Millennial Love Column: #RomanceIsNotDead


Nearly 10 years ago, my very first boyfriend asked me out by recording a message on a mix CD that instructed me to meet him on the school stage the next morning. There, in front of the whole world (and by “the whole world” I actually just mean the kids in high school), he gave me my first kiss and handed me a box containing 143 folded paper hearts — which he had made during the nights we stayed up talking on the phone. Was I swooning? Yup. Was I turning a dangerous shade of red that only looks appealing on tomatoes and stop signs? You bet I was.

By the time I got home that night, I was practically exploding in giddiness as I told the story to my family. Now, I was prepared for my mom’s teasing, and I even expected my brother to throw up a little, but who could’ve foreseen my grandma’s reaction? She sighed in disapproval and mumbled something about romance being dead.

Have you ever seen a balloon deflate? That’s about the best description I have of how I felt in that moment. How could my grandma — my wise, sage grandma — think that romance was dead after the incredible day I just had?

After much prying, she finally explained that she was upset because the “rude boy” didn’t pick me up at the door on our first date, and those “scraps of paper” could never compare to roses.

I cracked a smile of relief. Of course she felt that way. This wasn’t the first time I’d been told Millennials didn’t know a thing about romance. You see, in my grandmother’s eyes, as well as many Boomers and Gen X’ers, boys these days lack chivalry, serious relationships are traded for casual “hook-ups,” and communication is only done through a computer or phone screen. Given that perspective, I completely understand why people think romance is dead.

But I’m here to let you in on a secret: Romance is alive and well. The naysayers simply don’t recognize it because they’re looking for the wrong things. Romance changes, grows and adapts. The way we show and perceive romance now may not look like it used to, but has it disappeared? Of course not. Here’s why.


Myth #1: Chivalry Is Dead
According to the old-school definition, the quintessential romantic gentleman should pay for my meal on dates, spoil me weekly with flowers and pick me up at my front door. But there’s a problem with that theory. First of all, I quite frankly don’t care how much a man spends on me. I know from firsthand experience that being a college grad drowning in student loans is no joke. So I have no intention of putting anyone through the extra pressure of paying for two if he simply can’t. Second and most importantly, it’s the 21st century. Who says I need a guy to pay for my meals?

And sure, not every guy knocks on my door to pick me up for a date, but I’m actually quite relieved when someone shoots me a text instead. Not only is texting a faster and more efficient way to get me, there’s also no need to freak out about that mess in the living room and I have time for my last touch-up in the mirror.

Believe me, I appreciate chivalry just as much as the next girl, but this does not equate to romance in my book. I know plenty of men who are still working towards financial stability and can’t afford flowers on a regular basis, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be romantic. On the other side of the spectrum, I know even more men who know everything about holding doors open and nothing about the kind of romance that gives you butterflies.


Myth #2: It’s All About Hooking Up
I won’t deny it. Our generation has mastered the art of keeping things casual, especially in college. And don’t get me wrong — I’m not trying to argue that hookup culture is romantic. I do, however, believe that fully understanding hookup culture (and why we partake in it) is important to seeing why romance is sometimes put on hold.

Hookup culture is one that encourages casual relationships and sexual encounters, while generally staying away from serious relationships. What some people don’t realize is that we keep our love life casual during the times that we need to take our career life seriously.

Decades ago, it wasn’t rare for a couple to get married right out of high school or college. Nowadays, ask someone in their mid-20s about marriage and many will say they’re nowhere near that stage of life. We live in a world of low employment opportunities, high competition and even higher stress and depression rates. Getting into college has become harder than ever and becoming financially stable after graduating is even worse. Do you really think our focus is on marriage right now?

We have not, by any means, traded romance for a culture of hookups. We’re simply making sure we mold the best versions of ourselves until we’re ready for a serious, romantic relationship.


