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Volume 94: March 8, 2019
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ICE ALERT: On March 13th, ICE is scheduling check-ins for Cambodian Americans with deportation orders at the San Francisco ICE building. The Asian Prisoner Support Committee is hosting a rally in support of those impacted as well as their families.

If you or someone you know was asked to check in with ICE, contact Asian Americans Advancing Justice’s raids hotline at 415-952-0413. For resources and information on how to prepare, visit

What do Asian women make?

In 2018, the average Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) woman would have had to work an extra two months to make as much money as what the average white man made in a year.

In fact, according to U.S. Census data, it would have taken the average AAPI woman until March 5, 2019—which is why we recognize that date as 2019’s Asian Women’s Equal Pay Day.

Although it’s usually the earliest among women’s Equal Pay Days, it’s not exactly a victory. Because while AAPI women might look like they’re reaching parity, not all AAPI women are.

We don't look the same or get paid the same

Some Asian women, specifically those of Indian, Taiwanese, Sri Lankan, and Chinese descent, actually make more on average than their white male peers. But those are outliers.  For example, women of Indonesian descent make 81.4% as much; Pacific Islanders, 62.1% as much; Burmese, 49.3%.

But you wouldn’t know that by looking at the aggregate data, which encourages the “model minority” myth—the fable that all AAPI are doing a-okay because they work hard and study lots and don’t rock the boat.

That aggregate data makes it even harder for overlooked minorities within Asian America. When those with power look at the data, they decide Asian women don’t need as many resources as other groups. And so the slope gets even more slippery.

Not-so-equal Equal Pay Days

That’s why there’s been a push for separate recognition of separate AAPI groups. Last year, Southeast Asian American women pushed for an Equal Pay Day of their own. This year, Native Women’s Equal Pay Day is September 23—though it’s unclear if that includes Native Hawaiians, who are often lumped in with AAPI.

Bottom line: “Asian American and Pacific Islander” can be a great label for organizing. But disaggregating that label makes important issues, like equal pay, that much clearer.

More disaggregated data

NOW PLAYING: Master Z: Ip Man Legacy is a new martial arts movie taking place in what I guess is now the Ip Man Cinematic Universe. It stars some actors nobody’s ever heard of, including Michelle Yeoh, Dave Bautista, Zhang Jin and Tony Jaa, and—actually, you know what? I can’t do this. Let me try again.

MICHELLE YEOH, DAVE BAUTISTA, ZHANG JIN AND TONY JAA ARE IN THIS MOVIE. This is some severe Asian excellence here, even though Dave Bautista, who is Filipino American, seems to be taking the requisite role of “foreign bad guy” that Mike Tyson played in Ip Man 3. And that drink scene with Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Jin is at once the fight scene and meet-cute of 2019. Tony Jaa—I don’t even know where to start with Tony Jaa, except that I was told a dozen times in college to watch Ong-Bak and I finally did and now I’m very scared of Tony Jaa.

All this is to say that come April 12, I’ll be in theaters to watch this film, hoping against hope that it’s amazing. Worst-case scenario? With a cast like this, it’ll at least be fun. And in the Ip Man Cinematic Universe, that’s all I need.

Andrew Hsieh, editor-in-chief, who just watched Crouching Tiger again and realized Michelle Yeoh is incapable of aging

Curbing addiction to Lady Luck

According to Dr. Timothy Fong, co-director of UCLA’s Gambling Studies Program, Southeast Asian refugees experience a “tremendous” amount of poverty. That poverty, says Fong, leads them to seek other financial opportunities—and gambling looks particularly appealing.

Unfortunately, that’s led to a disproportionately high rate of gambling addiction. One study conducted a decade ago showed that a refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos experienced a rate of gambling addiction 30 times the national average.

"A cauldron of risk factors"

With ideas like fortune and luck endemic to several Asian cultures, gambling is often socially accepted. Pile on casinos’ efforts to market to Asians, and you get what Fong calls “a cauldron of risk factors.”

But where gambling is accepted, mental health services may not be, leaving refugees’ gambling addictions untreated.

Combined with any trauma refugees may have experienced in their mother countries, gambling addiction becomes especially dangerous—especially when gambling itself becomes a form of therapy.

Plus, gambling problems often stay within the family. Even when gambling addicts recognize the problem, few seek help, leading to broken families or bankruptcy.

Treating gambling addiction

One pilot program In Connecticut, where Southeast Asian refugees have experienced crushing levels of gambling addiction, is looking to turn the tides. Called “Asian Ambassadors,” the group holds sessions tailored to communities, careful to involve community members and spaces.

Rather than discussing gambling addiction explicitly, Asian Ambassadors holds financial literacy workshops, and is careful not to offend communities sensitive about gambling.

It’s community work that doesn’t discourage gambling so much as it enables independent decisions—and hopefully, it won’t need luck to succeed.

More on UCLA's Gambling Studies Program non-profit

You can’t fall in love with your jewel. You have always known it, but never dreamed it would be a problem. Every time you think you’ve managed to escape your feelings, they flood back. A smile, a look, a sharp word: needles to the heart, as sharp and biting as if you’d been actually stung. You would tell her to stop doing that to you, but she doesn’t mean it, isn’t even aware of it. You know her as no one else does, and this makes you ashamed; this knowledge should not make you love her.

— Isabel Yap, from "How to Swallow the Moon"

This Weekend ... 📅

  • READ your last fortune (maybe). San Francisco is at risk of losing its very last remaining fortune cookie factory because of, you guessed it, the wild rent. Owner Kevin Chan isn’t ready to back down just yet, and his story of how they keep customers happy is quite endearing.

  • WATCH the short film finalists from the 3rd Annual Asian Pacific American Visionaries competition that were selected by HBO, featuring some names you may recognize, including friend of The Slant Julie Zhan. According to the HBO’s VP of Multicultural Marketing, they are ready for the wave of Asian American visibility. We are too, dude, we are too.

  • INDULGE in the delectable and traditional world of kaiseki—with this story on how Niki Nakayama, a queer Asian American woman, is redefining it. With her restaurant, n/naka, Nakayama is smashing the traditionally male-dominated field in Los Angeles, while still respecting the tradition.

  • ROOT FOR Sungwon Cho, otherwise known as ProZD, who just signed onto one of the largest voice acting agencies and is all around kicking ass with his character as Henry in Gen:lock. He’s going to be everywhere soon enough, although he kinda already is on YouTube—listen more to his journey on his career here.

This week's stories are curated by Natalie Bui, editor. Got a tip, or just want to share? E-mail us at

The Slant is brought to you by:


Brian Hsieh • Marina Cheung • Billy Huang • Kevin Lin • Paulina Dao


AJ Grey • Delwin Lau • Michelle Pal • Mandy Diec • Carl Shan


Patrick Trinh • Lloyd Lee • Emily Chi • Naomi Iwata • Kyla Hsia


Gloria Lin • Yi Cao • Cat Xia • Curtis Leung


Crystal Shei • Jerome Finuliar • Ryan Ikeda • Meher Kohli • Matt Young • Sooyun Choi • Abby Wang • Tracey Baumann • Mika Kennedy • James Boo • Chris Moe • Alexander Quion • Jeffrey Wang • Vivi Nguyen


Angela Yang • Diane Lee • Katherine Chin • Paul Kerr • Talisa Chang • Claire Tran • Sara Mitchell • Teresa Nguyen

of whom we're trying really, really hard to be worthy. Join them in supporting The Slant on Patreon.

See ya next time.
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