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目前分類:心情雜記 (124)

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If you have been faithful waiting for any new article from me, I am sorry to keep you waiting.  I have been lazy.  I will probably post something new sometime in December.   

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Taking for granted.


My husband’s high school classmate, whom he was neither close to at school nor have seen for almost thirty years, came here for a business plus pleasure trip. Let’s call him Tom for ease of identification. Tom indicated to my husband that he was looking for cheap places to stay. My husband was toying with the idea of inviting him to stay at our house. I told my husband that our house was kind of messy with toys everywhere and our kids not very well behaved. In addition, he might accidently let our cat out while we were not home. It might be somewhat inconvenient to have him stay with us; however, I won’t object if my husband truly wanted to invite him to stay. I am glad that my husband did not and there is a good reason after we met this classmate of his.

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Are we friends?


Have you thought of contacting your classmates, those whom you were not close to and have never kept in touch with since graduation?  Sometimes, I wondered why people wanted to link up with classmates from senior high school, secondary high school or even primary school.  I am not talking about classmates you were close to.  I am talking about those who were almost strangers then and are total strangers now.  Would you respond to emails from seemingly total strangers?  Would you spill your personal life to total strangers?  Would you have any urge to meet these total strangers?  Would you if you have little to no recollection of the days at school?  Would you if there is nothing to look back and reminisce?  Would you if you couldn’t even name or recognize the faces of these so-called classmates?  Would you if there is nothing in common that you share?  How much do they know you when you are a complete stranger to the old you?  People change.  We are not the naïve little kids anymore.  I have changed.  Why do you want to get reacquainted with me when we barely knew each other then?   

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Are you a friend or a mere acquaintance?


When I worked as an intern at Norwest Bank (now Wells Fargo) right after I got my MBA degree, two of my colleagues of different ethnicities approached me.  The ethnic Korean girl introduced herself to me when we first met in the elevator.  The ethnic Russian girl introduced herself to me while I was rotating to the department where she was also working as an intern at the time.  Both of them opened up to me right away, spilling details of their private lives to me.  How much did they know me?  The Korean girl told me about her previous occupation and wanted me to keep a secret as she deemed it to be unprofessional.  How could she tell secrets to someone she barely knew and asked that person to keep a secret?  I didn’t tell anyone of course because it was really none of my business.  Maybe, underneath her outgoing personality lay a lonely soul.  She later phased out of my life when she left the company after staying acquainted with me for about three months. 

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What’s New?


What’s new in our life?  Nothing much except that our cat has officially become a rabbit killer and that we have recently bought two tablets.

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Another Episode


If you have been following my blog, you will know the recent episode about my son. He came down with a strep throat which triggered his asthma. On top of that, he seemed to have contracted conjunctivitis (pink eye). We thought that it might be from the strep throat bacterial infection. It turns out that he has seasonal allergy. So for some time in the past few weeks, he has been on five different medication: Pulmicort Flexhaler and Albuterol Nebulizer for his asthma treatment, Cefdinir antibiotics for his strep throat treatment, Patanol eye drops to relieve his itchiness in eyes and Claritin for his seasonal allergy. My poor baby!

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Is it Truly Over?


Finally it is over.  After 20 days of crippling political deadlock over a projected $5 billion deficit, the longest government shutdown in recent US history has come to an end.  As a Minnesota taxpayer, I am extremely displeased with Dayton’s decision for the shut down considering the cost.  Minnesota lost millions of dollars in revenue and got saddled with millions in new expenses over the past few weeks with the widespread state government shutdown.  In revenue, the state was estimated to lose $1.25 million per day from lost lottery sales, $50,000 per week on MnPass collections from the motorists who used express lanes to beat the traffic, and $200,000 a day of state park revenue from 90,000 potential state park campers and visitors daily.  In addition, the Giants Ridge golf resort was estimated with a loss of $80,000 for the first week of shutdown.  In expense, an estimated $13 million a week of unemployment benefits were given to roughly 22,000 freshly laid-off state employees who were entitled to collect 50 percent of their pay while not working. More significant was the interruption in highway construction with more than 100 road projects shut down by MnDOT in the middle of the construction season. 

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122 days

122 days.  Four months in total, from end of February 2011 to end of June 2011.  Is there any significance in those days?  It is the length of time that it took to end a dispute with the almighty tax agencies.  It took me several letters and phone calls, tons of phone transfers, and numerous hours listening to hold music to finally put the dispute to closure and to have them correct the mistake that they made.  I wasted approximately 2 hours each time I called.  The inefficiency and the incompetency are just beyond words can describe.  

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A tough balance to strike


If you are close to us, you would know that we hardly push our kids to do things against their will, mostly due to our laissez-faire parenting style.  However, that doesn’t mean that we do not discipline our kids, care nothing about their education or let them get completely out of control. 

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The question “Why”


As we see other kids, the question “why” would sometimes pop up.  You might think that it is more about comparison and competition, but I would like to think that it is just an innocent question of why.

