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There really isn’t anything we don’t love about the figure skater, who placed fourth at the Winter Games. We love that she’s from our neck of the woods (SGV, Holla!). We love her face, her crazy-high cheekbones and the way her eyes crinkle when she smiles, which she does a lot. We love how devoted Mirai is to her mama, who’s been battling thyroid cancer. (Of her mother’s prognosis, she’s said, “They say there’s an 80 percent chance of her being cured. But that 20 percent is still something to think about. It’s like getting a B on a test. It’s good but not the best.” We love that, too, OBVS.) And we love that she’s accomplished so much at such a tender age.
Waitaminute. No we don’t.
Because going to your first Olympics, and–despite the naysayers (ahem, Sasha “Bitter Much” Cohen) and the nonstop Queen Yu-Na hype–performing quite beautifully while presenting yourself as the future of figure skating at SIXTEEN when you should be, like, getting wasted on Captain Morgan’s Rum outside a suburban 7-11 or having your thumbs fall off because you’re texting your stupid friends all day long…well, that just makes the rest of us who are much older, much less Olympic, and much more dependent on alcohol look really really baaaaaaaaad.
So maybe there’s one thing we don’t love about Mirai Nagasu. If she were just a little less perfect, she’d be um what’s the word oh right…perfect.
Would you consider working on that in your 17th year, Mirai?
In the meantime, happy birthday, you adorable little showoff!
Filed under: 2010 Olympics, Adorableness On Skates, Arcadia CA, Birthdays, Californiasians, Figure Skaters, Gifted Teens, Ice Skating, Mirai Nagasu, Olympians, Overachievers, People Who Make Us Look Bad, San Gabriel Valley, Teenage Olympians, Teens, the Olympics, Vancouver Winter Olympics, Winter Olympics
Confession: I’ve never read Where the Wild Things Are. I know, I know, it’s only ten sentences long. But I don’t think I’d even heard of it until college, when I learned it was not only a children’s book but this huge cultural meme, but by then it kinda seemed too late for me, you know? It’s like with this friend of mine, who had, by the age of eighteen, never eaten a peach and subsequently vowed never to do so; every time she considered it, she couldn’t help but wonder, Why now?
This is the problem when the first books you remember reading are encyclopedias and when you’re forced by your Hardass Asian Dad to learn algebra and geometry in the 3rd grade. You miss all of these childhood touchstones. Or you don’t “get” them. You certainly don’t spend a whole lot of time reading books like Where the Wild Things Are that actually acknowledge a child’s “feelings.” (I didn’t like Sesame Street either. I always thought it was talking down to me and that Big Bird was a creep.)
So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to approach this completely ass-backwards the way any former-overachieving-child-who-missed-out-on-all-kinds-of-cool-kids’-shit-to-learn-geometry would. First, I’m going to buy the Karen O and the Kids-composed soundtrack that was released yesterday (and is also streaming for free at Stereogum). Because Karen O rules my universe. And then I’m going to see the movie when it opens on October 16. Lastly, I’m going to FINALLY read the book. All ten sentences of it. And maybe, just maybe, I’m going to “get” it, too.
Buy the Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack here.
Hails from: Bangalore, India (via Bihar and Patna)
Known for: Efficiency. Long recognized as a child prodigy (he completed high school by age 9, received a Bachelors degree at 10, and completed his Masters at 12), Tulsi–now just 21 years old–has just completed the six-year Physics doctorate program at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore to become one of the world’s youngest scientists. He is now potentially the youngest PhD in India. This basically means that he has successfully lived the collective wet dream of Jen’s and my fathers, making us seem all the more disappointing for pursuing careers in the liberal arts at an average American pace (Thanks, buddy!).
Worse Better still, Tulsi adds to the honorableness of his record achievements by humbly crediting his parents, saying, “I feel very lucky that I got proper environment in terms of my family members, particularly my father. He did his best to encourage my talent.”
Golly, we’d have to hate the kid if he wasn’t so freakin’ awesome. And accomplished. And adorable. And brilliant.
Occupations: Huang is a financial/business consultant, Mahajan an internist and health services researcher.
Known for: Their recent appointment (along with 13 other men and women) by President Obama to serve as prestigious White House Fellows–an honor “based on a record of remarkable professional achievement early in one’s career, evidence of leadership potential, a proven commitment to public service, and the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute successfully at the highest levels of the Federal government” (maybe you’ve heard of a couple other White House Fellows, like Colin Powell and Wesley Clark).
Perhaps what makes these appointments even more remarkable are the respective journeys that Huang and Mahajan have taken en route to Pennsylvania Ave. Huang, who arrived in the U.S. at age 10, was placed in 5th grade without knowing a word of English; he decided to memorize a 100 words a day out of the dictionary until he was rocking 10th grade AP English, ultimately moving on to obtain degrees in Economics and Business at Stanford and Harvard, and become the youngest-ever Managing Director at Intel. Mahajan was clearly born to multitask; he obtained a public policy degree from Brown before earning his M.D. there, completed a Master’s in public health at Harvard while researching low-cost monitoring strategies for HIV therapy and characterizing the response of the private sector to AIDS in southern Africa, and has been serving a 2-year stint as an LA neighborhood council member while working as an internist at UCLA medical center.
