Archive for November, 2009

29
Nov

“I just want to go home”

   Posted by: Chen    in Journey of life

Hanging Christmas lights with Macy. It’s a bit chilly, but we are having a lots of fun. Seeing her joyfully examining the twinkling display, my mind keeps showing this strange, remote scene of a man sitting on a bench in an airport hall, waiting to be allowed to go home.

terminal-tom-hanks

Tom Hanks in "The Terminal"

No, It’s not Tom Hanks in “The Terminal” floating in the virtual screen, though this one is more dramatic yet with profound simplicity. To better tell the story, I’ll just use the report by John M. Glionna and Catherine Makino from the Los Angeles Times:

He is a man caught between two countries, a political protester who has stubbornly steeled himself inside the sterile purgatory of Tokyo’s Narita International Airport.
 
Each day, Feng Zhenghu sits on a bench in front of the Japanese customs booths, calmly looking on as tens of thousands of arriving passengers pass him by, resigning himself to residence in a diplomatic no-man’s land.

He refuses to pass through government customs because that would mean entering Japan – something Feng has decided he simply will not do. He wants to go home to China.

Eight times since June, the 55-year-old activist has been rebuffed by Chinese officials in attempts to reenter his homeland.

On four occasions, airlines in Japan didn’t allow him to board. On four others, he got as far as Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport before being dispatched back to Tokyo.

During the last go-round Nov. 2, a defiant Feng drew the line: Arriving back at Narita, he refused to enter the country.

Feng, an economist turned human rights author and blogger, was sentenced in 2000 to three years in a Chinese prison for writing a book that he said criticized Chinese regulations against foreign company investment.

He also believes a speech he once gave criticizing the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown is being held against him.

Still, he says, officials cannot banish him on mere pretense. Speaking on his cellphone recently, Feng said he would prefer to languish in a Chinese jail than live as a free man in Japan or anywhere else.

Although he is angry at his government, Feng misses his homeland – his family, friends, the feel of the place he has spent most of his life.

I just want to go home,’’ he told a reporter in a face-to-face interview, tears welling in his eyes as he discussed his desire to return to China. “I’m Chinese. Why can’t I go home? I didn’t do anything illegal. I just wrote a book that didn’t meet with the regulations of the Chinese government.’’

Feng’s plight is reminiscent of the Tom Hanks character in Steven Spielberg’s 2004 film, “The Terminal.’’ But this unlikely sojourner has no access to food courts or hot showers.

He has kept a lonely vigil at the south arrival wing of Narita’s hyper-busy Terminal One. Many workers and travelers don’t even know he’s there, staging a protest in a nation where, traditionally, few people question authority.

Feng inside Narita Airport

Feng inside Narita Airport

Now you get the picture. You must be wondering, just as I have been wondering ever since I heard the story 3 weeks ago, how is this possibly happening in real life?

I don’t know Mr. Feng. I could only imagine how devastated his loved ones at home mus be, and how much Feng wants to be with his son or daughter.

As the World Human Rights Day is approaching, the mere fact that someone does not even have the bare right to return his own home is a disgrace to the entire mankind. 

All Mr. Feng just wants is to go home so he too could hang up Christmas lights with his kid!

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25
Nov

Be Grateful

   Posted by: Chen    in Journey of life

My first Thanksgiving dinner was also my first dinner with an American family. I was quite adventurous when it came to food. In the very first few months in Madison, I had already tried burger, pizza, taco, french fries, spaghetti, you name it. But, turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie? Those were all eye opening (and mouth watering) . I got to admit that I immediately fell in love with the Thanksgiving feast. 

thanksgiving

Being the first real interaction with a local family, I was eager to make a decent conversation with them in my broken English. It was a nice family. A middle aged couple with 2 lovely kids, Jake and Kelly, 7 and 9, respectively. They were curious about me as much as I was about them. The couple were both working for the state at the time. They had a farm north of Madison (I did visit their farm later). They told me where and how the Thanksgiving tradition came from, and said, among another things, they were very grateful

I stopped them there and asked the meaning of the word grateful. It took some struggling for them to explain. It finally registered. I quickly searched my Chinese vocabulary bank to try to find an equivalent, but realized there was not an expression in my native language that would precisely describe it. 

The dinner was fabulous, the experience was invaluable. And more than anything else, I learned a new expression: be grateful

You see, being grateful is not just a simple reaction to some occurrence. Being grateful is an attitude towards life. It can be just the missing link between tribulation and happiness, between agony and peace, between anxiety and content. 

Furthermore, as research indicates, being grateful is good for one’s health. Studies by the Research on Unlimited Love (IRUL) founded by Dr. Stephen Post revealed that, Gratitude 

Defends – Just 15 minutes a day focusing on the things you’re grateful for will significantly increase your body’s natural antibodies. 

