Today is the third end-of-year celebration since the launching of this site, following 2008, 2009, 2010. Today also marks the end of the first decade of the new millennium. As we were busy with our lives and our work, a decade flashed by faster than we thought.
I remember I was with DMR working on Y2K project at Sprint PCS, working overtime testing their software readiness. I remember Christmas celebration and team-building outings with that company. I remember getting my daughter back from YMCA daycare. I remember a Chinese colleague of mine went to our apartment with his wife and two daughters. Now DMR, YMCA daycare, and that colleague are no longer here, the first two entities having gone under and that colleague being consumed by brain cancer. Yet, the memories of these events and people are as vivid as yesterday.
The first decade started with an economic boom at least in the US and ended with its opposite, loudly pronouncing a future very much different from the one when the millennium just started. The events and changes in this decade are of huge momentum, setting path toward the new arrangement of power and direction for most of the powerful countries. It is interesting to see where these powers will end up at the end of next decade, that is, year 2020.
This passing decade also saw big changes in my children with one moving from elementary school to college, the other from daycare to high school. I am sure by now both of them know what they want to do with their lives and there is no shortcut to their goals. I wish them success in their endeavors.
To my dear friends and readers, I wish all of you happiness and healthiness. Remember you are happy only when you are healthy and you have got what you want in life or at least you know what you want and are in the process of reaching your goal.
Happy New Year!
As we approach the end of the year and of the first decade of the new millennium, looking into the next decade, there is no other topic more interesting than that of the future of America as the world power.
During the last decade, the USA has effectively dragged its economy downhill by over-stretching itself in the way of foreign wars with its huge military expense. Throughout history, many great nations have gone the same self-defeating path, having their resources drained away by these wars of attrition. While the US was busy burning its wealth, other countries lost no time in accumulating it. Imagine its consequence in the coming decade.
Because of the huge war cost and Bush tax cut, the country has incurred a colossal debt, a heavy burden on the future generation. This burden behaves like a chronic disease that will slowly consume the nation. Sadly to say, Obama’s compromised tax bill serves to save his own skin at the cost of future generation. It does not help in raising productivity and reducing deficit.
American politics has become ineffective and stalemated, just look at Obama’s healthcare reform and then his even more stupid tax bill! The powerful politicians representing some interested groups are totally on top of everything. Where is the future for the aspiring middle-class folks and for the nation?
The final worrisome problem is America’s K-12 education. To be sure, if a good education has been the key to the rise of many nations from Japan to Israel, America’s lack of it can be attributed to its decline. To predict prison population in the coming decade, one simply needs to count the high school dropouts today. With the decrease of highly educated workforce, America will see the shrinking of middle class. Even worse, a good basic education come from a culture that value education like that of many Asian and Jewish culture. You cannot say the same of American culture!
To be continued…
This is the continuation of yesterday’s posting, which I call it “Not Really New Concept for the Year 2011,” as we have heard of something similar before. Still, considering how short our memories have become, at least mine been shorter than before, I think it a fitting topic as we approach another new year.
One focus: all focus on health
Two fundamentals: do not take things seriously
Three facts to forgets: forget your age; forget the past; forget grievances
Four must-have: no matter how strong or weak one is, one must have someone who loves one, good friends, a promising career, and a cozy dwelling.
Five dos: sing, dance, self-decorating, laugh and slim
eat before you feel hungry;
drink before you feel thirsty;
sleep before you feel sleepy;
rest before you feel tired;
have annual physical checkup before you feel sick;
go for your dream before you are old and regretful!
On the morning of 12/23/2010, I received an email from a friend of mine with some beautiful messages. I have no idea which week is for international friendship. Still, the thought of friendship is always heartwarming, especially during this holiday season. Here’s to all of my friends.
Live your own life, eye on yourself instead of others
Take less salt, more vinegar; play less mahjong, walk more
Keep a regular bedtime. Jog, dance and exercise
You won’t run out of money as long as you can eat.
Fear not you earn little. Fear you die early.
No matter how high your position is, you won’t escape an expiration
Treat yourself nice; enjoy life
Don’t walk shoulder by shoulder if you can go hand-in-hand;
Don’t do hand-in-hand if you can hug each other
Don’t separate if you can be together
When most people watch how high you climb, only a few care about your health. And that is friendship.
