD ADVENTURES, produced by Justin and starring Zhao and Huang, to be released in China this month.

Ode to Nature


Nature works in beautiful and mysterious ways. Almost 8 years ago, I went into a pet store where a cockatiel jumped on my finger and refused to leave me. I took him home and named him Holden. A year later, I got him a companion cockatiel Toffey and a few years later they gave birth to Mochi. In a couple years, Holden, the father, began having sex with Mochi, his daughter. I was at first disapproving but then I realized that they were going to do what they would do with or without my approval… so I let it go but was hoping that they wouldn’t have children together.

Chinese Spa Will Light Your Balls on Fire


File this under the “Oh, China!” folder. Apparently, a spa in China is dishing out a new technique called fire therapy or “huo liao.” It can allegedly cure everything from depression to infertility. OK… The GQ article that reported on this, had some questions on this therapy, and justly so, asked the following: Who was the inventor? And did it come to him in a dream or a nightmare?

All valid questions, in my book. And of course, this image totally invites anyone to start making puns, like the usual “Great Balls of Fire!” or the more inventive “The Flaming Tips” or jokes about one of the trials in the training for this fire therapy is that a practitioner must master the art of “banana foster” before getting their fire therapy certification.

Film Festival Dispatch: Sights, Sounds & Tastes of Hong Kong

Working for film festivals does take a toll sometimes, but then again, I get to travel to cool places. In March alone, I headed out to SXSW in Austin, SFIAAFF in the Bay Area, Saigon and Hong Kong for the annual Filmart and the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF). Run by friend and mentor, Roger Garcia, the HKIFF and Filmart (the film market arm of the organization) has been on a roll with strong film programming, celebrity-studded events, capped with the Asian Film Awards, honoring the best in Asian cinema.

Soup Goddess

I want to marry this woman. Running a rickety little soup cart behind a small hotel along a steamy and smelly river in the middle of Saigon, the “Lunch Lady” is by far, one of the jewels of street food cuisine. I’ve been looking for her for a long time, especially after I watched the Vietnam episode of NO RESERVATIONS with Anthony Bourdain visited Nguyen Thi Thanh a.k.a. The Lunch Lady, who makes the best soup noodles in the city. Her specialties are the hu tieu, bun bo hue, and of course, pho. Only open from 11am – 2pm everyday, office workers, backpack tourists and traveling foodies congregate around the rickety cart, sit on little plastic seats and slurp up soup nirvana.

Romance…Old School Chinese Style

It’s a mystery how my brother and I were conceived as my old school Chinese mom and dad rarely indulged in any public displays of affection.  And yet, my mother still felt that she was an authority on romance and courtship.  But that should not be surprising as with all old school Chinese mothers (OSCM) – it’s a given that they will be dogmatic about all important matters from finding your life partner to the optimum way of folding your underwear.

So in the spirit of Valentine’s Week, I wanted to share some rules of romance and dating that could only come from an Old School Chinese Mom.

Double Happiness: Hardcore Chinese Motherpedia Part 1

Thanks to for digging up this photo of an OSCM

Since posting my holiday blog on “How to Survive the Holidays Chinese Style”, I received some requests from non-Chinese readers for a primer on what to do if your loved one has a hardcore Chinese mom and/or dad.  I’m glad to help out but, should warn you that deconstructing Chinese parents isn’t completely straightforward – there are there are quite a few varieties of hardcore Chinese parents (HCCP) who share primarily the same traits but have different concerns.  These differences relate to issues of immigration (straight off the boat 1st generation vs. well assimilated 4th generation), class (working vs. upper class), and level of education (village grade schools vs. Ivy League).  Like training dogs, knowing the breed will determine your response when the HCCP inadvertently invokes our blog and screams “You offend me, you offend (our) family!”

Double Happiness: Why Amy Chua is The Panda Express of Chinese Moms

Recently, Yale Law Professor, Amy Chua has been whipping the blogosphere into a frenzy with her newly released book ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’ and provocative promo piece – the WSJ article ‘Why Chinese Moms Are Superior’.  (An exception to the rule – my fellow bloggers Anderson and Phil have simply gotten hot and bothered by her MILF-y appeal and tough love modus operandi.)  In a nutshell, she proudly divulges the details of her strict disciplinary approach and suggests that this style of parenting is not only typically associated with Chinese parents but also, produces winning results as evidenced by her two musician prodigy daughters.  Her article has hit a nerve as she’s been accused of perpetuating and exploiting racial stereotypes, condoning child abuse, and being reductive and elitist in her definition of success.  And with all the fervor particularly around her severe parenting methods, you’d think she has everyone convinced that she’s one badass Chinese mom.  (Cue 70s exploitation film music).