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tv   Asian Pacific America with Robert Handa  NBC  December 15, 2019 5:30am-6:00am PST

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robert handa: hello, and welcome to "asian pacific america." i'm robert handa, your host for our show here on nbc bay area and cozi tv. we start with one of the most important issues facing asian americans and pacific islanders: the 2020 census. why it's so crucial the community is involved and gets counted. then i once mentored a young man in tv news, now on a mission to get his own talk show; hopefully not mine. toan lam is back to tell us how it's going. next, author, model, and former pageant queen ashley chu is here to talk about her multi-faceted life and her newest book, the next segment of her travel series, "550,000 miles." and the spectacular stage show, shen yun show, is coming back to the bay, bringing the history of china to life. all that on our show today.
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we've done quite a few shows on census 2020 because so much is riding on the results, especially for the asian american and pacific islander communities. to talk about what's at stake and how the community can help is tim olson, associate director for field operations for the us census bureau, and the agency's hiring manager, salvador noble. welcome to the show. both: thank you. thank you. robert: now, you know people all think they know what the census is and we know that it's kind of the population count, but give us sort of an overview in terms of what the census is so people understand what we're talking about. tim: robert, thank you for having us. so the census, we conduct it once every 10 years. we started it in 1790 at the very founding of the country. it's in the us constitution. and the reason we do the census is to make sure that the us house of representatives fairly represents each state based on their population. so today when we conduct the census, what's critical is that every person, every--as i often say, every breathing person
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in the united states is included in the count. robert: a little more difficult than it was in 1790, too. tim: oh my gosh, it's a challenge. i think the--one of the biggest challenges is simply we only do it every 10 years. and so people--it's not top of mind and a lot of people don't understand not only does it determine how we're represented for a decade, but it determines billions and billions of dollars that flow to local communities based on the population counts. robert: now, there's all these different segments: the homeless, non-english speaking communities, things like that where all the obstacles are. salvador, you are going out trying to hire people and i imagine that that is sort of one of the things you're sort of looking for, people that can reach out to those segments, right? salvador noble: yes. robert, since--especially here in california, it's a very diverse city. we're looking for all kinds of people to work
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and help the census make its goal by counting everyone. robert: who are you looking for? what type of people? salvador: well, we're looking for people that are, obviously, american citizens. they basically have a social security number. robert: but what kind of skills do you want them to have in terms of being able to reach out to the people you're trying to reach? salvador: basically if--for instance, since we are diverse, we're looking for a lot of different speaking communities. for instance, japanese, korean, and all those are going to help us reach out to everyone that's out there. and the people that we're hiring right now are doing that, are actually getting involved with the community, speaking their languages, and making them feel more comfortable. robert: and the asian-american community and i imagine in the south bay very underrepresented here. tim: so every census that we conduct, there's challenges making sure everybody's counted.
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i think one of the biggest fears a lot of population groups have is the census confidential. and by law and by tradition, every single response that people provide on the form is strictly confidential. robert: you need to convey that to people. tim: absolutely. absolutely. robert: does the asian american and pacific islander communities, they have--do they have kind of a cultural resistance to cooperating? tim: well, my experience--this is my fourth census. and across many different population groups, there can be hesitancy. some populations, they come from a background where a very repressive government experience from where they came from and so census can look fearful to them. so we really go out of our way to let people know it's really important, it's really easy to respond, and it's safe. robert: so how do you reach out to people that are potential, like people that you want to go out work for you?
