Monday, October 26, 2009

Bakka Balloon Mom Mayumi Heene is in Deep Tofu

Bakka Balloon Mom Mayumi Heene

Thankfully, the latest infamous Asian American isn't a disgrunted geek shooter or Yale murder victim, but the Japanese American mom of "balloon boy", Mayumi Heene and her boys. In WWII, the government kept it a secret that the Japanese Navy was launching sending balloons over our forests, but everybody heard about this balloon. The press wondered if she was a co-star in crime, or battered victim, but after telling all to the sherriff, maybe she's both. Hillary put up with Bill Clinton to stay in the limelight, so Richard Heene might have been her less-than-shining knight. I first heard the story on Dori Monson's radio show in Seattle, and then saw balloon land on internet video. Her looks, name, and accent were all Japanese. That makes her boys Falcon, Bradford and Ryo Asian or at least "Hapa" American as well, and her husband an Asian-in-law.

We learned they were the same "we are children of aliens" family led by a manic DIY mad-scientist dad that was on the television show "Wife Swap" standing in front of what looks like UFO balloon version 1.0. Hubby Richard called the guest wife a "man's nightmare" and was glad "my wife was born in Japan"  A boy from the guest family were equally impressed at how Mayumi "yelled a lot" and showed "strong emotions" in taking charge of her alternate household. Mayumi's name was Iizuka when she met Richard in a Hollywood acting school. He evidently impressed her enough as a wacky gaijin to give her hand in marriage him in 1997 in Las Vegas, perhaps to get away from her strong, overbearing father. They're not exactly what you'd expect a real life goof-off Homer and straight-woman Marge Simpson to look like. With a hard charging Americanized slightly nutty professor dad with 3 boys and wife from Asia who stays in background, they don't sound like any family I know personally....

Barbara Slusser of Fort Collins got close the the family working with the dad on TV projects, but pulled out over concerns about his temper. She's got some people upset over promoting stereotypes when she told the press her Japanese heritage has kept her in a "subservient" relationship with her husband and even her boys. "She's a highly intelligent woman, a lovely soul", but Slusser said "Whatever he says goes. She's basically his slave." She says Mayumi is a rock for her husband, and should be put up for sainthood for putting up with him, but thought she'd even "wear orange and go to jail with him."'s Diana Nguyen and Jen Wang noted that the report seemed to paint that Mayumi "is essentially a sad, suffering-in-silence subservient-a word used three times to describe her-- Asian woman cliche." But they did notice that the pair had separate his-and-her lawyers. That's not something you'd expect from a wife loyal enough to go down with the ship and her captain.

Now there's a big difference between "subservient" and "submission." Looking up my Asian values ( paper, the Japanese word "Amae" encapsulates heirarchy and dependence. While the old are above the young, and husband over the wife, EVERYBODY submits to somebody else, not just the wives. If Slusser claimed the mother submitted to the kids, that's a far cry from the "Asian mother loses it when sees B+" stereotype. One Japanese woman commented she wasn't being stereotypical, but "Bakka", or "crazy", and from what I've seen of video clips she doesn't seem to be an average Japanese any more than Richard is a typical American. Why someone would stick with a guy like that might lie in "Gaman", or inner strength, and "Sho ga nai" which means "It Can't Be Helped". When you're in a pickle, you make it work instead of quitting or being defeated.

Now the local sheriff Sheriff Alderdan is telling us they are in a good 'ol American "heap of trouble". One Colorodoan reader who was "embarrassed to call him our elected sheriff" called him a "media hog" who had "taxpayer employed family members".  Alderdan doesn't sound like kind of guy you'd want to mess with your family if he didn't think your balloon hoax was funny. Things could get ugly as they could be looking at felonies that could bring a dozen years in prison, a half million in fines, and a bill for the rescue that won't be erased by bankruptcy.

In 2008, America's televisions were taken over by another hoax hoax by Rozita Swinton claiming abuse by polygamists at the Texas YFZ ranch. Authorities used her call for a flimsy search warrant to dig up whatever they could to justify putting every child into foster care on the basis of what a few men might have done. But ranch residents were telling the truth when they warned that it was a hoax, as many others quickly suspected. If any prankster deserves prison time, Swinton does for blowing over 14 million dollars and ruining the lives of hundreds of women and children injustly interned for weeks and even Texas Rangers were breaking down into tears when they had pry away the kids from their mothers. It looks like the authorities are protecting instead of prosecuting her since still hasn't been even charged for the Texas calls, or stood trial for the calls she's been charged for in Colorado.  Not only that, now it's the Heenes turn to have their house raided at 1AM by the cops and Child Protective Services. Photos, cameras, tapes, computer and computer files were all removed, but without the tank and SWAT team. America, we have to able to tell the bad guys from the REALLY BAD guys.

