You know the one.

Featuring singer Katherine Ho, from the soundtrack of Crazy Rich Asians

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Updates on stories we've reported on previously.

When Planned Parenthood Wens

We all Wen. Dr. Leana Wen grew up in poverty in Compton, California, after immigrating from China after the Tiananmen Square massacre, with just $40 to her family’s name.

After graduating college at just 18, Wen became a Rhodes Scholar and Baltimore’s Health Commission Officer. When the Trump administration tried to slash Baltimore’s teen pregnancy prevention program, she sued them AND won.

Now at the age of 35, she is Planned Parenthood's first immigrant and Asian American president.

What that means for healthcare

Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the uninsured rate for Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) groups has dropped considerably. But according to the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum, cuts to Planned Parenthood and the ACA have halted that progress.

Plus, disaggregated data for AANHPI is rare, which makes it harder to see which groups need help the most. We know that cervical cancer occurs twice as much in Cambodians than in non-Hispanic whites, for example, but disaggregation still isn’t the norm.

Which means while we know AANHPI as a whole often face cultural stigmas and conservative pushback when pursuing reproductive healthcare, it’s hard to diagnose subgroups.

For instance, we know only about 7 percent of Planned Parenthood patients in Los Angeles and 2 percent in New York are Asian—staggering considering the Asian diaspora there—but we only know they’re “Asian.”

What’s a doctor to do

Dr. Leana Wen argues that Planned Parenthood’s work should be considered mainstream care. Recalling her family’s reliance on Medicaid and Planned Parenthood, Wen understands the unique challenges immigrants face in getting health care.

Having grown up in parts of rural America, Wen also understands how difficult it can be to access reproductive health care in conservative spaces. And as an Asian American, she could close the gap on the racial disparity of women’s healthcare services.

Natalie Bui, editor, who wants to thank her colleagues at AAAJ - LA Leslie and Marianna, and Sara from Planned Parenthood Los Angeles for helping her gather data on this piece
Here's Planned Parenthood's annual report

NOW PLAYING: Remember The Cove? The 2010 Oscar winner for Best Documentary Feature dove into the annual dolphin hunting practices of a small Japanese fishing village, Taiji. The film was an immensely powerful and persuasive story of animal rights activism—but that story has its own issues.

Japanese American filmmaker wades into the debate in A Whale of a Tale which looks at the impact The Cove had on Taiji. The documentary depicts the cultural clash between mostly white Western activists and the Japanese fisherman who want to pass on a trade that has kept the town afloat.

It’s a more meditative look at cross-cultural dialogue, hypocrisy and tradition and the few lonely voices calling for a middle ground.

Jessica Yi, editor, really admires Katherine Ho’s side braid

No rewards for fighting alongside the U.S.

In the 1960s and 70s, the CIA recruited 9,000 Hmong guerillas to fight against Communist forces in the Laotian Secret War alongside American troops.

Many Lao Hmong troops were flown out of Laos into the United States, where they lived and raised families for decades. Some brought their children from Laos, who have since grown up.

Now, despite fighting alongside American troops, they’re in danger of deportation.

Yeah, that’s unfair

Refugees like the Lao Hmong troops aren’t considered citizens by default—they’re lawful permanent residents, which means any crime can mean violation of their refugee status.

While countries normally take back deportees who have committed crimes, a few Southeast Asian countries, such as Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia, have refused to accept back deportees.

Starting in 2017, however, the Trump administration has began issuing visa sanctions on these countries, forcing them to accept more deportees—including children of refugees who were either born in refugee camps or came from abroad in their infancy.

Here’s another reason that’s bad

While Peter Vang, executive director of Lao Veterans of America in Fresno, doesn’t believe Secret War veterans will be affected, their children are “very vulnerable.” Especially because the insurgency in Laos continues even today.

“The reason why we are here is because we fought with the Americans,” Vang told the Fresno Bee. “If they send us back, they send us back to be killed.”

Fresno, which is home to thousands of Southeast Asian refugees and their families, including 60,000 Laotians, Lao Hmong and Cambodians, is ground zero for action. The Fresno Southeast Asian Coalition for Action is educating potential deportees about the issue, their rights, and next steps.

As of August 6, 4,614 non-detained Laotians and 589 non-detained Burmese nationwide have a final deportation order.

Andrew Hsieh, editor-in-chief

Vietnamese refugees are at risk of deportation, too

Photo credit: Wally Skalij (LA Times)

Katherine Ho has songs to sing and comments to read

Sure, Katherine Ho's cover of "Yellow" is playing theaters nationwide in Crazy Rich Asians. But Ho’s always thought of herself as a regular kid.

