A Tale of Two Cities

Can we trust what a politician say, or are politicians all liars?

Dr. Henry Kissinger is world renowned American politician or top diplomat. In one of his memoirs (he wrote many!), he wrote that departing from a monochrome drabness, the stifling conformity Communist country (with the exception of China) always gave him an overwhelming sense of relief. The communist country in this paragraph referred to Hanoi.

I have never visited Hanoi but learned from books that she was founded in the year 1010; conquered by the French in 1873, and was the center for French Indochina from 1883 to 1945 and capital of Vietnam after 1946. Think of east meets the west, Hanoi is indeed colorful and diverse. Monochrome drabness and stifling conformity were definitely not the words to describe a city with over millennium of history and under the ruling of  the French.

Kissinger’s (1923 G) China/Beijing (the book was published in 1982), in fact, was monochrome drabness, the stifling conformity. I clearly remembered Mrs. Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013) said of China, … unpleasant place governed by rather unpleasant people.

How was telling the truth? Sure different people have different opinions. But Kissinger’s portrait of China was a surprise to me, too good to be true.

1982. ‘单色的单调,令人窒息的一致性’ 这是描写一个亚洲共产国家
据基辛格说的这’单色 窒息’的国家/城市是河内
基老在开玩笑吗?河内可是过千年的都市. 而且被法国人占据过. 您觉得没骨气贱法会没有光绪会建造,会用色彩?

记得英国铁娘子撒切尔觉得中国是个 unpleasant place governed by rather unpleasant people 谷歌翻译: 不愉快的地方由相当不愉快的人管理.
当然他们虽然是同代欧洲人. 但是基爷是咱们的老朋友. 没看到现在都颤颤巍巍的,但是一声吆喝,还不是屁颠屁颠去北京上朝? 铁娘在北京的机遇就非常不幸.她去北京准备和一个弱者谈判. 结果咱们小老鹰的邓爷, 吊着二郎腿, 吐着青烟 “谈判?我是叫你来还我香港的.”
目测: 基爷就是一个大忽悠, 至少在这点上. 整个马屁精 … 意见观点还值得考虑吗?

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Free Impatiens balsamina 凤仙花

I got this flower pot for free at my local supermarket. The sticker inside reads Grape.

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The soldier Lin Biao 小卒林彪

Lin Biao callimrpahied this Long Live Chairman Mao as a gift to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, according to  Chinese posters – all posters in this post are from this site too.

The following four images, obviously were from different time: before Lin’s sudden death and after.

Still, there isn’t an official account as what and why Lin was fleeing China in 1971.

One of his famous quotes during the Cultural Revolution was, “理解的要执行, 不理解的也要执行” (execute it regardless you understand it or not)  I thought about this when I read a Wall Streeter said about his success is, “… because my agenda takes a back seat more times than not to the master plan whether I understand that or not.”

They sounded the same but one came from a Chinese revolutionary and one from a capitalist, two generations apart (one was born in 1907 and one in or about 1962). Who’s copying whom, or it’s a universal wisdom?

Being a good soldier is important. But to what degree? If the underline is following his or her boss or organization’s directive, how inventions/improvements/new ideas are born and implemented?

一个华尔街的 lifer (从一而终的人 … 好女不2嫁) 归功他的成功 “…  my plan takes a back seat than the master plan whether I understand that or not.” = 明不明白都听从党的指挥 (希望没有翻译错)

这令到我想起林副主席文革时说 “… 理解的要执行, 不理解的也要执行…” (希望没有理解错)

虽然是出自2代人的口, 但是普世价值没有变. 也许做个好卒的基本需要东西方的标准都是一样的. 但是另外想想, 如果都跟足照章办事的话, 我们还会有 谷歌 苹果 亚马逊?

戏想 还好, 毛主席没有太高瞻远瞩 向华尔街多看二眼. 不然 林副主席的罪状又多一条 = 我上学时又得多背一个词. 鼠目寸光, 对于一个小学生来说还是挺好的.

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The lard

For a few decade, the lard were our cooking oil for dishes and butter for bread and rice.

Today, during a discussion of food in a wechat group, a friend wrote: 我还记得猪油拌饭,浇点酱油,如果能加一个荷包蛋,上天堂也!

