Emil Amok's Takeout from Emil Guillermo Media

The podcast companion to Emil Guillermo's Amok commentary on race, politics, and society from an Asian American perspective. If it's in the news, Emil has a take. An award winning journalist, columnist, talk-host and humorist, Emil's compilation of essays and columns,"Amok" won an American Book Award. He is a former host of NPR's "All Things Considered," and has reported and commented for radio and TV and newspapers, in Honolulu, San Francisco, Sacramento, Boston, Dallas, St.Louis, and Washington, D.C. Read his takes on the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund website at Emil also writes a column for the U.S. bureau of the Manila-based and on Diversity issues at
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Now displaying: April, 2017

Welcome to "Emil Amok's Takeout," a podcast featuring the takes of award-winning journalist and commentator Emil Guillermo on race, politics, and society from an Asian American perspective.

Beginning with Asian Week, Emil has written a weekly column on Asian America since 1991. It has since migrated to and to his own  His experience includes TV news reporting and anchoring in San Francisco, Dallas, and Washington, D.C.; Hosting "All Things Considered" on NPR; Nationwide newspaper op-eds and columns at SFGate and USA TODAY; Talk-show hosting in Washington,D.C. San Francisco, and Sacramento; And reporting for NBC News Asian America. A collection of his columns and essays won an American Book Award. 

Emil also worked on Capitol Hill as a speechwriter and press secretary for then-Congressman Norman Mineta.

Emil is also a voice-over artist, with videos for PETA registering more than 6 million views on youtube, with tens of millions more views on all platforms.


Currently, Emil writes for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund at



Apr 28, 2017

Show notes (index at bottom)

Korean American community leader John Lim from the KCCD/ series on "Sa-I-Gu." Go to Also, how Chinese Takeouts in Philadelphia are being discriminated against in another story that involves Asians and African Americans pitted against one another. Councilman David Oh details how what started with home invasions has progressed into harassment by police. Oh, a Korean American, says he gets guidance from the brutal death of his cousin in Philadelphia in 1958. Beaten by black youths, In Ho Oh died, but his family rejected revenge in favor of forgiveness. And it's the third year after the murder of my cousin, Stephen Guillermo.


Emil Guillermo: Trump's 100 vs. real anniversaries: the LA riots, a cousin's death, and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month; PODCAST: Will Dao get a tax cut? And more...

April 27, 2017 4:44 PM


I guess Dr. David Dao didn't want to drag it out.
He didn't need 100 days. Neither did United. CEO Oscar Munoz continues his apology tour in the media with a new report that heralds changes in service, including an increase in fees from $1,350 to $10,000 for bumped passengers. Dao's settlement amount hasn't been disclosed. Frankly, I would have dragged it out in the media, what with court delays and every story accompanied by the shrieking doctor being treated like a sack of rice. So, good for United. But not necessarily good for the consumer, because now the pressure is off of United to live up to its word.
For now, we're left to wonder if Dow will benefit from that Trump Tax plan.
The obsession over Trump's 100 days is natural. It's a round number check-up, the first benchmark we have to contemplate the big question: Did America make a mistake electing Donald Trump?
But most of us knew the answer on Nov. 9. And there is no political "morning-after-pill."
So more than an arbitrary thing, the 100-day window lets everyone give the victor the benefit of the doubt and show us he's legit. 
100 days.jpg

