Asia Society Recommends: We're In This Together
Social distancing is still the norm, so we have a new set of cultural recommendations to keep you company while you stay at home! Whether it's a new interpretation of a classic revenge fantasy or a thought-provoking book about current issues, we are here to make sure your social distancing doesn't include intellectual distancing from culture, enrichment, or knowledge.
Li-en Chong, Development Manager, Global Artistic Programs
Watch: Kung Fu Hustle. 2004. Hong Kong. Dir. by Stephen Chow
I grew up in Kuala Lumpur watching traditional Chinese martial arts dramas with my grandma. I love Kung Fu Hustle as a modern take on martial arts comedy. From the choreographed mobster dance scene, to the fast paced fight sequences, this is an Asian cult classic. My favorite character is undoubtedly the sarcastic, cigarette smoking landlady of Pig Sty Alley. This move has a bit of everything — romance, action, slapstick humor, and wit. Watch out for the subtle references to Bruce Lee!
Bake: Teochew Png Kueh / Peng Kuih / Glutinous Rice Dumpling / 潮州饭粿 / 潮州红桃粄
My grandfather was one of the founders of the Teochew Clan Association in Malaysia, so we spoke the dialect at home and cultural practices were carefully observed. For Chinese immigrants, the clan was an opportunity to make social connections, seek help and make friends in a new land.
One delicious Teochew custom is Png Kueh, a symbol of longevity. Made during festivals and special occasions, pink Png Kueh are offerings to the gods in heaven, while the white ones are for ancestors who dwell in hell. Using a wooden mold, we create these peach-shaped dumplings. Usually every family member is involved in the making of Png Kueh — young children fill the wooden molds with the dumplings whilst older family members knead the flour and fry the filling.
Sarah McCaffery, Manager, Interdisciplinary Arts
Read: Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, Cathy Park Hong
Cathy ties together fragments of her life with Asian American history and theory, sharing with unapologetic fervor her multi-faceted views on Asian American identity. With the rise of anti-Asian discrimination and violence in the United States in the wake of COVID-19, I found the book grounding, a source within which to find resonances and emerge with questions that sharpen my own Asian American reckoning. Stay tuned for an upcoming virtual book club featuring this book!
Watch: Giselle, Choreographed by Akram Khan, Performed by the English National Ballet
Marquee (free 14-day trial currently available)
Giselle is one of my all-time favorite ballets so I love any chance to experience its essence through reimagining. Akram Khan, an English dancer and choreographer of Bangladeshi descent, draws upon his background in Kathak and contemporary dance to create a haunting remake of the ballet classic. The ENB’s website features interviews, rehearsal videos, and articles for further insight into the work and the creative process.
Christine Hsieh, Senior Marketing Manager
Watch: Ronny Chieng: Asian Comedian Destroys America
If you’re looking for a much-needed laugh, there’s nothing like Ronny Chieng’s comedy special debut to do the trick. Born in Malaysia and raised in New Hampshire, Singapore, and Australia, the former Daily Show correspondent offers his unique perspectives and hilarious takes on American culture.
Read: The Night Tiger, Yangsze Choo
Set in 1930s colonial Malaysia, The Night Tiger is a winding and mesmerizing novel about a dancehall girl and an orphan houseboy whose fates become intertwined amid a series of mysterious murders. Filled with traditional folklore, this page-turning adventure draws you in and transports you to another world — which makes it the perfect read for when you want to mentally escape the confines of your home.
Ken Tan, Executive Director, Global Artistic Programs and Deputy Director, Asia Society Museum
I've been enjoying bingeing, so to speak, on YouTube channels dedicated to food and cooking. Here are some current favorites: