Giving advice 提供咨询

I’ve come to realize the worst advice one can give after listening to a wonderful story is: to write about it.

Writing is easy but writing well is very difficult because it’s a craft. It’s NOT for everyone.

So next time when you see someone you hate (loathing isn’t sever enough to do this), go tell him/her to write a book -:)

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The slow mo

There are Apple, Google, Amazon, Paypal and there are institutions that are still using money order. Money Order for Pete’s Sake!! I’d think by now it has distinct from the face of the earth. I often get confused in this new world. Hello, is anybody home?

The reason for the money order was credit card sent new card and we forgot to update with this institution and soon got a nasty letter saying …  see you in court if you don’t….. Ok, I’m more than willing to pay up but, by now they only accept cash, or money order or cashier’s check. For Pete’s Sake it’s 300 miles from the civilization (as if). Gosh, I rushed to the Post Office and got the money order and snail mail it to them. I do mind paying the over night rate of $19.99 or something like that. For Pete’s Sake, whenever that institution receives it. Talking about modernization or customer service.

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The Bush Identity

So the kid bro Jeb is running, and he’s probably will win. But can the Time magazine’s editor do a better job:
On page 38 …then found love young in central Mexico. I think is should be young love instead?
On page 40, picture caption second from right. Ok, it’s a magazine that opens flat, … It looks like third from either side. Read the full story here
image image image

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Four sisters over half a century

Forty Portraits in Forty Years: The Brown sisters have been photographed every year since 1975. The latest image in the series is published here for the first time. (though we know their names: from left, Heather, Mimi, Bebe and Laurie; Bebe, of the penetrating gaze, is Nixon’s wife; 1975, 85, 95, 2005 and 2014)
IMG_5165 IMG_5166 IMG_5167  IMG_5168 IMG_5169

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How to fail

Our mission in life is not to succeed, but to keep on failing in good spirits.
– Robert Louis Stevenson

I have not failed 700 times; I have successfully discovered 700 ways to not make a light bulb.
– Thomas Edison

If at first you don’t succeed, find out if the loser gets anything.
– Bill Lyon

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not lived at all. In which case, you’ve failed by default.
– J.K. Rowling

The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.
– Buddha

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
– Winston Churchill

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.
– Henry Ford

My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and talents, and I lay them both at His Feet.
– Mahatma Ghandi

If you know you are going to fail, then fail gloriously!
– Cate Blanchett

If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you have tried.
– Unknown

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If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all

The following dialog happened when I was little, less than 7 years old:
“What a pity, Sandy’s just too dark. Otherwise she would be a complete knockout like you.” Sister Chen complimented Nainai.

A few non Chinese read it and asked,

So Sister Chen is paying Nainai a compliment by insulting Sandy?

Well, yes and no.

Yes: on paper, Sister Chen did implied that Sandy’s dark, which in the culture that consider dark’s ugly, it’s an insult.

No: in reality, Sandy’s no more than 7 years old, Sister Chen may not consider Sandy would understand. And, such compliments were quite common. Which leads me to think about the American idiom that If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

Here are couple of videos in synch with the idiom:

Think back prior to 1979, I did recall a few vivid dialogs in Beijing when people said the identical thing as Sister Chen. Non felt it was rude of insulting. And all the years I live in USA, I could not think of one incident.

I am not implying that Chinese are rude and ineloquent but perhaps the social environment made the difference? Since 1949, China experienced campaigns after campaigns. The Three Years of Great Chinese Famine (三年大饥荒; 1959-61) made the situation even worse. Chinese just did not have the stomach to make nice with each other. Primal survival was the order of the day, every day. The ten years of Cultural Revolution had just compounded it.
USA has been relatively peaceful and stable. Everyone enjoys reasonable rules and protected by their right. They just have more time and energy to play nice.

This is just my two cents. What do you think?


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The other woman

Because of the comic foundation setter or donor at Columbia University, my husband confessed (just kidding) to me his the other woman: a female student looked him up on LinkedIn, and sent him messages, and resume, to network, and to fish for a job. But her English isn’t really good. Ha, finally I found someone whose English is on par with mine. An advice: have someone to prove read your resume and solicitations.

