Give me a boba emoji or give me death

Featuring actress Tan Kheng Hua, from the cast of Crazy Rich Asians

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Now documented immigrants are in trouble, too

As though threats to undocumented immigrants and migrant refugees weren’t bad enough (reminder that 1,488 migrant children are still unaccounted for), ol’ 45 has pursued policies that have made it harder for even skilled applicants to get to the U.S.

That’s even though half of all immigrants who have arrived since 2010 have college degrees—compared to 30 percent of citizens born in the U.S.

Yup, immigrants are more educated

That’s partially because of an influx of immigrants who have come on high-skilled worker visas, or H-1Bs.

Asian Americans, for example, make up the most new immigrants since 2010, among them programmers, engineers, physicians and researchers who came through work visas. Later, they’d get sponsored for green cards by their employers, which would give them legal residency.

Now, even green cards are harder to get: the Trump administration is now requiring in-person interviews for all cases, not just edge cases.

And “chain migration,” which allows immigrants (like Melania Trump)  to sponsor other relatives for residency, is under fire, with an estimated 40 percent reduction in family-tied green cards.

Wiping away decades of progress

This is all in direct opposition to a 1965 law, the Immigration and Nationality Act, which allowed for H-1bs and “chain migration” in the first place, setting off a massive change in America’s demographics that wouldn’t be seen until,  apparently, 2018.

Arguably, it’s the same kind of change that’s causing a shift in political rhetoric, too. Because while the U.S. is supposedly a melting pot, the Trump administration would rather throw immigrants into the fire.

Andrew Hsieh, editor-in-chief, beneficiary of chain migration
Anti-Sikh hate crimes have gone up, too

NOW PLAYING: The Comedy Lineup is back with another diverse group of stand-ups. Season 2 features Filipino American comedian JR De Guzman who sings about racism, growing up in the Philippines and his tight knit family—but that description makes it sound much heavier than it is. He delivers all that and punchy one-liners with a breezy attitude and adorable smile.

Jessica Yi, editor, is eating store bought kimchi for the first time instead of going back home to steal some her mom’s

It’s a boba world and we get to drink it

What’s more hardcore than running a boba shop? According to my friend Stephany, who runs a boba shop and drowns in tapioca and fried chicken every day, almost nothing. (Shouts to Yummi Tea Cafe.)

But the folks behind popular Californian boba joints Boba Guys and Teaspoon are going above and beyond anyway, opening an 18,000-square-foot pearl factory to make boba the way Americans like it.

Um, wait

Okay, we know authenticity is a Going Concern, so maybe that sounds scary. But as the New York Times reports, it’s just not cost-effective to source all your boba from the usual suppliers … who are mostly in Taiwan.

Meanwhile, recent new regulations, such as San Francisco’s ban on plastic straws, require some creative license. The US Boba Company, as the factory is called, will make pearls between 9.5 to 10.5 millimeters wide, which should juuuust fit in compostable straws.

And yeah, it’ll make flavors just for the American market—though the one the Times references, uji matcha pearls, is far from the pizza-flavored boba you might have imagined.

Yeah, we just typed “pizza-flavored boba”

And pepperoni boba could still be a thing. But for now? The US Boba Company will just focus on supplying good ol' normal boba to Boba Guys and Teaspoon.

Someday, though, co-founder David Fan says they might even offer tours. The goal? To completely demystify boba, to the point where a formerly foreign food becomes decidedly American.

Like with, say, pizza.

Andrew Hsieh, editor-in-chief, again? Except he’s now fielding your worst boba flavors at

How fresh boba's made: a video

Constance Wu and Tan Kheng Hua in Crazy Rich Asians. Photo credit: Warner Bros.

Tan Kheng Hua talks parenting and being parented in Singapore

Actress Tan Kheng Hua, known for playing Kerry Chu in Crazy Rich Asians and for decades of television and theatre work in Singapore, is very happy about what Crazy Rich Asians spotlights: diversity, motherhood, and Singapore.

“I feel like all you hear is that one story about how you get thrown into jail for chewing gum. But I’m glad Crazy Rich Asians opened up not just seeing Singapore, but seeing lifestyles, and the music,” she tells me. “The soundtrack of CRA is so great!”

I caught up with her over wine in Santa Monica, and she displayed immediate affection and warmth. She was just as interested in getting to know me as I was to get to know her. “Where is your family from?” she asks me. “Do your parents speak Vietnamese to you?” I tell her yes. She responds, “Now that is very powerful. That is your X-Men ability.”

We discussed her upbringing, Singaporean values, and how Crazy Rich Asians is changing everything for her and everyone. You can read the whole interview on Medium.


On the timing of Crazy Rich Asians:

So right now, Crazy Rich Asians have opened up a host of international agents that have wanted to see me. My daughter is all grown up, my mortgage is all paid, I’m free as a bird! I’m on my own [...] Crazy Rich Asians came at this time in my life. So all these Hollywood and UK agents are knocking at my door. But Crazy Rich Asians could have come 7 years before and it could have been completely different. It had to happen right now when I’m free so I can accept this.

On her own mother:

“I’m really close to my mom. She’s 82. Still highly dynamic, very very energetic. Yet my mother and I hardly hug. She caned me with a cane when I was young. Same with my brothers. We were deathly afraid of the cane. But she is the best mom, I love her to death. She is the center of my family. My brothers and I are completely devoted to her. And everything that she’s done, she does with no guilt. She came from a particular generation. I mean, everyone caned their children [...] She did what Kerry Chu and Eleanor Young does, and that is doing everything you can within your own circumstances.”

