Filipino Basketball Prodigy Kobe Paras Commits to UCLA, Gains Thousands of Fans

 

It looks like Los Angeles will soon have a new Kobe to cheer for. Kobe Paras, a 17-year-old basketball prodigy from the Philippines, first gained major attention for his athletic skills when he participated in a 2013 Nike exhibition in Manilla. Despite the presence of LeBron James, the 6’6″ teen was able to slam the ball into the hoop. The move was caught on video soon went viral. It wasn’t long before Paras was known as “the kid who dunked on LeBron.”

 

 

But now it seems the young athlete is going for even bigger nicknames. Paras, who played for La Salle Greenhills before pursuing a career in the United States, currently attends LA Cathedral. Paras has apparently already received scholarship offers from UC Irvine, Fresno State, Texas Arlington, Arizona State, Portland State, and Boston College, but it wasn’t until last week that he received an offer he couldn’t turn down.

UCLA coach Steve Alford visited a Cathedral game to watch Paras practice and sure enough, by the end of the game Alford offered him a UCLA scholarship. It didn’t take long for Paras to commit.

“I have made my decision… I’m really happy to say that I have committed to UCLA!” Paras posted on his offcial Twitter account on Saturday. In 24 hours, he picked up 1,000 more Twitter followers. In fact, the young athlete now has over 50K Twitter followers.

In a video posted on the Middlebrooks Basketball Facebook account, Paras was asked to describe how it felt to have committed to the Bruins. “It’s an unbelievable feeling, especially for a kid coming from the Philippines, a place that no one even knows about that much,” he said. “I’ve just been here for a couple of months… I can’t explain that much. It’s just a great feeling, just amazing. I’m so excited.” Of course he ends with an enthusiastic yell.

Many are claiming that Paras gained his talent from his father Benjie. Los Angeles Times reports, “In 1989 [Benjie] became the only player in the history of the country’s professional basketball league to be the rookie of the year and the MVP in the same season.”

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Images courtesy of www.latimes.com

 

Top 10 Reasons Malala Yousafzai Is An Inspiration

 

1.  She is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize WinnerScreen Shot 2014-10-14 at 12.35.51 PM
Recently, Pakistani teen Malala Yousafzai was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize alongside Indian children’s rights advocate Kailash Satyarthi. This makes 17-year-old Malala the youngest Nobel Peace Prize Winner ever. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has commented on this decision:

“Despite her youth, Malala Yousafzai has already fought for several years for the right of girls to education, and has shown by example that children and young people, too, can contribute to improving their own situations. This she has done under the most dangerous circumstances. Through her heroic struggle she has become a leading spokesperson for girls’ rights to education.”

 


 

2. Despite her age, Malala has been bravely advocating for her beliefs for years
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Malala’s story is no ordinary one. Malala was only a young girl when she became an activist for education rights and women’s rights. At the age of 11, she began blogging about her life under Taliban rule. This was so powerful that in 2009, a New York Times documentary was filmed about her life. Her actions were seen as unacceptable by the Taliban and in 2012, Malala was shot in the head and neck by a gunman in an assassination attempt. The strong, young lady survived the attack and continues to fight for what she believes in.

 


 

3. The Malala Fund

Photo courtesy of www.malala.org

Photo courtesy of www.malala.org

In October 2012, The Malala Fund was formed which hopes to make her dream a reality. The fund provides grants for organizations which aim to empower girls through education. The Malala Fund’s approach consists of three pillars:

- Amplify the voices of the girls to keep them in the spotlight, inspire girls globally and drive action on girls’ issues by the global community.
- Advocate at the international, national and local level for policy and system changes that give girls access to a high quality education at a community level.
- Invest in community centered scalable solutions that provide quality education with potential for systems level change by empowering local leaders and educators.

 


 

4. Malala not only fights for education for her own people…
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Malala has certainly called attention to the education rates in Pakistan. NBC News reports about 70% of Pakistan’s rural population is illiterate. Even more shocking, other reports show literacy rates in women as low as 23% in some parts of the country. Malala’s message on education had inspired many people, including her own mother who learned how to read this past August. “Our family shows an example to the world how things change with the help of awareness … and with the help of the importance of education,” she said.

