The stories “our people” tell, and the stories they don’t

Timothy Wang, the only guy on the American Olympic team, yet he didn’t get to be in the movie

(pic from here)

If you’ve got extra money on your hands and feel like giving it to yet another AF/WM movie (but this time on a non-romantic level!), see this Kickstarter: Top Spin. It looks like it’s “official,” as there’s a link right on the Team USA page. It features stories of Ariel Hsing (Asian woman), Lily Zhang (Asian woman), and Michael Landers (White dude) as they tried to get into the Olympics. If you look at the page, there are TWO Asian American producers (Mina Son and co-producer Yen Le), and lots of other Asian Americans who worked hard on making this film. So support our people, even if they won’t put Asian men in front of the camera! [/irony] See below:

N sent this to us here. He wrote:

“I’m not really into table tennis myself, but my friend was (he played in a lot of comps in high school) and he went something like this through Skype – “A documentry about Asian girls play table tennis, that’s brilliant, but why the f*ck are they filming a f*cking white guy when half the f*cking Table Tennis Olympic are Asian guys?””

So I did some research. Actually, it used to be even worse than “half the fucking Table Tennis Olympics.” According to Wiki:

Due to China’s dominance in the sport the format was changed in 2004 where competitors are divided into two groups such that those in the same country must be in their respective group. This format makes it such that one single country cannot win all three top medals – as have been the case during numerous Olympic tournaments, where China dominated in almost all events and won the vast majority of medals. In 2008, the doubles events were replaced by team events to lessen the emphasis on doubles play.

They needed a RULE CHANGE to make sure there were enough medals for non-Chinese.

In terms of the American Team USA…it looks like they’re only sending four athletesthree Asian women (Ariel Hsing, Lily Zhang, and Erica Wu), one Asian guy (Timothy Wang), and nobody else. But I guess Timothy Wang’s story just wasn’t interesting enough for an “American” audience. Never mind that there were probably hordes of other other Asian guys fighting to get a spot on that team. No one ever thought of showing their struggles?

Even right now, who is the U.S. Men’s National Champion in Table Tennis? Some dude named Peter Li.

I’m not angry at Michael Landers for taking the spotlight. He’s a great athlete and ought to be commended. He could kick my ass blindfolded. But really, why is it that everything in U.S. media seems to put Asian men in the back where we can’t be seen? Why does every film producer, even the Asian ones, seem to put White men out in front, as if Asian men have no stories deserving to be told? Asian men are representing the U.S. or competing to represent the U.S. So why bury our stories?

I especially feel bad for the Asian male athletes who work so hard at their sport, only to have their people in the media ignore them. Maybe Asian American filmmakers don’t believe that their own countrymen are American enough. The filmmakers really put a “Top Spin” on this story.

You know…fuck it. I may not have $75,000 in Kickstarter money, but I’ve got an internet connection and server space. Read about Timothy Wang here.

18 thoughts on “The stories “our people” tell, and the stories they don’t

  1. Okay, this is infuriating and depression. This hits a bit close to home for me. I mentioned before that my primary sport is fencing. While I’m not at all close to those Olympians (but one can dream right), I can feel the parallel as fencing is also a Olympian sport and actually have quite disproportionate number of Asians in this sport (though none made the US team this year). And I do not like this image of reaching the top and gets ignored while the guy who didn’t gets to be documented as well as the female squad.

  2. This is the reason why I get an allergic reaction when I see the phrase “Asian-American artist”. One should do a documentary on “Asian-American artists” just so that we can have a clearer understanding of exactly what creatures these be.

    And it really doesn’t help to spill so much ink over this. I’ve a hunch that they’re doing this on purpose, because it generates controversy and any publicity is good publicity.

  3. An Artist is supposed to challenge the status quo, right? Always trying to come up with something that is fresh and original? Something that is different, right? I’m not an “artist” so help me out here…

    The fact that many of these so-called Asian-American artists are furiously hell-bent on perpetuating one of the biggest fucking cliches the world has ever known leads me to believe that these lack the imagination and intellectual wherewithal to create anything worthwhile.

    So why bury our stories?

    I guess it was difficult to work an asexual martial arts villain character into documentary about table tennis…

    A little bio about Mina Son

    Mina T. Son is a documentary filmmaker originally from Garden Grove, California. She ventured into the world of filmmaking in 2006 with her first short documentary, In My Home, about her experience as a full-time caretaker for her mother. Top Spin, which she co-directed with Sara Newens, was selected as a 2010 Student Academy Awards Regional Finalist and won Best Short Documentary at the San Diego Asian Film Festival.