.. I am very passionate about financial services or analyst. I have a corporation risk management class on this semester which inspire me on the Hedging, the service help people to invest their money and to avoid tax brilliant. My experience with Financial Director Assistant, …

But I did learn one thing from her: Bel Canto. Thanks girl.

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Studying aboard 留学

Specifically studying in USA 留美. Yung Wing 容閎 (Rong Hong; 1828-1912) was the first, graduated from Yale in 1854. Since then a skeleton of kids sailed to USA over the years, then stopped in 1881. Then the next wave of Chinese students came to USA was through the Boxer Indemnity Scholarship Program at Qinghua, starting 1909. Many my relatives had benefited from this.  Qinghua would become a full college in 1929. Those students were official sent – passing the exam.

The next wave of perhaps would be my generation, those who was born in the early 1960s, those were on their own, privately. Of course there were some official sent students too. This was lead off by China and USA re-established relationship in 1972. A daughter of my mom’s colleague [Xiong Hui 熊卉(?)] came to USA in the early 1970s, with the help of her aunt who was living in NJ (I think). She attended Iona College in New Rochelle, Westchester County, 16 miles northeast to midtown Manhattan. At that time, sending home color pictures was a huge joy and fashionable and affordable thing to do.

A close classmate married a guy who was on government stipend at Cornell in 1987. However, most my generation came to USA on their own.

Then .. in

98374eb31753TsbfsH3pAnd then then .. in 2015,


A friend who attends Colombia University in NYC wrote in my WeChat group: a family of four from China asking me if he makes a donation so his daughter could attend the Business school at Columbia.

Irene 我:是真的还是你开玩笑?Was is [sic] it real or you made it up?

在哥大上学的朋友: It is real! (开始我还以为是问有没有什么奖学金,然后他解释了一下他问题的意思我就被震惊了……

It is real! In the beginning I thought he was asking if there is any scholarship but then he explained what his question meant, for moment, I was shocked.

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Immigration: Chinese Americans

IMG_7265New York Historical Society is exhibiting the Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion (September 26, 2014 – April 19, 2015) Here are many individual stories. The weather was great, we took a walk in the Central Park. At the end of the exhibit, on a narrow hallway wall, it compiled this profile of Chinese New Yorkers. More pix on FB.

There was a man who was giving a tour. At one point, he asked if any one is watching FOB – Fresh of the Boat, the Chinese sitcom on ABC. Only a skeleton of hands went up, which reminded me of Amy Chua, the Tiger Mom 虎妈. Within the Chinese immigrants, there are gaps, or groups that don’t really socialize or see eye to eye or mingle.

The earliest Chinese came to America was the railroad labors from the coastal areas of China, mainly Guangzhou Province, (Eng Association) in the 19th century. Early 20th century, students from inland came to US to study, mostly sent by the government or paid for by the foundations in USA. 1957 two Chinese Americans won the Nobel Prize in Physics.

The 1989 Tiananmen Square protests prompted the formation of Committee of 100. I still remembered New York Times’ Fox Butterfield in his Building a Voice for Chinese in the U.S. (1991.06.22), invoked a sentiment of Asian Week on the Committee: “a high school student without a date, all dressed up with no place to go.”

Second half of 20th century, toward end, most students came to USA on their own, included if not started by (all my school mates) the generation born in the early 1960s.

