Archive for January, 2009

I can wear a mask of happiness

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

There was a moment a few weeks ago when in extreme sorrow, I shook it off and picked up the phone. “Hello?” I said in a sing-song voice and then continued the conversation without a slight hint of my distraught state.

My parents once observed how easy it was for me to get over things. When I was little, they could offer a simple desire and then the tears went away…immediately. I remember in high school, someone so distressing was simply wiped away when my sister came over to share her fries.

But several years ago, a friend was conflicted. She saw my journal, detailing yet another college moment of despair. But when she spoke to me, I spoke of the great wonders, the great comings of the future, the funny happenings to me especially the funny people, light jokes and the like.

A long time ago, I wanted to be an actress. Despite my difficulty in lying, I found it easy to be someone else because I start believing the lie. It’s easy to pretend, but it’s too hard to forget.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Monday, January 26th, 2009

New year, new beginnings. May luck be on me.

Looking back, one of my luckiest years was when I was 24. The year of the dog. Many good things happened that year: graduation, boy, new apartment, new job (not one but two).

Although I can’t recall if being 12 was a lucky year for me beyond the fact that I was no longer in 6th grade.

I can’t wait until I am 36.

Relationships in this century

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Recently, on my facebook feed, I saw the broken heart icon appear between two friends..

Oh no, I thought. Not because the two had broken up, but because they had broadcast it to the entire world. As I stalked through their profiles, their photos had changed. Any mention of each other was completely erased. Awkward.

Do you comment or do you not? Do you call them up to talk about their announcement? An unhappy announcement so different from my cousin inadvertently announcing his engagement when I saw a ton of wall posts congratulating him. I think my parents and grandparents were slighted that they were not told first.

A friend recently (lightheartedly) admonished my distaste for relationship advertising online. He said simply he came from a different generation—aka 2-3 years younger than me—and he doesn’t worry about such things. Yeah, so someone broke up…you talk to them through a wall post or a phone txt. Or if you see an ex got married because a mutual friend was tagged in photos and you knew the ex didn’t want you to see…well it’s the same as meeting that ex in person with a baby in tow and big rock on her finger—you grit your teeth and sound out a “congratulations”. And you can change your relationship status whenever you want to.

Granted, this friend works at a company involving Facebook.

In light of recent events, I changed my privacy settings immediately so that certain parts are only viewable to certain people. Despite the fact that I am at ease with my online life—after having too much online drama in college, I am uncomfortable with relationships advertising online.

Back in the day, I used to write long entries on my blog/journal about the crushes, the rejections, the moments of hallelujah! I assumed everybody cared, but over time, I realized that most people didn’t care how anxious and high strung I was about the next steps. And then later, I figured that people often remember the worst but never remember the best. Thus for me, no labels and always the status “it’s complicated”.

For now, I’ll choose the people on an individual basis through non-broadcast mediums to spam them with my exploits and drama.

I thought I was unique

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Wanting to escape from my current circumstances, I went on a barrage of reading all the books recommended books from my book club. Night after night, I returned to the habits of my 10 year old self—reading with my light until my eyes couldn’t see anymore and diving into another’s imagination.

The other day, I started A Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress—a fellow book club member had described it as a girl who had trouble fitting in at school. All things that I identified with. When the book club member asked who wanted to read it, I paused for a moment scanning the moment and crazily shot my hand up in the air.

As people passed the book to me, I immediately regretted my earlier decision to take on a memoir about rape and another memoir about living in Afghanistan. Of course, I’ll find more in common with a misfit! An outcast just like me!!!

I expected the memoir from Susan Jane Gilman to recall events of the usual misunderstood child—the kind that was obviously destined to be an outcast both in youth and adult. The kind that…perhaps the teasing was well-warranted. During the first several chapters, to my horror, she had similar experiences as I did as a kid. Or at least my horrible clothing incident.

She had written:

The belt was a hand-me-down from my baby-sitter,” I said to the girls.