 


 

5. …she fights for education for ALL people

When Malala claims she wants education for all, she truly means it. Last year, she left Jon Stewart speechless after sharing her thoughts. Malala described how she imagined an encounter with a Taliban member and how she would tell him how important education is. She imagined telling him “that I would even want education for your children as well. That’s what I want to tell you. Now do what you want.”

 

 


  6. Malala Day

July 12, 2013 was Malala’s 16th birthday and she spent it speaking at the UN to call for worldwide access to education. This was her first public speech since the attack, but she passionately spoke her mind to an audience of over 500 people. This historic event was dubbed “Malala Day,” but Malala recognizes the day for something else. “Malala day is not my day,” she said. “Today is the day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights.”  


  7. Her work in Nigeria 

AP Photo/Olamikan Gbemiga

AP Photo/Olamikan Gbemiga

In July, Malala met with met with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja, Nigeria. She urged him (and even claimed it would be her birthday wish) to meet with the families of the 219 schoolgirls kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram. She then addressed the terrorist group by saying, “Lay down your weapons. Release your sisters. Release my sisters. Release the daughters of this nation. Let them be free. They have committed no crime.” Additionally, the Malala Fund created the “safe space” project in Nigeria which presents more opportunities to Nigerian woman to gain an education.  


  8. Her work in Syria and Jordan malsyria In February, the Malala fund helped hundreds of Syrian refugees enter safely into Jordan. The Malala fund currently provides educational programs for those refugees. These programs aim to protect, rehabilitate and educate the children. They also aim to invest in Syrian-led programs to rehabilitate the children.  


  9. Malala’s Memoir

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On October 2013, Malala’s memoir I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban was published and told the full story of Malala’s experience. “I hope the book will reach people around the world, so they realize how difficult it is for some children to get access to education,” Malala said in a news release. “I want to tell my story, but it will also be the story of 61 million children who can’t get education. I want it to be part of the campaign to give every boy and girl the right to go to school. It is their basic right.”  


  10. As a modern-day icon, she inspires the work of others  icons Needless to say, Malala’s efforts have sparked inspiration in others. United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, launched a petition in her name a few weeks after she was shot. The Malala Petition aims to get every child in school by 2015 and received over 3 million signatures. In the world of art, Texas artist Anat Ronen wanted to blend the old with the new and create a mural showing both the strength of women in the ’40s and the strength of women today. He blended the 40’s feminist icon Rosie the Riveter with today’s icon, Malala.     (Source 1, 2, 3, 4)

Top Stories of the Week: Lunch Around The World, Asian Men in Television and The World’s Smallest Woman Doing Big Things

1) How School Lunch in America Compares to Japan, Philippines, India and Korea (CLICK TO READ)

 

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2) Jen Lee’s “Dear Korea” Shows What It’s Like To Live In Korea As A Korean American (CLICK TO READ

 

 

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3)Asian Men As The Romantic Lead: Before John Cho There Was James Shigeta (CLICK TO READ

 

 

 

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4) Steven Yeun On How Korean Parents React To A Career In Acting (CLICK TO READ

 

 

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5) The World’s Smallest Woman Achieves Her Biggest Dream on “American Horror Story: Freak Show”  (CLICK TO READ

Aziz Ansari’s Cringeworthy Tale of Hitting on Blake Lively Through Text

 

Ladies, how many of you have ignored a text because you’re not interested in someone that way? You don’t want to hurt their feelings by leading them on and surely this silence will be enough right? They’ll get the point and you won’t have to go through an awkward rejection… right?

Wrong.

Some men (and women) are oblivious to these hints. That, or they’re just plain stubborn when it comes to getting a date. Although this behavior doesn’t come as a surprise from that one guy at the bar, the hook up from Vegas or even that old friend from high school, it is a bit of a shock to realize that celebrities are not immune to this cringeworthy sort of interaction.

 

 


Today, Blake Lively is a happily married and pregnant woman. But a few years ago, she was single and comedian Aziz Ansari was very, very aware of that.

