Wednesday, September 18, 2002

role model - every now and then, our local paper--the san francisco chronicle--gets it right and publishes a human interest story that is both interesting and inclusive. i was happy to see that the author of the ground-breaking book 'flower drum song' is alive and well, and living in california. 'flower drum song', a story about san francisco's chinese-americans, was eventually turned into a broadway musical and movie by rodgers and hammerstein. it was the first hollywood film that featured an all-asian cast. i'm not even going to complain about the fact that the movie's three stars were japanese (james shigeta), korean (jack soo) and half-chinese/half-english (nancy kwan).

as a child, i remember seeing this movie on television and being amazed that asians were allowed to act like white americans. i also noticed that several of my parents' friends had copies of the film's soundtrack at home. i guess it was our version of 'oklahoma' or 'west side story'. for at least one movie, we had made it into mainstream of american culture and society. sure it was cheesy, but at least we weren't being portrayed as opium addicts, prostitutes or mystical figures.

'flower drum song' is getting an update by playwright david henry hwang, and will be opening once again on broadway. support asian-american actors and actresses. go see 'flower drum song'.


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