Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Emil Amok's Takeout from Emil Guillermo Media

May 4, 2017


:00 Opening rap

3:25 Health care vote

8:15 Duterte and Trump

11:42 Corky Lee intro

18:20 Corky Lee interview


From the blog at http://www.aaldef.orgblog

By Emil Amok

My late mother, the wise Filipina, would always say, "Your health is your wealth." And when her health failed, she was thankful for her health care through Medicare. And now after today, we're a step closer to the danger zone. I talk about #TrumpNoCare on the podcast.
But we won't let the threat to health care mar Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
And if you're wondering, yes, Donald Trump did tweet about it. His proclamation mentioned Dr. Sammy Lee, the great Olympic diver and the first Asian American man to win an Olympic gold medal in the 1948 Olympics.
He also mentioned Katherine Sui Fun Cheung, who embodied the spirit of this month. In 1932, she was the first Chinese American woman to earn a pilot license at a time when only one percent of all pilots in the U.S. were women.
Trump, of course, likes any One-percenter of any kind.
Trump's proclamation was fairly boilerplate, as you'd expect from a man who thinks diversity is identity politics and not a hallmark of a nation that believes in equality.
Trump even cites Public Law 102-450, which makes May each year "Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month."
He's not going to try to repeal it like, say, Obamacare. (Listen to the podcast for my take on that.)
"I encourage all Americans to learn more about our Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander heritage, and to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities," Trump proclaimed
Let's see if he takes his own advice, and learns how many Asian Americans will be threatened by his #TrumpNoCare.
Or we can just go back in history with that legendary picture of the railroads and the Golden Spike uniting America by rail. You've seen it, right?

Photographer Corky Lee saw it when he was a kid growing up in New York. It was the first mention of any Chinese people that he saw in his history books.
The text said Chinese people helped build the railroad. But Corky didn't see any Chinese in the picture.
On the AALDEF podcast, Emil Amok's Takeout, Corky said he bought the best magnifying glass he could find at Woolworth's. And he still couldn't see any Chinese.
"We were excluded again," he told me.
May is quite a month. May 6 is the 135th Anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act, signed into law by President Chester A. Arthur in 1882. 
Important, no doubt.
But May 10 is the 148th anniversary of the photographic exclusion that has been bothering Corky since he first saw that picture of the Golden Spike at Promontory Summit, Utah.
On May 10, Corky will stage a flash mob photo, hoping for people coming in period dress to do what people have done for years.
Only Corky wants to make a picture with actual Chinese people--like the people who built the railroads.
CorkyLee-RR photo.jpg

He's been doing it as a matter of tradition for the last few years, his build-up to a grand 150th anniversary shot. 
But every year, there's something special besides "the picture."
One year, it was the Buddhist ceremony at the Chinese Arch, believed to be the first one ever. 

Go ahead, make a pilgrimage to Utah for AAPI Heritage Month.
I doubt if The Donald will be there. 
Find out more by going to Corky Lee's Facebook page.
Listen to the podcast on how Corky developed his sense of "photographic justice," and how the activist's heart merged with the photographer's eye to produce some of the most memorable photographs of modern Asian American life ever taken. 
Corky talks about his first camera and his father's style of teaching.
And several times throughout, he talks about the picture that has been his driving force to include Asian Americans in everything he sees through the lens. 


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

 If you like what you see, consider clicking the "DONATE" button.  AALDEF is a 501 C3 and your contribution is tax-deductible.

 Give us your feedback there, or at

Leave a voice message. We might use it in a future show.

Consider subscribing for free on iTunes, where you can rate and review.

You'll also find us on YouTube, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.




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 named Ivy Orator, the class humorist.

Thanks for listening to Emil Amok's Takeout!