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My thought after reading the story of the start of the Make-A-Wish Foundation


My heart sank and I couldn’t stop crying as I read the story of how the Make-A-Wish Foundation started.  I was reading the visitor’s guide to get some ideas of what to do while we were vacationing in Phoenix.  I happened to come across a story about a seven-year-old Phoenix boy, Christopher Greicius, hospitalized with leukemia, who inspired the Make-A-Wish Foundation with his wish to become a police officer.  It was extremely sad and difficult for me to read stories like that since I am a mom with little children.  To imagine kids fighting for lives each day brings sorrow in my heart.    

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Have you read the book "Death by Government" or "China’s Bloody Century" written by R. J. Rummel?  I would bet that you will find his books extremely informative since the history of the ugly mankind has become such a hot topic lately.  With records of over 8,000 estimates of genocide and mass murders from over a thousand sources, R.J. Rummel, the former Yale professor and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, presented a telling picture of the disproportionate number of murders of their own citizens caused by their own governments than by war.     


You have probably heard the term “genocide”.  An example of genocide is the Holocaust, the extermination of roughly six millions of Jews throughout Nazi-occupied territory by Nazi Germany and its collaborators that took place between 1933 and 1945.  Its definition as described by the book is the killing of people by a government because of their indelible group membership (race, ethnicity, religion, language).  You might have also heard the term “politicide”; by definition of the book, it is the murder of any person or people by a government because of their politics or for political purposes.  An example of politicide is the 228 Incident in Taiwan on February 28th 1947, when the arrest of a cigarette vendor in Taipei led to large-scale protests by the native Taiwanese against the corruption and repression of Chiang Kai-shek's Chinese Nationalists, and later turned into an indiscriminate killing of roughly 28,000 Taiwanese in the entire Taiwan Island in two weeks. 

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Mind your own business or even better kill them while you can?


Is this a good time to mind your own business as we see Japan’s nuclear plants erupted in flames?  If not for the sake of humanity, but for the sake of your own selfishness, wouldn’t you want to land a hand to Japan at this critical moment?  Maybe you would like to think that the radiation would not reach you.  Yes, we can all hide in our own shell and think that it will never happen to us.  Look at what kind of safety precautions are in place for Taiwan’s nuclear plants.  In addition, look at what China has put in place.  There are a dozen of nuclear power plants in China, mostly located on the southeast coast.  When its radiation leaks, it would reach Taiwan immediately, nobody in Taiwan would be able to escape the fate.  This event should teach us something, not just the civilians but the government officials in particular, other than empathy and humanity, that cover up is the worse approach and will subsequently lead to devastating results.  Wouldn’t you feel comforting to hear Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) assuring the Taiwanese that Taiwan’s three operational nuclear plants were “much safer” than those in Japan because they were “fourth generation” — something both Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) and the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) have said is wrong!  In fact, there was no fourth-generation nuclear reactor, not even a third-generation reactor in operation in Taiwan.  How comforting it is to have Wu Den-yih as the Taiwanese Premier! (http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2011/03/17/2003498375).  Didn’t the unprepared rescue efforts from Typhoon Morakot teach us something?  Without plans for safety precautions, without an efficient government to mobilize the rescue efforts, and without a single department dedicated to disaster prevention and response, should another natural disaster strike Taiwan, the outcome would be even devastating.  Taiwan and Japan share similar fate with frequent earthquakes.  Can you bury your head in the sand and pretend that whatever happened in Japan will never happen in Taiwan?

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Tragic news from Japan continues to roll when an 8.9-magnitude earthquake, one of the largest earthquakes in recorded history, was followed by a tsunami that ravaged its northeastern coast with breathtaking speed and power.  The impact is devastating when coupled with melt down of nuclear reactors.  My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan, especially those families that have experienced loss since the calamitous earthquake and tsunami.  Like many others, I also have a relative living in Japan.  My uncle moved to Japan when he was nineteen years old along with the Japanese soldiers who retreated from Taiwan back to Japan.  He settled there, married a Japanese lady and had a family.  Thirty years ago, my aunt finally located my uncle through the newspaper ad she placed in Japan.  He was the chef and owner of a Chinese restaurant.  I got to meet his family the first time and him the last time.  He passed away a few years ago, and is survived by his son.  I hope that my cousin is okay.  I don’t know where he lives.  It is so heartbreaking to see the catastrophic damage that Japan has suffered. 


I would like to offer my condolence to those families that have experienced loss since the calamitous earthquake and tsunami.  This is a poem I wrote to express my sorrow.

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I am just being mom, like any mom, a typical mom worrying over nothing, am I?  By the way, there is nothing wrong my grammar here.  I am just being sarcastic.


How well do you really know your kids?  It is shameful for me to admit that I don’t know my son that well.  I judge him by how he behaves at home.  Though I know that our kids are well behaved at school and listen to the teachers, I didn’t expect my son’s behavior to differ much at school vs. at home. 