I still remember mixing lard with rice (like the bibimbap), and add a little soy sauce. A poached egg would send me to heaven.

He was from Shanghai. I was in Beijing and the lard was mostly over my mantou – the steamed bun, like the butter over the bread. I too, added soy sauce too – usually before the lard.

Not many people use lard nowadays. But it’s really a tasty ingredient and so big part of our life. 

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Oh Google, lost in translation

I ate too muchy 吃饱了撑的

… meanwhile their stock googl is at all time high $1,277 (Apple aapl is only at $204 …)

btw, 那个不确定奶茶妹是否漂亮的人 有没有抄习之嫌 [Shocked]

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The steps I took to get my mammo report

What happened to Jim Clark’s WebMD since 1995?! With or without Mr. Clark, the medical industry is evolving, duh

I just went to take my annual exam of mammogram. The visible improvement came last year when my OBGY sent my prescription directly (I hope it’s electronic) to the radiology. In the past, IF I forgot to bring my referral/prescription, the radiology would make me wait while getting it from my OBGY – even I’ve been with this radiology for more than two decades.

Six days later, I got an email, saying I’ve message … you’ve got mail – a movie made in 1998. To get the message, I need to log into their website. And the long journey I have to take to get my report in PDF format:

  1. Today I got an email from the radiology, the subject line reads: You have received a secure message From NYU Langone Health.
    Never mind that I took the exam six days earlier, why can’t they send the report in the email?   
  2. I log in to their website but was unable to download a PDF.
  3. I call their office to ask why.
  4. the operator first transferred me to their tech department
  5. no one picks up … calling again, and am transferred to their billing department
  6. after giving info to verify my identity, the woman said, I have to sign a release form – “how could that be? I’ve been getting reports in the past … ” “new policy
  7. she emails me a pdf release form – but I am unable to sign off on it
  8. calling the 3rd time
  9. “You need to print it and sign and send it back to us.”
    wth!! I thought there shouldn’t be paper involved … save the tree and save our environment 
  10. the form arrived in my mail box, in a large envelope.
    She is considerate to enclose a postage paid envelope, thanks lord it’s small.
  11. I fill in the info where she highlighed in yellow – why ado they need to know the time I sign it?
    Is this info really relevant?
  12. go to the post office to mail it.
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An American Soldier

This opera is born out of tragic death of Private Danny Chen 陈宇晖 in 2011. It was composed Huang Ruo, libretto by playwright David Henry Hwang, premiered in 2018.

Having been cancelled once before, tonight’s discussion is the second attempt, moderated by Agnes Hsu-Tang @ NY Historical Society by the Park.

It’s a good program, in that both Huangs (David uses a different spelling) are candid and give us an insight and background to their artistic work. Ruo said that he gave a voice or addressed the Sergeant’s concern or intend, was to make Chen stronger (a weak soldier is a liability to the unit).  

The tenor (singer) Andrew Stenson who plays Chen was born in S Korea and adopted by American parents. As he grew up, he encountered many similar situations that Chen or many Asian Americans have been experiencing (like, “…really, where where are you from?” Or “emmm… your English is really good.”).

I thought of A Few Good Men (1992).

An interesting note: the pianist and bassoonist are white – normally (like in my children’s school), Asians are always in the pit, playing the instruments. 

新鲜出炉不久的歌剧 ‘美国大兵’ 是根据纽约唐人街长大的陈宇晖参军 因为忍受不了上司的折磨 自杀于阿富汗. 种族(歧视) 和现实 (上司说他不过硬 战场上同伙受累) …

联想到最近斯里兰卡的袭击 …  希望那个北欧丹麦的爸爸, 可以化悲痛为动力, 一举铲除害那群人虫!

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中国我心疼 …

The hour long documentary titled The Billionaire Immigrants (2016; 中文) was made by the British:

A look at some of China’s wealthy elite, who are obsessed with all things British and have the money to pay for them. From Savile Row suits to high-society debutante balls and million-pound racehorses.

There is this girl, Wendy, the daughter of a rich dad who made his fortune from doors (?) in China. She’s likable but wants to impress her dad; she attended a one-week course to learn manners, in the hope to participate in some kind of debutante ball. I’m wondering if the real debutante ball would take girls from such circumstances.

