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)

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)

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)

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)

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

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

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

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

Leave The Lovers Alone

We all know those famous witch-hunts in Europe and North America, but there were witch-hunts in Asia too. As far as human absurdity is concerned, no continent is immune. And I am about to describe one of these concerning a pair of star crossed lovers. I promise there's no gory detail, no hopeless injustice, no … Continue reading Leave The Lovers Alone

The Reverse Psychology Expert

Lulu the customer: "Don't you think I need to change the rear view mirror? I somehow cracked it with the back of my snow brush." Maahi the auto mechanic:"No need to do that. It's cracked a little on the edge and it won't bother your vision." Lulu: "Don't you think I need to change the … Continue reading The Reverse Psychology Expert

Lunar New Year

https://twitter.com/Haoyando/status/1360348311052550151 First day of the ox year, or bull if you prefer to call it. I was hoping to add several photos of festivity to my upcoming "About" page, but alas, all the stores here are out of spirit, with absolutely no holiday decorations anywhere. Blame the pandemic, I guess. For the past ten years … Continue reading Lunar New Year

Knowing Yourself And Others

Lulu has finished a long day's work at the Ivy Training Center, which has established classes from 4PM to 9PM every weekday, and all day weekend to cater to students of all grades. She calls it Ivy, never using the full name, just like everybody else. Before 4PM, Ivy also helps translate, fill forms, make … Continue reading Knowing Yourself And Others

The Boy Who Cries “Fire”

Alia only wanted to make things a little bit fun and less didactic. However once she unplugged the fun bottle, things started to get weird. This morning, she found a little piece of paper on her desk, saying "I don't know how to spell because I am not a witch." Anybody could have entered her … Continue reading The Boy Who Cries “Fire”

An Improbable Debate

When Genghis Khan was getting old, people around him were bickering more than ever. Too much was at stake. The one who could influence him most won not only for the time being, but also for the time after his impending death. He was old, forgetful, often dozing off during meetings. He couldn't digest the … Continue reading An Improbable Debate

Clueless

There should be a complete idiot's guide to commonly used terms and slang. The book "Black Rednecks and White Liberals" by Thomas Sowell really makes this guide more necessary than ever, for me at least. What is a redneck, a liberal, a conservative, a Quaker, a Methodist, an abolitionist, a New Englander etc.? I vaguely … Continue reading Clueless

An Afternoon With Champ

Lulu: "He hasn't been moving for the last ten minutes, his eyes closed. I don't know what he is doing just sitting there. Meditating probably? Is he a Buddhist?" Ivy: "He does that before he starts anything serious. Don't worry. He will open his eyes and you can start the session. You have three hours, … Continue reading An Afternoon With Champ

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

Difference And Similarity (2)

Click Here For Difference And Similarity (1) Lulu doesn'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)

Battle For Gift

Armei: "Every long term customer can choose a free gift pack for 2021. Pammy, the biggest gift pack is for you." Armei is the shop assistant of a popular cosmetic store in Edison, New Jersey, which sells Asian cosmetic items. It used to specialize in Shiseido, the overpriced Japanese brand, but in recent years, due … Continue reading Battle For Gift

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

The Beginning Of 2021

The scene opens to the interior of a restaurant, all tables and chairs piled up to one corner, except one table with a white table cloth and scattered mahjong tiles on top. Mr. Wei, the owner of the restaurant "Pacific Palace", is playing mahjong with Chef Li and two waiters. On one side of the … Continue reading The Beginning Of 2021

Not Crying Wolf

Armei says when she's applying a fresh coat of paint on her nails, "Lulu, dear, can't you write something more interesting? Like a romantic story that women like to read? I mean you are so intelligent and I hate to see you like this--writing things that nobody wants to read." Lulu says, "Armei, I'm not … Continue reading Not Crying Wolf

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

Express Yourself

Inverbalization is not a valid word, but it should be. It means one wants to verbally express something but can't even though there's no obstacle to stop one from expressing. It could be the force of habit. If a person grow up in an environment that doesn't encourage him to speak up--actually it could be … Continue reading Express Yourself

