Monday, March 28, 2005


Now that things are back to normal, we've suddenly become very busy this past week. We had visitors this weekend for the first time in a while, and we've started to even take walks together into downtown Alameda. Jenny has taken charge on a project to replace the foundation of our house. And I've even resumed reading in the bathtub.

Looking back at the past few months, I've come to realize that time is most precious, above all other things. Jenny continues to express disbelief that her father is no longer with us. Like me, she has such a clear picture of him in her mind that it is difficult to think of him as being deceased. I am grateful that my father seems to have avoided the worst with his cancer diagnosis, and so I continue to hold onto the thought that my parents will be around forever. But I know that's just wishful thinking.

And so I've started to do some background research on my father on the internet, focusing on his first few years in the US (1960-1964). Did you know that his first job was working for an New York-based engineering company called Gibbs & Hill. And that he was enrolled in graduate school at Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn? Obviously, work on my book has started.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Life is Beautiful

For personal reasons, I recently have not been posting any political or social commentary on my blog. Now that my father is on his way towards recovering from cancer, it is time for me to speak on the Terri Schiavo case.

While she is not on life-support, Terri Schiavo cannot feed herself and thus depends on a feeding tube for water and food. Her "husband" Michael Schiavo, with the assistance of sympathetic judges, is currently leading the charge to remove the feeding tube so that she can die of dehydration and/or starvation. Her parents are opposed to killing their daughter and are frantically appealing to the courts to reconnect the feeding tube.

Why does Terri Schiavo matter? Columnist Cal Thomas nails this one:
The Schiavo case should not be viewed in isolation. It is part of a flow that began in modern times with abortion-on-demand and will continue, if not stopped, with euthanasia. Once a single category of life is devalued, all other categories quickly become vulnerable.

Having been conditioned to accept killing, it will be a short step to killing Grandma and Grandpa in their "assisted living" centers. Someone will produce a document or hearsay testimony that the elderly person would have "wanted to die" in such circumstances and never intended to be a "burden" to their children. These are the stakes, and how the Schiavo case is decided will determine what many of us will face in the future.
As a father, I can say this. From the moment I knew that my wife was pregnant, my life had a new focus and reason. "Protect my children". That will be my reason for living every day until I die. May God Bless Terri Schiavo and her parents.

My Prayers Have Been Answered

I received some good news from my sister this afternoon. My father received the test results from the pathologist, and they were negative. The biopsy showed that the cancer cells did not migrate to the lymph nodes that the surgeon removed from his chest last week. But he's not completely out of the woods yet. The lung tumor biopsy showed that a small number of cancer cells may have also migrated out of the tumor into his lower right lobe. This means that my father will soon have to get surgery to remove the lower third of his right lung, as a preventative measure.

Still, I am grateful that my father has been spared from the worst-case scenario. And I would like to say "Thank you" to everyone that called or wrote to let me know that they were praying for my father's recovery.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Pictures of the Day

Russell hanging out with his Grandfather last fall Posted by Hello
Pop holds his grandson Punky for the first time last October Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Beast Rears Its Ugly Head

The news that I have been dreading arrived yesterday in a phone call from my mother. My father has cancer.

During exploratory surgery yesterday, the surgeon removed a 1x2 cm lump from the lower part of my fathers right lung, along with several lymph nodes from the upper chest. The cancer diagnosis on the lump from the lung came within a hour of the surgery, and confirmed the suspicions of my father's primary care physician. We will have to wait another day or two for the test results on the lymph nodes. The key to his condition are the lymph nodes. If they are not cancerous, then my father's chances of survival are quite good. Otherwise, he faces an uphill battle for recovery.

My father took the news well. Since he was first informed in January about the shadow that appeared on his chest x-ray, he has been in complete control of the situation. He speaks with his doctors regularly, and asks relevant and informed questions. All of the medical decisions are his, although he calls me and my sisters frequently for advice.

