Thursday, March 27, 2008


I’m not a big spender myself, comparing with most people. Am I a miser? Well, yes - according to some people that close to me, those who claim to know me. Though I don’t I’m that much a miser, cos I ‘m not very good with my personal finance which is something I’m not proud of, considering that I went to business school and work in financial company. I think I’m just not financially secured, particularly for years down the road. That’s why I’m a bit of penny pincher myself sometimes.

I think it has a lot to do with my personal belief that only change is forever. But what would be changed, change for the better or worse. It is so unpredictable. Certainly, I bought insurance which is a logical way to manage those of kind risks, but I just never feel comfortable that would be enough. Cos, many things are just not covered by insurance, and I don’t want to buy every kind of conceivable types of insurance out there. Saving is an old way, in views of the inflation and depreciation of currency. Investment is the only way to go. Real estate is hot and common here, but I’m not comfortable with that as an investment to keep value. It is just not liquid enough. Stocks, bonds and funds are the way to go. However, I’m not good at that as my personal investing experience has shown to me. I did incur quite some losses, some of them have yet to realized. Namely, I’m still trapped by some bad decisions that I made. I still continue to invest, hopefully things will look up in long run. But, nothing is for sure.

My life has certainly been changed after each milestone. As being a dad now, financial responsibility becomes heavier than before. Thanks to my wife’s contribution, things are ok so far. My son is still very young, the largest expenditures – schooling and other accessories, are still on the way. That makes me a bit nervous. Certainly, there are folks here are poorer than me but have more kids than me. They seem to be doing fine. But, hey, who know? Maybe they are much worse off privately that we don’t know. Or, I don’t want my kid to be deprived from opportunities that….just a little more money can buy. I don’t believe in OVER expended on kid stuffs, like toys or clothes. However, I don’t want him to be worse off just because of money, especially something long term, like education.

So, for my monthly balance sheet, with a permanent job (for the time being), my income is largely stable. In terms of spending, except the essential expenses like rent, utilities, groceries, payment to my dad and investments that set aside, I don’t spend much on other things. That’s what my wife says to me. Cos, I just don’t have much spare time to spend or to enjoy what if I spend. Is it kinda sad? I don’t know, but that’s what is happening to me now.

For example, for clothes, other than the working clothes, I have enough spare casual clothes, they are not broken or really torn, consider the small wardrobe the I have, I just don’t feel like buying anything new. Also, I don’t really have much time to go hangout anymore. Going to park, or supermarket, doesn’t need to dress up. For movies and music, I don’t have time to go movies anymore. Back in my college days, I went to see 40+ movies a year. Now, I think half a dozen is too many. Also, I still have dozens of movies that I either brought or was given have not been watched. For music, who will pay for that these days? Actually, I’ve enough music in my collection to last a lifetime already. I don’t have time to buy much comic books, I don’t own a video game console. I am not into any of those expensive hobbies like photography, home theaters. Constructing models, or any kind of collection are out of the scope as there isn’t much space at home. So, my mere interest is related to internet which only incurs a fixed cost, doesn’t take extra space, and can be managed at my own pace. Well, still, once in a while, I would still buy a magazine, like ezone or PC weekly, not something I need. That’s all.

I’m not sure if my spending pattern is ok or not objectively, honestly, I don’t really care what others think of me. I earn my money and I spend the way I see that fit.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Chinese Painting and Calligraphy in 3D

The best combination of Eastern and Western arts!


Have you ever….
* Thought that your life is so boring and routine?
* Thought about being a different person to do different things, meet different people, live in different place?
* Thought about start things all over from scratch and erase the mistakes that you had made?
* Thought that you are not supposed to do what you are doing but can’t get away from it?
* Felt like you move on day by day without even need to think much and still can get by, somewhat like a zombie or dead man walking?
* Felt that you enjoy dreaming more than staying awake, though you are not tired or even the dream is a nightmare?

If you nod your head and say a big ‘YES’ to any of those questions, you may or may not live a meaningful life, cos that doesn’t just depends on how you see it but also on other people’s perspectives as well, but you definitely need a CHANGE. Regardless whether the change is gonna ended up better or worse.