IMG_7278 IMG_7284 IMG_7286 IMG_7292

A timeline shows the Chinese Americans have been making a stride (work in progress):

  • 1820, railroad labor, wikiCPRR,
  • 1854, Yung Wing 容閎 (Rong Hong; 1828-1912) graduated from Yale; an under grade, the first Chinese studying aboard.
  • 1882, Exclusion Act of 1882
  • 1896, Li Hongzhang lobbied for better treatment of Chinese while visiting NYC
  • 1930?, Liu Zhendong (刘震东 1906?-1984?); Qinghua to University of Missouri
  • 1925?, Wu Shiwei (Swain/吴士蔚; 1903-1989); College of William and Mary
  • 1928? Wang Jigao  (Chi Kao/王季高; 1905-1997); Qinghua to Colombia Uni
  • 1935, James Eng (19 -) born in NYC, my fathe-in-law
  • 1944, Zhou Yiliang (1913-2001) graduated from Harvard, PhD, my mom’s cousin;
  • 1957, Nobel Prize in Physics, Chen-Ning Yang (Yang Zhenning; 1922-)/ Tsung-Dao Lee 李政道 (Lǐ Zhèngdào;1926-)
  • 1962, James Eng married Dora Tam (19) of Hong Kong, my mother-in-law
  • image1980, only Asian boy in the GNS graduating class (a couple of Asian girls; he skipped a grade)
  • 1984, Louvre Pyramid (complete in 1989) by I M Pei (1917- )
  • 1989, A Magazine (closed in 2001) by Jeff Yang (1967-)
  • 1990, Committee of 100Henry S. Tang
  • 2011, our children’s graduating classes at GNS 2011 & 2012 – over 50% was Asian

IMG_7294 IMG_7296 IMG_7299 IMG_7301

A few other facts:

IMG_7303 IMG_7304 IMG_7306 IMG_7307 IMG_7314 IMG_7315 IMG_7322 IMG_7288


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National Grid

The gas company had been coming to read my usage ever since. The employee would ring the bell and go to the meter in the basement many times a year. Most times he (always male) went about his business and was gone. A few months ago for some reason I struck up a short conversation with a talkative one who told me that the company will soon be installing a new gadget that would allow them to read from a driving car.
“Drive-by shooting?” I asked.
“Ha ha ha, you can say that.”
“Why not install something that links with your computer directly, without having to drive around the neighborhood?”
“Good idea but I’m not in the management….”

IMG_6897 IMG_6904 IMG_6899 IMG_6901

Today, a snowy day, a staff came by (he’s nice enough to take off his shoe covers) and announced that he’s going to install that thing, to allow the drive-by shooting.
My question to the company is, with Apple, Google and merits of American super duper technologies, you couldn’t possibly eliminate this step?

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Profile of Chinese New Yorkers


According to New York Historical Society’s exhibit Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion (September 26, 2014 – April 19, 2015) – Map shows percentage of Chinese New Yorkers by borough, and neighborhoods ! with large Chinese American populations:.

  1. 40% Queens
  2. 37%, Brooklyn
  3. 19%, Manhattan
  4. 2%, Staten Island
  5. 2%, Bronx

IMG_7317More facts:

  • Total NYC Chinese population 507,000 = 48% of Asian population = 6% of total NYC population
  • foreign-born NYC Chinese population 71%
  • Overall NYC immigrant population declined by -1% // Chinese immigrant population rose by 11%
  • NYC immigrants who becoming citizens 51% // NYC Chinese immigrants who becoming citizens 54%
  • Limited English proficiency: NYC overall 23% // NYC Chinese 61%
  • Median household income: $50,000 NYC overall // $47,000 NYC Chinese
  • Did not obtain high school diploma: 21% NYC overall // 38% Chinese
  • Household owning their home: 32% NYC overall // 45% NYC Chinese


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Brother Sway 北美崔哥

imageHe’s been pretty popular lately with his acid and timely jokes. (His weibo site and sina blog) I think the first post I read of his was the immigration joke, last year. Over times, I enjoyed reading more and, more. The other day, a friend asked if I’d like to have dinner with him I readily agreed. So we met at the EverGreen in the midtown. He’s fun and down to earth. He’s also an empty nester and looks like he is enjoying it, making a name for himself in China, USA and everywhere. 纽约桃花 was at the dinner and she wrote this: 眼见为实的北美崔哥, 好一个实诚的北京爷们   .. It’s very much what I heard and how I felt. Thanks New York Peach Blossom. The Chinese New Year is coming and he’s in town (New York) to celebrate with the world. Spring Festival Celebration 春晚 has becoming a such production, I ought to watch it tonight.

