From the category archives:


Tell one’s stories

April 30, 2017

in random

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

This has been the question on my mind since I watched The Founder last night.

Starring Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman (aka Ron on Parks and Recreation, one of the best characters in TV history) and John Carroll Lynch, the movie is based on the true story of how the McDonald’s business empire came to be. Ray Kroc an embattled salesman with a series of failed ventures under his belt maneuvered himself into the McDonald brothers’ burger business and took their speedy food concept to build a massive global enterprise. In developing the origin story for McDonald’s, for Kroc understood the essential connection between myth building and empire building, he erased the (his)stories of the McDonald brothers.

It’s as if he’d built a time machines and changed the past. Kroc alone was the founder.

This erasure and how easy it seemed was disconcerting if not downright terrifying. What does this mean to the ordinary people like us who’ve led ordinary lives? This is why we tell each other’s stories. Storytelling is remembering is history making is bearing witness to lives lived. 



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I admire those who are quietly assertive and wish to learn their Jedi mind tricks. Luckily I have the following quote from Madeleine Albright and all I have to do is to apply it.

So I made up this term, active listening — you listen differently if you think you’re going to interrupt.

The trouble is I worry whether I’ve been overcompensating and become a rude interrupter. I grade myself on whether I’d been aggressive enough or too aggressive at the end of the day and I regret either way.

2017 is going to be the year of no regret.* It’s the year to be bold, to be undeservedly confident, to interrupt without fear, to rid oneself of the plight of feeling self-conscious, to grab life by the, ugh, whatever handy.


* I immediately regretted calling 2017 the year of no regret. tbh we all know it’s going to be the Year of Regrets on so many levels.

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Make it up on volume with the island of misfit toys

Happy New Year! We couldn’t wait for 2016 to end even though 2017, let’s be honest, is not going to fare better.

To say that 2016 sucked is a gross understatement. My father passed away on April 10 while I was 7,447 miles away. I still haven’t processed this. I am working up to it while being slowly eaten empty by guilt and regret.

I am not one to make New Year’s resolutions. I mean, I am very good at making them, I am just horrible at keeping them. My best record I believe was one week for keeping a journal. Journals are in general a bad idea: the thing about secrets is that as soon as they leave your mind, they stop being secrets. I did make one resolution for 2017 however: Read more real books instead of trying to read every single article saved to Pocket.

I’ve reached a, what should I call it other than a cliche, crossroad in my professional (and personal, though I am in deep denial on this one) life. So for the first time, I picked up one of the 10,372,763 recommended “this year’s best business books to teach you how not to jump in front of a moving train on your commute home every evening”, called Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, chosen out of, yes, self-aggrandizement. Adam Grant made an interesting point on quantity vs. quality:

It’s widely assumed that there’s a tradeoff between quantity and quality—if you want to do better work, you have to do less of it—but this turns out to be false. In fact, when it comes to idea generation, quantity is the most predictable path to quality… On average, creative geniuses weren’t qualitatively better in their fields than their peers. They simply produced a greater volume of work, which gave them more variation and a higher chance of originality.

I’m taking this as a permission to crank out as many streams of consciousness as my mind can dictate.

“…the most important possible thing you could do,” says Ira Glass, the producer of This American Life and the podcast Serial, “is do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work.”

Make it up on volume. Sorry Internet. Blame it on Ira.

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Reading on Kindle is like dating on Tinder

August 24, 2015 random

Finding a book on Kindle is like finding a guy on Tinder. You have to make quick, uninformed decisions based on woefully inadequate amount of information. To extend this bad analogy further: reading the book “reviews” on Amazon to determine whether a book is a good fit is akin to asking a guy’s flock of […]

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#ProTip: best way to display your Instagram feed on WordPress

May 31, 2015 random

If you, like me, are obsessed with documenting your otherwise mundane life with your phone+Instagram, secretly wishing the filters would make your life seem less ordinary, then you probably have also been looking for a way to share your Instagram feed on your blog. I discovered and installed Instagram Feed plug-in by smashballoon today and could not […]

Expectations are the mother of discontent

May 11, 2014 random

So were men consulted when mother’s day was invented? Did they agree to the deal or was it simply a unilateral contract? Maybe it seems unfair to some that they have to be on their best behavior the whole day? What’s up with “I” have to do everything around the house? The whole 24 hours? […]


The Brutal Eloquence of an Infographic

April 8, 2014 random

(Click on the flow map to see the larger version on Wikipedia) This flow map was recently touted by Dr. James Grime on Numberphile as “The Greatest Ever Infographic”. It’s created by Charles Minard, a French civil engineer and a pioneer for “information graphics”. So, yes, Internet, I was just as startled as you’re now to […]


Already started…

December 29, 2013 random

My plan to eat nothing until I reach Taipei completely failed. Thanks to Asiana Airlines.  


Flying home. Musing.

December 28, 2013 random

On ASIANA plane less than 5 minutes I’ve Already noticed vast differences. First of all: Flight attendants’ smiles & willingness to help. 3 flight attendants offered to help me with lifting my carry-on to the overhead bin despite the fact that I’m bigger than all 3 of them combined! They’re also all very young, thin […]


Katy Perry as “Geisha” at AMA sparks a serious discussion on multiculturalism, political correctness, authenticity and appropriation.

November 25, 2013 random

Only in my dream. This post could also have been titled, “Why women of Asian descent, especially those with the ‘privilege’ of living in the West, are fucking tired of seeing images of Geisha representing US when so few of people that look like ME (if I were younger and needed a role model in pop […]