Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Time for some photos

These were taken on the first day I arrived at the new staff orientation.  It was the second week of August and I sneaked out to take photos.  My friends thought I was crazy to go out in the brazing heat doing this. 

The Taiwanese flag is included in the disply.  Rare but exciting.   

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Life can be strange

It has been more than a month since I arrived in the U.A.E. I have only been recently connected to the Internet at home, and still have not subscribed to TV service which apparently is hard to get, along with many other services. It has been challenging to put life together in a new culture. So when my colleagues told me about the recent typhoone damages in Taiwan, it sounded like someone else's story. It was surreal. I coul not believe the world had been turned upside down for many of my country men and women only a week after I left the country.

I felt like a rebel, and guilty, for not being helpful when this happened recently. It has been a pattern of my absense from major disasters in Taiwan. I was not home in the SARS attack couple of years ago, and I wasn't there when a major earthquake happened in a September.

God bless Taiwan and the rest of the world.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Flowers make people happy

especially when they are free
and received unexpectedly

But they don't last...just like people, things and life..
They wither, in a day or two..so will my memory..with these and more..
Thanks for being with me..may your values be recognized and cherished wherever you go

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Downsizing my clothes,
Downsizing my belongings,
Downsizing my needs, and
Downsizing my life.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


I have to write, I need to fly, if only I can find..

Risks, chances, the two faces..

Pounding my heart, streaking a cut, devouring me in the dark..

The throbbing veins, my conscious gain, accompanying me to the end..

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


It is almost half way through the year and I have not documented my last trip to Singapore yet.

I went there in January of this year, for the e-CASE 2009 conference. Besides presenting a paper and chairing a session, I was one of the four speakers in an international forum.

Singapore is hot all year round. It is small but full of cultural attractions. Mandarin Chinese, English and Fokkian are spoken by many people there. Fokkian is similar to Taiwanese so I was able to communicate with many food vendors. Cantonese is well received there too. Actually Singapore and Malaysia share many cultures, including the languages and accents.

Here are some snapshots of Singapore:

Had a cocktail here. It was late into the night:

From a cable car in Santosa island

Taking a train in Santosa

I wasn't too interested in this: beach at Santosa.
Clarke Quay: Had dinner here on the first night
Lots of shops for tailored Chinese dresses
The famous Hainan Chicken and Rice
Apartments are numbered.

Not a bad idea to hang clothes out systematically.

China Town

Sneaked into a school open house and got some free gifts.

A simulation on the college tour

Singapore is a litter free country

A taste of Singaporean flavours

Singapore is an ordered society with multicultural people living in harmony. But I wonder if Singaporeans feel cold easily because they have only one season to experience? My friend Ron, his son and I posed with two interesting new friends-Emre and Zumrut, the nice couple from Turkey. Zumrut, Emre and I have kept in touch ever since. I just love making friends.
(photo: courtesy of Ron)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

More on the flu

I was not happy to hear Joe Biden being referred to as a dope, for his advice to the public on coping with swine flu. I agree with what he said 100%, and I feel sorry for those who are taking this situation lightly. Moreover, snickering at Mexico's health care system (as I have read from some North American online forums) is not a noble act. Feeling lucky over people's misfortunes is not admirable.

This is a global threat and we are all in the same boat. It is not the job of the WHO or local health agencies to keep us safe; we need to look after our own safety by being sensible citizens.

The suspected case in S. Korea has now been confirmed, and Hong Kong has its first confirmed case from a Mexican tourist. This morning, my heart twitched in reading this news: a number of Taiwanese tourists who shared the same plane ride with this Mexican tourist had just returned to this island.

Traveling inter-continently is going to speed up the spread of virus for sure. If I had the authority, I would shut down the air and sea ports, observe the situation for at least two months before re-opening them. Travel warnings to the affected areas are not going to stop the plaque. People should stop traveling to and from places for a while, just to allow the virus to be marginally contained.

Men and women are not almighty conquerors. In the midst of the global crisis, we should relearn to be in awe to what we cannot control and live in harmony with the nature and all creatures. We need to be humble.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I strongly suggest suspending all traveling plans if you can. Think about the viruses you may contract in airplane cabins and the number of people you are likely to get this deadly virus from just by being in the airports.

Keep exercising and keep the immune system strong. And if you can, keep the stress level down to the lowest as possible as stresses are the number killer of our immune system.

According to BBC News Channel, the confirmed cases are as follows as of April 28, 2009:

Mexico: 152 suspected deaths from flu - 20 confirmed cases
US: 50 confirmed cases
Canada: 6 confirmed cases
New Zealand - 3 confirmed cases
UK - 2 confirmed cases
Spain: 2 confirmed cases
Israel - 1 confirmed case
Countries with suspected cases: Brazil, Guatemala, Peru, Australia, and South Korea, and seven EU states

This is very scary, people. I hope we can all escape this epidemic. We are indeed powerless as human beings. Everyone, please take care.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Meet the new rice cooker

Well, I have to admit that this is the very FIRST rice cooker that I bought for myself, in my life, so far. Celebrate, celebrate. It cooks up to six cups of rice. Thinking back, the other brand new one that I've received as a Christmas gift from my friend Jeannie was a miniature cooker with only a basic function to click and cook. It felt apart quickly. This one is different. It was made in Japan and with it, I get to choose to cook different grains of rice. Unlike myself, I dashed to one store without a second thought, skipped the comparing prices part, paid 4990 NT (over 100 USD)and grabbed it home.