Ansari recently appeared on “The Howard Stern Show” and told the story of meeting Blake Lively, as well as the awkward interactions that followed. Apparently, Ansari discovered that Lively was a fan of his. He eventually met the actress at an event where they bonded over food and exchanged numbers. Without missing a beat, Ansari texted Lively once the event was over.

 

“Hey, it’s Aziz. The Animal dinners are over now unfortunately, but I will show you photos from when I went. It was very tasty. Are you going to the Met Ball?”

 

Her reaction? No response.

Weeks later, Ansari ended up spotting her at the Met Ball along with Karl Lagerfeld after all. He decided to text her again.

 

Hey, it’s Aziz. Please tell Karl he needs to call me, it’s been too long since we bro’d out.”

 

Her reaction? No response.

Does this mean Ansari should have maybe taken a hint and stopped coming on too strong? He didn’t think so.

 

“I’m going to the Boom Boom Room for that afterparty. Hopefully this is your number? Either way, good seeing you.”

 

Image reproduction courtesy of Buzzfeed.

Image reproduction courtesy of Buzzfeed.

At this point, we’re cringing at the clear lack of response, but just when we’ve given up hope, Lively shoots him a text back.

 

“Maybe I’ll see you. So weird, Karl was just saying how bummed he was to miss you.”

 

Of course, Ansari jumped at the opportunity. He ended up finding her at the Boom Boom Room and sent her a text the following day.

 

“I feel so bad you had to fly to North Carolina after that party. It must’ve been rough. Karl and I partied at Boom Boom until 7 a.m. Got tacos the next day after and just had a beautiful spa day. Next time we are in the same city, let’s eat delicious food.”

 

Her reaction? No response.

We’re not quite sure if Ansari got the hint at this point. A few months later, he sent her an awkward text saying “Happy Holidays.” Yet again, she did not respond. Despite this cringeworthy interaction, Ansari seems to simply laugh about it now. While on air, he very humorously texted her one more time.

 

“Read these messages on Howard. Hope that’s cool. Doubt you’ll respond to this.”

 

On the bright side, it’s nice to know that we’re not alone– celebs are certainly capable of these awkward interactions just as much as we are. Who can say whether or not Ansari has learned from his bad text flirting. This stand-up piece suggests he hasn’t.

(Source 1, 2, 3)


How School Lunch in America Compares to Japan, Philippines, India and Korea

 

Yesterday, Buzzfeed released a video called “School Lunches Around The World” which (as the title suggests) shows the average school lunch of children from various countries.  Most interesting of all was the difference in size, nutritional value and of course, content.

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 4.25.31 PMAccording to the video, a typical school lunch in the United States consists of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, some chips, a Go-gurt, an apple and some milk. Although many comments argued that a more typical American school lunch consists of a slice of pizza instead of a PB&J, we have to admit that this combination pretty much hits the mark when it comes to average lunches.

 

But does the video accurately show the average school lunch in Asian countries?

 

  Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 4.37.59 PMAlthough the image shows Japan’s lunch consisting of rice, mackerel and pickled spinach, it’s safe to assume that the vegetables and fish can be substituted with other ingredients. The main essence of a Japanese lunch is clear: food is made from scratch and made to be healthy. In fact, Japan’s child obesity rate, which is always among the world’s lowest, has declined for each of the past six years.        

 

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 4.49.14 PMFor the Philippines, the video shows rice and lechon kawali (pork) on a banana leaf rather than a plate. Admittedly, the banana leaf gave quite a few people a chuckle. Viewers recognized this as the tradition in many rural areas of the Philippines. The main issue some had with this image is that it did not feature seafood, a staple of Philippine cuisine. That aside, this simple combination is more than common. Unfortunately, a diet rich in meats like Lechon may be the reason for high rates of hypertension.          

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 5.13.50 PMIndia’s school lunch consists of rice and saag paneer (a classic Indian dish consisting of cooked spinach and fried paneer cheese with thickened cream or coconut milk) and dal makhani (another Indian staple consisting of whole black lentil and red kidney beans). The meal has become an average school lunch thanks to a massive school feeding program which aims to improve nutritional levels among children.          

