Why we chose to do it this way.

Much like the concept of God, Capitalism is a system that cannot be defined by a word. It is not a rock solid object, that can be easily seen or understood. Robert Reich, the former Secretary of Labor for the United States, recently said that the 26 richest people in the world have the same wealth in dollars as the 3.8 billion poorest. 26, the size of the OVS senior class, vs 3,800,000,000, the equivalent population of North America, South America, Europe, Australia, and Africa combined. So basically everything beside Antarctica. Yet this wealth distribution is not specific to the global level. The United States, prided for being a land of economic opportunity and no class boundaries (foregoing the dynamic of ethnicity). But as the year strays farther from the millennium, the more the middle class dissipates, leaving many in a sink or sink situation. Although the political statement-turned-meme “Okay, Boomer” is now annoying and a reflection of the younger side of Gen-Z, the economic proportions of millennials vs baby-boomers are astoundingly different. A common talking point of the difference between these two generations is real estate. At the same age, Boomers owned 32% of real estate in the United States, wheres Millennials owned 4%. (Business Insider). This isn’t just because old people have poor taste. Decent houses for low income and even entry level houses for average salaries are sparse. That, coupled with a stagnant minimum wage and record student debts (paired with record college educations per capita), make it more difficult than ever for Americans aged 20-40 to afford a house. Renting, although disproportionate to inflation, is still a cheaper option.

There are a million other examples of how I could list the caustic nature of the capitalism that we maintain as a nation, but as someone who must soon face these realities, I will stick with the most relevant. I don’t know why we chose to do it this way, but we have the ability to change it yet again. It’s just up to how much we are willing to sacrifice.

Image result for capitalism
Credit: Foundation for Economic Education

Some thoughts about the Wuhan Virus

A deadly virus has spread throughout China. With now 76 people killed, tens of thousands being possibly infected, death festers upon negligence and ignorance. Some fools choose to travel, knowing they’re infected with this crazily contagious virus. More and more innocent people, children, are dying for that idiocy. 

I’m anxious. Checking the updates on anything related to the virus has become my new habit. The ones I care the most about are in China, and tomorrow they could be dead… all because of that damned negligence. 

But at the same time, I feel sad. What are the infected supposed to do? Sit down and die? How can you blame anyone when the whole plot is sad, when it is your townspeople you’re talking about, when it’s your friends and loved ones’ lives on the line. 

Now I’m in dispute with myself. I don’t know what to write. Thinking that you’re lucky, that you’ve escaped the virus, that the deaths of other people are irrelevant… I don’t know what to think. 

At first you’re in shock, then relaxed, thinking that they’ll have the cure developed by tomorrow… isn’t it the 21st century? Then anxiety hits. You start a journey looking for the antidote for the virus, but there’s no antidote for you.

It’s the Chinese New Year. After a year of struggling, most people finally get some rest. Families get together, friends gather… and boom…

My hometown in the same province as Wuhan City, where the virus first started to murder. Now the province is under lockdown. For that, I pray for my family. 

My mother hasn’t been healthy for a few years. I worry for her well-being, now that a deadly virus walks the earth. My sister feels ill, I hope it’s just a cold…

However, there is a silver lining. And how can one go on without faith?

Today, the first step toward curing the disease with vaccination has been initiated. 

Ok. 

photo credit:gfycat.com

Chinese New Year

It’s that time of the year, Asian new year. Asian new year is one of the biggest holidays in countries like Korea and China. We get to gather around with families that we weren’t able to meet for a while and celebrate each other by eating different kinds of food and talking about how their life has been. This is time of the year, where I want to go back to my own country. I always think about how fun it would be to spend time with family and relatives and laugh about stupid stuff, while I’m in my room laying on my bed. I wish one day I could celebrate Asian new year with my family and relatives.

Black Mamba

While I was enjoying the beautiful weather of Ojai this morning, I got a text from my friends that made my heart drop, “Kobe Bryant was found dead with his daughter after the helicopter crash.” When I got this text, I thought it was some kind of joke or rumor that some people were spreading, and after checking all types of social media, I realized that it was true. I just couldn’t admit that my all-time favorite basketball player would leave us like this. There have been a few tragic events like this, but Kobe’s death just hit different to me. Kobe Bryant was the first player that I knew from basketball, and while me and my friends were playing basketball, I remember shouting “Kobe!” when I took the shot. He was a great mentor for a lot of people including me in and out of the court. Kobe Bryant might be gone in real life, but he will always have a special place in our hearts.

Rest in peace, Kobe Bryant.

PC: Basketball network

Objectified

ob·ject
noun
/ˈäbjekt/
1.
a material thing that can be seen and touched.

                                    …

Dear strong, capable, powerful, being,

you are not an object.

Nowadays, many people are objectified. Not just for sex, but for money, popularity, and much more.

Dear strong, capable, powerful, being,

your purpose is not just to fulfill the wants of others.

You are beautiful. You are intelligent. You are unique.

And you are here on this earth to do much more than to satisfy someone’s wants or desires and then to be put on the shelf until they want you again.

No person is single-use. No person is only good for one thing. No person is an object.

And no person deserves to be treated like one.

Photo credit: artsyrose.com

IDK

Sometimes recently, I feel completely lost.

I just, I just don’t know anymore.

