PARTING SHOTS: Names of coalition builders that glow in our memory

Once upon a Yellow Peril/Jim Crow time, as a young man from Korea with ink in his blood ? probably the first Asian immigrant to be hired by a white daily in the continental United States ? I boarded a slow boat to San Francisco. And at my twilight year of 84, this aging FOB […]

LOOKING BACK IN AWE: Living dangerously in America’s own killing fields

With the 20th anniversary of the April 29, 1992 LA Riots just around the corner, it’s d’j? vu again. On sobering reflection, I dare say that our Sa-I-Gu (Korean for 4-2-9) didn’t explode on that date. Long before the greatest urban upheaval in modern America, hardy Korean mom and pop storekeepers, along with their long-suffering […]

PARTING SHOTS: Gold Hill Colony: Hope and betrayal for a ‘Mayflower’

PAGES FROM THE PAST: In recognition of recent developments to restore the historic site of the Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony near Placerville, Nichi Bei Weekly columnist K.W. Lee files these two stories on the colony from the June 6, 1971 edition of the Sacramento Union. By K.W. LEE, Sacramento Union Staff Writer There is […]


In this day and age of Political Correctness, you seldom hear the G-word uttered in our public or even private conversations. It’s frowned upon at any public discourse, especially among the American-born generations, ever since the Great Awakening of Asian Americans in the 1970s and 1980s. For this FOB (Fresh Off the Boat) immigrant from […]

PARTING SHOTS: Unlearned Lesson of 4.29: The English Voice: The Key to Urban Survival

“Round up the usual suspects,” the corrupt Vichy French captain Renault tells his men at Rick’s gambling joint in the classic romantic drama “Casablanca.” With the 18th anniversary of 4.29 (Sa-I-Gu) just around the corner, I can’t help but hearing his mocking order reverberated during the fiery siege of LA Koreatown in which Korean Americans […]

PARTING SHOTS: A Native Angelino’s Gift: The Young Oak Kim Academy in Los Angeles

A native Angelino who came home a hero with crippling wounds from two wars to stir hopes among the struggling newcomers has returned “home” from the Big Sky, this time as a living legacy to the inner-city children of tomorrow. In September of 2008, the newly built middle school at Sixth Street and Shatto Place […]

PARTING SHOTS: Ranko Yamada, Catalyst of the Free Chol Soo Lee Movement

CATALYST OF A MOVEMENT (Left to right): Ranko Yamada, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi and journalist K.W. Lee at a 2002 reunion. photo courtesy of K.W. Lee It doesn’t take a village or a celebrity to launch a movement. It takes only a person. In the 1950s, it took a humble, tired bus rider, Mama […]