Harry Mok

Editor in chief

Editor in Chief Harry Mok wrote about growing up on a Chinese vegetable farm for the second issue of Hyphen and has been a volunteer editor since 2004. As a board member of the San Francisco and New York chapters of the Asian American Journalists Association, Harry has recruited and organized events for student members. He holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was also a graduate student instructor in the Asian American Studies Department. Harry currently works as an editor and writer in the communications department of the University of California Office of the President. He’s spent most of his career as an editor and writer for media outlets such as the San Francisco Chronicle, New York Newsday and the Associated Press.

Margaret Cho Takes Action


I'd like to thank Margaret Cho for graciously agreeing to be the cover model for Hyphen's Action Issue. The theme is right up her alley. She's known as much for her community activism as she is for her comedy.

Photographer Ryan Schude had the fruit smashing antics of Gallagher in mind when he was planning the photo shoot with Cho. The photos of Cho killing a sandwich (the cover shot), melons and a pinata turned out great.

Marie Claire: Asian Women Are Trophy Wives

This subject gets rehashed every few months, and this article in Marie Claire magazine by Ying Chu doesn't add much to the discussion

The article just seems to point out that a number of rich and powerful white men are married to Asian women, so therefore, they are trophy wives. Woody Allen and Soon Yi-Previn have been together forever, so there's nothing new to report here.

Edward Chen, Dolly Gee, Jacqueline Nguyen Nominated as Federal Judges

President Obama has nominated two Asian Americans to be federal judges in California. If confirmed, Edward Chen would be the first Asian American federal judge for the Northern District. Dolly Gee and Jacqueline Nguyen would be the first Asian American females judges for the Central District

Update: Military Board Says Lt. Dan Choi Should Be Discharged

dan_choi.jpgCalling it a setback and "an opportunity to keep fighting," Lt. Dan Choi faces discharge from the Army National Guard for violating the "don't ask, don't tell policy" for gays and lesbians in the military.

A military administrative board recommended
Tuesday that Choi, who outed himself on national TV in March to protest
"don't ask, don't tell," be discharged for violating the policy against
homosexual conduct.

President Obama had promised to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" but hasn't done anything about it so far.

It could be a year before Choi is actually discharged, so stay tuned. In the meantime, support Choi by signing his petition.

Lt. Dan Choi Speaks Out For Gay Rights

Here's the speech Army Lt. Dan Choi gave on Saturday at the Pink Triangle unveiling ceremony in San Francisco as part of Pride weekend activities.

Choi is an Iraq war veteran, Arabic speaker and West Point graduate. Sounds great? But he is also openly gay, which the military has a problem with. Choi is fighting his dismissal from the Army National Guard for violating the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

What Does 'Asian American' Mean?

In his latest piece at SFGate, Asian Pop columnist Jeff Yang wonders if the term Asian American has relevance in today's world. Activists began using "Asian American" during 1960s civil rights movement as a way to forge their own identity in a society that considered them orientals and outsiders.

What does Asian American mean now? It's a question we grapple with at Hyphen all the time. We've made a conscious decision to avoid topics such as anime and other pop culture from Asia, to keep the American provenance clear. But is the line between Asian and Asian American less crucial or meaningful to watch, now?

Ronald Takaki Took His Own Life

Distinguished Asian American historian Ronald Takaki took his own life Tuesday. He had struggled with multiple sclerosis for many years. "He couldn't deal with it anymore," his son Troy Takaki said in an obituary in the Los Angeles Times.

The Oakland Tribune also ran a nice obituary on Takaki.

A public memorial service is being planned. The family requests that any memorial donations be sent to the Asian Law Caucus, 55 Columbus Ave., San Francisco, CA 94111.

Hyphen Lynx: Sriracha Sauce Origins, Asian Americans Hit Silicon Valley Glass Ceiling


  • Every so often when I'm in Southern California, we take the drive out
    from Los Angeles proper to the eastern suburbs, and when the exit signs
    for Rosemead pop up, I always think of Sriracha hot sauce and wished I was the guy who came up with that gold mine.

The Rosemead-based company's stuff is in restaurants everywhere, and it was christened with an article in the New York Times this week that's being linked to all over Facebook and the Web.

  • Back in the San Francisco Bay Area, a study released this week shows that Asian Americans are few and far between in the corporate board rooms and executive offices of Silicon Valley companies.

Asian Americans make up more
than a third of the work force at some of Silicon Valley's biggest tech
companies but only about 6 percent of board members
and about 10 percent of corporate officers of the Bay Area's 25 largest
companies, the report says.

Hyphen's Lisa Lee Named to Angry Asian Man's 30 Under 30 List

lisalee.jpgHyphen's own Lisa Lee was honored by our old friend Angry Asian Man on his 30 Under 30 list of influential Asian Americans.

Angry Asian Man picked Lisa, Hyphen's publisher, "Because she's making sure Asian Americans have a voice in print."

Lisa has energized Hyphen since taking over as publisher in 2007. Our circulation has grown, our
partnerships and community involvement have grown, our website
has been redesigned and our blog is more vibrant than ever. 

Watchmen Screenwriter Alex Tse Talks About Adapting the Groundbreaking Comic


Film adaptations of comic books are a dime a dozen in Hollywood these days, with a track record that suggests studios are pumping out more Batman Forevers than Dark Knights. But what happens when your task is to bring the words of history's most acclaimed graphic novel -- and one of Time magazine's 100 greatest novels of all time -- to the big screen?

