Friday, April 29, 2005

Unscrupulous White Dudes reveal the Inscrutable Occidental?

Asian Media Watch reported last week that Hyundai Motor America and Cingular Wireless have withdrawn their advertising from NJ 101.5. A press release stated that, "Hyundai Motor America shares the outrage of many in the Asian and general communities about the racial slurs made on radio station WKXW on the 'The Jersey Guys' show on April 25, 2005... the company is deeply offended by the program and would never want to be associated with insensitive statements that reflect negatively on the Korean and Asian communities."

"Ching chong, ching chong, ching chong!"

A lot of Asian groups are up in arms over a radio broadcast on Trenton, New Jersey, radio station 101.5's "The Jersey Guys." Below is a transcript (courtesy of Asian Media Watch, a group whose opinions about what is problematic I don't entirely agree with) of the offending material by hosts Craig Carton and Ray Rossi.

Is this the true America (and I'm not asking this rhetorically)? Do these guys represent what the average White dude and dudette thinks? My heart would say, "Oh, please, God, I hope not," which would be supported by hundreds of non-Asian friends and relatives who simply don't think this way, but sometimes--based partly on some of things I've seen and heard with my own eyes and ears--I wonder if this is not the way a lot of Caucasians in the US talk and act behind closed doors or when they think no one non-White is listening.

In Korea I here complaints that the Koreans (or the Japanese) harbor racist, superioristic, condescending attitutudes toward the "foreigners" in their midst. And it is no doubt true that many Koreans are racist, superioristic, and condescending toward 외국인, with some being in your face about it and others keeping it to themselves. This keeping it ton oneself while presenting a more pleasant and acceptable public face contributes to the old stereotype of "the Inscrutable Oriental." Well, I guess I have to ask, is there a corresponding "Inscrutable Occidental," and did these guys just out every one of them?

You be the judge.


Craig Carton: "Would you really vote for someone named Jun Choi [said in fast-paced, high-pitched, squeaky voice]?"


Craig Carton: I’m using Jun Choi [said in fast-paced, high-pitched, squeaky voice] as an example of a larger problem.

Ray Rossi: and you know…

Carton: We’re forgetting the fact that we’re Americans.

Rossi : You know that he’s going to get the… whatever that vote is

Carton : And here’s the bottom line... no specific minority group or foreign group should ever ever dictate the outcome of an American election. I don’t care if the Chinese population in Edison has quadrupled in the last year, Chinese should never dictate the outcome of an election, Americans should.

Rossi: Americans should, exactly

Craig : And it’s offensive to me… not that I have anything against uh Asians…I really don’t… i don’t like the fact that they crowd the goddamn black jack tables in Atlantic City with their little chain smoking and little pocket protectors..

Rossi: Now now now..that’s an issue with me..

Carton: I’m just saying, now that’s all Asians, not just Koreans…you know… you got Pai-Gaw poker playing.

Carton: My point is on a much larger stand..

Rossi: I understand… but you see you had to put that out there…

Carton: We’re bending over backwards to cater to fringe groups of people and I don’t like it!

Rossi: As long as we understand where you’re coming from… with the, uh poker table group...

Carton: Well go to AC for one week and try and get a table… ‘ching chong, ching chong, ching chong [Mimics Chinese accent..] hehe you hit it on 17 you stupid bitch… the dealer’s got a holding an 18…what’re you hitting for… you know? They do it all day and night…they got their little beady pocketbooks with the little beads on it… they take out wads of 100s… ching chong ching chong [accent] they don’t know how to play the game… eh, honey i got a 13 and I’m playing against a 6…

Rossi: Hehe, their money is green too!


Carton: There should be like Asian-only rooms in casinos… but just to be fair, I have nothing against them…

Rossi: No, of course not


Carton: Very good people… very nice people...

[Commercial Break]

Carton: Asian Americans factoring in the Edison race, Korean native and mayor both court the growing segment… uh I’ve said it about the Arabs about 4 months ago, I’ve said it about uh… you name a group that’s suddenly important in politics, other than Americans as a whole and I got a problem with it… I’m not nitpicking any one specific group... I don’t like… like when Corzine came out and said…I’m counting on the Arab community to get me elected… right then and there you lost my vote!

Rossi: Well, but… you see what it is…

Carton: He was over at the Nordic lodge of Rhode Island… cuz I go to this place where its like 60 bucks for all you can eat… and I thought he was lying to me

[Unrelated Topic]

Caller: Good, hi are you guys?