“After The Voice happened, I felt like it was just time to think about college with my friends,” Ho tells us over the phone. “The moment I started applying for college, I didn’t apply to any music programs. I was always like, something in psychology or biology? Something like that. I don’t know if I just wanted to be a normal kid or whatever. I just didn’t want [music] as a career.”

What about now, when her song’s played in tens of thousands of theaters across the country? “It kinda made the issue worse,” Ho deadpans. “‘cause I’d decided I wanted to go for healthcare, and now I have two things to choose [from]. I never stopped loving music. I just never really believed in myself and didn’t think I had anything to offer to the world.”

She pauses. “But I’m reconsidering.”

That's because people are taking notice. Aspiring YouTube stars are covering Ho’s version of “Yellow” in both Mandarin and English — or on violin. And for better or worse, Ho sees it all.

“This is kind of embarrassing, but I’ve been addicted to my phone since Crazy Rich Asians came out,” Ho laughs. “I read every single comment. I didn’t think people would notice the song outside of the movie. I was like, ‘oh, it’ll complement the final scene artistically.’ But I didn’t think people would listen to it after the movie. Just that people would care about this individual song — it’s really mind-blowing, and I’m really grateful.”

"Yellow," by Coldplay, covered by Katherine Ho

There’s just one thing that might get to Ho: something she needs to repeat in every article she’s interviewed for. “There’s the stereotype of the Asian tiger mom, portrayed really negatively in the media,” Ho says. “I try to tell in my interviews how supportive my parents are and how grateful I am to have such awesome parents. It’s very easy to assume that, ‘oh, she’s a biology major, she has Asian parents, so obviously they’re tiger parents.’ So I just want to make that clear.”

Same with being pigeonholed as an Asian American artist featured in an Asian American movie. “I feel if I were an artist, my music wouldn’t be super edgy. So I don’t know how people would see that, like, ‘It’s pop music, but it’s an Asian face singing it. I don’t know if it’s as believable,’” Ho says. “So I’m pretty worried about that — my style is pretty mainstream, but my face isn’t. So it’s something that’s crossed my mind.”

In a future world, Katherine Ho might make the press circuit after another appearance on a movie or an album, and she might not have to talk about being Asian American, or how she didn’t have a tiger mom, thank you very much. And maybe I wouldn’t need to ask her how she feels about being asked these questions.

But that’s the future, and Ho’s still not even sure if she’ll continue pursuing music. Either way, the success of her cover is already assured. Because if Crazy Rich Asians is “You Belong With Me,” Katherine Ho’s “Liu Xing” is “All Too Well” — only not quite so hidden.

Katherine Ho is a singer and a student at University of Southern California. You can find her on YouTube and Twitter, or on the soundtrack of Crazy Rich Asians.

Read the whole feature on Medium

This weekend ... 📅

  • TAKE A MOTORBIKE ACROSS AMERICA, or let Arvin Temkar do it (he did) and just read his recap (you should). Temkar, who identifies as Filipino and Indian, took a cross-country roadtrip with his motorcycle named Clementine this past summer. He interviewed everyone from Buddhist nuns to Southern store owners aiming to preserve Confederate values, and found there’s one thing that Americans truly have in common: fear. Read it.

  • PROTECT YOUR FAMS FROM SCAMS. An overwhelming majority of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders over the age of 50 have lost thousands of dollars to phone scammers pretending to be Chinese authorities. In response, groups like the Cambridge Police Department is hosting seminars to increase education and decrease the number of people who get scammed—roughly a third of the scam victims have lost up to $15,000.

  • FIRE UP YOUR TIME MACHINE and take a look at rare photographs from Chinatown in the early 20th century. These photos were taken by Arnold Genthe and are among only a handful of photos that document San Francisco’s Chinatown in the time before the earthquake of 1906—they were stored in a bank vault and thus survived much of the damage.

  • REVISIT THE KIDS TABLE. Not the actual table you’re relegated to during big family dinners—“The Kids Table” is a series about a group of Chinese American friends who take different approaches to their identities and futures. It’s showing in LA and SF in the coming weeks, so make sure to get tickets.

  • KEEP RIDING THE MEDIA HYPE TRAIN and check out some Asian-American-led projects—like “Be More Chill”, the Off Broadway musical starring George Salazar (he’s half Filipino, half Ecuadorian, and fully told he wouldn’t succeed in the industry). There’s also an unnamed Chinese-American comedy in the works that’s written by Jessica Gao and greenlit by ABC, and a musical drama called "Yellow Rose" starring Lea Salonga and Eva Noblezada.

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

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