I felt ‘some’ of that more or less before. Yes, I did change. However, it often really happen was that I CHANGE how I see things rather than really changing something dramatically. Just try to tilt my life-pendulum from one end to the other, look at the half glass full that I have, etc.

All changes start in our head. As our surrounding changes continuously, we need to and have to adapt. Nothing is forever, except change. Just like my motto – Only Change is Forever!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Food Fight

Quoted from
偶然重看,仍然妙不可言,好一齣教育動畫短片。五分半鐘之內的《Food Fight》,讓大家一邊認識以美國為中心的當代戰爭歷史大概,一邊重溫及猜想各國美食的代表,由德國Pretzel、法國牛角包、英國魚與薯條一直數下去,日本壽司、朝鮮醃菜、中東Kebab、猶太Bagel、越南春捲等等之間的瓜葛,令人印象最難忘的場景則有投擲原子彈和飛機撞擊世貿的兩幕。

An abridged history of American-centric warfare, from WWII to present day, told through the foods of the countries in conflict.

For a breakdown of the actual battles portrayed in the film, visit:

For the official cheat sheet (breakdown of the foodstuffs), visit:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Music Appreciation

I love music. I don’t sing and don’t know how to play an instrument. But I’ve to say that listen to music is really something that I love very much. There is no good or bad music, it is just a matter whether you like it or not. I think there are only two kind of music, one is with human voice, and the other is without. For me, I like both, it really depends. For songs, I don’t care too much about lyrics in most cases, certainly there are exceptions, like some raps or some songs that has great and meaningful lyrics. That’s why I have such a broad taste of music, regardless what language the songs are in. I care the most is how the songs make me feel, what kind of mood that the songs put me in. That’s why I may listen to certain type of music because I feel certain way, but sometimes I would choose to listen to certain type of music to make me feel certain way.

I don’t have idols but I do have some favorite musicians. I care the most is whether they make great music, unlike many folks who will care what kind of person the musicians are. I think music is an art, good artists are either gifted or molded through time. That’s why there are prodigy like Mozart. In modern times, many great musicians are not normal people, they may be ill, crazy in some ways, addicted in drugs, or been doing times. I think these kinds of ups and downs in life can mold a musician to produce masterpieces. Great music has to come from their heart and mind, not exactly by commercial calculation, or plagiarism.

For the musician that I like, there are so many of them, I can cite a few of different genres.
Classical – Mozart
HiphopEnimen, Wyclef Jean, Fugees, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z etc.
R&B – Michael Jackson, Sade.
Pop – Madonna, George Michael, Justin Timberlake, Dido
TriphopPortishead, Massive Attack, Morcheeba, Goldfrapp, Craig Armstrong
Dance – Faithless, Moby
Rock – U2, Garbage, Cranberries, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Beatles, Santana, Eric Clapton, Prince, Mark Knopfler
Softrock – Sarah Mclaughan, Tori Amos, Carpenters
Metal – Linkin Park, Metallica
World music – Enya, Sissel, Kitaro, Secret Garden, Sarah Brightman, Katherine Jenkins
Jazz – Mile Davis, Diana Krall, Sarah Vaughan,
Blues – BB king, Eric Clapton
Etc, etc.

I think I listen to pretty much all types of music, as my old CD collection over a thousand and current 10xGB of MP3 collection has shown. However, there are still fill type of music that I just can’t get into, such as Country music like (Willie Nelson, Alan Jackson, Alabama, etc, can stand the wait they sing, kinda boring), Japanese Opera (can stand the tone), traditional Indian music (the monotone of string sound), and Drum & Bass (the beat is so boring, even worse than elevator music or call-waiting music).
One thing that I would like to do in my spare time if I have, is to find a book or two to read more about Classical music and Jazz music, so I can learn their structure and know how to appreciate them more besides the natural feeling that I have torwards them.


God, the supreme divine being, that exists in most religions. I believe in God, or whatever name you want to call it. Certainly, I think that every religion or belief has some sorts of definition or description what God is. Certain, that differs among religions but they do have things overlapped. I think that a lot of conflicts are results of people being so caught up with those differences. I would rather look at the similarities or the common things among different interpretation. I think that’s what most folks who are not a firm believer of one particular religion and not an atheist should do.

