Three Reasons To Be A Proud Asian American Woman in The U.S.

Being both a woman and a person of color can hold its share of obstacles here in the United States. We drown in racial stereotypes on the daily ranging from things as small as “Asian women can’t drive” to things as serious as “Asian women don’t get breast cancer.”

Because of this, we have undoubtedly faced our share of struggles and pressures. In fact, Asian American teenage girls have the highest rate of depressive symptoms of any racial, ethnic or gender group, Asian American girls and women aged 15 to 24 die from suicide at a higher rate than any other racial or ethnic group, and Asian American women over 65 have the highest suicide rate in that demographic.

Clearly, we have quite a bit to overcomes and a handful of issues that need to be further addressed, but this should not make us forget the many ways in which Asian American women have strived here in the United States.

Our hard work and determination is a force to be reckoned with. We have been making strides in education, health, business and countless other fields.  Slowly, but surely, others are starting to notice it too. Below are three of the many reasons to be a proud Asian American woman in the United States:

 

1. EDUCATION

grad capAsian American women have achieved a higher level of educational attainment than women of any other race. In 2004, Asian women surpassed caucasian women for having the highest rate of college graduates.  Now in 2013, Asian American women 8.36 % of bachelor’s degrees, even though Asian women only consist of 5.14% of the female population.

2. BUSINESS

businessThere are over 600,000 Asian American women-owned businesses in the United States. This is an increase of 83% since 2002 and 156% since 1997. The top three states with the highest numbers are California with 193,300, New York with 68,700 and Texas with 51,800 Asian American women-owned businesses.

 

 

3. POLITICS

jean quanThere are six Asian American women in the House of Representatives and one in the Senate, totaling to seven Asian American women in Congress. There are 32 Asian American women serving in state legislatures and an Asian American woman mayor—Jean Quan from Oakland, California.

 

(source)

 

Heartwarming Story of the Day: Six-Year Old Donates Piggybank Savings for Haiyan Relief

With his mother in tow, six-year old Shoichi Kondoh headed over to the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo with a determined mind and an open heart.  In an act of great generosity, he was there to personally donate his savings to response efforts in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.

As stated by the Philippine Embassy, after seeing the extent of the damage on television, the Japanese pre-schooler “did not think twice about giving away his childhood savings (of JPY 5,000 or ~$50).”  With his donation, Soichi became the youngest cash donor at the embassy.  Consul Bryan Dexter Lao was there to receive the enveloped-donation.

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Soichi signs the condolence book at the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo and poses with Consul Bryan Dexter Lao. (Photos courtesy of the Philippine Embassy in Japan)

With damages costing an estimated $15 billion, a rising death toll and hundreds of thousands of people displaced, it is no question that relief and aid are needed.  Soichi’s act of “sincere generosity” is a reminder that every little bit counts.

If you are interested in donating to the continuing relief and rehabilitation efforts in the Philippines, be sure to check out these Ruby Veridiano and Audrey-approved picks.

(Sources: 1, 2)

Tao Okamoto’s Hollywood Debut in “The Wolverine”

Story by Taylor Weik.

She’s walked on more runways than she can count, has had an issue of Japanese Vogue dedicated to her and her bowl haircut inspired fashion designer Phillip Lim to imitate the style on the whole cast of his fall/winter 2009 show. To say that Tao Okamoto has made achievements in the fashion world is an understatement. Now, the Japanese supermodel, who has won honors such as “Model of the Year” from the Japan Fashion Editor’s Club and one of Japanese Vogue’s “Women of the Year,” has moved on to the entertainment industry to tackle another profession: acting.

Okamoto made her Hollywood acting debut in this summer’s Marvel blockbuster The Wolverine, costarring alongside the Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman. Directed by 3:10 to Yuma’s James Mangold, the X-Men sequel, which is set to be released in Digital HD  November 19 and released on DVD and Blu-ray December 3, follows the hero to Japan for the first time since World War II where he encounters a new set of mutants and villains. While in Japan, he meets and falls for Okamoto’s Mariko Yashida, the granddaughter of Wolverine’s old friend whom he saved during the war.

