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ASIAN AMERICA: THE KEN FONG PODCAST

Ken Fong gets to the heart of Asian American culture, history, and spirituality. Through interviews with culture-makers and -shapers in the Asian American community -- some you know, others you've never heard of before -- prepare to laugh, cry, and be amazed.
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ASIAN AMERICA: THE KEN FONG PODCAST
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Now displaying: Category: general
Dec 18, 2022

Ranger Yenyen Chan has been on the permanent staff of this incredible national park for the past 20 years. Not only is she an expert on its history, geology, and biology, but she's also the one to consult to learn of the vital contributions of many Chinese Americans to this iconic park. 

Dec 11, 2022

Bernice Chao continues to be recognized by her industry as an outstanding and creative leader. Even so, what impresses me about her is that she has partnered with Jessalin Lam to enable and empower untold numbers of other AAPIs to break through 'bamboo ceilings' by learning how to make themselves not only more visible to the powers-that-be, but also to themselves. Together they co-founded the now-global "Asians in Advertising" non-profit, host a biweekly podcast, and in November 2022 co-authored "The Visibility Mindset: How Asian American Leaders Create Opportunities and Push Past Barriers."

Nov 25, 2022

What started as a film project to chronicle the campaign of California State Treasurer John Chiang as he ran for governor later expanded into a rivetting documentary about the reality of hate-speech and violence aimed at innocent AAPIs, both in the past history of America and in the present-day scapegoating of AAPIs due to the politicization of the COVID pandemic. Public affairs consultant and long-time civil rights advocate Ronald W. Wong, along with his Asian Pacific American Leadership Foundation, have produced "The Race Epidemic: Resurgence of the Yellow Peril," as a clarion call for more AAPIs to speak out and push back against racism and xenophobia aimed at our communities. 

Nov 20, 2022

First appearing on this pod on 22 October 2019 (#219), actor and now also writer Anu Bhatt recently returned to spotlight "Autocorrect," her debut short film that she conceived and created during the pandemic. Anu's character gradually finds the courage and determination to insist that her director (a white female) pronounce her South Asian name correctly. As you will soon learn, this was truly a case of art imitating life. On the surface, this is simply about asking people to stop mispronouncing non-Western names. But Anu reveals that this act of insistence is actually one example of when people decide that it's time to reclaim 'agency' over their lives for the sake of their own congruency and mental health.

Nov 11, 2022

The recent midterm elections officially ended on November 8th and we already know that there wasn't a resounding Red Wave of change as many had predicted. But we also may still not know the final outcomes of Senate races in Arizona and Nevada. The two Kens got back together the day after the midterms to understand why things didn't heavily tilt to the extreme right, as well as to puzzle over what this might mean going forward for Trumpism and the shape of the 2024 presidential contest.

Nov 7, 2022

Christopher Huang is a professional photographer who also blogs about how Hollywood handles race, especially as it pertains to Asian Americans. The recent casting of a young Black actor to star as "Ariel" in the upcoming "The Little Mermaid" live-action remake provoked quite a bit of disagreement. That's what led me to Huang's provocative blog on Medium (https://christopherhuang.medium.com/3-dimensional-portrayals-of-women-of-color-but-only-if-they-have-white-male-love-interests-9f06c78491a9?sk=cb91d715ac283b845549d4e149b23bed

I then invited him to give my listeners an abridged experience of how he sees this controversy and Hollywood's still-problematic history of telling white-male-hegemonic stories.

Nov 6, 2022

Untold numbers of Americans are celebrating the issuing of a new quarter dollar for the first time that features an American of Asian ancestry, the iconic actor Anna May Wong. Yet how many of us--even those who are Asian American--really know anything about Wong's storied career in Hollywood? Asians in Hollywood film savant Arthur Dong not only recounts the arc of this native Angeleno, but also tells us how we can view standout films from the 100 years of Chinese in Hollywood at the Academy Museum's theater (www.academymuseum.org) throughout the month of November.

To see one of today's AAPI actors exercise agency, check out Anu Bhatt's short film "Autocorrect" either at the Los Angeles Asian Film Awards on Saturday, 11/12 @ 6PM (https://filmfreeway.com/LAAsianFilmAwards/tickets) or the online screening from 11/12-15 (www.poweroffilm.xyz)

Oct 23, 2022

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed was a mild-mannered accountant from Bangladesh who may be the most influential person the majority of people in the world have never heard of. I only learned of him and his NGO's unparalleled innovations that are breaking the cycles of poverty because of American author Scott MacMillan's must-read book "Hope Over Fate: Fazle Hasan Abed and the Science of Ending Global Poverty." This is your opportunity to start learning Abed's story and to learn how the power of hope can actually be harnessed. 

Oct 16, 2022

This summer U.K.-based American author and activist Winnie M. Li circled back to my home studio, this time to talk about Complicit, her newest novel that takers readers behind the scenes and into the minds of those working in the film industry. From the rich and powerful men who hold all the cards, to the powerless young aspirants who far too often are their targets. As a survivor of sexual assault and also as one who worked in the movie business, Winnie has once again written a devastatingly relevant book.

Oct 9, 2022

One of America's funniest commentators on modern life, Sandra Tsing Loh, will be discussing her latest book The Madwoman and the Roomba: My Year of Domestic Mayhem, with Samantha Dunn, her co-host on Bookish and the senior editor of engagement at the Southern California News Group. Open to the public and free, it will be held at Beckman Auditorium @ CalTech in Pasadena, CA, on Thursday, Oct. 20th, at 6PM PT. To register, please go to www.events.caltech.edu and clink on link. By registering, you'll also be able to watch the livestream on YouTube.

Sandra and I never fail to make each other laugh, especially as we point out the quirkiness of being Asian Americans.

Oct 2, 2022

In this fascinating and informative episode, Yuri Sudhakar and Rick Abe joined me to share about their latest venture. Nudj Health is a tech-enabled health service that integrates evidence-based mental, behavioral, and social health aspects of patient care in collaboration with physician organizations nationwide. In short, Nudj Health has created a way for people's doctors to help them achieve their health goals like never before.

Sep 25, 2022

Long-time friend, former pastor, and fellow podcaster Ken Kemp ("The Beached White Male" podcast) and I finally resume our semi-regular collaborative conversation after being part for most of the summer. This time we reflect long and hard about why the powerful and privileged need to cry out in desparation to those who are marginalized or oppressed to come heal and save them. It's a fresh look at the parable of the Good Samaritan through the lens of the Samaritan.

Sep 23, 2022

The South Side of Chicago meets South Korea in "The Great Jheri Curl Debate," a heartfelt play where a business partnership between an African American employee and an immigrant Korean owner plus a touch of magical realism bring these two very unlikely friends closer to understanding themselves and each other. Ryun Yu, already a favorite of this podcast, stars as "Mr. Kim" and Julanne Chidi Hill stars as "Veralynn Jackson." The play runs from September 15-October 9 at the David Henry Hwang Theater in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles.

Sep 20, 2022

Filmmaker and broadcast journalist David Ono has created something that defies well-known descriptions. His "Defining Courage" is a tribute to the courage and patriotism of the Japanese American soldiers who fought and died during World War II, even as many of their family members were unjustly imprisoned in desolate prison camps. Combining his live narration with cinematic drone footage of five storied battlefields, accompanied by a choir and musicians, Ono humanizes the stories of those who served in the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service (MIS), while taking us all on an emotional journey to the places where so many lost their lives. 

Sep 18, 2022

Earlier this year, Dr. Thea Pham posted a TikTok video that has now been viewed over 100 million times on this and other platforms. And almost overnight she went from having just 20 TikTok followers to well over 400,000. Even if you already know what it was that she talked about, I promise that my recent conversation with her will be a deep dive into why she's connected with what so many people around the world are going through, too.

