Here in Asia, the series Heroes is a hit.

And the person everyone roots for is Hiro, the Japanese hero who can change the Space/Time continuum.

Part of this is racial: Hollywood, for all it’s talk of “diversity” seems to ignore Asian males. (It is ironic that the Filippino American actor Lou Diamond Phillips, made his reputation for his roles as a Mexican and Native Americans in films).

What I didn’t know, however, is that Masi Oki is a geek in real life:

Masi went on to graduate from Brown University with degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science and a Theatre Arts minor. Oka pursued an acting career while taking his first job at George Lucas’ Oscar-winning special effects house Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). Today, despite his successful career as an actor, he continues to provide ILM with technology for groundbreaking effects for more than 30 films.

So it is nice to read that Oka is going to be the “posterboy” promoting the initiative to give children in poor countries free computers.

Photo from Gizmodo:

Is giving laptops to third world kids a good idea? Actually, yes. In our area, we have had “computer cafes” for over ten years, and they are filled with kids during lunch hour playing games and emailing their friends. And we are not a “rich” area…

Computer literacy allows job formation. Our cook’s son is a teacher of computer science at a local high school, and our next door neighbor’s youngest girl works in a call center in Makati. Their computer skills allow them to get good paying jobs in the Philippines rather than emigrate or work far from family as OFW (overseas foreign workers).

Of course, the premise is to go through the governments to get the computers to the kids who attend schools.

This, of course, has a big opening for fraud and outright stealing of the valuable laptops by government officials (a problem with any third world program).

However, since it is a private scheme, it has a better chance for not being stolen than “government to government” programs. After all, you steal from a private charity and they say: Goodbye.

You steal from the US, UN, or EU, what are they going to do? If they say no, the dogooders will blast them for being heartless.

So let’s hear it for Mr. Oka, who at least is chosing to promote a charity where (unlike most Hollywood bimbos) he actually has some expertise.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket. 

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