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Life is so Good


What my daughter does every day is play and begs for candy.  She is almost five years old.  My son is eight years old.  He is in 2nd grade and what he does every day is mostly play too; not that he doesn’t study at all, but that the amount of time he puts into studying is very limited.  He likes math - not the extremely challenged math - but hates language and art.  The daily fifteen-minute reading assignment is a torture to him.  It is a class assignment, so he has no choice but to do it; however, he still dreads doing it every day.  The consequence for not completing his assignment would be to make it up the next day, which cuts down his time to play computer games or to watch TV the next day.  The perk for finishing his assignment is a coupon from the teacher for a free pizza when he finishes reading 3.5 hours in a week.  Aside from that, he is rewarded by his parents with four times the computer time.  He is not the brightest in his class.  Do I care?  No, I am happy as long as he is at or above average.    

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Do Asians tend to be smarter than any other race or is it just a misconception?  It would be extremely hard to prove that theory that some races are genetically smarter than the others in the State of Minnesota where only 3.8% of the population in Minnesota is Asian, 4.7% is Black, and 4.3% is Hispanic; where else Caucasians is at a whopping 84.8%.  According to study, Minnesota Asian students are way below the national average in NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) score.  The high percentage of Hmong refugees living in poverty might contribute to the low NAEP score.  About 27% of Asians living in Minnesota is Hmong, 12% is Vietnamese, 7% is Laotian, 4% is Cambodian, 11% is Chinese from Mainland China, 12% is Asian India, 9% is Korean, and 6% is Filipino.  The percentage of Taiwanese living in Minnesota is too insignificant to be documented.    


Why such a low percentage of Asians living in Minnesota?  I thought that the weather is a huge contributing factor.  However, my husband thought that the low NAEP score might be the reason.  So, I did a research to find out how low our NAEP score stands among the nation.  Judging from the results of the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress, Minnesota eighth graders ranked second in the nation, trailing first-place Massachusetts by 5 points, 294 to 299, and fourth graders came in third, trailing Massachusetts and New Hampshire by 2 points and 1 point, respectively.  As for reading, eighth grade reading scores stayed at 270, eight points above the national average of 262, trailing behind three states; while fourth grade scores stayed at 223, three points above the national average of 220, trailing behind six states.  I thought that these are quite impressive results.  I argued with my husband on his statement.  It turns out that my husband meant the ranking of Minnesota high schools in the Nation.  Oh well, they aren’t among the top 100 best high schools.  According to US News & World Report, Minnesota ranked 31st out of 47 States and only 13 Minnesota high schools received a silver medalist, ranking among the top 2 percent of high schools in the nation.  I was extremely surprised to learn that our high school in one of the best school districts isn’t one of them.  I always question the criteria of those rankings.  Out of the 13 Minnesota high schools, only 2 are from the best school districts in Minnesota and the other 11 high schools are in school districts which we have never heard of.  That is quite odd.  Anyway, if you are interested in the data, these are the links.  http://www.parentsunited.org/09120914.html   http://education.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/sections/education/high-schools/

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Over the years, people have asked me what it is like to live in Minnesota.  I usually tell them that it is a boring and extremely cold state.  Most Taiwanese are used to the metropolitan lifestyle and tropical to subtropical weather to be able to imagine living in a state with winter as long as 7 months and downtown activity that dies down around 5pm.    


If you truly like winter and winter sports such as downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snow-sledding, snow-tubing, snow-shoeing, snowmobiling, ice-fishing, ice-skating, snow-sculpting, dog-sledding, glacier walking, playing ice hockey, sleigh riding, building snow forts or snowmen, and making snow angels, or if you always want to have a white Christmas, you might find Minnesota a paradise like my son.  My son, who was born in winter, wishes that it snows every day.  He is a true winter boy.  His mom sure picks the right place for him to live.  Minnesota winters are tedious and cold.  However, nothing shuts down even when snow storms strike.  Temperatures well below freezing are just run-of-the-mill.  You may see snow as early as in October and as late as in April.  If you cannot endure 7 months of winter, the below zero degree temperature with windchill factor and the constant snow storms, Minnesota is not the place for you.  I don’t think that you can stand hibernating for over half of the year.  

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It was about a month ago on Veteran’s Day that I read the stories of some disabled Veterans which prompted me to write this article.  I have been thinking of writing this since then but have had trouble finding time to frame my thoughts.  I have the utmost respect to the soldiers who felled in defense of freedom, risking their lives to save the lives of others.  It is so sad to read the stories of those who sacrificed their lives to protect us and to provide a better living for others.  It is also so unbearable to hear about the war trauma they experienced, the disabilities they developed and the difficulties they faced returning to civilian life and reentering into their previous rhythm of life.



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I often felt that I should do more but I didn’t.  How could I make the world a better world?  How could I be a better mentor to the young students?  What life experience can I provide to them?  What career guidance could I provide to the fresh graduate?  What could I do to advocate Taiwan’s sovereignty and autonomy?    


So, what is stopping me from accomplishing all of them?  In fact, there is nothing.  It is so easy to just sit there, doing nothing but thinking.  What I need to do more is to get up and do it. 

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