From the monthly archives:

April 2010

7 Year Old: Mom, what’s the yoky part of the egg?

Me: You mean the Yolk?

7 Year Old: No, I mean, which part does the baby chick come from?

Me: Ok, honey, the eggs you are eating? These are not the kind that baby chicks come from.

7 Year Old: Why?

Me: These are eggs that have not been… (Oh fuck!)  Sigh.  Ok.  You know how in order to make a baby? … You need a mommy and a daddy together to make a baby?  Well, the eggs you are eating only came from the mommy hen.  There is no daddy involved.

7 Year Old: How come there are single mommies with children?

Me: *Inserting foot in mouth*  There are daddies.  It’s just that the daddy for some reason is not living with them any more…




Hind sight is 20-20. Why did I go into unnecessary details? I was all of a sudden caught in a panic that he might decide to not eat eggs due to the baby chick situation, he who only eats 5 kinds of food. I needed to reassure him that he’s not endangering any baby chics by eating eggs. I could not run the risk of eggs being off the menu.

Up next: Why honey was almost off the list.

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My parents watch a lot of TV. They are at a stage where they deserve to do whatever they feel like, really, and my dad’s health does not allow him to stray away too much or too often from stationary activities. That being said, there are three televisions inside the 800-sq-ft. 3- BR apartment, so yeah, they watch a lot of TV. I have realized after having left home for the U.S. in 1993 that the most precious yet the most difficult gift I can give my parents is simply being there.  As a result, I end up watching a lot of TV when I keep them company.

It is always a quick and dirty way for me to get reacquainted with the here and now in Taiwan. The social mores in vogue. I am often reminded to be proud of where I came from, followed by a sudden wave of homesickness and dread while I am… at home… because of my imminent departure. On the other hand, I am also quite frequently flabbergasted, especially by the commercials. Since  “a cultural critic / modern tribe ethnographer” was one of my answers to “What do you want to be when you grow up?”), I cannot help but have a running commentary scrolling through my mind’s eye, my mental news ticker. To be unabashedly confessional, I am fascinated and excited by the contradictions, the dichotomy, the ambiguities represented in the media messages now that I have had a chance to step outside, looking in.

Sometimes a virtual lower third is the only image superimposed on what I am seeing…



(The first line of caption in the video says, “The 42nd day after breakup…”





p.s. This post is being written as I watch TV with my father which we have been doing for about 2 hours now…

p.p.s. The first time we saw this commercial, my father said, “@#%%$. We are a bunch of crazy people.”

p.p.p.s. Yes, this commercial is being aired at all hours, not just “after hours” which do not exist here anyway.

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Now that healthcare reform bill has been signed into law, and we are NOT holding our breath to see when changes can really be carried out, probably years, and by then, I’d probably be dead from holding my breath especially since I can in all honesty hold my breath for only 10 seconds under normal circumstances… It’s amazing I know for someone with such a loud mouth and loud voice, my lung capacity is pathetically puny… what with the lawsuits filed by several states, the continual protests from the GOP and the Tea Don’t-Call-Me-Baggers Party members, something else on the horizon for the Republicans to wage a new battle:

The proposed VAT.

Actually, it was not even proposed in the congress. People started ASKING QUESTIONS about VAT because economist, former Federal Reserve Chairman, current White House advisor, Paul Volcker on April 6 answered a question at a New York Historical Society event, saying that VAT is not as toxic an idea as people may think. Oh, he also said, “If at the end of the day we need to raise taxes, we should raise taxes.”

Ooops. They (The Dems) did it again! Sound the alarm!

I have been trying to read upon various opinion pieces to draw my own conclusion. But the fact is: NOBODY has officially proposed it yet except John McCain, the Maverick. He alone proposed an anti-VAT amendment preemptively.  Like anybody else I would like to be able to keep as much of my hard-earned money as possible. I was surprised therefore by my annoyance when I received an email from my Congressman, taking a survey, with a simple question: “Should Congress impose a new VAT tax?”

With NO information whatsoever on the background and origin of the recent brouhaha over VAT.



Most likely I simply needed a good dose of rage to distract me from life itself. Nothing, NOTHING, gives a good slap to wake me up from my self-pitying stupor like a good invitation for raging psychotic foaming. I immediately saw this email, perhaps wrongly, as an incendiary, biased missive disguised as an innocent, neutral survey. A fear monger. So I fired off this email, perhaps a bit pigheadedly. It felt good, I have to admit.  I don’t really care that he will not read it.