Sean (?) who wants to capitalize his connection with the super rich Chinese to start his concierge online business. He books a hotel room that cost £32,000 a night because the faucet is 24k gold;

Anthony, the business of Henry Poole on Savile Row (still 100% British owned), got himself a WeChat account and wants to attract Chinese customers;

A church – Selby Abbey – 200 miles south of London that is capitalizing on 周杰伦 Jay Chou who had his wedding there, even either him or his wife has anything to do with the church or religion. Never mind that I don’t know who he is but he has many fans. A couple who had married six months earlier went there to ‘get married’ again. Even ask to walk down the aisle again. The priest gladly said ‘sure’ … because all they care is …

… bring more money to our own coffers.

I feel hurt. Are two opium wars had taken the spine out of us?

What’s more? There is this Chinese business organization that dishes out dubious awards every years. New York has the same and I declined. Basically it’s a pay-to-play thing.

Just happened, I wandered into TR’s birth place this afternoon, which made a sharp contrast.

Manner is instilled, not learned in a week or two.

胡思乱想, 漫无目的, 是很重要的. 今天走进老罗斯福的出生地, 感触良多. 不幸的是我小气, 不肯花时间去漫游… 所以井底之蛙一个.

今天有个朋友贴了2016 英国拍的 亿万富翁移民,看看中国的一些富有的精英,他们痴迷于英国 并且有钱为他们的执迷不悟付钱。 从萨维尔街(Savile Row)套装到上流社会的首次亮相球和百万磅赛马。
湾迪一心想取乐她造门大王的爸爸。为了参加元媛舞會 她去了一个一周长的仪态训练。妈咪呀,一星期可以汉堡包长年累月浸配出来的东西吗?崩溃
娘娘哥 因为认识富有的同乡 所以想开展高端大气的保姆中间人的生意。 第一个客户住£32,000一夜的酒店 – 24金的。 记得带🕶️
周杰伦 (是谁?)结婚的教堂 – 虽然他和老婆和那个教堂没有毛关系 也不信那个教 – 但是周先生有很多粉丝 他们也去那里结婚 – 虽然已经结婚好久了 。。。然后还问 “我们可不可以再走一次。。。? 教父说 ‘当然可以’。。。只要付钱

湾迪没有选上去元媛舞會。 她得了个中国人办的什么奖 – 纽约也有这种骗人的奖。 还不如自己直接去买个奖杯

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Fan Bingbing 范冰冰

The plastic doll – 范塑料. She didn’t make the cover of the Vanity Fair but the writeup on her is length. It starts with her taxation problem from 2018. It also dispels her ‘son’ is, in fact her brother, 19 years younger.

One of the figures the articles provides is the movie screens in the US and China: 2,500 v 20,000. 

As to the cover, Beto O’Rourke did. I’m wondering if we are we going to have 100 Democrats presidential candidates by 2020? Imagine, Trump on one end – if he wins the nomination – and the other end has 100 eager challengers? The Donald certainly opens the door for the dreamers of any shape and shade who’s willing to dream bold and dream big.

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Do we need a bank?

I woke up to an 5:29 email saying that I have a check to review from Fraud Protection group at Chase. I called them right away. I didn’t log in is because log in is such a big production that I’ve given up. After verifying everything, my local branch said, “but the check has already been paid.”

So why was I getting the first email? Then half a day later, at 3:08pm I got the second email. To say time is running out at 4pm, pls verify the check. I called their 800 line, the operator and her supervisor are pretty rude and unhelpful. Seriously, IF I could give your the check # and the exact amount, do you still need to verify my ten other credentials?

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DR, Lime green orchid

A lime green orchid from Duane & Reade /Walgreen. I got a second one in July.


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The perils of learning in English

The Economist: Young children should be taught in their mother tongue instead
From the print edition | Feb 21, 2019

WHEN WINSTON CHURCHILL was at Harrow School, he was in the lowest stream. This did not, he wrote in “My Early Life”, blight his academic career, for “I gained an immense advantage over the cleverer boys. They all went on to learn Latin and Greek and splendid things like that…We were considered such dunces that we could learn only English…Thus I got into my bones the essential structure of the ordinary British sentence—which is a noble thing.”

