Thoughts New And Old

Growing up, I've never heard any of my neighbors having any trouble with the police. Of course that's very much a half rural, almost un-industrialized environment where almost everybody knows everybody else. Even if you don't know that particular person, you know somebody who knows him. The unemployment rate is very high among young people … Continue reading Thoughts New And Old

The Unwilling Student

Lulu:"Aberration is not a difficult word to learn, Di. It's like the word abnormal, meaning something that is not normal. We just learned abnormal last week, didn't we?" Di:"So, why not just use the word abnormal?" Di is a 12-year-old boy, about to start middle school at Plainsboro, New Jersey. Lulu drives 25 miles once … Continue reading The Unwilling Student

Every Time I Drive By

Every time I drive pass Roosevelt Park, I think about forgetting you. In that long forgotten corner not far from the parking lot, the basketball courts, and the lake, we had our picnic. I forget exactly what I did and didn't do-- eating, chatting, sitting, walking, but what I really want to forget is your … Continue reading Every Time I Drive By

Difference And Similarity (2)

Click Here For Difference And Similarity (1) Lulu didn't know why Cindy wants to Iowa. Can't she just find a writer's workshop in New Jersey or somewhere close by? Lulu doesn't want to ask in case it is a common knowledge and the very inquiry reveals her ignorance. Lulu's proud that she's read a lot … Continue reading Difference And Similarity (2)

Difference And Similarity (1)

Lulu wants to scream, "How could you do that?" But she checks herself and produces a smile instead. Cindy, in the meantime, digs into her fried rice with a spoon. Cindy asked for a spoon when they ordered their entries, and Lulu, observing the raised eyebrows of the waiter above his face mask, felt faintly … Continue reading Difference And Similarity (1)

Compartmentalization

has been practiced by Pammy quite successfully for years until Lulu spoils it. Lulu, the unemployed anthropologist who can't land a job anywhere except in the local tutoring school, arguably the best after school program in Asian immigrant communities in New Jersey. It's a place where anxious parents send their unwilling offspring for extra lessons. … Continue reading Compartmentalization

Jack Of All Trade

Susan the director: "Nora Dickinson, you look exactly like Jane Millay I interviewed yesterday." Lan the actress: "My name is actually Lanlan Wong, but I have to change it. Otherwise I can't get any interview for any part in Hollywood. You know Nora Ephron, Emily Dickinson, Jane Austen and Edna St. Vincent Millay are my … Continue reading Jack Of All Trade

New Year’s Resolutions

Avoid carbohydrate as much as possible. I know this is impossible to achieve. I've been trying to do this for years, only succeeding in making carbohydrate more appealing to me. It's with great self restraint that rivals the most lauded stoic figure in history that I stopped myself today from buying sticky rice snacks at … Continue reading New Year’s Resolutions

Finished And Unfinished In December

"The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1: An Introduction" By Michel Foucault. The first two chapters are exhilarating, but for the rest I just can't understand. Maybe philosophy is just not my thing. I have to re-read it one day when I have the energy. I miss my days as a teenager and twenty something when … Continue reading Finished And Unfinished In December

Richard The Red Nosed Brother

"Red nose" is a hereditary trait, passing from fathers to sons. One day, Richard, the red nosed brother of Rudolph, comes knocking at the door of Rudolph's office. "Hello, Rudie, how's going? Long time no see." Richard says. "Hello, there, Rich, what are you up to? You are gaining weight, aren't you? Last week when … Continue reading Richard The Red Nosed Brother

A Tragicomic Love Story

Armei said, "Look, I've got two more lines at the corner of my right eye. Time is very cruel. The majority of our life is spent on watching ourselves getting older gradually." Lu said, "Are you seriously counting those lines? I know a tragicomic love story in which a girl grows from a 17-year-old girl … Continue reading A Tragicomic Love Story

Interview Before Christmas

My friend is going to have a Zoom interview before Christmas and she has been dreading the terrifying moment for a week now. Interviews are usually hard to deal with. Interviews are especially hard to deal with for introverts, for people who tend to be nervous and diffident, for women above a certain age. If … Continue reading Interview Before Christmas