On 8/20/2010, I went through a patient’s chart and met such a case — a stage IV breast cancer patient, in her 40s. When she was first diagnosed, she was already in this late stage. She felt a mass in her breast long before that, but since she did not have medical insurance, she decided not to see a doctor. When finally she had a chance for a free physical checkup, she related the mass on her breast to the doctor, who immediately asked her to do a biopsy, a thorough workout, then surgery. The workout reveals the cancer has metastasized to liver and brain.
I couldn’t stop thinking and feeling sad long after I closed her chart. I don’t know exactly what went through her head when she waited till the tumor became a palpable mass. Didn’t she understand that mass could kill her? Maybe she didn’t.
That evening I shared it with my daughter, “It is so dreadful to be this poor and ignorant. That’s why people of lower social status have both high morbidity and mortality rate. They cannot afford to seek medical help when they should and they don’t know the risk of delay.”
A nation can demonstrate this catastrophic stupidity, so can be a person when he is entangled in this kind of militant situation and shamefully feeling the urge to prove his masculinity by raising his madness to the dangerous level.
If anything, this once again emphasizes the paramount importance of three qualities in a leader.
(1) Calmness in time of large-scaled crisis.
(2) Ability to resolve conflict through healthy dialogues in any situation that conflict can occurr.
(3) The last and most rare yet also most important of all is the guts and integrity to stand by what one believes is best for his nation and his people. This quality is the touchstone distinguishing a true leader from a follower. This is best exemplified by the late US senator Robert Byrd.
Very often, it seems a political suicide not to cave in to the popular battle cry. In case like this, most politicians are totally without principles. To win popular votes or for their political gain, they readily succumb to the lowest mean spirit of the herd, the majority of people, like the mob lynching of Sherburn in Mark Twain’s Adventure of Huck Finn. In essense, these politicians, never rising above mob mentality, are just followers of the mob instead of leaders.
This is exactly what happened when the majority of democratic party granted George W. Bush broad power to wage a “preemptive” war against Iraq. The only exception is Robert Byrd.
I wish my children will read about this and learn something from these events.
As people celebrate Christmas day, they also watch in horror the acceleration of tension between North and South Korea, with the South conducting live-fire drill on an unprecedentedly large scale from ground to the air, targeting at North Korea. The North in turn accepts the challenge with its arm-to-the-teeth determination for “sacred war of justice” with the South, with the threat of using a nuclear deterrent.
The higher the war rhetorics grow, the more insane and dangerous people become. Eventually the nations would be thrown into the sea of fire when both sides are overcome by their urge to act upon their threat, as if people have not learned anything from the recent Iraqi war.
Imagine the bloodshed, the loss of lives, the waste of resources and the draining of a nation’s wealth if that happened. All would suffer with the exception of one party, that is, the merchants of death who supply endless streams of mass-destructive gun-power. Nothing is more stupid than this madness of war cry in this supposedly peace-loving season.
To be continued tomorrow…
On 12/21/2010, while I was working at our west site all by myself, I felt being cut off from the rest of the world. At that moment, in came a nice break when I opened an email from a colleague of mine at our central business office. I immediately sent back one to her, sounding out my loud agreement. Here’s what she sent me.
Twas the night before Christmas, I’m decorating the tree.
I’m wondering what Santa will bring just for me.
Could it be fat quarters or a pattern or lace?
Or a quilt kit, I thought, with a smile on my face.
And that’s when I heard him, “Hi Santa” I said.
“You know, good old broads should be in their beds”.
“I know I should, Santa, and now I’ve been caught.
But I was just so excited to see what you brought.”
“Well, let’s take a look in this room where you work.”
He shook his head quickly, and left with a jerk.
I heard him exclaim as he put it in gear,
“You’ve got enough crap, I’ll see you next year!”
I spent my first Christmas in Waco, Texas in 1984. Yes, the year sounds like a century ago. Still, I remember clearly many TV commercials around that time, most of which were related to weight loss and diet programs. I watched with a huge amusement so many over-weight people jumping around in one of the TV weight loss commercials. I was wondering why they had eaten themselves into that shape in the first place. As the years went by, I got used to seeing large-size people in my daily life and my curiosity is no more.
