All posts tagged: Society

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 – 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 – 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- Learning to Learn

Dear Wilton, Where do I even begin? The first time I held you in my arms, you were this tiny little baby, thirteen years my junior. That age gap is precisely the reason your sisters and I ended up missing the majority of your growing up; I have not been by your side since you were 4. Over the years, I tried to be the best brother I can be despite the distance, but in many ways it does not feel enough. I cannot be there for you like I was for Willy and Jenny, and I cannot grow with you like I did with them. So here I am, perhaps in a way to stimulate your critical thinking, perhaps in a way to serve up some brotherly advice. In this way, perhaps I can make up the lost time and grow with you, now that you are finally at an age where we can hold a proper conversation. Perhaps, you can get to know me a little better. I remember a couple months ago, …

Days on Public Transit

What has the world come to? A slogan that has resonated throughout history, “Stronger Together”, is out-done by a call based on isolationism and division to a fictional, non-existent past. The world, supposedly more interconnected and educated than ever, is fraught with regionalism, fear, and ignorance. This is not to say that the future is not going to be better. The march towards progress and understanding has continued to be unceasing. With the rise of the millennials, who have a better grasp than any generation before of the interconnectedness of humanity, into positions of leadership and power, perhaps the world will truly understand that humanity is one. When I take public transit in Los Angeles to work everyday, I am exposed to the lives, actions, and faces of those less fortunate. Sometimes, it makes me wonder what we can do better to help those that society’s progress continue to exclude and leave behind. Sometimes, it makes me angry because of their own ignorance and their lack of desire to do better. Just today, while on …

Short Post: Mindfulness

Mindfulness, it is a quality that is hardly seen in people today. We are all consumed by instant gratification, the so-called freedom as we are liberated to chase whatever our short attention spans dictate. We are influenced by the idea of “personal brands”; we are dominated by a desire to foster a certain type of “public image”. We become more concerned about what others think of us instead of just being who we are. We lost that ability to be happy for ourselves and to bring happiness to others. Mindfulness runs against all of that. It is a compassionate and empathetic act that comes through self-less giving. When we are mindful, we are not taking from others. We are making the world around us the subject matter. It is when we are able to see the world from another person’s eyes. It is when we try to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. We too often judge others quickly without truly understanding who they are and where they come from. We forget that everyone has …

Short Post: The Issues – Educate and Compromise

Recently, I have had several conversations with my friends back in Taiwan. A common thread of discussion is how hopeless they feel about social conditions getting better. Since the recent presidential election that resulted in the first female president in the country’s history, there have been a wave of euphoria. A large majority of the population, especially millennials, felt that the fall of the KMT was key to social change in Taiwan. Yet the problems that face Taiwan, especially those of my generation, are complex and difficult to untangle and dissect. One thing that we all agreed on is the fact that many people are unable to think for themselves. Many young people comment and criticize based on misinformation or a lack of independent thought. Part of the issue is how the media presents information and part of the issue is how people consume media in Taiwan. Though media consumption is not a unique problem to Taiwan, the culture of Taiwan tend to cause people to disregard and dismiss opposing opinions and voices. I feel …