It’s no coincidence that Okamoto’s first film has her costarring with Jackman. “My Japanese agent told me about the audition and I almost refused; I’ve never acted,” Okamoto recalls. “But then when I was told that the role would be Hugh Jackman’s love interest, I said yes right away!”

Okamoto has always cited Jackman as one of her celebrity crushes, so when she received the news that she had landed the role of Mariko while in her New York apartment, “I was so happy and honored, then I was worried. I didn’t know what to expect from my first acting role.”

But the model had a large support system. Okamoto had reassuring talks with Mangold and Jackman became a mentor to her as soon as the two met. In between takes and while on set, Jackman would give her helpful acting tips he’d learned over the years. She even got to work with Rila Fukushima, another model-turned-actress that Okamoto had known for 10 years in the fashion world but never had the chance to get to know.

 

More than anything, Okamoto found that acting wasn’t so different from modeling. “The reason why I love modeling is because I love transforming myself. I enjoy dressing up as someone else and immersing myself. Acting allows me to do that even more because now I can use my voice and movements to immerse myself even more in the role.”

Is she going to pursue acting full-time? Maybe, but not now. Okamoto plans to continue balancing her runway shows with scene-rehearsing. In the future, she hopes to act in serious dramas or musicals (yes, she can sing, too). She’s graced the pages of magazines like Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue as a model already; maybe next time, she’ll be one of the featured actresses.

 

Flashback Friday | Ten Indian Leading Ladies You Should Know

2013 marks 100 years of Indian cinema — home of the unique film genre affectionately referred to as Bollywood — and through the century, there have been many memorable leading ladies, from Nargis, Sridevi and Rekha to Madhuri Dixit, Aishwarya Rai, Rani Mukherjee, Preity Zinta and many many more.

This year,  Audrey Magazine highlights some of our favorite Indian actresses ruling contemporary Hindi cinema today.

Here are 10 names to know:

Priyanka Chopra

When the former Miss World (2000) began her career in Bollywood, from her 2002 debut in the Tamil film Thamizhan to her damsel-in-distress role to Hrithik Roshan’s superhero in 2006’s Kriish, there was often more talk about her skimpy outfits than her acting skills. Then 2008 happened: Chopra had six films come out that year, and while the first few were unsuccessful, late 2008 brought the release of Fashion, the first role that got critics talking about her talent rather than her looks — especially when she swept all the major Indian Film Awards that year for Best Actress. Since then, even if the film she’s been in haven’t been acclaimed, people tend to point out Priyanka Chopra’s performance as the best part. Case in point: the awards she’d picked up for playing a murderess in 7 Khoon Maaf and an autistic woman in Barfi! in the last two years.

Films to watch:
Fashion
Kaminey

 

Vidya Balan

Vidya Balan has been acting in feature films for a decade, but she broke out into stardom recently with her role in The Dirty Picture, the biopic about the adult film actress Silk Smitha who was popular in the 1980s and 90s. The role earned her Filmfare and National Film Awards for Best Actress in 2012, and she followed it up with the crime thriller Kahaani, in which she plays a pregnant woman in search of her missing husband.

Films to watch:
Kahaani
The Dirty Picture

 

Kajol

Kajol (also pictured at the top of the article) has been a household name since 1995’s Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ), which kickstarted a filmgoing craze (it is the longest running Indian film in history, and as of Jan 2013, the film is still playing in a theater in Mumbai, 17 years later) as well as a timeless romantic pairing (Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan have acted in six films together). But in recent years, Kajol has brought an even greater depth to her performances. Just check her out as the blind woman in Fanaa or the grieving mother in My Name is Khan. You’ll feel like a really beautiful, soulful woman just punched you in the stomach.

Films to watch:
DDLJ
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
Fanaa
My Name is Khan

Deepika Padukone

Deepika Padukone made her debut in 2007’s Om Shanti Om, playing two characters that looked identical though they’re from different time periods (it can happen, just go with it). But she gave both characters enough nuance to prove to audiences that she was more than a tall, strikingly-beautiful model — even though she was definitely tall and definitely strikingly beautiful. Since then, she’s taken on different types of characters, from the modern-day romantic lead in Love Aaj Kal to the downward-spiraling toxic friend in Cocktail.

