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Icons of Asian Style
(Updated Tuesday, Apr 1, 2008, 05:02:43 PM)

hat is Asian style? Most of us would sweat bullets to capture it in words but we all recognize it when we see it.
     For example, in the way Chow Yun-Fat sizes up the other guy while working a toothpick. Or in Toshiro Mifune's stoney forbearance while taking abuse from lesser swordsmen. We even recognize it in the self-effacing way Jackie Chan dishes pain, and in the malevolence overtaking Jet Li's face just before he erupts into action. And, of course, when you talk about vengeance in full, soulful flower, it's all about Bruce Lee.
Gong Li
Asian style icon?

     But, hey, who says only actors can exude Asian style?
     It fairly drips off the zen calm shrouding Hideo Nomo while cranking up elusive fastballs, and in the offhand precision with which Ichiro slaps the nastiest pitches. We detect it in Ming Tsai's reassuring, guy-next-door patter while venturing boldly into culinary terra incognita. We feel it in Vern Yip's heroic fastidiousness while resuscitating lost rooms.
     Have the media shown Asian style by women?
     Some might cite Joan Chen's tragic willfulness in The Last Emperor or Zhang Ziyi's brattier version of same in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Many would argue that among famous actresses Gong Li has best captured the stoic strength and elusive, mercurial spirit of the Asian feminine ideal.

     Ironically, Asian style seems to have been denied to Asian American women. A commercially viable segment of our society enjoys idealized images of Asian manhood -- at least in kung-fu flicks -- but America has acquired a taste for badly corrupted versions of the Asian feminine ideal -- willful women without strength and character. We have been given Lucy Liu, man-eater, in Ally McBeal and Joan Chen, man-eater, in Twin Peaks and nameless Asian actresses playing countless man-eaters in too many forgettable movies.
     We all have our ideas of what constitutes Asian style. Share your favorite icons of Asian style.

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WHAT YOU SAY

[This page is closed to new input. --Ed.]
--yejgo: How come there's no asian rock bands,singers... or even rappers. Do we all have terrible voices?
or are we just not accepted as singers in the white world?

You may have a point when it comes to singers, but I can think of plenty of examples of Asian-American representation in mainstream rock bands, including a few "front voices."

Todd Park Mohr is the lead singer/guitarist for Big Head Todd & the Monsters, a fairly popular 90's alternative rock band.

Sooyoung Park is lead singer and guitarist for Seam.

Mike Shinoda raps and Joseph Hahn mixes for Linkin Park.

James Iha was a guitarist in Smashing Pumpkins.

Tony Kanal is a bassist for No Doubt.

Matt Wong is a bassist for Reel Big Fish.

Bill Uechi is a bassist for Save Ferris.

Chi Chong plays bass for the Deftones.

Pat Kim plays Bass for Unwritten Law.

Mind you, this list is off the top of my head, and as a disclaimer, I am a SoCal girl and a fan of punk/ska/and alternative rock. I'll bet there are a lot of other examples. Didn't all of our Asian parents ingrain an appreciation of music? :) It's only logical that we're musically talented!
l
   Thursday, October 17, 2002 at 18:40:39 (PDT)    [4.46.131.230]
It is in my opinion that many Asian American Women have lost the ability to exude Asian style. Instead, many AAF have created a new style which is uniquely Asian American. AA style is contributing to, fighting, and being all the ridiculous stereotypes that the US media has created. It has very little to do with "Asian Style."

I believe once a person immigrates to America, no matter how the person tries to keep to their old ways, they will be discontinued from the culture they left behind, all the while the culture they left behind keeps changing.(Think about our own parents. If they were to go back to Asia, you think they would fit right in?(assuming that your parent have lived in the US for a long time.)) Probably not...Some people back there might think they been stuck in some sort of a time capsule.

For all the famous Asian Athletes and Entertainers that are living here in the US, I believe they are not exuding "Asian Style". They are exuding some form of Asian style that is mixed with American tastes.

My theory is: "Asian Style" only exists in Asia. The longer a person lives in the US, the more their Asianess becomes diluted. Whatever Asian style that this site is talking about or I am writing about/is a part of is strictly an American media Phemomenon.
confused
   Wednesday, October 16, 2002 at 17:36:40 (PDT)    [66.134.64.66]
Bruce 4ever

I just watched BLee bio on TV. He was exceptionally special both spiritually, mentally and physically...the Tiger Woods of his profession...too bad we lost him so early.
NYhomeboy
   Wednesday, October 16, 2002 at 01:12:21 (PDT)    [24.90.59.127]
Filipino actor cesar montano will star in the miramax movie "the great raid" about the raid in cabana tuan of a japanese pow camp. the movie also stars benjamin bratt, joseph fiennes and other big name filipino talent. check it out in 2003.
bep
   Monday, October 14, 2002 at 14:14:39 (PDT)    [172.134.176.217]
THE only mainstream rapper out there is filipino and he is 1/3 of the rap trio Black eyed peas check out blackeyedpeas.com/
bep
   Monday, October 14, 2002 at 14:12:23 (PDT)    [172.134.176.217]
"They are not liars. They probably believe what they write. They are just stupid and gullible. It's like people in New York saying the Goat, Earl Manigault's, a 5'11" legendary playground basketball player was able to touch the top of the backboard. Yea, that's possible.... if he had a 65inch vertical leap. Some stories you hear are just that: stories. Don't mix myth with reality. Use your head and think if it makes sense.
get real"