 

 

  Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 1.55.19 PM Korea’s average school lunch consists of purple rice, soup, kimchi, radish and bulgogi (grilled, marinated beef). While some viewers commented that this plate is inaccurate because it should be flipped to have the rice closer to us, we can go ahead and agree with the plate. Anyone who has dined at a Korean restaurant is accustomed to the colorful meal and the numerous side dishes.  

As viewers watched this video, they couldn’t help but notice that the American meal lacked vegetables and more importantly, it contained quite a large amount of processed and sugary foods. Many have linked this to the high obesity rates in the U.S. which have more than doubled in adults and children since the 1970’s.    

 

Check out more school lunches with the complete video below.

The World’s Smallest Woman Achieves Her Biggest Dream on “American Horror Story: Freak Show”

 

Tonight’s the night! The highly anticipated fourth season of FX television series American Horror Story premieres tonight and has fans on the edge of their seats in excitement.

As the name suggests, American Horror Story: Freak Show is is set in 1952 Jupiter, Florida and tells the story of a traveling freak show in America. There’s no denying our excitement for the expected suspense and horror (after all, there is a mysterious murderer in town), but truth be told, we’re more excited for something else.

AHS is including many actors from their usual cast, but in an effort to achieve authenticity, AHS went above and beyond to search for actors who may have actually been qualified for this type of show back when exhibitions of human oddities existed. This means AHS has opened their doors up and created opportunities for actors who have doubted their chances of ever being on screen because of their size, disability, etc.

Based on the numerous interviews with the AHS actors, many seem ecstatic about the opportunity. These actors finally get to show their talent in an industry that is not as accepting as many of us would like.

In particular, we’re excited to see 20-year-old Jyoti Amge from Nagpur, India. With a height of 23 inches and a weight of 11 pounds, Amge currently holds the Guinness World Record for the shortest woman.

“People like me might be small in stature, but can also act,” she says in an exclusive American Horror Story interview. “Regular people should not underestimate people who are small. In every aspect [we] can do things that normal people can.”

And Amge certainly proves that by achieving her biggest dream. When AHS producers checked out her official website, Amge openly stated that she wanted to move to Hollywood and become an actress.

Fulfilling that dream, Jyoti Amge plays the character Ma Petite, an assistant to the head of the freak show. Although Amge’s character is part of the freak show, she points out that an important message is to be learned from this: People who are different are not “freaks” and should not scare you.

Check out the American Horror Story: Freak Show interview below. Amge talks about everything from marriage, her pet peeves and of course, the must-see show.

 

 

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Top Stories of the Week: Dangers of Dense Breasts, Postnatal Chinese Traditions, Lea Salonga Sings “A Whole New World” 21 Years Later

1) Are You an Asian Female? Then Chances Are, You Have Dense Breasts: Why It Matters (CLICK HERE TO READ)  
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2) 2NE1’s Sandara Park Shocked by Her Passport Photo (CLICK HERE TO READ

 
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3) Exploring The Chinese Postnatal Tradition of Zuoyuezi: No Hair Washing, No Television, No Crying (CLICK HERE TO READ

 

 

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4) Pharrell Williams Begs Filipina American Katriz Trinidad To Join His Team On “The Voice” (Video) (CLICK HERE TO READ

 

 

 

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5) Lea Salonga Sings “A Whole New World” 21 Years Later (CLICK HERE TO READ

 

 

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Move Over Pumpkin Latte, Japan’s Fall Favorite Are Fried Maple Leaves

 

October is here and you know what that means! It’s time to get your costume ready for Halloween, pull out that oversized sweater (except in California, where it seems we have to wait just a little longer for the weather to catch up and realize it’s autumn) and of course, indulge in pumpkin-flavored everything.

Japan on the other hand, seems to prefer something else instead of pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin beer and pumpkin donuts. Their favorite treat during the fall is something many of us never even dreamed of consuming: maple leaves.

Of course we love maple leaves, but usually we enjoy them for aesthetic purposes. We enjoy their crunch as we step on them, we enjoy raking them together in a giant pile to be jumped on and we even enjoy them as decorations. We certainly never thought of frying them as a snack.