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

Santa Travels

Santa is going to travel to Penang, a popular tropical island off the coast of Malaysia, but his entourage of reindeer are reluctant to accompany him. "That's not our natural habitat. I sweat too much." One says. "The sleigh doesn't work well in tropical climate." Says another. "Look, I have a list here of all … Continue reading Santa Travels

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

Stories We Tell During A Snow Storm

They are stuck in the house, a snow storm raging outside. "Why don't we tell our love stories. One each." Pammy says, looking at her husband Pan, her friend Armei, and her friend Lu. "I am not going to be part of your girl talk. Leave me alone. I will go watch my favorite show … Continue reading Stories We Tell During A Snow Storm

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

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

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)

Mini Story: Chul And Jool

My friend H told me this story and H heard this story from her colleague Chung, who grew up in a town in the Midwest, somewhere within 200 mile radius of Chicago. Chung's parents run the only Asian restaurant in town, which serves a range of items from Vietnamese rice roll, Mongolian BBQ, to General … Continue reading Mini Story: Chul And Jool

Mini Story: A Non-Greek Tragedy

My friend H told me this story, and I have since changed the location and the background setting of the original story to make this a fiction of fictional characters. It's about the neighbor of my friend H, an Asian immigrant couple, both engineers, which are not uncommon among Asian immigrants in New Jersey. They … Continue reading Mini Story: A Non-Greek Tragedy

Mini Story: The Battle Of Love

"Yesterday I threw all his books out the window." Lulu says to me."Really?" I feign surprise but I'm not really surprised."I made sure the car is not parked in the driveway first and the screens were taken down for the winter." Lulu and her husband Tun live in a tenement style townhouse and the driveway … Continue reading Mini Story: The Battle Of Love

A Mini Love Story

G is my distant cousin and he is always considered, by my parents and my relatives, to be the most intelligent and most unfortunate among all my cousins. His life started well--a cute kid, indulged by his parents, growing up to be a handsome teenager. He's half Mongolian, just like me, but he looks more … Continue reading A Mini Love Story

Mini Story: An Awkward Picture

This awkward picture is an oil painting of me when I was about 11 years old. Every painting has a story behind it, and here it is. I remember this today only because that's the first time I felt a strong sympathy towards a man--the artist painting this--who totally despised me and detested his job … Continue reading Mini Story: An Awkward Picture

Mini Story: The Sales Training

Pammy is a fictional character but the event is something that really happens, not as infrequently as we tend to imagine. The idea of this story is based on my talk with my friends on the sales training they had been to. It goes like this: Pammy lives with her husband Pan and their son … Continue reading Mini Story: The Sales Training

Mini Story: The Driving Lesson

There's a stereotype in America that Asians don't know how to drive and I have no wish to add another piece on that pile of cliche here. However I've witnessed more than a handful of couples who squabble incessantly about driving--how to drive, how to drive better, road signs to watch for, how many miles … Continue reading Mini Story: The Driving Lesson

Short Story: A Cat And A Train Ride (Part 1)

Armi was a beautiful cat with shining black and white furs, fierce eyes. He was discovered as a starving kitten, about several weeks old, by my grandmother's neighbor, lying next to a ditch after a rainstorm. It's said Armi was discovered too late by humans and couldn't establish the kind of bonding a normal pet … Continue reading Short Story: A Cat And A Train Ride (Part 1)

Short Story: A Cat And A Train Ride (Part 2)

Click Here For Part 1 After a while my mother and I dozed off again, and my mother's tight hold on the cat was loosened. So Armi jumped off once again. This time, he attacked a person sitting right behind us, who is young and tall. He must have sausage or beef jerky or boiled … Continue reading Short Story: A Cat And A Train Ride (Part 2)

Short Story: Trouble With Language (Part 2)

Click Here For Part 1 One week later, they met again. Pammy looked haggard, her under eye circles darkened, her eyes more guileless and fierce than usual. "My old man (her term of endearment for her husband which sounds more of a term of respect in her native tongue than in English) and my father-in-law … Continue reading Short Story: Trouble With Language (Part 2)

Short Story: Trouble With Language (Part 1)

Lu, Pammy, and Armei met at Armei's little cosmetic store, specializing in Asian cosmetic brands, every Monday afternoon. 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, which she never did on a … Continue reading Short Story: Trouble With Language (Part 1)