Duke Kahanamoku, King of the Waves

21 01 2010
During the first half of the 20th century, Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku — known to most as Duke or The Duke, and as Paoa to Hawaiian and long time island friends — “emerged as the world’s consummate waterman, its fastest swimmer and foremost surfer, the first truly famous beach boy,” wrote biographer Grady Timmons. Duke Kahanamoku is best known to surfers as, “the father of modern surfing. As a sign of Duke’s importance to the sport, one of his early surfboards, with his name across the bow, is preserved in the Bishop Museum in Honolulu.

Duke Kahanamoku came to be known as the father of international surfing, but the Hawaiian native made his first splash as a swimmer at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden.

Born in Honolulu in 1890, Duke  was named in honor of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, and struck gold by setting a world record in the 100-meter free-style and earned a silver medal in the 200-meter relay. He won two more golds at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics, a silver at the 1924 Paris Olympics, and a bronze at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.

Kahanamoku’s swimming and surfing talents caught the attention of Hollywood, and over the course of nine years, he appeared in nearly 30 movies.

Kahanamoku went on to serve as sheriff for the City and County of Honolulu for 26 years. When the legendary swimmer and surfer died at the age of 77, he was remembered for his athletic talent and sportsmanship.





Tadao Yoshida, Founder of YKK, Maker of 50% to 90% of all Zippers

21 01 2010

In 1932, a 24 year old Tadao Yoshida was working for a company producing zippers. While he was impressed by the product, his employer went bankrupt. In 1934 Yoshida founded the company that is today YKK in NihonbashiTokyo.

This company is now the worlds foremost zipper manufacturer, making about 90% of all zippers in over 206 facilities in 52 countries.  In fact, they not only make the zippers, they also make the machines that make the zippers; no word on if they make the machines that make the parts that make up the machines that make the zippers. Their largest factory in Georgia makes over 7 million zippers per day.

In any event, Mr. Yoshida’s company zipped to number one by practicing the “Cycle of Goodness”, as he called it.  Namely, “No one prospers unless he renders benefit to others.”  Using this principle, he endeavored to create the best zippers out there that would hold up over long periods of time in the end product.  This in turn would benefit both the manufacturers who used his zippers and the end customer and because of these things benefit his company with higher repeat and referral sales, thus completing the “Cycle of Goodness.”

A visit to a YKK factory shows just why the competition has been ground down so successfully. The closely guarded machines automatically turn raw materials into zippers of thousands of colors and sizes. Each part is tested mechanically and defective ones are ejected, all without human intervention. Competitors have machines that resemble those made by YKK, but lack the company’s custom-made software and other tricks YKK keeps close to the chest.

YKK has manufacturing facilities in 68 countries. YKK also has the world’s largest zipper manufacturing center located in Macon, Georgia, where they have 900 employees.



Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao, The Destroyer, #1 pound-for-pound boxer in the world

6 11 2009


Manny “PacMan” Pacquiao can be described in three words:

  1. The man, who refuses to surrender to poverty.
  2. The man, who uses great confidence in God as key weapons in the success.
  3. The man, who may eventually become a prominent politician and businessman.

The man who refuses to surrender to poverty.

“When I am in the ring I am also fighting for my people. I want to make my country proud and make my fans happy. It is very important to me because my country is important to me. That is why I must win.”
– Manny Pacquiao, on his Philippino heritage.

Growing Up

Emmanuel Dapigran Pacquiao was born December 17, 1978, in Bukidnon, Midanao, Philippines. The second of four children, he became the man of the house shortly after his father left the family while Manny Pacquiao was still in grade school. Faced with few other options, Manny Pacquiao entered the workforce: At first he sold bread in local neighborhoods and later he engaged in street fighting for small purses.

Living in Manila, away from home for the first time and 15 years old, Manny Pacquiao worked in construction during the day and trained ferociously at night. The combination of those two activities transformed him into a sleek, fighting machine. One year later, in 1995, Manny Pacquiao began boxing professionally at a slender 106 pounds.

On His Fighting Record

He is the former WBC lightweight world champion, WBC super featherweight world champion, IBF super bantamweight world champion, and WBC flyweight world champion. He is currently the IBO and Ring Magazine light welterweight champion, and is rated by Ring Magazine as the #1 pound-for-pound boxer in the world.

