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Kinder Surprises are the surprise I learned about the U.S.


Best find in Germany: Kinder Eggs (Kinder Surprises). I was indeed pleasantly surprised that the toy is a Lufthansa plane. And the pieces all fit together nicely. (Remember those horrible experiences with your sobbing, disappointed kid because the cheap toys broke or could not be put together even with Super Glue?) My son said, “Duh. That’s called German engineering!”

You can’t find these in the U.S. because the toys inside pose choking hazards. I just learned of the brouhaha of Kinder Eggs in the U.S. – Not only can you not find them in the stores, the U.S. Customs will confiscate them if they search your luggage and see them. Sometimes even a fine is imposed: My Google search turned up a 2012 story of $2500 fine per egg.

It’s overblown and ridiculous esp. considering how we refuse to even talk about stricter gun laws here in the U.S. The irony is killing me right now.

They say when you are from outside looking in, you learn new insights about yourself. Kinder Surprises. Yup.


I need to go to bed

April 6, 2012

in random

If only The Internet would let me…

It’s been tough and crazy at work. I have been trying to wrap up as many things as possible in preparation for my business trip to China next week. Word of advice: Always have a valid passport. AND make sure you renew your passport one year ahead of the expiration date. I had to get my passport renewed before I could get my visa to China. There was a lot of nail biting. What did I get for a last minute trip? How about 6 am flight on Monday, back of the cattle cabin, middle seat?

Good thing I have a blog right? All calamities are blogging fodders.


When I came up for air on The Twitter, The Facebook, and ok, let me throw in The G+ also [placeholder for disclaimer], I realized that maybe it would have been better if I did not spend time on the Internet at all. Ignorance is bliss right? I want to bitchslap some people so bad. Let’s start with the panty-twisted bunch over at Concerned Women for America who are now anti-anti-bullying because apparently picking on gay kids at school (and everywhere else) is their children’s GOD-given rights, literally. They are fighting against anti-bulling measures in congress at state level in the name of religious freedom. Simply typing the above paragraph is making my chest hurt.

With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
— Steven Weinberg


On the other hand, The Internet has also brought good things into my life. For example, Jeri Ryan, Seven of Nine of Star Trek fan, became my friend on Google+.

Ok, technically, she did not say “Hey, let’s be friend.”  BUT she plussed and shared one of my posts, i.e. she read my post and knew of my existence! Woohoo! +100 to my geek cred and coolation (cool+ration)! I of course took a screenshot as proof right away just in case she changed her mind and withdrew her favor.

It’s my first brush with fame. Please be as impressed as I am.


It is rather embarrassing how excited I am about this latest development…

Here, this is the reason why I have not responded to your email/tweet/comment/like.

I have been contributing to the Internet with my own crapshot snapshots, documenting my oh so exciting life. Really, how many pictures of Chicago River and the caption “Y’all. I am on a boat!” can I take before I stop having friends?


I really need to go to bed now. Once you reach 40, you really cannot survive on less than 4 hours of sleep on three consecutive days. Your grammars will also start to suffer. If you miss me, check my page Life As I See It so I can tell you that I am on a boat. Again.


By now you probably have heard of “The Super Bowl commercial you probably did not see”.  Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra’s campaign advertisement aired during Super Bowl features a beautiful Chinese woman (or, as he called her later when he was made to explain himself, “a Chinese girl”), complete with a straw hat, bicycle, rice paddy, and “Chinese-sounding” music.

It’s like, HELLO! back to the World of Suzie Wong, Fu Manchu, and Dragon Lady.



The Internet, at least the part I frequent, was all-a-buzzing, criticizing Hoekstra’s campaign of insensitivity, stupidity, and flat-out lying. There are several areas about this ad that are under criticism:

1. The actress’ perceived accent, fake or otherwise: I was quite moved by people of non-Asian descent being offended by the portrayal of a Chinese person (purported in China even though the scene was actually show somewhere in California) speaking with an accent and “broken” English. I have to admit: I did not see this at all. We have all heard atrocious fake Asian accents, and compared to those, hers is actually subtle (regardless whether the actress is Asian American or Asian Asian).  And the “broken” English amounts to dropping the “S” after a verb which I sometimes do by mistake because, well, I am speaking a foreign language.

I would like to put this out here: Although I would rip anybody’s head off for attempting fake Asian accents, my children’s included, there is no shame in speaking English with an accent. Duh. I tell my kids, “Don’t make fun of people speaking with an accent. They all know one more language than you do. And their English is better than your [insert foreign language].”