As soon as I said this, their faces illuminated like flashbulbs, exploding with bright malice and gleeful disbelief.

“A hand-me-down!” Courtney cried. “Eeeeeeeeew!”

For years, I had always thought it was just me that endured cruelty. As I went through my teens and college years, I always attributed my incident to being misunderstood. Why I was one of the few Asians in Lafayette. Or that my parents never thought to dress their children in designer clothes—and why would such purchases be deem necessary if there are sales at JC Penny and Macys? Or better yet, why can’t my parents bring clothes from Hong Kong where the currency exchange rates made clothing cheaper overseas than in the United States? Why not?

But in that combination in the dark night reading the memoir, I realized that there were probably thousands even millions of kids made fun of…on superficiality. Not because I was not white. Well simply put, it was kids who didn’t like people who were drastically different.

As I finished the memoir, I sulked with a despair that I didn’t take advantage of my misfit-ness. My natural introversion and the outcast-ness made me more passive and quiet rather than the outspoke feminist with many impulsive decisions.

There was another memoir I started reading about a girl who was made fun of all throughout elementary school. She apparently had normal parents, but just couldn’t fit in at school. The whole memoir was structured around her experiences as a child and a return to the reunion. The pressure, the climax of the plot was about her returning to face her childhood “enemies”. I couldn’t get past the first 30 pages. Sure there was the redemption discovering that people change, but where was the awareness to be something more than an outcast and try to do something about it?

Like the author of the hypocrite in a pouffy white dress, I eventually embraced my own outcast-ness. At the end of 6th grade, I defiantly decided my motto would be: “Don’t be normal. Be different.”

In some way it’s a lie, I always attempt to be accepted—maybe my weakness. But if someone made the attempt to tell me that there was someone like me in another city, another country, another world…I would say, “No. I think I am unique.”

Would you?

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

Would you?

Found in the Moma store.

It’s a hard question. Could I? Could I go against my morals? Could I give another an easy way out? Would I give them what they desire the most?

But it’s harder to answer when dieing is incorrectly spelled.

The defining day of this generation

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

The San Francisco Chronicle said it was a day like Woodstock. It was a defining moment, a life-defining day for the millennials. A day that people would tell their children and their children’s children.

Right before the inauguration in SF Civic Center

In the morning, I went to the San Francisco Library to watch the inauguration in the Koret Auditorium. We waited outside until 8:45 am until they let the people with early admission tickets in.

Once inside, I realized the crowd was different from the typical San Francisco events I attended. Made up of families, African Americans, and the elderly Chinese…it was an experience unlike anything I had experienced. There, they had projected C-SPAN on the large screen. It was slightly fuzzy standard definition—a seemingly hasty connection to a place that rarely showed TV. When Obama appeared, the audience yelled in glee and shouted “Oh yes!” When Bush showed on screen, boos. During Obama’s shaky oath, I turned and saw people twisted in tears, emotion. The Chinese lady next to us had a stony face.

When the oath was over, a well-dressed African American lady turned around and hugged everyone. She smelled of cheap perfume. I couldn’t help smiling as everyone embraced each other even during the awkward speech from the reverend.

A man in front of me kept trying to take pictures of the screen—as if he wanted to capture the moment that he was there. That it was his perspective and only his. Shouts of joy continued as we headed to a nearby room for cake, juice and coffee.

Cake at the Library

Outside at the San Francisco Civic Center, there was a lot of people milling about. Some in awestruck surprise and true joy. Others…there were still the homeless trying to distribute the Street Sheet which was ignored. Then the people who sat on the sidewalk all day. Nothing changed. Then there were the people with signs and shoe-throwing.

Receiving shoes

2 free throws at Bush!

Goodbye Bush!