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Amy Chua and Experience: I’ve slept with 3,000 men

Reading this on the Guardian, I thought about what Tiger Mom said last night.

Her younger daughter Lulu who’s a freshman at Harvard, told her that she and her husband should go on a TV interview together – as a couple, so she could get paid $1000 as a fee. Amy was curios, asking what kind of TV program it is.

“Swingers Club” her daughter confessed.


🐯妈问 “这是什么样的电视节目?”


image image image image

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A night out with Amy Chua


文学 wenxue

One cold morning in 2011 a Jewish friend sent me a link from WSJ and joked,

“How Chinese are you that you let your children have sleepovers?” Our kids had many sleepovers.

She referred to Tiger Mom 蔡美儿 Amy Chua’s book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. I read it and enjoyed it as a light heart self-deprecating memoir to raise her two marvelous daughters. Three years later, she and her husband published another controversial book, The Triple Package.

If anything, she or they are shrewd marketers.

Both books, have confused the hell out of many readers and media alike – they just didn’t get it. So when I have a chance to break bread with her, I went, even I have to drive 40 miles into New Jersey, a state clearly doesn’t like me – every time I ventured south, I get lost.

Professor Chua is very slim and energetic, loves to talk and could talk up a storm. She is an extrovert, teaches international business transactions at Yale. She’s down to earth and blunt. She had a New York Times bestseller (World on Fire 2002) prior to the Tiger Mom but the immediate media assault was enormous and that she did not anticipated. The media descended on her, they interviewed everyone around them, camped out at her daughters’ schools. NBC Today show Meredith Vieira (?) asked her up front: “Yes or no are you a monster.”

I do wonder why the media and some readers didn’t get her books? They aren’t that difficulty to decipher. Just read the books. Gosh.

image image image image

Amy’s rather bitter when Thomas Friedman and Nicholas Kristof wrote her privately to lend their support but silent in public.

She’s on her sabbatical from school to do the publicity this year/semester. She entertained us with her trip to Davos in 2011, scheduled on the same panel with Larry Summers. However, the conference organizer decided to change subject at the last moment, to parenting. Chua mused: what does Summers know about parenting?

imageDuring the Davos conference, since she was never socialized at that level, felt kind of lonely. The MacKenzie party was the hottest ticket but she was not invited.

“I looked around, knew no one, totally alone. So I decided to cut my lose and go back to my hotel. My flight was following morning at 4am (not sure I heard it right)”.

She hadn’t have dinner and thought about the $60 hamburger at her hotel was too expensive. “The daughter of two immigrants in me” saw the nicely spread and used napkin to grabbed sushi. On her way out, she then saw the delicious juicy beef. Looked around, she saw no napkin. Too delicious to pass off, with her two bare hands, she grabbed two and put them into her coat pockets (I did not make this up! Her words.). Just then Sheryl Sandberg discovered her and came over to greet her.

she still uses crackberry

she still uses crackberry

“Hanging in there.” She encouraged Amy and asked if Amy would join her to MacKenzie’s party. Sandberg also called over Timothy Geithner to meet Chua .. then came Bill Clinton. All the while her beef was dripping.

There was an gentleman, in his 60s at dinner who said he knows a partner at the law firm (Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton) she once worked,

“I called him and said, ‘you missed the boat with Chua.'” The Partner obviously also read the WSJ book review, replied,

“Yes we did. She would be fantastic to train our new associates.”

I saw her on the panel with Jeff Yang after the Fresh Off the Boat sitcom a few days ago so asked her about it, thought she knew the host of saw the show. Neither. Did I detect a bit contempt or unworthy [不肖]?

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JP Morgan Chase and Jue

imageThis picture shows the father Gao Hucheng left, with US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Look at their hand shake. Geithner seems grabbing better part of Gao’s hand, as if holding on to his dear life.