Mini Story: The White Haired Man

Pammy is the first to spot him, the white haired man who's sitting on a bench, which is obviously placed there by the restaurant "Tofu House" for waiting customers. If New Jersey is a state known for the number of diners, Edison should be a township known for its strip malls since it has so … Continue reading Mini Story: The White Haired Man

Christmas Lights

For years, we have been practicing this holiday routine of driving in the surrounding neighborhoods in search of the house with the best Christmas lights. In order to do that, you have to have several friends in one car, driving around to comment, evaluate, praise the arrangement, the variation, the scale of the lights on … Continue reading Christmas Lights

Monkey’s View On Equality

It is said that when scientists gave one monkey a grape in exchange for its pebble, and gave the second monkey a slice of cucumber for its pebble, it caused a little row. For monkeys, grapes taste better than cucumber slices. The second monkey, when observing the better deal the first monkey received, rebelled immediately … Continue reading Monkey’s View On Equality

Drama In Asian Restaurant

https://twitter.com/Haoyando/status/1336750990666706947 This picture doesn't do justice to the cute restaurant in this local strip mall. It was a little snowy outside and I was driving past it to go to the Kam Man grocery store to buy lunch. The tents used to look much better during the summer months, more shiny, more in shape, certainly … Continue reading Drama In Asian Restaurant

Mini Story: After The Thanksgiving Dinner

The prolonged leave taking is finally done. Pammy and her husband Pan get in the car, which sputters at first, as if it too is stuffed with endless flow of holiday food, too full to exert its engine. Pan had a great time, but even when he's talking with Lau effusively about whether to get … Continue reading Mini Story: After The Thanksgiving Dinner

Misconception And Misinterpretation

I am not surprised that there are so much disinformation, conspiracy theories, frauds, fraudulent claims of fraud right now. The reason is that as an immigrant, I am used to misconceptions and misinterpretations for years. The English we had learned in classroom is not the English people really use here; The stories of immigrants we … Continue reading Misconception And Misinterpretation

Dreary Topic And Dreary Day

I really don't want to write this since I have no interest in politics. I uphold the long Asian tradition--staying away from politics and governments as much as we can, even to our own disadvantage. However I have to write this to get it off my chest. There's no better time of doing this than … Continue reading Dreary Topic And Dreary Day

Happy And Happier

One thing good about the holiday season is that one feels happy about one's own grumpiness. All the stress of experiencing cheerful things, the boredom of shopping trips, the mental anxiety of trying to say something less like holiday cliches can add up and make anybody grumpy. But we tell ourselves, "it's a holiday. We … Continue reading Happy And Happier

Poem: The Holiday Haul

Morning sunlight pale, shadow of floating cloud chill. A half full parking lot, many full carts of goods, whether you need or need not. One in T-shirt, with cool words printed on, deliberately non-provoking. One in winter boots, not for the feet, but for the beautiful legs. One in jacket, an expensive fading grey color. … Continue reading Poem: The Holiday Haul

Poem: A Windy Monday

The howling sound, the waving bare branches. Your age old greetings, timely every fall, dreaded every winter. Clouds are pushed here and there, fallen leaves swept away. What's not fixed or tied down flown off. Gone is the past season of fear that virus spread through the air. Holidays are here, relief is near, hopes … Continue reading Poem: A Windy Monday

Poem: In Season

It's an eccentric fruit, in color, shape, structure, pronunciation, and spelling--pomegranate. Suddenly it shows up in stores, some in piles, some in bins, some big--more than one pound each, some small as a tennis ball. The seeds are so red, almost hurting your eyes; eating them are so messy, hands sticky, face splashed red. "But … Continue reading Poem: In Season

The Happy Surprises

I woke up this morning, surprised that I had a good sleep last night. Insomnia gone, headache nonexistent. Sometimes happiness descends from nowhere. I almost felt that I don't deserve it. Have you ever experienced the moment when your friend did or said something that happily surprised you? I have this friend who's so gentle … Continue reading The Happy Surprises

How To Fight The Winter Blue

I guess this is all caused by the fact that the sun set at 4:40PM and darkness swallows several hours of an afternoon. The crisp autumn air and the mild temperature cannot save the day when daylight shrinks so much. When you have the winter blue, just think about those people who live closer than … Continue reading How To Fight The Winter Blue