Films to watch:
Om Shanti Om
Love Aaj Kal

 

Anushka Sharma

Another actress who got her start in a Shah Rukh Khan film (2008’s Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi), Anushka Sharma soon ventured out on her own and found another leading man that she seemed to have good chemistry with, on and off screen. Acting opposite co-star Ranveer Singh (quick tangent: check out his abs in Audrey’s Daily SHAG here) in Band Baaja Baaraat and Ladies Vs. Ricky Bahl, Sharma really showcased her natural charisma and ability to lead a film. In 2012, she reunited with Shah Rukh Khan in Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Whereas in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, she played the mourning, subdued wife whose life and belief in love needed to be re-ignited by Shah Rukh Khan’s charm, in Jab Tak Hai Jaan, she was the mini-Shah Rukh Khan, who “Shah Rukh Khan”-ed Shah Rukh Khan himself. I know it sounds confusing. But just watch the movies.

Films to watch:
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
Baand Baaja Baaraat
Jab Tak Hai Jaan

 

Katrina Kaif

Born in Hong Kong to a Kashmiri Indian father and an English mother, Katrina Kaif often seems to have a maturity beyond her years onscreen. By 25, she was playing the Chief Minister party leader in the political thriller Raajneeti — and somehow pulling it off. After memorable turns as a civil rights activist circa 9/11 in New York and a diving instructor helping Hrithik Roshan get over his fear of water (and workaholism) in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, she helped jaded modern audiences believe in “old school” true love again in last year’s blockbuster Yash Raj film Jab Tak Hai Jaan.

Films to watch:
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
Raajneeti
Jab Tak Hai Jaan

Farah Khan

Farah Khan has been in the industry for what seems like forever: as a choreographer, she is responsible for so many memorable Bollywood dance sequences that it’s almost impossible to count, but some of our favorites include “Chaiya Chiaya,” “Shava Shava,” and “Maahi Ve.” In addition to her choreography, she’s directed memorable films such as Main Hoon Na and Om Shanti Om. In 2012, she won a Stardust Best Actress Award for her on-screen debut Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi. But even when she’s behind the camera, she is an incomparable leading lady.

Films to Watch:
Om Shanti Om (as director)
Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi

 

Sonam Kapoor

Sonam Kapoor (daughter of Anil Kapoor, who international audiences know from Slumdog Millionaire and TV’s 24) made her debut in 2007 with Saawariya, opposite Ranbir Kapoor. At the time, Saawariya got a lot of attention, because although the two of them were newcomers to the industry, the film was co-produced by Sony Pictures, and it was the first Bollywood movie to receive a North American release by a Hollywood studio. Since then, Kapoor has landed girl next door roles in romantic comedies, such as Aisha and I Hate Luv Storys.

Films to Watch:
Saawariya
Aisha

 

Kareena Kapoor

A descendant of the legendary Kapoor family, Kareena Kapoor is continuing the legacy started by Prithviraj Kapoor and cemented by Raj Kapoor, as Kareena was most recently named the highest ranking female actress in Forbe India’s Celebrity 100 list. A power player in the industry, Kapoor has been one of India’s highest paid actress in years, starring in blockbusters including Aamir Khan’s 3 Idiots, Salman Khan’s Bodyguard, Shah Rukh Khan’s Ra.One, and most recently reuniting with Aamir Khan in Talaash: The Answer Lies Within. 

Films to Watch:
3 Idiots
Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu

 

There are many more, but here are 10 to start with. Who are your favorite Indian actresses?


 

 

Flashback Friday | Ten Taiwanese Leading Ladies You Should Know

Ang Lee has done more than anyone to bring attention to the Taiwanese film industry, shooting much of his 3D fantasy film Life of Pi in Taipei and Taichung — and always making sure to thank Taiwan in those Oscar speeches, even if his film is about gay cowboys in Wyoming. But Taiwan’s local films have had a recent commercial resurgence as well, catapulted by 2008’s super hit Cape No. 7. More recently, successful films include You Are The Apple of My Eye, Monga, and Seediq Bale, in addition to Taiwan/China co-productions like the ensemble romantic comedy Love. At the same time, Taiwanese dramas are as rampant as ever — and all of this brings us a wealth of new Taiwanese leading ladies.

