MUST SEE: Most Epic Guns N’ Roses Cover (Using Ancient Chinese Instrument)

On the list of instruments that you would associate with amazing rock music, the guzheng probably doesn’t come to mind. In fact, many of you may not even know what the guzheng is.

The guzheng is an ancient Chinese instrument with 18 or more strings and movable bridges and is arguably the most played instrument in China. It is related to the Japanese koto, the Mongolian yatga, the Korean gayageum and the Vietnamese đàn tranh.


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Vancouver musician Michelle Kwan decided to show us just how versatile and just how amazing this instrument truly is. Kwan decided to cover one of the most unlikely songs for the regal instrument: the Guns N’ Roses’ hit “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”

Although this doesn’t sound like the greatest of combinations, Kwan proves us all wrong by delivering one of the most epic Guns N’ Roses covers we’ve seen yet. Check it out for yourself:

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the song, be sure to check out the original so you can fully appreciate how amazing Kwan’s cover is.

 

The Ultimate Duo: Judith Hill and Josh Groban

When we interviewed Judith HIll for our Fall 2013 issue, we knew right then and there that she was a force to be reckoned with.

“The first song I [ever] wrote was a gospel song called ‘God Has Made,’” remembers Judith Hill. The singer/songwriter was only 4 at the time, but she still has a recording of it. “It goes, ‘God has made / the birds and the bees,’” she sings, laughing. “It’s pretty bad singing, but I guess for a 4-year-old, it’s not that bad.”

Already discovering her passion at the age of four, the 29-year-old went on to do amazing things. She was chosen by Michael Jackson to be his duet partner for his “This Is It” comeback tour and quickly became a fan favorite during her time on The Voice. Now, she has another achievement to add onto her list.

We weren’t the only ones to notice the amazing skills of this half-Japanese singer. The multi-platinum-selling singer, songwriter and actor Josh Groban decided to join forces with Hill who has been praised by Rolling Stone for having “stellar powerhouse vocals.” 

Hill has been opening for Groban’s “In The Round” tour. Additionally, Hill joins Groban for two songs: “The Prayer” and “Remember When It Rains.”

Already, audiences can’t get enough of the duo. One youtube viewer commented, “This is beautiful. Both of you have very powerful voices. Josh you get better every time you sing this. Good luck on the next tour tomorrow.”

 

 

The tour has only gone on for a few days, but the duo has already been showered with praise and compliments. Make sure you don’t miss this breath-taking tour!

 

 

Judith Hill – Fall 2013 Tour Dates

 All dates are supporting Josh Groban unless otherwise noted. Additional headline dates to be announced.

October

2 – Boise, ID @ Taco Bell Arena 
3 – Portland, OR @ McMenamins Crystal Ballroom (headline show)
4 – Seattle, WA @ KeyArena
6 - Sacramento, CA @ Sleep Train Arena
7 - San Jose, CA @HP Pavilion at San Jose
9 - Phoenix, AZ @ US Airways Center
11 - Salt Lake City, UT @ EnergySolutions Arena
13 - Las Vegas, NV @ MGM Grand Garden Arena
15 – Denver, CO @ The Soiled Dove Underground (headline show)
16 - Kansas City, MO @ Sprint Center
17 – St. Louis, MO @ Lumiere Place Casino & Hotel (headline show)
19 - Minneapolis, MN @ Target Center
20 - Chicago, IL @ United Center
22 - Grand Rapids, MI @ Van Andel Arena
23 - Detroit, MI @ The Palace of Auburn Hills
25 - Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre
27 - Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre
28 - Boston, MA @ TD Garden
30 - Newark, NJ @ Prudential Center

November

1 – State College, PA @ State Theater (headline show)
2 - Pittsburgh, PA @ CONSOL Energy Center
3 - Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center   
4 – Annapolis, MD @ Rams Head On Stage (headline show)
6 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ BB&T Center
8 - Tampa, FL @ Tampa Bay Times Forum
9 - Orlando, FL @ Amway Center
12 - Houston, TX @ Toyota Center
13 – Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center

December

4 – San Francisco, CA @ San Francisco War Memorial Opera – Glide Holiday Celebration

Drastic Changes in Asian American SAT Scores

The results are in and you are warned– they’re not pretty.

American highschools, as a whole, are entering a downward spiral with their SAT scores. Since 2006, SAT scores have fallen by 20 points,  dropping from 1518 to 1498 in 2012. The decrease is hitting all three portions of the test: reading, mathematics, and writing.

What could make matters worse? These changes in both the SAT test and the resulting scores are hitting minority groups the hardest. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing reports that the average score for white students has fallen by 4 points. How have the minority groups fended over the years? The average score has fallen by up to a staggering 22 points.

There is, however, one very large exception to this trend. Asian Americans have not been affected in the same manner over the years. In fact, they’ve had the opposite outcome. Since 2006, the SAT scores of Asian Americans have risen by an astounding 41 points.