Myth #3: Technology Killed Romance
This is simultaneously the most valid argument and yet the biggest misconception here. I say that because I can completely understand why older generations think texting, online dating and the Internet in general gets in the way of proper romance. After all, I’m sure they shake their heads at couples who spend dinner dates scrolling through Instagram instead of talking.

But I would argue that technology has actually helped make us openly romantic and sometimes extravagantly so. What are texts if not instant love letters? What is online dating if not the romantic pursuit of finding someone you may have otherwise never met? Yes, we are obsessed with taking pictures of our dates, but isn’t that just an effort to physically preserve our memories?

Men no longer are limited to dropping an engagement ring into a champagne glass. YouTube has allowed us all to see extravagant proposals using flashmobs, scavenger hunts and hidden cameras. We’re publicly displaying our love and doing so creatively and loudly. Yes, our methods are showy — another criticism we often receive — but spend an hour looking up wedding proposals online, and you’ll take back everything you said about romance being dead.

Want to learn how to play your crush’s favorite song on the guitar to serenade her? Go find a tutorial online. Want to tell her how you’re feeling but can’t find the words? Find the perfect song on YouTube. Want to get the perfect Valentine’s Day present? Check her pins on Pinterest. Want to reassure her that there’s no one else? Let everyone on your social media platforms know your heart is taken.

Flashmobs, texting and social media may not be included in the traditional definition of romance, but if my guy posts that embarrassing picture of us just because he knows I love it, then that sure counts for me.
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This story was originally published in our Spring 2015 issue. Get your copy here

Celebrate Earth Day With 5 of Asia’s Most Beautiful Spots

One of Buzzfeed’s top posts is a list called “27 Surreal Places To Visit Before You Die.” Since it’s release in 2013, the list has gained over 10 million views and for good reason! All of the locations are absolutely breathtaking.

In honor of Earth Day, we’re taking a closer look at the five locations in Asia that made it onto this list to remind everyone that the earth is capable of such beauty. Lets work to keep it that way.


1. Zhangye Danxia landform in Gansu, China

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The Danxia landforms are sandstone formations most known for (you guessed it) their vibrant color patterns. They are located in a remote region in northern central China. The mountains and hills retain such color because Danxia landforms are composed of red sandstone. Mineral deposits were compressed into rock for 24 million years, thus gaining colors ranging from deep red to yellow and green.

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2. The Hang Son Doong cave in Quang Binh Province, Vietnam

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The Sơn Đoòng cave is currently the largest known cave in the world and is located near the border of Laos and Vietnam. It is five times larger than the Phong Nha Cave which previously held the record for being the biggest cave in Vietnam. Although it was created 2-5 million years ago, the cave did not become public knowledge until 2009. Inside, there is a fast flowing underground river as well as cave pearls the size of baseballs.

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 3. Hitachi Seaside Park in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki, Japan

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This popular tourist destination has been given the nickname “flower paradise” because the 32,000 square meters of flowers look amazing all year long. With each passing season, a different variety of flower will blossom throughout the Hitachi Seaside park such as the Nemophilas. The popular blue flower blossoms annually during springtime.

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4. Bamboo groves of Arashiyama in Kyoto, Japan

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These Japanese bamboo groves, located in Northwest Kyoto, are a tourist favorite. The gorgeous line of bamboo not only looks beautiful, apparently it sounds beautiful too. Amusing Planet notes, “The sound of the wind in this bamboo forest has been voted as one of ‘one hundred must-be-preserved sounds of Japan’ by the Japanese government.” The bamboo in this grove is still used to manufacture various products such as cups, boxes, baskets and mats in the area.

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5. Kelimutu crater lakes in Flores Island, Indonesia

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Kelimutu is a small volcano in the central Flores Island of Indonesia. It has gained popularity because the volcano has three craters which each contain a lake with a different color. The lakes periodically change colors from red and brown to turquoise and green, independent of each other. The lakes are named Tiwi Ata Mbupu (Lake of Old People), Tiwu Nua Muri Kooh Tai (Lake of Young Men and Maidens) and Tiwu Ata Polo (Lake of Evil Sprits, or Enchanted Lake). The scientific explanation behind the colorful lakes? Chemical reactions from the minerals in the lake are triggered by the volcano’s gas activity.

