Monthly Archive: August 2008

Two Articles from Kristof

First is this: Malcontents need not apply

Money quote:

The official frowned and summoned two senior colleagues who, after a series of frantic phone calls, led me into the heart of the police building. I was accompanied by a New York Times videographer, and he and a police videographer busily videoed each other. Then the police explained that under the rules they could video us but we couldn’t video them.

For some reason I busted out laughing when I read the above. Fun article to read.

Another article: Slipping Over the Great Firewall of China.

Interesting observations.

Weekend Adventure

Went to Steamtown NHS in Scranton, PA on Saturday.

Anna rode in a real steam-powered train and was very impressed.

I’ve wanted to visit Scranton for a long time. I love the TV series “The Office,” which supposedly took place in Scranton, PA. Judging from the TV show I’ve always thought that Scranton was this little town that ran out of steam in the second half of last century—like many other Pennsylvanian towns we’ve visited—after coal/steel/railway related jobs died out or moved away. I had imagined that Scranton was kind of a heavily-laundered version of Detroit—shrunk to a town’s size, bleached to lily white. I’ve even wanted to buy a shirt that read “Scranton” or “Dunder Mifflin” just so that I can show it off to my friends who also love “The Office.”

But I was wrong. The town turned out to be very likable. It has a Jesuit college with a beautiful campus on a hill on one side of town; it has an upscale downtown area with classic-looking, well-maintained, marble buildings and public greens.

On our way home we saw a road-side sign for a bed-n-breakfast, and thought we could spend a night there and go home on Sunday instead. So we ended up staying there, in Milford, PA, a quaint little town on the PA/NJ border. There is a pond in front of the hotel, and sitting on the deck watching the reflections in the water is just as fun as watching Anna running around the house.

The owner of the bed-and-breakfast also has a farm next to it, so Anna saw, for the first time in her life, live chickens.

The house was built in 1940 but very well maintained. It sits in the middle of acres of woods and grassland, and miles away from nearest town and traffic.

Had dinner at a local diner. Anna’s first time in a diner, and she didn’t mind all those wall decorations. Forget about McD. Diners are the quintessential American restaurants.

Early Sunday morning. Breakfast at the, well, bed-and-breakfast. Anna is pointing at a group of free-roaming geese in the yard.

Then some boat-paddling in the pond to work off those calories from breakfast.

And Anna got to ride a horse. No, not a pony. A real, full-size horse. And unlike her previous pony-rides, there was no one else waiting to ride the horse this time. So she rode, and rode, and rode, until finally she said, “I want to come down now.”

When she was riding I chatted with a few people on the farm. It turned out that one of them was a lawyer-turned-horse-trainer. One more career option for me, I guess, if law doesn’t work out.

So that was the weekend. This weekend, to the beach!

I want a pair of these


As reported by NYT: Consumed, The Sole of a Worker. These are “improved” versions of the good old “Jie Fang Xie,” made by a particular factory in Henan Province. They go for $75 a pair in the States and are reportedly selling like hotcakes now. According to the NYT article, some people are apparently complaining about the price disparity between the $2 original JieFangXie and the $75 “knock-offs.” But I disagree. If Gucci made these shoes they’d sell for at least $750, and people will still buy them.

Oh I so wanted Gucci to make these shoes. They would go so well with my future Louis Vuitton bag of choice, to make me one very fashionable Chinese migrant laborer.

Louis Vuitton plastic bags Spring 07 cropped

And that’s when it struck me, for the 100th time in the past 10 years: I am indeed a Chinese migrant laborer.

The day so far

I dropped off Anna at the school precisely five minutes after class began. The well-dressed, curly-haired, Montessori-certified teacher was visibly displeased by yet another late attendance as she took over Anna’s lunch bag and led her inside. I wanted to apologize to her profusely for my failure to limit Anna’s bathroom time in the morning but decided to save the excuse for later when we are at least 15 minutes late. Maybe the teacher will just let a five-minute delay slide, or maybe not. We will see if Anna gets a citation later for failure to show up on time too often.

