The Opportunist (Flash Fiction #14)

"Look, Yinla is declaring her intention to run for the board of county commissioners." Pammy says. "What is that? What does it do?" Pammy's perpetually gentle but disagreeing husband Pan says. "I don't know. A political position of certain kind. We should donate to her campaign, shouldn't we? We need to show our support." Pammy … Continue reading The Opportunist (Flash Fiction #14)

Poem Of The Day #9

You smile, head tilting a little, lips parting a little, showing your perfect teeth, wearing your favorite dark suit and and striped tie. The same wholesome smile, for the last ten years-- photo freezes time; webpage for eternity. You're ten years older now, a bigger waist, a rounder chin, deeper laugh lines. I imagine. You … Continue reading Poem Of The Day #9

A Trip Like No Other (Flash Fiction #13)

Although Pammy and her husband Pan live thirty miles away from Manhattan, they rarely go there during the weekend. Traveling through the Holland Tunnel and the forever congested lower Manhattan will dampen the most vivacious spirit and exhaust the energy of the best athlete. However their friend Fei and her husband Fang almost go there … Continue reading A Trip Like No Other (Flash Fiction #13)

New Word #11: My Methods

I've always tried to find painless learning methods, especially when vocabulary is concerned. Learning From Others Reading other people's posts is a good way to learn new words. Here are several new words I learned recently. xaern: (v) to enjoy something so much you begin to hate how much you enjoy it. I learned this … Continue reading New Word #11: My Methods

The Difficult Decision (Flash Fiction #12)

"You know Pammy. I think your Pan is such a good husband. He is straightforward. His likes and dislikes are clearly displayed. He won't pretend to agree with you on the surface and sulk silently afterwards. He is a little nerdy, interested in eating good food and watching soccer. He is happy when he's satisfied. … Continue reading The Difficult Decision (Flash Fiction #12)

The Manchu Prince (Flash Fiction #11)

Introduction: There's a little bit of history involved in this story. Currently there are about 10 million Manchu people and very rarely they speak the Manchurian language. Manchu are descendant of Jerchen people who in 1115 AD established Jin Dynasty, which was replaced over 100 years later by the Mongolians--my ancestors--who established Yuan Dynasty. Then … Continue reading The Manchu Prince (Flash Fiction #11)

The Gambler (Flash Fiction #10)

Arjian is a local hairdresser, but his true passion is poker. He's very skilled in women's hair and very good at following the latest trend of South Korean singers and actresses. Consequently he's always in high demand. There are women who would travel all the way from Eastern Pennsylvania to come to Edison, New Jersey--about … Continue reading The Gambler (Flash Fiction #10)

New Word #10 : Malaprop

malaprop: the mistaken use of a word in place of a similar-sounding one, often with unintentionally amusing effect, as in, for example, ā€œdance a flamingo ā€ (instead of flamenco). homophone: two or more words that sound alike, but have different meanings or spellings. I encountered this word in Luisa's post here. I've made mistakes like … Continue reading New Word #10 : Malaprop

Poem Of The Day #8

In my dream, you take a thousand shapes and forms, but last night you are shapeless and formless, only a shadow, a whiff, a soft press, and a vague impression. But I saw the tattoos. What a surprise? All over your shoulders and arms and elsewhere-- figures of beauty and disrepute. You are my resident … Continue reading Poem Of The Day #8

The Second Job (Flash Fiction #9)

"The reason our team's sales volume is low is because many people use our flexible hour to take care of their family or even take a second job. This is unacceptable. If you are not concentrating on your sale, how can you produce?" Hana can still remember her sales manager's words as she is changing … Continue reading The Second Job (Flash Fiction #9)

He Speaks, Finally (Flash Fiction #8)

Finally Yuet's little boy starts to speak. Yuet and her husband are so happy that they phone everyone. If you don't pick up their phone call, they will text you with their happy news and wait anxiously for your reply of congratulations. If you don't reply within a short span of time, Yuet will text … Continue reading He Speaks, Finally (Flash Fiction #8)

New Word #9: Word Replacement

As a non-native speaker, I've always felt uncertain and insecure of my language. Just listening to my accent and looking at my Asian face, people may dismiss me or disqualify me right away, without giving me a chance to prove myself. I think a lot of people are like me, considering the number of non-native … Continue reading New Word #9: Word Replacement

Quote And Review

She was one of those people who enjoy poor health and she was always threatening to die, though in fact she lived onto her nineties. With time on her hand, she could nurse her neurosis, build resentments of slights and imagined slights, brood on our growing estrangement, and make it worse with arbitrary assertions of … Continue reading Quote And Review