He has also held the Ring Magazine titles for featherweight and super featherweight divisions. For his achievements, Pacquiao became the first Filipino and Asian boxer to win five world titles in five different weight divisions. In addition, he is the first boxer to win the lineal championship in four different weight classes. Aside from being a boxer, Pacquiao has participated in politics, acting, filmmaking, and music recording.

Watching him fight is absolutely beautiful.



Sofia Servando Baig, Muslim Spoken Word Artist

7 07 2009

Sofia Servando Baig is a 21 year old spoken word poet from Montreal, Canada. She has recited her poetry at the ISNA (Islamic Society of North America) Conference held in Chicago, Toronto’s MuslimFest, and also took part in the Muslim HipHop tour “HipHop4Islam”.Sofia

Here’s what she said about her poetry in an interview:

All my poems are personal and are a reflection of how I feel as a Muslim, as a woman, as a sister, as a daughter, as a result of my place in society. I speak about what i know and I don’t speak about what I don’t know.

She was raised in a secular, suburban Muslim household, attended Catholic school, and was raised by her Pakistani father and Chinese-Spanish mother in Quebec, Canada.

Sofia was intervied on CNN in 2006 for the “Faces of Faith” topic.

“In truth, I am inspired by everything,but all my poems are personal and are a reflection of how I feel as a Muslim, as a woman, as a sister, as a daughter, as a result of my place in society. I speak about what I know and I don’t speak about what I don’t know.”

Daughter of the Sand – http://www.muslimgirlmagazine.com/web/audi…0the%20sand.mp3
My Weapon – http://www.muslimgirlmagazine.com/web/audio/my%20weapon.mp3

Contributed by Ami

Yao “The Walking Great Wall” Ming, Tallest Professional NBA Player at 7 ft 6 in, Author, Athelete

17 04 2009

Yao Ming is the world’s most celebrated Asian athlete and is from the most populous nation in the world, China.

Playing center for the Houston Rockets, Yao has recently overtaken the mantel of top NBA center over  Shaq and has shattered many stereotypes and silenced numerous critics along the way.

He has led Forbes’ Chinese celebrities list in income and popularity for six straight years, earning 51 million U.S. dollars (357 million yuan) in 2008.

A major part of his income comes from his sponsorship deals, as he is under contract with several major companies to endorse their products.

He was signed by Nike until the end of his rookie season; when they decided not to renew his contract, he signed with Reebok. He also had a deal with Pepsi, and he successfully sued Coca-Cola in 2003 when they used his image on their bottles while promoting the national team.


Before Yao’s first meeting with Shaquille O’Neal on January 17, 2003, O’Neal said,

“Tell Yao Ming, Ching chong-yang-wah-ah-soh”, prompting accusations of racism.

 O’Neal denied that his comments were racist, and said he was only joking. Yao, the bigger person,  also said he believed O’Neal was joking, but the comments led to increased media coverage in the buildup to the nationally televised game.

In the game, Yao scored six points and blocked O’Neal twice in the opening minutes, and made a game-sealing dunk with 10 seconds left in overtime. Yao finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds; O’Neal scored 31 points and 13 rebounds. Yao’s final averages in 55 games were 22.0 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks a game. 




Yao is married to Ye Li, a women’s basketball player for China, whom he met when he was 17. Ye was not fond of Yao at first, but finally accepted him after he gave her the team pins he had collected during the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Their relationship was first made public when they appeared together during the 2004 Olympics closing ceremony, and on August 6, 2007, Yao married Ye in a ceremony attended by close friends and family that was closed to the media.

Both of Yao’s parents are former professional basketball players.  Yao was born in Shanghai, China and started playing basketball at age nine when he also went to a junior sports school.


At 13, he first tried out for the Shanghai Sharks on the junior team of the Chinese Basketball Association and practiced for 10 hours a day before he finally make the team. He played on their senior team for five years in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) and won a championship in his final year.

He entered the 2002 NBA Draft and was selected by the Houston Rockets as their first overall pick of the draft.

His rookie year in the NBA was the subject of a documentary filmThe Year of the Yao, and he co-wrote, along with NBA analyst Ric Bucher, an autobiography titled Yao: A Life in Two Worlds.




