Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The great pretender

Today two Tibetans got on the train I was on. One of them wore the traditional Tibetan costume so one could not mistaken where they were from. They sat right before me. I immediately felt a bit nervous. Would they recognize my Chinese face? They looked so attached to their tradition, like the Northern Africans living in my neighborhood who still wear sandles and dresses in the bitter winter of Chicago. Would they try to start a debate with me?

Of course they didn't. The old man just took off his shoes right after he sat down and put his feet on the chair. That was so Asian. It seems that in a place so crowded, people have to treat public space like private space. Only Chinese waiters and cooks will eat in front of their customers. That was the first time I saw anybody in the States put their feet up in public. Interesting.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tour of a Lifetime

I subscribed to the Traveler Magazine by National Geographic. I saw a picture accompanying the article about Machu Picchu, one of the 50 Tours of A Lifetime they concluded on the magazine cover. In this picture, a white female hiker is laughing in front of an old Peruian and his great-granddaughter who were both sitting in a bench. The man was 100 years old. The writer captioned: "The family is proud of his age." Neither the old man nor the baby seemed to be interested in the hiker or the camera.

Seemed innocent enough right? Well, when I saw the picture, I couldn't help but staring at the two big patches on the old man's pants.

Authentic traveling, indeed. How come I feel so sad then?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Stripped for Freedom of Speech

I was reading the Chicago-commuter-free newspaper Redeye, AKA trash media source, on my way to work today. There was a column discussing the recent drama surrounding Miss California. I was surprised to see there wasn't even a second opinion! They just pretend they had. Both of the columnists despised Miss California. One stated she is an example of intolerance. Wait a minute! When did freedom of speech become "intolerance"? She was not afraid to say what she believes, good for her! There are a lot people don't eat pork in this country, should we also stop eating pork because we need to "tolerate" others' belief? This whole argument is so ridiculous. When it comes to one's preference, some people don't care about the basic rights of others. Selfish and stupid.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

10 Years of Punishment

Precisely because I am jumping through all the right hoops for my green card, I oppose changing the laws to let illegal immigrants get ahead of the legal ones. There is a story on NPR today about an American man's South American wife. She over stayed her visitor visa and was discovered by the USCIS. Apparently not knowing what that meant, she didn't realize that counts as an arrest and she needed to go to court to appeal. She was denied green card years later when she got married and tried to go through the legal channel. She was deported and not allowed to come back for 10 years. Amazingly, this didn't break the marriage, her husband goes down to see her and her kids every 3 months.

Don't want to sound insensitive here but she broke the law, as all the other illegal immigrants. If you over stayed your visa, knowing that your status is illegal, and don't even bother to find out how the law will punish you, maybe you shouldn't stay in this country. Because you don't respect the law. I understand people come here for opportunities, but if this country is overwhelmed by the lawless, then it won't provide equal opportunity to everyone anymore.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Yell at me please

Malcolm Gladwell's new book "Outliers" mentioned that people from lower income or minority families tend to be less aggressive in a conflict and more submissive in front of authority. It's a lack of entitlement. I've witness that a lot. One time I was in the open computer lab, an Asian looking student was talking loud (without knowing because he had his earphones on), I have to admit it was a bit distracting but he didn't do it continuously. One older white woman seriously told him to shut up. But when I left, she was playing youtube videos on her computer and let the noise out too!

A couple of days ago, a young black mother and her daughter got on my train. The daughter was eating a candy bar, the wrapper fell on the ground. She was making faces to her mother, which showed that she obviously knew it was wrong to litter. A white woman behind them promptly asked the girl to pick the trash up and said sth more about don't litter. While I certainly hate littering, I didn't think I was in the position to educate other people's kids in front of them. Well, it might just be the Chinese in me.

Interesting, the mother didn't say a word the entire time. She seemed to be so indifferent to the situation.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Pets for Dinner

A friend of mine and I went to a mechanic owned by a Chinese. There was an aquarium in their office. I said it's a popular thing to have aquarium at home because water means "fortune". We like them to be flowing in like flowing water. There were koi in the tank and that reminded me of an accident a few years ago when the heater of my dad's aquarium malfunctioned and boiled all his koi alive. Since we knew how those poor thing died, we actually ate the fish...Nothing goes to waste! My friend was of course surprised to hear that. I proceeded to tell him that we used to keep pigeons for pets and when there were too many of them, we would eat them...

I think that scared him a bit, lol.

On our way back, he pointed out to the pigeons on the street: "Hey, DINNER!"