With 100 days, it's even rigged in favor of the president. Mind you, the "honeymoon" phase is when the president's capital is said to be at its highest (largely because he hasn't screwed up yet). Rightfully then, we can expect the "100 days" to give us a good sense of the absolute best an incoming president can do.
In other words, it's never going to be any better. This is it. 
Which makes it troublesome that as we approach the 100th day, the best we can say is, "Can we get an annulment?"
No, here's what can be said. Trump knows how to be a boss. He just doesn't know how to be president.
He knows closely-held family businesses and is all too willing to appoint inexperienced family members to influential positions. Democracy? It's an alien notion to Trump. LIke his towers, he likes to be the big bully, above it all. With three immigration executive orders held up in federal court (two on travel bans, one on sanctuary cities), it's clear he doesn't know the limit of his reach.
His tax cuts are like his public payout for your silence. Raising the standard deduction for individuals may put a few hundred bucks in your pocket. But it's nothing compared to the corporate tax cut. And according to Trump, it's all made up by growing the economy at 3 percent.
It's a variation of "trickle down" economics. Over the last 30 years, we've already learned that "trickle down" theories don't work well in practice. Cutting taxes on the rich so they reinvest in jobs and it all magically trickles down throughout the economy is a nice fantasy. But it doesn't work (not if companies merely use cash to buy back shares and pay the top execs). The plan enriches the 1 percent and practically guarantees the growth of budget deficits, putting the country in the red--if the fantasy doesn't come true.
Couple all that with Trump's huge military budget, and his 100 day penchant for using missiles in Syria and Afghanistan like he's trying to outdo Kim Jong Un, and you see where this could all be heading. 
It's not the middle class, let alone America first.
The tax cut is bad policy. Don't let Trump buy your silence. It's not like a money back guarantee. Besides, your vote in our democracy is worth way more than that.
Resist. Insist on tax fairness. Trump said in his campaign he'd raise taxes on the rich. Make him live up to that. Either that, or it's just another Trump lie. A typical flip-flop like we've seen in the first 100 days.
From China, to trade, to NATO, to his bad appointments, to his aggressive military stands without Congressional approval, the president has done more in 100 days to discredit himself than to reassure us in his presidency.
Hence, my grade for Trump:  F. And that doesn't stand for Filipino.
And if you still believe, like Trump, that the 100 day marker really doesn't matter, well, it does mean this. 
America still has a healthy sentence remaining for which there is no parole. 
You can mark it on the wall with chalk, but it's better simply to act up and resist. 
After April 29th, we've got 1,360 days left.
That includes the lost days if Trump's politicking results in a government shutdown.

What can you expect from Trump but the best kind of gridlock we've ever seen?
IN LOS ANGELES, ANOTHER ANNIVERSARY: 25 years, or 9,125 days later
In Korean, the phrase being used is "sa-i-gu," or 4-2-9, the date most Korean Americans will never forget. If you were in Los Angeles, you were at ground zero. They call it a riot. They call it an uprising. There was plenty to be upset about. The Rodney King verdict--which acquitted four police officers caught on videotape beating King--was the flashpoint. But it also allowed a community to vent about everything else, including the case of Latasha Harlins, a 15-year-old girl who was shot and killed by a South Korean store owner. Soon Ja Du, the liquor store owner, was convicted of manslaughter, fined, given five years 'probation, but no prison time-- even though the jury suggested Du get 16 years.
That, combined with the King verdict, is said to have triggered six days of unrest. It left 55 dead, 2,000 injured, 11,000 arrested.
And it was the Korean American community that bore the brunt of the outrage.
On the AALDEF podcast, I play a clip from the Korean Churches for Community Development's (KCCD) partnership with 
The first story is from John Lim, who was the president of the Korean American Bar Association in 1992. He says Korean Americans, by virtue of their businesses, were misperceived by the media and the public as reaping economic benefit from the African American community and "not giving back." 


Because of that, Lim says Korean Americans were unfairly victimized during the riots. They were harshly treated in the aftermath when liquor licenses were taken away, and families not compensated. Lim doesn't see why a struggling Korean American community, most of them newly arrived post-1965, should have been blamed for the hundreds of years of social injustice endured by African Americans in society.
The KCCD Commemorative service is one of many to be held this weekend in Los Angeles at the Oriental Mission Church, at USC, and UCLA. 
Listen to Lim on our podcast: coming soon!
I've named our podcast "Emil Amok's Takeout," and that means we have a soft spot in our heart for Chinese takeouts. 
In Philadelphia, takeouts are under siege by overzealous cops who often ticket them unfairly for being open after 11 p.m.