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This story was originally published in 2014. It has been republished in honor of National Earth Day. 

Top 10 Most Outrageous Asian Superstitions

I had only been out of the shower for five minutes before my mom walked into my room to give me the same warning she’s repeated to me a hundred times before. “Don’t go to bed with hair wet, ” she casually reminded me. “And stop cutting your nails at night. Someone in the family will die if you do that.”

Morbid? You bet. Oddly enough, after a lifetime of hearing Filipino superstitions, these dark warnings were nothing out of the ordinary. After all, during the night we’re also told not to whistle, pound on doors, or comb our hair. I would tell you the reason behind each superstition, but it gets a little difficult to keep track of all the ways one can apparently cause death and disease.

While every culture has their share of crazy superstitions, it’s safe to say that Asian cultures have some of the craziest. We’ve decided to round them up for you. Here are 10 of the most bizarre and outrageous Asian superstitions:



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1) Clipping nails at night.
While Filipinos believe that cutting your nails or toenails at night will bring a death in the family, Chinese superstition claims that cutting nails at night will bring ghosts and evil spirits. Do I believe in these superstitions? Nah. Will I avoid the nail clipper anyway because I’d rather not have an evil spirit show up? Yup.



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2) Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.
Who doesn’t love being a bridesmaid? You get to doll up and celebrate the happiness of a dear friend or family member. But according to Chinese culture, you don’t want to be a bridesmaid more than three times. If you do, you won’t be able to find a husband for yourself. Goodluck telling your BFF you can’t be her bridesmaid because she got married too late.




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3) Blinding butterfly.
Ahh, the butterfly. Even those who don’t like insects can appreciate the beauty of the butterfly. However, according to Korean superstition, these dainty creatures have quite an evil to them. Apparently, if you touch a butterfly (or moth) then touch your eyes, you will go blind. So much for butterflies being the safe insect.



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4) There can only be one.
It’s not uncommon to find a mirror somewhere on the front door of an Asian establishment or home, but as it turns out, there’s a very specific reason for this. According to Vietnamese superstition, mirrors are placed on the front of doors to ward off dragons. That’s right. Dragons. Apparently, if a dragon tries to get in, he will see his reflection in the mirror and assume that there is already a dragon inside. And of course every dragon knows there can’t be more than one in a room. Duh.



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5) The Moon doesn’t appreciate your pointing.
Imagine being on romantic date and looking up at the stars. Suddenly, the clouds shift and a full moon comes into view. You point up at it to show your beautiful date, but then you realize you can’t hear her response. Oh yeah, that’s because your ears have fallen off. According to Chinese superstition, that’s what happens to you if you point at the moon with your finger. Who comes up with this stuff?




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6) To kill or not to kill?
If we couldn’t get you to trust butterflies, then there’s no hope for spiders, right? Well according to Japanese superstition, a spider can bring good luck if you catch it at the right time. If you see a spider in the morning, don’t kill it! Morning spiders are said to bring goodluck. However, if you see a spider at night, squish it as fast as you can because night spiders are bad luck. So what about afternoon spiders?



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7)The birds and the bees.
Not ready for children? Then you better avoid stepping over a woman’s stretched legs. Sure there’s many more… technicalities to getting a woman pregnant, but Cambodian superstition says that stepping over a woman’s legs will definitely increase your chances. Similarly, Filipino superstition says that if a pregnant woman hops over her husband, he will take on the discomforts of pregnancy such as morning sickness. Looks like the birds and bees talk is much more complicated than we thought.