This year, in the similar holiday tradition, many articles cropped out in the internet on this topic. Here’s a short and sweet one, “7 Foods that Speed Weight Loss,” written by Lucy Danziger, the Editor-in-Chief of SELF magazine, on Nov 24, 2010. I am sure it works if we don’t overstretch the list.
(3) coffee, no sugar and milk
(5) green tea
(7) portobello mushrooms
Winter break began yesterday afternoon after students finished their last two finals. Soon after I got back home, I told my daughter to write two things — one is the reflection on the past semester, the other is her plan for the next one. I asked her jokingly, “Are you thinking something like this –there she goes again?” She admitted that was exactly what she thought.
Next, I shared with her my thought on the necessity of such reflection. The end of a semester is a good time point for a reflection. Some people have it annually, like the end of a year. It is like a pause in your journey. You want to make sure you are in the right direction. If not, you make adjustments and move on. You want to catch yourself before you have gone too far off the track.
The main thought behind it all is your desire to improve yourself, to be better tomorrow than you were yesterday. I hope my children will keep on this practice beyond their students’ life.
Skillful communication is very crucible to a better relationship with your teen children. Nothing is truer than this. Here are some examples.
Instead of saying to your teenage children “You are wrong,” ask them what they think and why they think this way. No one likes judgmental statement, even if he knows he is wrong. Imagine how you feel when your boss told you “You are wrong.” After all, the purpose here is not to make one feel bad but to help the child see the reason.
Instead of telling them “I don’t like what you have said,” ask them for their explanation. This way, you focus on and show interest in them, which sounds a lot better than simply expressing how you think, as if you only care about your own like or dislike. This also stimulates the youngsters to think and express themselves logically and reasonably.
Instead of saying “Clean the dish for me” or “do this for me,” come out with something that will emphasize the benefit to them if they do it. For example, “I will have time to help you out if you could help me.” Or “It will do you a great service if you could do this.”
Some may argue, “Don’t I have the right to say what I think?” Yes, you do and you have to right to say whatever you want. But don’t forget you also have the right to decide the quality of your relationship with your teen chilldren and the impact of your communication style. You have the right to either extinguish or add fuel to a simmering fire. Think of your parental responsibility before you talk of your right.
It takes a huge amount of wisdom and sometimes maturity to be a better communicator. You will be good at it as long as you are willing to learn and be a better parent.
Last Saturday afternoon, I talked to one of the visitors to our house, a 14-year-old girl, and learned that she was interested in art and in humanity course. “Because all humanity courses are easy, those in natural sciences are difficult” was her explanation.
I shared with her my thought. “If it is easy for you, it must be easy for everybody. If you are drawn to humanity courses because of its easiness, it must be the reason shared by many. Whenever there are more people in the field for a limited opportunities, it is like many people trying to pass a single-lane bridge. Imagine the competition for the limited resources! If you want glory, remember there is no shortcut to it.”
I am not sure if the idea has got through the teenager, but I know her mother understands it. Indeed, if the minor fails to grasp the future implication of her action, it is up to the parents to make the youngsters see the light.
Last Friday evening I heard of an interesting study on one’s income and happiness. The result of the study reveals that people with annual income range of $60,000 to $100,000 report the same level of happiness.
That is, the extra $40,000 has not made people any happier. You would expect people are happier with the extra purchasing power or a larger house or a fancier car or more dining out and fashionable clothes. But not so. Why?
I don’t have the answer, but the study suggests a few things for us to ponder upon in this holiday season.
(1) Extra $40,000 income does not make an overall substantial difference in one’s life.
(2) Material accomplishment alone is not enough to make one happy.
(3) In this case, is it worthwhile to fight for that extra $40,000, if it means more sacrifice of your time for that extra?
Admittedly, people going through their life’s journey seldom stop and think of these questions.
On 12/11, last Saturday morning, I woke up very early as I planned to take a walk from my house to the 95th street. I wasn’t able to because it was drizzling. The morning was wet and cold. Later that morning I went to UPS store to send out a package, then to Border’s to get a book for my daughter. In the afternoon, I took my daughter to Costco for her glasses and then to Wal-Mart for a heater.
The day was so cold and windy that I gave up the idea of any outdoor exercise. I asked my daughter if she felt anything different in weather like this. “Not much,” said she. I told her at least, the extremity of weather strikes to home the crushing power of nature and fragility and physical limits of human beings. We stopped on our way to her art lesson to let pass a medical emergency car. I told my daughter people in not-so-healthy shape had a hard time going through extreme cold or hot weather. That’s why we hear of people dying from heat or cold.
