Sunday, November 7, 2010

Asian-Americans are everwhere

Dunno if you noticed, but last week saw some pretty significant achievements by prominent Asian-Americans.

In the recent congressional elections, Nikki Haley became the first female governor of South Carolina, and the second Indian-American governor (after Louisiana's incumbent Bobby Jindal). Haley is her married name - she was born Nimrata "Nikki" Randhawa to Punjabi parents and later became a Methodist. I wish I could get more excited about Haley, but unfortunately she's a Sarah Palin-esque Republican and therefore she must be evil. Still, it's quite an achievement for a desi, and a desi woman at that, to get elected in a state that has previously only ever elected white males to that office. She even ran into some racial controversy from within her own party, with Senator Jake Knotts making the infamous comment "We already got one raghead in the White House, we don’t need a raghead in the governor's mansion."

Haley is not the only person of desi heritage to get into Congress this week; Michigan Democrat Hansen Clarke (pictured above right) was also elected, the first Bangladeshi-American to attain that office. Clarke's father was born in Bangladesh (though technically was part of Pakistan at the time) and his mother is African-American. He was originally a Muslim but converted to Christianity; seemingly a prerequisite for someone of South Asian heritage to get elected in this current political climate.

Meanwhile an Asian-American group has been at the top of Billboard's Hot 100 chart (although as of this weekend they have dropped down to number 2). Far East Movement's track Like A G6 actually succeeded another song by an Asian-American at the top spot - Just The Way You Are by Filipino/Puerto Rican singer/songwriter Bruno Mars.
Personally I'm not all that keen on either song, but I'm too old and grumpy now to be into whatever the kids are listening to these days anyway. Mars though does get serious points from me for his previous number 1 hit Nothin' on You (alongside B.O.B.) and for co-writing Cee-Lo's excellent track F*** You.

And we also saw the first NBA points for rookie point guard Jeremy Lin. Lin may or may not have a glittering career ahead of him, but he has won the adulation of millions for continually overcoming the underdog status attached to being an Asian basketballer (Lin is born in the California to Taiwanese parents).
While the NBA has seen a number of overseas players from China such as superstar Yao Ming, Lin is the first American of Chinese descent to play in the league. He is also only the 3rd Asian-American to appear in the NBA, after Wataru Misaka in 1947, and half-white and half-Japanese Rex Walters in the 1990s. A star in high school, he was not offered any athletic scholarships and ended up at Harvard instead. He led the Ivy League team to break numerous records and graduated with a degree in economics, yet was still not drafted by any NBA team. He did receive a later offer from the Golden State Warriors, and in the below game he only played 11 minutes, but finished with a very creditable 2 points, 4 steals and 3 assists.

No comments:

Post a Comment