I Want To Be Liked (Flash Fiction #78)

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay Kung is about to attend a conference on mathematics in Boston, where he's going to give a presentation. It's not just a simple talk to present one's research data, but rather it's like an unofficial interview. People who appreciate what he says will likely to hire him and offer him … Continue reading I Want To Be Liked (Flash Fiction #78)

Quote Of The Day #28

Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay He is chronically and unescapably deceived, not only by the other animals and by the delusive face of nature herself, but also and more particularly by himself—by his incomparable talent for searching out and embracing what is false, and for overlooking and denying what is true. The capacity for … Continue reading Quote Of The Day #28

The End Of The Affair (Flash Fiction #77)

Image by Sammy-Williams from Pixabay Pammy and her husband Tan are attending a backyard harvest party at Ivy's house in East Brunswick, New Jersey. Pammy didn't plan to come, but Tan's cousin Maylan is here for the weekend. She's attending graduate school in Philadelphia and is writing a term paper on urban organic farming and … Continue reading The End Of The Affair (Flash Fiction #77)

The Interview (Flash Fiction #76)

Jennifer Chung doesn't think she stands a chance, but she knows she has to go to this interview. It's a well known company and a good position, which is something Jennifer has always dreamed of but known that she won't be able to reach. She is just too nice, too introverted, too plain an Asian … Continue reading The Interview (Flash Fiction #76)

Wishful Thinking

I wish that one day when we wake up, the morning news can tell us that Mondays have disappeared, forever from our life, together with other annoying things. Every Monday, I would inevitably think of existential thoughts, like "the meaning of life", "the futility of struggle", "the delusional dreams", "the useless suffering" etc. And needless … Continue reading Wishful Thinking

The Old Fox (Flash Fiction #75)

Ming is a poor artist who does online videos, creates cartoons and posters. He wants to marry Lily for years, but Lily's father Dun won't allow it. Dun looks down upon artists and poor artists especially annoy him. Ming and Lily could get married without Dun's blessing, but they are looking forward to some financial … Continue reading The Old Fox (Flash Fiction #75)

Quote Of The Day #27

Image by Laci Döme from Pixabay I dislike Nietzsche very strongly when he talks about women or marriage--he is quite mad and biased and unfair. However when he talks about education, I do feel that there's some truth in it. "Whether his work be done in a primary school, a secondary school or in the … Continue reading Quote Of The Day #27

Change Causes Anxiety

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay One day many years ago, I was reading a romantic story about two lovers--one saves the other from an impending danger and a certain death. I thought to myself what my parents would do in such a situation. My conclusion was that they would certainly save each other, only … Continue reading Change Causes Anxiety

Thinking Ahead

Photo by rikka ameboshi from Pexels I've never written serialized posts before. I've always wanted to try, but not knowing how to proceed. My stories are usually scattered, as disorganized as my wandering brain. Serialization requires some discipline, some control, some pre-determined plan etc, all of which I am not good at. The only thing … Continue reading Thinking Ahead

Life And Love

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay This is based on a true story. Let's just say her name was Arong. She worked as a team manager for a big energy company that provides electricity to a big Asian city about four decades ago. As in many developing countries, the energy company is … Continue reading Life And Love

A Passenger In The Twilight (Flash Fiction #72)

Wong looks out the window of his office and curses the passing train. He's been working all day in his accounting office, almost non-stop, just to meet a tax deadline for several of his procrastinating clients. He's a man of mild temper but he hates trains. The trains pass right underneath the window of his … Continue reading A Passenger In The Twilight (Flash Fiction #72)

Quote Of The Day #26

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay I think these quotes should be called anti-quotes rather than quotes since they sound downright ridiculous. I like H. L. Mencken a lot but still whenever the topics of relationship and women come up, he talks like a mad man--a very entertaining mad man but still a mad man. … Continue reading Quote Of The Day #26

Who’s More Suitable (Flash Fiction #70)

Image by MarieXMartin from Pixabay "Lil is a wonderful lady, but she's not suitable to be a speaker at our event." Lulan says. Jil shows up in the previous story "The Harvest" here. "Well, she's good looking, wealthy, with a perfect husband and a brilliant kid. She's everything that we are not. We are just … Continue reading Who’s More Suitable (Flash Fiction #70)