Dear Congressman Kirk,

I feel the email survey on the proposed VAT you have sent out via email is misleading, if not disingenuous. When you send out an email with a brief question “The Congress decided to add more tax. Do you think they should levy more tax?” I am going to take a wild guess that most of the respondents will say “H to the ELL NO WAY!” I am going to take another wild guess that you and your staff will then show the survey results, perhaps even call a news conference, with the “stunning” result of the majority surveyed having chosen “NO”.

If a doctor goes to a patient and says, “Would you like to have toxic chemicals injected into your body, with the potential risk of killing the cells in your bone marrow, losing all your hair, and in general feeling weak and like cr*p all the time?” I am going to take a wild guess that the patient is going to say, “NO.” But if the doctor provides the patient with the facts and the reasons behind his/her recommendation, the patient will be empowered to make an informed decision.

Yes. You can argue that people who want more information can always go online. After all, google is just one click away. But let’s be honest with ourselves: The topic of TAXES has always been extremely personal to people especially those who are blessed enough to be in the high-income bracket, and lately it has been turned into an emotional subject as well. in your wildest guess, what will be the % of the people who after receiving this email wondered about the facts behind the VAT proposal instead of getting some gut / visceral reactions to the short question you posted?

Frankly I am disappointed. For the very least you could have included a link in your email to a fact-based, neutral information page. Granted very low % of the recipients are expected to bother to click on that link, but to those who care to learn more and to make their decisions based on facts and not based on a base human desire for self-preservation and an all-too-human “They can eat cake” mentality, such a skin-deep effort on your part would have helped prevent this bad taste in my mouth I am experiencing.



I only bring up my degree when I write complain letters...

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Two Funerals

April 19, 2010 random

First Funeral I went to my first funeral that I could/would remember this past Saturday. If I think about it, I should find myself fortunate enough to be able to say that. Three of my four grandparents passed away before I was born. When my grandfather passed away, I was discouraged from partaking in the […]


Interview with my child: “Why I don’t like blogs”

April 17, 2010 no manual for parenting

Mom: How do you like blogs? Child: I hate them. Mom: Why? Child: It is very annoying to me because my mom is being spoiled and wasting time instead of doing something useful like reading a book. Mom: Why do you think it’s a waste of time? Child: Because it is like a computer or […]


Teaching Kids Simple Words: Part 1

April 14, 2010 no manual for parenting

I have learned in my parenting career that the fewer letters there are in a word, the more the potential of it being an extremely difficult concept to explain to your child. Some small words are deceptively simple. Small words with big, heavy baggages. Mr. Monk used the word “gay” in the bad way the […]


Let’s be creative! That’s so… BLEEP!

April 11, 2010 imho is just a polite way to say I know you don't give a hoot what I think but I'm going to say it anyway

Who here has an obsessive personality and voted “Most Likely to Grow Up Alex Forrest” in High School? ME! I just cannot let it go. Here’s what I wrote last week about the epidemic of the phrase “That’s so gay!”… Let’s start with the word “Gay”. Let’s start with banning the usage of the word […]


One Ellen DeGeneres is not enough

April 7, 2010 imho is just a polite way to say I know you don't give a hoot what I think but I'm going to say it anyway

If you look at the ratings, the crazed fans (“regular Suzy homemakers” many of them) in the audience, the 4.5 million followers on Twitter, her No. 3 position on the Twitter ranking (behind Ashton Kutcher and Britney Spears *Yes, I know* BUT ahead of POTUS), you’d be convinced that Ellen DeGeneres has gone mainstream. For […]


We interrupt our regular Monday Morning program to tell you…

April 5, 2010 mark my word: twitter will doom us all

The Fail Whale is Back! . . So how are we expected to start our Monday morning when we come back to our dreary cubicles, we start reading our emails, we find so many things to share with the anonymous Interweb, and we are “all dressed up with nowhere to go”? (Well, some smartie pants […]



April 4, 2010 no manual for parenting

I don’t know where my oldest gets his athletic prowess. I guess we lucked out. He started gymnastics at our park district when he was three years old because I did not like the idea of sitting in the sun, the rain, or the cold for ball games. When he was seven, he was asked […]