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Asian America: March 2014

Compiled by Mary Tablante

1. Jane Chu Nominated to Lead National Endowment for the Arts

1KANSAS CITY—President Obama announced his nomination of Dr. Jane Chu on Feb. 12 to become the next chairperson of the National Endowment for the Arts. The president said, “Jane’s lifelong passion for the arts and her background in philanthropy have made her a powerful advocate for artists and arts education in Kansas City.” Since 2006, Chu has been the president CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Chu’s extensive educational history includes an M.A. in Piano Pedagogy from Southern Methodist University and a doctorate in Philanthropic Studies from Indiana University.

2. ‘Beyond Bollywood’ Exhibit Features Indian-American Achievements


Washington, D.C.—An exhibit highlighting Indian Americans opened Feb. 27 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. The exhibit showcases photos, artifacts and more, featuring the achievements and contributions that Indian Americans and Indian immigrants have made in the United States. Topics on display include civil rights achievements, religion and spirituality. Museumgoers can view the exhibit in D.C. through February 2015. Afterward, the exhibit will travel to 15 locations around the U.S.

3. Poll finds Asian Americans Split on Immigration Reform

A Pew Research Center poll released at the end of January found that Asian Americans were divided on whether or not the U.S. immigration system is working. In the poll, 45 percent said the system “works pretty well and requires only minor changes” while 47 percent said the system “needs major changes” or “needs to be completely rebuilt.”

Eight-in-ten Asian American adult immigrants are either legal permanent residents or naturalized U.S. citizens.

4. Indian American is New CEO of Microsoft


Redmond, Wash.—Satya Nadella became the CEO of Microsoft Corporation on Feb. 4. Nadella has been with Microsoft since 1992 and was previously executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group, where he ran the company’s computing platforms and developer tools. Bill Gates said, “There is no better person to lead Microsoft than Satya Nadella. Satya is a proven leader with hard-core engineering skills, business vision and the ability to bring people together.” Nadella was born in Hyderabad, India in 1967 and his hobbies include cricket and poetry, according to Microsoft’s website.

5. Vietnamese Developer Removes ‘Flappy Bird’ Game Abruptly


Hanoi, Vietnam—The developer of a highly popular game removed his app on Feb. 8 from the Apple and Google Play store. Developer Dong Nguyen, who uses the handle “@dongatory,” tweeted, “I am sorry ‘Flappy Bird’ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird’ down. I cannot take this anymore.” The Flappy Bird game rose to popularity a week prior to Nguyen’s announcement and became the number one app on the Apple app store. It made a splash on social media, with many players of the game noting that it was addictive and extremely difficult. The game involved tapping the screen to keep a small bird in flight while passing through pipe obstacles of varying height. The game was so popular that it spawned many clones, causing the Google Play store and iTunes app store to block any app with the word ‘flappy’ in it.

6. First Asian American Romantic Comedy Released in U.S.


Independent and award-winning movie “Wedding Palace” is now available on Amazon Video and iTunes. The movie is the first Asian American romantic comedy and family movie to be released in the country and features a largely Korean American cast. “Wedding Palace” is the story of a 29-year-old Korean American man, Jason (played by Brian Tee), who falls in love with a woman from South Korea online, proposes to her and plans for a wedding in Los Angeles. When she appears differently than what she looked like online, Jason’s family attempts to find him a different bride. His family believes Jason is cursed and will die if he does not get married by age 30. To find more options to watch the movie, go to weddingpalacemovie.com.

7. LGBT Vietnamese Americans March in Lunar New Year Parade

Westminster, Calif.—LGBT Vietnamese Americans were allowed to march in this year’s Tet parade on Feb. 1 after they were excluded from the program last year. The marchers wore traditional Vietnamese clothing, each holding gay pride rainbow flags. There were about 70 marchers who joined the gay and lesbian organization Viet Rainbow of Orange County in the parade. A community group, the Vietnamese American Federation of South California, banned LGBT participants in the Lunar New Year parade last year, but city officials and community members urged the federation to reverse their decision for this year’s events.

8. DNA Test Confirms Twins Separated at Birth


Samantha and Anais, adopted twins from South Korea who were separated at birth and found each other on social media after 25 years, have confirmed through a DNA test that they are identical twins. The duo is making a documentary called “Twinsters” about their story and the film is now in postproduction. They started a Kickstarter project to fund their documentary and reached their fundraising goal on Feb. 15. Samantha Futerman was raised in the United States, while Anais Bordier was raised in France. Their story has appeared on AOL, Good Morning America and many more news outlets.

9. Controversial ‘Jeopardy!’ Champion Explains Winning Technique


“Jeopardy!” contestant Arthur Chu has drawn both support and criticism for how he plays the game. Chu said he drew the strategy from a “Jeopardy!” analysis website called The Final Wager. While typical contestants play the game in a top-to-bottom order, Chu jumped all over the board searching for the Daily Double and picked categories out of order. Chu won $102,800 in a four-day streak and took a break while the show aired a special until Feb. 24. Chu is an insurance analyst and comedian from Ohio.

10. ABC to Adapt ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ Memoir into Comedy Series


Two Asian American actors have been cast in an upcoming ABC comedy series that is based on Eddie Huang’s 2013 memoir, “Fresh Off the Boat.” Randall Park and Constance Wu have been cast to play Eddie’s Chinese immigrant parents. The memoir takes place in the 1990s and chronicles Huang’s childhood growing up in suburban Orlando. Huang is a restaurateur and cook who owns Bauhaus, a Taiwanese restaurant in New York.

11. Maggie Q Signs on to TV Series about Chinese Pirate Queen


Actress Maggie Q signed on to star in a mini series about Chinese pirate captain Ching Shih, a prostitute who turned into the commander of one of the most powerful naval forces in the South China Sea in the 19th century. Titled “Red Flag,” the series follows the pirate queen’s transition from espionage to conquering the Imperial Chinese, Portuguese and British navies. Maggie Q, who is half Vietnamese, recently starred in the CW’s “Nikita.”

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