Tough Questions

A typical conversation with Bryan, my three-year-old….

Me: Bryan, Look. It’s raining.
Bryan: Why is it raining?
Me: Because there’s too much water in the cloud. And when there’s too much water in the cloud, water drops fall and becomes rain.
Bryan: Why is there too much water in the cloud?
Me: Because water evaporates into the air and eventually end up in the cloud.
Bryan: What is “evaporate”?
Me: ….
Bryan: Why is water falling from the sky? Is there a big hole in the sky?
Me: …. Um, no.
Bryan: Is the sky hard (as opposed to soft)?
I need to visit some science 101 sites for kids….

Family Feuds

For the first time in my life, I tasted what it felt like to have my words twisted in a family political wrestling match in order for one side to win an argument. The worst part was, what was said didn’t even come out of my mouth! It infuriated me, but at the same time, it saddened me that they had to resort to lying to make a stance in light of my father’s passing.

Ever since my father died, the secondary issue that everybody gossips about now is how the overall combined “Chu” family wealth was to be redistributed. You see, my father had many siblings; and when it comes to money, of course, for many people the idea of “integrity” is just a recommended trait to have whilist fighting for what they think is their “fair share”… I am sure all this is making the ancestorial spirits groovy about the whole ordeal.

Family politics is fun when watching from afar. Now that I got dragged into it for a lie someone (whose name shall remane anonymous) made up, the real “fun” is yet to come.

Oh, why must “lies” and “politics” always go hand-in-hand?

Of American Politics and Possibilities

People who really know me (or are regulars of this blog) know that I often have gripes about America and its politics. For a while I didn’t understand why I’ve become so cynical of this country though I’ve spent over 14 years (!!) living here. All the hopes and aspirations I read about America just didn’t seem to exist anymore. And all I seemed to see were just the negatives and caveats of my life in America.

Then today I stumbled upon this interview of Prof. Harvey J. Kaye with Bill Moyers. The enthusiasm of Kaye on the subject of Thomas Paine is infectious and puts me in a happy place about those hopes and aspirations I had for being in America again*.

* Unfortunately, as Kaye stated in the interview, Paine’s ideas and words are now being quoted by the wrong people in the wrong contexts to do the dirty works of politicians. Or maybe I am just too naive.

China Is Driving Taiwan Towards Independence

Normally I don’t really give a rat’s ass about news in China, but recent arrests and crack downs of human rights activists have made me think twice about Taiwan’s standing with this so-called “motherland”…

See, Taiwan enjoys its freedom, though messy, but the damn “country” is free from being f*cked over by China like Hong Kong is. People of Hong Kong live in a superficial freedom and democracy. If there’s anything they do that upsets Beijing, they can thank the Red Army for shedding blood on the streets. And China can openly and “justly” claim they are merely suppressing domestic matters — spanking the kids, if you will.

Reading news like that makes me want to tell Taiwan’s leaders to run the other way… taking Taiwan’s future with them! Reunification can only take place if there’s democracy in China!

Of Politics and Taiwan

It’s been a while since I wrote about Taiwan. And suddenly I am feeling like writing an entry.

The KMT won an overwhelming victory in securing parliamentary seats in Taiwan this week. And for the first time in eight years, I glance a ray of hope again for Taiwan’s future. But it’s not all rosy for an island that’s been deserted by the world of international politics for almost 50 years.

Just to get it out there, I am pro-KMT in many ways. I like their economic policies as well as their philosophies on how Taiwan should be governed, particularly in relations to China. But I am also skeptical of KMT’s stance on the question of Taiwan’s sovereignty.

There’s no question that Taiwan (or if you really want to be picky, The Republic of China) is a sovereign “nation” with its own everything — constitution, president, parliament, currency… etc. And there’s no question in my mind that if put to a vote (without threats from China, obviously), a good majority of Taiwanese would prefer to go independence rather than become part of China’s smallest province no matter how China guarantees the island its self-autonomy.

