Tag Archives: Avatar (airbender)

Star Trek

I saw Star Trek today with my parents and my brother. It was so cool! Spock was really great. I think I liked watching him more than Kirk.

My Star Trek backstory: I was a Star Wars kid. My brothers and I watched my dad’s VHS tapes of the original trilogy many, many times. My parents watched both Star Wars and Star Trek, although Mum favored the latter. She thought it was more creative than Star Wars, it could do so much more, explore different ideas. I think she saw the original run on television. Both parents watched The Next Generation and Voyager, and Daddy watched Enterprise. I watched TNG as a kid, saw some episodes of Voyager, and I’ve seen a couple episodes of the original series. Haven’t seen any of the movies. Except for the newest one, of course. Yes, this was my first Star Trek movie. *grin*

So back to the movie. Figuring out who the characters were was fun; since I’ve only seen an episode here and there I only really knew Kirk, Spock, and the doctor. But from popular culture I’ve picked up Scotty, Uhura, and Sulu, and I learned about Chekov from Futurama. *grins* I didn’t figure out who the other guy driving the Enterprise was until I heard him pronounce Vs as Ws. XD

I’m not sure that I like knowing who some of the actors are though. While seeing Zoe Saldana was a delightful surprise, I see her more as Zoe Saldana, not Uhura, which kind of ruins things… It doesn’t help that I haven’t really seen Uhura in the tv show, so it’s more Zoe playing a part for me, not Zoe playing this character that I should know.

Another big surprise was Simon Pegg! I didn’t recognize him until his second camera shot, and even then I wasn’t sure until Mum whispered to me, “Hot Fuzz,” and that she was sure it was him. I’ve never seen Scotty in the show … or at least I’ve seen him portrayed in Simpsons and Futurama more often than in Star Trek which probably isn’t a good thing, heh. But I really liked the character. I really liked Simon Pegg. XD I never did see that movie where he was playing that running character.

Watching John Cho was fun, but I kept remembering him in his Harold (& Kumar) role, and yeeeah that sort of really ruined the role for me. murrr. But again, I haven’t seen much of Sulu in the show so I was watching him playing a character, not playing someone I should know.

During the course of the movie I realized, hey, Star Trek was really cool, it had an Asian character in it! Sort of like Whoopi Goldberg’s story about loving Star Trek and seeing a black woman on tv. Because I remember early in the movie there was another Asian character, who I think got blown up, but regardless he was there, being Asian.

Normally I hate being so ethnocentric, I mean why should it matter what ethnicity or color someone is, right? We should all be colorblind. But I’ve been thinking about Asians in the media more and more, starting from the time when I heard about Avatar characters in the live-action movie being cast as white people. (Or at least all the good guys.) Um, nice way to whitewash a story which is so very influenced by Asian cultures.

I’d read Derek Kirk Kim’s blog entry about Avatar and his story about how he and his brother loved acting, but never tried to make it in Hollywood because they didn’t want to get stuck with stereotypical roles. Then when I linked it online, someone told me her husband quit acting for the same reason.

While I didn’t care at the time about the lack of representation of Asians in the media (I don’t need to see “myself” on the screen because … well I just don’t, I’m secure enough to not need it), I realized oh, it’s not just about me, there are Asians out there who would like acting jobs but can’t get them because … they’ve got Asian faces. Hollywood (rightly?) thinks that most of America can’t connect to an Asian face, they need to see a white (or sometimes black) face to really empathize with the character.

(Mum is of the opinion that Hollywood isn’t really as liberal as it seems, because everyone is white. There are some black actors, a handful of Asians, very few of any other ethnicity. No one is willing to use non-white actors, lest they put off everyone else in the industry. But I digress.)

This week I saw a new episode of Without a Trace that had Chinese people in it! When I saw the previews I was intrigued, it’s not often there are Asians on tv. (I still remember that episode of Cold Case that was about the Japanese internment camps, which I will not comment about here.) I stepped in about 20 minutes into the episode, and I was really happy to see Asians speaking English with American accents, like most Asians that I know! But the more I watched the episode, the more it was about a Chinatown scandal and about being ethnically Chinese.

So … wow. Chinese people only go missing when it has to do with being from China, huh? Or in the case of the other episode, Japanese people only go missing when it involves the internment camps.

