From India to Japan, religions are experimenting with the use of AI and robotics for spiritual customs. Though it’s still a relatively new area, it’s become controversial because of the differing perspectives on its potential benefits and drawbacks. While AI will likely last longer than a regular human lifespan, will it be able to conjure the type of consciousness or spirituality required to lead religion? From Japan to India, there are people who think so. Some Buddhist temples in Japan have used robots to give sermons and interact with visitors, and in India, robotic arms perform aarti–a ritual of offering an oil lamp to a deity. From reciting chants to worship services, we will likely see many more experiments in the years to come. Do you think AI and robotics can provide new opportunities for spiritual growth or are you concerned about the ethical implications?
Oscar-winning RRR is rooted deeply in nationalism and the Hindu idea of revolution. In fact, films like this coming out of India are the only ones making the big screen. As the country becomes more autocratic and surveillant, cinema is where people are pushing back. RRR, which has been watched 45 million times on Netflix and recently won an Oscar, is only one of the many films that have reflected the social issues and societal values in India. In fact, since Modi came into power in 2014, supported by a militant Hindu supremacist group, Indian cinema and Bollywood has changed. University students, film festivals and cultural centers are digging deep into truly revolutionary cinema coming out of India and finding one common thread: they’re all being banned. As the rest of the world consumes Indian films, it’s key to pay attention to how nationalism and Islamophobia are not only normalized but glorified.
In February, 800,000 liters of industrial fuel was dropped into the Mindoro Provinces, Southwest of Manila, home to the highest concentration of marine biodiversity on the planet. The Philippines is now in crisis mode as the oil spill threatens marine life and the local jobs that depend on it. Cleanup costs will be high, with people's health and livelihoods on the line. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. believes the government will be able to contain and clean the spill in the next 4 months, while scientists are concerned that the damage will have long-lasting impacts on the delicate ecosystem. Voiceover Jeremy Kruis Producer Joy Jihyun Jeong Manal Ahmed Head of Production Stephanie Tangkilisan Editor in Chief Keshia Hannam Editor Emily Ma Additional Archival Material Al Jazeera Reuters Krypto Trekker/YouTube Tour Philippines/YouTube ANC Digital Additional Music Waiting for the Answer by Ballian De Moulle
The US Supreme Court is currently debating whether affirmative action discriminates against Asian Americans by giving their spots to less qualified Black candidates. For instance, Calvin Yang - now a student at UC Berkeley - claims that his admission to Harvard was denied because of his race. Many have called this an incredibly disempowering tactic to divide two historically oppressed communities who have benefited from working together. What is true is that the greatest beneficiary of affirmative action is white women–and because they have so rarely been placed at the center of the conversation, they don’t even know it. Affirmative action was implemented off the backs of Black and Asian activists. Meanwhile, 70% white women, whose university enrollments more than doubled after these policies were implemented, oppose it.
Can we get Michelle Yeoh more flowers please? Not only is she the first Malaysian to win the Golden Globes for Best Actress, she’s also 60-years-old and does her own stunts. Yeoh has set the bar in acting, martial arts, stunts, for women, and Asians. How did she get like this? Michelle grew up in a small town in Ipoh, Malaysia, where she dreamed of becoming a ballerina. When those dreams were cut short because of an injury, Michelle discovered martial arts. Since then, she’s set the bar for what women could do on screen: anything. She has performed in death-defying experiences, from riding a motorbike onto a moving train to being thrown off a car, that have even left co-stars like Jackie Chan in a panic. Her father was a tycoon, and even with the narrative of being a silver-spoon fed child, Michelle has moved through Hollywood with grace and grit. She may be a Crazy Rich Asian in her own right, but she’s also worked harder than ever to get where she is today. And her role in “Everything Everywhere All At Once” is just the beginning of Michelle’s journey to represent what she’s capable of.