Researches, such as those from collegenews.com, have tried to look at the various factors that may have contributed to this strange phenomenon. They pointed out that Asian Americans excelled particularly well in mathematics, but they believe this is due to the fact that 47% of Asian American SAT candidates took advance mathematics courses while only 31% of Latino students and 25% of Black students took similar courses. So the explanation is that study prep is the reason behind the staggering disparity?

Asianweek‘s Andrew Lam also took a look at these results and argued that a much greater factor to look at is the mentality of Asian Americans. Lam recalls a friend of his who explained to him why success was necessary. “There was no question of failure,” Lam writes. “Back home, an army of hungry, ambitious and capable young men and women were dying to take his place, and for [his friend], a boat person who barely survived his perilous journey across the South China Sea, “dying to” was no mere idiomatic expression.”

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Simply put, our circumstances have often been drastically different. Asianweek points out that it is not uncommon to find Asian parents who focus their entire life on the upward mobility of their children. They sacrifice their own well-being, work three jobs and even live in separate countries to ensure that their children get the necessary prep and education to advance in society. All of this sacrifice is done with the single goal that their children will go on to succeed and have a better life than they did.

Knowing that many of our parents struggled to benefit our education and many individuals in our homeland would ache for the opportunity, how can we not feel the often overwhelming pressure to achieve? How can we not take the extra prep classes? How can we not spend our nights studying for fear that all the sacrifice was for nothing? This pressure, which can drain us mentally and emotionally, is often what pushes us.

Yes, educational prep courses play a factor. But no, that simple explanation does not accurately show the circumstances and pressures placed upon our community. It’s much more complicated than that.

 

 

Adorable Asian Babies (Halloween Costume Edition)

October is in the air. Shops are packed with pumpkin-flavored everything, the cold weather is creeping its way into our nights and stores are stocking up to prepare for the long-awaited holiday. So what does this mean for us? Fun-sized candy bars, fake spiderwebs and (much to our delight) halloween costumes galore.

Back in July, we brought you the Adorable Asian Baby Overload. Now that the season has changed, we found it only appropriate to bring you the Halloween Costume Edition of Adorable Asian Babies. What can possibly be cuter than an adorable Asian baby? Throw a costume on it and you have your answer! Here are some of our favorites.

Feel free to show us any cuties that deserve to be on this list.

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The baby from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

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The happiest baby monkey you’ll ever find.

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The baby who just realized it’s a panda.

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The baby who’s clearly a strong hammer-wielding god.

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The lost baby penguin.

 

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The cutest ewok ever. EVER.

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The baby who can probably beat you up.

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The very-serious-about-his-cosplay Naruto baby.

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The tiny Totoro.

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The GIANT Totoro.

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Baby Kiki and her Delivery Service

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Baby Chun Li..

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..And her twin sister.

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What could be cuter than this little Mario?



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A Mario and Luigi!

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A baby Cheeseburger that doesn’t seem to know what’s going on.

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A baby lobster that knows exactly what’s going on.

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And lots..

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.. of adorable..

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.. BABY SUHSI.

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And last, but certainly not least is the baby who doesn’t care what holiday you think it is.

(Image source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14)

David Choi’s New Music Video Reminds Us To Stop Texting While Driving

Youtube star David Choi has joined forces with the AT&T “It Can Wait” campaign.

It is reported that 75% of teens believe texting while driving is normal among their friends. As expected, texting has quickly risen to be one of the major causes of car accidents and deaths. Because of this, the “It Can Wait” campaign aims to educate people, especially teens, on the dangers of texting and driving. Simply put– its not worth risking your life for a text. It can wait. The official website tells us more about their initiative:

Each pledge made to never text while driving is a symbol of commitment to be part of a movement that helps everyone make safe choices with their wireless devices on the road. Teens on average, text five times more a day than a typical adult. That’s a lot of texting! And drivers that text while driving are much more likely to be in a crash*. So we are partnering with teens to get the word out about the serious effect texting and driving could have on their friends, their loved ones and their future.

 

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“Chill Tonight” is David Choi’s new song and music video dedicated to the campaign. The lyrics remind us that couples can be sweet and understanding without texting one another while driving.

Choi was also able to include other stars such as Big Phony, Kero One, Arden Cho to participate in this video by taking the pledge themselves. Check it out for yourself below:

And what could possibly be cuter than David Choi writing a song for a good cause? That would be his excitement to spread the word about it.

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Image of The Day: These Amazing Food Miniatures Are The Ultimate Tease

It’s a sad day when you see such appetizing food and there is no way for you to eat it. First of all, most of the food you see here is made out of polymer clay. While it looks lovely, we highly doubt that the clay would satisfy your taste buds. Secondly, these things are all about 1-2 inches each. What a tease, right?

The e-commerce site, Etsy, which focuses on handmade and vintage items, has been exploding with tiny polymer clay figurines. Simple enough to use, the modeling clay is shaped then simply placed in the oven to harden. Within a few minutes, your art piece is complete.

