Michael Jackson, Vietnamese flags and Indian Kitsch

July 1, 2009

Here are just a few links to some interesting pieces:

+ Jeff Chang's thoughtful take on Michael Jackson. Say what you will about MJ, but he had talent. For our generation, he was a part of our childhood.

+ More protests at a Vietnamese language newspaper. A year after the paper ran a controversial photo, people are still protesting. (It's unclear what the photo included -- the OC Register reported that it was a photo of a foot spa with the colors and stripes of the South Vietnamese flag; the New America Media story reports it was a photo that included a foot on the South Vietnamese flag. Perhaps both are true. I can't seem to find the original photo that was printed). Some new things to note according to this New America Media story -- people have been red-baiting each other for decades, but now the people being called Communists are fighting back through legal avenues -- and winning. 

+ A piece in ColorLines by Sandip Roy about how Indian kitsch has become cool to mainstream America. Orientalism, anyone? You can apply this to a lot of Asian cultures. Trends come and go. Remember the popular Buddha beads? Gwen Stefani? Hot Topic and Urban Outfitters? This is a centuries-old tale, though with a new group. 


Momo Chang

Senior Contributing Editor

Momo Chang is the Content Manager at the Center for Asian American Media, and freelances for magazines, online publications, and weeklies. Her writings focus on Asian American communities, communities of color, and youth culture. She is a former staff writer at the Oakland Tribune. Her stories range from uncovering working conditions in nail salons, to stories about “invisible minorities” like Tongan youth and Iu Mien farmers. She has freelances The New York Times, WIRED, and East Bay Express, among other publications.



Thanks Momo, what a remarkable voice, I hope this launches her career.
I believe the photo was of a foot on the South Vietnamese flag, not of a f"oot spa with the colors and stripes of the South Vietnamese flag". Still, the article is interesting and I'm fascinated by this line in the article: "Since 1975, five reporters from the Vietnamese community in the United States have been murdered because they had in some way touched on the communism issue."
Hi Vi,Thanks for the note! Yes, it does say in the New America Media article that it was a photo that included a foot on the South Vietnamese flag, though in another story (OC Register), it says it was a foot spa with the colors and stripes of the South Vietnamese flag. I have always heard of this controversy as the "foot spa" photo. I made a note in the above post. Yes, it is a sad fact that at least five Vietnamese journalists in the U.S. were killed for seemingly political reasons. None of the killings have been solved.Momo
Im gonna miss Michael Jackson
Does anyone know the name of the Asian, or blasian girl that sung at his funeral.