All posts filed under: Personal

Public Policy 101: Understanding Policy

It is important for the public to understand how to understand policy, especially when it is in the process of being deliberated and adopted. As a policymaker, I want to share some of the finer points of policy making, especially into today political climate. *My views do not represent the City of Los Angeles or the Department of City Planning. Every year, a large number of policies are deliberated at all levels of government. Some are passed, some are postponed, some are dead upon arrival. In a democratic government, almost all of these policies are heard in some form or another by the public. However, there are a lot of nuances to understanding them and because the public are not generally versed in understanding policy, there are ways to get policies passed by influencing public sentiment or despite public sentiment. To make it easier for you to understand policies, especially those you care about, the following are three important things to look for to avoid supporting a policy on misguided assumptions. They are listed in …

Letters on Tuesdays – Thanksgiving

Mom and Dad, circa 1988? Dear Wilton, In light of the recent world events, it is a good time to reflect on something more positive as Thanksgiving is here. Perhaps, to you, it is just a prelude to a long winter holiday. I remember those days when I was your age. Thanksgiving, as an American tradition, held no meaning for our family. However, since coming to the States and having spent several Thanksgivings with my dear friends and their families who hosted me, I learned that it is indeed a good thing to have a day set aside to reflect on the positive. Every year, every day, every second something can easily go wrong. Sometimes it can go so wrong your life depends on the next move you make. So, it is because of this exact unpredictability and fragility that we should celebrate gratitude. I will keep it simple today. Let us remember to thank those who came into our lives. Let us reflect on the beauty of the natural world and all the positive …

Letters on Tuesdays – That Friend You Hate to Love

A young man on his journey to make “F-you money”. Another one of my successful brothers from college. Dear Wilton, I have been very fortunate to have met and made friends with many great men so far in my young (somewhat, but probably not to you) life. As a kid, you have met many of them: Charly, Chicco, Michael, Ivan, Dan, Hien, Rambo, Nathan, and the likes. Most of them, it was a smooth ride to friendship from common interests and backgrounds. Other friendships, and perhaps you have experienced this, grew out of competition and contentious relationships. You know the old Chinese saying, “不打不相識” – unless you fight first, you won’t be friends. That literally sums up my friendship with Dan. To me, he is brazen and witty, sometimes callous, sometimes caring, but more often than not, a huge thorn in my side with his stinging banter. If he was a superhero, he would probably be more along the lines of Deadpool or Flash (but probably less comical) than say Thor or Batman. Yet, as much of a …

Letters on Tuesdays – Until A Basket to Reach Into

Dear Wilton, Though we are thirteen years apart, as siblings growing up with nearly identical upbringings, we have many similarities. You grew up surrounded by the very books your sisters and I read. Over the years, I have seen you develop a love for reading through them. Like me, you are captivated by books and we have voracious appetites for the written word. I am certain it is because our books give us wings, wings to fly into foreign and imagined lands. The written word can easily become magic in a young mind. The written word relaxes us and takes us places where our worries become thin air and where our fears are replaced by a character’s. There are untold amounts of joy when I see you engrossed in one of my old novels. I can imagine you going through the same emotions, the same questions, and the same challenges with each book. Though it pains me to see  you having less care for the physical conditions of the books than I, for many were still in …

Letters on Tuesdays – Defining Success

Image used cause my friend, pictured above, is a very successful man. I am sure you remember him. Dear Wilton, Last week I wrote about failure and accepting failure. In light of the previous discussion, it would make sense to discuss success. Yet, I do not believe we ever talked about how you defined success or what you saw as success. I remember when I was your age, thirteen years ago, I believed that success consisted of a few things: the best grades in class, the most friends, and the most athletic. Some of my friends, if they knew what I thought, would probably laugh at how absurdly unsuccessful I was and, to be honest, I am chuckling to myself right now at how absurd  my definition of success was. Yet, this might very well be how you are seeing success right now: getting that A in class, getting into that boarding school. You see, like failure with its internal and external components, success can either be defined by you or by people other than you. …

Letters on Tuesdays – Failure is Inevitable

Dear Wilton, Today, I want to write to you about failure. This is related to the first letter I wrote you two weeks ago, but this time I want to directly tackle your fear of failure. The timing is, perhaps, impeccable as you make your way with our parents to interview at various boarding schools. You have mentioned how you feared that you are not good enough, that you are going to fail to impress the admissions at the various boarding schools. Well, the truth is, we all face failures throughout our lives. Whether it be failing to convince our parents to buy us that toy when we were a kid, to failing to be accepted by our dream school when we were in high school, to failing to land that “perfect” job when we graduated, or to failing to complete a project to satisfaction when we are worked. You see, failure comes from having expectations. Expectations are standards of achievements we set for ourselves and sometimes for others. Not that there is anything wrong …