I believe in God but it doesn’t mean I believe in religions in general. I don’t hate it or like to criticize it. I think most religions are good in general by themselves. The bad thing for any particular religion is that religion was largely man-made at a particular point of time in history for some reasons which had evolved overtime. Therefore, some original interpretations of God were loss or misinterpreted due to various reasons due to the merge of political power and religious authority. So, I believe most of the ‘differences’ among Gods in religions can be illustrated by the story of four blind men’s description of an elephant. God is all that and none of that.

I believe God is the supreme power that drives everything in the universe. It balances the Yin and Yang, and drives Karma. So, in my mind, based on the limited scientific knowledge that I have, God and science have no conflict. God makes one plus one equal to two. From anything physical to anything abstract and relationships between them, God has rules for all those. In science, God rules how energy flows. In abstract things, like human relationships, God governs Karma. God is impartial and God is both love and hate. So, I don’t believe God is only full of love. Cos, if that’s true, there should be destruction, death and suffering. So, I don’t think we really need to worship or pray to God. Cos, if things mean to happen it will. Praying has more to do to strengthen your will or relaxing your mind then really something God goes out of its way to help anyone. Since God is so impartial and neutral, so I think that God is absolutely fair. If God is not far, then one plus one will equal to two sometimes, but equal to other things the other times. That’s why when someone says God is not fair. I would totally disagree with that. I believe that God is fair but just God doesn’t have the responsibility to explain to everybody that it is fair or not everybody is able to understand that it is fair.

Since God is omnipresent, that’s why I don’t need think you need to go to synagogue, church, temple or any sort of place to feel God. If you really wanna in touch with God, just close your eyes to concentrate, you can feel it that way, if not, at least it relaxes you. So, when I hear someone claims that he is doing something ‘in the name of God’, I simply dispraise it. Come on, find a better excuse if you wanna do something. In the name of your lust, or your gut, or your mom or something, put God as your shield to do things doesn’t make you right, just tell people that you wanna do it. That’s it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tibet Situation 2008

Our world is grey, many world affairs or national affairs are grey. There is no such simplistic view of we are all good and they are all bad in many matters. The latest situation in Tibet is one such matter. CCP has its own agenda, Dalai Lama has his own agenda, more government or NGOs have they own agenda. I think the worse thing that happened in this situation, other those the loss of life, the injured, the destruction of properties, is the tight control of access for fact findings. Reports are kept out, internet was blocked etc. I think it is not good to suppress the fact from coming out, regardless what would be leaked out are in favor of either side. Cos, only when unfiltered facts are coming out, objective analysis can then begin, so people can my judgment on what is right or wrong on both sides.

It is 2008, not 1989. Leadership has changed twice and the world is getting globalized. For an emerging power, it should have the gut to face the music, regardless whether it is music to the ear or not. Only then, it can develop into more matured and long-lasting power that can handle both internal and external challenges.

I’m a not a very strong believer in nation and borders. Rather, I would more concern on humanity issues, well-being of human being as a whole. Cos, nations, regime, government, political systems, and national borders have been changing through time as a result of war and peace. Whether an area is independent or not doesn’t interest me that much. I think it is more important is the answer whether the people who leave there feel that they are/will be better off now then before. As long as people are provided with a safe and good environment to live and grow, that’s what I think really matter. It applies to election, or revolution anywhere. I don’t care if it is Tibet, the ‘Green’ vs the ‘Blue’ in Taiwan election, Obama vs Hillary vs John, etc.

Certainly, there is a lot of arguments on what/when/where/why/how people are/will be better off now then before. Regardless, I don’t see why they can’t be discussed thoroughly, fact-finding can be done openly, and reaching agreements or getting problem resolved methodically.

Time Freeze Video

Simply amazing......