A Habit Outliving Its Usefulness

Image by naoamano from Pixabay My grandmother on my mother's side spent the first thirty years of her life in a fishing village, where the only livelihood was fishing or fishing related trades. That was before the arrival of modern boats and other modern equipment. Needless to say, unexpected weather conditions or ocean waves could … Continue reading A Habit Outliving Its Usefulness

Quote Of The Day #25

Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay I vowed that I would never buy another book on sale at Audible.com, but here I was, once again, bought something just because of the discount. I knew I don't like Emerson very much--his English is a little too archaic for my non-native ears--but I couldn't resist the temptation … Continue reading Quote Of The Day #25

A Little Disturbance (Flash Fiction #68)

Image by Maciej Cieslak from Pixabay This is a sequel to the previous story "Ida And Superstition" here. However there's no need to read the previous story to follow the little plot here. Yik opens a new takeout restaurant in Edison, New Jersey. Expecting a slow start, he is prepared to struggle for several months … Continue reading A Little Disturbance (Flash Fiction #68)

I Am Not Negative (Flash Fiction #66)

Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay Whenever Ivy meets Dan, she feels a pang of regret. Dan is a distant relative of Ivy on Ivy's father's side. If this were in Ivy's hometown in Southeast Asia, Ivy wouldn't even think about Dan since Ivy has dozens of relatives who are closer to her. However this is … Continue reading I Am Not Negative (Flash Fiction #66)

A New Approach To Language

Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay My memory is so bad that I start to lose self confidence. In order to boost my spirit, I decide to learn a new language, but this time I want to do it differently from what I did with English (as a non-native speaker). My English learning process has … Continue reading A New Approach To Language

Manage Blog Time

Image by Adina Voicu from Pixabay It takes me a long time to realize that other people's time management strategies might not work for me--in order to better manage my blogs, I need to design something suitable for myself. The biggest issue for me is that I can't map out my time rigorously and expect … Continue reading Manage Blog Time

The Gift (Flash Fiction #60)

Image by Michael Schwarzenberger from Pixabay "What am I to do with this gift?" Ivy sighs when she stares at the plastic tree, which is about four feet tall with a base made of indeterminable material painted brown to look like a real flower pot. It was sent to her by one of her clients. … Continue reading The Gift (Flash Fiction #60)

Let’s Meet For Dinner (Flash Fiction #57)

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay Cindy wonders if Amin is going to breakup with her. "Let's meet for dinner. Our usual place." That's what his message says and that's what Cindy is worried as she arrives at their usual place. The hour is early and there are not many patrons in … Continue reading Let’s Meet For Dinner (Flash Fiction #57)

Is That What You Want (Flash Fiction #55)

Image by Pezibear from Pixabay "You know Mencken once described an average person's life in New York as a sardine in a can while the grass and the so called parks look like embalmed sauerkraut." Lulu says. Pammy says, "what is a sour craft? I don't know any sour craft, but I do know that … Continue reading Is That What You Want (Flash Fiction #55)

Father And Son (Flash Fiction #54)

Image by Pexels from Pixabay "Can you talk with your son Jack? He's really not study very hard at all. His grades are falling and he's more interested in playing video games than anything else." Armei says to her husband Arhu one day. Whenever Armei says "your son", Arhu knows that Jack has been doing … Continue reading Father And Son (Flash Fiction #54)

An Unlikely Love Story (Flash Fiction #53)

"I can't remember a thing. I don't know what I did." Jina says repeatedly but no one believes her. It happened a week ago when the most handsome and popular boy on campus asked her to go out for bubble tea and talk over an article. Jina is the acting editor of the college newspaper. … Continue reading An Unlikely Love Story (Flash Fiction #53)

A Wonderful Girl (Flash Fiction #52)

Pammy and Lulu come to the little cosmetic shop Armei is running, next to an Asian grocery store in a popular plaza. The three haven't met for a while and they have quite a lot of catch-up to do. The customers are scarce and the cosmetic store is not doing very well these days. People … Continue reading A Wonderful Girl (Flash Fiction #52)

