Asia Pacific Arts’ Best of 2013 Issue

Asia Pacific Arts’ Best of 2013

Looking back at 2013, Kpop only got more popular, Hollywood got more Asian-influenced, and there were lots of winners all around!


Hollywood and Asia

Asian Films 

Asian American Films

Best KPop Artists 

Chinese Variety Shows 

Taiwanese Dramas

Fashion Faux Pas 

25 Reasons to be Proud to be Asian This Year

and more!

Click here to browse through the lists.


Friend-Love in Comic Form

Somewhere Between Friends and Lovers: Interview with Comic Artist Yumi Sakugawa

Illustrator Yumi Sakugawa’s debut comic book I Think I’m In Friend-Love With You explores the intense feelings that can come with a friendship that’s not quite romantic but feels just as all-encompassing.

by Ada Tseng

A hairy one-eyed monster spies on a face-less robot through the window of a cafe. “I have a confession to make,” the monster writes in a letter. “I think I am in friend-love with you.” The monster’s cheeks blush into a rosy pink color.

As the confessional continues, the monster daydreams about Facebook chatting after midnight, swapping favorite books, visiting their favorite food trucks, and laughing at each other’s jokes (even the unfunny ones). This desire is not based on lust, as there is no desire to cross any lines into romantic love; in fact, the very idea of it makes the monster uncomfortable. It’s more about having that “super awesome best friend” connection with another person that completely understands you. “Because what you find to be beautiful, funny, and heartbreaking in this world… is what I find to be beautiful, funny, and heartbreaking in this world,” the letter continues.

“Not surprisingly, it was based on friend-loves that I’ve had in the past,” says author and illustrator Yumi Sakugawa. “Society places such an emphasis on finding your soul mate, and intense stories about friendships often get pushed to the side. We don’t have the vocabulary for a ‘friend-love,’ for having an intense but platonic attraction for another person, and I think it was my own therapeutic way of processing that emotion. And I turned it into a comic.”

Click here for more.

The Ultimate Guilty Pleasure, Bollywood talk show Koffee With Karan

APA Top Ten: Favorite Koffee With Karan Moments

As the Star World India talk show returns for its fourth season of Bollywood mischief and gossip, APA picks our top ten funniest, cattiest and most revealing moments of Koffee with Karan.

by Ada Tseng

What is Koffee With Karan, and why is it such a guilty pleasure? For international Bollywood fans who don’t understand Hindi — but happily experience Truth, Beauty, Freedom… but above all, Love in mainstream Indian films through English subtitles — there was a time when it was difficult to find interviews with Bollywood stars that were in English (or subtitled in English).



Click here for the list.

Jose Antonio Vargas’ new documentary Undocumented

All-American Boy: A Conversation with Documented’s Jose Antonio Vargas

Two years ago, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who had made a career telling other people’s stories turned the camera on himself. After coming out as an undocumented immigrant in a 2011 New York Times Magazine essay, Jose Antonio Vargas is on a mission to correct the misinformation about “illegals” in this country and to show audiences that a broken immigration system is really about broken families.

by Ada Tseng

When Jose Antonio Vargas was 12, his mother sent him from the Philippines to the United States to live with his grandparents. Relocated to Mountain View, California, Vargas pledged allegiance to the flag of the United States of America every day at school, not realizing anything was awry (other than the fact that his mother was curiously unable to follow him to the US like she had planned) until he went to the DMV to take his driver’s permit test at age 16. A woman there told him that his green card was fake – and warned him not to come back there again.

Vargas’ grandfather, a naturalized citizen, then admitted he had saved up money to purchase the fake documents to bring Jose over. He had assumed Jose would grow up to work in the service industry, he’d live a low-key life until he married someone with papers, and then it would all be OK. It was all to give his only grandson a better future. Jose himself remembers as a kid in the Philippines, thinking that his grandparents lived an affluent life in America, while in reality his grandfather was a security guard and his grandmother worked in food services.

Two things derailed his grandfather’s plans for him: 1) Vargas came out as gay in high school, making the prospect of getting a green card through marriage much trickier (this was the ‘90s) and 2) the teenage Vargas, instead of letting the news defeat him, convinced himself that he could earn the right to call himself an American. In the next decade, he would work hard, get a job, pay his taxes, be successful, even earn a Pulitzer (as he did in 2007 as part of the Washington Post team covering the Virginia Tech shootings), and prove he had the right to be here. That this was his home, just like any other American.

Click here for more.


KoreAm Journal December 2013 Cover Story: David Choi

Charting the New Frontier

Think YouTube artists are just kids who croon popular covers from their bedrooms? Think again. Singer/songwriter/video producer David Choi is a pioneer in the YouTube music scene, and he’s helped pave the way for independent artists to be seen, heard and compensated.


David Choi is jet-lagged. He’s just flown back to Los Angeles from Korea, after being invited to attend the YouTube Music Awards in Seoul, and he has the KoreAm Journal cover shoot the next day, which leaves only 24 hours for a juice cleanse that will hopefully undo some of the bodily damage that a trip to Korea can bring—late nights, mouthwatering gluttony and all. A master of social media, Choi Instagrams his Chomp Eatery bottle of leafy green liquid for his fans. Over 3,000 people “like” this photo, but according to the comments, they seem more interested in his watery eyes, his hint of a smile, his unkempt brows and his spiky hair, rather than his diet.

The boyish Choi is 27, but could arguably still pass for a teenager, especially sitting cross-legged on the floor of his Los Angeles home with a cozy blanket wrapped around his shoulders, waxing poetic about the importance of not letting the practical rules of songwriting (or the world in general) stunt your creativity and apologizing when he rambles wistfully off topic.

For any skeptics who might still assume YouTubers are naïve college kids who record themselves in their dorm rooms for fun (or for vanity), David Choi may just prove you wrong.

Music runs in his blood. If he hadn’t found fame on YouTube—Choi’s videos have more than 117 million views, and his two channels have more than a million subscribers combined—he would have found a way to work in the music industry some other way.

Click here for more.

Director Chen Kaige’s latest Caught in the Web

The Perils of Social Media: Interview with Caught in the Web director Chen Kaige

Chen Kaige’s cyber thriller Caught in the Web, starring Gao Yuanyuan, Yao Chen, Wang Xueqi and Mark Chao, opens in Los Angeles on December 6.

by Ada Tseng

Over Thanksgiving weekend, the internet was set ablaze by a passive-aggressive airline feud between Bachelor producer Elane Gale and “Diane” in seat 7A, an “annoying passenger” who seemed to think her own need to make her family’s Thanksgiving dinner was more important than everyone else’s — and was making trouble for the flight attendants. Elane Gale sent her some sarcastic notes, which he tweeted publicly for the entertainment of others. The dispute ended with him getting slapped in the face, and he was heralded as a hero by some and called a bully by others. A few days later, another note spread like wildfire when someone purporting to be Diane’s cousin explained that Diane had just learned she was terminally ill, and her actions were not indicative of her normally kind-hearted personality. On December 3, Elane Gale revealed that it was all a hoax.

During the fiasco, American readers may have been puzzled about what was true and what was not. Chinese film fans may have had a different reaction: namely, this sounds a lot like the premise of the 2012 Chen Kaige film Caught in the Web.

Caught in the Web first opened in China in July 2012, and the film, which was selected as China’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars, makes its way to North American theaters this month.

Click here for more.