A comprehensive list that spans decades would definitely include Taiwanese talents such as Sylvia Chang, Brigitte Lin, Lu Yi-Ching, Mavis Fan, Barbie Hsu, Rene Liu, Vivian Hsu and more, but instead, we’re going to concentrate on young actresses ruling commercial Taiwanese film and television today.

Michelle Chen 
As the honor student who all five male friends have a crush on in 2011’s hit film You Are The Apple of My Eye, Michelle Chen is the girl next door with that extra sparkle in her smile, should she respect you enough to shine it your way. The film was a commercial hit in Taiwan and the all-time highest grossing Taiwanese film in the Hong Kong box office, and it propelled Chen into stardom, earning her Best Actress nominations for Taipei’s Golden Horse Awards and Asian Film Awards.

Watch:
You Are The Apple of My Eye
Hear Me

 

 

Sandrine Pinna

The half-Taiwanese, half-French actress first started getting noticed in the international festival scene as the muse of director Cheng Yu-Chieh, who cast her in his 2006 film Do Over. In 2009, he wrote Yang Yang — about a Eurasian girl dealing with her identity as a newbie in the entertainment industry — with Pinna in mind. The well-regarded actress has a magnetic quality onscreen, simultaneously child-like and soulful, and she was most recently nominated for Best Actress at the Golden Horse Awards for her work in Touch of the Light, where she plays an aspiring dancer who befriends a blind pianist.

Watch:
Yang Yang
Touch of the Light
Endless Love (TV)

 

 

Shu Qi

Often compared to Angelina Jolie for her sultry lips and smoldering effect onscreen, Shu Qi is most admired for her roles in Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Millenium Mambo and Three Times, for which she won the Golden Horse Award for Best Actress in 2005. She also had a short stint in Hollywood acting, opposite Jason Statham in the original French action film The Transporter (co-directed by Hong Kong action director and choreographer Corey Yuen). In the last five years, she’s earned box office appeal in China with her romantic comedy If You Are The One 1 and 2, but most recently, she was part of the ensemble cast for the 2012 film Love, the Taiwanese version of Love Actually.

Watch:
Millenium Mambo
Three Times
If You Are The One

 

Alice Ke

Alice Ke has a habit of popping up on many successful Taiwanese movies and dramas — from the tarnished hooker with the heart of gold in Monga, to the goal-oriented yet sometimes hapless department store worker in Office Girls, to the smokey-eyed unstable girl who thinks a teddy bear is her boyfriend in Bear It. And somehow Ke makes each wildly different character both likable and multidimensional. Her most recent drama was 2012’s Gung Hay Fat Choy (Wo Men Fa Cai Le).

Watch:
Monga
Bear It
Office Girls (TV)

 

 

Ariel Lin

Ariel Lin first shot to fame in 2005 with It Started With a Kiss. Based on a manga series, Lin plays Xiangqin, the struggling, yet optimistic student who first annoys her crush, the emotionally-challenged genius Zhi Shu, with her haplessness and borderline stalking, but later wins him over out of sheer will power. Seven years later, Lin has grown up and is less “adorable” but more self-reliant in In Time With You, playing the sophisticated but stubborn manager who can’t admit she loves her best friend. The role earned Lin her second Golden Bell Award for Best Leading Actress in a Television Series.

Watch:
It Started With a Kiss (TV)
In Time With You (TV)

 

 

Amber Kuo

Amber Kuo is a Taiwanese Mandopop singer who gained attention as an actress in 2010, with roles in Arvin Chen’s Au Revoir Taipei (where she took home Best New Actress at the Taipei Film Festival) and the TV drama The Year of Happiness and Love (for which she was nominated for Best Leading Actress in a Television Series at the Golden Bell awards). In Doze Niu’s ensemble romantic comedy Love, she gives a memorable performance as a girl betrayed by an indiscretion between her boyfriend and her best friend.

Watch:
Au Revoir Taipei
Love

 

Ivy Chen

2009 was a big year for Ivy Chen, as she played a daughter of the Triad boss in the Golden Bell Award-winning cop series Black & White and gave a memorable turn as the protagonist in Hear Me, a film predominantly told in sign language, for which she won the Best Actress award at the Taipei Film Festival. In 2012, she was in the romantic comedy Love — co-starring actresses Amber Kuo and Shu Qi – playing a young girl who makes a detrimental mistake that might cost her her relationship with her best friend.

