Saturday, October 25, 2008

The joys of inanities

The Reuters interview was a small success, although it wasn't the one I had mentioned before. I sent the editor a thank you note the following day and she immediately responded that it had been a pleasure to meet me and that I should be expecting a call from her very soon. Good sign?

Hopefully ... a great sign.

If all goes well, I'll be working as an online editor for the company, handling the news for Canada, the US, and the UK. What a treat and a dream.

My mom's been fantastic, of course. She said that if I get the job, great. If not, she's taking me to the Bahamas. Now if that's not a sign of low expectations, then I don't know what is.

***

My sister and I were supposed to go jogging today. Instead, we ran around the kid's playground, pretending to be ninjas, airplanes, and spinning tops.

I also mistook a garbage can for a homeless man.

***

My mom tends to print out employee paycheck receipts on scrap paper. The other day, I turned one over and a penis stared back at me. "Vas deferens," I read aloud. Yup, definitely a drooper. I showed my mom. "Do you know April's receipt has a ... male organ behind it?"

"What you say?"

"Ma! You printed it on a diagram of a penis!"

"Ooooh. Cut off, please!"

She had taken my brother's health ed. activity sheet and used it, absent-mindedly, for work. Luckily for everyone else, the others only contained a hint of scrotum.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Conversation continued

My brother came into my room this morning to continue our conversation on oxymorons from last night.

Him: "What about a good robber?"

Me: "No."

Him: "A small tree."

Me: "No."

Him: "A short tall guy?!"

XKCD: Nerd Girls/A phantom toe in the door


I'm now the new editor-in-chief of a business school paper. 15 on staff, all boys. Oh, the excitement and trepidation. I've also been given carte blanche to restructure and revamp as needed. Next stop: Reuters. Choo-choo!

No, really. It is. Meeting the VP of the Canadian division in a few short weeks.

Unemployment sucks ...

***

Conversation with my younger brother this evening:

Him: "What's an oxymoron?"

Me: "Living dead. Jumbo shrimp. Words with contradictory meaning."

Him: "You mean, like, a wooden car or an underwater bird?"

Stick to math, my adorable little genius.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

And life goes on ...

After all that's happened, here's hoping I don't speak in clichés.

***

MArt and I broke up. We shared a joint on the balcony of his new place as the uptight Chinese couple next door slammed their screen shut.

"I love how I can see over the tree tops," he mused.

Red from exposure with the sun pulling moisture from his knees, MArt sat there content.

This was it, I thought. After nearly 2 and a half years together, we've finally acknowledged the inevitability of our demise. It was sad, yet not unexpected. A swan song of sorts, concluding the extended public performance we both endured.

My love for him now steadfast, I wish him nothing but the best.

***

Goodbye Montreal, here I come Toronto.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Much Ado About Nothing

I am neither a sports fanatic nor a jingoist, but this year's Olympics news coverage has just been godawful. I don't know what's worse: the snarky commentary or the innuendo hinting at China's "culture of cheating" and "fascistic" government. The level of condescension and arrogance seems to have risen to wartime heights, as if I was reading weeklies from 1942 preserved on microfilm.

The opening ceremonies proved to be a begrudging success until reports of lip-syncing and CGI-enhancement surfaced. (As if artificiality only happens in the realm of reality TV.) Of course, it didn't matter that the organizers openly copped to the fakery -- China's inherent deceitfulness will be entirely unveiled by the end of the games. I take issue with journalists -- and readers -- who feel that it is necessary to spin every news item as evidence of China's inferiority, a Cold War competition between an aging superpower and its century-old rival.

Martha Károlyi openly insulted the Chinese women's gymnastics team, calling the girls "half-people" and "little babies" (AP). Her husband, Béla Károlyi, spoke as an authoritative NBC commentator that he suspected foul play. Their supporters agreed: The Chinese simply looked too young, too immature, and were too "machine-like" to have deserved their gold medals. Yet, during the 1996 Atlanta Games, the Károlyis stayed uncharacteristically silent about Dominique Moceanu's under 16 status. (The gymnast would later accuse her coaches of mental and physical abuse.) Or Nadia Comaneci and her perfect 10s, drilled into the essence of her body at 14. In their defense, "Some are mature enough to handle it," said Béla at the time.

The issue has been made into a moralistic one when the use of lithe and nubile children is clearly pervasive in international competitive gymnastics (a movement the Károlyis spearheaded). When asked to comment by the NY Times, the Italian gymnastics coach Enrico Casella said, "... there will always be rumors that athletes are too young. Looks could be deceiving.

“'By looks, you could say that the United States is using doping. They are so muscular. My gymnasts in Italy aren’t that big. You begin to wonder how they got that way.'” (Link)

Now, I'm not saying passports can't be falsified, but hard work is self-evident. And for the untrained eye (which most of us possess), the decision to award the Chinese team with the gold could have easily gone either way. Both teams made mistakes, some just more glaringly so. But you try scoring with a Byzantine system averaged on a subjective scale.

Nevertheless, accusations of cheating has continued to follow China to the podium. Yang Yilin was scrutinized by Western reporters while her American gold and silver counterparts (Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson, respectively) were allowed to revel in their immediate glory. For Pete's sake, they are all supernatural beings who gave up having a normal life to compete for their country. So excuse me if I sound defensive when headlines like, "Meeting Chinese gymnast? Like jail visiting hour" (Link) are published, unheeded.