Earlier this month, he was given the choice between surgery or a minimally invasive procedure called a needle biopsy to determine the nature of the lump in his lung. After some agonizing and many discussions with my uncles and cousins (several of whom are physicians), my father made the choice to go ahead with the surgery. It turned out to be the right choice.

For the past three years, I have been working sporatically on a project to document my parents' life through videotaped interviews. I've also been bouncing around the idea of writing a book about them as well. The consequence of my father's diagnosis is the realization that I need to accelerate these projects, perhaps by taking a leave of absence to visit my parents or even through technological means (video conferencing?). My children need to know about their past, and I am afraid that I am running out of time to complete the job.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

To Hell and Back

Besides being the title of the late Audie Murphy's autobiography, "To Hell and Back" is an apt description of the past several days at home. The past week was characterized by two sick kids--dripping with mucus and delirious from fever--and one exhausted father (that's me). To use the analogy that someone at work mentioned, I had a "Perfect Storm" of unfortunate events occur all at once.

Now that I have had time to think about it, I believe that I've been suffering from exhaustion since Punky was born six months ago. Where with one child I had some free time at night and on weekends, now there hardly a moment to spare. Basically, I have an 8 hour window to do everything I need to do at home, which includes sleep. Time to pay the bills? Then lose an hour of sleep. Read the paper or blog? That's another hour lost. And even if go to bed as soon as Russell and Punky fall asleep, there no guarantee that I'll fall asleep right away. So in reality, I typically get around 6 hours of sleep a night.

But what the weekends? Since my primary task on the weekends is to take care of the kids and take care of the house, I get even less rest than on weekdays when I have to work. I am probably the only person that I know that looks forward to Mondays because then I have an opportunity to take a break when I feel like it.

I'm not complaining. Just waiting for the day when the kids become more self-sufficient and I can take a night or two a week for myself. It's just that I had no idea how tough it would be, and it leaves me wondering why so many Chinese families of the past generation (my own and Jenny's included) decided to have so many children. How did they ever manage it without going crazy?

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Why Do I Feel So Lousy?

I've been sick for nearly a week, and I can't explain why I'm not getting any better. Persistant cough with a slight fever. I'm taking Cipro for a possible lung infection, but it doesn't seem to help much. I get home and all I want to do is collapse in bed. That's why blogging has been light.

Finally over his fever, Russell is back to his usual self. Punky--knock on wood--has not been sick yet. Jenny says that he wasn't happy to get vaccination shots at his doctor's appointment today.

I hope to get some rest this weekend. Jenny's mom is coming to visit for the first time since her father died. Oh yeah, and tomorrow is my birthday. Yippee.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Why the Mainstream Media Is Becoming Irrelevant

There's a reason why the mainstream media (ABC, CBS, CNN, NY Times, Washington Post, etc.) has been steadily losing its audience over the past several decades. To many readers, it's become obvious that they haven't got a clue. When evil stares at them in the face--whether it's Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Idi Amin, or Osama Bin Laden and their ilk--today's Western reporter refuses to pass judgment on these unapologetic mass murderers.

Recently, Barbara Demick from the Los Angeles Times submitted a puff piece on the evil nation that is North Korea. The title of the article, "North Korea: Without the Rancor" should tell you all you need to know about Ms. Demick's fawning interview of a North Korean intelligence agent and "his side of the story".

Radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt challenged Ms.Demick's article, and sent her several questions along with a request for an interview. Her responses typify what is wrong with today's mainstream reporter.

Q: Do you think Kim Jong Il is an evil man?
A: We reported last summer that Kim Jong Il spent millions importing gourmet foods, cookbooks and chefs for himself while his countrymen were starving. One can judge from there.