I talk with Philadelphia councilman David Oh about the situation. Are Chinese takeouts no different than the Korean liquor store owners of Los Angeles? Oh talks about that. And he tells his own personal story of his cousin beaten to death in 1958 in Philadelphia. It was a Korean/African American story that was felt from Philadelphia to Seoul. The story of In Ho Oh has become a motivating factor for David Oh in the modern racial disputes he sees. It teaches him to seek the high road--by rejecting revenge and offering forgiveness.
As you'll hear in the interview, it didn't take the family 100 days in 1958 to show its compassion
Finally, on the podcast, Oh speaking about forgiveness makes he consider my own cousin's murder. Stephen Guillermo was gunned down May 3, 2014 when he entered the wrong apartment by mistake. The resident, an African immigrant, was armed and shot him with a single bullet. I've written about it here.

The murderer was known, was arrested, and then released. The DA wouldn't touch the case. My cousin remains a victim, with no real resolution or sense of justice.
But a story like In Ho Oh's offers some comfort and guidance as we approach May 3rd, 1,095 days after Stephen's murder.
In these key anniversaries, we remember as we approach Asian Pacific American Heritage Month how easy it is to slip into an unwitting divide-and-conquer mindset. No one wins, if we take the bait and fight each other. 
After hundreds of days, in these painful instances where the poor are pitted against the poor, maybe our best options always come down to this: forgiveness, understanding, and empathy.
*     *     *
Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
Updates at Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in his blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.


:30 Hello

1:45 Prevue on LA Riots

2:30 Prevue of Takeout Discrimination

4:00 Dr. Dao Settles with United

6:30 More on Trump's 100 days and the tax plan

11:56 25 years after the LA Riots, on 4-29 Sa-I-Gu

14:40 John Lim from, and their Sa-I-Gu project

28:46 Chinese Takeouts discriminated in Philly

Philadelphia David Oh intro

30:06 David Oh talks about how the situation began.

1:01:00 Oh's cousin, In Ho Oh

1:04:00 Act of Forgiveness

1:06:00 Stephen Guillermo

1:12:30 Wrap up on Stephen


Thanks for listening to Emil Amok's Takeout








Apr 22, 2017

Don't tell the Laotian community in Richmond, CA that environmental racism doesn't exist. They've been fighting corporate polluters and making them listen to their voices for years. Miya Yoshitani of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) talks about their story fpr Earth Day as an inspiration for other Asian Americans to take action in the Trump era


2:50  Emil Amok's take on Trump

5:19 On Bill O'Reilly's ousting

7:30 On Earth Day

8:00 Intro to Yoshitani interview

17:00 Fighting an incinerator in Chicago

18:40 On Environmental Racism

21:00 On toxic waste and race

26:00 The Richmond success story

27:25 The Laotian Organizing project

29:30 The need for multi-lingual communication 

32:54 Environmental activism means engaging in democracy

36:00 The environment provides our common ground

56:00 How Asian Americans can fight Environmental Racism

1:11:00 The smelly dog food factory

1:11:20 Staying optimistic


Read more from Emil Guillermo at

Leave a comment at

Leave a voice mail on Speakpipe while you're there. 

Tweet @emilamok


Thanks for joining us on "Emil Amok's Takeout."

Apr 14, 2017


Emil Guillermo: Dragged United passenger Dr. David Dao is no Rosa Parks, but he could be a poster boy for all consumers
April 13, 2017 4:45 PM

When the U.S. drops the "mother of all bombs" on Afghanistan as a worldwide message, it's time for a little sobering perspective.

Maybe we could take a little more time to treat all people with a little more respect, fairness and dignity in our everyday lives. Person to person. And certainly, corporation to consumer. 

Which brings us to the viral bombshell of a story that won't die. 

If United, or anyone else, thought the dragging of Dr. David Dao was a short-term headline that would go away with a simple apology, they were sorely mistaken.

Dao's tale is bigger than anyone thought. It's soon to become the last stand for the modern global consumer. 