Carton: Doing good, babe.

Caller: It’s government for the people of the people and by the people and as long as you guys became American citizens and now have the right to vote, why not have them vote for someone who they feel comfortable with and will take care of their issues…

Carton: Well… I’m glad you called with that… god-forsaken disgusting liberal viewpoint, uh mickey…

Caller: I’m not a liberal at all… it’s by the constitution of New Jersey…

Carton: Well, you are a liberal by definition… by definition you are a liberal….if they’re here legally and they’re Americans, I think they ought to vote for… [mocking falsetto voice] no no no…that’s liberal by definition… so let me explain to you what the problem is with it mickey so you can be a little bit brighter at the dinner table tonight, ok?

Caller: Ok

Carton: They are Americans, they have every right to vote. I will never deny them that, you know my grandparents came over here, they wound up with the right to vote and they’re very proud of it… same with Ray’s and most of our listeners’… they also have the right to run once they become Americans, and I don’t begrudge them that either, my problem is this: when we start focusing our campaigns on the minority of people and not the majority of people, I find that to be problematic… anybody running for office, whether it’s the Mayor of Edison or the Governor of New jersey, the focus should be what’s good for the breadth of people, what’s good for everybody, and its obnoxious to me, although I understand it’s a business, and its how you can get elected, if you say out loud, well if I can simply get the Asian vote I can win the election..

Rossi: Now that’s what it is…

Carton: And that’s what problematic to me… much as like we give DMV exams in Spanish, and French, and in Swahili, we’re getting away from what our core is and that is America..

Rossi: Which is true…

Carton: And I’m troubled by it… and I don’t wanna hear a candidate, whether they’re Chinese, or white, or black, saying oh if I can only get the Chinese vote I can win… well what about me? I’m… see… I’m the average guy, that’s why we’re successful, Ray and I represent the average guy in NJ, blue collar white people…

Rossi: There you go.

Carton: And no one gives a damn about us anymore…

Rossi: That’s right.

Carton: And if we cry about it… you know what’s brought up? Slavery... or if we cry about it… well you know, ching chong, ching chong [Mimics Chinese accent] you bombed us [Chinese accent] you know? The fact is, I don’t care if whites are a minority, it doesn’t matter to me, there’s no voice of the average blue collar white guy anymore, cuz all these politicians are worried about the fringe groups.

Rossi: Well that’s the thing…

Carton: God forbid you offend an Asian, really! And I hate it… god forbid that a politician was out here and offends Asians, or blacks, or old people… but at the end of

the day, I’m the guy that’s gonna get them elected…

Rossi: There you go.

Carton: And they don’t give a damn about me!

Rossi: Nope.

Carton: Well the second Thursday in May they will… cuz Ray and I are hosting the only in-state debate amongst at least the Republican candidates…

Rossi: That’s right

Carton: Almost all of them confirmed, is that right , C-dog?

C-Dog: That’s right.

Carton: It’ll be myself, Ray Rossi and Bob Ingle of the Gannet newspaper chain and every guy running for uh... governor on the Republican side will be here in studio because you know… we care! And were not gonna let these guys cater to minority groups simply cuz it makes them look good.

Rossi: Exactly

Carton: You have to cater to me, bitches.

Rossi: Hmmm, that’s it.

Carton: I’m the rain maker.

Rossi: Look at that, the rainmaker

Carton: Well, that’s a little cocky though

Rossi: Well, no, that’s a tad on the cocky tip but that’s alright, that’s okay.

Carton: It’s May 12th by the way, 4pm… If you’re running for governor, you’re invited but you have to go through C-dog cuz I don’t know want weedman showing up… ‘No, you guys said I was invited, I’m running… Typical keeping it brother… No he’ll wanna ask some of the questions… [Mimics voice]

Rossi: Right


Carton: All right… here’s Sharon in Edison NJ on 101.5. How you doin’ Sharon?

Caller: Hi, I love you

Carton: Thank you.

Caller: You just said it all, the last couple of … callers, I guess they don’t know that they live in America and we’re being overrun. I had just moved out of Edison because of what has happened in the past 10 years… Orientals are all along, the whole complete route 27. And Indians have taken over Edison in north and all over.

Carton: Damn Orientals and Indians.

Caller: I..i moved out..36 years I’ve lived in Edison

Carton: And what was the biggest problem you had with the Orientals and the Indians ?

Caller: I can’t handle them! There’s no American people anymore.

Carton: Eh..

Caller: There shoving us the hell out!