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8) Shots, please?
If your husband stepped over your legs and you find yourself pregnant, you ought to start managing what you eat for the sake of the baby. Cambodian superstition takes this idea one step further. Apparently, if you drink coffee, your baby will have darker skin. On the other hand, if you drink alcohol, your baby will have lighter skin. Call me crazy, but I’m going to go ahead and say you should probably ignore that last suggestion about drinking alcohol while pregnant. That’s just my two cents.



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9) Ugly baby.
To every new parent, their baby is the cutest, most precious tiny human in existence. But according to Vietnamese, Thai and Indian superstition, you better not say that out loud because showing too much admiration for a baby will get the devil’s attention and he will take the desirable child away. In fact, some cultures suggest you call a baby ugly just to trick the devil. Talk about messing up someone’s self-esteem early. Mothers in India even put kohl on their baby’s face to make the baby look “imperfect.”



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10) Cat nap or snake nap?
Our final outrageous Asian superstition is one from Southeast Asia that warns you not to lie down after eating. Why? You will turn into a snake. That’s it. No explanation and no account of it ever happening, but this superstition still insists that you will literally turn into a snake. Japanese superstition says the same thing about lying down to nap after eating, but this time you turn into a cow, pig or elephant.



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The Label Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story: Powerful Campaign Shines Light on Sweatshop Horrors

Earlier this year, we got a glimpse of the miniseries Sweatshop: Dead Cheap Fashion, where three Norwegian fashion bloggers were sent to Cambodia to live as sweatshop workers for a few days. It didn’t take long for the bloggers to be moved to tears over the horrifying treatment of the sweatshop workers.

But since many of us have not actually experienced the harsh conditions of a sweatshop factory, the advocacy group Canadian Fair Trade Network and ReThink Communications have created a powerful campaign called “The Label Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story.” The campaign aims to shine light on these atrocious conditions, get people talking and encourage everyone to shop more consciously.

How will the campaign achieve this consciousness? Well, we may not know what the inside of a sweatshop factory looks like, but we certainly know the finished product. As such, the campaign utilizes what we don’t ignore– the clothes we purchase.

Each photograph in the campaign shows an article of clothing, but it’s not the actual clothes that’s eye-catching. Instead, it’s the abnormally long clothing label attached on the inside. Instead of merely listing what the garment is made of, the label describes what someone had to endure to create that piece of clothing.



“100% cotton. Made in Cambodia by Behnly, 9 years old. He gets up at 5:00 am every morning to make his way to the garment factory where he works. It will be dark when he arrives and dark when he leaves. He dresses lightly because the temperature in the room he works reaches 30 degrees. The dust in the room fills his nose and mouth. He will make less than a dollar, for a day spent slowly suffocating. A mask would cost the company ten cents. The label doesn’t tell the whole story.




“100% cotton. Made in Bangladesh by Joya who left school at the age of 12 to help support her two brothers and newly widowed mother. Her father was killed when a fire ripped through the cotton factory where he works. She now works in the building across the street from the burned down factory. A constant reminder of the risk she takes every day. The label doesn’t tell the whole story.”




“Made in Sierra Leone by Tejan. The first few times he coughed up blood he hid it from his family. They couldn’t afford medical treatment and he couldn’t risk losing his long-time job at the cotton plantation. When he fell into a seizure one day it could no longer be ignored. The diagnosis was pesticide poisoning. The lack of proper protective clothing has left him with leukemia at the age of 34. He has two daughters. One of them starts work at the factory next year. The label doesn’t tell the whole story.”


According to Clean Clothes Campaign, despite the fact that Cambodia shipped over $4 billion worth of products to the US and Europe in 2012 alone, Cambodian garment workers currently earn only around $100 a month. That’s not even enough to cover the basic needs of a family.

As the labels prove, even worse than the unbelievably low salaries are the conditions of the factories and the treatment of the workers. Some companies use Duromine to suppress their workers’ appetite. Others enforce unthinkable hours of labor, have unsanitary working conditions, and simply create a hazardous environment for workers.