Mini Story List

Stories about Armei, Pammy and Lu Trouble With LanguageThree Women On PoliticsThe Manager Of The Bamboo PalaceThe Sales TrainingAfter The Thanksgiving DinnerThe White Haired ManBefore The Storm The Thrill And Peril Of Love The Driving LessonA Non-Greek TragedyChul And JoolThe Battle Of Love Stories From Memory A Cat And A Train RideAn Awkward PortraitMy Cousin's … Continue reading Mini Story List

Mini Story: The Bamboo Palace

The Bamboo Palace is owned by Victor and his wife Mai. Victor is the owner's English nickname, which was chosen when he first arrived in America more than thirty years ago, obviously for its victorious meaning. Since then, people have gradually started to call him Brother Vi due to his rising reputation in the immigrant … Continue reading Mini Story: The Bamboo Palace

Mini Story: Three Women (Part 2)

Click Here For Part 1 "I don't understand why Democrats are so happy? I mean the election is so close even if there's a pandemic and there's a big unemployment number. Four years later, I bet it's going to be Republican again. Probably somebody more extreme." Lu said. Armei and Pammy paused their conversation and … Continue reading Mini Story: Three Women (Part 2)

Mini Story: Three Women (Part 1)

It's Nov. 9, 2020, a Monday. Every Monday afternoon, Lu, Pammy, and Armei met at Armei's little cosmetic store, specializing in Asian cosmetic brands. It's not really Armei's store. She's just a shop assistant. Monday is slow and a perfect time to meet her friends. If the owner of the store happened to come in, … Continue reading Mini Story: Three Women (Part 1)

Today’s Mishaps

Insomnia is overlooked by people. Nobody considers it as a sickness but it is. It has almost no remedy and people who suffer from it have a nightly dread of going to bed. Although I failed with valerian roots, I am thinking of trying chamomile next. Will meditation work? https://www.instagram.com/p/CHb7tGSH8nP/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link Thinking about friendships... https://www.instagram.com/p/CHbv-kGngsA I … Continue reading Today’s Mishaps

November’s Bad Poems

It's the ugly child of poem that only I can love. Leaves Everywhere https://www.instagram.com/p/CHObA3_Hjut/ I saw her at the Asian grocery store here several times. She must be living nearby. She walked so purposefully into the store as if she's marching towards a battlefield. To battle what? I don't know. A battle with veggies? When … Continue reading November’s Bad Poems

Capacity And Incapacity

I haven't calculated anything for ages. Even the monthly budget and expenses are done by the spreadsheet automatically. Suddenly I find myself unable to calculate numbers. Actually very easy numbers. If 87% is reporting in Nevada, Biden has 627,104, Trump has 606,967 votes. What's the total number of Nevada votes and the remaining uncounted votes? … Continue reading Capacity And Incapacity

Comprehend A Little Bit More

Although I didn't watch it on Tuesday night, I spent many hours watching last night, throwing aside other things I need to do. I really don't understand why many swing states can't finish counting their votes while all the non-swing states have no trouble at all to finish the counting on election night--except Alaska. These … Continue reading Comprehend A Little Bit More

Comprehend The Incomprehensible

The electoral college is as as mysterious as American football to me. I can understand neither. It's rules, its operations, its strategies--all mystery. I guess many immigrants are like me because the rest of the world don't have the electoral college system except in those rare places and on rare occasions. The same happens to … Continue reading Comprehend The Incomprehensible

I Am Not Going To Watch Tonight

I used to watch TV for hours and hours on election night. What a crash course on American politics. Pundits, commentators, reporters all come out to analyze the past, the present, the exit polls, the historical similarities and differences with past elections. Reagan and Nixon are mentioned very often, which I don't know why. How … Continue reading I Am Not Going To Watch Tonight

Learning Is Difficult Unlearning Is Impossible

Be persistent and finish what you have started. Due to my observation of this principle, I've completed books I should quit reading after the first page; I've finished programs that I have no use of; I've mastered skills I don't really care about; I've kept relationship with abusive relatives for years and pretended that I … Continue reading Learning Is Difficult Unlearning Is Impossible