All posts filed under: Personal

The Years

On the windowsill, my cat sits staring back at me — staring deep into the dark blue abyss of the night sky lit up by the skyscraping lights. I cough, he blinks. It isn’t a flinch but a look of curiosity at his sick man, feeling the icy chill of a wildfire spreading in his body. I should turn on the lights but I can’t. I couldn’t, bedridden alone. My mind is filled with foggy, gray memories of times long past but shouldn’t dreams be in color? I remember being eighteen gazing with wonder at the green plains, the first snow on the lawn just before dawn, ready to be carved by hands and shoes. Yet somehow, the memory of those years stops there. Just the pristine white snow. Next thing I know, I was in the shower, head down and angry. Angry and sad. Sad and broken. Or was it unfulfilled? I do not recall.  The mind fog carries me through the next ten years. There was the heat and the humidity somewhere in …

Ramblings

In the dark of the night, under the faint city lights, my fervent thoughts whisper through my alcohol-soaked mind. My thoughts scream; nightmares that remain primordial and waiting to unveil. They linger, throbbing in the ebb and flow of my breathing. Deep inhale; a slow exhale creeping into focus. My thoughts chatter; an intricate description of a tomorrow with loved ones and passion projects to be. The futures I want to achieve, the verses I want to shape for my creative works – all dancing on the edges of my periphery and begging to be captured. Is it hate or regret? Is it hope? All I know is change. All I have is change. Two weeks here; a month there. I know you. I don’t know you. A fellow foreigner in a strange land but you left, just like the others, yet again. It’s restless. We both know how we must struggle to make a stand, to claim a place amongst the supposed numerous opportunities. We are framed. A year has passed. I chose to …

Discourse on Fate and Free Will

Some ten years ago, Nathan and I were sitting on the floor of our college dorm in St. Louis, waxing poetic about nothing and everything at 3 AM. On this particular night, which I remember vividly, we were focused on the topic of fate, destiny, and free will. Over the years, I kept thinking about what I described and my thoughts have changed much on the subject. Personally, fate, destiny, and free will all fit together as pieces to the greater whole of life. So how do they fit together? The idea is really quite simple, despite debating all night about it. Fate is generally the idea of things happening as preordained by some higher power. Destiny is that specific or necessary events will happen – set points in life like having three kids. An apt analogy would be a book. Fate is the existence of that book while destiny is the chapters of that book. Free will, then, is the unwritten or forgotten details in between the chapters. This seems contradictory, because is free …

This is Not the End

You die at sunrise; you died in your sleep. Every night, you dream. Every time, you fall in a little bit. Six inches under, six inches deep. Just as the sun is below the horizon, your destiny is in the East. Rise from the last day’s ashes; you find yourself sweating, unable to breathe. Is that fear I see? Yesterday’s knowledge congeals into baggage. Today is another day for mistakes. Tomorrow, you know nothing. So you died in your dream, over and over again, chasing what you want to believe. What you want to believe is the gravity holding you down, the air above. What you want to believe is tomorrow. Tomorrow, the sun will rise. Yet, at sunrise you are dead. You see nothing in the light. You see nothing as the night fades from your blinds. There is only one thing you see. One person you actually see. Who am I seeing? Who I am seeing? The one person you see, staring back blindly, blinking. The face is familiar, the smile is peculiar. …

New Beginnings – Columbia

The past month has been a whirlwind, from my departure from the City of Los Angeles, my cross-country roadtrip, to my first week at Columbia University. A lot has changed. I am no longer engaged in building public policy or writing feasibility studies. Everything has become a blessing after the hardships I endured the last eight months. There is much truth in the idea that new beginnings allow you to do something new and be someone new or even to feel something new. I have never worked so hard or felt as assured in my life, from handling grad school coursework to really trying to organize and bond our cohort together. This change really came from the lesson during my time at DCP, especially the last months. The importance of knowing the people you see and work with everyday cannot be understated. Babak, Cally, Nina, Jason, Iris, and Angela you taught me so much during the last few months we spent together. I cannot thank you enough. Though everyday has been pretty much a 9 …

Flowers for Algernon – Knowledge and Distrust

Where do I even begin to discuss this book? With everything that has happened over the course of my life, the impact now is more profound than if I read the book any earlier than I did. To put it simply, it is about the journey of a man who undergoes an operation that lifts him from ignorance to knowledge. The book contains a multitude of themes I have yet to ruminate over, but here I want to discuss the issue of knowledge breeding distrust. As Charlie becomes smarter, he wants to learn more to know more about himself. Through that process he realizes that the people around him all have something to hide; they all have imperfections. He becomes ashamed of himself as well, because of his own past and imperfections. His coworkers at the bakery, though they take care of him, laugh at him because of his lack of mental acuity. The professors who performed his intelligence enhancing operation are not motivated by his well-being but rather their own professional advancement. His mother …

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 …

Unexpectedly

Goes by hand Hand that used to be sand. It goes to a dozen numbers Around. Watching it Slowly. Turning away Quickly. Yet It brings everything. The one thing that matters. To be suddenly caught Standstill. Like the wind it knocks Over. Or, pull the metaphorical rug Under.

To Remember To Forget

A face without name As I walk on a path in the hills Counting the rocks Under the beating sun I cannot remember I remember only to forget That face What’s the name? There are memories Faint visions but the face The face is always sharp In focus Each step I take I chew on words Ruminate on these images Fading A figure waves In the distance As I look up from the rocks And stop counting my steps I was so close But I already forget What was it that I tried So hard to remember? We walk towards the sunset Down the hill Into the forest And wait for the stars. – Fu Lien Hsu June 28, 2016