And to the best of my understanding, one main reason that Taiwan is still a political orphan of the world (in that very few dares to recognize it as a country) is because most of the leaders of all other “freedom” and “democracy” loving countries are just a bunch of hypocrites. For example, why the U.S. sells outdated arms to Taiwan at exceptionally high prices to Taiwan if it thinks Taiwan is part of China (well, actually I know why; but just to get the point across)? If the rest of the world recognizes that Taiwan is only a renegade province of China, why do they allow Taiwanese passports through their customs? But then, if Taiwan IS a country, why is almost every single nation in the world so against Taiwan in joining the United Nations? And why doesn’t every country recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation and allow Taiwan to have its own embassies with proper diplomatic relations?

I suppose Taiwan can declare independence. And in doing so starting a revolution that’d probably end in massive massacres of its people by the Red Army, only to find out that nobody cared if it was independent in the first place. In a world of high expectations in justice and democracy, I find it ironic and cynical that the same expectations aren’t extended to Taiwan and its people — a people that, despite all odds of being orphaned and rejected, achieved one of the most successful economic miracles of modern history — and did it all by itself with no political assistance or any kind of natural resources to speak of.

I still don’t really know what my position is in terms of independence. But even without declaring independence, I mean, honestly, isn’t Taiwan already independent? Just because China wants the rest of the world to look the other way doesn’t dislodge that fact — or does it?

When Being Good Makes Someone Else Look Bad

So can someone explain to me the “real reason” why the Feds shot down California’s proposal for a waiver to implement stricter rules on carbon emission? Is this one of those “about face” rulings? Or does it have real merit in it? I mean, if the politicians are too bought off by the motor companies to get it done, why can’t individual states implement something better? And let’s not forget, it takes a while for those cars to populate the roads en mass that can even make a positive impact on the environment… hence, the sooner, the better… The Fed’s plan looks pathetic compared to rules already in place in other industrialized nations. So if the car companies can make cleaner cars for THOSE countries, I don’t understand what the big deal is to implement the same thing in the U.S.?

Who Are the Idiots Running the US Department of Homeland Security?

I’ve spent the past few weeks trying to get the college to which I was accepted for their doctoral program to issue me an I-20 (student visa). But it seems like the Department of Homeland Security has some rules in place making the whole process even more painful than it really has to be.

One of the stupid rules (really, an idiotic one) is that a student ABSOLUTELY MUST have his/her permanent address from his/her country of origin in order to have the student visa issued. Now, on the surface that sounds pretty fair. But for us International nomads, it highlights how the current (Bush/Cheney) administration are really just a bunch of monkeys children running the show… Think about this scenario: A family was originally from Taiwan but later immigrated to Thailand, making Bangkok its permanent home. I was told I can’t use an address in Thailand as a permanent address because it’s not my country of origin. How idiotic is that? Doesn’t someone get paid to think about scenarios like that in the great Department of Homeland Security? Whoever came up with this rule probably has never traveled outside of the United States or met someone who’s an international student!

Sure, maybe this rule is to better protect the US “homeland security” in some way. But I just fail to see how it can even be relevant in anyway for security purposes. First of all, that supposedly “permanent address” can be fake. Why? Because where the student visa is mailed to can be different from the permanent address. I know because I’d requested the college to send it to my address in California. Secondly, let’s assume providing a valid permanent address in someone’s country of original somehow does enhance the security in anyway, there’s no way any of the agencies under Homeland Security or immigration related departments has the resources to check for EVERY SINGLE address provided. I mean, seriously, how do they know?! Do they have the home addresses of all known terrorists in the world in a database somewhere to check against? Do those terrorists even go home to those addresses? Even if that’s the case, does anyone think they’d be dumb enough to use those addresses to apply to a US school with? Com’on… Let’s be practical. Someone needs to start using their brains in the Bush/Cheney government.

But then again, seeing how they’ve done pretty much everything without thinking about alternative scenarios in the past 7 years, I don’t know why I am so surprised and upset about this kind of idiotic decision. The lesson I take away from this ordeal is, it’s easier to be illegal. No wonder 12 million of them are doing it.

Save the U.S. Economy. Ruin the World.

The United Nations released a study on climate change a couple of days ago. The paper, an effort by over 2,000 top scientists from all over the world, claims that recent climate change “likely” caused by human activities.

What a shocker.

Unfortunately the Bush Administration is a bit too busy trying to protect its economy than to think about what his policies are doing to the, um, WORLD! So it begs the question, where is the U.S. economy going to be WITHOUT the world?

Damn I can’t stand dumb presidents.