Dao, the 69-year-old man dragged off a United flight so that the airline could seat its own employees, has hired Thomas Demetrio, a top-notch personal injury lawyer based in Chicago. At a press conference Thursday, Demetrio made it clear how he saw things.

Demetrio didn't think the case was about race, even though Dao in one of the now numerous cell phone videos could be heard asking if United was asking him to leave the plane because he was Chinese. (At the press conference, Dao's daughter, Crystal, clarified that Dao immigrated from Vietnam.)


To further his point, Demetrio shared with the media an e-mail he'd received from someone suggesting that Dao was the "modern day Asian Rosa Parks."

"I don't think that's the case at all," Demetrio said. "What happened to Dr. Dao could have happened to any one of us."

Demetrio said Dr. Dao "has come to understand that he's the guy to stand up for passengers going forward."

In other words, he's the universal little guy. 

But race did come into play in one significant way when Dao told Demetrio how he felt about the dragging. On one of the phone videos released, Dr. Dao was seen crying out, "just kill me, just kill me." A reporter asked what Dao meant by that?

"I asked him that question; here's what he told me," said Demetrio. "He said that he left Vietnam in 1975 when Saigon fell. And he was on a boat. And he said he was terrified. He said that being dragged down the aisle was more horrifying and harrowing than what he experienced in leaving Vietnam."

If there's a lawsuit coming, and indeed there is, I don't think United stands a chance.

As a writer on race issues in America, I've often wondered what one factor in our society could become our common ground and end the pain of discrimination. Twenty years ago, I thought age would allow us to see beyond race. The ageists of the world have proved me wrong. In Dao, a 69-year old loving father with multiple grandchildren, I think we have the answer. 

He's the battered consumer in this angry, short-tempered society, standing up to the corporation. 

Race? Not primary. It may have helped the Chicago Airport cops to see him as an "other" so they could drag him away with zeal. But basically, race is irrelevant.  

Dao was a seated ticket holder, a profit center to the corporation. And when it didn't need him anymore, it violently bullied Dao and treated him like crap. 

We can all relate to that. It's what I thought on Monday when I first heard the story.


Now Dao is poised to become the one who fights for what all consumers deserve. 

Demetrio said there were three things every consumer should demand:  fairness, respect, and dignity. "That's it," Demetrio said. "I hope [Dao] becomes the poster child for all of us." 

It's not the position that most Asian Americans willingly seek out. Most hold on to the stereotype--unless you are chosen, and it's beaten out of you.

And then there's no other option but to speak up. You take a stand, and become what I've long called since my Asian Week days: a "Public Asian."

Dr. Dao wasn't at the press conference. 

Demetrio said he was at a secure location and appreciated if the media would leave him alone. Ultimately, Dao will return to Louisville, but probably by car. Said Demetrio: "He has no interest in ever seeing an airplane." 

Hear bits of the media conference in Ep.9 of the ALDEF podcast, Emil Amok's Takeout.

I also interview an Asian American from Kentucky, Mimi Hwang. She talks about the local reaction to Dao, who lives in the Louisville area, and gives her own perspective as a business owner and as someone who has experienced what it feels like to be bullied due to her Asian background. It happened to her family in 2015. She also says that while the Dao story is empowering, the micro-community of Asians has little voice and no support from social justice organizations.

I even mention if the community has heard from Elaine Chao, Secretary of Transportation, who happens to be the wife of Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell.

No, Hwang said. But she'd welcome Chao's support in the community.


Show notes


1:54 The Shriek

5:08 “I am not going…”

5:34 Thomas Demetrio, Dao’s lawyer

5:53 Rosa Parks?

6:13 Opening of Press conference

11:58 Dao’s the guy

12:25 On United CEO’s Apology

14:20 Crystal Pepper, Dao’s daughter

15:46 On seeing Dad dragged on video

16:00 Dao’s injuries

17:41 “Just kill me.”