Sep 11, 2022

Why has a PE teacher in NY who hates to travel started a library, a gym, and a school in Kenya? According to Garrett, it was something he heard me say long ago at a Christian conference. Even if you're not a Christian, you'll find his efforts to live out The Hero's Journey quite fascinating. www.thegapmission.com

Sep 5, 2022

In response to an alarming number of Asian American deaths due to drug overdoses during the Summer of '72 in Los Angeles, local Asian American activists banded together and started the Asian American Drug Abuse Program. New CEO Dean Nakanishi and new trustee John Saito, Jr., not only reflect on the agency's history, but also talk about its impact and dreams for the future as AADAP marks its 50th anniversary this month.

Aug 28, 2022

Korean American Dave Young Kim today is an acclaimed and respected muralist, but he started out as an animal behavior major at UC Davis! His journey to covering gigantic exterior spaces with culturally-infused and contextually-informed art is mind-boggling. Dave is first and foremost a storyteller, and he will continue to search for creative ways to share his stories.

Aug 21, 2022

Earlier this year, narrative-historian Dr. Russell Low published his latest book, "The All-American Crew: A True Story of a World War II Bomber and the Men Who Flew It." Once again, Low's prodigious research and masterful storytelling has resulted in a book that not only details what it was like to serve together on a B-24 in the Pacific Theater, but also connects us to his father's and his younger brother Stan's stories. Over 20,000 Americans of Chinese descent served bravely and sacrificially during World War II, and yet America as a whole hasn't heard any of their stories. Through this book, Russell Low is helping to rectify that glaring omission.

Aug 14, 2022

When you learn how Amman Jordan first came across my podcast, you might be shocked to hear that he initially thought I wasn't worth listening to (it had to do with what he thought I was saying about the movie "Black Panther.")  To his credit, he hung in there and came to the opposite conclusion. Today, he loves my pod, and I'm so grateful to have a compadre like him in the effort to build a deep and lasting unity between African Americans and AAPIs, and with everyone else. Among things, this difficult work requires honest conversations between those who love and trust each other. That was definitely our aim here.

Aug 7, 2022

Coming on the heels of her Great Uncle Ted Ngoy AKA The Donut King, Cambodian American Mayly Tao grew up watching her parents resurrect a dying donut shop in Santa Monica, CA. After college, Mayly worked to refresh the shop's image, and pioneered all kinds of new donuts. You'll also learn how she's harnessed her "Mayly Magic" after her parents finally retired and she sold the business. 

Aug 4, 2022

Director Ron Howard's engrossing new movie "Thirteen Lives" takes us back to those weeks in 2018 where the world was holding its collective breath, wondering if the young Thai boys and their coach would ever be rescued from the flooded cave in Chang Rai. This episode gave me the unique opportunity to interview several of the key Thai players who've brought this gripping story back to life.

Jul 31, 2022

This episode highlights the hilarious and groundbreaking film "Easter Sunday," which opens in theaters on August 5th. Filipino American comedian Jo Koy, actress Lydia Gaston, and SIPA Director of Operations Hannah-Kalea Enriquez share why this new comedy will truly be a love letter to their community.

Jul 25, 2022

Back in June and July of 2018, the entire world was transfixed with the drama playing out deep within the flooded chambers of the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai Province in northern Thailand. Twelve young teens and their soccer coach found themselves trapped over two miles deep and half a mile down. Legendary director Ron Howard's newest film "Thirteen Lives" moves us to relive those unforgettable challenges, obstacles, sacrifices, and acts of heroism. And award-winning author Christina Soontornvat ("All Thirteen") adds remarkable detail and dynamism to this rivetting story.

Jul 17, 2022

In 2007 18-year-old Justin Chung was sentenced to 82 years to life for the  murder of one person and the shooting of another when he was part of a Korean American gang less than two years earlier. Throughout the 15 years that he spent behind bars, he refused to affiliate with any gang, renounced all violence, earned his GED and college diploma, and deepened his Christian faith. As a result, he was granted parole and California's Gov. Newsome commuted his life sentence to time served. However, due to the fact that he had committed an "aggravated felony" as an undocumented immigrant, ICE immediately began the process to send him 'back' to South Korea. Supporters are petitioning Newsome to pardon Chung, so that he won't be deported.

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