Speaker & Car Entrepreneur, Myles Kovacs

12 02 2009


Myles Kovacs  embodies the blending of different worlds. Three-quarters Japanese and one quarter Hungarian, he grew up speaking Spanish in tough East L.A. During high school, he got his first taste of cars and stars as a delivery boy for a rim shop frequented by rapper Tupac.

Today, his own cars-and-stars glossy, DUB Magazine (thinkMTV Cribs meets InStyle), is the place where automakers seek validation and advice on the ever-changing youth market.

Famously, Kovacs spun the Chrysler 300C into a monster hit by hooking it up with 50 Cent, who featured it in a video. As a result, the 300C became a hip-hop icon and Kovacs an automotive star-maker, as domestic and import car manufacturers alike sought his help in giving their vehicles “street cred” and steering them into the sales-rich market mainstream.

Myles has become a force in the urban car scene, with a traveling auto show featuring the outrageously customized cars of rappers and athletes, as well as a growing list of auto accessories sold nationwide. Myles Kovacs’ simple yet hugely successful formula of bringing high-end polish to the street look has corporate executives, trade groups and car lovers alike vying for his ideas and insight into the growing auto customizing market. Without question, Myles Kovacs and DUB are defining what’s cool – and people are listening.



Guggenheim Fellowship, Author, Poet, Jhumpa Lahiri

6 02 2009


Jhumpa Lahiri was born in London and raised in Rhode Island. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and author of two previous books. Her debut collection of stories, Interpreter of Maladies, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN/Hemingway Award and The New Yorker Debut of the Year.

Her novel The Namesake was a New York Times Notable Book, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist and was selected as one of the best books of the year by USA Today and Entertainment Weekly, among other publications.

Jhumpa’s real name is Nilanjana Sudeshna. When Jhumpa began kindergarten in Kingston, Lahiri’s teacher decided Nilanjana  was too difficult to pronounce and decided to call her by her pet name, Jhumpa.

She recalls,

“I always felt so embarrassed by my name […] You feel like you’re causing someone pain just by being who you are.”

Lahiri’s ambivalence over her identity was the inspiration for the ambivalence of Gogol, the protagonist of her novel The Namesake, over his unusual name. Lahiri graduated from South Kingstown High School, and received her B.A. in English literature from Barnard College in 1989.

Lahiri then received multiple degrees from Boston University: an M.A. in English, an M.A. in Creative Writing, an M.A. in Comparative Literature and a Ph.D. in Renaissance Studies. She took up a fellowship at Provincetown’s Fine Arts Work Center, which lasted for the next two years (1997–1998). Lahiri taught creative writing at Boston University and the Rhode Island School of Design.

In 2001, Lahiri married Alberto Vourvoulias-Bush, a journalist who was then Deputy Editor of TIME Latin America (and is now executive editor of El Diario/La Prenda, New York’s largest Spanish daily and America’s fastest growing newspaper). Lahiri lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and their two children, Octavio (b. 2002) and Noor (b. 2005)

As a popular young writer of Indian background, Lahiri is a representative figure for non-immigrant Americans who do not fully understand what it means to straddle the line between two cultures. Jhumpa Lahiri admits:

“I’m lucky that I’m between two worlds…I don’t really know what a distinct South Asian identity means. I don’t think about that when I write, I just try to bring a person to life.”

All these factors are what add to Lahiri’s popularity. Her poignant attitude is what draws her readers in and keeps them wanting more. Interestingly, with all the energy and intrigue her cultural status brings, she conveys it in a real way that her audience can learn from and understand. One of the main reasons for Lahiri’s success as a writer is because she writes for herself. She doesn’t have critics or peers in mind when writing; she just writes.

Lahiri is also able to draw her readers into the story not only through her detail but also by making them feel the emotional, physical, and mental needs of the characters. All nine of the stories in Interpreter of Maladies focus on the characters’ inability to communicate with people who are important in their lives. She continues her story by plotting her “motif of exclusion, loneliness, and search for fulfillment” (Mandal 18) as the central issue.

Jhumpa Lahiri’s career has just begun, one can only imagine what creative works she will stun the public with next.