This is a family living on the edge, having lived in an office space, renting homes and driving with broken hatch window. They love their boys, and didn't mean to hurt anybody. Many Americans can only dream of capturing the imagination and attention of America if only for a few hours. As much some might despise the misguided father, their misdeeds certainly don't rise to the level of having the book thrown at them or delivering the boys into the clutches of the foster care system. In this day of zero tolerance, America has shown how the real bad guys come out when Americans get legal excuses to demonstrate just how much they dislike some people. Judging by comments left on the richardheeneofficial youtube channel, there's a mob out there just waiting to mete out justice and I can't imagine how having a wife from Japan is going to help their case.

  • "Hey f-g-t, Your wife is a mail order piece of cr*p.."
  • "When your *ss gets sent to jail ...Have fun being r*ped."

  • "an egotistical, wife beating. brainwashing, waste of air, low life scum!

  • "I hope u go to jail for ur crimes or at least die from those lovely tornatos"

  • "you are the reason the rest of the world hates our country"

  • "F-ing... D-bag....".

  • "Take his kids away from him.. many living safe families would would to have those children"..

  • "I hope someone kills you and your slap head wife".

This family is in some deep tofu folks. Look in your history books of the American west to see what people felt perfectly justified to do to the Chinese, Mormons and Native Americans. As a matter of fact, the Chinese did take jobs away from whites, dress and talk funny, and trade in opium. As far as I'm concerned these folks did commit a hoax, but let's not confuse justice with what a lot of people would like to do to them. They don't have a mean bone anywhere in their bodies, but they're pretty much at the mercy of public opinion now. After they've paid a fair price for their mischief, they need help to get back on track to the American dream. While Asian parents are tough on discipline, it's to teach a lesson, not ground people for life.

They've probably strangers to the Asian Asian community(TM), but look at how the African Americans are willing stick up for their people, no matter what they've been accused of. This is not just any bunch of redneck losers, they're making our history. God help the next family that gets their photos and computers taken away because they made the government look foolish. MIT students break rules to pull famous "hacks" all the time. If it were up to me, I'd give back their stuff, sentence them to a month in jail, and a month of community service. Then harness their obvious energy for the public good by handing them over the Great American Celebrity Machine. The dad would make a great host of a backyard inventor show, and put Mayumi on Oprah. Whatever wealth they get should be plowed into scholarships for other kids of crackpot parents, not the helicopter gas bill. If nobody has yet stuck up for these adventurous folks, it's time for the Asian community to take a stand, starting with this Asian American dad.

And some last minute tidbits from the Japanese blogs and newsboards I haven't been able to verify, but might be true:
  • The two apparently met in Los Angeles at the while students at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute
  • Richard Heene was arrested in April 1997 in LA, charged with misdemeanor vandalism, vehicle tampering, and disturbing the peace. On April 15, 1997, Heene pleaded no contest to vandalism and the other charges were dismissed, serving 4 days in jail (
  • Mayumi Iizuka, in Japanese 飯塚 真由美, Japanese news reports she is from from Gifu Prefecture in Central Japan. She was born January 2nd 1964 and is 45 years old
  • Someone on a Japan newsboard who claims to live on their street believes they are living on money sent by Mayumi's parents.

Some videos:


ChinaFuture said...

I appreciate your call for standing up with fellow Asian Americans. Unfortunately, unlike muslims, this community is too calculated and too self-centered to bother what happens to the members of their community until they are screwed big time by other communities; and by then all they can do is shedding some tears hoping some white folks are decent enough to listen to what these wretched souls have gone through.

BlArthurHu said...

I think the sentence was fair, some jail time, some fine. It's not open season on being mean to people for doing something harmless, silly and annoying, and if anybody is going to stand up for these imperfect but I think likeable folks, we should. The guy isn't a phD, but he deserves credit for having a van de graff generator in his garage and dreams of having fun with science, dunno how the Asian American community can reach out to these guys though.