Sharpens – Naturally grateful people are more focused mentally and measurably less vulnerable to clinical depression. 

Calms – A grateful state of mind induces a physiological state called resonance that’s associated with healthier blood pressure and heart rate. 

Strengthens – Caring for others is draining. But grateful caregivers are healthier and more capable than less grateful ones. 

Heals – Recipients of donated organs who have the most grateful attitudes heal faster.

On this thankful Thanksgiving holiday, we ought to be grateful for the fact that we are born to this world, the fact that we are living in this land of freedom and opportunity, the fact that each of us is uniquely created with a sense of purpose – the Gift Of Diversity

I am grateful.

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19
Nov

Rob Wasinger

   Posted by: Chen    in Community

Rob Wasinger

Rob Wasinger

Spent a good chunk of quality time yesterday with Rob Wasinger. Rob is running for the US Congress representing the First District of Kansas. I got a chance to know Rob better, and to discuss with him on a variety of issues that we both care.

I was extremely impressed with Rob’s openness, and his commitment to bringing jobs back for the people in Kansas. Prior to our meeting, actually for the last couple of months, I have been following his well-organized Campaign, and the core messages why he’s running. My admiration and support progressively grow. After our meeting yesterday, I am convinced that not only Rob is the best qualified candidate, he will bring a breath of fresh air to our nation’s capital if elected.

The nation is facing unprecedented challenges. In a recent joint statement issued by the Economic Policy Institute, the AFL-CIO, Center for Community Change, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, NAACP, and National Council of La Raza, An Urgent Call for Action to Stem the U.S. Jobs Crisis, a harsh reality is presented:

The U.S. unemployment rate exceeded 10% in October for the first time in a quarter century. Nearly 16 million Americans who are able and willing to work cannot find a job. More than one out of every three unemployed workers has been out of a job for six months or more. The situation facing African American and Latino workers is even bleaker, with unemployment at 15.7% and 13.1%, respectively.

These grim statistics don’t capture the full extent of the hardship. There are another 9 million people working part time because they cannot find full-time work. Millions of others have given up looking for a job, and so aren’t counted in the official unemployment figures. Altogether, 17.5% of the labor force is underemployed—more than 27 million Americans, including one in four minority workers. Last, given individuals moving in and out of jobs, we can expect a third of the work force, and 40% of workers of color, to be unemployed or underemployed at some point over the next year.

Despite an effective and bold recovery package we are still facing a prolonged period of high unemployment. Two years from now, absent further action, we are likely to have unemployment at 8% or more, a higher rate than attained even at the worst point of the last two downturns. 

Joblessness on this scale creates enormous social and economic problems—and denies millions of families the ability to meet even their most basic needs. It also threatens our nation’s future prosperity by casting millions more children into poverty, foreclosing educational opportunities for many, limiting the investment and innovation that will fuel future growth, and dimming long-term labor market prospects, especially for younger workers. 

Americans throughout the history have risen to the challenges in harsh times, through hard work and sheer determination. They have also learned to call on our own past experiences as a nation for lessons in fortitude, courage and creativity. They have demonstrated repeatedly the ability to take it upon themselves in overcoming adversity, instead of waiting for help. 

I share with Rod that this is a time that only through a great grassroots campaign that will bring back the pride to the people and prosperity to the country, a campaign that converts the pain, the cry, the outrage into vitality, energy, and united strive, a campaign that reclaims Americans freedom to prosperity, a campaign that brings jobs lost in exportation back to the American heartland, a campaign that history shall call it one of the greatest civic movements. 

It is also in time like this, a new breed of leadership emerges. I see the leadership quality in Rob, the quality puts the people first and acts with integrity, the quality embodies the values of the fundamental rights, the quality embraces the spirit of putting country before party.

I’ll end here with Rob’s own words to help you to know more about him:

I have been busy travelling across all 69 counties in the 1st District of Kansas recently, meeting Kansans, renewing old friendships and making new ones. I hope I will see many of you on my journey, but I want to take a moment to introduce myself to the Kansas blogosphere, as well.

I want you know what I stand for, and I hope you will stand with me.

My name is Rob Wasinger, and I believe I am the right person to succeed Jerry Moran to represent the people of the First District of Kansas in Congress. Let me tell you what I would fight for as a Representative, and explain why I am uniquely qualified for fight for it. 

Many boomtowns across America are experiencing for the first time the despair that comes with seeing once-promising communities emptied out before their eyes. What some of these big cities are feeling as a sudden shock, rural America has suffered as a slow bleed for far too long. 

The good news is that while the boomtowns were built on sand, our homes were raised on good land and solid foundations. But under the old, failed policies of high taxes and burdensome regulation, our communities have fallen into disrepair.

