Friday, May 25, 2007

Stanford Impostor

Yet another Korean American has made headlines.

A young woman from my neck of woods faked her way through Stanford masquerading as a student for eight months before her ruse eventually unraveled.

Not only did she manage to fool her parents and high school friends back home into thinking that she matriculated at one of the world's most elite universities, but she also tricked her way into a dorm and lived with a couple of roommates who believed her story and allowed her to squat in their room for months.

I was set out to write a long philosophical essay about overbearing Asian parental pressures which I am sure contributed to this woman's sad life of deception she felt she had to concoct to appease her parents.

Forget it. A three day weekend is upon us, and now is the time for the immature and shallow.

Here is the best part of the story:
Still, Kim had neither a Stanford ID nor a key, forcing her to sneak into meals and enter her room through its window..... Zhou (impostor's roommate) never noticed, as she spent nearly all her nights in her boyfriend’s room.

Speaking of strict Asian parents:  Miss Amy Zhou, you are so busted.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Time Zones

We live in a country whose landmass traverses over multiple time zones. There aren't very many others like ours if you stop to think about it. My native homeland is a tiny peninsula and the country is so small that it shares the same time zone with its neighbor Japan.

So while the lower 48 states alone cover a large swath of land stretched over four time zones, Korea and Japan are squeezed into just one.

I still have trouble with this whole concept which is a source of great annoyance. I've missed more than a few nationally televised events because of my failure to accurately translate the Eastern Standard Time to my local Pacific Standard Time.

It drives me crazy. Object oriented computer programming is so much easier.

Try to look at this from my point of view. The East Coast, which is to my east is three hours ahead. I get that. Kinda. And my relatives in Korea, which is to my west across the Pacific Ocean are also hours ahead of me. Both sides are ahead of me. Think about it.

Everybody in the whole world, regardless of whether they are to your east or west, is head of you if you live on the West Coast.

Got any funny stories to share related to time zones?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Going Aboveground in China

This NPR story greatly heartened me. Please follow the link and be sure to listen to the audio which is more extensive than the text version.

The story is about an American Christian aid worker named Tim Baker and his wife who have dedicated their lives to the welfare of Chinese orphans whose numbers have reached epidemic proportions largely stemming from China's one-child policy.

Baker and his wife went to China initially as "underground missionaries" since it is technically illegal to proselytize in the Communist nation. As a workaround, many Christian organizations have sent missionaries to the country disguised as secular professionals who go there not just to work, but to engage people, befriend them, and to "share the gospel" in the process.

You may see the tactic as bait and switch, but given the country's restrictive entrance policy, many understandably see it as the only option to reach the world's most populous nation.

What sets apart Tim Baker is that he has gone aboveground. If you listen to the audio version of the NPR story, you will hear Tim Baker and his associates spontaneously bellow out Amazing Grace in Chinese. In most parts of China, Christians can only dream about singing out hymns out in the open.

The Chinese authorities obviously know about Baker's faith and his openness about it, but yet remain cooperative. When asked about how he has managed it, this soft spoken Wisconsin native quotes St. Francis of Assisi:
Preach the Gospel every day, and if necessary, use words.
He continues, "I want people to see my faith, not hear about it so much." Then he follows up with a Chinese proverb:
Seeing something once beats hearing about it a hundred times.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Seven things about me

Tagged by "Sir" Nathan.

Emerging Grace has tagged me as well, but she only asked for five interesting things about me, which I have yet to respond to, but this time the count has increased to seven.

So I thought I'd respond before the count went up to 100.

1. Back in college, I was a member of a social fraternity named Alpha Gamma Omega. It billed itself as a "Christ-centered" organization whose membership was open only to born-again Christians. The house rules strictly prohibited drinking and dancing which is my excuse for my pathetic dance moves.

2. In 1992, I campaigned for Bruce Hershensen who was Barbara Boxer's rival for the US Senate. I doubt if anyone in Congress today can out-conservative him.

3. I have lived in three different countries - Korea (birth to 5, 7-14), Japan (6-7), and US (since age 14).

4. I aced all three Spanish classes in high school. Nobody came close even though many of my classmates were of Hispanic descent and I was only one year into studying English. But I think it actually worked to my advantage since my brain was already wired to pick up a new language.

5. Not having much to do when school was out, I watched soap operas as a language learning exercise. How in the world am I gonna assimilate into this country of mental cases? I lamented just after two episodes of 'Days of Our Lives.'

6. I have always harbored a deep seated resentment of authority. My grandfather of all people taught me to be that way, which wasn't very Asian of him, to say the least.

7. A root canal sounds much more appealing than having to come up with interesting things about me. My grandfather was a lot more interesting than me. Will blog about him one of these days.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I am still staying here. Not that desperate

What is the deal with single women and bad weather?

(click to enlarge)

(HT: Creative Class)

Monday, May 07, 2007

Two-headed Politician?

Watch this Youtube campaign clip from Dennis Kucinich, a Democratic presidential hopeful vying for his party's nomination.

You don't have to watch the whole thing; just the first few seconds will do.

What is the deal with the young woman standing behind him? She is just standing there with her presence taking up almost half the screen making him look two-headed, but yet Kucinich does nothing in the way of introducing the woman. Then the camera zooms out revealing the rest of the crowd flanking him adorned with campaign signs, and the clip ends.

Who exactly is taking centerstage here? If she is the candidate's daughter whom he is showcasing as most politicians do with their children in order to portray themselves as a family man, then the camera work leaves much to be desired. And also, the guy can certainly use John Edwards' $400 haircut.

What is up with the woman's prominence in the clip with no explanation whatsoever? I kept asking, is this guy an aspiring beauty pageant MC or a presidential candidate? When I pointed this to my political junkie friend, he told me that the young woman is his WIFE.

Dennis Kucinich is 60, and the woman 29. Yikes!

My goodness. At age 41, I have come to terms with the realization that women in their 20's are now way out of my age range, and here comes a guy who is old enough to be my father marrying a young woman I consider too young for me.

Maybe I shouldn't summarily write off Britney any more.

Thank you for reading the most pointless posting ever to grace the blogosphere

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Murder on my street?!

Came home to be greeted by about 10 police cars parked just down the street from my house.

And the home just a few houses away has been taped off and the cops are walking in and out of the house as we speak. One of the onlookers says there are bodies in the house.

Nothing ever happens around here!!!!

I have never talked to the people in that particular house. They seem to pretty much keep it to themselves. There is a couple of elementary school aged kids I see walk to the school bus stop.

More details will follow for sure, but this is just too surreal. You just don't expect things like that to happen so close to you.

This is my second brush with a murder victim. At a going away party for my friend thrown by his landlady a few years ago and I engaged in small talk with a woman who lived right across the street. A university professor, she came across as a very bright, but yet unassuming and modest woman who was delightful to talk with.

About 6 months later, I got word from my friend that her ex-boyfriend mutilated her body into pieces and scattered them all over the house. And then he drove his car to a nearby freeway, parked on the shoulder, took all of his clothes off, placed them in a neat stack, and walked in front of a truck to get himself killed. Here is a media account for the tragedy.

So I am a bit shaken up right now. Please say a quick prayer for the victim family.

Update: The police department wouldn't release any information other than that an elderly person's life was in danger requiring medical care. No violent crime took place, according to the woman I spoke with. 10 police cars descending on my quiet neighborhood for that?

About a year ago, I witnessed a huge police presence in the neighborhood. Apparently some dufus was running around setting off fire hydrants.