2. Her accent is not authentic: Well, we will find out when the APB put out by Lawrence O’Donnell for this poor actress succeeds in tracking her down. Even though I do not like what she did, being a theatre person, I have to give her some slack: Do people understand how hard it is for actors of Asian descent to find roles that are NOT stereotypical in nature?  She actually sounded a bit like me. So now I am sitting here wondering: “Fuck. So people think MINE is broken English and my English sucks?”

I was once criticized by an audience for not having an authentic Chinese accent in the play I was in. I found it hilarious and thought it was a great compliment. What do people think a Chinese accent should sound like? It baffles me really.

3. She does not look Chinese: People say that to me all the fucking time. Well-intentioned criticism like this frustrates me to no end. What IS a Chinese supposed to look like? Is there an encyclopedia of Chinese people that we can look up like a bird watcher’s guidebook? Nope. Not Chinese. Angle of eyes all wrong. Not Chinese either. See? The nose is not in the right place. Coloring is all wrong too. Seriously?

Furthermore, who cares if the actress is Chinese or not? It does not matter whether she is American-born or not either. What matters is that PeteHaveNoClueHoekstra and his people approved an ad with rampant, racist stereotypes (and of course, shameless fear mongering and blatant misinformation regarding debt and economy).

4. Yes, the fear mongering alluding to the misconception about the debt China holds against the US [Remember the Chinese Professor ad in 2010? And the Yellow Peril trope populated by the Fu Man-Chu series in the 1930s?], and the relationship between the debt and the economy. Actually, it is rather insulting that PeteGetNotHoekstra assumes people would believe the line he’s trying to draw between US government spending and jobs being sent overseas. Here, allow me to quote Paul Krugman: [I know not everybody worships him but this article, Nobody Understands Debt, is spot on]:

Deficit-worriers portray a future in which we’re impoverished by the need to pay back money we’ve been borrowing. They see America as being like a family that took out too large a mortgage, and will have a hard time making the monthly payments.

This is, however, a really bad analogy in at least two ways.

First, families have to pay back their debt. Governments don’t — all they need to do is ensure that debt grows more slowly than their tax base…

Second — and this is the point almost nobody seems to get — an over-borrowed family owes money to someone else; U.S. debt is, to a large extent, money we owe to ourselves.

… …

It’s true that foreigners now hold large claims on the United States, including a fair amount of government debt. But every dollar’s worth of foreign claims on America is matched by 89 cents’ worth of U.S. claims on foreigners. And because foreigners tend to put their U.S. investments into safe, low-yield assets, America actually earns more from its assets abroad than it pays to foreign investors. If your image is of a nation that’s already deep in hock to the Chinese, you’ve been misinformed. Nor are we heading rapidly in that direction.


Ok. Now that we’ve got the air cleared, could I please start with my psychotic foaming at the mouth now? Thank you.

Nobody seems to be bothered by this. At least, they did not comment on it. My first reaction?

“O.M.G. Is she selling porn??!! Is she trying to get the good ol’ American white boys into her pants?!”

WTF is with the downcast eyes, the come-hither smile? What’s even more bizarre is that she’s supposed to be addressing  Debbie Stabenow, Hoekstra’s opponent in this race. I was seeing Lotus Blossom and Dragon Lady morphed into one right on my computer screen, on a Monday morning, in the fucking 21st century. It was such a visceral reaction that I had to grip the edge of the table to stop myself from screaming; I held my breath in fear because I was half expecting her to say “Me love you long time”… This is THE most offensive stereotyping I have seen so far in the 21st century. PeteMeSuckHoekstra did not even try to hide it. This “character” in his campaign ad is made up of everything that created “Dragon Lady” and sustained this stereotype over the decades. The ad, unapologetically, resurrected the stereotype of women of Asian descent as calculating, treacherous and manipulative a la “Dragon Lady”. Along with that, the ad invokes the fear of the Yellow Peril (originated in the 19th century when Chinese laborers were imported like cattle to the West Coast to build the railroads): only now they stay in China while taking away the jobs from the Americans…


Hello? PeteIamNotARacistHoekstra, Fu Man-chu called. He wanted his Dragon Lady back. He said that you could come over to the 1930s to visit her.


Thank you, indeed, PeteShowingYourTrueColorHoekstra, for reminding me and for proving to people who like to tell me that “It’s in your head. Racism does not exist any more. Grow some thick skin. Stop whining.” that idiots without self-awareness are still around us. Stay vigilant.




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