The internets taught me this week #1

Thursday, January 15th, 2009
  • What drop the ball really means
  • What people really thought about the VMAs
  • I am truly cheap — can’t ever justify having a tiny glass of wine for $5 at an airport and this is beyond not drinking; but wait, I would buy a bag of candy for $5…
  • Many companies provide discounts for cell phone plans
  • But they aren’t usually that great
  • BART is actually quite open about their investigation in this day of information
  • Maybe I want to work for Britney Spears
  • Confer is the right word to use when trying to say discuss but in a much more respectable terms
  • Design research/anthropology/strategy/etc. is hard to separate from marketing, especially for marketing people
  • Don’t use this place when they don’t support free speech
  • Same with this dentist
  • Despite reading her story several times, what happened 30 years ago is still so horrific
  • Mint might be monitoring me, even for good!
  • I am still not sure how to get proof of SF residency for the SF Zoo
  • How to serve divorce papers (I was looking to find how to serve papers…or being the one who is served)
  • Being the son of a father who left a horrific legacy is unforgivable
  • So is being named Adolf Hitler
  • Boxee found help!
  • Some women will wait their entire lives to marry
  • Full disclosure is best when applying for jobs
  • Boob warmers can be cool? (Thanks…CHRIS.)
  • Must bookmark this site for tahoe deals for skiing and snowboarding
  • Someone…someone has a new website…
  • Jack Bauer might die
  • BART BART

    Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

    “BART BART,” Chris likes to say sounds like a dog when we take the train. I ride it regularly to work, to shop, to the East Bay and to the airport. Unlike the other public transit systems, I do enjoy riding it (when there are no delays) because there is no conductor bothering me nor is there (rarely) a drunk guy with a water bottle full of vodka next to me.

    But now with the recent incident and protests, should I really consider it my favorite form of public transit in the Bay Area? And why didn’t many of us know about it? Being in this bubble of highly educated twenty-somethings, I almost don’t pay attention to anything that doesn’t directly affect me.

    I first heard of it when I saw Lauren’s tweet, but due to my lack of news awareness…I didn’t know what it was. It’s rather interesting that the word “riots” caught my eye. If I had just seen “protest”, I might have just dismissed it as the many protests out there…the ones that I sadly have become apathetic about (the apathy started when I was at Berkeley surrounded by one too many protests…). And only because there was more outcry, more violence, I think we noticed.

    Yesterday, I received a notice to be wary of the gang that calls themselves the “BART police”. I imagined stereotypical gang members with baggy pants and bandanas who wore fake shields. But then I realized, the notice was satirizing what the real BART police were. How could I.

    What bothers me about the police in my own personal encounters and stories people have related to me…is that…not all have a sense of right or wrong. Most have a power trip—an authority. Most are not college educated—only academy educated. That may be worth something, but why do some believe they are above the law? Why…do they take advantage of criminals even those who are not criminals—the ones who possess marijuana or the kids who trespass. Punish the “crime”, but don’t think it’s ok to take their money, to take their car, to steal their significant other, to think this is a rationale to treat another human unjustly.

    The Final Memory

    Monday, January 12th, 2009

    I first learned of it from Swordfish. The first 10 minutes.

    Then I saw the exhibit at the SF Moma.

    This is feeling helpless

    Friday, January 9th, 2009

    You want to do something. Anything. You know that you could do something, but what? What can you do?

    You hear the news. You are stunned initially.

    But you are known to be proactive.

    Problem? There is a solution. There is always a solution.

    You are good at fixing things. Everything can be fixed is almost your mantra. Everything can be returned to normal.

    But this, this…you can’t. You hear the verdict. You can’t do anything. There are walls, doors, gates, locks in your way. You know better than to break through them.

    So you think you can stand waiting patiently until the keykeeper opens it for you? You think that’s all it takes. But then you start thinking, what if you slip them something, will they open it?

    Will they?

    Then moments later, you almost want to say…I’ll do anything to fix it. I’ll give up everything. Just to return back to normal. You want a time machine, but this is the present and you have always loved the future. But not this time. Because you can’t do anything about the trouble, you can’t…it has happened and all you can do is try to piece it together, but what if you can’t even get to the pieces?