“What Are You?”: Thoughts on Taiwanese American Identity

by Shawna Yang Ryan Author of Locke 1928 “What are you?” It seems that every essay I’ve read on hapa identity begins with this question, perhaps because a hapa’s own identity formation begins with others asking this question. Being a mixed race Asian (let’s see how many different labels I can fit into one essay!), I am rather used to being identified in different ways by different people. Though who I am is very clear to me, labeling it is more difficult, and I imagine that…

Andrea Lin AKA Superdoll

You've probably seen this beautiful woman on TV at some point, but didn't know it was her. She is Andrea Lin, a model, dancer, artist, and now producer who recently moved from Taiwan in 2001. After establishing her stateside career in New York City, she now currently resides in LA. I recently sat down with Andrea in a small little cafe in the heart of LA's Chinatown to delve into her world, to uncover the reality of her alter ego "Superdoll," and to find out what has propelled her blossoming…

Metalheads, politicians and old Taiwanese folk come together

By YuLing Koh Hsu Dani Azathonian Hands (drums), Su-Nung the Bloody String (hena), Doris Thunder Tears (bass), fan Ken Pierce of Piercing Metal, Freddy the Left Face of Maradou (vocals), CJ Dispersed Fingers (keyboards) and Jesse the Infernal (guitar) after a show in New York City. They have spurred 16-foot mosh pits in California. Fans have asked them to bite their necks (a girl fan got a kiss on her cheek instead). They keep smiling despite flat tires, lost instruments and having their…

Perspectives on Taiwan and the United Nations: A Personal Journey

by Iris Ho On September 15, I will be in New York to take part in the “UN for Taiwan” rally that will take place simultaneously with the one held in Taiwan. I have been looking forward to this event and am excited to see many friends there! It has been 35 years since the people of Taiwan have had any representation in the United Nations. Accordingly, Taiwan is not a member of any other UN-affiliated organizations, such as the World Health Organization, which failed to provide any medical…

Q&A Spotlight on Wesley Du

After a hectic time trying to get our schedules to match, I finally spoke with Wesley Du, a Taiwanese American playwright over the phone. Du is currently busy working on his new one act play, Jupiter and Nebula, which opens on August 9 and runs until the 25th at 8 p.m. at the Actor's Playpen Theater in Hollywood. But Du warned with a laugh, “No ‘Asian people time’ because it’s a small theatre. If you come in late, people can actually see you coming in. You have to walk through the stage,…

Tribute to Edward Yang

Taiwanese American filmmaker, Edward Yang, passed away last week due to complications from a seven year battle with colon cancer. Mr. Yang was best known for his critically acclaimed film, Yi Yi, about a Taiwanese family coping with the serious illness of their elderly mother. Yang's first major success "Taipei Story," gained world-wide attention in 1985. He followed that success with several other award winning films. Known for focusing on modern Taiwanese life and realistic problems, Yang's…

Taiwanese American Film

Who knew? If we flashed back four years ago and we told the pre-college, pre-med me that I would end up writing a senior thesis about Taiwanese American film, I would have been pretty surprised. But I probably would’ve been glad too. Little did I know I would ditch the sciences to design my own major in Asian American studies and documentary studies, but in many ways, it’s all been a long time coming. I definitely remember checking the Center for Asian American Media (formerly NAATA)’s…

An Op-Ed Letter from Taiwan’s President Chen Shui-bian

The Shunning Of a State By Chen Shui-bian Taken from the Washington Post, Friday, May 11, 2007; A19 In recent years the outbreak and spread of avian flu has brought illness, death and economic peril to countries in Asia and elsewhere. Memories of the fear, pain and suffering that accompanied the 2003 SARS outbreak -- after failed cover-ups by the Chinese government -- are still vivid in many places. While disease heeds no national borders, Taiwan has had to fight pandemics without help from the…

A Generation of New Taiwanese American Writers Emerge

An interesting thing happened over the past two years. And it’s an occurrence our Taiwanese American community hasn’t seen before. Since 2005, five emerging Taiwanese American authors have garnered attention in many facets of the literary mainstream with their wonderfully reviewed books! The writers creatively use diverse narrative structures, from fictional short stories to first-person accounts, and target a wide range of audiences, from children and young adults to a general adult literary…

A Conversation with Tyson Mao, Rubik’s Cube Master

Did you watch Season 2 of the TV reality show Beauty and the Geek? It was a "social experiment" where eight gorgeous but academically impaired women are paired with eight brilliant but socially challenged men to test intellect and social skills - for a chance to win a $250,000 grand prize. One of the favorite couples was Tyson and Thais. Remember them? I recently had the opportunity to interview Tyson Mao, who set the world record for solving the Rubik's Cube BLINDFOLDED in 2005. [Click…