The clay is a relatively new medium for arts and crafts. Although it does not contain any actual clay minerals, the plastic can be shaped and re-shaped. Previously, polymer clay was a favorite among jewelry makers and even used for christmas ornaments.

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But now polymer clay fanatics have taken this art onto a much more serious (and cute) level. A simple scroll through Etsy will lead you to a number of minuscule figurines featuring everything from fandom characters to cute Asian food.

The amount of detail on these food pieces clearly require skilled hands and keen eyes. The attention to detail is nothing short of impressive. Sushi, steamed buns and dim sum are only a few of the Asian food items that have been skillfully created.

 

Check them out for yourself:

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Image of The Day: Tiny Girl, Giant Totoro

It seems like fans everywhere are trying to keep the Miyazaki fandom alive despite the Miyazaki’s confirmed retirement. Just last month we found an adorable little girl cosplaying as Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service. 

Now we’ve found a tiny girl with what could be the largest Totoro plush we’ve seen yet. The image is mimicking the film’s famous rain scene.

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When news broke out that Hayao Miyazaki was retiring, fans everywhere wished it was simply a false rumor. For years, Miyazaki brought us whimsical animations such as My Neighbor Totoro and Princess Mononoke. In 2003, the Ghibli studio co-founder won an Oscar for his breathtaking feature film, Spirited Away.

 

Although Miyazaki has shown a mastery of his craft, he has firmly stated that he is done with films. The 72-year-old confirmed that his film The Wind Rises is his last. The film, which focuses on a fictional biography of Japan’s Zero airplane creator Jiro Horikoshi, has already become a box-office hit in Japan since its release in July.

 

With a handful of awards, critical acclaim, and worldwide recognition, Miyazaki will retire knowing that he achieved what he set out to do. According to CBC News, Miyazaki commented, ”I wanted to convey the message to children that this life is worth living. This message has not changed.”

 

While our hearts are saddened by the finale of a talented individual, his work continues to live on.

Why 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) and Komen 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.

 

(source 1,2,3)

Racist Calls Miss Philippines a Poor Smelly Maid

We were wrong. For once we thought the Asian community could have a win without a large of show of racist backlash. We thought we were safely out of the woods and had avoided another Nina Davuluri ordeal.

Let us all release a collective sigh of disappointment.

This past Saturday, Miss Philippines Megan Young won the Miss World Pageant 2013. The 23-year-old Filipina competed against contestants from 127 different countries. Just like Davuluri, who recently won Miss America, Young encountered negative comments simply because of her race.

A Facebook user who goes by the name “Devina DeDiva” went on a racist rant about her disbelief that Young took the crown. Devina DeDiva publicly released her opinion that all Filipinos are dirty, poor, and maids that should not gain glory.

Her post was immediately shared over 400 times and began quite the debate:

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As you can see, many individuals tried to defend Young. Devina DeDiva was not phased and continued to stand by her opinion. As nice as it was to see people calling Devina DeDiva out on her racism, one must also note that there were an alarming number of people that also seemed to agree and like her racist comments.

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Goodjob Devina, you may now join our list of racist individuals that obviously don’t know common courtesy. Devina DeDiva’s name, which has now been changed to Arabic because of all the angry responses pelted back at her, topped the Twitter trending list in the Philippines.

(source 1, 2)

Proof That This Push-Up Bra Works: The Portrayal of The Transgender Community

A few months ago, this Thai push-up bra commercial went viral. The original video gained over 9 million views since being uploaded:

In honor of LGBT History Month, we decided to bring this video back and take a closer look. It’s clear why the video has so many views with its unexpected ending. Generally, the video was well-received. One viewer commented, “He is attractive both as a girl and a boy.” Another humored viewer commented, “Well the push-up bra definitely works then.”

Although there were still a share of individuals who argued that they were “tricked” and showed anger towards the commercial, people were generally entertained. The commercial didn’t present the transgender community in a negative light and did not try to make fun of it.

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This is not necessarily the case for all Thai commercials containing transgender characters. The following IKEA commercial angered the Thai Transgender Alliance for being “negative,” “stereotypical,” and a “gross violation of human rights.”

The commercial shows a couple walking through IKEA. The woman becomes so excited with a sale for pillows that her voice drops and horrifies her boyfriend. The end shows the boyfriend running off in the opposite direction. The Thai Transgender Alliance argues that “the transgender content of the advertisement is negative and stereotypical in nature, perpetuating misunderstanding transgenderism as human sexuality for ‘deceitful and deviant lifestyle.’”

Unfortunately, this is not the first time IKEA has poked fun at the transgender community. Another IKEA commercial, this time coming from France, shows a woman getting ready to go out. She accidentally knocks into a low table and hits her crotch– revealing she was physically born a man.

Although the difference between the first commercial and the last two may seem slight to some, it makes a load of difference. There is a clear distinction between a commercial showing someone proud of their gender identity versus another commercial showing an individual running away from a transgender out of fear.

In honor of LGBT history month, lets try to make it a lasting habit to stay conscious of these differences.