Most of all, it reminds me just how far America has fallen from its political and cultural rostrum. While its pundits accuse others of autocracy and hypocrisy, the rest of the Western world is in awe that they're still torn about putting an educated black man in power. (And don't even get me started on Canada's Pollyanna pettiness.)

Anyway, as for China's human rights record? I guess I'm a nihilist in this regard. I was born there, bred here, and arrived somewhere in the middle, so I'm equally supportive and skeptical of the universalist origins of human rights discourse. But I am especially dubious of the rhetoric attached. (Man, I sound like a prick.)

So maybe that'll be my next post: my unsolicited opinion about the ideological juggernaut that is "human rights" and the cultural assumptions that must be erected for its existence. Subtitled: Chinese people just have different rules, dude.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Shield your eyes ... then slowly open them

What do two very mature, university-educated women talk about on Facebook? Let's take a look:



Lily (July 30 at 7.40pm)
Remember when we used to speak, starry-eyed, about Gary Dourdan from CSI?

Here's a recent pic of him. What the hell happened?! It was the drugggs!!!

Haitian Pride (Today at 6.13pm)
I heard that he got kicked off CSI because he's a drug addict. He was THE reason why I used to watch that show. He WAS soo hot. Now he has a beer belly.... I need a drink.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Graduation 2008

After four exhilarating years, I will be taking off for lesser things in just over a month. Considering the ubiquity of useless liberal arts degrees (and my pocketing of 2 and a half), I'm starting to panic that I might be one of the unfortunate few who will be forced/coerced/drugged/volunteered for some kind of Asian prostitution ring.

Maybe I could aspire to be a Gypsy Rose Lee-type, someone who stimulates both meat and mind. Alas, the probability of that happening is zilch, not only because being Chinese means holding out for a rich husband to take care of any hooker-tendencies anyway, but because the whole Eliot Spitzer affair made me lose respect for high-class tricks in general. Who would have thought earning four-figures an hour literally came down to having a "beautiful vagina" (NYMag)? You mean, clients aren't always lonely men who need their bandages re-dressed in the company of a sympathetic topless ho, like in Dangerous Beauty (1998), starring Catherine McCormack as a Venetian courtesan whose bedroom skills changed the course of European history ... forever? Are you telling me "Girls Gone Wild" is now the equivalent of Hooker U. for the socialite set? That's just depressing. That said, does this mean anyone in it for reasons of "self-empowerment" are really delusional? Like, you're only as powerful as your pussy is in demand? In other words, it's 5 a.m. and I am putting way too much undirected energy into this thing.

So getting back to the real reason I decided to blog: My own personal schoolhouse blues. I've applied to Hong Kong and Singapore for potential editorial assistant positions, knowing Canada sucks for this sort of thing. Forbes Magazine had two openings, which I jumped on the moment they were put online, but I have yet to hear back from them.

It's been 4 days!

Then there's that Newsweek article published last December about rich kids (or more accurately, their parents) paying University of Dreams, an internship placement service, $6000 to snag competitive positions at leading American companies ($9000 for everywhere else). I've done three internships over the course of my academic career, thinking I would get a head start. But these people have no qualms about corrupting the competitive nature of a merit-based society; their clients' resumes pushed to the top of the pile because they've paid for the privilege. It worries me that some joker will be hailed as the next *rich, vilified, tabloid-friendly personality* without having lifted anything but a briefcase full of money. Of course, had I known about this service earlier, I would've totally bullied my parents into paying for it even if it meant selling off their He-and-Her Hondas and a portion of their sanity (refundable in 12 annual installments). Self-pitying aside, I'm definitely not above mentioning my ethnicity when an ad mentions that they're an "equal opportunity employer". I imagine my pride will just slowly deteriorate from there once food, health, and a budding meth addiction is suddenly compromised as I take "I'll do anything, anything!" to a whole other level.

P.S. While I realize prostitution might not be the best subject matter to be writing about in the interest of acquiring a proper job, if anyone happens to want to offer me one anyway, I'd be pretty thankful.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I had three dreams about death, and now she's gone ...

My aunt died from her year-long battle with cancer. It is still all very fresh. My dad waited a full day to tell me because he didn't want me to perform poorly on my exam. I am devastated and distraught. It hurts to breathe. My now-orphaned cousin sent me a video taken from her birthday a short while ago, and I can't stop crying.

My grandma, a normally stoic pillar of strength, has been breaking down in a constant stream of tears. It pains me to see her like this. A parent should never have to bury her child.

We are all suffering, each in our own way. I cannot seem to pull myself together from the shock. My aunt went in for a check-up last week, the doctors found something in her brain, she went home, and soon deteriorated at an unprecedented rate.

She flatlined some time between my dad going to the Chinese embassy and leaving with a traveler's visa. I can't imagine what he must be feeling right now. He devoted a substantial portion of our phone call tonight comforting me, telling me there is nothing we can change now, but I know he is desperate to be with the rest of his family in Beijing. "She liked you the best," my dad told me. "She was always asking how you were doing." We were alike in myriad ways, mostly laughable traits only we could appreciate. Tactless spendthrifts, curious and naive, I have an attachment to her only family can comprehend.

I love and miss her so much.