Letter to My Son #28

My Dearest Vương,

My lil King turns 5 today. Being the youngest, you get showered with love and some envy. You get along with all four of your brothers, but you are closest to Xuân. You guys are closer to the same age. Isn’t it nice to have a brother to hangout and play with?

Unlike your older brothers, you spent lots of time at home, especially during the pandemic. I was a bit worried about your social isolation, but you had proved that you can make friends and be independent at the same time. I am so happy for you.

You are developing fast and picking up new skills with ease when you are willing to try. You are now riding your balance bike at the skatepark like a pro. I am sure you’ll be able to ride a paddled bike soon. You have always wanted to hold your hands when you ice skate, but you can skate on your own. You are making tremendous progress. I can’t wait for you to be able to ski on your own as well. That would be great.

You are doing great in kindergarten, even though dropping off is still a bit tough. You still want to stay with your mom and that’s understandable. She loves you unconditionally. I am not worrying too much about your education. You are smart and a keen observer. I am sure you will do fine.

The last baby step you need to get over is pooping in a diaper. The goal for turning 5 is to use the toilet to poop. You can definitely do it. You just don’t want to. I know you like to do things on your own time and term, but this one is way overdue. Let’s get it done and over with.

I love you with all my heart!


Ma’ am, An American Tragedy

Ma’ am

I know that you are rich
And I’m just a poor immigrant
I’ve been selling milk tea on the street
Since I was seven
But my grandmother watches me close
From her banana tree in heaven

Ma’ am

I dream of a beautiful white house
Can you buy it for me
Give me the keys to the republic?
That baby grand in the window
Some day, I will play it

Ma’ am

No matter what you think
I am not after your son
I mean, he’s not terribly smart
He’s dyslexic and ridiculous
Can’t hold a day job
And got a D in calculus

Ma’ am

You know your son is odd
He skins cats with his scout knife
He carries around a rubber doll
And calls it his wife

Ma’ am

He doesn’t love me
Don’t worry about it
We just have fun sex
And listen to rap in the basement
I’ll go away to a good college
And he’ll go to prison

Ma’ am

No, he didn’t tell on you
Not really, he didn’t say
Nothing about your uncle
Or your ex-husband
He didn’t tell me much
He just sat there, crying

Ma’ am

Did you say “She’s war trash
She came from the jungle
She’s a weirdo geek, can’t
Look up from her books.
Why do you want her?”

Ma’ am

Did you say
“Stay away, she’s schizoid
Downright ugly
Her father owns that rat-infested roach coach
She’ll amount to nothing”

Ma’ am

I did not love him, exactly
I did love him too much
It’s that in-between-ness
Of love and hate
That made me stuck

Ma’ am

I’m gonna love him and drive him crazy
I’m gonna love him though he’s lazy
I’m gonna wash his feet and wrap his wounds
Take him off the cross and carry him to his tomb
I’m gonna love him til he hates me
I’m gonna love him and drive him crazy

Marilyn Chin

How About the Incompetent Leaders?

The president hits back at the Heritage:

There is always room for serious discussion on how best to make a university open, welcoming, and productive for all citizens, but unfortunately this report – sloppy, methodologically questionable, and simply inaccurate as it is – not only falls short of something we can take seriously, it does damage to our capacity to have such a serious conversation. Quite frankly, it also damages Heritage’s reputation for providing accurate and useful information.

He even invited the Heritage to campus to explain the report. Why does he need to invite these racist conservatives who oppose diversity to campus? He just gives them an opportunity to speak about their whiteness heritage. While they claimed that hiring a diverse group of talents is wasteful, they have no idea how much money has been wasted by the white incompetent leaders to hide their ignorant and lack of knowledge. Those incompetent leaders should be fired instead.

B-Side Warning

Nitwit legislators, gerrymandering fools
Dimwit commissioners, judicial tools
Toxic senators, unholy congressmen
Halitosis ombudsmen, mayoral tricks
Doom calf demagogues, racketeering mules
Whack-a-mole sheriffs, on the take

Fornicator governators, rakehell collaborators
Tweeter impersonators, racist prigs
Postbellum agitators, hooligan aldermen
Profiteering warmongers, Reconstruction dregs

Better run, rascals     better pray
We’ll vote you out     on judgment day!

Better run, rascals     better pray
We’ll vote you out     on election day!

Marilyn Chin

Marilyn Chin: Sage

I am picking poetry reading again. Marilyn Chin’s sixth collection is powerful and fearless. I like her takes on politics, particularly on “B-Side Warning.” It’s a perfect read in a rainy day.

Youtube Shorts

I have been playing around with YouTube Shorts and starting to get into the creative process. I love the ability to mashup my videos with my favorite songs. Some of my silly shorts are hitting 2.5k to 3.5k. I want to try to create a short a day for the next 30 days or so to see how it goes. If you are interested in following along, check out my shorts on YouTube.

An Active Weekend

Despite the constant rain, we stayed active over the weekend. On Saturday, we couldn’t go to the skate park. I took Xuân and Vương to the ice skating arena instead. I was so happy that Vương started to skate on his own without me holding his hand. Unlike many parents who just watched their kids skating, I skated with them and filmed their moves. Vương and Xuân did some pretty cool dance on the ice.

In the evening, I took Đạo and Đán to Vertical Rock Climbing. I also decided to give it a shot. Rock climbing is an expensive sport. One of Đạo’s friends loved rock climbing; therefore, she had a monthly member and spotted him a guest pass. If I had to pay for all three of us, it would be $90 for the day. The monthly membership for 3 people would be $150 and you have to sign up for a year. If I have to pay $150 a month, I will drag Đạo and Đán out everyday or at least 3 times a week. I am pretty sure they won’t be too happy about that.