It made me think of those who attempt to challenge the physical limits of human being by venturing into either north or south pole. After we got home, we feel so blessed being sheltered in a warm house from the extremity of weather. Outside the shelter is controlled by Mother Nature, which seems a perpetual challenge to us all.
Continue on the story of Hanhao Bird posted on 12/4/2010. The surface meaning of the story of Hanhao Bird is very obvious and that has been expounded in my previous posting. In the evening of 12/12/2010, I thought of another layer of meaning that can be extracted from this story, that is, fooling away your prime time and postponing to the last moment what one should do.
Imagine this, instead of frolicking around merrily under the warm sun like Hanhao Bird, we humans play away when we are full of energy. When darkness falls and when we start feeling tired and sleepy, we think of what we should have done during day time, e.g. homework or anything due the next day. As everybody is in bed sound asleep, we have to stay up late, cutting back sleep hours, practically fighting a losing battle against drowsiness, toiling on miserably hours after midnight, cold and dark. We may not end up like the frozen-to-death Hanhao Bird, but the quality of our nightly work and our energy level the next day will be compromised as the result of our procrastination and burning nightly oil.
It must be rather popular not just among some birds but also among human beings, as I see this behavior in my children and others. Shouldn’t we know better than this?
P.S. we were very glad to have my son back from school yesterday evening. I would have taken the day off if there were no monitor visit today.
It is not a surprise that Time magazine has not picked Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder as the person exerting the most influence on events in 2010, even though he has won Time‘s most readers’ votes in this year’s Person of the Year poll. Imagine something like people vs. power, in that people are represented by 382,020 readers’ votes and power represented by Time‘s decision-maker and the forces behind any major decision.
To be sure, Time’s pick, Facebook CEO, is a pitifully trivial and inconsequential one in the long run, in regard to the nature and the mission of journalism and legal codes in the area of freedom speech, when we compare Facebook to the work of WikiLeaks, both the colossal documents leaked so far and the global reactions, both positive and negative, to the leaking.
Historically speaking, there have been many fads and fashions like Facebook; here today, gone tomorrow. Who knows what will replace Facebook next year. But none of them are epoch-making events like WikiLeaks that would change the way governments run, the laws we go by, and the nature of journalism. If anything, the response confirms this unshakable truth, that is, the more oppression, the stronger its protest, whatever that may be, as expressed by its founder “These circumstances shall not shake them. If anything, this process has increased my determination that they are true and correct.” I have no doubt that thousands of de-centralized baby Leaks will mushroom in the years to come because of the pioneering work of Julian Assange.
If, as the song goes, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer goes down in history because he guides Santa’s sleigh, WikiLeaks’ founder will be recorded in history books as the one who throws light into the darkness of government secrecy and bravely guides the journalists into a new era.
Once again, it takes personal integrity and real guts to stand by what one truly believes.
I heard many times complaints about teenage children by their middle-aged parents, that is, issues of lack of common language, decreasing communications, and presence of mutual misunderstanding.
To be sure, teenage is the period when the children start spending more time away from family. They are practically getting ready for the moment when they hit 18 and move into college, the final physical separation from their first home.
This is also the time when most of the parents go through mid-life stage and through all related issues associated with this stage. It is not easy to keep open communications with children.
It might not be realistic to expect the children to compromise and reconcile in order to stay as close to their parents as before. Rather, it would be a win-win situation to both sides if parents could take initiatives.
One of these initiatives that parents can take is to learn or to keep themselves updated what the children are learning. e.g. if the children take history class, parents get a similar book and read with the children. This way parents will be in the position to help if help is needed. It is also beneficial to the parents’ aging brains when they learn something new. In fact, the benefits go miles beyond this in the long run.
During the weekend of 8/14/2010, I went to an oriental grocery store for some Chinese vegetables like lotus roots and eggplants, my daughter’s favorites. I saw some young Chinese students there. Like right out of home, they even look younger than my son.
Boy, they are rich, appearing to be a lot richer than I am. They buy like crazy. They even buy cooking utensils at the oriental store. I mean it is a lot cheaper to buy them at Wal-Mart. I seemed to see something familiar.