Watch:
Hear Me
Love

 

 

Sonia Sui

Sonia Sui’s claim to fame is The Fierce Wife, which was labeled “the most talked about show in Taiwan” in 2011 and was so popular that it was re-aired in Japan later that year and was adapted into a feature film The Fierce Wife: The Final Episode in 2012. Sui plays a young mother whose husband cheats on her with her cousin. Much of the comedy — and tragedy — comes from the ensuing divorce and her attempt to move on, and Sui’s performance has been praised for her balance of strength and fragility.

Watch:
The Fierce Wife

 

 

Rainie Yang

The quintessential Taiwanese idol drama actress, Rainie Yang has been acting and singing since her debut role in 2001’s Meteor Garden. Though prolific, she’s had to work to be taken seriously as an actress, earning respect with her role in 2007’s Spider Lilies, a Zero Chou-directed lesbian drama that won the Teddy Award for Best Film at the Berlin Film Festival. She’s often paired with Mike He, and she recently starred opposite Joseph Chang in Drunken to Love You.

Watch:
Spider Lilies
Hi My Sweetheart (TV)
Devil Beside You (TV)

 

 

Gwei Lun-Mei

Although she got her start in the 2002 film Blue Gate Crossing, Gwen Lun-Mei may be most known for her role opposite Jay Chou in his directorial debut Secret. Gwei earned critical recognition this past year with her performance in Yang Ya-che’s Girlfriend Boyfriend, alongside Joseph Chang and Rhydian Vaughan, and she was the most recent recipient of the Best Actress trophy at the Golden Horse Awards.

Watch:
Secret
Blue Gate Crossing

 

 

Who are your favorite Taiwanese actresses?

Most Awesome Birthday Present Ever: Dad Gifts Daughter with Ghibli/Disney/Pixar-inspired Mural

For most parents, figuring out what to give their child as a birthday gift is always a tough call.  Toys are a usual go-to, but what if you want to be a little bit more creative?  One dad has seemed to have found the answer by managing to deliver what could possibly be the most impressive, if not the most incredible, birthday present for his young daughter.

A Reddit user, who goes by the name kordath, recently posted photos of a mural he painted for his 2-year old’s playroom, a surprise gift that was completed while his wife and daughter were away for a few weeks.

Done entirely in basic acrylic paints, the original piece depicts beloved characters from Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Pixar’s Finding Nemo and Studio Ghibli’s Ponyo all happily swimming together underwater over a bed of coral, with the sun’s rays breaking through the water’s surface (challenge: see how many characters you can name!).  The precision and detail that can be seen in the final product is astounding and would amaze anyone, child and adult.

Mural_2 Mural_3

Mural_4 Mural_5

(Source: 1, 2)

Throwback Thursday: The Truth About Asian Women & Alcohol

Story by Janice Jann.

BOOZE CONTROL

Studies indicate that nearly 40 percent of Asian American women drink alcohol and, while that’s less than the 55.2 percent national average, we are at a higher risk for all sorts of medical issues due to our binge drinking. So why do we do it? Editor Janice Jann investigates.

As I lean over the toilet bowl, my hair grazing the rim, I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the water. “Who is this puke-strewn girl, bleary-eyed and green-faced, with her pajamas on backwards, staring back at me?” I think to myself. I mutter, “Never again, never a—,” before nausea sweeps in.

There have been many morning afters like this in the years I have been drinking, each time steeped with more regret than the last. Most of my peers have stories like mine. Many laugh, “Who hasn’t gone through it?”

As normal as binge drinking has become, new studies indicate that Asian American women may want to hold off on that second cocktail the next time they drink for reasons more than just avoiding the toilet bowl the next morning.

The most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that the national average of alcohol use for all adults in the U.S. is 55.2 percent, while the national average for Asian Americans is 39.8 percent.