1,200+ Iranian girls across hundreds of schools have been poisoned. As government investigations, still largely unknown, continue into who is responsible and what their motivations are, the death penalty has been promised–if the attacks are found to be deliberate. These girls reported symptoms consistent with toxic gas poisoning–like dizziness, headaches, heart palpitations, and difficulty moving. They also reported smelling rotten food, chlorine, or cleaning agents before fainting. While many people are pointing to fundamentalist groups targeting girls education, Iran’s government is blaming “foreign enemies” and their supreme leader is calling it an “unforgivable” crime. What is clear, Iranian girls are paying the price. Will the true perpetrators be found and held accountable? First arrests were announced on Tuesday.
‘Song for the Mute’ is an avant-garde clothing brand hailing from Sydney, Australia. They’re recognized as innovators by the Hypebeasts and tastemakers of the world, have graced fashion shows from Milan to Shanghai, and have die-hard fans tattoo the brand name on themselves. In the past year, ‘Song for the Mute’ have begun to leave their indelible mark on mainstream culture, including a collaboration with Adidas and having the likes of BTS’s Jungkook and Usher adorn their wild pieces. But Melvin Tanaya and Lyna Ty – founders of Song for the Mute – will tell you that the brand prioritizes sharing their own stories over inflated price tags and the exclusivity of the fashion world. That's why as they change, so do their collections.
Turkish authorities have arrested 184 building contractors and property owners, who were allegedly involved in shoddy construction methods. However, the government knew about these unsafe practices near the faultlines for years. Who's really responsible? Since the initial earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria, there have been over 10,000 aftershocks and over 50,000 people have died. 1.5 million people are living in makeshift shelters and 160,000 buildings collapsed. But corrupt building practices and flawed urban development can’t be solely pinned on construction contractors when the government continues to focus on speed more than safety.
TW: gun violence & PTSD⚠️ When a 72-year-old Chinese man shot and killed 10 people on the eve of Lunar New Year in Monterey Park, after the years of Asian hate we’ve experienced, many were quick to assume it was a hate crime. Today, the Asian community is considering the tragedy as an alert to destigmatize mentalhealth and heal--especially for men. Many people, especially after Covid and the isolation it forced, are going through the hardest, loneliest times of their lives. The Monterey Park killer had indicated clear signs of paranoia, reporting to police twice in January that someone was trying to poison him. He was in emotional turmoil, had no support system, and owned a lot of guns. As PTSD riddles our communities, who have seen war, dictatorship, famine, genocide, and poverty, we are expected to be “good” because we are in America now. But without acknowledging our feelings, suppressing and internalizing will only lead to detrimental — and sometimes dangerous — outcomes. Not only do we face a communal and cultural issue with lack of vulnerability and sharing, our men are socialized to be angry and avoidant–not intimate or safe. Will we finally put down the “boys don’t cry” mindset and begin to heal?
Is the Asian community experiencing a mental health crisis? Issues like PTSD are on the rise in our diaspora for many reasons, including long standing racism and cultural shame seeking help. How have immigration and gentrification impacted our mental health? In the past year, five major killings have been by Asian men. This includes last week’s U-haul driver, Weng Sor, whose violent rampage left 1 dead and 8 others injured. Sor was 62-years-old, homeless, and estranged from his family. Experts point to the spur of Asian hate in the past few years, isolation and fear about being blamed for Covid, and the continued gentrification of places like Chinatown as factors to why these tragedies continue to occur. How will our governments address this–and more importantly, how will our communities handle it?
Sindh, Pakistan held their first trans pride march, Sindh Moorat March. It was iconic, inclusive, and led by a young, trans, Shia progressive leadership. What can this mean for a country that saw more trans lives killed than any other in Asia last year? There are thousands of registered cases of violence towards trans lives in Pakistan, including at least 91 killings since 2015. In 2018, a landmark trans rights bill was passed that meant people could choose their own identity, and many more safeguards in employment, health, education, and access to public spaces. The unprecedented bill hasn’t been fulfilled by the government though and transphobic speech is on the rise in Pakistan. What is also true is that Gen-z are celebrating trans lives in a revolutionizing movement that integrates tradition and culture. Trans people are indigenous to the subcontinent with a history that traces back 4,000 years. Today, they’re not only reclaiming their pride–rooted further than colonialism, they’re also fighting for income redistribution, land reforms, justice, dignity, reparations, and climate justice.
