Today’s newsletter will be a return to our usual format. We will still provide updates and coverage on any new developments regarding the tragedies in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay. We will keep the resources section open for anyone who still needs it.
A .308 caliber rifle and hundreds of rounds of loose ammunition have been discovered in the home of Huu Can Tran, the lone suspect in Saturday’s mass shooting in Monterey Park, California.
Tran allegedly used a 9-millimeter semi-automatic MAC-10 pistol with an extended large-capacity magazine when he fired a total of 42 shots at the scene, CNN reported. Aside from the rifle and ammo, investigators searching his home found items that suggested he was building DIY firearm suppressors.
Tran, according to his ex-wife, had a short temper. Another acquaintance claimed that he was “hostile to a lot of people” at the shooting site, Star Ballroom Dance Studio, which he previously frequented. Police in Hemet, where Tran resided, said he visited their department twice earlier this month to complain about offenses of family members allegedly committed up to 20 years ago, including poisoning. “Tran visited the Hemet Police Department lobby on January 7 and 9, 2023, alleging past fraud, theft, and poisoning allegations involving his family in the Los Angeles area 10 to 20 years ago,” Hemet police said. “Tran stated he would return to the station with documentation regarding his allegations but never returned.”
Chester Chong, chair of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles, said community conversations in WeChat point to a personal motive. Tran was allegedly looking for a woman who had been invited to an event at the ballroom. He, on the other hand, was not invited, which allegedly upset him.
Indian American Bela Bajaria, formerly Netflix’s Head of Global TV, has become the streaming giant’s Chief Content Officer. She has helped lead projects like “Never Have I Ever,” “Squid Game,” and a slew of non-English content. GoldHouse has honored her multiple times with their A100 distinction and The Hollywood Reporter named her in their 2022 Women in Entertainment Power 100.
A scholar and trailblazer: Dr. Betty Lee Sung, a pioneering researcher of the Asian diaspora, passed away at 98 years old on Thursday at her home in Silver Spring, Maryland. Born to Chinese immigrant parents, she was taken to China during the Depression and later escaped the invading Japanese as a teenager before returning to the United States. In 1970, she founded the first Asian American studies program in the eastern U.S. at City College of New York and went on to author nine books and work as a commentator, librarian, professor, and researcher. Her work addressed issues of bigotry, employment inequality, and intermarriage. Dr. Sung also advocated for Asian Americans to be viewed as Americans first, separate from the relationship between the U.S. and their country of origin.
Monterey Park stories: Wen Tau Yu, 64, was retired but was in school studying to become a pharmacist. His son, Szu Fa Yu, remembers his father as someone who strived to always better themselves. He says, “His books and notes are still lying around on the desk. It’s heartbreaking to see.” Wen Tau Yu was a Taiwanese immigrant and was a manager at an agricultural company. It is unknown whether he was killed inside the dance studio or as a passerby to the shooting. Yu Lun Kao, 72, also known as Andy Kao, had been a longtime and passionate member of the dance community in Monterey Park. He was an optimistic person who worked in the construction business after he and his brother emigrated from Taiwan to California 20 years ago, his older brother Alan Kao said. He added that he had never imagined his family would be a victim of gun violence and that he hoped the tragedy would lead to gun control measures. Diana Tom, 70, was a former pharmacy technician. A family statement reads, “Diana was a hard-working mother, wife and grandmother who loved to dance,” and that she always went out of her way to help others.
Taiwan’s same sex marriage progress: Taiwanese authorities have officially moved to allow transnational same-sex couples to register their marriages. Announcing the historic decision on Thursday, Taiwan’s Ministry of the Interior stated that the previous practice that excluded such couples was discriminatory and contradicted the very law the same-sex marriage provision was based on. Same-sex couples with partners from countries that do not recognize same-sex marriage can now get married in Taiwan, with the exception of Taiwanese-Chinese pairs. Cross-strait rules require such couples to register their marriages in China, where gay marriage has not been legalized, before it is recognized in Taiwan, according to the Taipei Times. Those with partners from Hong Kong and Macao, however, are now free to register.
Pakistan without power: Millions of people in Pakistan were left without electricity earlier this week for the second time in three months after the country's national grid suffered a major breakdown. Energy Minister Khurram Dastgir said the outage was caused by a large voltage surge in the south of the grid, which affected the entire network. Supplies were being partially restored from north to south, nearly six hours after factories, hospitals and schools reported outages. The frequent blackouts that Pakistan's 220 million people suffer are due to an aging grid and insufficient transmission infrastructure, according to a senior ministry official.
The chimes of change: ChimeTV, the first Asian American TV network and first woman-owned one, was officially launched on Lunar New Year. Founded by Filipino American Faith Bautista, ChimeTV is America’s first English-language Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Entertainment TV Network. ChimeTV, which stands for “Creating History In Media Entertainment,” will feature “modern general entertainment programming – over 70% of which is new to US TV audiences – including dramas, comedy, procedurals, food, travel, lifestyle, wellness, news, mixed martial arts, and digital creator content,” the company said in a press release. ChimeTV will also be available on multiple devices and platforms, including smart TVs, mobile, tablets, desktops and laptops.
“That Lunar Cheer”: The Grant Avenue Follies, a dance troupe of seniors from San Francisco’s Chinatown, kicked off the Lunar New Year with a rap song and music video. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), a nonprofit interest group for those over the age of 50, released the music video they funded titled “That Lunar Cheer,” featuring the Grant Avenue Follies and Los Angeles-based rapper Jason Chu, on Saturday. The video features four members of the Follies, aged between 61 and 87, as they rap about the celebration’s traditions, including playing mahjong, eating dim sum, giving away red envelopes and wearing red clothing and gold jewelry. The Follies started with four professional dancers from San Francisco Chinatown’s nightclub culture of the 1950s and ‘60s before it became a full-fledged dancing troupe.
Several Asian locations have been included in The New York Times’ list of “52 Places to Go” for 2023.
Chinese social media users flooded the comment sections of Korean celebrities who wished their fans good fortunes using the phrase “Lunar New Year” instead of “Chinese New Year.”
Jason Momoa claims he won’t be recast as Aquaman amidst the DC movies shakeup at Warner Bros.
Filipino Australian John Pearce is a member of the Australian children’s dance group The Wiggles. He has gone viral for being a thirst trap.
K-pop girl group LE SSERAFIM have dropped the Japanese version of their debut music video “FEARLESS.”
GoFundMe: Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California (AJSOCAL), in partnership with The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), Asian Pacific Community Fund (APCF), Stop AAPI Hate, Gold House, Stand with Asian Americans and Chinatown Service Center, has organized a GoFundMe page for the benefit of the victims. As of this writing, the campaign has raised over $359,000.
Memorial and resource center: A memorial honoring the lives lost and survivors has been established at Monterey Park City Hall located on 320 W. Newmark Avenue. A resource center is open at the Langley Senior Citizen Center in Monterey Park.