Genetic factors play an important role in why Asian have lower rates of alcohol consumption, according to Tamara Wall, a University of California, San Diego professor of psychology and the director of Psychological Services for the Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System. Studies have shown that 30 to 50 percent of the Asian population have a gene, inactive aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2–2), which causes them to metabolize alcohol differently from people who do not have this gene. This manifests itself physically through headaches, nausea and facial flushing, a.k.a. the “Asian glow.”

Jess, 24, can attest that facial flushing causes her to drink less. “I think if I didn’t have it, I’d be more open to having a casual cocktail with friends and clients,” she says. However, that hasn’t stopped her from binge drinking one recent weekend. Stressed out about her job and living situation for the past couple of months, she “needed a way to just vent and live in the moment.” According to Jess, “I was determined to let myself loose and it was actually my goal to drink until I didn’t remember anything at all.” After four double shots of tequila and two single shots, she did exactly that and stayed in bed sick until 4:30 the next afternoon. “I think it was the stress that had been piling on that pushed me over the edge,” she says.

 

Using alcohol to self-medicate, to relieve stress or to forget problems, has become an increasingly common occurrence among women of the post-Baby Boomer age. As more women enter the workforce, they have to deal with the stressors of the 21st century: increasing challenges in their careers; cultural norms of the workplace, which often includes happy hours and two-martini lunches; motherhood and familial obligations; the list goes on.

Christina, an attorney, agrees. When asked whether work causes her to drink more, she says, “Oh, definitely. That’s a definite issue. I think one reason why people drink so much, especially in my profession, is we’re pretty stressed out. We’re responsible for other people’s issues so when we do have a chance for release, it does get out of hand. Alcohol lets you forget about things for a moment. I knew of one associate who was so stressed, she used to drink every morning before going to work. It was a way to numb herself before she had to deal with the day.”

Though Christina may drink out of stress, she also drinks to celebrate. “After I passed the bar exam, I went out with a friend and I was taking shots galore,” she remembers. “I drank so much tequila that it made me sick to my stomach. I just didn’t give a sh—t that day because I was so happy I passed.”

By the end of the night, Christina “was sitting at my bathroom, wanting to die. You just wanted it to be over with. Every time something like that happens, I tell myself I will never do that again and it happens again.”

Meky had a similar experience on her birthday. “I’m kind of embarrassed to say I got wasted on my 25th birthday and not, like, my 21st or something,” she laughs, thinking back to the celebratory weekend where she downed five Jack Daniel shots in less than an hour, was carried to her car on a friend’s back, and woke up the next morning, her clothes piled by the door.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse defines binge drinking for women to be four drinks over a time span of two hours, but once you’ve hit that zone, it’s often difficult to stop at merely four drinks for the night. “It all starts tasting the same after a while,” says Christina. “You become desensitized after a certain amount.”

What’s scarier is that blackouts and vomiting are not the only negative consequences associated with binge drinking. Wall cites an increase in dangerous behaviors such as driving while intoxicated and risky sexual activities.

Binge drinking could also lead to alcoholism, which will require CA drug and alcohol detoxification eventually.

And even though the ALDH2–2 gene have put Asians at a lower risk for developing alcohol problems, it puts them at a higher risk for developing medical problems. Wall lists esophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer, hepatitis and liver problems as common problems for Asian binge drinkers. “The data are pretty clear that if you have the [gene] and you drink heavily, you’re much more likely to developing head and neck cancer,” she adds.

Being an Asian woman, there are even more consequences to frequent binge drinking. In a 2008 New York Magazine article, Susan Foster of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University said, “There are huge differences in the way our bodies metabolize alcohol. Women have less body water and more body fat than men. The water dilutes the alcohol in the bloodstream, and will stay in her body longer, even if she is the same size as the guy.” What that means is that women get inebriated with lower levels of consumption at a faster rate. Additionally, alcohol has been known to interfere with fertility and increase the risk of breast cancer. Some researchers believe that a woman who has four drinks a day would increase her nongenetic chance of developing breast cancer by 32 percent.

Freaked out yet? Researching this story has made me think twice about reaching for that soju bottle again at our next staff happy hour. Now, instead of just dreading how I’ll feel trying to get the alcohol out of my system, I’ll also worry a little about what it’s doing inside my body. Just thinking about it stresses me out so much I want to grab a drink.

