All posts filed under: Reflections

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 Tues(Thurs)days – Departures

Dear Wilton, The shift in delivery from Tuesday to Thursday has been unintentional. With the holidays coming up, my schedule has been packed full, both inside and outside of work. In many ways holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas, are about reunions and returns, however I wish to take up the topic of departures. It is the opposite side of the same coin; to return and reunite means that you are departing from somewhere, some place you currently are. Therefore, it is not necessarily an unrelated or opposing topic. Finally, I am sure it is a poignant topic for you, as our family returns to Taiwan after 20 years abroad. It is always hard to imagine leaving a place for good, or even for a few years. You might not know it, but bonds are easily developed and can quickly thicken. Like roots, they hold you in place and they want to hold you in place. Yet, you will find as you approach and finally go into your twenties, departures become more frequent. The bonds you develop …

Letters on Tues(Thurs)days – A Travel Plan Without Plan

As the rain encroaches… Dear Wilton, As you know I went to Panama last week for four days for a short Thanksgiving vacation. It was a surreal experience and here I am to discuss the trip and my planning (or rather the lack of) as a metaphor. No matter how much you plan, life always have something else in mind – not that I was big on plans to begin with. Fortune, good or bad, will always lead you somewhere, whether you want to be there or not. The decision to go can be considered spontaneous, but I have known that I was going to Panama since September. Though, to keep in that spirit of the spontaneous, I neglected to plan anything. This type of spontaneity has been a big part of my travels since college: spontaneous road trips, flights, visits. What made it different this time is that I did not even look at any points of interest until the day before. Even then, all I found where places to go but not how to …

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 – A Year to Remember

Dear Wilton, How can I even begin to discuss the issues that not only came to the forefront of, but also stunned stunned our collective consciousnesses last week? As you well know, from the conversations within our family, Donald Trump is to become the next president of the United States. How can I explain to you that a being like him – who disrespects women and woman’s rights, who is a racist, who is a liar, who abuses everyone who criticizes him, who is never prepared, who admits he never reads, who thinks climate change is a Chinese hoax – now has control of the most powerful nation on the planet? How can I tell you to believe that you will live in a world where you will be respected as an equal? The explanation on his rise to power involves the complex web of issues, that we as humans built ourselves, facing every single human being. At the very core of which, probably lies the unnerving question, what are we doing with our lives? What …

Letters on Tuesdays – Seeing the World

Dear Wilton, We have been very privileged. Remember to thank mom and dad. Our parents never really stopped us from exploring the world around us, though sometimes it definitely made them uncomfortable. They were not passive either. Indeed, you can recall the numerous times that they took us on vacations to different countries in an effort to broaden our worldview and our horizons. Travelling and seeing the world take on different meanings as you grow older. As a kid, I was fascinated by the physical differences of all the places we went. Every place looked different and felt different. Some, like Singapore, was hot and humid. Others, like Thailand, was more rural and resort-like. Still others, like Japan, was highly technologically advanced. I was focused, always, on the present moment and present location. Slowly, however, I began to become more interested in the fabric that makes each place unique: history, environment, people, culture, etc. Perhaps the change was driven by my own interests in history and biology, further developed by my pursuit of an anthropology …

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 …