Sharkbites Newsletter


Hello, everyone! 

Brandon Tsay, the 26-year-old who disarmed the Monterey Park shooter, attended President Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday evening. 

Tsay was present to send a positive message to his community, saying, "I want the Asian American and Pacific Islander community to be hopeful, and I think by sending me to the State of the Union that could draw some attention to the people in our community." Tsay has also partnered with the Asian Pacific Community Fund to raise money in his name to give back to the community.  

Despite his newfound national attention, he says, "I'm still the same person, I'm still Brandon." In an interview with NBC News prior to the State of the Union Address, Tsay revealed he has gone to several therapy sessions to deal with his trauma.

“I still live in an anxious, fearful state where I want to project my feelings and emotions to connect with other human beings. And currently, I found the strength to find some professional help,” Tsay says. He adds, “In my environment, growing up, I feel that I was reinforced [with] the idea that I should … be strong, keep your feelings bottled up and try to be the male, dominant person in your house. But now that I have somewhat had time to process, I know now that I need to seek professional help because these feelings that came about with this situation are too much of a burden to bear by myself.” 

Brandon Tsay at the State of the Union Address
Spotlight 💡
  • Kalei Grant, a Native Hawaiian advocate, was also a guest of President Biden’s State of the Union Address. Grant was a victim of domestic abuse and sexual exploitation. She now works to combat violence against Native women and girls. Last month, she joined Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) at a roundtable on the issue. She is currently working with the Department of the Attorney General in Hawai'i's Missing Child Center.
Race in America 🌎
  • Half Moon Bay workers return: Workers at the pair of Half Moon Bay, California, mushroom farms that saw back-to-back mass shootings two weeks ago have returned to their jobs, according to reports. One employee who spoke with AP News said they needed to earn a living and find solace with others going through the same trauma. Another employee said that their heavy workload barely paid for their living expenses. The worker claimed to make $16 an hour and pay $1,300 for a room for his family of four in a four-bedroom home that they share with eight others. David Oates, a company representative, told the Los Angeles Times that “the employees wanted to go back to work” and disputed claims that they were forced to return.


  • Racist Chinese balloon meme: Mississippi State Senator Joel R. Carter, Jr., a Republican, has come under fire on Twitter after posting a racist meme referencing the suspected Chinese spy balloon that breached U.S. airspace last week. He shared an image of a weather balloon superimposed with the words “Weather Barroon” and “Totary NOT For Spying.” Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have cheered the military and Biden’s response in shooting the balloon down. Carter was among those officials, but his meme using a mock Asian accent immediately drew backlash on Twitter with many calling him out for blatant racism.
In Other Asian News 🗞
  • Tibetan children separated: A recent United Nations report claims China has separated approximately 1 million Tibetan children from their families and placed them into government-run boarding schools. The separations are part of China’s efforts to have the children “culturally, religiously and linguistically” absorb the dominant Han Chinese culture, according to the U.N. The governmental schools reportedly provide little to no study on the Tibetan minority’s language, history and culture.


  • Vietnam war survivor compensated: On Tuesday, a local court in Seoul recognized the atrocities committed by South Korean troops during the Vietnam War and ordered the government to compensate a Vietnamese victim 30 million won (approximately $24,000). Nguyen Thi Thanh first filed a suit in 2020 against the South Korean government for the wartime civilian massacre that took place in the villages of Phong Nhi and Phong Nhut on Feb. 12, 1968. Nguyen, now 62 years old, lost five of her family members and continues to suffer from gunshot injuries sustained in the 1968 attack. She was eight years old at the time.
Entertainment 📺
  • Lucy Liu new comedy: Lucy Liu is attached to an upcoming high-concept sci-fi comedy titled “Nobody Nothing Nowhere.” It centers around a world populated by humanlike life forms called Non-People whose sole purpose is to create a realistic environment for Dave, the last remaining human on the planet. When Ruth, one of the Non-People, becomes disillusioned with her role, she seeks to create a life on her own terms. Liu’s castmates include Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Octavia Spencer. 


  • Take a “Joy Ride”: “Crazy Rich Asians” writer Adele Lim will debut her upcoming comedy film “Joy Ride” at South by Southwest next month. It features an all-star cast that includes “Emily in Paris” star Ashley Park, “Shortcomings” actor Sherry Cola, Oscar nominee Stephanie Hsu, and comedian Sabrina Wu. The film tells the story of four friends who go on an international adventure together. 
A scene from "Joy Ride"
What else is on our minds? 🧠
  • Online food guide Taste Atlas included four Filipino dishes in its 2023 “100 Worst Rated Foods in the World” list.  
  • Images of Pokémon generated by artificial intelligence (AI) in the style of Studio Ghibli have gone viral.
  • An episode from “The Simpsons” has been banned in Hong Kong due to its reference to labor camps in China.
  • Filipino basketball pro Kai Sotto has signed with the Hiroshima Dragonflies in Japan. 
  • Filipino chef Johanne Siy was named Asia’s Best Female Chef of the year by the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy.

Are you excited for Adele Lim’s upcoming film?

I am. It’s her directorial debut and I love the cast. I think that genre of comedic film is refreshing, especially from the lens of an Asian American experience.


Daniel Anderson

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