    Son strives to make films covering an eclectic range of topics, all with the common thread of offering a glimpse into underrepresented and rarely seen subjects and individuals. She is currently an M.F.A. candidate in documentary film and video at Stanford University. In 2007, she was awarded the Armed with a Camera Fellowship from Visual Communications.

    I guess in Mina Son’s world, the AF-WM combo is “underrepresented” and “rarely seen”.

  4. I’m so sick of “artists” and producers (whether of Asian descent or not) replacing stories where Asian American males with white males. Kobukson is right. The products of “Asian American artists” are suspicious at the very least. They’re no better with the products of Hollyweird like “21” and “the Last Airbender” where white people took over the roles that should have went to people of Asian descent.

    It’s really bizarre that the best representation of Asian American males has been through the “Harold and Kumar” films (made by Jewish producers and directors). Those “Asian American artists” that erase the roles of AA males should be ashamed of themselves.

  5. “This is the reason why I get an allergic reaction when I see the phrase “Asian-American artist”. One should do a documentary on “Asian-American artists” just so that we can have a clearer understanding of exactly what creatures these be.”

    Hahaha! I agree 100%.

    The term has absolutely no meaning whatsoever; it’s like trying to define the work of Picasso, Pollock, and Monet as simply “white artists” – it tells you nothing about what the artists stand for and what they represent in their work, or what their cultural perspective is. I wrote a post alluding to this subject recently….

    Asian-American arts/artists describes no worldview, no philosophy, no cultural perspective, no artistic point of view and in no way represents a creative “movement”. The term is meaningless.

  6. WOW! It got funded!

    Other than the lack of representation issue, what I want to know is who in the APA “community” are funding these types of films? Or is it generally more of the mainstream folks are giving money to it?

    When I saw it on Phil Yu’s blog it was hardly $30K and in a few days it got more than twice that?

    So, when I’m going to shoot my Star Wars fan film, I expect the APA blogs to bend over for my egomaniac “artistry” like they’re doing for those other projects. >=]

  7. I think Byron’s post might’ve indirectly put it over the top in funding. :b Maybe you should’ve held off til the deadline Byron! 😀

  8. When I saw it on Phil Yu’s blog it was hardly $30K and in a few days it got more than twice that?

    I’m sure the publicity he helped give it had a lot to do with it. The Angry Asian Man helps fund Asian-American film that discriminate against AMs.

    I believe there is a sports metaphor for something like this. It’s called an “own goal”.

  9. Haha! Great vid, Kobu! I especially like #2. The broken nose only adds insult to injury.

    Danny, Haha! I really hope I didn’t do an “own goal” on us. Maybe I should’ve first begun by making a kickstarter for Timothy Wang. I could’ve called it, “The Guy Who Made the American Team But Didn’t Make the Asian American Movie.” LOL!

  10. I’ll make it for free. There’s going to be hot cheerleaders supporting him in the background and he’s also captain of the math olympiads at his school and the cheerleaders fawn over him solving telescoping functions.

  11. Another blog where all hell breaks loose. Let’s start another Asian Men shitfest again. Let’s be honest here, there’s a lot of Asian men out there who detest their own gender kind for a number of same reasons as to why AFs who exclusively outdate.

    I’m waiting for Moro to chime in with his dash of optimism to spice up the smelly crap.

  12. God, STFU Chr! You aren’t Asian! I don’t know a single fucking Asian person that refers to themselves or another Asian as a “china man.”

    You’ve just outed yourself. We aren’t of a certain ethnic group that refers to themselves or others in their group as racial epithets.


    Anyways, I understand why you hate yourself. I’d hate myself too if my group were the least likely to graduate high school, attend and graduate from college, most likely to go to jail, make the least in salary out of all ethnic groups, have the highest bastard baby rates, and also the highest STD/AID rates.

  13. Anyways, the reason why “Asian-Americans” do these types of stupid films all the time because sadly a good number of “Asian-Americans” are messed up in the head.

    It is what it is.

    It’s like when I hear a good Asian-American band they have to go ahead and ruin it for me by giving themselves some “exotic” (that YTs especially get off on) name like “The Slants” or “The Chinks.” It’s like they’re not referring to themselves as how they’d refer to themselves as. They are calling themselves named they know YTs will love.

    There will never be “Asian-American” media because of this.

  14. Brutally Honest wrote: God, STFU Chr! You aren’t Asian!

    Uh, you’re actually complementing him. I can see him grinning after reading that.

  15. What a fool.

    Brutally honest is evidentially also brutally stupid. He actually thinks Chr… is Black. LOL! AOR (and all the other sock puppets you use to obscure that title), when are you ever going give up the Black boogeyman who’s forcefully been rogering you in your all of your nightmares?

  16. Pingback: Ariel Hsing should put off college | bigWOWO

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