I asked Mum, why are Asians in the media always portrayed as being ethnically Asian, not as Americans with Asian faces? She said it’s because Hollywood just doesn’t get it, they don’t know what Asian Americans are really like, they can only think in terms of country of origin.

I guess not only do Asians not make it as actors, they don’t make it as writers either?

I put forth all of that in order to, in a roundabout way, explain why I really love Star Trek and how it’s so cool because it had an Asian character in it! Now I feel like watching the original Star Trek series just so I can know those characters. I will just have to grit my teeth and bear it whenever Shatner’s on screen…

edit@10pm, August 9, 2009: I found an entry someone wrote on Livejournal about the character Uhura on Star Trek that I really enjoyed reading and thought I’d link it here.

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I’m gonna do it!

I’ve decided. After months of agonizing over it and not really wanting to do it, I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna watch the rest of the Avatar series!

This decision has been forced on me by the fact that I almost seriously injured my wrists (carpal tunnel) yesterday at school and subsequent use of my computer and various other tasks that involve using my wrists (that is, all tasks) have aggravated it.

Why am I on the computer right now, writing this entry? I guess I’m a sucker for punishment. Or I really am addicted to the computer. Either way, I’m done now.

Inda and Ender

I finished Inda a while ago. I was going to write an entry about it, but as always I kept building up the writing part of it, trying to make it all nice and a coherently written piece, so it never got out of my head. Now I am forcing it out so everything will be rambly. (Spoilers ahead probably.)

The first thing that struck me while reading was how similar the academy was to Battle School (in the Ender books). I don’t mean anything negative by the comparison. Of course two schools centered around command and winning wars will be similar. But I thought it was interesting, how the premise worked in both settings. One was outer space and all futury, the other was on another planet entirely (more like another universe, not really an alien planet) and in medieval-like times. (Flying spacecraft versus swords and bows, woo!) Both would set up battles between students.

Gand actually reminded me of what’s-his-name in Ender (sorry can’t remember, haven’t read the books in a while, and they’re not handy at school either), although I didn’t realize it until he was talking to Brath (is that his name? argh I took Inda home over the weekend) about controlling the students. Brath reminded me of that other school head guy in Ender too.

I think Battle School factored more into Ender’s plot though. Or … at least it did in Ender’s Shadow. Sorry, haven’t read Ender’s Game in a while, and it tends to blend with Shadow for me anyway. In Inda it was more just a setting.

But that’s okay, I liked learning more about Sartorias-Deles (the world Inda takes place on) and the customs of that time and everything. (Crown Duel takes place on the same world, but many many years later.)

What else? Oh, when some of the characters died, I couldn’t believe it. Even nearing the end, I thought, Oh this character can’t die because such and such, then in the next scene or two, that person dies! Heartwrenching.

Oh yeah, you know how in Crown Duel I probably have weird associations with characters? Well it happened in Inda too. Firstly I was sort of comparing Inda and Ender while reading through the academy part, but Inda stood on his own personality in my mind. (They both got banished oh em gee el oh el!)

Then near the end I was shocked by this association I had: the Sierlaef looks like and is like Prince Zuko from Avatar: the Last Airbender, in my mind. O.o Except with blonde hair. It probably started with the “horsetail” hairdo. Then all of his throwing his royal weight around, his anger, or something in his personality cemented the connection in my mind.

I didn’t pick up on it until the Sierlaef was riding around patrolling the south though. It really shocked me. The Sierlaef doesn’t have a scar on his face in my mind … and he also has blonde hair (I have to force the blonde hair though—I always picture brown hair first, for anybody), but he still looks like Prince Zuko! Weird.

Now I need to buy The Fox. But it’s only in hardcover? And I am a poor, poor student with little expendable cash. :( (All my allowance goes toward cable and internet.)

Also, I would like to say, woot! My silly little post in the athanarel community on LJ may or may not have prompted Sherwood Smith to post the latest behind-the-scenes story, but either way it’s written and posted! XD Joy of joys! Now I have to print out all the stories and bind them in a nice book. Hmm, I have to shop for a nice paper. (I’m thinking of doing a Japanese link stitch binding, if I can get money for that book off Amazon.)