The leaf snacks are called “momiji” or “momiji tempura” and the leaves are often found and fried in Minoh City, Osaka, Japan. Not surprising, the city is known for their Japanese maple trees.

The leaves used for these snacks aren’t simply plucked off the ground and thrown into a fryer. They are usually preserved in salt barrels for an entire year before being fried in a sweet batter until they are crisp. Apparently, the leaves themselves don’t actually taste like anything, so the flavor heavily depends on the batter.

Admittedly, we’re intrigued and we’d love to get our hands on these adorable snacks. Check them out for yourself below.

 

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(Photo credit: 1, 2, 3)

 

Lea Salonga Sings “A Whole New World” 21 Years Later

 

Some know 43-year-old Lea Salonga as the first Asian actress to play Éponine and Fantine in the Broadway musical Les Misérables. Others know her as the first Filipina to be signed to an international record label. But I’m going to go ahead and bet that most of you know Salonga as the singing voice of Disney princesses Jasmine and Mulan.

It’s been over two decades since the release of  the beloved Disney animation Aladdin. This means it’s been over two decades since we first heard the unforgettable duet, “A Whole New World.”

Recently, Lea Salonga took us back in time by performing the beloved song alongside opera group Il Divo. 21 years later and she still sounds just as breathtaking as she did then!

 

 

Salonga’s work has gained her a Laurence Olivier Award, a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, an Outer Critics Award and Theatre World Awards. In 2010, she was named a Disney Legend for her work in Disney. Currently, Salonga is a coach on the Philippine edition of The Voice.

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Why Asians NEED To Care About Breast Cancer (Updated)

 

Exactly one year ago, we posted “Why Asians NEED To Care About Breast Cancer.” The information in that story still holds relevance and is is still extremely important to the Asian/ Asian American community. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we bring you a very special #tbt by giving you an updated list of important reasons Asians need to care about breast cancer. 


 

Since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we decided to look into how Asian Americans handle breast cancer. We were shocked by what we discovered.

For years now, Asians have been comforted by the fact that we have the lowest rate of breast cancer in the United States. Unfortunately, this assurance may be the very thing that hinders us from taking the necessary precautions.

Studies from both the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) have confirmed that Asian/Pacific Islanders have the lowest breast cancer rates.

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Although this is true, a number of things are not taken into consideration:

There are various types of Asians.
It is not a good idea to assume you’re safe from breast cancer simply because you’re Asian. In fact, the statistics greatly differ once we take a step closer. According to womenshealth.gov, Japanese American women have the highest rate of breast cancer among Asian Americans. Furthermore, breast cancer is the leading cause of death for Filipino women. Clearly, there are technicalities within the broad term “Asian” which should be paid attention to.

Our numbers are increasing.
Sure, we have the lowest rate of breast cancer and breast cancer deaths now, but that may be changing. Our rates are increasing faster than any other ethnic group. From 1988-2005, we’ve increased approximately 1.2% every year.

Some of us are not as safe as our parents and grandparents. 
According to sampan.org, “Immigrant Asian women who have been living in the United States for 10 years have an 80 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer than their newly arrived A&PI immigrant counterparts.”

We develop breast cancer at a younger age.
Compared to the other ethnic groups, we develop cancer at an earlier age, but we don’t know to address it earlier. In fact, many of us don’t address it at all.

Asian Americans are the least likely to ever get a mammogram.
Although Asian Americans need to take just as much precaution, we have the lowest rate of screenings. Is it because it’s taboo in our culture to discuss this issue? Is it because of the misconception that we’re relatively safe from breast cancer? Either way, there is clearly a lack of breast health/breast cancer education, screening and treatment among Asian American women.

Studies confirm that only 62% of Asian American women 40 and older have had a mammogram in the past two years. This is still the lowest percentage compared to every other ethnic community in America.

Some barriers to breast cancer screening include:
-Low income
-Lack of access to care (such as lack of a local (or easy to get to) mammography center or -Lack of transportation to a mammography center)
-Lack of a usual health care provider
-Lack of a recommendation from a provider to get mammography screening
-Lack of awareness of breast cancer risks and screening methods
-Cultural and language differences

 

 

(source 1,2,3)