what the hell are u talking about? top martial artists like chuck norris and bob wall don't need to spread stories about bruce lee they sparred with the guy ! if anyone should know how fast and powerful he was it's them ! as for the myth of bruce lee ...what exactly is the myth???....all i know from what i have read from people who knew him was that he was superfit and strong with special martial skills.....that's hardly a myth....a myth is like hercules lifting 2ton weights!
maybe u need to get real
   Wednesday, October 09, 2002 at 16:59:38 (PDT)    [195.92.168.166]
How come there's no asian rock bands,singers... or even rappers. Do we all have terrible voices?
or are we just not accepted as singers in the white world?
yejgo
   Wednesday, October 09, 2002 at 12:25:46 (PDT)    [146.235.186.161]
Who represent the Best in Asian Style??
Hands down!!!
South Korean World Cup soccer Team!!!
The Pride of Asia!!!

1)Brazil( Champion) represents L.America
2)Germany represents Europe
3)Turkey represents Middle East
4)Korea represents Asia!!!

The Korean soccer team did a great job!!
The only Asian team ranked 4th place in World Cup History.
World Cup 2002
teacherjlee@hotmail.com    Tuesday, October 08, 2002 at 22:44:12 (PDT)    [210.117.67.223]
"the myth of bruce lee is overly exaggerated. GET REAL."

It's things like this that make me wish Mr. Lee was still here with us on this Earth. That way there would be no doubters. Sigh... he was the ultimate.
Bruce 4ever    Monday, October 07, 2002 at 19:59:59 (PDT)    [128.253.186.46]
"if that was the case then why does every martial artist in bruce's era say he was the greatest fighter that ever lived?..so are they all liars?"

They are not liars. They probably believe what they write. They are just stupid and gullible. It's like people in New York saying the Goat, Earl Manigault's, a 5'11" legendary playground basketball player was able to touch the top of the backboard. Yea, that's possible.... if he had a 65inch vertical leap. Some stories you hear are just that: stories. Don't mix myth with reality. Use your head and think if it makes sense.
get real    Monday, October 07, 2002 at 14:05:31 (PDT)    [66.107.44.253]
Thomas,

You're absolutely right about the lack of a female Asian role model.

As an Asian American girl, I really can't say that I had such a figure to look up to.

I wish I did.

I am happy to say though that I've never sold out. :)

Asian men are ALL I go for.

P.S. Thanks for the suggestion.
cutie pie
   Sunday, October 06, 2002 at 22:24:10 (PDT)    [64.130.204.9]
"the myth of bruce lee is overly exaggerated. GET REAL."

if that was the case then why does every martial artist in bruce's era say he was the greatest fighter that ever lived?..so are they all liars?
Fightfan    Friday, October 04, 2002 at 19:36:27 (PDT)    [195.92.168.169]
I don't think that Asian-American females have that ubiquitous icon that males do in Bruce Lee. He pretty much epitomizes the glorified Asian men. But when you mention Asian women, there is no one icon that immediately pops to mind. Amy Tan and other female authors that bash AM are not exactly welcomed with open arms in the AA community. Athletes like Kwan and Yamagachi had their moments but don't have a lasting legacy. I think that the lack of a strong and center AA female role model for AA girls is one of the reasons for the "sellout" phenomenon. A role model that can give a young Asian girl a Asian female presence to look up to can raise that girl's self-esteem in the face of whitedom and pressure to conform to their peers (white). Low self esteem contributes, as most of us would agree, to self-hate and/or hating one's race. I would like to nominate the late PATSY MINK, who died less than a week ago, as a stylish Asian American female icon. She was a Congresswoman from Hawaii who beat back the discrimination that was thrown at her for being a woman and an Asian-American. Her list of accomplishments is quite long if you would take care to look them up. She never sold out, and can go to the grave with glory on her face. RIP.
Thomas
thuang1@tulane.edu    Friday, October 04, 2002 at 13:14:05 (PDT)    [129.81.147.133]
Toshiro Mifune shows clearly that AMs can have beards, too. Except for Muslims, there are now few young Asians with beards. So watch Mifune on TV and let your beards grow.

Finally, it's time to mention Asia's greatest martial artist, director and actor, Jimmy Wang Yu. I only know four of the movies in which he's the main actor, as there are "One-armed boxer, pt. 2", Super Dragon", "Swift Shaolin Boxer" and another one, but I never saw one of his best movies. However, Wang Yu appears actually to be more Asian than Bruce Lee. The mix of martial arts and horror movies is absolutely cool and reflects much Asianness. No Christianity, no Buddhism, no trash. All about hard work and suffering, nothing just for fun. Young people should learn from such older movies like Wang Yu's in the 70's.
different Asians
   Friday, October 04, 2002 at 01:24:25 (PDT)    [193.159.24.109]
I really like Joan Chen, Vivian Wu, Rosalind Chao, Zhang Ziyi, Ming-Na Wen, Lucy Liu, Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yao Ming (Houston Rockets), Michelle Kwan, Michelle Yeoh, and I guess Jet Li. I admire those people.
dsfbcbsijbdax
   Thursday, October 03, 2002 at 07:55:36 (PDT)    [148.4.18.92]
I'll always remember John Lone as Joey Tai. He was a cold–blooded druglord, but what a cold-blooded druglord! I also love Toshiro Mifune in all the Kurosawa flicks. The ultimate in masculinity.
BabyBaby
   Thursday, October 03, 2002 at 06:20:26 (PDT)    [66.98.101.48]

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