Carton: It’s like you’re a foreigner in your own country isn’t it?

Caller: You go to own store and you can’t even see American people, you don’t see our own kids, American kids, working in stores anymore…

Carton: Like the next time you see an American, you think you’ll probably hug him or high five him or something?

Caller: Oh, that’s why where I moved too, that’s all I have, thank god for now anyways.

Carton: Yeah I’m with you… Sharon, we’re just the voice of the people, and I appreciate your call.

Caller: Keep up the good work.

Carton: All right, you got it baby… I think the quote was damn ‘Orientals and Indians.’

[Child rendition of American anthem on and fades into background]

Carton: That’s right baby, who wrote this, a white guy did!

Carton: By the way, did you see the girl singing the national anthem in the Canadian/US hockey game over the weekend?

[Unrelated Topic]

Carton: Listen I love my country, I’ll never make any excuses for that… and I think the majority should be catered to, not the minority

Rossi: Correct That’s how I feel… ["America, The Beautiful" song on and fades into background]

[Commercial Break]

Carton: Alright, in Edison, this is just another example of us losing our own country…the uh… Asian American candidate "Jun Choi" [said in fast-paced, high-pitched, squeaky voice] and uh… he’s capitalizing on the rapid growth of the Asian community in Edison, but so is his uh… I guess so is his competitor…

Rossi: Well, his competitor is doing the same thing.

Carton: Spadoro says " I’ve got the Asians on lockdown."

Rossi: Right exactly

Carton: Now if I was an Asian I guess I don’t know I’d vote for the Asian. Well I mean haven’t you done that before?

Rossi: Who knows my needs better than…

Carton: Haven’t you?

Rossi: Yeah, I used to vote for the Italian…

Carton: You know what?

Carton: Yeah, thinking that his corrupt ways would benefit me in the long way run.

Rossi: So did I, when I didn’t know what the hell they stood for I just say (phh) go Italian.

Carton: Look how good that did us. Look at the hole we’re in now. Nice move jack ass thanks.

Rossi: Well what do you want me to tell ya, I tried.

Carton: You da one responsible for Florio.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Update on past articles

The man described by North Korea as "human scum," John Bolton, is finding his nomination for U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. in trouble, in part because of the fiery speech he gave here in Seoul about North Korea.

The new pope does not speak Korean.

"Anything But Clinton" North Korea policy a failure?

The New York Times has an interesting opinion piece on the Bush Administration's apparent failures vis-à-vis North Korea.

Op-ed writer Nicholas D. Kristof points out that under the Clinton Administration, North Korea developed zero weapons, but under the Bush Administration, the number is around six, hence his title, "North Korea, 6, and Bush, 0)."

Before a Clinton naysayer can respond that the speculative Pyongyang-6 were likely started by the infamous Pyongyang-1 during Clinton's second term, Kristoff quickly cites Charles Prtichard, the ambassador and special envoy who was the point man for North Korea in the first Bush administration, as saying of this administration's decision-makers, "They blew it." (Kristoff also claims that Pyongyang had two atomic weapons by 1989, during the administration of Bush-41.)

How did they blow it? Kristoff says the Bush Administration could have adopted the policies that Colin Powell initially pushed for but that Bush's handlers pushed off in favor of what people call the "anything but Clinton" approach.

I remember back when Bush first came to office, before 9/11 and before Hainan Island, and admitted that his administration didn't have a North Korea policy, that they were "working on one" while they decide what to do. That our leader could leave us adrift in the East Sea (or Sea of Japan) for several months like that is almost criminally stupid.

But that's what happened, because "anything but Clinton" was essentially nothing. And that's why, years later, Bush finds hiimself with the same options as Clinton did.

The Rush Limbaugh types so derided Clinton for engaging North Korea and making a deal (and yes, this is something I've listened to repeatedly with my own ears on AFN Radio), there was no way Bush could go down that same road, even though a more pragmatic and less ideological Republican would have at least continued his predecessor's policies until something better presented itself (or could be engineered). Much like how Clinton continued to follow his predecessor on containing Iraq and protecting the Kurds.

Yes, there is something inherently off-putting about making a deal with a murderous dictatorial regime, but there were few other options before Clinton short of war, which has a tendency to kill one's allies. Getting things to stop, while simulaneously hoping for a collapse from within (or a change, thanks to engagement) was the best that could be managed then. And probably now.

