Here is the Power Ballad Pac-Man Recorded for #MayweatherPacquiao. You Have To Hear It.

What more does the fight of the century need? An epic, 80’s style power ballad sung in Tagalog by a nation’s hero, of course.

Sometime last month, Manny Pacquiao recorded this song — “Lalaban Ako Para Sa Filipino” / “I Will Fight For The Filipinos” — and the official music video was uploaded to YouTube just over ten days ago.

Continue reading “Here is the Power Ballad Pac-Man Recorded for #MayweatherPacquiao. You Have To Hear It.”

Faces of Asian America: Being A Roller Derby Rockstar | #APAHM2014

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Thu Ngo is a former roller derbyist who goes by the name Viva Glam. Since the writing of this post, she has retired from active skating due to a knee injury but still actively volunteers for her league.

What is Viva Glam?

My name is Thu, but when I strap on my skates, I’m known as Viva Glam. I’m a derby girl – I play women’s flat-track roller derby.

Unlike the roller derby of the 70’s, there is no elbowing, tripping, or fighting – modern-day roller derby is full-contact and it is the real deal; the women who play it are true athletes. It’s the fastest growing sport in the world right now, but derby is still considered underground/alt, and we constantly fight to be seen as a legitimate sport. We do everything ourselves: skaters not only train intensely to compete in bouts, but they also take care of the business of running their leagues, handling finances, publicity, sponsorship, and recruitment themselves, in addition to whatever their lives entail outside of the sport (school, career, children, etc). We don’t get paid for it either – everyone involved in derby, from the skaters to the referees to the non-skating officials, is there out of love for the sport and the community.

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Review: “9-Man” documentary is a complex, thought-provoking challenge to Asian American stereotypes

9-man-logoOpening to a Boston theatre crammed to capacity with an audience that included current and former players of 9-Man and the mayor of Massachusetts’ city of Malden, 9-Man made its theatrical debut last night at the 2014 Independent Film Festival of Boston. It was an instantaneous hit.

9-Man spotlights the uniquely Chinese-American sport of 9-man, an eighty-year old variant of volleyball popular in the southern Chinese city of Toisan and surrounding region as well as in Chinatowns throughout North America.

As a documentary, 9-Man is richly layered. Although a film about a virtually unknown sport with deep roots in Chinese American history runs the risk of being unwatchably dry, 9-Man is instead a surprisingly funny, sharp and nuanced conversation about contemporary Asian Americana.

Film-maker Ursula Liang (@ursulaliang), whose background is in sports journalism, allows 9-Man to tell its story through intimate conversations with several 9-Man players, each amateur athletes who fully dedicate their summers to training as part of the sports’ four more competitive teams: the Boston Knights, the Boston Freemasons, the D.C. CYC, and the Toronto Connex. Each team is hoping to win the annual Nationals tournament, a Labour Day weekend contest that thus far been dominated by the San Francisco Westcoast, a self-professed ringer team consisting mostly of professional (6-Man) volleyball players who aren’t really part of the 9-Man culture or community.

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Pacquiao-Bradley 2: Will tonight mark the end of Pacquiao’s career?

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Tonight is going to be, as far as I’m concerned, the biggest night in boxing for 2014.

Manny Pacquiao, one-time Ring Magazine‘s pound-for-pound king and hero to Asian and Asian American boxing fans everywhere, is squaring off against Timothy Bradley Jr. in a hotly-anticipated rematch bout. Boxing fans will remember the highly-controversial first fight between Pacquiao and Bradley, which resulted in a 115-113 split decision in favour of Bradley by judges despite near-universal agreement by ring-side journalists and fans that Pacquiao won the fight (I was among those who felt Pacquiao was robbed). Notably, both judges who scored the fight in favour of Bradley — Duane Ford and CJ Ross — are now no longer active judges in the sport; Ross famously “stepped down” after handing over another absurd scorecard in the Mayweather-Canelo fight last year.

Tonight, Pacquiao and Bradley are calling a do-over of their first match in Pacquiao-Bradley 2 (HBO PPV, starting 9pm EST). And, the casual observer may assume that tonight will be a redemption for Pacquiao; however, the events of the intervening year since Pacquiao-Bradley I strongly suggest that tonight will go a different way.

Tonight is likely to mark the end of the Pacquiao era.

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9-Man: A bad-ass 80-year-old Chinese American version of volleyball!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YumoQVJdK4U

You’ve probably never heard of Nine-Man. I know I never have. But Ursula Liang, a sports journalist turned filmmaker, discovered this form of Chinatown streetball and created a film to document it.

With its roots in the 1930’s, when Chinese exclusion laws effectively restricted immigration and other legal rights of Chinese Americans in America and Canada, Nine-Man arose out of this virtual bachelor society as an escape from social and political alienation. From the documentary website:

“9-Man” is an independent feature documentary about an isolated and exceptionally athletic Chinese-American sport that’s much more than a pastime. Since the 1930’s, young men have played this gritty, streetball game competitively in the alleys and parking lots of Chinatown. When the community was a Bachelor Society (men outnumbered women 4-to-1) at a time when anti-Chinese sentiment and laws like the Chinese Exclusion Act forced Chinese restaurant workers and laundrymen to socialize exclusively amongst themselves, nine-man offered both escape and fraternity for men who were separated from their families in China and facing extreme discrimination and distrust. Today, some 80 years later, nine-man is a lasting connection to Chinatown for a community of men who know a different, more integrated America and it’s a game that has grown exponentially in athleticism. Nine-man punctuates each summer with a vibrant, aggressive, exhausting bragging-rights tournament that unites thousands of Chinese-Americans and maintains traditional rules and customs.

“9-Man” introduces the history of the game and a diverse cast of modern-day characters — from 6’7″ Olympian Kevin Wong to a 91-year-old pioneer — combining vérité footage and interviews with never before seen archival footage and photos sourced directly from the community. Pivoting between oil-spotted Chinatown parking lots and jellyfish-filled banquet scenes, the film captures the spirit of nine-man as players not only battle for a championship but fight to preserve a sport that holds so much history.

Honestly, I never bought into Linsanity, being not really a fan of basketball. But this seems like a super cool, authentically Chinese American cultural tradition that deserves documentation and exploration.

Liang’s film, 9-Man, will premiere at the Independent Film Festival of Boston on April 27th. It is currently also a finalist for the Grand Jury Prize at the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival.

If you can make it to either opening, please come out and support this cool independent film! Tickets go on sale next week for Boston and several screenings are available from May 2 -5 in LA. I’ll be trying to make it out to the Boston premiere.