Mellow Fruitfulness

Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay When I was young, living in the staff quarter of a rural college south of Mongolian steppe, I often heard fruit stories from my mother's friends who had migrated from the south. My favorite bits were oranges knocking on your shoulder, waking up with olives about to jump into … Continue reading Mellow Fruitfulness

Poem Of The Day #16

Image by Gabriele M. Reinhardt from Pixabay It's hard to miss you, it's impossible not to miss you, it's delusional to try to get you back, it's a quiet desperation to live and breathe as if everything is normal. Love has no exit. I will watch a sad movie, binge a show, devour a bag … Continue reading Poem Of The Day #16

Girl Fight (Flash Non-Fiction #48)

"To fight, you have to get yourself dirty." George Orwell says that, but who wants to be dirty? We all want to be as clean, tidy, and pretty as we can, and often we worry that we are not clean, tidy and pretty enough. There are certain movies which can combine prettiness with a fighting … Continue reading Girl Fight (Flash Non-Fiction #48)

Sports, Grammar, And Love (Flash Non-Fiction #47)

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay Every four years when Olympic ads hit the TV screen, I would think of him. Not that he's an Olympic athlete or anything. He's not, but he's the only one among the people I'm familiar with who loves sports and is pretty good at it. It was 8th grade … Continue reading Sports, Grammar, And Love (Flash Non-Fiction #47)

The Presentation (Flash Fiction #44)

Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash Pam is going to give a presentation in a conference and she comes to Ivy Training Center to seek help. Since everybody is occupied, Ivy ends up assisting Pam. The Ivy Training Center almost went out of business several months ago--business was slow to a crawl due to pandemic … Continue reading The Presentation (Flash Fiction #44)

Sunday’s Story

Image by justraveling from Pixabay I went to the grocery store this morning. As I was pulling in the parking lot, I saw a woman sitting in the car next to me--she is crying while talking on the phone. I felt the urge to go comfort her, but I knew this couldn't be done since … Continue reading Sunday’s Story

Instant Response

Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay Yesterday, I went to get my second shot of Moderna vaccine at the local Walmart. The pharmacist is very young, probably just out of the pharmacy school. He is very cute and also an immigrant, probably from Middle East somewhere. He explained to me that after getting the shot … Continue reading Instant Response

The Russian Friend (Flash Fiction #39)

Photo by Cristofer Jeschke on Unsplash Lia is a new part time hire at Ivy Learning Center, which has many overqualified full time and part time teachers to tutor local kids--mainly from the surrounding middle schools and high schools. Summer is usually the busy time when anxious parents want to push their kids on SAT … Continue reading The Russian Friend (Flash Fiction #39)

The Italian Name (Flash Fiction #38)

Image by Pexels from Pixabay "Can I also have a can of orange soda?" Armei says to the kid behind the counter, who looks like he's hardly out of high school. Armei can't even remember the days when she's out of high school. That's so long ago and she's growing old. "You mean the 'San … Continue reading The Italian Name (Flash Fiction #38)

Quote Of The Day #18

Image by Elena Tishkova from Pixabay "Orthodoxy" by G. K. Chesterton is on sale at Audible.com and you know me, who cannot resist a discount, which is the reason why my shelf is filled with books I don't feel like reading and my closet full of clothes I hardly ever wear. And Chesterton is rambling … Continue reading Quote Of The Day #18

Pammy Wants Justice (Flash Fiction #37)

Image by Alexas from Pixabay This story is a sequel to the previous flash story "The Cynic", which talks about the lunch Pammy had with her husband Pan at a new Asian restaurant opened up in Edison, New Jersey. There they met Brother Tai, who came to their table to sit with them for a … Continue reading Pammy Wants Justice (Flash Fiction #37)

Cicada 2021

Image by USA-Reiseblogger from Pixabay I haven't heard any sound from cicada in Edison, but it is said in the Princeton township 30 miles to the west, cicada is taking over the neighborhood. They climb on every branch and sing all day long and shed their skins everywhere. There's a very interesting article about New … Continue reading Cicada 2021

The Cynic (Flash Fiction #36)

