What are your thoughts on the movie Crazy Rich Asians?

I liked it, I guess as a Chinese-Canadian I’m glad to see a Hollywood movie come out that finally portrays Asian men in a positive light. In too many Hollywood movies, Asian girls and Asian men have been portrayed in a dichotomous way with double standards: Asian girls always the hot young beautiful sex fantasy for the white protagonist (see: Lucy Liu, Brenda Song, Jamie Chung, Zhang Ziyi etc) and the Asian guy some nerdy or kung fu stereotype (see: Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Ken Jeong, Jimmy Yang the latter two who is coincidentally in this movie).

But for the first time since Bruce Lee’s films back in the 1970s we see Asian men being portrayed in an American movie… looking masculine. The scenes with the abs and topless and stuff is actually a huge barrier breaker more than people realize – how many American films have you seen where an Asian guy has been shown like that? again I don’t think since Bruce Lee. and that was 40 years ago.

The plot itself is nothing special – its typical Korean drama affair – but its the significance of this movie being a Hollywood racial barrier breaker that is the big deal here.

And not just that, but the cast is perfectly cast. All of the main characters more or less resemble who they are in real life. Constance Wu was born in Richmond, Virginia, she is that scrappy Asian American girl who finally made it big in Hollywood with Fresh Off the Boat. Henry Golding is that charming, handsome half-Asian guy who had never acted in any film before. Gemma Chan is a posh, sophisticated goddess who graduated from Oxford – prim and proper just like her role as Astrid. Awkwafina was once an unemployed New Yorker – now she’s a successful actress and music artist and just as quirky and funny as her role here.

These Asian American / Asian British stars lived the American Dream, and I think much more than the actual movie itself, I enjoyed the movie for its significance in bringing Asians (especially for men) back into a positive light once again. No more stereotypical kung fu / nerdy guys.. this proves to Americans (Korean drama fans already know this) that Asian men can be both masculine and sexy and be romantic..

What are the most important pedals to include on a pedal board?

Well it depends on your needs and preferences…

for me this is what I have and the order I have it

Guitar ->

Tuner pedal – I use the Boss TU3 for its great buffer which is important to preserve your tone when you have a bunch of pedals with true bypass. True Bypass is nice and all but if you have ALL true bypass it will suck your tone out so make sure you have a pedal with a buffer at the beginning and end of your chain.

Wah pedal -> I use the BBE Wah, although any number of options is great here. Teese, Fulltone, Budda, Vox, Dunlop, Xotic all make great wahs

Booster/Preamp pedal -> I use the Dunlop EP101 for this. There’s some great pedals for this. The Keeley Katana and Xotic EP Booster are also some nice alternatives. There’s also Treble Boosters like the Dallas Rangemaster and its clones (Brian May pedals has a few of these).

Overdrive pedal -> there’s SO many overdrive pedals. I personally use the Wampler Euphoria due to its versatility but there’s so many great OD pedals. There’s the Ibanez/Maxon Tubescreamer and Tubescreamer clones like the Seymour Duncan 805 and Wampler Clarksdale, there’s Klon Centaur and Klon clones like the Wampler Tumnus and MXR Sugar Drive, there’s Dumble type overdrives like the Fulltone OCD, Hermida Zendrive and MXR Shinjuku Drive, there’s Chandler Tube Driver types like the MXR FET Driver and Lovepedals Dover Drive etc I can go on and on here

Distortion/Fuzz pedal -> Again, so many choices here. There’s the ‘classic’ hard clip distortions like the Pro Co Rat, Boss SD-1 etc but these days there’s a bunch of ‘amp in a box’ pedals here as well which attempt to duplicate the sounds of the Marshall Plexi (Xotic SL Drive, Lovepedals Purple Plexi, RambleFX Marvel Drive, JHS Charlie Brown etc), Bluesbreaker, Fender Bassman, Fender Deluxe etc Supro even makes a pedal that duplicates their small amp! For Fuzzes there’s generally Fuzz Faces (now made by Dunlop) and Fuzz Face clones (either silicon or germanium), Electro-harmonix Big Muff Pi and Big Muff Pi clones, and Maestro Tone Bender (not made anymore) and Tone Bender clones. I personally use the BBE Windowpane because its a cheap and an effective silicon fuzz clone.