My mind flashed backward when I saw these young students, back to the time when I first arrived in America in 1984. Back then I was their age, totally standing financially on my own. Living on a meager scholarship, I resided in a school-subsidized apartment, acquired all cooking utensils from host-families and church charities. I had never spent a penny on stuff like this and never bought anything that was not on sale. Yet, I managed to come up with some savings in order to go back home and spent them on my family in China.
Look at these young people now. How times have changed! How China has changed!
On the morning of 6/7, I was very busy after a SIV. When I opened my office mailbox, I saw an email from the president of our practice, sent from him to me directly regarding an employee engagement survey, as if he personally asked me to do the survey. I know there is a way of mass-distributing an email and then when it reaches the recipient, it looks like it was sent to you alone without disclosing other recipients. It has the effect of making you feel special when you receive an email directly from the president. However, since the president is over 60 years old, I wouldn’t flatter him with being so computer savvy as to know how to do this mass-distributing. So I thought he must have sent these email one by one to hundreds of employees within the practice just to make people feel special.
After chatting with one of my colleagues, I know better now. Of course, he did not do it himself. He could easily delegate the task to someone else without having to go through any of the trouble that I thought of. Still, I appreciate the way the email was sent to each of us. It makes me feel that I could not simply ignore it without putting some effort on his behalf. The trick works on this busy Monday morning, at least working on me. Something to think about!
On 9/26/2010, while waiting for my daughter’s skating, I had a nice chat with the mother of another skater. She has a wonderful child. I asked her if there were many one-child families like hers in Taiwan.
She told me one of her relatives even chose not to have any child at all, because a child means so much trouble for the parents. I told my daughter of this. She said he would feel sorry when he got old and had nobody to visit him. Indeed, you can view it as an investment to raise children. Let’s call it emotional investment, for lack of a better term. What you put in is a large part of your life, energy and money while you are young, the return being good children, a huge comfort in your old years. Very often, you must make self-sacrifice for the well-being of your children during your younger years.
The next day, a Monday morning, on my way to work, when I experienced the hardship of highway driving, I thought of this and I no longer have any complaints.
My daily drive to work runs from highway 435 to 69, then merge into 35. Highway 69 section, with two concrete walls enclosing both sides of the narrow lanes and everybody going crazily fast, makes it the most accident-prone section. I choose to use this route because it is the most time-saving route, so that I can get home early for my daughter. This is parenting, an investment into a happy future, too.
On 10/24/2010, I posted an entry, “Women, Shopping, Holiday Mart at Convention Center.” The only thing that was free at the holiday mart is a magazine Herlife, Keeping Women Connected.
A lady greeted us at the door, eagerly distributing this magazine to us. It was a thick one, full of colorful pictures. I took it over, curious to learn what is it about Her Life. The content includes health, beauty, food cravings, shoes, fine things, trendsetter, pets, shopping, love and relationship, travel, and working women.
The magazine is crammed with commercials for hair salon, skin massage, nail, baby clothes, Experience the Square — shopping …Uptown boutique, Home Decor and design, Medical Spa, AesthetiCare (skin, hair), Fashion Attires, Hercity Guide, Vintage Market — clothes and jewels, Arista hair solution.
Is this what her life is preoccupied with? If that is the content of her life, no wonder there are so few female high achievers! They never talk about how women do business and making money. Where do women get money to go shopping spree? This type of magazine creates tons of trivial desires for unlimited possession and the pursuit of outward attraction, even if one is hollow inside.
I feel more than sad after flipping through it. I certainly wish Her Life is richer spiritually and intellectually than this.
On the Thanksgiving evening we went to a family friend for dinner. During the dinner, we chatted about activities for the Christmas break. We learned that they were going to Florida during winter break. We said we would do the same and the two families might go together to double the fun.
But on the way back home, my daughter raised objection. “I cannot go because I have other plan for the break.” She plans to use winter break to get ready for activity in next summer break. She knows it will be too late if she waits till next spring. I know how much she loves to go to Florida but we have to cancel it.
Now I am proud of her decision.
WikiLeaks is going to test the truthfulness of freedom of speech so much claimed by the western world. It will tear down the moral authority that the USA often assumes when lecturing other countries on such freedom; and it will undoubtedly set many legal precedents through its numerous legal battle for its very existence.
