Sharkbites Newsletter


Hello, everyone!

President Joe Biden hosted the first-ever Lunar New Year reception at the White House on Thursday, days after mass shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay. 

In his opening remarks, the president acknowledged the tragic event and offered his condolences to the victims and their families.

During the reception, the president also acknowledged the recent uptick in violence against the Asian and Pacific Islander community amid the COVID-19 pandemic and against women in the community, in particular. "For the progress, this community has experienced profound hate, pain, and violence and loss with the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes," he said. "You know, gut-wrenching attacks on elderly immigrant women. As I've said many times before, hate can have no safe-haven or harbor in America. No person deserves to be treated with hate. ... We all deserve to be treated with dignity and with respect." The president also recognized some of the guests in the audience, including Olympic figure skater Nathan Chen and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai.

Lunar New Year reception at the White House
Spotlight 💡
  • Chef Peter Lai, formerly of Embassy Kitchen in San Gabriel, has taken over the kitchen at Colette in Pasadena with a team of cooks from Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and other parts of Asia. Lai says, “Cantonese cuisine has this negative connotation in America that it should be cheap and fast when that could not be further from the truth. In Asia, it is very typical to see many high-end traditional Cantonese restaurants that focus on food and presentation. My goal with Colette is to bring attention to how elegant the cuisine is and show more people in America this side of it.”
Race in America 🌎
  • Motive mystery: Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna says the gunman, Huu Can Tran from the Monterey Park shooting, has no known connection to the victims and investigators are still trying to determine a motive. While some reports said Tran frequented the dance studio, Luna says he had not been there in five years. Tran reportedly parked a motorcycle a block away from the dance studio, which authorities believe was planned as a backup getaway vehicle.     


  • Florida AAPI history education: A bipartisan bill proposed by Senator Linda Stewart (D – Orlando) and Senator Ana Maria Rodriguez (R – Miami Dade) would require teaching AAPI history in Florida schools. Stewart said, “I advocated for this legislation last year and I’m happy to collaborate with Senator Rodriguez to get this passed this session. It is necessary now more than ever to educate young people on different cultures given the Asian-American hate crimes that have been happening across the country, most recently with the mass shootings in California.” 
In Other Asian News 🗞
  • Holy book burning: Thousands of Afghans protested on Friday after a far-right politician publicly set fire to the Qur'an in Sweden last week. The anti-immigrant politician from the far-right fringe burned a copy of the holy Muslim book during a protest near the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm. The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the U.S. State Department have condemned the incident. 


  • Lin to Taiwan: Shortly after announcing his departure from the Chinese Basketball Association, former NBA star Jeremy Lin will be returning to the court after signing a deal with a Taiwanese basketball team. On Thursday, Lin announced that he is joining the Kaohsiung 17LIVE Steelers of the Taiwanese P. League+ on his social media accounts. The Steelers welcomed and introduced Lin in a social media post, calling him “the strongest boost” to their team.
Jeremy Lin
Entertainment 📺
  • “Squid Game” collateral: Contestants of Netflix’s upcoming reality competition series “Squid Game: The Challenge” were reportedly faced with harsh conditions, with at least one of them allegedly having to be carried out on a stretcher while filming the show in England. The incidents occurred during filming of Red Light, Green Light with hundreds of players forced to compete in below-freezing temperatures as production of the unscripted show began on Monday. Netflix and the production studio of the show have refuted these reports. The competition, which is based on director Hwang Dong-hyuk’s hit survival drama TV series, features 456 players competing for a $4.56-million cash prize in a series of challenging games.


  • “Next In Fashion” season two: Netflix’s reality competition show “Next in Fashion” is back in season, except this time with new co-host Gigi Hadid. The supermodel replaces designer Alexa Chung as co-host alongside Tan France. Asian American designer Bao Tranchi is among the 12 designers competing for the $200,000 prize this season. “Next in Fashion,” which was originally canceled by Netflix after its first season, will return for Season 2 on Mar. 3. The winner of Season 1, Minju Kim, has since designed for the likes of K-pop acts BTS and Red Velvet and launched her own collection at H&M, among other notable achievements.
Gigi Hadid (left), Tan France (right)
Courtesy of Netflix
What else is on our minds? 🧠
  • An opinion columnist with the Wall Street Journal has been accused of racism after penning an article initially titled “Are there ‘too many Asians’?”
  • A profile on Merle Oberon, the first Asian Oscar nominee for Best Supporting Actress, 88 years before Michelle Yeoh. 
  • A woman in Japan has gone viral for snowboarding in a kimono. 
  • Indonesian rapper Rich Brian released a new music video for “Sundance Freestyle,” coinciding with his acting debut in the film “Jamojaya,” directed by Justin Chong. 
  • Elaine Chao is finally addressing President Trump’s offensive rhetoric, suggesting that her former boss may be ignorant over the struggles of Asian Americans.
Resources 💝

GoFundMe Monterey Park: 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 $904,000. 

GoFundMe Half Moon Bay: The GoFundMe for the victims and surviving families of the Half Moon Bay Mass shooting. The funds are organized by several Bay Area organizations and others including Stop AAPI Hate, The Asian American Foundation, Hate Is A Virus, and Stand with Asian Americans. It has over $16,000 raised at the time of writing. 

Mymy Nhan’s GoFundMe: Individual page for Mymy Nhan’s funeral funds. 

Xiujuan Yu’s GoFundMe: Individual page for Xiujuan Yu’s funeral funds.  

Ming Wei Ma’s GoFundMe: Individual page for Ming Wei Ma’s funeral funds. 

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.  

Asian Mental Health Collective: A list of mental health and other great resources. 

Yellow Chair Collective Therapy Sessions: Yellow Chair Collective are offering six free trauma-informed therapy sessions available in English, Mandarin Chinese and Korean.  

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California hotline: Confidential hotline available in seven Asian languages.

Did you know about Merle Oberon?

I did not until I saw some headlines making the distinction that she was the first Asian Best Supporting Actress nominee. 


Daniel Anderson

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