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how does somebody who thinks that they can help you get in contact with you? how do they become a part of the system? salvador: well, i'm glad you have us on a show because i think the number one thing is a lot of people don't know that we're hiring. in order for us to get the job done, we have to have people to work with us. so we have a job site, which--it's, and we're offering administrative jobs and recruiting all kinds of jobs that people don't need any experience whatsoever. and they get paid training. and the good thing about it is that once they receive all this, they're going to be a part of history 'cause how many times can you get a job every 10 years? robert: yeah, that's going to be an important time. we'll have you back. keep us posted on how it's going, okay? both: thank you. thank you. robert: all right. again, there are a number of different deadlines for members. so for more information and to apply to work, go to next, he has been on a quest to reveal the positive sides of
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life, and now toan lam wants to do it on a talk show. that's coming up. ♪
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robert: so a little history, my next guest was once an intern that i mentored and he claims i was kind of tough on him but always encouraging. that's fair because i saw something special in him. joining me now is that now grown-up man toan lam who went on to work in tv news before trying to create a new role for himself to provider of positive stories which we--when we had him on--we had him to talk about that on our show before, and now he wants to do it in a talk show format. so welcome back. toan lam: thank you, robert. full circle moment. it's like i was trying to count--it's like i'm asian, but i'm bad at math. it's like 23 years ago. robert: something like that. toan: and they say asian don't raisin. can i say that here? asian don't raisin. you got to give me your tips. robert: why don't you get your own show, then i'm sure i will mentor you there as well. hey, for people who don't know you because you're going to--if
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you want to do a talk show, you know, it's about you as well as your guests. talk a little bit about your life and sort of how that led you to this. toan: i think that was the hardest transition because the news you tell one side of the story and the other side and you just leave yourself out. but as a kid growing up in south sacramento, i never thought that my story mattered as much and until you actually--you and the people at the asian american journalists association took notice, i was like, "whoa, maybe my story does matter." and thank you for believing in me. i have to say that first and foremost. but my family and i immigrated from vietnam. i was only 8 months old, and we grew up in a little--in south sac and grew up in a little town there. it was a little town back then. not anymore. but essentially, there's ten of us to a trailer in a trailer park and my parents came with $4 in their pocket. so it's the typical, you know, like asian american dream story that i realized quickly that my asian american dream wasn't my parents dream for me. robert: yeah, right. a lot of asians, especially ones who want to do something different than traditional careers kind of find that out.
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okay, so you went from tv news and started to try to do this thing, which i remember you and i talking about at the time. what do you want your talk show to be then about, or what is sort of the perspective? toan: yeah, well, you know, nowadays i feel like every time you turn on the news, there's bad news, right? and i've had a lot of conversations with people about life's zigzags, ups and downs. but then when they are at parties or, you know, talking to each other, everybody's so afraid to talk about it. so essentially i say we are trying to inspire people to just join our conversation and the magic of conversation to where it lifts your spirits and shifts your perspectives on life's challenges. so when you google the people that we interview, it seems like, "oh my god, they're amazing," which they are. it seems like, "oh, there was no zigzag to get up there." but they talk about being knocked down to the ground and picking themselves back up and taking one step in front of the other and-- robert: sounds like a familiar perspective there. toan: yes. you know i've been through a lot. robert: yes. now, you did some pilots already. you shot some pilot shows already. how did those go, and what did you kind of learn
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from doing that? toan: oh, i learned a lot. yeah. so we shot a pilot recently at the toto washlet, which is interesting 'cause toto washlet is the luxury toilet bidet but a company, and they have a beautiful set and/or studio in san francisco. and so i learned a lot. i mean, we interviewed three people there, a few topics. one of them was benny lou who created nextshark, which is--which you should actually have them on. he is the creator of this platform that has the--i guess it's a publication for asian americans and global asians and-- robert: you want to do these positive stories, but i know that knowing you the word "inspire" is like very important to you. you don't want to just tell these positive stories. what is it that you're hoping will come out of it when people are watching? toan: well, i hope that you just know that--those of you at home that are watching that you're not alone whatever you're going through and that there's hope. so we talk to a dating coach, we talk to somebody--benny lou who started nextshark, which is his own american dream
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to share asian american stories. so i just hope that in seeing these people's challenges that you know that, you know, there is hope and, you know, you can--you too can live your dream. robert: now so you're living your dream doing this. how's it going in terms of on the business side? are you finding a distributor? are you finding somebody to take on your show? toan: yeah, we're excited to say that we--looks like we have locked down a distributor, but we just can't talk about it yet. looks like q1 of next year. robert: oh, very nice. what kind of perspective? is it national or global? toan: global. yeah. so everything is moving on interweb--in the interwebs and streaming the world wild web, if you will. robert: yeah. really quickly then, as a global perspective, does that change in terms of how you're going to do your show? 'cause that's a different kind of audience now. toan: well, yeah. you know what? i believe--well, i hope it is interactive, that people will reach out with us through social media. we hope to delve into some, you know, interesting topics that are just global. you know, i think love, chasing your dreams, things that really