Partly thanks to Churchill and the post-war Anglo-American ascendancy, English is these days prized, not despised. Over a billion people speak it as either their first or second language; more still as a third or fourth language.
English perfectly exemplifies the “network effects” of a global tongue: the more people use it, the more useful it is. English is the language of international business, law, science, medicine, entertainment and—since the second world war, to the fury of the French—diplomacy. Anybody who wants to make their way in the world must speak it. All of which has, of course, been of great benefit to this newspaper, which has floated on a rising linguistic tide.
It is not surprising that there is a surge in “English-medium” education all over the world. In some regions—such as East Asia and Latin America—the growth is principally among the rich. In others—Africa and South Asia, where former colonies never quite escaped the language’s grip—it is happening at all income levels. Parents’ desire for their children to master English is spurring the growth of private schooling; parents in the slums of Delhi and Lagos buy English-medium education in the hope that their children will gain a university degree, obtain good jobs and even join a glittering world of global professionals.
Where the private sector leads, governments are following. Some countries have long chosen to teach in English as a political expedient, because a local language would prove contentious. But even where public schools teach children in their mother tongue, or a local language, education authorities are switching to English medium, in part to stem the outflow of children into the private sector. That has happened in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan; many Indian states have started large or small English-medium experiments. In Africa most children are supposed to be taught in a local language in the first few years, but often, through parental pressure or a lack of textbooks, it does not happen.
Teaching children in English is fine if that is what they speak at home and their parents are fluent in it. But that is not the case in most public and low-cost private schools. Children are taught in a language they don’t understand by teachers whose English is poor. The children learn neither English nor anything else.
Research demonstrates that children learn more when they are taught in their mother tongue than they do when they are taught in any other language (see article). In a study of children in the first three years in 12 schools in Cameroon, those taught in Kom did better than those taught in English in all subjects. Parents might say that the point is to prepare children for the workplace, and that a grasp of English is more use than sums or history. Yet by year five the children taught in Kom outperformed English-medium children even in English. Perhaps this is because they gain a better grasp of the mechanics of reading and writing when they are learning the skills in a language they understand.
English should be an important subject at school, but not necessarily the language of instruction. Unless they are confident of the standard of English on offer, parents should choose mother-tongue education. Rather than switching to English-medium teaching, governments fearful of losing custom to the private sector should look at the many possible ways of improving public schools—limiting the power of obstructive teachers’ unions, say, or handing them over to private-sector managers and developing good curriculums and so on.
Pakistani Punjab has decided to end the English experiment; Uganda has introduced mother-tongue instruction in 12 different languages in the first four years of schooling. More should follow. After all, it was a good education in his mother tongue, rather than in the classics then favoured by the British aristocracy, that won Churchill the Nobel prize for literature.

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Horror game Devotion pulled from Steam

Fresh off the press

Devotion is a horror game designed by Taiwan-based Red Candle studio. Many players agreed that it’s pretty good but, hmmmm somewhere gone wrong, bec of similarity to someone important and sensitive …

Oh well…. oh boy ….

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Iwo Jima flag returns to Japan

S. Korea-based US airman returns Japanese flag taken as war trophy in Battle of Iwo Jima

Senior Master Sgt. Lowell Armstrong returns a World War II-era flag to family members of its original owner during a ceremony in Takasaki, Japan, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.

TAKASAKI, Japan — A South Korea-based U.S. airman brought a World War II-era Japanese flag to a small city in Gunma prefecture Thursday to complete a family mission started after his grandfather died nearly two decades before.

Senior Master Sgt. Lowell Armstrong, 44, presented the signature-covered flag to the family of Masashi Ito, who was killed in the bloody Battle of Iwo Jima on March 17, 1945.

Such flags were often signed by servicemembers’ families, neighbors, schoolmates and co-workers wishing for good fortune in war. The warriors would then fold the flag and carry it into battle.

Armstrong put on white gloves, unfolded the relic and presented it to Ito’s nephews, Michio Miki, 90, and Hideo Ito, 76, during a formal ceremony attended by local officials at Gunma Gokoku Shrine, which honors war dead.


