The Buzz: Back in the Saddle

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EDITOR’S NOTE:  She first graced our pages 15 years ago as an entertainment and community columnist and we are proud to announce that she is back as a monthly contributor! The lovely and talented California Assembly Speaker pro Tempore Fiona Ma will be sharing with AsianWeek.com readers “The Buzz” on the latest Asian Pacific American entertainment and community news every 2nd Wednesday of the month.

Since her first stint with us, she has gone on to become the most powerful woman in California government having served as a San Francisco Supervisor and as an assemblywoman. Notably, she helped spearhead the San Francisco Hep B Free campaign, which seeks to screen and vaccinate all Asian and Pacific Islanders for hepatitis B. It is the largest and most intensive healthcare campaign for APIs in the U.S.  We commend her for all the work she has done and can’t wait to read what she has to say. 

What goes around comes around and so it is apropos that “I AM BACK” and going to writing my monthly entertainment/community column for AsianWeek again. My last column was back in 2002 after I got elected to the S.F. Board of Supervisors. Now that I have some free time, I look forward to being a girl in the city again and enjoying the culture of California.

People always ask me if I’m a fan of “term limits” and I have to be honest, I wouldn’t have been elected to the State Assembly had it not been for term limits;  however six years is too short a time to be an expert in an issue or work on long term goals. Voters recognized that and passed a new 12 year limit in either house starting with this November election.  I hope that allows the incoming freshman to take on longer term projects to fix our state (for example: High Speed Rail and Water). I’ve enjoyed serving as your Speaker pro Tem of the California State Assembly and I believe serving in elected office is an “honorable profession” (sorry Dad and Mom) and I thank all the voters who allowed me to have an experience of a lifetime.

American Idol runner-up Jessica Sanchez.

As a SAG member, I’m always interested in what’s happening in Hollywood.  I was reading one of the glossy mags the other day and it’s rare to see Asian celebrities.  I noticed a new face (to me) Jamie Chung, an Asian American actress and second generation Korean American who was raised by traditional parents (sound familiar?) in San Francisco.   Seems many “stars” these days get their start in reality shows and Jamie is no exception.  She starred in MTV’s “Real World: San Diego” (2004) and went on to do a number of feature films (including Hangover Part II, which I missed, but my hubby Jason worked on the set and knows the Monkey).  Her next appearance will be in the upcoming film “Premium Rush” (in theaters August 24th), highlighting the wild and dangerous life of a busy Manhattan (easier than San Francisco sans hills) bicycle messenger. She’s one to watch.

If I had one wish, it would be to be able to belt out a tune! Since I was not born with great vocals, I have to admit I love karaoke and proud that my Asian sistas can belt out Whitney Houston songs to win major competitions.  San Diego 16 year old teen Filipina sensation Jessica Sanchez was the runner up in “American Idol” earlier this year (132 million votes were cast by viewers which is about the same number of people who voted in the 2008 presidential election) and is rumored to be joining the cast of “Glee” this fall.  What I like about Jessica is that she is a fan of Eminem (as am I) and hopes to collaborate with him someday. Looks like a new star is on the rise so remember her name and help promote more Asian Americans in media!

Harry Shum, Jr. – No longer the “other Asian?”

According to Psychology Today, 20% of people chronically avoid difficult tasks, which for me has been going to the gym!  People recommend yoga or Zumba so my interest peaked when I got an invitation to TheFitExpo coming to the San Jose Convention Center on July 14-15th.  The event will feature fitness and health products, services and demos and live amateur cage fight competitions with top California Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters on Sunday the 15th (www.worldcombatseries.com). “American Gladiator” gave us a taste of this full combat sport that mixes boxing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, wrestling, muay Thai, kickboxing, taekwondo, karate, judo, kung fu and other styles.  I’m going to check it out to see what all the hype is all about but I have to ask…where are ladies?

I played four sports in junior high and high school and tennis in college so I’d like to thank U.S. House of Representative Patsy Mink (1927-2002) who was an early drafter of Title IX, effective June 23, 1972.  Rep. Patsy Mink served 12 terms in Congress, was the first woman of color and the first Asian American woman elected from Hawaii and became the first Asian American to seek the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party in the 1972 election, where she stood in the Oregon primary as an anti-war candidate. In recognition of her contributions to equal rights in the country, Congress named the Title IX Amendment the “Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act”.  Happy Birthday Title IX!

You can reach me at Fiona@FionaMa.com. Follow me on twitter @FionaMa and like me on Facebook.

 

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