Delay/Flanger/Phaser/other modulation etc -> I put my delay near the end of my chain here though depending on your amp you may choose to run it through the effects loop instead. I found Delay to be the most useful out of the modulation effects. There’s generally three types here, analog delay like the Boss DM-2W I use (Way Huge Aqua Puss, Electro-harmonix Memory man, Maxon AD9 and MXR Carbon Copy are a few other popular analog delays), tape delay like the Maestro Echoplex and its clones (Strymon El Capistan, Keeley Magnetic Echo, Catalinbread Belle Epoch etc), digital delay like the Boss DD-7 etc although some specialists like Catalinbread even try to copy obscure delays like the oil drum and echorec delays

Compressor -> I put my compressor after my delay, some people may put it before. I personally use the Xotic SP Compressor which is a copy of the Ross compressor which is a popular compressor, but the Keeley Compressor, MXR Custom Comp, etc are also popular

Reverb -> This is my second to last effect in my chain and its because I like reverb to apply to everything. Again there’s many reverb types but the most popular reverbs are the Spring Reverbs (Catalinbread Topanga, Hermida Reverb etc), Plate Reverbs (Catalinbread Talisman), Hall/Room Reverbs (Keeley Abbey Chamber) or some combination of those (Keeley Omni Reverb which I use, Keeley Hooke, Digitech Supernatural, TC Electronic Hall of Fame, Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail, Strymon Flint etc)

Looper -> Since I’m a solo guitarists this is pretty necessary for me. If you’re in a band, you might or might not need it. I use the Boss RC-3 looper. The Digitech Jam-man is also pretty popular. In addition, this is the second buffered pedal I use and put it at the end of my chain in order to preserve my highs.

-> Amp

Why do Koreans like plastic surgery?

Super competitive culture especially on appearance. Unlike China and America, Korea doesn’t have multiple standards of beauty. They have ONE standard. Why is that? Because they are a single race country with a limited gene pool that also happens to be really small, that’s why. Now combine that with a super stressful culture where everyone is trying to be the best, and that’s why plastic surgery is so popular. It’s often used to get a leg up on other people, especially with regards to dating or getting a job.

But I especially dislike it when people talk down on Korean women because they got plastic surgery. First off, as I said it’s not really their fault, but rather due to their high competition society that many women feel insecure and end up getting surgery.

Secondly if they want to enhance their appearance why criticize them for that? I don’t criticize girls for wearing makeup, waxing, doing their eyebrows or painting their nails even though those are all artificial ways of enhancing their appearance, so why would I criticize them for plastic surgery? It’s no different.

Thirdly, the plastic surgery stereotype is often exaggerated. The statistics show about 5% of Koreans have done them. The reason why it *seems* like every Korean has done it is because of its prevalence in famous models/singers/actresses and the advertising for it which is everywhere, and might I add a bit of confusion between makeup and surgery. A lot of people think some girls did surgery when really its just makeup skills.

Fourthly, the touristy spots like Gangnam, Jamsil, Sinsa, Itaewon and Hongdae are full of plastic girls. Outside of these areas, its not that common, but since tourists don’t go to say.. Gwangju or Gyeonggi-do, they get the impression that all korean girls are like the ones in Gangnam, but that’s not true.

Fifthly, the definition of ‘plastic surgery’ in Korea is very broad and includes lasik surgery and laser hair removal. By this definition, I have done ‘plastic’ surgery as well. The majority of the remainder is simply double eyelid surgery. True ‘invasive’ surgery like what you see in the before/after advertisements is very rare, yet people just assume that’s what most Korean girls do which is not true.

Sixthly, We have no right to judge them as foreigners for caring about their appearance or being ‘shallow’ no more than they have the right to judge us for dressing too casually, not wearing makeup everyday, caring about designer brands too much, being vegetarian etc. It’s part of their culture. Korean culture is different from other cultures. We should respect it.

My 2 cents from having a lot of Korean female friends.