India’s first transgender soccer team, YaAll, is created for trans and queer people, who feel unsafe in sports because of how binary it is. YaAll is disrupting, revolutionizing, and impacting not only soccer but India too. Can India become the world’s most inclusive sporting arena? Globally, categories in sports are still for men and women. Sadam, founder of YaAll, grew up getting bullied and harassed in sports, leading him to hide or skip games. Even still, Sadam wanted to participate in sports and not have more than safety, he wanted belonging. And with YaAll, he hopes it’s the beginning of giving this to more people: the opportunity to play openly in your gender identity. The government of India has already recognized transgender as a third category of gender, and Sadam’s hope is that India will also acknowledge transgender in sports as a different category. But his vision is larger than India, he wants this inclusivity to exist everywhere.
What Asian horror movies have proven is that there is nothing scarier than a woman, free from her shackles, wreaking havoc on society to get justice. Why is the ghostly, vengeful woman such a prevalent trope, and how does it represent misogyny across Asian cultures? From the infamous virgin ghost, to the seductive “femme fatale” archetypes, there are consistent depictions of the vengeful female spirit throughout Asian stories. The pale, long black-haired woman in a white dress is the scariest ghost of all. While these characters might begin as victims, they become terrifying villains, making it difficult to sympathize with their pain. It’s the unfair deaths these female characters experience that turn their spirits into monsters that are feared and not souls free to rest. There is little understanding of their suffering, or even their existence, mirroring the reality of many. It’s possible this trope persists because scary stories have often been the only outlet to name the violence women face. In patriarchal societies that view women as subservient, many women die in unfair suffering: murder, death connected to sexual assault, and forced suicide. Asian horror has evolved to incorporate deeper commentaries about women’s issues over time like marital anxiety, dissociative identity disorders, and becoming a widow. But irrespective of final outcome,being abused and thus vengeful continues to be the most natural character foundation of Asian women in horror stories and films.
Hidden Letters is about the secret language of Nushu, a language created by and used by Chinese women. Nushu became a secret support system to bond generations of women by providing comfort and understanding of the struggles women live in a patriarchal world. Hidden Letters follows two women, Hu Xin and Simu Wu, who are passionate and experts in the sacred language. Influenced by Nushu’s legacy of female solidarity, the two women struggle to find peace and balance as they forge their own paths in a male dominant modern-day China. The world premiere of Hidden Letters will be at Tribeca on June 11th, 2022. More Info on tickets can be found on the official website: hiddenlettersfilm.com or https://tribecafilm.com/films/hidden-letters-2022
Humaira Chuhan fell in love with somebody outside her Pakistani culture. But when she told her dad about her interracial relationship with a Black man, she faced a traumatic rejection and was almost disowned. She channelled her experience through art and shared it on the Blindian Project - an online community supporting Black and Brown people in interracial relationships. Soon, she got floods of DMs from people with similar stories, making her believe even more that love is love, no matter what!
The Rohingya people have faced persecution under the Burmese government for decades. Now they've fled to the struggling state of Bangladesh, who are carrying the weight of a million refugees. How did this happen? What's going to happen to these stateless people next?
Stefan He Qin didn't think his life would go this way. At 24, he had scammed 140 million from investors, family and friends. We captured the only interview he did, 3 days before beginning his 7.5 year sentence at Fort Dix Prison.
Cheung Tze Keung may have been the ballsiest gangster in history. He extorted Hong Kong billionaires for over $300 million dollars and spent lavishly on mansions and luxury cars before gambling it all away.
When Faye Wong began her career, she was restricted to drive her creative career the way she wanted. She would move out of Asia to New York out of frustration, but Faye would return home to dominate the Canto-pop scene with a brand new attitude. This is the true story behind the ‘Diva of Asia', who would retire at 35 to play mahjong.
Tony Leung is considered Asia’s most successful actor. Born in Hong Kong, Tony grew up without a father, he found refuge in Hong Kong cinema during his youth. Connecting with his emotions through cinema would end up paying off for Tony, who would take up acting because his friend, Stephen Chow, told him to audition. This is the story of an acting legend: “the man who can speak with his eyes.”