Photo by Atul Vinayak on Unsplash A new Asian restaurant has opened up in Edison after New Jersey lifted most of the restrictions for dine-in places. However there's rumor that this is just an old restaurant, which shut down in the nearby township and moved to this new more popular location, to take advantage of … Continue reading The Cynic (Flash Fiction #36)

The Great Escape

I should have read "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave" long time ago, but I didn't. Mostly because I was afraid that the description is so bloody and horrid that I would be depressed after reading it, but I turn out to be stronger than I thought. There are only two … Continue reading The Great Escape

All The Loving Fathers

Image by Antony Trivet from Pixabay This is a corresponding post for "All The Loving Mothers" written on Mother's day in May. Laid Back Fathers Laid back fathers are usually nice and fun loving, leaving most of the domestic decisions to their spouses. They will step up to take charge when their wife nag them … Continue reading All The Loving Fathers

Quote Of The Day #16

I just read the essay "It Is Obscene" from https://www.chimamanda.com/ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whose book "Americanah" I bought but haven't read yet. And it is such a wonderful essay, in which the author describes a student of her workshop who criticized her unfairly or heartlessly. People who ask you to ‘educate’ yourself while not … Continue reading Quote Of The Day #16

Resilient But Divided

When I was young, there's an old guy in our neighborhood who was rumored to have a colorful life--a farmer turned bandit, a bandit turned soldier turned small business owner. He's been to Russia and several other countries for business and had some beautiful souvenirs on display, which were covered under a piece of embroidered … Continue reading Resilient But Divided

Targeted

Photo by Christopher Gower on Unsplash Language Ever since I started to learn Thai for 15 minutes a day, I've seen advertisement about language learning programs one after another. I used to hear a lot about Rosetta Stone software years ago, but now it has disappeared--no advertisement from Rosetta Stone. However there are plenty of … Continue reading Targeted

The Taste Of Chocolate (Flash Fiction #35)

Photo by Serghei Savchiuc on Unsplash When Apei was a little girl, her mother--for the sake of the family economy--would never buy chocolate for her. Thirty years ago in Penang--a tropical island off the coast of Malaysia-- chocolate was very expensive. Other candies made of coconut and durian are readily available. Apei had plenty of … Continue reading The Taste Of Chocolate (Flash Fiction #35)

Local Politics (Flash Fiction #34)

"Oh, you are so naive. You have no idea of the numerous little things. New Jersey has a unique party line politics." Dodo says. "What is party line?" Pammy asks. "It's too complicated to explain to you. If you participate in our meetings, gradually you will know. You've never come to a political meeting before? … Continue reading Local Politics (Flash Fiction #34)

Life And Existence

I've never known the difference between the word freedom and the word liberty--I think the two are interchangeable but most likely they are not. However I am too lazy to look it up. It's like watching all the seasons of "Frasier", but never really figuring out the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist. Still … Continue reading Life And Existence

A Happy Accident (Flash Fiction #33)

Arjian is a local hairdresser and a regular gambler at Atlantic City--a casino town at the southern end of New Jersey. There's a previous story about him here. On Saturday morning, when Arjian's wife Mei goes to the drive-by ATM machine, she finds that the balance is increased by about $10,000. She doesn't know where … Continue reading A Happy Accident (Flash Fiction #33)

The Controversy (Flash Fiction #32)

Photo by Providence Doucet on Unsplash "There's an ancient fable about a vendor selling spears and shields by the road. A bunch of spears are displayed tidily on his left with a sign that says,'the world's best spears that can puncture any shield.' On his right, there is a pile of shield on which there … Continue reading The Controversy (Flash Fiction #32)

How To Talk (Flash Fiction #31)

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay "I love this house when it's in my dream and it's being built. Once I live here, it’s a very different story." Armei says at the dinner table. Armei and Pammy and Lulu are good friends and also their husbands get along with each other. For this Saturday, the … Continue reading How To Talk (Flash Fiction #31)

Poem Of The Day #15

Image by Ylanite Koppens from Pixabay Love is a blind leap from the quietness of our frozen presumption. Suddenly the hushed order we proudly immure ourselves becomes laughable and absurd-- from a lover's eye. All the mistakes we made-- casually construed, clumsily carried out. Then it abruptly ended when you stormed off. You had a … Continue reading Poem Of The Day #15

