Connect with us

Asian Voices

John Cho Recalls ‘Trauma’ Of Immigrating To The U.S.



Even with a successful career as one of the few Asian male leads in Hollywood, John Cho still remembers the pain and confusion he experienced immigrating the the U.S. 

In a recent interview with The New York Times, Cho recalled how terrifying it was to leave South Korea for a new country at 6 years old. The “Searching” actor told the outlet that it was “a great trauma to move countries and not speak the language and be made fun of for the way I looked and talked.”

The actor, whose family settled in Houston, reflected on the shame he felt during a particular show-and-tell activity in first grade. Cho said he was “very new” to the U.S. His father felt it would be a good time to expose his classmates to Korean culture. 

“So he made a little book with a map and pictures, like a little photo album, and sent it off with me,” he told the outlet. “He didn’t realize people brought in their teddy bears, and I was deeply, deeply embarrassed, but what could I do? My teacher was so excited that she saw a teaching opportunity, and I remember the map going down.”

Nowadays, he’s doing his own version of show-and-tell. The actor narrates the upcoming documentary “Korea: The Never-Ending War” and explained that his life has been shaped by the Korean War, a conflict that began June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea following several border disputes. The ensuing years were marked by a “time of great instability” and his parents decided to come to the U.S., the “land of opportunity.” 

“I guess maybe, if you’re my therapist here, this is full-circle coming to terms with that early childhood trauma, and really I’m doing that show-and-tell all these years later,” he told the outlet. 

While working on the documentary, Cho realized that he was aware of the “human side of the Korean people” in regards to the war, but was less knowledgeable about the military events. 

“That was new to me. It’s fair to say that the Korean War is, compared to the Vietnam War, undertaught in the American school system,” he told PBS.

But Cho was especially enthusiastic when taking on the role of narrator in part, he told the outlet, because he “wanted to get a Korean American voice in there.”

“For a lot of reasons, I was thinking about all the documentaries I’ve seen over the years about the Vietnam War; sometimes they included an Asian perspective but usually they lacked voices,” he told the outlet. “Simple things like bad pronunciation used to really bother me. My father used to say things like, ‘In America, you say “small town,” but if it’s not in America, you say “small village.” Why it is a “village” there, but a “town” here?’”

He added: “It’s that kind of perspective that made me want to participate.”

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Asian Voices

NFL Champion Sends Message To Fellow Asian American Football Star Taylor Rapp



Asian American NFL prospect Taylor Rapp received a message from two-time Super Bowl champion Hines Ward, who’s also of Asian descent. 

Ward, who dealt with his share of racism during his time in the NFL, had some uplifting words for Rapp, who’s awaiting Thursday’s draft, captured in a promo video. 

“I know you’ve heard it before: ’Asians can’t play football,’” Ward says in the video. “I still remember the first time I heard it. But I learned something too. those words can be a gift. You can feed off that energy. Turn that hate into wins.”

He concludes: “So Asians can’t play football, huh? I’d say we’re pretty darn good.”
Asians make up less than 2 percent of the players in the NFL. While Ward was an extremely successful player in the league, becoming Super Bowl MVP back in 2003, he found himself the target of bigotry throughout his career. Following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Ward spoke out against the deluge of racist remarks and jokes made toward Japan and reflected on his own experiences as an Asian.

“I’ve been dealing with this my whole life. I still remember being called the Jackie Chan of football,” he told ESPN.

Regardless, Ward has emerged a champion for Asian Americans. In 2010, the former NFL player was sworn into the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, a group appointed by the president to help improve and increase access to opportunities for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. 

Rapp himself has been transparent about the struggles he’s faced as an Asian American football player with NFL ambitions. He revealed to that growing up as one of the rare Asian faces on the field, he was often taunted. He subsequently wrestled with his own identity. 

“They make fun of how you look ― your eyes, the widened, slanted eyes. There were a few instances where I was called the Ch-word. It was offensive to me. It made me embarrassed of who I was,” he said. “That’s why I never embraced it growing up. I was different than everyone else, and I didn’t want to be.” 

Since then, Rapp has grown to be proud of his heritage, displaying several conspicuous Chinese tattoos. And with guidance from fellow players who could relate to Rapp’s struggle, as well as the encouragement of Asians on social media who look up to the player, Rapp is now looking to be a role model for others. 

“To me, it’s about gaining a platform that will help inspire a generation of Chinese and Asian American kids,” he told “I don’t want to be just an answer to a trivia question; I want to inspire and have a real impact.”

Continue Reading

Asian Voices

Ali Wong Visits Zoo, Comes Up With Hilarious Metaphor For New Motherhood



It seems the woes of motherhood are way more universal than one may think.

Comedian and mother Ali Wong recently took a visit to the San Diego Zoo and was struck by the behavior of a pair of siamangs with a new baby.

On Tuesday, the 37-year-old “Baby Cobra” standup decided to share her hilarious thoughts on their parenting skills on Instagram, captioning the video: “Primates are all the same.”

While observing the female siamang with her baby, Wong can be heard saying:

“This is a perfect depiction of what new motherhood is like. She’s breastfeeding her new baby, and then the dad … “
Wong then pans to another siamang, which the zoo confirmed was the female’s mate, lazily laying on his back, doing absolutely nothing.
As for Wong’s husband, he can often be seen in the comedian’s social media accounts, striking a very similar pose.

Continue Reading

Asian Voices

Ronny Chieng Explains Why An Asian Would Make The Perfect President



Hey, Asians, the dude’s got a point. 

Comedian and “Daily Show” correspondent Ronny Chieng appeared on “The Tonight Show” over the weekend and made some pretty compelling arguments for why an Asian American would make an excellent president during his stand-up segment. He’s not wrong. 

“Government shutdown? There’s no government shutdown with Asian people in charge. We don’t shut down for anything. We don’t shut down for Christmas. Do you understand?” Chieng joked, referring to Chinese restaurants’ typical work schedule. “We work through public holidays. Any city in America ― when it’s 3 a.m. and you’re hungry, where do you go? You go to Chinatown! It’s where you go.” 

The comedian said that, with an Asian president in the White House, “we’ll fix this place in a week. I promise you.”

“Because we don’t care, we just want things to work. Imagine all the Asian people in government just going down the list of broken things in America, fixing this one-by-one with no agenda ― just pure logic.”


Chieng’s set drew a standing ovation from the crowd. Because, well, FACTS. Some people on social media even called for Chieng to run for president. 

There are currently three candidates of Asian American or Pacific Islander descent who’ve announced they’re running for president: Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

There’s no word yet on whether they plan to keep the White House up and running during Christmas.

Continue Reading