Wow. Um, we love overachievers and all, but this is ridiculous.
Hails from: Los Angeles
Known for: Graduating (with a degree in astrophysics, natch), at his young age, from East Los Angeles College with an AA degree and a 4.0 GPA.
As if our parents didn’t hate us enough for waiting until our teens to finish high school: news that an adorable, dutiful kid can easily rocket through college while mastering martial arts techniques and displaying mighty charisma, citing “hard work” as opposed to “genius” for his achievements, is sure to fuel the fire.
Sigh. He’s even better in action. Check out video of the little bugger:
Happy Birthday to Dev Patel, who turned the shiny age of 19 today! We gulped a little when we realized that this shooting star was born in 1990–a time when we were still adjusting the shoulder pads on our brightly-colored, oversized blazers–seeing how in his scant years of life he’s already managed to earn a black belt in Taekwondo, act in a Brit telly series, star in an Oscar-winning film, and scoop up a suitcase of performance awards (from SAG to Critics’ Choice, not to mention noms for BAFTA and NAACP). Our inferiority complex is becoming more complex by the second, just writing this.
We can only hope that this precocious overachiever keeps on scoring! And in a bajillion years, when he turns 21, we’d love to take him out for a drink.
Hails from: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Occupation: Special Assistant to President Obama
We don’t know what makes us like Kang more: that he showed his inclination towards overachieving early on by running for office at the tender age of 21, golfs with President-elect Obama, or is wonderful to look at and as funky fresh as this fall/winter’s A.P.C. catalogue.
It doesn’t matter what tips us over the edge; the fact that Kang is amazian goes without question. We just hope he waves at us when he’s celebrating Obama’s Inauguration tomorrow afternoon–we’ll be looking for him from the standing area!
I am writing today to begrudgingly extend a formal invitasian to you to join the tribe. Here is a brief overview of your accomplishments that helped sway our decision-making process:
- First, ESPN rated you the number one high school football prospect in the country. This ranking, of course, didn’t at all factor in your pristine 4.0 GPA.
- Then, you play Division I football at Florida State, at the safety position, my personal favorite.
- Next, you graduate in two-and-a-half years, pre-med. Why, Myron, why? For shits and giggles? Because Orgo was just too easy for you? Jesus.
- Then you decide to get a Master’s of Public Administration while finishing up at FSU.
- And then you win the Rhodes.
- BUT...what to do what to do? The NFL wants you. You’re projected to go in the top 49 picks!
- Oxford? The NFL? Oxford? The NFL? Oh, to have your high-class problems.
- Finally, you announce this week that the NFL will have to wait a year–I mean, who does that?–so that you can pursue your MA in medical anthropology, whatever the foos that is, and rub elbows with future world leaders and whoever is going to be your generation’s Kris Kristofferson.
- Not to brag, but you tell the world that once your NFL career is over, you’re going to attend medical school and become a neurosurgeon, with the hopes of “opening up a clinic for the needy in the Bahamas,” where your family is from.
- Also, you’re a beautiful, beautiful man.
Once this post goes up, thousands of Hardass Asian Parents around the country will be calling up their hospitals, wondering if they weren’t the victims of some cruel baby-switch and if you aren’t, in fact, their long lost son. Prepare yourself for the onslaught, the way a QB might protect his rib cage when he sees you coming on a blitz. (Never mind that you’re black and they’re yellow; Asian parents can be awfully convincing when they think they’re right, which is always.)
And thanks so much for making the rest of us look bad. Even though we think you’re actually a showoff jerk, we would still like to confer Honorasian status on you. Because, as the old saying goes, If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em to your hip, make ‘em play for your team, and don’t ever let go, or something like that.
So, whaddya say?
ever-so-humbly yours (and not liking it one damn bit),
Occupation: Professor of Law, Professor of Public Administration and Policy, & Co-Director, Program in Criminal Law and Policy
Known for: Overachieving. Not only has Chin been noted in such lofty lists as “The 50 Most Cited Faculty Who Entered Teaching Since 1992,” and “The aList: The 25 Most Notable Asians in America,” but he’s the anal-retentive researcher bold enough to point out that presidential candidate Sen. John McCain isn’t actually–technically–a natural born citizen.
How was he the first person to figure this out? Perseverance.
Filed under: Anal-Retentives, John McCain, Law School, Natural-Born Citizens, Overachievers, Prof. Gabriel Chin, Publish or Perish, Smart Dudes, Technicalities, The Presidential Rasian, Thorough Research
Occupation: 18 year-old science wunderkind
Hails from: Hong Kong
Known for: winning 1st place last May in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for developing a biodegradable plastic substitute (what?!?), getting a minor planet between Jupiter and Mars named after him (Planet Kakinchan), being a Hardass Asian Parent’s wet dream and making the rest of us look really bad.
Congratulasians, Tom! You overachieving little jerk.