Find out how you can get involved.


All photos courtesy of The Canadian Fair Trade Network

Get Ready for Pakistan’s First Full-Length Feature Animated Film


In 2013, we said hello to 16-year-old Kamala Khan. More commonly known as Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan was Marvel’s very first Pakistani-American Muslim superhero. And if you were happy with just one Pakistani superhero, we have some good news. Three more are on the way!

11-year-olds Saadi, Amna and Kamil star in Pakistan’s very first full-length feature animated film, 3 Bahadur. The title, which translates to “three brave,” is quite a fitting description for our young heroes. When the three children suddenly acquire superpowers, they decide to rid their city of all the evil that plagues it.

The film was created by Pakistan’s first Oscar winner, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. In addition to her Academy Award (which she won for her documentary Saving Face), Obaid-Chinoy also has an Emmy, a Livingston Award and was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2012.

“Almost 3 years ago, I had an intense desire to create an animated feature in Pakistan which would appeal to Pakistani children everywhere,” Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy told NBC News. “As a nation, we have stopped producing quality content for our children. All of our content is imported and thus our youth grows up with mentors and heroes that are far removed from what they see around them in real life.”

Obaid-Chinoy had made it clear that she hopes to inspire the youth of Pakistan. In fact, the official website, which features exclusive content and releases weekly comic strips, allows children to submit stories which showcase their own “bahadury.” These inspiring tales will be considered for publication on the official website.

3 Bahadur is not just a movie. It is a movement,” Obaid-Chinoy explained. “The message we’re sending with this film is that ‘We shall overcome.’ Like these three kids (film main characters), we can face the challenges that come our way. You don’t need to be a superhero. You are a superhero.”

 3 Bahadur is set to release on May 22, 2015 across Pakistan.


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Happy Black Day: Korea’s Single Awareness Day

In America, Valentine’s Day means roses and a box of chocolates for our significant other. It is arguably the most romantic national holiday for us. Apparently, for many Asian countries, a single day to show love isn’t enough.

In Japan, Korea and China, Valentine’s day is celebrated quite differently. This holiday is an opportunity for women to present men with chocolate as an expression of love. Men do not give women anything in return until a month later. On March 14th, otherwise known as White day, men reply to the women who gave them gifts to indicate whether or not they feel the same.

As it turns out, White Day is not the only holiday we’re missing out on. A month after White Day, on April 14th, Korea celebrates yet another interesting holiday: Black Day.

As you may have guessed, Black Day is practically the opposite of the two romantic holidays. This is a day is for those who did not receive gifts on Valentine’s Day or White Day. Yup, this unofficial holiday is for single people.

To celebrate this day, people wear black and eat black-colored food. Specifically, people indulge in jajangmyeon, a noodle dish with a thick sauce made of chunjang (soybean paste), diced pork and vegetables. As sad as this holiday may seem, people have put in quite a bit of effort to make this holiday fun such as jajangmyeon-eating competitions.

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Want to celebrate this holiday? Check out how to cook jajangmyeon for yourself!

This story was originally published in April 2014 and has been republished in honor of Black Day. 

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Top 5 Times We Fell in Love with Lea Salonga


Just about everyone seems excited for Lea Salonga’s return to Broadway alongside George Takei and Telly Leung in the new musical Allegiance. The musical, which was inspired by Takei’s actual childhood experiences, premiered in 2012 at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. Much to the excitement of fans, Allegiance is now set to open on Broadway by November 2015, with previews as early as October 2015.

If you’re unfamiliar with the breathtaking talent of Lea Salonga, then today’s your lucky day! We’ve rounded up five of the many, many moments we fell in love with Salonga to give you a brief glimpse into why she has so many loyal fans.