The Feisty Centenarian

Shitsui Hakoishi is a 104-year-old woman who carried the Olympic torch on March 28 for 200 meters in Japan, in the pouring rain. Her son and nephew, a septuagenarian and an octogenarian, accompanied her. And her nephew caught a chill in the rain and died soon afterwards. There were rumors that she died too due … Continue reading The Feisty Centenarian

New Word #8: To Praise Formally

There are many words for praise, but here I am talking about formal praises, often for ceremonial purposes, some in song and poem forms, and some concerning religious services or funeral arrangements. prothalamion: I learned this word from Pooja's post here. The word means "a song or poem celebrating an upcoming wedding."paean: a song of … Continue reading New Word #8: To Praise Formally

New Word #7: Can’t Describe It

Many of us grew up with simple native languages with about 3000 basic words --the rest is just a mixture and extension of these basic building blocks. We are in for a big shock when we realize that English has so many words. One concept can be described by ten to twenty different words, each … Continue reading New Word #7: Can’t Describe It

Poem Of The Day #7

Love is often unequal; affection always differs. The loving complains of the unloving; the heartfelt bemoans the heartless. Feelings have no reason; life has no cure. Do I believe in happy ending even if I know what the ending is like? It sounds naive if I say I do; it sounds cynical if I say … Continue reading Poem Of The Day #7

New Word #6: The Double “F” Words

I've always felt that "f" is unfairly vilified. It takes on the thankless task of starting words like "fail", "frail", "flail", "fray", "fake", "fall". Even the seemingly harmless word like "frame" is burdened with additional meaning of "producing false evidence against". Hasn't "f" suffered enough? It is a hardworking alphabet and please give him a … Continue reading New Word #6: The Double “F” Words

The Dilemma (Flash Fiction #6)

They've been engaged for a year and the wedding has been planned for a lucky day this summer--lucky in its number in both the regular calendar and the lunar calendar. However she has a little something, probably a little blue bird, in her heart that she can't hush up. She's tried to silence it, but … Continue reading The Dilemma (Flash Fiction #6)

New Word #5: Timeline Of A Day

Diurnal: of or during the day. Nocturnal: done, occurring, or active at night. Matutinal: of or occurring in the morning. Vespertine: relating to, occurring, or active in the evening. Crepuscular: of, resembling, or relating to twilight. Out of the five words, I've only regularly seen nocturnal being used. However once I read crepuscular somewhere and … Continue reading New Word #5: Timeline Of A Day

A Beloved Rebel

He was born in either Suyab of present-day Kyrgyzstan or around Lake Baikal in Russia. Some even say he's born in Ghazni of Afghanistan. The exact location is still in dispute. His personality and life choices are a lot like Lord Byron, the 19th century romantic era poet, even though he lived in an era … Continue reading A Beloved Rebel

The Rice Spaghetti (Flash Fiction #5)

"Look, rice spaghetti. I wonder if it tastes like rice noodle. Let's try it." Pammy says to her husband Pan at the ShopRite grocery store. "Well, do we have to have food experiment? I mean can't we stick with the food we are familiar with?" Pan grumbles. "We need to diversify our dinner menu. Learn … Continue reading The Rice Spaghetti (Flash Fiction #5)

Mount Everest (Flash Fiction #4)

Lil, a retiree and a widow, is talking with her daughter Dana. Lil: "I am going to Nepal with my friend Su next week." Dana:"Why, Mom? You are wasting your retirement savings. Why Nepal? You are not thinking of climbing Mount Everest, are you?" Lil: "Oh, Dana, just a tourist. It's said Nepal has the … Continue reading Mount Everest (Flash Fiction #4)

New Word #4: The Three Vales

These three vales are: Valediction: the action of saying farewell.Valetudinarian: a person who is unduly anxious about their health.Valedictorian: a student, typically having the highest academic achievements of the class, who delivers the valedictory at a graduation ceremony. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between these three words, which look too much alike. Also one … Continue reading New Word #4: The Three Vales

He Is Home (Flash Fiction #3)

I just know it. He said he's going to come back by this hour, but look, where is he? It's because of his friendship with Doo, who's a liar through and through, and who's going to influence my little honest gullible Dragon. What a nice little nickname--Dragon--I got for him? I love dragons. Men learn … Continue reading He Is Home (Flash Fiction #3)