So what are some alternatives for a lush like me?

“Working out is probably a more positive avenue,” says Christina about dealing with work pressure. “I find as I get older, I try things like meditation courses to help me not think and stress out as much.”

Moderation is also key. “The standard guidelines for women is you shouldn’t drink more than one drink per day,  nd for men two drinks,” says Wall.

Sure, a mere one drink a day could be a buzzkill, but at least I’m at a lower risk for killing myself faster.

 This story was originally featured in our Winter 2011-2012 issue. Get yours here

Girls At High-Risk For Rape: The New Fear of Typhoon Survivors

You would think that after surviving one of the world’s strongest typhoons, you’d have survived the worst. Unfortunately, conditions after such a destructive event prove to be quite dangerous as well.

Much of Philippines is left trying to cope with all the loss brought on by Typhoon Haiyan, otherwise known as Typhoon Yolanda. Days after the typhoon, residents are left in dire need of food, water and medical treatment.

Bodies line the streets in need of body bags. People wait in crowds at nearby airports for days just to receive some food. Tons of people are left without a home and must seek shelter in abandoned vehicles. Citizens cover their face in an effort to avoid the stench of rotting bodies. Looters have begun to take what they can simply because they want their family to survive. In desperation, some have dug into water pipes to keep from dehydration.

This nightmare has become a reality for some of the Filipino citizens who’s homeland was destroyed by the typhoon. While victims must go each day worrying about their survival, the British government points out another terror which haunts the victims.

According to The Telegraph, thousands of Filipino women and girls will face the very real risk of violence, including sexual exploitation and abuse, rape, forced marriage and trafficking.

“We are concerned about the safety of women and girls in the Philippines,” says Justine Greening, Britain’s international development secretary, who is helping to coordinate the UK’s response to the crisis. “After previous emergencies in the Philippines, we have seen an increase in violence against women and girls and in particular the trafficking of girls.”

According to The Telegraph, this danger is common during natural disasters in developing countries because people turn to trafficking as a way to survive, the weakened environment creates more vulnerable situations for women, and these issues are simply not prioritized because they are not considered life-threatening.

“Currently, girls and women in crisis situations such as earthquakes, hurricanes, famine and conflict are more vulnerable to violence, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual assault, forced marriage and trafficking, because of the lack of protection and provision for their needs.” says Justine Greening. “The UK Government believes that the prevention and response to violence against girls and women in emergencies is a life-saving action and should be prioritised from the outset, alongside other life-saving interventions,” Ms Greening said.

Greening has already advocated for certain measures to be taken such as sending a women’s ‘protection specialist’ and solar lanterns because better lighting creates safer environments. Obviously, these are very quick tactics and UK hopes other countries will work in solidarity with them to create long-term strategies.

“It’s about giving girls a voice, participation matters,” Greening explains. “It’s also about choice over what women do post-crisis – what they do with their lives, what to do for a job, when to get married and what happens to their bodies. This matters.”

Video of The Week: Google India’s Heartwarming Ad

Ready to have your heartstrings pulled? This ad for Google India will sure do the trick. The video, titled “Google Search: Reunion,” focuses on two men in their elder years who were childhood friends.

The men reflect on their younger years and on their forced separation due to the India-Pakistan partition of 1947. Thanks to technological advances, Google’s search system and their kinda grandchildren, the two are finally able to reunite.

Times of India claims that the ad went viral within a few hours of being released because it strikes such an emotional chord. They certainly weren’t kidding. The video has already gathered over a million views since its release yesterday.

Check it out for yourself and be prepared to find a smile on your face.
Note: Turn subtitles on by clicking on the Closed Captioning option in the video.

Five of Asia’s Most Breathtaking Locations

Yesterday, BuzzFeed released a list called “27 Surreal Places To Visit Before You Die.” The list has already gained over 180,000 likes on facebook and for good reason. All of the locations are undeniably breathtaking.

We were pleased to discover that five of these locations were in Asia and we decided to take a closer look at all of them.

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.The 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 a 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 metres 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 central Flores Island of Indonesia. It has gained popularity because the volcano has three craters- 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 triggers by the volcano’s gas activity.

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(Source 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)