1) A Disney Legend
You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t mention Disney when they talk about Lea Salonga’s achievements. In 2011, Salonga was honored as a Disney Legend and for good reason! Not only did she perform at the grand opening of Hong Kong’s Disneyland and help voice Mrs. Kusakabe in Disney’s English dub of My Neighbor Totoro, she is also famously known as the singing voice of Princess Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin and as Mulan in Disney’s Mulan. So the next time you sing along to “A Whole New World” and “Reflection,” remember that the powerful voice belongs to Salonga.



2) On Stage
In 1989, Salonga was cast as the lead role in the musical “Miss Saigon.” This quickly catapulted her into fame as she won the Olivier, Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics and Theatre World award for the same role. She then went on the being the very first Asian cast as Eponine in “Les Misérables” and later as the character Fantine. She spoke to Rappler of her fond memories of the production saying, “For me, having performed in the two anniversary concerts was the most amazing experience ever. Sitting and working amongst some of the most amazing talent assembled felt like a dream, and I wasn’t entirely sure I belonged in this group. But it was amazing celebrating the show with many thousands of people [who] loved it as much as I did, or even more so.”



3) Breaking Records by Making Records
Needless to say, Salonga has received endless praise from the Filipino community. She made the Philippines especially proud by breaking a number of records. For instance, in 1993, Salonga became the first Filipino artist to sign on to an international label, Atlantic Records. She is also the very first Filipino artist to receive a major album release and distribution deal in the United States.


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4) Humanitarian Work
On October 15, 2010, Salonga was appointed Goodwill Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. The FAO Goodwill Ambassadors Programme was created to try and raise public awareness on issues relating to hunger and poverty. “It’s an incredible honor, but it’s also a great challenge,” Salonga said of being a Goodwill Ambassador during an interview. “I’m from the Philippines and there are millions of people who are hungry and who are poor and the issue of poverty in my country is so great. Hopefully, people back home will turn their attention to this campaign and to what FAO is trying to do.”

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5) Her Inspiring Story
Okay, so it’s obvious that Lea Salonga is talented, but what about her as a person? Watch just a few interviews with Salonga and you will not only be a fan of her singing, you will also be a fan of her personality and her story. At 17, Salonga was a pre-med student, but things took an instant turn when she nailed the audition for the lead role in “Miss Saigon” after singing “On My Own” during her– a song from “Les Misérables” that she would go on to sing on the Broadway stage.


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Comedy Series ‘Halal in the Family’ Uses Humor to Tackle Anti-Muslim Sentiment

Recognize Aasif Mandvi? You should. Aside from a number of film and television show appearances, this Indian American actor and comedian is a regular correspondent on The Daily Show and even has a published book, “No Land’s Man.”

But if all goes well, you’ll soon know Mandvi as the man who co-created and stars in a new web series which aims to use humor as a way to tackle Anti-Muslim sentiment. Woah. Let’s rewind a bit.

The idea for Halal in the Family (yes, that is inspired by the famous 1970’s sitcom All in the Family) actually started with Katie Couric. According to Mandvi, Couric “commented that Muslims needed their own version of The Cosby Show in order to break down stereotypes about Muslims.” In response, The Daily Show created a parody sketch focused on a Muslim Cosby family.

Fast forward a few years and the one-episode parody has expanded into a four-episode web series that packs quite a punch in each six-minute episode. Mandvi used Indiegogo to explain the reason behind this web series:

Unfavorable views of Islam and its followers are at an all time high. Did you know that only 27% of Americans have positive views of Muslims? We’re barely more popular than Congress! Too often the media and politicians only make things worse, feeding increased prejudice, discriminatory policies, and hate-filled rhetoric targeting American Muslims.

Fortunately, many amazing organizations and individuals are courageously combating anti-Muslim hate. But it’s not enough. It’s time to get serious…ly funny.

For the past year I’ve been developing a new web-series to challenge stereotypes and misinformation about Muslims and communities associated with Muslims. It’s called Halal in the Family, and it’s a sitcom parody about an all-American Muslim family. It’s also a tool to support existing campaigns to combat anti-Muslim bias.