New Word #3: Many Shades of Brown

It is said the Eskimos have fifty words for snow and certain people living in rain forests have fifty words for different shades of green. I had not noticed the big number of words for the brown color until I read "Heartburn", in which the main character's friend Arthur complains about colors--he doesn't know about … Continue reading New Word #3: Many Shades of Brown

Two Brothers (Flash Non-Fiction #2)

They are two brothers. Forty-three years ago, when they were five and six-years-old, their family became refugees after the Vietnam war, floating on a boat in Southeast Asia, not knowing where they would land and where their next meal was. They were lucky to land in the refugee camp in Hong Kong. Five years later … Continue reading Two Brothers (Flash Non-Fiction #2)

The Crazy School Lunch

Akito Nakamura is a typical Japanese boy with an atypical family history. His father is a Malaysian who went to Japan to attend a graduate program, during which he got to know Akito's mom Momoe Nakamura. When the program ended, the two decided to get married. However after Momoe traveled to Malaysia to meet the … Continue reading The Crazy School Lunch

The New Purchase (Flash Fiction #1)

"Where are you going?" Armei asks. "Relax. I'll be back in two hours." Armei's boyfriend Lee says. "No, you are not. Liar. I will shoot you if you leave me." Armei pulls out the new gun Lee just bought from a gun show in New York City. "Hi, be careful with that. That's not a … Continue reading The New Purchase (Flash Fiction #1)

New Word #1: Cacoethes

I've always wanted to talk about vocabulary, if only to help others just like myself. Being a non-native speaker, English vocabulary has always been a challenge. There are so many of them and a lot don't even sound like English. Avoiding is not possible; facing it is frustrating. How to deal with the feeling of … Continue reading New Word #1: Cacoethes

It’s Your Mom I Love

Yola has always loved other people's mom, but she didn't realize that until college. It dawned on her during one of the classes for her elective course European Literature. "Balzac's parents belonged to the first generation of middle class in France, and Balzac's mom always wanted to go up. You know what I mean. She … Continue reading It’s Your Mom I Love

Miscommunication

I can never read a doctor's handwriting. Any doctor. It's just not legible. It's a wonder how pharmacists can get the correct medicine for you based on those unstructured scrawls on a little piece of prescription paper. Is there a secret communication code wired in that illegible writing on the prescription? I don't know. It's … Continue reading Miscommunication

Poem Of The Day #5

Blue and white and pink with a spring breeze. Flowers smile, grass sing, trees impatient to turn green while I'm sitting here, toiling in front of the computer screen. I dream of going outside. Probably being a farmer, but no farming knowledge, or a gardener, but no gardening skills. How about a nomad, like my … Continue reading Poem Of The Day #5

Lovers’ Chance Meeting

Armei and Lee were college sweethearts, but they separated after graduation. One day, Armei found that Lee had not been posting pictures with his girlfriend for a while. She decided to plan an accidental meeting with him at the popular dim sum restaurant, which he and his girlfriend used to frequent, and post their meal … Continue reading Lovers’ Chance Meeting

Give Friends Suggestions

We often give people suggestions, some giving more suggestions than others. Since I like to talk, when given a chance, and can't shut up--actually I am a typical introvert, not an extrovert at all, and I don't know how I've become a talkative introvert-- I'm often asked for suggestions. Now looking back, I think it … Continue reading Give Friends Suggestions

Optimist vs. Pessimist

If you ever go to a sales meeting, you will hear a lot of witticisms about optimist vs. pessimist. "An optimist see opportunities in every difficulty; a pessimist see difficulties in every opportunity." "A pessimist see a dark tunnel and an optimist see the light at the end of the tunnel." Or something similar. However … Continue reading Optimist vs. Pessimist

Poem Of The Day #4

Last week's spring heat bloomed the early flowers. But alas, temperature has since dropped to 27F at night, which is -3C. I don't even know your name-- cherry or dogwood or crabapple-- but I feel sorry for your flowers. How can you survive the onslaught of the fickle weather? Some say "rough winds do shake … Continue reading Poem Of The Day #4

Quotes Of The Day #5

George Orwell's essays often point out our foibles and failings without pessimism or cynicism or anger. I love his optimism and his fighting spirit. Often I feel that each of his essays can be extended into a book, and a lot of nuances and details can be elaborated even further. I wish Audible can make … Continue reading Quotes Of The Day #5

April Fool Unfooled

Whether April Fool's day originated in England, France, or Netherlands, it is still in dispute, however in modern times, it has spread throughout the world. For many years, playing practical jokes on this particular day has become popular in Asian countries too, which is at least partially fueled by government officials who want to put … Continue reading April Fool Unfooled