Asian Influences

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

CHICAGO (WLS) -- ABC 7 Chicago presents the Emmy Award-winning program, Asian Influences, hosted by Linda Yu, Saturday, May 21 at 6:00 PM.

In celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, ABC 7 Chicago presents ASIAN INFLUENCES, an Emmy Award-winning program that shines the spotlight on Chicago's Pan-Asian American community. Hosted by Linda Yu, with contributions by Judy Hsu, Ravi Baichwal, Eric Horng and Ji Suk Yi, the latest ASIAN INFLUENCES aired Saturday, May 21 at 6:00 pm. An encore presentation of Asian Influences will air Sunday, May 29 at 4:30 pm.


This half-hour special gives Chicago viewers a glimpse at what giving back means when profiling two prominent orthopedic surgeons at Rush University Medical Center. Dr. Simon Lee and Dr. Johnny Lin are not satisfied resting on their laurels, so they volunteer with Soles4Souls, a charitable organization that helps the homeless. The doctors conduct foot exams on homeless people at a local shelter and give out much needed shoes and socks. They both concur that their Asian heritage contributed to their work ethic and grateful spirits.

Two prominent orthopedic surgeons at Rush University Medical Center do so much more than repairing broken ankles and toes. Dr. Simon Lee and Dr. Johnny Lin also volunteer with the Soles4Souls charitable organization. They conduct foot exams on homeless people at a local shelter and also give out shoes and socks. Both agree their Asian heritages helped instill strong work ethics and grateful spirits in each of them.

Midwest Orthopedics Rush University

1611 W Harrison St, Chicago, IL 60612

312. 243-4244


If you know anything about Chicago's renowned food and restaurant scene, you'll know her name. Alpana Singh is synonymous with fine wines and has the distinction of being the youngest female in history to achieve the level of Master Sommelier. But Alpana gives insight into her own personal story-from head of beverages for Lettuce Entertain You Restaurant Group, to a TV career on 'Check, Please,' to becoming a successful restaurateur - opening restaurant #3 in Evanston.

If you know much about Chicago's famous food scene, you probably know her name. Alpana Singh made history as the youngest female to achieve the rank of Master Sommelier and she earned that distinction while she was the Sommelier at Chicago's famed, Everest. The daughter of Indian immigrants, Singh rose up to lead the beverage program for Chicago-based Lettuce Entertain You Restaurant Group... then, TV came calling. For 10 years, Singh hosted PBS's popular 'Check Please!'... a show that asks ordinary diners to pick their favorite restaurants and critique them with fellow panelists. But three years ago, she stopped talking about Chicago restaurants on TV... and opened her own! The Boarding House... a wine-focused restaurant in River North... has enjoyed critical success... and a year ago, Singh opened up Seven Lions across from the Art Institute. Come fall, Singh opens her third concept. Terra and Vine is a Mediterranean and Italian restaurant in the heart of downtown Evanston. Singh says she is just getting started... she aspires to be one of the nation's powerhouse restauranteurs. Ravi Baichwal met up with Singh at her Seven Lions restaurant and has her story.

To dine at one of Singh's restaurants:

Boarding House

720 N Wells

Chicago, Illinois 60654


Seven Lions

130 South Michigan Avene

Chicago, IL 60603



Judge Jessica Arong O'Brien was installed as the first Asian American president of the Women's Bar Association in its 100 year history. This Filipino American Woman, currently a Circuit Court Judge in Cook County, has inspired countless law students and attorneys.

In June 2015, the face of the Women's Bar Association of Illinois changed as the organization installed Judge Jessica Arong O'Brien as the first Asian American woman as President. A judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County since December 2012, Jessica Arong O'Brien came to this country when she was 16 years old. She earned her undergraduate degree from Boston University and then went on to pursue a law degree from the John Marshall Law School. And while that work is certainly fulfilling, Jessica is best known for empowering the next generation of law students looking to break into the law field.


Asian Influences explores a new real estate trend developing in the Chicago real estate business, Chinese parents buying properties for their kids who are attending school in the U.S. The show tags along with Chicago realtors to find out what areas parents are looking at and what features are important to them.

There's a new trend in the Chicago area. As more and more Chinese students enroll in local colleges and universities, their parents are buying properties for them to live in while in school. We explore the reasons behind this tendency and see what features are most important to the purchasers. We tag along with realtors and their clients looking at listings and check out some of the more popular areas.

Mandarin Communications Group

111 W. Illinois St

5th Floor

Chicago, IL 60654


ASIAN INFLUENCES examines KINETIC, a youth empowerment program and part of Asian Americans Advancing Justice that works to empower Asian American youth and immigrant students.

The Kinetic program, apart of Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago, has been working to empower young immigrants and other students across the city since 2013. With programs at Lakeview High School and Kelly High School in Chicago, this organization focuses on teaching young people the importance of having a voice and being involved in their communities. The students have rallied, marched and spoken to local government about issues such as immigration and the recent budget cuts.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice

4753 N Broadway

Chicago, IL 60640


Field Museum

The Cyrus Tang Hall of China is a permanent exhibition that looks back at 5000 years of Chinese Culture. This gallery features over 350 exhibits in five galleries. Housed inside the Laufer Collection, named after the museum's first curator, are a variety of artifacts on display that range from art to religion to daily life. For more information:

Field Museum

1400 South Lake Shore Drive

Chicago, IL 60605


Margaret Cho

The spotlight turns on the very funny and irreverent comic Margaret Cho. Cho got her start doing stand-up and now is a regular guest star on ABC's 'Dr. Ken.' What some may not know is that she's also an accomplished author, actress, singer and activist. Cho, who was in town performing in her 'Psycho' tour, tells ASIAN INFLUENCES her story.

When Margaret Cho was growing up in California, she says the only Asians she saw on TV were extras on the sitcom MASH... but she still knew she wanted to be a comedienne very early in her life. She worked the comedy circuit in LA and finally landed her own sitcom.... When ABC launched 'All American Girl' in the 90's. It was a show loosely based on Cho's comedy. It was cancelled after just one season but Cho would go on to enjoy a career as a successful stand-up comedienne, author, musician and activist. She recently brought her Psycho tour to Chicago and that's when Windy City Live's Ji Suk Yi caught up with her. During the interview, Cho talks about how relieved she is that after a 20 year lull, ABC now has not one but two sitcoms based on an Asian family. Of course, she is talking about 'Fresh Off the Boat'... and 'Dr. Ken', a show Cho actually guest-stars on, as Dr. Ken's talk show host, sister.

For information:

ASIAN INFLUENCES will be available on-demand at

Rubye Wilson and Holly Grisham are the producers of ASIAN INFLUENCES.