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

Poem Of The Day #3

It's the spring; it's a spell; something in the air. The thought of you blooms. Another decade, another April. Time hurries away as if in haste. But you're going nowhere. Your shaved chin, your brisk walk, your shoulder bulging the shirt is here forever in my wandering mind, in my knotted brow, in my staring … Continue reading Poem Of The Day #3

“Being Yourself” vs. “Not Being Yourself”

My true self is very interested in useless activities, like endless chatting, binge watching, reading aimlessly online, and indulging in a fantasized nostalgia. If I practice being myself, I will never get anything done. My healthy existence is dependent on me staying away from my true self. If I were a bird, I would be … Continue reading “Being Yourself” vs. “Not Being Yourself”

Looking For New Ideas

I've decided that when I have no new ideas, I would stop staring into the air to wish that something would happen. Something would not happen just because I wish it to happen; ideas don't show up just because I'm desperate. Instead I would do something new. Buy a new pink colored mouse and mouse … Continue reading Looking For New Ideas

Work With Time vs. Race Against Time

I heard the phrase very often that one has to treat time as a cooperator rather than an enemy. I really don't know what that means. Whether a cooperator or an enemy, time sneaks away and disappears fast. If it is a cooperator, it's an irresponsible and fickle one. As to whether it is an … Continue reading Work With Time vs. Race Against Time

Superfluity

"I can't believe I'm laid off. I've been a chemist for twenty years and I don't know what to do next. 2020 is not only the pandemic year, but also the death to the chemists year. It's the fault of artificial intelligence. Let me tell you something about the pharmaceutical industry. In the past there's … Continue reading Superfluity

Anniversary

I don't know if this should be called anniversary. I've always had the impression, probably a wrong one, that the word is used to commemorate something wonderful rather than something sickly and virus related. Still, by definition, it is an anniversary. It has been one year already since New Jersey started its first lockdown in … Continue reading Anniversary

Bee Positive, Bee Yourself

Every year, Edison Township has contestants for the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and their cute pictures would be published in the local newspaper. Last year, even if it was cancelled due to the pandemic, an online substitute contest was won by an eighth grader from Edison, Navneeth Murali, who spelled the word “Karoshthi” correctly. I … Continue reading Bee Positive, Bee Yourself

March Madness–Everybody Is A Little Mad

I know M whose exercise routine is too intense for her body type, to the point that it's almost self damaging. Needless to say, after years of "abuse", her body caves in. Now she has damaged her knees, which require physical therapy. I warned her many times in the past ten years, but she wouldn't … Continue reading March Madness–Everybody Is A Little Mad

Cultural Difference On TV

I didn't have time to watch the Oprah interview of Meghan & Harry, but I caught something last night from a channel in Southeast Asia. The cultural differences demonstrated in the comments from the program hosts are so blatant that I just couldn't help laughing. I won't say which channel it is since I don't … Continue reading Cultural Difference On TV

The Young Comedian

"Cindy, you are going to apply for college soon, right? What are you going to study?" People in the lab ask. Cindy doesn't come to visit her mom at her workplace often, but she does on this particular day. "Comedy," Cindy said. "Wow, that's interesting. Is that a drama major? In NYU?" The three people … Continue reading The Young Comedian

Sleepless Vs. Clueless

Sleepless: I just don't feel drowsy at all and lie awake all night for days. Clueless: Maybe it's the tea you drank, or you staring at the computer screen for too long, or your anxiety. Wait, just blame the pandemic. Sleepless: I stopped tea or coffee last month. Zero caffeine now. The worst thing is … Continue reading Sleepless Vs. Clueless

Love As A Way To Live Our Lives

I have this long running unofficial "feud" with two assistants in the local Barnes & Noble. Once they even sent a temp they hired--a college student of Asian descent--to ask me "can I help you", the polite greeting with the purpose of driving me away from a display table of newest paperbacks. I guess I … Continue reading Love As A Way To Live Our Lives

Social Media Family

M gets most of the information about his family member from the social media. M's son and his girlfriend work in a city several hundred miles away from here. For some reasons, M and his wife had some unpleasant verbal exchange with their son a while ago. The next thing they knew, the relationship descended … Continue reading Social Media Family

From The Humble Worms

Every time I go to Menlo Park Mall, I would visit my favorite item, to see, to touch, to feel its perfection. It's hanging proudly in Nordstrom, an expensive store. A silk long sleeved pajamas with matching silk pants, which I can't afford. It's been there for quite a while, but last weekend, it's gone. … Continue reading From The Humble Worms

Politics In Small Town

When Jun Choi was running his mayoral campaign for Edison, New Jersey in 2005, many Asians I knew didn't vote for him, not because they had anything against his candidacy, but rather due to the fact that they were content with the way things were and saw no need to replace the incumbent. That's exactly … Continue reading Politics In Small Town