I have a vision of how conservative values and policies will refresh our country, allowing rural and small town America to build upon our strong foundations and lead the way to a thriving and competitive economy. I believe in a set of policies aimed at breaking down the barriers to prosperity for rural America, unleashing the ingenuity and productivity of the American worker.

Central to this vision is a New Homestead Act, a spiritual successor to the Homestead Act that Abraham Lincoln signed and which helped to populate the rural areas of the Great Plains. Today, it is clear that we need bold new initiatives to reinvigorate our heartland.

Where growth and opportunity have been choked off, we should cut back the weeds of government, allowing skilled individuals, small businesses and new investments to plant roots and thrive.

With some simple but well-targeted measures for our rural communities, we can help existing businesses to survive and develop while attracting new businesses and high-tech ventures. We can reward hard work and responsibility by making it easier to build savings and gain access to credit. We can make it easier for the next generation to return to their rural roots after they graduate. 

I know the value of this. After finishing college, I returned to my home in Kansas. I want my children and yours to stake their future in the heartland, as well. In order to accomplish that, we must have policies that ensure prosperity for rural America, not just policies that create prosperity for Washington, DC.

I believe that I am uniquely qualified to fight for Kansas from day one, to make this positive vision a reality. I have worked for representatives of the people of Kansas for almost 15 years – both in Kansas and in the nation’s capital. I have become well-versed in how the federal government affects all our lives, and especially those of the rural communities we have in Kansas. I have seen first-hand how Washington works, and I have seen why it fails.

More fundamentally, I am a husband, and a father to 9 wonderful children to whom I hope to leave a vibrant heartland and a better country. I am a conservative, because I believe it is the conservative values of freedom, responsibility and virtue that will make our world a better place for my children. 

That is who I am and why I am here. I hope you will give me the chance to prove my values, my conviction and my vision as the Representative from Kansas. I hope you will join me in the fight we have ahead.

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3
Nov

THE TYGER TEAM

   Posted by: Chen    in Journey of life

This is Bob’s favorite phrase. Bob is very proud of his “patterned invention”.  What does it mean? You ask.

The acronym stands for

Total Harmony of Enlightenment

Thank You God Every Race

Together Everyone Achieves More

Bob Hall is a dear friend. Our relationship started as business partners dates back to the mid 90s. But soon we discovered that the foundation for our long lasting friendship is our endured respect for each other, and expanded respect to all human beings.

Bob has a non-restrained tendency of helping others. He’s like a rescuer to many failing businesses. They call him when they are in trouble, offer him such titles as COO, CEO, or whatsoever. His softness in his heart prevents him from saying No, even though he knows often times those glorious titles have no financial substance to himself. “Screw them,” he complained to me, “I’m not going to offer FREE services anymore!” Then the next thing I notice is that the phone rings, and he is saying “OK, I’ll see what I can do.”

Many businesses Bob helped taking off are still flying high. His failure of locking up a lucrative package with any of them leaves him with no equity for his contribution. I told him, jokingly, “You are a bad business man.” “I am good to them,” he confessed.

But, it really hasn’t bothered him that much, because there is something much more important than being successful in personal business, something occupies a great deal of the capacity in his daily life, that is the belief embedded in the concept of The TYGER TEAM: All members of the human family are with “the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights”.

Alright, one might argue there is nothing new to this (however, you ought to admit the acronym is pretty clever). It was certainly implied in the Declaration of Independence when Thomas Jefferson wrote down “All men are created equal”.

I can even trace back to a dialog recorded in one of the academic collection taught in the ancient Confucius schools. It is stated in the Classic of Rites《礼记·礼运·大道之行也》that

 The ultimate universal principle revolves around the truth that all men under heaven are created equal.

Thomas Jefferso

Thomas Jefferson

But, it took “four score and seven years” and the extraordinary leadership of Abraham Lincoln to end slavery. It took almost 2 centuries of generations of civil rights movement to end racial segregation. The “I Have a Dream” address delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King marked the brightest spotlight in this journey.

The vision and relentless struggle the great men and women in America demonstrated in defending human rights has inspired the entire world. Now even in the most repressive regions the outcries for human rights, justice, and equality are loud and clear. These values are no longer just the American values. They are UNIVERSAL VALUES.

So, “let us celebrate!” as Bob often says.

Yes, let’s celebrate our human family of great diversity with rich heritages; let’s celebrate who we are and what we are with dignity, a sense of purpose, and respect to others; let’s celebrate our dedication to let freedom ring from every corner in the world.

Let’s recognize that “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”

One day, we’ll all sing in unison and Total Harmony of Enlightenment:

Thank You God!
~Every Race

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