A monthly column about all things Asian in popular culture
By Vivian Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly
The slap heard around the world
Who is Wendi Deng Murdoch?
Just a month ago, the public was introduced to Deng Murdoch, a former shrewd businesswoman and news corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch’s alleged gold-digging wife.
Deng Murdoch is from China and married Rupert Murdoch in a scandal. They wed in 1999 only three weeks after Murdoch’s divorce from his then-wife.
Since marrying Murdoch, Deng Murdoch has carefully developed her image as a dutiful, yet powerful, housewife.
She is a mother who accompanies and translates business meetings between her husband, stepson, and high-ranking Chinese officials in China. Her loyalty to the media mogul has made it through thick and thin, especially in light of recent allegations of Murdoch hacking into phones of private citizens for the now defunct tabloid “News of the World.”
At a recent British Parliament meeting in London held to discuss the allegations, a British comedian sought his 15 minutes of fame by attempting to throw a shaving cream pie in Murdoch’s face. However, before the pie could be thrown, Deng Murdoch gave this fool a proper smack down. She slapped him on the head, and in a pink power suit to boot.
As Kristi Stone Hamrick from foxnews.com so delicately put it, “Wendi got game.”
Most astonishing of all is how Deng
Murdoch, wife of a well-known public figure, actually stood up for her man without the instigation of a sex scandal. Shocker!
Baseball fans recently said goodbye to former New York Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu, after he committed suicide in his home in California.
Irabu, originally from Japan, played in professional baseball leagues in Japan and America. After pitching in Japan for nearly a decade, he signed a contract to play for the New York Yankees and made his highly publicized debut in 1997.
Although Irabu initially performed well, he fell short of high expectations, and his reputation fell as quickly as it rose. He didn’t get along with the media, his teammates, or the fans. He frustrated franchise executives with his lack of hustle on the field, even earning the nickname “fat [expletive] toad” from George Steinbrenner, former principal owner and managing partner of the Yankees.
Irabu’s career ended in a fizzle soon thereafter.
Post-baseball life did not bode well for Irabu, either. He was arrested in 2008 for assaulting a bar manager in Japan and received a DUI last year in California. He also battled depression for years, which some speculate was brought about by his fallout with the Yankees.
Though an abrupt death is always tragic, Irabu’s death seems particularly heartbreaking as most of his depression was caused by how the media, the fans, and the team heads treated him throughout his career.
Many people also fail to realize the difficulties that Asian baseball players face after moving to America. In addition to meeting high expectations from Americans, they must also deal with adjusting to a new culture, language, and lifestyle.
Though Irabu fell short of expectations, he did not deserve the disrespect shown to him throughout his career and after he retired. One cannot even find his name on the Internet without “fat toad” attached to it.
Rest in peace, Irabu. May the nickname be put to rest, too.
New castings and shoots
Shooting began for the low-budget, independent film “White Frog,” directed by Quentin Lee from Hong Kong. The film follows an Asian American teen with mild Asperger’s syndrome. He must deal with the recent death of his brother. He must also deal with the secrets his brother left behind that threaten to unravel their family.
I’m excited about the casting, which includes new as well as more established Asian American talents in the industry. The cast includes Harry Shum Jr., B.D. Wong, Joan Chen, Margaret Cho, and Kelly Hu. Boo Boo Stewart plays the film’s teen protagonist and is best known to audiences for his role in the “Twilight” film franchise.
In the world of television, Kal Penn has finished his stint as associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and has signed on for a recurring role on the CBS series, “How I Met Your Mother.”
Penn is perhaps best known for his role as Kumar in the “Harold and Kumar” comedies.
Also, standup comedian Charlyne Yi landed a regular role on the FOX medical drama “House.” Yi, who is of Filipino and Korean descent, has acting credits from the comedy “Knocked Up,” the documentary “Paper Heart,” and the sitcom “Love Bites.”
I have no idea how Yi — a comedian — will fare on a dry drama like “House.” Perhaps she was casted to fix the funny bones of fictional patients on the show. ♦
Vivian Nguyen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.