In the past, I really hated to say the phrase “I don’t know.” Every time when I say that, I feel I am weak. I hate myself being weak.

But recently, I say this phrase more and more often. I really want to avoid it, but I just can’t help.

Saying “I don’t know” is much easier than saying something else. No need to think, no need to explain, no need to worry about the consequence.

And sometimes, I just really don’t know, and I don’t want to find out the answer either.

I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, I don’t know what the future will be like.

I know I need to make some changes, but I don’t know where to start.

PC: gfycat.com

But….. I remember Socrates said that “I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.”

I guess maybe it’s not that bad to say “I don’t know.”

a scene from a 2000s christmas

photo credit: floridamemory.com

The beach houses that my mother would find always seemed so big to my four-year-old perspective. 

With a staircase that I remember to be spiraling and

a brown and cream-colored chess board in the middle of a large living room

which was later to be covered in wrapping paper is what this house seemed like to me at the time. 

My mother was always frantically scurrying around the house to make sure everything was perfect for my grandmother, 

meanwhile, she didn’t mind the imperfections but simply didn’t have the power to say anything. 

The uncles were catching up as the oldest was in Chicago and the youngest was living his life in Australia.

My brother, was playing with his GameBoy, 

eyes locked to the screen. 

My grandfather was looking at the beams and the ceilings to find some reason why the house wasn’t architecturally perfect in his eyes.

And then there was me, either in the corner or on the couch next to my grandmother, where I would play with my Polly Pockets being relatively quiet.

/ / /

I do not remember a lot at the houses except for the people and the feelings surrounding the time.

The presents and all the other material items around me did not matter,  especially because I knew the reality of the grandmother’s illness and how she had limited time here on earth with me. 

I do remember the smell of the house, 

a mixture of palm trees, 

salty ocean mist, and

the sand that has been carried many miles, 

just for me to feel that unforgettable warmth between my toes. 

I also reminisce about her during the holiday season. She wore fuzzy socks. I still have a worn out, baby pink pair of her socks stuffed in the back of my drawers. 

From cuddling on the couch, with the chaos of my family 

to being on the beach, with the rolling waves and the roaring wind, 

her amenity still remains within me. 

stars in tyler’s toes

tyler died the other week 

and in his death I was forced to remember him

stuck uncomfortably askew into my otherwise sweetly lapsing childhood

the odd cold memory next to geraniums and my dads’ warm hands:

it hadn’t rained in weeks but it would tomorrow

tyler and his friends tore down the highway

the truck old 

the boys young 

and the night infinite

four teenagers careening through space

running out of time

(twinkling like stars, the holes in the bottom of his truck shone into the cab. Twinkling not like natural light, but like reflections from yellow road reflectors and moonshine)

then as Murphy knowingly frowned

the teenagers plunged abruptly into the darkness

two flew through the night and landed bloody on the highway

but he and his passenger tumbled endlessly into that indiscriminate abyss

and someone I hadn’t thought about in years came crashing back into my life

(and those stars that lined his bare calloused toes erupted into vivid supernovas)

credit: upload.wikimedia.org

tyler and I were friends when i was very young. he lived in Kauai and i would visit every so often. he was a terrible influence; he would steal stupid things, and i would watch. sometimes tyler took me fishing. he would torment the fishes by cutting off their fins and sending them back to the water to die bloody but breathing. and i would watch. he told me fish don’t feel pain, but i saw that he did. he grew up between houses, neither one was particularly welcoming. he grew up never believing he had a chance. one day he was watching his younger sister, and i remember sitting where the tide leaves sandy pools on the beach. she splashed and screamed while he delicately folded her clothes placing them carefully on a log. I watched him pull a shirt over her wet sandy head and I saw how precarious tyler’s life was. he couldn’t have been more than twelve.

it barely hurts to imagine him flying down the road drunkenly focused, it doesn’t pain me to imagine his dark brown eyes, and not even the dead teenagers trapped in a combusting coffin bring me to tears

but that little girl

on a persistent Thursday

image via i.pinimg.com

The morning is the inhale – the first air that is taken in, and held there –

Some days are more deceptive than others
like a warm Thursday afternoon that manages to convince you there is nothing left to do;

It leaves you anticipating the rest.
The first breath that is fully taken in and fully released in a few easy seconds. Knowing everything else may be paused for a while.

But then you remember:
the light is not orange because it is summertime, when the days are so hot they seem to melt into one another,
but rather because it is 4pm on a Thursday afternoon, and you are wearing sunglasses because the days are only shorter now.

And because it is a Thursday and not a Friday,
you can only breathe partially.

And so the evening is the exhale – the same morning air that never really escaped finally does, though it won’t return until the sun comes up again tomorrow –

And we grow used to that feeling. Or at least I do.

Becoming

Today is the last day of my childhood,

Tomorrow I will be an adult.

It means I’ll have more freedom, I’ll be able to buy more goods, drive (in China), book a hotel room…

By ascending to that place, it also means leaving some of my old life behind. Things will be renounced.

It’s a different world that I’m about to touch. Letting go is always easy, when you put a title on yourself and pretend to be someone you’re not, you become that someone.

But this time, I am willing to change, and I’m excited for the upcoming changes. I guess that’s what growing up is.

OC

photo credit: pm1.narvii.com