The story was that I went to see this interesting traditional healer, or more or less a Chinese medical healer. He is not licensed to practice medicine and only advises people on diet. I told him my problem and he recommended brown rice with peaches and prunes for meals. He said that I needed more "solid" food. Besides advising against veggies and fruit from now on he also suggested more meat for my body.

According to him, I have to change my diet totally now. Rice is never my favorite and I prefer noodle over rice. As an Asian, it is somewhat rare that I do not even have a rice cooker in the house. I usually make one cup of rice and have it last for several meals. Sometimes, I even forget to eat it. And because I use a pot, not an Asian rice cooker to make rice, it does not come out that tasty. This has in turn affected my appetite for rice.

The other thing is that I have been somewhat scared of eating meat. The thought of the unknown amount of hormone and antibiotics injected to the meat makes me want to turn away from it. I've quit red meat for a while, and have been careful in selecting the types of fish or seafood that are marginally safe to consume.

I also have quit my favorite milk recently. I read that milk accelerates the formation of osteoporosis. Coffee is a no no for now and I only drink herbal tea containing no caffeine.

I am trying to stay away from food made of flour. Bread, cookies, crackers, pastries, and noodle are now rare visitors on my table. I only eat soba noodles.

I have to say that rice made out of a real cooker is unbelievably delicious and I am glad of my investment. But if eating meat can make me healthier, I'll try some.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The sense of loneliness follows me everywhere. The feeling of not being understood, not being appreciated, and not being able to feel grounded scares me. And I do not want to live the rest of my life feeling scared. All throughout my life, I have been educated to believe that challenges are growing experiences. However, at this stage of life, I do not want to believe in that. I want to be freed and to live for myself, not for what others believe would be good for me. What right do they have to do that to me? To live like this would be a new experience for me. It take a lot of courage and self confidence. Perhaps I wasn't a rebel after all. Perhaps I was seeking a way out, for myself, which I rightly deserve, don't I?

It takes so much courage to break this vicious cycle, and I need all the strength I can get to move on.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The story of a spoon

I got the tea spoon when I came home for a visit from California many years ago. It was only 10 NT each from a market stand and I was delighted to buy four of them. The stand has long been gone and I couldn't find these anymore. I remember inviting the ladies to a lunch and tea party and my friends Renee and Linda adored them.

They got bent in the dishwasher and one was lost somewhere- Probably was beaten up in my old dishwasher.

These are traveling spoons and they are meant to travel again. I am taking them with me to my new destination.

Monday, January 12, 2009

To be or not to be

I have been undecided about my future, since day one when I returned here. With a hope to reconnect to the land and home that I was born to and escaped from, I yearned for acceptance from my own country-or my own acceptance of the country and culture. It has been difficult here, for opportunities are slim for growth, professionally and personally. The job has been a dull case with meaningless requirements that kill one's soul and body. Sometimes I hate that I am not one of them who can tolerate and suffer for things that bear no meanings at all. Last year, I was denied for my promotion after two and half years' of non-stop preparation and sacrifice of pleasure in life. I've learned that for a nobody here in Taiwan, hard work alone isn't enough for getting recognized. The development of connections is the key to it. Unfortunately, I was naive to believe that I should give it a shot no matter what. At this point, I am trying very hard to convince myself that I am of value with all these rejections. Rejections from getting grants, and rejections of being considered to enter the Taiwanese scholarly world.

But on the other hand, I do not like the narrow-mindedness of the so-called Taiwanese academia. I need to be involved in discussions, to find allies and comrades whom I can work with. And I feel so alienated here. With the number of newly increased higher ed institutions and decreased birth rate, competition is fierce in this part of the world. The severe evaluation system drives me nuts everyday. Philosophically, I do not buy in the "holding hand" policy of student advising. Seriously it is a heavy load for instructors aside from their research and teaching responsibilities. Like I said, if I can be more like the others, I can do this blindly and believe that it is my fate.

I am forced to look elsewhere-to move abroad again. It is somewhat sad and hard, to leave my family again, to fight alone in a foreign land with visa problems. But I am not sure what I should look into this time. Should I take up administration again in a system that I was familiar with; would I be inspired for growth with the familiarity, or should I take more time to look for something that could be innovative and interesting, yet at the same time tolerate the boredom and sadness that kills me everyday here in Taiwan? Should I go with the Asian principle of tolerance and numb myself to believe that something better will come along, or should I stop the torture for something else. How can I be sure that this something else is not a false alternative which can drive me further apart from my homeland? Or perhaps I can take up the role of a world citizen again, and set out to venture for something new without binding myself to certain geological premises. I do not know what to think, and I do not have peace with either direction that I choose to enter. The only thing that I look for is to leave my current job and at least have some peace of mind in being myself. I am a carefree person who believes in the goodness of humans and dislikes meaningless structures. How can I set myself free without taking a wrong step? I am not a young bud anymore who has the time to waste in life.