The road to a higher level of civilization is always full of twists and hardships. Yet, from historical perspective, the human civilization is inevitably moving toward one characterized by justice, fairness, openness, free from any form of power abuse and deception, oppression, corruption, and absence of the rich exploiting or robbing the poor, the strong killing the weak, whatever excuse the strong may justify.
If WikiLeaks represents this historical trend, it will win the battle against any injustice and power abuse on behalf of the majority of the powerless mass. I have no doubt truth and justice will win in the end, even though Truth might suffer some setbacks on its way to final triumph. The arrest of one person seems a total futile attempt to stop the forward momentum of the wheel of history.
Behold, because of WikiLeaks, all history books in foreign policies and relationships on the past few years, if they are already written, will have to be rewritten and no future historians dare to ignore the globally-known documents courageously leaked by WikiLeaks. If history is what is written for the future generations, the biggest legacy from WikiLeaks is once the knowledge become part of public domain, it is permanently written in the history book and cannot be conveniently erased by the powerful ones.
The whole western power is shaking to its core, never having being so threatened like this before. We have seen every desperate effort was made to persecute the founder of WikiLeaks, under the excuse of a totally unrelated sex offense, and to shut down the site, including cutting off all the financial sources to WikiLeaks from paypal to Visa to Master card. These anti-WikiLeaks companies have been repeatedly hit by internet hacktivists as “revenge for the firm withdrawing services to Wikileaks.”
Haven’t we heard of the saying “Where there is a will, there is a way?” Unless the unified powerful forces crush to pieces the will to fight, the fight will be carried on in cyberspace with millions behind the WikiLeaks and its founder, even if the founder no longer exists.
It is interesting to witness the unfolding of the Leaks battle — how the western governments set an example for all the oppressive governments in their handling of dissidents and their practice of freedom of speech. Such a huge hypocrisy! Such a loud slap in the face of all western-style democracy seekers, including those in Iraq, Iran, and China. This reminds me of nobel prize winner Liu Xiaobo. I am wondering which side he will be with.
I am genuinely disappointed not to see a single politician who openly stands out defending the media freedom, making me wonder about the nature of being a politician. You have to lose your personal integrity somewhere when you are a politician. Behold, the myth of a just western legal system and of freedom of speech is in the process of being demythified.
To be continued…
To be sure, this is only the beginning of the fear thus created by the Leaks. Without any doubt, countries throughout the world will be forced to adjust their security and any coverup mechanism because of WikiLeaks. I am certain whatever murders and killings, wars and fights or conspiratory behavior a powerful country attempts to engage, it will have one more thing to fear and to hide from, that is, the new Almighty WikiLeaks. Even God has to take the second place here.
Like it or not, WikiLeaks is to change many aspects of society. One of them is the nature of journalism. How should we define journalism in this light? Is it as it always claims to be the mouth of facts and truth or mere mouthpiece of the powerful? As Time magazine put it, it “could become as important a journalistic tool as the Freedom of Information Act.”
WikiLeaks has attracted and will continue to attract millions of like-minded people and to provide the brave ones a channel to leak out the truth that might otherwise forever be kept from public view. When people are equipped with truth, they could transform society and help bring a better world for all of us.
To be continued….
There once was a powerful organization, so strong that nobody could challenge it and stop it from doing whatever it pleased, from invading other sovereign state to killing innocents, thousands of them, not even the Almighty God could do anything about it. The so-called check-n-balance has failed to stop the killing and the abuse of power. Hence its opponent in the form of WikiLeaks came into being as a new check on this invincible power — the USA.
The leak of 250,000 US diplomatic cables has created an immediate fear among US politicians, so much so that even its doman name WikiLeaks.org was revoked, following the order of Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate’s committee on homeland security, who commanded everybody to “immediately terminate” any relationship with WikiLeaks.
Hence, paypal stopped being a media for online donation to WikiLeaks and Amazon ceased to host WikiLeaks website. Furthermore, WikiLeaks, under the new domain name as WikiLeaks.ch, is effectively blocked by nearly all ISP here in the USA. So much for the so-called “Freedom of speech.” Yet, if WikiLeaks attempts to leak out truth, any attempt to block the truth is like a piece of paper trying to contain a ball of fire.
To be continued tomorrow….
