Awkwafina pledges 100% of her music proceeds to BuildingBeats
In a tweet last Friday, the actress and rapper said that as a result of her “[learning a lot] this year, about [herself,[ cultural identity, what Awkwafina represents, and how to use [her] platform to uplift, as opposed to exploit,” she will be “donating 100% of [her] music sales to BuildingBeats, who empowers kids through music education.”
Hailing from Queens, Nora Lum, more commonly known by her stage name of Awkwafina, rose to prominence this summer as one of the breakout stars of Crazy Rich Asians, the first majority Asian cast in a film by a major Hollywood studio.
While Lum may have been most known for her acting this summer after “Asian August,” her roots in the entertainment industry stem most notably from music. She attended the prestigious LaGuardia High School (which boasts alumni such as Jennifer Aniston, Timothée Chalamet, Nicki Minaj, and more) to study trumpet. While her career as a trumpeter never played out, her studies encouraged her to venture into songwriting; she would eventually publish a viral rap video on YouTube called “My Vag” that launched her music career as Awkwafina.
Her down-to-earth attitude and passion for music certainly inspires us to use our own platforms to uplift others as well!
Across Asia, teams and fans alike gear up for the 2019 AFC Cup
The tournament, which occurs every four years, will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates from January 5 to February 1. Founded in 1956, the 2019 tournament marks the 17th edition of the Cup and the first time that the 24-team format will be used—having been expanded from the previous 16-team format used from 2004 to 2015.
While Australia, who joined the confederation in 2007, enters as the defending champions, they face stiff competition from many other teams. Previous winners include South Korea (two times), Saudi Arabia (three times), Iran (three times), and Japan (four times), all of who are strong contenders for victory. For Kyrgyzstan, Yemen, and the Philippines, 2019 will be their first time participating in the tournament.
The stakes are high as well: the winners are not only the champions of football in Asia, but they automatically qualify for the 2021 Fifa Confederations Cup. The 2021 hosts have yet to be
determined, but if qualify for hosting and the United Arab Emirates wins the AFC Cup, the AFC runner-up will qualify for the Fifa Cup as well.
Bangladesh held parliamentary elections this Sunday—but the public suspects foul play
For Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, this Sunday marked her third election and subsequent third consecutive term. She and her party (the Awami League) won by a landslide: of the total 298 seats that were up for grabs, the Awami League captured 288 seats—making a winning margin of approximately 96%.
Her victory has come under fire recently by both the public and the opposing parties that campaigned against the Awami League, with the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) being the most notable contender. A 96% winning margin might be found in countries such as Russia and North Korea, but in Bangladesh, which considers itself a democratic nation, it should be near impossible.
Candidates from opposing parties have said that when they tried to campaign, their efforts have been met with resistance from the government under Hasina. Many prominent officials were arrested and charged with long sentences on fraudulent grounds, such as attempting to assassinate Ms. Hasina back in 2004. Their supporters have not fared much better: oftentimes upon meeting the opposing party, the supporters dissolved into street riots. After Sunday’s election, reportedly 17 were killed in such riots.
The opposition has made it clear they will not settle with these results easily. Kamal Hossain, a prominent lawyer of an opposing party that formerly worked for Ms. Hasina and the Awami League said, “We call upon the election commission to declare this farcical election void and demand a fresh election.”
Unfortunately, the election commission has rejected their request and Bangladesh will continue under Ms. Hasina’s reign, who denies any claims of election meddling and in an interview with The New York Times, rejected her critics: “What the opposition is saying, or civil society or your N.G.O.’s (nongovernmental organizations)—I don’t bother with that. I know my country, and I know how to develop my country. My biggest challenge is that no one is left behind.”
China’s detaining Muslims in vast numbers—with virtually no consequences
As of 1965, China’s government has recognized 55 ethnic groups in China, with the five most common being the Han Chinese (who make up a whopping 91.64% of the population), the Zhuang, the Hui, the Manchu, and the Uyghur. Making up a mere 0.75% of China’s population, or roughly eleven to fifteen million, the Uyghur are a Turkic ethnicity that is predominantly Muslim. In fact, the greatest concentration of Muslim people in China is in Xinjiang, which has a majority population of Uyghurs.
However, recently the government’s definition of “recognize” is coming under fire with their treatment of the Uyghurs.
Hundreds of thousands of citizens are being held in concentration camps against their will in Xinjiang, an upper Northwestern region of China that borders countries such as Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Mongolia, among others.
The goal of this internment is to forcibly remove Islam from China, despite the religion having been practiced in China for over a thousand years. The treatment that prisoners face in the camps is akin to propaganda for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)—they’re required to denounce their own religious beliefs while undergoing rigorous activities all praising the CCP.
As an ABC (American-born Chinese), I’m horrified by these events. For the most part I’ve been attending schools under the American education system; my education has given me a sense of the kinds of capitalistic, exploitative wrongdoings that America has undertaken in the name of “Liberty for All” (though in my opinion, I could still use more education in that aspect), but as a result I’ve neglected to realize that America is not the only country at fault—many others are as well, including China, the country that as of late I’ve been more inclined to call “home.”
Perhaps I say this as a result of my “American” upbringing, as my family disagrees with me, but I believe that the current internment is absolutely devastating. Freedom of religion should be universal to all—no debate. China has had (and continues to have) a long and complicated history regarding their attitude toward human rights that I do not have nearly enough knowledge on to form comprehensive opinions, but from my limited knowledge I hold the stance that the Muslim internment is wrong, and that more of the world should know about it.