Sunday morning, I drove Đạo to iFly for his Troop Scout activities. This was an expensive sport. Each of the troop flew for 1 minute and 25 seconds with an instructor and it cost $50. Đạo enjoyed the experience, but we are not flying unless I won a lottery. I didn’t even give it a shot.

Sunday afternoon, I took Xuân and Vương back to ice skating. I wanted Vương to be more comfortable on ice. He was able to skate around the rink without my help. I would love to get back to figure skating and to relearn the skills I have already lost.

I took off Monday because the kids didn’t have school today. After having dim sum at Han Palace, I took Đạo, Đán, and Xuân back to the skatepark to burn all the food. The sun hadn’t been out yet, but the park was dried so we were able to skate.

Two Saturdays ago, a couple of the Cubs’ parents invited me to play soccer. I hesitated, but I gave it a shot. I used to play soccer quite a bit. I joined the old men club and I enjoyed it even though I could not control the ball with my running shoes. I ordered a pair of Adidas cleats and shin guards so I can play properly. I can’t wait for the weekly soccer with the parents.

I am pretty active for an old man, but I haven’t been able to keep my weight down. I still can’t control my appetite for food and drinks. I really need to work on eating healthier and drinking less alcohol and sugar.

Sitting With My Thoughts on a Rainy Sunday Morning

The other night I asked Vương, my youngest son, who started kindergarten this year if he liked school and if he had made any friends. His response was that he didn’t like school, but he made a few friends. I asked him what he liked about school. He said the playground and went further to tell me that he just wanted to play alone at the playground, and not with friends. I reassured him that it was perfectly fine if he preferred to play alone. I was actually glad that he was comfortable with being by himself when he wanted.

His older brother, Xuân, who is in second grade, on the other hand, always needed to please others. He always wanted to be liked, and that worries me. He would get into trouble for doing things his peers find funny, but his teachers find unappropriate. I know exactly what he is going through because I spent most of my life trying to please others. It didn’t go too well for me. I want him to break the cycle.

I am at the point in my life where I don’t want to pretend to be nice. I want to be honest. I am tired of trying to please people—even the ones I loved. I have always wanted to please my wife because I was afraid she would leave me. It exposed my insecurities and weaknesses. Saying “I love you” had lost all of its meaning because it sounded pretentious. I didn’t throw the phrase out of nowhere. I wanted confirmation, but most of the time I got a silent response. Maybe it is still a taboo in Vietnamese culture to express your love verbally. Whenever I spoke to my mom in person or over the phone, I always said, “I love you” and her response was always “OK.” The last time I said “I love you” to my mom, a tear rolled down her eye as she departed this world.

Selling on Marketplace

Yesterday I sold both of my old skis on Facebook’s Marketplace.

When I first became interested in skiing, I just wanted to buy a used pair to learn. I didn’t know anything about skis. The Head XENON was the first pair I bought from the Marketplace. Luckily the skis were still in good condition. They taught me the art of skiing and unlocked a whole new world for me on the snow. They accompanied from the bunny slopes all the way to the double-black diamond terrains. Since I no longer needed them, I sold them to someone else. Before listing them, I tuned them up to make sure they were still in great condition. It was bittersweet to bid farewell, but I was also glad they found a new owner.

The K2 Apache Sabre skis were a bit of an upgrade from the Head XENON, but they were also pre-owned. I thought they were newer than the Head skis, but both were the same age. The length was longer. The skis stood as tall as I was. They accompanied me everywhere on the mountains from green to double black to mogul terrains. They traveled with me from Pennsylvinia to Vermont to New Hampshire. It is bittersweet to bid farewell, but I was also glad they found a new owner.

Selling second-hand items on Facebook’s Marketplace has been an intriguing experience. I am not doing it for the money. I am doing it to improve my horrendous business skills. I sold about 20 items through the Marketplace. When I listed my first item, I worried about rejections. I had quite a few of them. They wasted my time and affected my emotions. Now I have learned to deal with rejections and understood that rejections and negotiations are part of doing business.

The most recent example was selling the Head XENON skis. As skiing season is about to start, I predicted the skis would be in demand. After listing them for several days, I received a text from a Vietnamese-American woman who expressed her interest in buying them. She asked me a whole bunch of questions such as the age of the skis. To be honest, I didn’t know exactly how old those skis were when I bought them, but I did some research afterward. They were made in 2008. Yes, they were old, but they still worked perfectly.

Of course I couldn’t guarantee for another skier, but I found the bindings completely safe. I skied on them through moguls and double-black diamonds. I even had a video of me skiing down Gunbarrel at Roundtop to prove it. She asked for a lower price and I agreed because I didn’t care about the money. In addition, I didn’t mind giving my Vietnamese-American compatriot a discount. The evening before our meet-up schedule, she backed out because her friend advised her to get a new package instead of a second-hand product. She apologized for the trouble. I told her not to worry and I meant it. The next day, I sold the skis to someone else for the price I listed.

Stupid Racist Shit

It was 6:50 pm on a Friday evening and the Office of the President sent out a mass email responding to the Heritage Foundation report, in which the authors criticized George Mason University for being too diverse. I’m not going to link to the report and I don’t need to read it to find out about its stupid racist shit. Let’s keep it real. Only a white conservative think tank would put out such a low, divisive, provocative report. Oh wait, it’s the Heritage Fucking Foundation. The authors criticizing George Mason University for being too diverse is like me criticizing the Heritage Foundation for being too fucking white.