The Neighbors (Flash Fiction #30)

KPhoto by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash Kyi-sook has this continuous feud with her neighbor Joe. Kyi-sook's husband Kai is a very laid-back guy and doesn't want to make a fuss at all. After prodding her husband numerous times without seeing any results, Kyi-sook realizes that she is the one who has to go out there … Continue reading The Neighbors (Flash Fiction #30)

Quote And Review–“An Introduction To Existentialism”

This book is so easy to read and so good that I can't tell you how much I love it. It's almost beyond my power of praise, just like "Notes From Underground" by Dostoevsky and "Words" by Sartre, which I love to read and hopefully to reread sometime. You don't need any philosophical background to … Continue reading Quote And Review–“An Introduction To Existentialism”

Energy (Flash Fiction #28)

Photo by Susanna Marsiglia on Unsplash "I am so bored." I hear myself saying. Nalan and I have evolved from talking on phone to talking on Zoom. "I am more bored than you are." Nalan says. That's just typical of Nalan. Whenever I say something, she will say she is more than me. If I … Continue reading Energy (Flash Fiction #28)

Don’t See The Contradiction

After reading Herb's blog about Walmart protester who is eager to buy Walmart merchandise, I can think of people in my life who are unaware of the contradiction in their behavior. Even if one points it out to them, they still don't see it. The Crazy Lovers Or Haters This happened many years ago among … Continue reading Don’t See The Contradiction

An American Marriage

This is the first book I read by the author Tayari Jones. I really like the book. In many places, it is very funny although the plot is about a terrible injustice done to the main character, Roy, who's handsome, well educated, married. He's wrongly accused of rape and is jailed for five years before … Continue reading An American Marriage

She Has News (Flash Fiction #26)

Image by jplenio from Pixabay "Yashin, you can't stop talking, can you? Every time we chat, you have such bad news about mass shootings, Asians being attacked on the streets of New York, or some other disasters. When you exhaust the U.S. news, you talk about Mongolians' invasion of Burma in the 13th century." Lalin … Continue reading She Has News (Flash Fiction #26)

Words And Childhood

There are so many quotes from this book that I don't know where to start. It's Sartre's autobiography--the first 10 years of his life--when he and his widowed mother lived with his grandparents. It's a happy childhood, and Sartre repaid the love he received with penetrating comments. He couldn't have been so sharp as a … Continue reading Words And Childhood

Poem Of The Day #14

Image by Dariusz Sankowski from Pixabay In an alternative history of an alternative universe, we would have nagged each other to death. You are so clean and immaculate-- your desk is free of a speck of dust, pens, files, folders line up as if soldiers in morning drills. How much your mother must have tidied … Continue reading Poem Of The Day #14

Love Animal Videos

I love to watch animal videos. I guess it's because I'm too lazy to have a pet. Or probably my Mongolian genes are working on my subconscious thoughts--we are supposed to be animal loving nomads. Videos about grateful wildlife. There are so many YouTube videos about grateful wildlife that I almost feel that the concept … Continue reading Love Animal Videos

Poem Of The Day #13

Photo by Landon Parenteau on Unsplash The end of May feels more like the peak of summer-- heat, humidity, haze, blinding light-- reminding me of that very hot day long long ago. In such a delirious temperature, even stones were hot, but you were so cold, as usual. A life of inescapable chores, an unhelpful … Continue reading Poem Of The Day #13

The Shocking Consequence (Flash Fiction #22)

This story is a sequel to "An Afternoon With Champ" and "The New Teacher". However there's no need to read the previous two stories. Here is a brief summary of the background. Jasmine met Champ at a mixed martial arts competition in Penang, Malaysia. Jasmine was a spectator while Champ was a contestant. The two … Continue reading The Shocking Consequence (Flash Fiction #22)

The New Teacher (Flash Fiction #21)

Tom Tsai, the owner of the Ivy Training Center, has just hired Cindy Wong, a high school senior, as a part time teacher for one of the weekend ESL classes in Edison, New Jersey. ESL stands for English As Second Language, and ESL students are children who can't catch up with the regular classes at … Continue reading The New Teacher (Flash Fiction #21)