By Ninette Cheng
Northwest Asian Weekly
Happy Lunar New Year! This year marks the year of the tiger, the big boys of the safari. Like the animals, those born in the year of the tiger are known for their courage, intelligence, and strength. They are also honest (almost to a fault), resilient, competitive, and vain.
Tigers are often aggressive, competitive, and passionate, particularly in regard to their careers, which makes them great leaders, as well as good actors and musicians.
Let’s take a look at some famous tigers and where those traits took them.
Famous Asian tigers:
Michelle Yeoh (born 1962): Yeoh began her career filming commercials in Hong Kong during the 1980s. She retired briefly only to make a comeback in 1992.
Since then, Yeoh has been resilient and has starred in a number of successful films including “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Tomorrow Never Dies,” and “Memoirs of a Geisha.” In addition to learning lines in Mandarin for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” Yeoh is known for performing many of her own stunts.
Masi Oka (born 1974): Oka, the co-star of popular television show “Heroes,” proved his brainpower at an early age. In 1987, then 12-year-old Oka appeared on the August 31 cover of Time in an article entitled “Those Asian American Whiz Kids.” Oka also boasts a degree from Brown University, a 180-plus IQ, and is fluent in English, Japanese, and Spanish!
Thakoon Panichgul (born in 1974): This Thai-born American fashion designer received his big break in 2007 when his competitive spirit and talent won him a contest with The Gap. Panichgul, who is often known by his first name, was selected by Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour to design a collection for a popular retailer. His work was seen by millions in 2008 when Mrs. Obama wore a red floral dress from his collection on the last night of the Democratic National Convention.
BoA (born 1986): I was shocked to find out BoA was born in 1986 because it sure seems like she has been in the business forever! In fact, 2010 marks one decade since the release of BoA’s first album. BoA claimed bragging rights as the only non-Japanese artist to have two million albums sold in Japan, but afterward, her 2006 Japanese album “Outgrow” became her lowest-selling album during its first-week debut. However, BoA powered on, and in 2008, she made her debut in the United States. She will be returning to Japan and is releasing her sixth Japanese album this month. Welcome back!
Apl.de.ap (of the Black Eyed Peas) (born 1974): Last year may have been the Black Eyed Peas’ most successful year. In addition to four hit singles and 26 consecutive weeks with the number one single on the Billboard Hot 100, the group took home three Grammy awards this year, bringing their total Grammy awards to six. Apl.de.ap has also announced that he will be recording a solo album and starting his own music company. The man is business-savvy, a leader, and gaining independence! Rawr!
Cassie (born 1986): Half Filipino American, singer Cassie kept fairly quiet in 2009. Instead, in April, she unexpectedly shaved half of her head. That’s right, just half. The singer claimed she needed a change.
Perhaps this was a publicity stunt or maybe Cassie is just that unpredictable and extreme!
Who else is a Tiger?
Sheryl Crow (born 1962): Following her public battle with breast cancer, Crow has shown her strength and courage and has continued to support causes for breast cancer research.
Heidi Montag (born 1986): Montag became the epitome of vanity after she had ten plastic surgeries in one day. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the female (and much less successful or talented) Michael Jackson.
Rafael Nadal (born 1986): At 23, Nadal is an Olympic gold medalist in men’s singles tennis. He was ranked first in the world last year and is presently ranked fourth, a career low. If his tiger characteristics are any indication, he may be fighting for a comeback soon.
Rosie O’Donnell (born 1962): This comedian, author, and media personality has proven her in-your-face honesty in her political views, her marriage to Kelli Carpenter, and just about everything!
Kofi Annan (born 1938): Annan’s resume speaks for itself. The 71-year-old is a former U.N. Secretary General, former Ghanaian diplomat, and co-recipient of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize for his U.N. leadership.
Lady Gaga (born 1986): As one of music’s most popular acts in 2009, it is clear that Gaga’s business tactics and marketing are brilliant. The artist is also known for her bizarre and unpredictable music videos, style, and overall persona.
Have a good year tigers! ♦
Ninette Cheng can be reached at email@example.com.