19:06 The first 20 minutes of the whole conference (including a repeat of the first 6 minutes).

39:00  End of conference

41:48 Mimi Hwang at her martial arts studio, talk about the Louisville community where

Dr. Dao is from and about her own experiences with racism.

1:06:51 Emil’s conclusion.

Contact Emil at, the site of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.


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Emil Guillermo wrote for almost 15 years his "Amok" column for AsianWeek, which was the largest English language Asian American newsweekly in the nation. "Amok" was considered the most widely-read column on Asian American issues in the U.S.

His thoughtful and provocative social commentaries have appeared in print in the San Francisco Chronicle,, San Francisco Examiner, USA Today, Honolulu Star Bulletin, Honolulu Advertiser, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and in syndication throughout the country.  His columns are seen in Asia and around the world, on 

His early columns are compiled in a book "Amok: Essays from an Asian American Perspective," which won an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation in 2000.

Guillermo's journalistic career began in television and radio broadcasting. At National Public Radio, he was the first Asian American male to anchor a regularly scheduled national news broadcast when he hosted "All Things Considered" from 1989-1991. During his watch, major news broke, including the violence in Tiananmen Square, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the end of dictatorships in Romania and Panama. From Washington, Guillermo hosted the shows that broke the news. 

As a television journalist, his award-winning reports and commentaries have appeared on NBC, CNN, and PBS. He was a reporter in San Francisco, Dallas, and Washington, D.C.

After NPR, Guillermo became a press secretary and speechwriter for then Congressman Norman Mineta, the former cabinet member in the Bush and Clinton Administrations. 

After his Hill experience, Guillermo returned to the media, hosting his own talk show in Washington, D.C. on WRC Radio. He returned to California where he hosted talk shows in San Francisco at KSFO/KGO, and in Sacramento at KSTE/KFBK.

Guillermo's columns in the ethnic press inspired a roundtable discussion program that he created, hosted, executive produced, resulting in more than 100 original half-hour programs. "NCM-TV: New California Media" was seen on PBS stations in San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles, and throughout the state on cable.

Guillermo also spent time as a newspaper reporter covering the poor and the minority communities of California's Central Valley. His writing and reporting on California's sterilization program on the poor and minorities won him statewide and national journalism awards.

In 2015, Guillermo received the prestigious Dr. Suzanne Ahn Award for Civil Rights and Social Justice from the Asian American Journalists Association. The award, named after the late Korean American physician from Texas, recognizes excellence in the coverage of civil rights and social justice issues in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

Guillermo, a native San Franciscan, went to Lowell High School, and graduated from Harvard College, where he was an Ivy Orator and class humorist.

Thanks for listening to Emil Amok's Takeout!

Apr 7, 2017

Emil Amok's Takeout is the podcast/radio program of award-winning journalist and commentator Emil Guillermo. 

Read his takes on the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog at

And at

On this episode, he is astonished by the sudden change in Trump. Yes, Syria is a grave situation. But Trump, the man of walls, the man who would chop off 24 million from Obamacare, and pass along any savings to his generals, has never shown anything but a tough, hard bottom-line approach to life. So forgive me for being skeptical of his jingoism because he was moved by the victims of Syria's Assad. 

Let's see if Trump says anything at all about the Bataan Death March. 

It's iconic and yet, no one really knows a whole lot beyond the name.  The Filipinos in America know how important it was. And now a move is on to make sure it's in the California high school curriculum. April 9 marks the 75th anniversary of the death march where 10,000 Filipinos lost their lives compared to about 650 U.S. soldiers. Daniel Gonzales, professor of Asian American Studies at SF State University is interviewed. (At 9:30).

Bonus material: "Ghost in the Ship" flopped in its opening week. And we know why!  Jenn Fang's favorite anime growing up has been blasphemed by Dreamworks' live action approach. She said it's even worse than she could have imagined. Hear her discuss the problems. Spoilers? The movie comes pre-spoiled. (Starts around 54:00)

That's it. 

Comments welcome at

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