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resonate with you no matter what color your skin or what gender you are. robert: i think you're capable of inspiring on a global basis. toan: that means a lot coming from you. robert: you come back and tell us how the show is going, okay? toan: thank you so much, robert. robert: good to see you again. toan: thank you. robert: all right, i'm proud of you. all right, to get more information, you can follow toan on social media @toanlamshow. easy to remember, right? toanlamshow. and coming up, she is on a quest to find out more about the world and herself, and to show us through her eyes and lens. author ashley chu joins us next. ♪
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she's letting an accomplished life, and through her words and pictures is showing us the world and its people. she is with us now, an immigrant success story. among other accomplishments, she has a ba from nyu, a masters from columbia. she's a former model and runner up in the ms. chinese usa beauty pageant and has traveled the world writing books and journals, including an ongoing series called "the 550,000 miles." oh, and by the way, she's also a special advisor to startups in
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silicon valley and singapore. welcome to the show. ashley chu: thank you. very happy to meet you. robert: right, well, let's start with "the 550,000 miles" because that's sort of what you--is kind of the basis for a lot of what you do. when did you decide to do that? what's sort of the basis? what's the idea behind it? ashley: yeah, you know, i'm not someone who's been to 193 countries in the world. there are a lot of people who like to do youtube. there are a lot of people who like to write about travel guides, the destination where they want to travel to. but my book is something very unique and very different because i write about my personal stories with the interaction with the people from very normal people like housekeeper, bus drivers, to recently meeting the presidents and also local celebrities. so has a lot of interaction with the local people and how i learned about their life, how they live there, and some of the society problem they have, how i can help them to solve. so it's a very personal life story and very unique. robert: yeah, and you kind of get involved with their life
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by doing that, huh? ashley: yeah, of course. so i actually didn't really write a book, but i developed this habit of writing a journal in every single country that i go to. so i started this habit like 10 years ago. so right now i just put together a collection of them, it become a book. 'cause i post a couple of the articles on facebook and people really like reading them. so they said, "why don't you do a book together?" so i just put together and i did a self-publish. so i didn't get a time to look for a publisher. so i do everything myself. robert: yeah, and now you're working on the second installment, right? ashley: yes. so i just done my 120 countries recently. i went to a few really remote islands like-- where there's no electricity, no hot water, no shampoo. so basically live in a very native life. and marshall islands and etc. as well, and my second book is going to cover just under 140 countries. so hopefully have the third book which will cover the world.
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robert: what type of schedule do you put yourself on? do you try to stay a certain amount of time in each country? do you vary it depending on your experiences that are going on? ashley: so i started with the seven new wonders of the world. so 2007 i said, "i want to visit all the new seven wonders of the world." and i completed in 2012. then i become more and more curious about the world, more and more passionate about the world and the people. so i started to counting the countries. so right now i've been 120 countries and soon to be 140 countries soon by the book that i publish next time. robert: now, because it's through your viewpoint and your lens, your words, and things like that, what is your point of view and why do you think that that will register and connect with people who are reading about it? ashley: so i think that i connect with people because it's a lot of story from the housekeeper to bus drivers, and
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they're very normal people's lives and it's not like everyone is a president, everyone is local celebrities, and they really enjoy. it's about the experience, how you feel about the place, the people that make your trip special, but not the destination. because on the destination, you can google it without going there. so why do you need to read a book. so it's-- robert: how do you select who you talk to? ashley: i don't select. i talk to everyone. robert: so you just talk to people, whoever register with you, huh? ashley: exactly, so this year i went to madagascar 'cause i decided to do a personal charity project there. so i went there to help the community. last year i did teaching in elementary school in tanzania. the year before, i went to nepal where i spend my birthday with the orphan community. so every year i do something that really inspire me to do. so i just adding up accumulating more and more life experience. robert: interesting. and of course you have so many life experiences
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even just trying to list them, before, it was hard. but right now you're also an advisor for silicon valley startups as well as in singapore? ashley: yes, that's right. so i used to work in amazon in the headquarter and also as one of the founding member for amazon, singapore, southeast asia. and then i went into private equity, venture capital as an investor. so now i've been doing advisor--advisory work for the startup where i help them to form strategic partnership, international expansion, business development, fundraising, m&a, and etc. so i spent 3 years in singapore--the past 3 years and i just moved back to the bay area. robert: but writing is your passion, huh? and traveling and writing about it is the passion? ashley: i'm just passionate about the world, passionate about the people. so i love doing that. robert: all right. well, you come back and tell us how it goes, okay? ashley: sure. of course. robert: all right, thanks. good seeing you. ashley: thank you. robert: all right, well, to keep up on ashley chu, and that's not easy, and to purchase her series, go to
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that's krazy with a k, well, it is one of the biggest most spectacular stage shows telling the history of china in its own way. shen yun is coming to the bay area, and that's up next.
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musical performances, colorful costumes, and a fascinating goal telling a riveting deeply spiritual stories from 5,000 years of chinese culture. joining me now is david zhang, a marketing manager and a san francisco shen yun presenter. welcome to the show. david zhang: thank you for having me on your program. robert: now, what's your title in terms of--show? david: i handle marketing and i also media relationship. robert: got it. okay, now, let's talk about this 'cause we were talking a little bit before and i've talked about shen yun before. it's not just like the history of china, right? it's certain kinds of stories, the kind of colorful thing. david: in a way, it takes you on a journey through 5,000 years of civilization from different--to different dynasties. china has 26 dynasties and different ethnic regions
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through music and dance, universal languages. so you don't need an interpretation to be able to appreciate the culture and learn about history. a lot of the stories, you know, basically from the pages of history, they're inspiring. and i think some of the people probably familiar with growing up, story of mulan, the "journey to the west." a lot of childhood stories, we present on the grand stage with music, live orchestra, the high-tech patented backdrop. it's fascinating. it really bring the stories to life. robert: that is--it is such a grand way of showing. now we have a clip to show. so we'll take a look at that and then we'll talk a little bit more after that, okay? david: sure. ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ robert: it really is--i mean, you almost get--you can get lost by looking how spectacular the dancing, the performances are. but it's really storytelling, huh? david: right, some of the parts that we just saw are actually from the international chinese classical dance competition. they are not from the actual show, but there are--some parts are actually from the performance, yes. robert: is it the same show every time or--'cause there's going to be people that have seen shen yun before? david: oh, that's--one of the unique thing about shen yun is
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every year to unveil brand new lineup of dance--dancing choreography music originally composed. it's a brand new show every year. as a matter of fact, the 2020 program, nobody in the world has seen it yet. robert: is it difficult for people to follow who don't speak chinese or how is it kind of set up for that? david: not at all. you know, here's the thing. you know, music and dance are universal languages. you don't need an interpretation. you can sense the motions, the dancers through the music and all the facial expressions and the dance movements. and also they have mcs. bilingual mcs, they will come out and tell you about every piece, give you a little bit historical background just enough to you so you can understand, appreciate the piece you're about to see. robert: well, it is a fantastic show. thank you very much for coming here. good luck. all right. definitely worth seeing. shen yun is presented by the san francisco falun buddha study association and will run from december 20th through february 2nd at these major bay area venues: the berkeley zellerbach hall, the san jose center for the performing arts,
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and of course the san francisco opera house. for tickets and more details on showings, go to in fact, you can get information on all of our guests and their issues and events at and we're also on social media: facebook and twitter. and you can follow me on twitter @rhandanbc. and that's it for our show today. "asian pacific america" will be back next sunday. until then, hope you're having a fun holiday season. thanks for watching. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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. the first ever billboard women of the decade, taylor swift. ♪ >> good morning, and welcome to "sunday today. i'm willie geist in just days, the united states house of representatives will take a historic vote on two articles of impeachment against president donald trump they are expected to pass along party lines before the process moves to the republican-controlled senate for a trial. this morning, president trump is praising one democra


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