I actually like the school a lot. It seems much stricter than the last two preschools we’ve tried. And that can only be a good thing, not because Anna needs the extra discipline, but we the parents do. The staff seemed dedicated–sometimes a tad overreaching–to the wellbeing of the kids. Earlier I was approached by one of the teachers, who commented on Anna’s intelligence and said “some of our students went to to attend Harvard, Brown, and Princeton, and I am sure Anna will be just like them.” I expressed my gratitude for such a kind comment but was secretly thinking how much of this has to do with that Asian parents stereotype again–you are Asian so you must want your kid to go to Harvard. But at least she meant well.

Speaking of Asians, I somehow recalled a little miscommunication between me and another Asian a while back. When China was about to launch that rocket to take the first Chinese into outer space (was it in 2004?), I was serving with the Chinese student association at Maryland. A journalist called me and said he wanted to interview me regarding my take on the Chinese government’s choice of not allowing live broadcast of the event. I forgot what my responses were, but remember me asking:

“Which publication are you with?”

“I’m with the publication.”

“Yes, which publication.”

“The Publication.”

My head started to spin. A publication called “The Publication?” That doesn’t make sense at all. It’s like naming a hotel “The Hotel” and a train “The Train.” Who the hell does that? This went back and forth for a few rounds before I finally realized that the publication was called “Public Asian.” Then we had a good laugh. I am wondering whether the journalist has gotten this reaction before. But I really do like the name, and it stuck in my head.

When I am not reminiscing I watch a lot of TV. I am amazed that there’s a whole different world in day-time television programming, presumably catering to the stay-at-home moms–or dads. In the past few days I’ve been tempted with semi-precious stone jewelry on sale at a supposedly once-in-a-lifetime price, reruns of shows and movies from the 90s 80s and probably 70s, and learned at least a dozen different ways to make cupcakes from Martha Stewart. Who knew there were so many ways to make cupcakes! And there’s probably even more ways to make the frosting on those cupcakes, but I’ve had enough of the cupcake shows, even though cupcakes are lovely and sweet and have a lot of calories. Besides, every minute I see Martha Stewart I have “insider trading” ringing in my ears, because that’s how I first look her up on google (before that I only had a vague idea of who she was). I have to admit: she looks remarkably benign for an insider trader.

But what do I know about insider trading. Some people say it’s a sin. Others argue it’s not. A year ago I had an idea that could be developed into an article on insider trading, which I can try submitting to some fourth tier law reviews for public asian, I mean, publication. But now I have no desire whatsoever to write any more academic papers. I don’t care whether insider trading is right or wrong any more. If the SEC says it’s wrong, so be it, and that helps create more jobs for lawyers defending these suits. It’s like how very few plastic surgeons complain about the bigger-is-better perception when it comes to breast implant procedures. Besides, there are things that are much more wrongful than insider-trading. Like how I am munching on instant noodles when watching all those cooking shows. That’s the ultimate sin.

Urban Jungle aka Manhattan
Panasonic LX2


周末幼儿园召集家长开会,传达小孩和父母必须遵循的规章制度和注意事项,听了以后发现多数没有做到,以后要认真执行。 各种条款写了满满五页纸,摘录一些比较严厉的如下:




The Family in My Eyes

Anna’s Weekend Adventure

Took Anna to a farm somewhere in central Jersey.

Top of the world… er… haystack.

A bumpy wagon ride into the raspberry field.

I picked a big raspberry, and I want to eat it, now.

I am very good when it comes to raspberry-picking.

Helped pick some peaches (and discovered that they made pretty effective hand grenades when thrown at mommy)

Hopped on a pony.

And ended the day of fun by chasing some farm animals.





P1030147 copy
Two Medicine Area, Glacier National Park, Montana
Panasonic LX2




考律照之前搬到新家,直到现在才有闲心坐在窗口,看帝国大厦,哈德逊河,以及河上来来往往的船只。偶尔被人问起是做什么工作的,不知怎么说才好。已经离开了学校,不再是学生,却还没有进律所,还不算律师。可是要是支支吾吾地说,I am… sort of… in between…,听起来好像失业在家。





Daddy, I love you.


Room with a view

The Empire State Building
Maxxum 5D, 135mm/F2.8