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.
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.
Marie is a Korean American award-winning, widely published writer and author. In this episode she explains why it took her eighteen years to publish "The Evening Hero," her first novel for adults. And in the last portion of this interview, she reveals the recent astounding development in her autistic young adult son's ability finally to communicate.
Dr. McNeil has long been one of the leading Christian voices on racial reconciliation. She's spoken to tens of thousands of people, written several books on the topic, and teaches the subject at Seattle Pacific University. However, when 81% of white Evangelicals voted for Trump in 2016, Brenda decided she would no longer mince words when in front of them. She's also taken the bold step to include queer and trans people in the mission of reconciliation.
In this latest collaborative episode you'll hear Ken Kemp share some key takeaways from his second Civil Rights pilgrimage, and then we jump right into reacting to the Supreme Court's decision to vacate Roe v Wade.
Relocating to the Pacific Northwest and then the pandemic prompted physical therapist Dr. Kat Lieu to begin experimenting with Asian baked desserts in her new kitchen. That was 2020, and today she oversees the Subtle Asian Baking global community and has just authored the "Modern Asian Baking at Home" cookbook.
To celebrate PRIDE Month this year I finally landed the amazing Aiden Aizumi, a Japanese American trans-male who lives and works here in the LA area. His story is not only a testament to his courage and determination, but also how crucial it is to belong to a loving and supportive family.
All of us are hardwired from birth to seek meaningful connections, which is why we get so frustrated when we fail to make them or keep them. Singapore-based human connection specialist Simone Heng is traveling the world again, in order to help us all make better connections. She graciously shares her lessons with me in this episode.
My conversation this episode is with Phil Yu and Jeff Yang, who partnered with Philip Wang to write and curate the first definitive book about the increasing prominence of Asian American culture from the Nineties till today. Much more than a descriptive history of this unprecedented surge, their amazing book "RISE" oftentimes gives the reader experiences of the culture itself!
Attorney Dale Minami is most known for leading the legal team that overturned the conviction of Fred Korematsu. Forty years earlier, Korematsu had defiantly disobyed Executive Order 9066--which unjustly incarcerated over 100,0000 Japanese Americans during World War II-- which led to Korematsu v. United States, widely considered one of the worst and most racist SCOTUS decisions in American history.
According to the Dept of Homeland Security, domestic terrorism is a greater threat to the safety and well-being of Americans today than any potential outside forces. The recent mass-shooting and killing of Black Americans in Buffalo, NY, is just the latest terrorist attack. The young white gunman's rage was fueled by something called "the great replacement" theory. The Two Kens decided that it was time to talk about this.
Actor Dennis Dun is seared in our collective memories from his iconic role in "Big Trouble in LIttle China" (1986), but before he hit the big screen, he was learning his craft on stages in the Bay Area. In this episode he shares why he jumped at the chance to return to the stage in "King of the Yees," while also recounting how Director John Carpenter cast him in "BTILC," which soon became a cult classic.
Many fans of rock and roll somehow either missed "Fanny," or forgot about this first commercially viable, critically acclaimed all-female rock band, founded and fronted by Filipina Americans sisters June and Jean Millington. I tracked June down and she packed in more stories in her episode than any other guest!
This is a special episode for several reasons: My friend Patrick Hare is on the ballot in LA County to be a Superior Court Judge; the election is a month away on June 7th, but voters can mail in their ballots early; he would bring some unique and needed perspectives to the bench; I believe that once you hear from him, many of you will cast your vote for him, too.
And even if don't live in LA County, I think you'll find Patrick to be a fascinating person and our conversation to be worth a listen.
Starting on May 20th, veteran actor Christopher Chen will be in acclaimed American playwright Lauren Yee's "King of the Yees" at the historic and charming Sierra Madre Playhouse (Sierra Madre, CA). Learn why he's so excited to be cast in one of Yee's plays, and to be directed by the legendary Tim Dang.
In writing "When We Fell Apart," notable new novelist Soon Wiley has masterfully woven a story where his two protagonists come from very different experiences and places, yet share the struggle to carve out their own identities. Set in modern-day Seoul, it's also a love letter to Korea itself, but one that doesn't pull any punches.
Austrian sinologist Regina Larko launched her Hashtag Impact podcast while living and working in Hong Kong. She herself is a person of impact, and she has populated her show with a variety of people who are also making a difference in the world. Of course, all this talk about making an impact led to our facing our mortality by living more purposefully.
I last had Lisa Sharon Harper on in the immediate aftermath of the now-infamous "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville. She'd been part of a peaceful pushback by Christian clergypersons. She's recently published "Fortune," where she intertwines the experiences of ten generations of her forebearers and white America's history of passing racist, unjust laws. And in light of how some of the Senators badgered SCOTUS nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, we found time to talk about how ascendant BIPOC candidates are tested to see if they are "safe" enough to be given power and authority in historically white organizations.
Russell Leong, especially through his words, has long helped to shape the Asian American movement. He was an undergrad at SF State as students went on strike to demand an ethnic studies program. He was the editor of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center "AmerAsia Journal" for more than three decades, and then as the founding editor of "The CUNY FORUM: Asian American/Asian Studies."
If you didn't grow up as a certain kind of Christian, you might be dumbfounded as to why so many conserverative American Christians admire Russia's President Putin, despite his ahborrent abuse of power and his current unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Fong and Kemp discuss where this oxymoronic support comes from, and also discuss the Far Right's racist dog whistles aimed at Biden's SCOTUS nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Sean Lew has already made a name for himself as an innovative choreographer and dancer, but he's now carving out a new career as an actor. Currently playing "Chris" on the new hit FOX series "The Cleaning Lady," Sean talks about this shift for him, and really unpacks how he deals with the ongoing temptations to disconnect from the source of his creativity and passion.
Author, historian, and educator Dr. Pamela Rotner Sakamoto invested seventeen years of her life to be able to tell the unbelievable true story of the Fukuhara family, who had immigrated to the U.S. from Japan, where all four children were born. But when the patriarch died, his wife moved her young family back to Hiroshima. What followed was the rebellion of her two oldest children, and then the injustices, poverty and horrors of World War II.