But Bush instead sought to raise Pyongyang's own anxiety level (and thus their justification for getting nukes in the first place) by stepping up its own rhetoric against Pyongyang. Was there a strategic purpose in the terms "Axis of Evil" and "Outpost of Tyranny" that outweighed the danger of ratcheting up tensions? Your diplomats don't seem to think so, Mr. Bush.

Kristoff does see hopeful signs that Bush is slowly showing signs that he is willing to negotiate (although a test at Yongbyon could reverse that). At this rate, Kristoff suggests, Bush may be willing to negotiate seriously with the North Koreans by the time he leaves office.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

O.C. is not L.A.

It looks like fans of the local ball club in my hometown of Orange County, the 2002 World Champion Angels, have been inspired by Korea's sea of red fans during the 2002 World Cup. Witness the "We are not L.A." t-shirt.

Protesting the Angels' new owner's idea of changing the name from Anaheim to Los Angeles to attract a wider television audience, despite the city of Anaheim being one of the anchor cities of 3,000,000-strong Orange County, Angels fans have been sitting in the stands with their bright red shirts letting Arte Moreno know that Orange County is not an offshoot of Los Angeles. Anaheim is miles from the Los Angeles County border, and probably a good hour's drive from the actual City of Los Angeles.

I have no hatred of Los Angeles, but OC is no more a part of L.A. than it is a part of San Diego. Period. It's dumb and we OC-ers are pissed.

Anyway, this post is just a shout-out to all my homies in the O.C. (which, prior to Fox's "the O.C.," was never referred to as the O.C.), home of the Anaheim Angels, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, UC Irvine, Mission San Juan Capistrano (with its annual return of the swallows), South Coast Plaza, Dana Point, Laguna Beach, Disneyland, Richard Nixon's birthplace and museum, the beautiful but deadly Ortega Highway, some great beaches from Huntington Beach and Seal Beach to San Onofre, Little Saigon, and of course a very, very large Korean-American population.

Saturday, April 2, 2005

Next pope may speak Korean

It may be hard to believe, but in some sense I still do consider myself Catholic. And like a lot of Catholics and non-Catholics alike, I am following the news of Pope John Paul II's very poor health.

He is said to be near death and so, while thousands are praying for him, people are also speculating about who the next pontiff will be. Will he be Italian or "foreign"? Will he be conservative or liberal? Will he be a uniter or a divider? [February 2009 update: the original Yahoo! News link in this paragraph is dead, but here's a Wall Street Journal article from 2002, three years earlier, about future pope speculations.]

A few years ago, I had heard some serious musings that the next pope could be a non-European altogether. Let's not forget, it was a major step to elect a non-Italian to the papacy, so the Polish Pope may have been about as much shake-up as the Church wants for the next century.

On the other hand, choosing a non-European pope may be a way to galvanize Catholics around the world. After all the priest sex abuse scandals, American Catholics sure could use a boost. Some have also cited a Nigerian, and a long time ago I had heard that the cardinals of the Philippines and Korea would be in the running.

Some in the Indian media are suggesting the cardinal of India as a possibility. This has the added bit of interest -- to me at least -- that the next pope might actually be able to speak Korean.

Short of a Korean cardinal being chosen, this would be the biggest way to galvanize Catholics in Korea, where the faith has a strong but often quiet following. It could also bode well for religious tolerance, since Korea, with its healthy mix of Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, and followers of traditional other faiths, traditional beliefs, or no religion, is in many ways a model of religious tolerance.

Yes, you heard me right. Despite the fact that as recently as the 19th century Catholics were being martyred for their faith, Korea in its post-War period has shown a high degree of religious tolerance, especially for a country with such religious plurality. The major faiths are all recognized in the list of official holidays, the government tries hard not to favor one religion over another, and most important, people of all religions liberally interact socially with people of other faiths, including a high degree of interfaith marriages.

How true is this even in a constitutionally religiously tolerant nation like the US, where anti-Semitism still rears its ugly head and anti-Muslim sentiment is at an all-time high? Ireland has a mix of Catholics and Protestants, and they are killing each other for it. The same is true in the similarly religiously plural former Yugoslavia, where the Bosnians, Serbs, and Croats are essentially the same ethnic group but divided by religion (being Muslim, Orthodox Christian, and Roman Catholic, respectively).

I am not saying Korea is problem-free. Some fundamentalist groups are beginning to use employ some divisive discourse, and every now and then you get a group of Protestants chopping down the changsŭng that are traditionally found at the entrance to villages but also, in modern times, in parks, universities, buildings, etc. It's a delicate balance, yes, but things are still pretty good here overall.