Showing posts from July, 2011

Don't Judge a Book by It's Cover

I never underestimate old people. Sure they may be frail looking and smell like they just pooped in their Depends, but you don't know what sort of history they might have had. They could have been a general, a gangster or a grandmaster in some deadly esoteric martial art. You just don't know.

When I was in the academy, there was a TAC sergeant who was an old Chinese American guy who was barely 5'4". Yet he had a certain bearing that suggested a military background. He spoke clearly and concisely, and his posture was perfectly vertical. He didn't slouch at all, and when he spoke his voice commanded our attention and respect without ever being raised.

The recruits and I learned later that he had been in the Navy SEALS. He was a SEAL when we were in diapers. This was not something that he revealed to us on his own accord, but we found this out through the grapevine. We tried to get him to tell us some war stories, but he was quite modest and said, "Per…

World Demographics: Global Surplus of Asian Males?

The Washington Post had an interesting book review by Elaine Showalter this holiday weekend on a book by Mara Hvistendahl called Unnatural Selection. According to the review, Hvistendahl, a science journalist based in Beijing, the book warns of an impending surplus of Asian men and the possible consequences of them being deprived of female partners caused by sex-selective abortions and creating the possibility of a world of male violence and sexual predation.

Showalter writes in her review:

“As Hvistendahl reports in her massively well-documented book, male births are far outnumbering female births in East Asia, South Asia and West Asia, all the way to Albania. While the normal sex ratio at birth is about 105 males to 100 females, in the county of Suining, China, for example, 152 boys are born for every 100 girls. These surplus boys may feel happy when they are small, but they will grow up condemned to singlehood. According to the French demographer Christophe Guilmoto, we are facing…

Ichiro-The Most Underappreciated Baseball Player Today

There was a great article in the Washington Post sports section the other week by columnist Norman Chad regarding Ichiro. Basically, Chad writes, Ichiro Suzuki is perhaps the most underappreciated baseball player today. And Chad’s column also brings up a point about all of us old timers (I think I’m older than most of you readers out there) enjoying and appreciating things a lot more as one gets older. And to see Ichiro's high level of talent and consistency is to be appreciated as the baseball player, himself, is getting on in years.

Excerpts from the column:

“In all 10 of his seasons with the Seattle Mariners since coming to Major League Baseball from Japan at age 27, Ichiro has batted over .300 and accumulated at least 200 hits.

As we reach midseason here in 2011, Ichiro, now 37, is batting only .271 and is on pace for a 181-hit season.

Ichiro also has won 10 straight Gold Gloves — with never more than five errors in a season — but in 2011 he has been subpar at times defensively…

Fortunate Sons

So I just finished up Fortunate Sons by Liel Leibovitz and Matthew Miller. This is a true story about the Chinese Educational Mission:

"[120] boys were sent to the United States in 1872, during the twilight years of the Qing Empire, in the hopes that a few years in America's leading schools would produce a band of leaders capable of rescuing China from its technological and military stupor."

This book is a fascinating read, and it provides a rather unique and personal look at China in the midst of turmoil and change. It also touches upon a lot of issues that seem relevant today to China and to Asian Americans.

The story starts off with Yung Wing, the very first Chinese to attend Yale. Yung is fascinated by American culture and the American educational system. Whereas the Chinese educational system taught classic Confucian texts, poetry and calligraphy and churned out intellectual bureaucrats, the American colleges focused on developing leaders and innovators.

Yung heads …