Ito’s flag is covered with more than 30 signatures and messages wishing him good luck and congratulating him for joining the Japanese Imperial Navy.

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Two signed Japanese flags belonging to fallen World War II soldier Masamoto Abe have been returned to the his family in Yokohama, Japan.
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Family receives a second Japanese flag taken off soldier’s body during WWII
Ventura resident Tom Hodges contemplates the flag of a World War II Japanese soldier brought home by his father, Roy T. Hodges, as a wartime souvenir. Such flags were signed by family and townsfolk. Hodges is returning the flag to Japan through the nonprofit Obon Society, which tries to find the soldiers’ families.

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California man hopes Japanese soldier’s flag from WWII finds its way home

“I’m truly grateful that my grandfather kept this flag in great condition all these years and my family decided to return it to its rightful owners as we know how much it means to your family,” said Armstrong, who works in traffic management at Kunsan Air Base. “My grandfather would be happy that this flag is being returned.”

This signature-covered Japanese flag, taken as a war trophy during the Battle of Iwo Jima, was returned to the family of its former owner in Takasaki, Japan, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.

Armstrong’s grandfather, Lowell Armstrong, had not talked about his experience during the war nor about the Japanese flag. After his death in 2002, his son, Steve, took possession of the flag and began researching how to return it. He eventually reached out to the Obon Society for help in 2016.

The Oregon-based group, which assists Americans with returning Japanese flags taken as war trophies, helped identify Ito as the original owner last fall.

“Out of respect to his family, it is only right to return it,” Armstrong told Stars and Stripes days before Thursday’s ceremony. “From my understanding, the Japanese believe the spirit of the soldier lives on in the flag.”

Ito’s nephews said they were shocked to find that their uncle’s flag had survived after more than seven decades.

“It was a great surprise to have it returned like this out of millions of those that died [during the war],” Miki said. “I am thankful for the thoughtfulness of Mr. Armstrong’s grandson to return it like this.”

While such repatriations are common, Tuesday’s ceremony marked the first time an active-duty soldier returned one of the flags, according to Keiko Ziak, co-founder of the Obon Society.

“I am honored to represent my family in this return ceremony,” Armstrong said. “I was named after my grandfather … he was one of the kindest, hardworking men anyone would ever meet. He would do anything for anyone.”

Senior Master Sgt. Lowell Armstrong unfolds a World War II-era Japanese flag during a return ceremony in Takasaki, Japan, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.

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Anti-Semitism has spread through the Islamic world like a cancer

WaPo | 2019.2.14 | by Fareed Zakaria

In recent weeks, attention has focused on two freshman Democratic members of Congress, Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), both of whom are Muslim and have made critical statements about Israel and its most ardent American supporters. Their tweets and comments have been portrayed by some as not simply criticisms of Israel but rather as evidence of a rising tide of anti-Semitism on the new left.

I don’t know what is in the hearts of the two representatives. But I believe that Muslims should be particularly thoughtful when speaking about these issues because anti-Semitism has spread through the Islamic world like a cancer. (Omar and Tlaib are not responsible for this in any way, of course, but they should be aware of this poisonous climate.)

It should be possible to criticize Israel. Unfortunately, by phrasing the issue as the two new representatives sometimes have, they have squandered an opportunity to further that important debate.

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Lost in the Woods with James Brown’s Ghost

Wow … a fascinating story by Thomas Lake of CNN. The three parts investigation on James Brown started by a phon call made by Jacque Hollander.

Many deaths, questionable that included James Brown’s.

Lake reported on the unsolved murder of Darren Lumar, a son-in-law of Brown in 2009 that led to the phone call.

Good heaven …

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A panda

Does this orchid look like panda or Beijing Opera? And more: pinky, whity, BJ Opera.

It lasted to May 4.


May 4

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Ron Anejo Aniversario Pampero

Reserva Exclusiva

This rum is made in Venezuela – a country is in crisis at the moment. Best wishes for the people of Venezuela and may they choose the path that’s best for them. Because of the recent news I thought of this bottle I have for a long time. Drinking it straight and the taste is a little sweet and smoky – not bad even I won’t go out of my way to buy or drink -:)

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