On dialect diversity:

“You know how people think people think Chinese is just Mandarin. Well, I’m Teochew. I can speak some Teochew. Well my mom, is Hokkien, another dialect, and married my dad. My dad’s family was more powerful. So my mom had to sit down and learn his dialect.  So there’s a hierarchy in languages. [...] I could understand a little bit of TeoChew but as Singapore just developed and became a cosmopolitan city, and English became their business transaction language, and then suddenly all the dialects are falling by the wayside.”

On her relationship with her daughter:

My relationship with my daughter, our closeness is based on trust. Acceptance. And enjoyment. We really enjoy each other! We're really close! She would say, "I would prefer to travel with you over anyone else!"

On the diversity of entertainment in Singapore

It’s very funny because the diversity issue, all our English language television and films are all multiracial. But we never sell it as that. That’s never how Singapore markets it. We never sell it as a “most diverse cast” because that is our reality.

But becoming friends with Asian American actors and seeing how American films are done, it is real. The emotions and the challenges and the hardships that Asian American immigrants feel and it is very real. And you MUST respect them. And until you know details. And until you give everybody a voice and chance, and how they got here—it’s just not enough to just talk about it under Asian American or immigrant. It’s not enough to cover it in just a word called diversity.

On the death stare:

One must not forget, the main manipulator of that scene, of everything good who has a big hand in it — is Jon M. Chu. Who would whisper in my ear, you know, “Your stare! It’s not ‘f*ck off’. You have to layer it with a bunch of things.” It’s Jon as well, who has a very strong relationship with his mother. The layers you see in this scene had to do with Jon. It has to do with everyone around us. It takes a village. And for one stare to get that, you need the camera man! I loved my camera man and the team!

On Michelle Yeoh:

Being on set with her is knowing you have a queen who is compassionate and beautiful and intelligent and talented. You feel so safe. She has this way of being  so light! She’s just like “Hello! Hi! Hey do you want this! Do you want this! Do you need water! My assistant is going out to get drinks — do you want one?”

Read the whole interview on Medium

This weekend ... 📅

  • JOIN THE COSMOS. Our friends at The Cosmos, a community for Asian women to flourish and thrive, are holding their final retreat of 2018 for 30 Asian women, with custom workshops featuring personal development, identity and culturally relevant leadership. You can register today.

  • RENT THE RUNWAY to match the fierce looks of Claudia Li’s all-Asian runway cast for her Spring 2019 show. Inspired by her childhood in New Zealand, Li’s designs feature, um, pretty clothes? I’m not even going to pretend I know how to describe fashion. JUST LOOK AT THEM.

  • LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and not, um, racism. The Progressive Asian American Christians released their Statement on God’s Justice, a direct response against a statement released by John MacArthur and other conservatives that said Christianity was “incompatible” with social justice. Wasn’t that kind of what Jesus was all about?

  • GET ON HULU and watch the first episode of NBC’s “I Feel Bad,” a new dramedy headlining Indian American actress Sarayu Rao, who plays “the perfect mom, boss, wife, friend and daughter” who … isn’t perfect after all. Hijinks ensue?

  • START SALIVATING for True Detective’s Cary Fukunaga, who’s going to be directing the next Bond movie and will, as Guy Lodge observes, have a much higher chance of getting a whole bunch of sweet photo shoots. Is it too early to hope for South/Southeast Asian casting?

  • BELIEVE THAT AANG CAN SAVE THE WORLD. Avatar: The Last Airbender is important to me for so many reasons, not just because it's a heccin' good show, but also because Derek Kirk Kim's petition to boycott the racebending Shyamalan film was a watershed moment in my awareness that Asian Americans weren't exactly being represented in media. These days, representation is something I worry less about, mainly because ASIAN AMERICANS ARE GETTING DEPORTED, but I can worry about that and worry about whether Netflix's new show with a "culturally appropriate, non-whitewashed cast" will be any good at the same time too. Also, RIP Mako. (The actor, not the character.)

This week's stories are curated by Andrew Hsieh, editor-in-chief, again, yes, again, I’m sorry, you must miss Chery, but you have me. Got a tip, or just want to share? E-mail us at

The Slant is brought to you by:

Brian Hsieh, Kevin Lin, Billy Huang, Delwin Lau, AJ Grey, Marina Cheung, Michelle Pal, Mandy Diec, Lloyd Lee, Patrick Trinh, Emily Chi, Naomi Iwata, Gloria Lin, Matt Young, Cat Xia, Crystal Shei, Sooyun Choi, Yi Cao, Meher Kohli, Ryan Ikeda, Jerome Finuliar, Abby Wang, Curtis Leung, Tracey Mantilla, Mika Kennedy, James Boo, Chris Moe, Eve Asher, Diane Lee, Angela Yang, Katherine Chin, Paul Kerr, Talisa Chang and Claire Tran, who are vvvvvv nice.

Join them in supporting The Slant on Patreon.

“This is the beginning of your life in America,” Julio said. “We'll take a freight train from Sunnyside and go to nowhere.” “I would like to go to California,” I said. “I have two brothers there—but I don't know if I could find them.” “All roads go to California and all travelers wind up in Los Angeles,” Julio said. “But not this traveler. I have lived there too long. I know that state too damn well….” “What do you mean?” I asked. Suddenly he became sad and said: “It is hard to be a Filipino in California.” 

Carlos Bulosan, writer, from his novel America is in the Heart

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