Mandvi and his writing partner, Miles Kahn, met with a number of Muslim organizations and advocacy groups to decide what issues would be worked into the first episodes. As a result, the series is able to hit on topics that truly resonate with the Muslim community. For instance, the teenage daughter faces cyber-bullying when her picture is photoshopped wearing a turban. Her father, played by Mandvi, humorously corrects this. “If you’re going to stereotype us at least get it right. We don’t wear turbans,” he informs the cyber-bully.

Some have reacted with confusion. How can prejudice completely disappear with comedy? Well, Mandvi would be the first to agree with the naysayers. He admits that trying to completely wipe out anti-Muslim sentiment with one show would be a “fool’s errand.” Instead, he focuses on the importance of shining light on these issues and getting people talking.

Halal in the Family will expose a broad audience to some of the realities of being Muslim in America,” He explains on the Indiegogo page. “By using satire we will encourage people to reconsider their assumptions about Muslims, while providing a balm to those experiencing anti-Muslim bias. I also hope those Uncles and Aunties out there will crack a smile!”


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The World’s Youngest String Quartet May Also Be The Most Talented… And The Cutest


Who says size matters? That certainly doesn’t seem to be the case for Joyous String, a four-member string quarter whose musical talent far surpasses their actual age.

8-year-old cellist Justin Yu– who already stole our heart during his appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show– began playing the cello at the impressive age of 3. Just a year later, he teamed up with the three other members of Joyous String, all of whom are part of Joyous Music School.

These musical prodigies have been playing together for four years now. Sure, that may seem like a short amount of time for us, but keep in mind that 4 years together means they’ve spent half their lives with one another.

And they’ve certainly accomplished an impressive amount during those four years! They currently perform in about 20 concerts a year all around the globe. In fact, Yu made his debut in Carnegie Hall in 2012 and was accepted by the Manhattan School of Music as one of the youngest cellist in school’s history.

Simply put, their talent is unbelievable. Check it out for yourself in the following videos where Joyous String gives their very own impressive rendition of Michael Jackson’s  “Smooth Criminal” and Katy Perry’s “Firework.”


Youtube Stars React to Live-Stream Korean Eating Shows

Early last year, we asked you if you would be willing to pay just to watch someone eat food online. Not surprisingly, most of you thought the idea was crazy.

What was surprising was just how popular these live-stream eating shows have become in South Korea. Seo Yeon Park, a popular online eater (is that even the correct term?) quit her job to become a full-time online eater. After all, she makes up to $9000 a month by eating in front of the camera for three hours a day. How? Her loyal fans, of course. Can’t let your favorite online eater starve, right?

After discovering this South Korean phenomenon, The Fine Bros decided this would make for a great reaction video. And who better to watch people eat online than those who are used to being in front of the camera themselves? Check out your favorite YouTubers reacting to live-stream Korean eating shows:

The YouTubers reacted with confusion, disgust, confusion, envy and of course, confusion. Many simply didn’t understand the appeal to watching other people eat.

“People enjoy the vicarious pleasure of my online show when they can’t eat that much, don’t want to eat food at night, or are on a diet,” Seo Yeon explained to Reuters. “One of the best comments I ever received from a viewer who said that she had gotten over her anorexia by watching me eat. That really meant a lot to me.”

And that’s not the only reason people tune in. Apparently, these shows are sometimes viewed simply for company. “For Koreans, eating is an extremely social, communal activity, which is why even the Korean word ‘family’ means ‘those who eat together,’” says Professor Sung-hee Park of Ewha University’s Division of Media Studies.

So what’s the final verdict? While it doesn’t seem like live-stream eating will be a fad in the US anytime soon, no one’s arguing that the job description is something to be envious about.

As one YouTuber remarked, “$9000!? Sign me the hell up!”