Enter Alex Tse, a San Francisco native who is the co-screenwriter of the much-anticipated Watchmen adaptation, which opened last week to the tune of $55 million. Tse first came onto the scene as the writer of 2004's multiethnic crime drama, Sucker Free City, directed by Spike Lee. Now with the success of Watchmen, he's in demand but still making time to return to his roots. Hyphen caught up with Tse before his visit to the 2009 San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival to learn about his climb from a kid in journalism camp to bona fide Hollywood screenwriter.

Read the interview in our web features area and comeback here if you have a comment. (Unfortunately, our publishing system doesn't allow commenting on articles.)

Obama Changes View of Racial Identity

Obama Changes Yumi Wilson's views on racial identity
Hyphen contributor Yumi Wilson says in her first-person essay that all her life she "had fought to be recognized as half-black and half-Japanese" and that her racial identity "was based on my experience as the daughter of a
Japanese-born mother and African American soldier. My love of Japanese
soba came from my mother's cooking. My choice of music came from my
father's taste for soul and R&B."

Gary Locke Is Likely Pick to Be Commerce Secretary

gary_locke.jpgFormer Washington Governor Gary Locke will join the Obama administration as commerce secretary, according to various media outlets.

If it's true, Locke would be the third high-level Asian American appointment by President Barack Obama, joining Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Veteran Affairs chief Eric Shinseki. Three top posts going to Asian Americans would surpass the Bush administration's record.

Bush Adminstration Not That Great for Asian Americans

george_bush.jpgFormer President George Bush appointed record numbers of Asian Americans in his administration, but on the whole, his polices on immigration, civil rights and education were detrimental to the community. That's the assessment from Hyphen contributor Connie Zheng in her analysis of the Bush years, just published as a Web feature.

San Jose Council Member Madison Nguyen in Tough Recall Election

madison_nguyen.jpgSan Jose City Council Member Madison Nguyen is fighting for her job over her vote last year to name an area of the city "Saigon Business District" instead of "Little Saigon."

Supporters of "Little Saigon" got the council to rescind its vote to use the Saigon Business District moniker Nguyen supported. They also initiated the recall effort for Nguyen, who represents the city's District 7.

David Chiu New President of San Francisco Board of Supervisors

New San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu was elected president of the the board after seven rounds of voting to pick the leader of the city's governing body. Chiu is the first Asian American supervisor elected to represent the area that includes Chinatown and one of three Chinese members of the board.

Sanjay Gupta Is Obama's Pick for Surgeon General

sanjay-gupta.jpgCNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is President-elect Obama's pick to be surgeon general, according to the Washington Post, CNN and other media outlets.

If confirmed, it looks like Gupta would be the first permanent Asian American surgeon general. Kenneth Moritsugu was acting surgeon general from August 2006 to September 2007.

Few Asian Americans in College Sports

A story in the San Francisco Chronicle points out the obvious but backs it up with numbers and anecdotes: There aren't many Asian Americans playing collegiate sports. Harvard basketball player Jeremy Lin says in the story, "It's a sport for white and black people. You don't get respect for being an Asian American basketball player in the US."

Hyphen Consumption Issue in Stores, Mailboxes Soon

hyphen_consumption.jpgHyphen's next issue is almost back from the printer and should be on newsstands and in subscribers' hands in the next week or so.

To preview the issue, see my editor's note and two of our many interesting stories. They are posted on the home page under the features ares.
Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth put the spotlight on global warming a few years ago. And along those lines, mass consumerism, the environment and green living are topics we touch upon in our Consumption Issue. 
To go along with our theme, we have a story focusing on poor and homeless people, many of them elderly Asian American women, who scoop up the bottles, cans and other recyclables. They are caught in a controversy over who has rights to the trash we discard. It's a topic that's made headlines recently.

In Redux, we take a look at Asian American comedians who mine ethnic humor for laughs, walking a fine line between funny and offensive. Margaret Cho, Henry Cho, Dat Phan and Russell Peters offer their insights.

Sex Education

Porn star Hung Lo wants to empower Asian American men.

There are a lot of stereotypes about Asian men, mostly that women don't find them sexually desirable and that they have small ... well, you know.

One man is taking the task of debunking these myths head-on, one video at a time. His name is Hung Lo, and he's an Asian American porn star.

"Media sets the standard for people's real lives," Hung says in a phone interview. "Having porn with an Asian male, we'll slowly see that Asian males are sexual."

Study: Glass Ceiling Remains for Chinese Americans

This may not come as a great shock, but a new comprehensive study of Chinese Americans finds that they face "glass ceiling" obstacles in the workplace.

According to a press release about study:

Chinese Americans, one of the most highly educated groups in the nation, are confronted by a "glass ceiling," unable to realize full occupational stature and success to match their efforts, and that on average, Chinese American professionals in the legal and medical fields earn as much as 44 percent less than their white counterparts.

Asian Americans in California Support Gay Marriage, Survey Says

In a survey of likely Asian American voters in California, 57 percent said they oppose Proposition 8, which would ban gay marriage in the state.

Among a younger, urban non-immigrant crowd this result may not be so
surprising but newer immigrants may be more anti-gay, as the article
points out. The data are part of a broad survey that was possibly the most comprehensive national polling
done among Asian Americans. Usually Asian Americans are left out of
surveys because the numbers are low compared to other racial groups.

Mr. Hyphen on CBS5 Bay Sunday Show

Watch Hyphen Publisher Lisa Lee and Mr. Hyphen 2006 Robin Sukhadia //cbs5.com/video/?id=40350 [at] kpix.dayport.com" target="_blank">discuss the magazine and the competition to be the world's greatest Asian American-male activist with Bay Sunday host Sue Kwon.