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Portishead, is the name of town in Bristol Britain. It is a also the name of a band which was the pioneer of a new music genre called Trip-hop back in the mid 1990s. I was first introduced to this band when their second album ‘Portishead’ was released in 1997. My ex-coworker Nelson who was also very into music back then swap my ‘Homogenic’CD from Bjork. I didn’t pay too much attention during my first listening, but I remember vividly during a long rainy evening while I was looking for parking spots cruising around in Harvard Square. My mood of loneliness mixed with Portishead’s music, it affected me deeply. Since then, I listen to that album wholeheartedly and bought the CD my own.

Then, I began to search more about the group, just like what I did with all the music that I like. I found from other people’s comment that their debut album, ‘Dummy’ was even better than their second one. Dummy won the highest music prize of UK, the Mercury award, in 1994. I instantly bought that CD and just can’t put that down. The music is so unique and the group’s vocal – Beth Gibbon’s voice is just so sad but mesmerizing that it made me dive into the Trip-hop genre for almost the next few years. Certainly, there are so very good Trip-hop groups out there, like Massive Attack, Morcheeba, Goldfrapp and others. But, Portishead has always a special place in my heart.

Fast forward to this year, it has been TEN years since they release anything new. Just a hunch to check Amazon, and surprisingly found out that their third album ‘Third’ is gonna be release in April this year. Oh…MY….GOD….That’s amazing! I know I’m gonna buy that CD though what I did most these days are downloading. I just have to get the CD to show some support to them, though I doubt that they will know or they need it. I’ll just buy that CD, rip it and listen to that in my ipod. I’m so excited about it, hopefully they won’t disappoint me.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


My wife is coming back from Japan this evening after week long plus work related training in Tokyo. Certainly, I've been missing her and am glad that she's back home.
Japan, a country that is so fascinating. I've there few times as a tourist. Certainly, to get to know a country, you have to be there for an extended period of time, not just 'be there', but 'live there'. What I know about Japan, other than from the media: books, magazine, internet sites, movie, TV, youtube, comics, music, and products. I did know friends who are from Japan when I was back in college. I think that really make a difference if you know someone, hanged out with them, talk to them, and observe them. That could make you really see things from a broader and personal perspective.
One article in my blog can even scratch the surface of a country which has such fascinating culture. However, if people ask me what do I think about the Japanese people. I will instantly describe them as conscientious and selfless. Everything has its pros and cons, but these 2 characteristics do shine when they count.
For being conscientious, you can see that reflected from the way they work. They strike for being efficient, accurate and have low tolerance to errors. Continuous improvement is a norm. That's why even people who hate Japanese, but do have to admit that Japanese products do deserve to be paid premium for their quality and design. Their transportation are punctual and reliable, and people, regardless their career, do pay very detail attention on what they do. A cook of a noodle shop really respect the simple food that they serve. Even an old folk who clean toilet, he will still do his best on what he did, because he respects his job and his clients. Such attitude does make the Japanese very competitive is many ways. Though they may not be the most creative folks in the world, they do 'learn' and 'improve', unlike our comrades who are still in the 'copy' and 'mimic' stage of product development.
In terms of selflessness, I remember vividly and impressed the most was when I was watching the news of Kobe Earthquake in 1995 if I recall that correctly. On the TV news clip, it showed thousands of regular folks, or victims you might say, lining up to receive aids and foods from relief workers. They are kinda emotionless, and the line was orderly. A columnist was later commented in a magazine that he had reported in many natural disasters before, but none has impressed him more than how the victims in Kobe behaved. The folks in the lines are very humble, they waited in order and in polite manner. No pushing, shoveling, screaming, fighting, and they don't even yell for being request to wait for hours to get aids. They just waited and bowed after they grabbed the aids package. That really shows civility of the people. I think they really have to do with their belief that well shit happens, but you don't need to be part of it. They trust their government will come and take care of them. Every other victim are equal to you, and any chaos will not help anybody. And everybody believes that and behaved accordingly. According to that columnist, out of the whole earthquake which affect thousands of people, there was only like 2 incidents of stealing in the disaster area. Unlike what you might see in the States or other places when cops or national guards had to be deployed to provide safeguard to properties and avoid any looting or stores.
Well, as I say, every coin has two sides. I like to focus on the bright side, especially it is so shinny.