Q: Do you think Kim Jong Il and his government are responsible for the famine of the '90s.
A: Yes

Q: How many people does your research tell you died in the famine?
A: Up to 2 million, about 10 percent of the population

Q: Did Kim Jong Il and his government obstruct international relief efforts during the famine?
A: Yes
I am sickened and frightened that people who have the power today to decide what most people see as "news" don't have either the common sense or the moral outrage to see Kim Jong Il for what he really is. Demick's wimpy answer ("One can judge from here") shows us how far the mainstream media has slipped into irrelevance. If a reporter cannot take a "right vs. wrong" stand on a dictator that has starved to death at least 10% of the population and driven hundreds of thousands into China (of all places!) to seek freedom, then surely this individual needs to have his or her head examined.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Pictures of the Day

Russell plays with his MagnaDoodle before calling it a night Posted by Hello
Punky relaxes on Mommy & Daddy's bed Posted by Hello

Friday, March 04, 2005

Hint to Europe: It's Not a Wine Cellar

Charter Axis of Evil member Iran is busy working on some underground storage facilities. From AP:

Iran is using reinforced materials and tunneling deep underground to store nuclear components - measures meant to make the facility resistant to "bunker busters" and other special weaponry in case of an attack, diplomats said Thursday.

The diplomats spoke as a 35-country meeting of the UN atomic agency ended more than three days of deliberations focusing on Iran and North Korea, another nation of nuclear concern.

An agency review read at the meeting faulted Tehran for starting work on the tunnel at Isfahan without informing the International Atomic Energy Agency beforehand.

The review said Iran, following prodding by the IAEA, has over the past few months provided "preliminary design information" on the tunnel in the central city that is home to the country's uranium enrichment program, and said construction began in September "to increase capacity, safety and security of nuclear material."
When will the Europeans finally get the message? Iran will stop at nothing to get the atomic bomb--it's as simple as that.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

A Prayer for My Father

O Father of mercies and God of all comfort, our only help in time of need: We humbly beseech you to behold, visit and relieve Your sick servant for whom our prayers are desired.

Look upon him with the eyes of Your mercy; comfort him with the sense of Your goodness; preserve him from the temptations of the enemy; and give him patience under his affliction. In Your good time, restore him to health, and enable him to lead the residue of his life in Your care, and to Your glory; and grant that finally he may dwell with You in life everlasting.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

It is (Almost) Time to Start Gloating

When the Washington Post starts to see things in the Middle East going according to George W. Bush's plan, you know it's only a matter of time before more liberals hop on the "We're winning the War on Terrorism" and "Democracy for All" bandwagon. From Volume 11 or 12 in the series of "Maybe Bush Was Right" commentaries (with many more to come):

As thousands of Arabs demonstrated for freedom and democracy in Beirut and Cairo last week, and the desperate dictators of Syria and Egypt squirmed under domestic and international pressure, it was hard not to wonder whether the regional transformation that the Bush administration hoped would be touched off by its invasion of Iraq is, however tentatively, beginning to happen.

Those who have declared the war an irretrievable catastrophe have been gloating for at least a year over the supposed puncturing of what they portray as President Bush's fanciful illusion that democracy would take root in Iraq and spread through the region. They may yet be proved right. But how, then, to explain the tens of thousands who marched through Beirut last Monday carrying red and white roses and scarves -- the colors of what they call the "independence intifada" -- and calling for "freedom, independence and sovereignty" from neighboring Syria? Or the hundreds of Egyptian protesters who gathered that same day at Cairo University, in defiance of thousands of police officers, to chant the slogan of "kifaya," or "enough," at 76-year-old President Hosni Mubarak?
One thing is for certain: None of this would be possible if George W. Bush hadn't given the order to destroy the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden's terrorist sanctuaries in Afghanistan, and then send a quarter-million US troops into Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein's murderous regime. Diplomacy is by far a better choice for resolving disputes than war. But diplomacy without the credible threat of war means nothing.

Meanwhile, many Democrats and liberals are left dumbfounded and scratching their heads, wondering what to say next. If recent history is a guide, they're going to fall back on the "accident of history" argument, as they tried, unsuccessfully, to do with Reagan.

This should be a serious warning sign to the liberals. They're not just on the wrong side of US politics anymore. Their whole ideology is facing irrelevance and utter failure on a worldwide scale.