By Candice Nguyen
In 2009, Ling was on assignment in North Korea with Euna Lee when she was captured and detained for crossing the Chinese/North Korean border. Since her rescue, Ling has enjoyed being home with her husband and newborn baby, “Li,” named after her sister, Lisa.
Ling, who will be the keynote speaker at Saturday’s Scholarship and Awards Banquet at the AAJA Convention, spoke to Voices about her ordeal and her future.
(My husband and I) actually started trying to have a baby just before I left for North Korea, and at one point when I was there in captivity, I actually thought I was pregnant. It was extremely frightening and I thought, “Maybe I wanted to be pregnant.” I wanted to have this little being inside of me. I know that sounds cruel in that situation, but I was so lonely and desperate. I thought, “I may never have this opportunity again.”
I definitely miss it, but right now, it’s important to balance work and home life given what happened. In the future, I will probably stay closer to home. I’m hesitant to jump on a plane and go far away. That may happen in the future. Then again, there are so many stories at home that go unnoticed that need to be covered. There are a couple of things I’m looking at right now, but I’m taking my time.
We already are seeing the disintegration of big bureaus. I think it’s sad. I think it’s harder to make a decent living in this line of work. In terms of one-man band, I also see a great advantage – the ability to access things is easier when you’re lean and mean. You’re less assuming.
You should never go into a situation when you haven’t done the proper research – when you haven’t spoken to people on the ground well before embarking on your story.
As a foreign journalist going into these international situation, we often hire translators, or “fixers.” That’s what (Euna and I) did when we were at the China/North Korea border. We also put a lot of trust on these guides because we assume they know the situation and that they’ve worked with other journalists in the past. That can be tricky because you’re trusting someone you don’t really know.
I just want to thank the AAJA community for coming out to support Euna and me during our captivity. I was well aware of the support that was taking place here at home. It meant the world to me. It helped me mentally get through that, and I think it contributed to me being home. I want to thank the community and let them know how grateful I am.
Find Candice on Twitter @candinguyen
Two Los Angeles food trucks are taking Asian cuisine to the masses, fusing traditional recipes with innovation.
Alex Chu, owner of The Dim Sum Truck, launched his business in February and serves delicacies such as sticky rice. His favorite homemade recipe is a blend of Peking duck, pickled cucumber, red onion and hoisin sauce, all wrapped on a corn tortilla.
“There’s a lot of people who say, ‘Oh, I’ve never had dim sum before, you know, what should I try?’ ” Chu said. “Usually, I’ll suggest shu mai and the barbecue pork bun and the har gow, and the response has been really good. People really like it.”
Misa Chien and Jennifer Green, co-owners of the business Nom Nom Truck, make banh mi, or Vietnamese sandwiches, from Green’s family recipes.
“My favorite thing is it’s such an evoking industry, just growing and innovative,” Chien said.. “There are no right boundaries and so many new things.”
– Dominique Fong ?
Just hours after the Prop 8 announcement, Voices caught up with longtime couple Ted Kresel (left) and Jack Corbett (right) at a store in West Hollywood to talk about the implications of the decision on their lives, relationship and for California as a whole. They traveled to Portland, Ore., to marry but the license was nullified by the California law.
By Elizabeth Gyori
Los Angeles and the AAJA Convention was all abuzz once news that a federal judge in San Francisco struck down Proposition 8, a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage in California.
The decision, issued in San Francisco by Judge Vaughn R. Walker, is a temporary victory for gay-rights advocates in what looks to be a long legal battle. Proponents of Prop. 8 have said that they will appeal the decision to higher courts.
But more than 300 miles away at the AAJA Convention, many members who are also part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community expressed joy and relief about the decision.
“I hope for one day we can get married just like anyone else,” said Paul Cheung, Associated Press interactive and graphics editor. “I mean, we’re not any different than anyone else in a long-term committed relationship.”
A longtime member of AAJA and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, Cheung believes true equality is not just about race but about factors such as sexual orientation and socio-economic class.
“We’ve come a long way but there are a lot more (roads) we need to pave. So, I think, with this decision, it’s the first step,” he said.
Romey Louangvilay, a freelance writer for FIGHT! Magazine, said the decision not only personally affects him because he is gay, but also two of his friends who have been involved in a gay relationship since high school. He hopes they will be able to get married one day.
Several AAJA members sent tweets once they heard the news. Television reporter Lisa Ling posted: “Happy for my gay friends today. Love reigns.”
At a West Hollywood community center, Joseph Lee took a break from posting signs for a forthcoming AIDS march to talk about the excitement the decision has sparked in the gay community. He heard the news after seeing the avalanche of tweets online.
“They’re going crazy on Twitter world. They’re really excited,” Lee said. “I feel like celebrating, jumping in the streets.”
The decision had big ramifications on his personal life. If he and his boyfriend are able to get married, it could open a world of opportunities for their life together, he said.
“You can’t help who you fall in love with,” Lee said. “Let’s have some summer weddings. I might even get married now.”
Restaurants, bars and stores in the area are offering complimentary or discount drinks, food and merchandise in the wake of this win for the gay community.
Sur Restaurant in West Hollywood offered a “Pink Prop. 8 Cocktail” for $5 Wednesday in honor of the overturned ban, while Dan Deutsch Optical Outlook handed out free beer and cocktails for Happy Hour.
Organizations that have worked to overturn Prop. 8, such as Equality California, a gay-rights group that filed an amicus curiae brief for the overturn of the ban, also rejoiced.
“We want to take time today to celebrate this really encouraging win ’cause it really just shows that gay and lesbian couples and families are really getting the dignity and respect they deserve,” said Mike Ai, an Equality California organizer.
A rally scheduled Wednesday, sponsored by the American Foundation for Equal Rights, were attended by about 1,000 people at West Hollywood Park for a march to downtown Los Angeles.
“I am elated that Judge Vaughn Walker has overturned the same-sex marriage ban in California,” said Don Chareunsy, AAJA Governing Board member and at-large representative for the AAJA Advisory Board. “My gay brothers and sisters are not asking for special rights, only equal rights. The fight isn’t over, but it is a big step in the right direction.”
Voices staff writers Peter Sessum and Pimpan Jongchirawongsa contributed to this story.