Yesterday morning we went to Union Station as part of their Saturday science seminar for students. Yesterday’s topic was on the collapse of the Hyatt Skywalk on 7/17/1981 in Kansas City, Missouri, causing 114 death, the then deadliest structural collapse in U.S. history. This happened nearly 30 years ago, hence most of these students had not heard of this tragedy.
The speaker gave a detailed analysis of the serious flaws in the design and engineering of the architecture. These flaws are the root cause of the collapse.
I think it a very good lecture for the young people in that they could learn what professional responsibilities means and the deadly consequence of the irresponsible behavior on part of some professionals.
On 11/23, a very cold Tuesday afternoon, I took my daughter to Border’s to get some closing sale. From there, we went to Costco to buy a bag of pomela, a giant citrus fruit. When we left the store, we rushed into our highlander, feeling very cold. At this moment, both of us thought of this verse and began chanting it aloud, as if it could drive away the coldness.
I am pretty sure I have dwelled on this topic many times before so much so that even my daughter can recite it. This was on an elementary school textbook. So many years have passed and with so much goings-on, I can never forget the story of Hanhao bird. The story goes like this.
When the sun is warm and bright, all the birds are hard at work, with the exception of Hanhao Bird. When a bird reminds Hanhao of getting ready for the cold weather, Hanhao said, “The winter is still far away. I will enjoy myself in this sunny day.”
Hanhao plays all the way until the winter arrives. At night when other birds are resting in their cosy nests, the shivering Hanhao regrets not to have built one for this moment. He keeps chanting this verse. The next day when the sun is out and Hanhao starts playing again, forgetting all about his nest. Thus, eventually he dies in the midst of cold winter night– a lesson for us all.
On 11/22, after school, I took my daughter to Old Navy to pay a bill, Border’s being its next door neighbor. A wide yellow band across Border’s door suddenly caught my eyes — “Store Closing — Everything Must Go.” This is the bookstore where my daughter has spent a large part of her childhood. Ever since she was in elementary school, Border’s has been her favorite place, where she could stay for as long as she was allowed. It is like a fixture in the neighborhood.
I know how much she loves Border’s, so much so that I often promise to send her there if she can quickly complete her homework. Sometimes, she asks to go there for her homework or test preparation because she can concentrate well without computer or internet.
Here’s one of the victims of our economic downtime. We couldn’t help feeling sad over its closure.
CNN’s Rick Sanchez, “I’m telling you that everybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart, and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart, and to imply that somehow they, the people in this country who are Jewish, are an oppressed minority? Yeah.”
Now, he got to pay a heavy price for such inflammatory comment. CNN responded with this a statement saying Sanchez “is no longer with the company. We thank Rick for his years of service and we wish him well.”
Of course, Sanches put up a fight defending himself by blaming it to a transient state of extreme emotion and exhaustion from overwork. This will not buy him any sympathy.
A Chinese saying goes, “When in drunk, whatever a man utters is true.” Why? Because he is off guard and is not careful about what he should and should not say. The same can be said of the moment when Sanchez babbled out statements of high ineptness.
When we are sober, we have a well-functioning filtering system so that we can consciously say and do the right thing. But our true self will come out when the filter system is down. Isn’t that scary?
The only sure way to avoid Sanchez’ embarrassment is this — never let the thought take root deep down inside you.
On 11/27, Saturday afternoon, I was reading at HyVee, waiting for my daughter’s art class. The picture of the smiling Kate Middleton caught my eyes as I passed through the checkout line. I took the magazine and read a few lines.
“As a young teen, she was shy and awkward, wasn’t really confident. She gradually began to blossom in high school, excelling at sports and easily making friends. … By the time she arrived at the University, the timid teen was gone, replaced by a self-assured young woman with brains and pluck who knew exactly what she was looking for in a Prince Charming.”
It is interesting that she went through the normal growing up stage from an awkward teen to a young woman full of self-confidence. This reminds me so much of the similar process that my son once went through.
Some people never complete this process of development. They never grow beyond teenage maturity, remaining all their lives timid and shy, irresponsible and lack of independence.
To be sure, it is parents’ responsibility to help their teens to successfully go through this stage and enter adulthood with due maturity, independence of mind, and a healthy dose of self-confidence and ready to lead and shoulder responsibility when they are called.