What is the ulterior motive for the father who welds so much cloud in China – he’s the commerce minister, yet was willing to go the extra mile to secure a banking job in New York for his son? The Americans like to say that three-strikes you’re out:

  1. Performed ‘very poorly’ in job interviews
  2. appeared to be  ‘irresponsible’ and ‘immature’
  3.  sent sexually explicit email to HR

I’m just wondering what did this poor fella have to do to lose? Daily Mail observes the following:

  • Gao Jue, son of Gao Hucheng, hired by JP Morgan in New York in 2007
  • Performed ‘very poorly’ in job interviews – but was offered coveted role
  • Also allegedly branded ‘irresponsible’ and ‘immature’ by senior banker
  • And he sent sexually explicit email to HR, according to JP Morgan emails
  • But despite his behavior, Gao Jue was kept on amid massive job losses
  • Father ‘said he would “go extra miles” for the bank if it did not fire son’
  • Federal inquiry has now been launched into firm’s Asian hiring practice 
  • Ex-White House Chief of Staff, William Daley, was also named in report


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They love their country

Red Army (2014) is a short (85 minutes) documentary by Gabe Polsky. We saw at Lincoln Center theater on Thursday 1/29.

I enjoyed it. It’s about ice hockey game, in the former USSR, the Russian Five; the NHL trying to recruit them. The Russians are relying more on finesse – they take chess and ballet, than brut force.

Slava Fetisov recounted his career. In many ways, his was similar to China: the training, the obstacles, being isolated, eventual was able to play for the New Jersey Devils and won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings. He then would accept President Vladimir Putin’s offer to be the Minister of Sport. In this, he showed that he wanted to make his country better. It’s the same as Li Na, whom was featured on the 60 Minutes the weekend before.

Many Americans/media/journalists don’t understand, in spite of the harsh treatments, Li and Fetisov all returned to their own country and trying to make it better. I felt during this interview, Li Na’s victory, Lesley Stahl’s  questions, were lead on. Lesley Stahl was pandering to the public. The American, in general get their idea about China from Lesley Stahls. The general public doesn’t know any better.

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Florist 花商

It’s the flower time – Valentine’s Day is coming. I’ve used the following florists in the past. Blooms Today is primarily for overseas. For United Kingdom I used another one – can’t remember the name off handily. The review for 5-7 back in 2011. page

  1. Pro Flowers
  2. Blooms Today
  3. 1-800 Flowers
  4. Flowers by FTD
  5. Flora Queen
  6. Flora 2000
  7. Germany Flower Shop

This picture, a mixture of 20 ruby red tulips and 20 deep blue iris with Rocky Mountain chocolate is the most recent one I ordered. My decision to go with this one was because it’s a painting than photography.

I’ve dealt with them all and ordered from 1-5. I found the 1-800 Flowers is the most difficult to navigate. Other than this I do not feel one is better than the other. When in need, I get on their sites, and check quickly to see what do they have to offer. Usually a particular arrangement that catches my fancy hence the order.

Once I attended the funeral and saw the flowers I ordered from one of the sites, found the flowers were old – over blooming.

When you order the flower arrangement and chocolate, most times, you’ll have to play the shipping charge separately (it’s about US$15), unless it’s their bond-together promotional item.


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Chinese grocery stores in New York

In general I don’t have complains because I don’t look when I shop. My attitude is always, grab them and run. More than once the cashier told me that a few strawberries (or something) in the pack were rotten. I could not thank them enough.

imageI eat a lot of hot pot year around and have talked about hot pot meat in the past, specifically about New York Mart (on Yelp and here). The Koreans make better presentation but their meat are usually thicker and tougher. Two weeks ago, I picked up a pack of lamb at xx and was surprised by the good quality: thin and no garbage at the bottom.

Yesterday I went again and picked up a pack of lamb and a pack of beef (see pix above). The sliced lamb costs $7.99 per pound while the fatty beef at $7.59. I take three pictures of each, from the top to the middle and the bottom. The lamb is more or less stays true throughout.

image image image

However, the beef below is less desirable on the bottom:

image image image

Here are what the Koreans do with their meat

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