Saturday, June 17, 2006

Taiwan 2005

Okay, trying to catch up on the past year — only nine months late! My cousin was married in September of last year and I made a quick visit to Taiwan for the tea ceremony, which was a week or two before the actual wedding. This my uncle Hong-Sie, aunt Lo-Ying, their grand-daughter Mao-Mao, and my mom at lunch. Uncle Hong-Sie and and aunt Lo-Ying were so hospitable, carting us around everywhere.

On the way to the wedding

Whenever I try to get my mom to treat me more like an adult she brings up things like this photo, where even a woman at her age gets relegated to the center seat when her parents are around.

A photo collection of the wedding couple.

My cousin Yu-Chow's wife and her son. I think they were married a year or two before this; unfortunately I wasn't able to make it to that wedding.

My uncle Chiu-Che, his two daughters, and grandma.

My cousin Jonathan and I. How is it I'm the oldest but the shortest of the cousins?

Jonathan's girlfriend Jia-Jia.

My cousins are so musically talented. I'm just a hack in comparison.

Grandpa enjoys a story from one of the relatives.

My cousin Candy entertains grandma.

The mother of the bride, the groom, and my aunt Yung-Hui.

My cousin the bride performs the tea ceremony.

The happy couple at the reception.

The First 48 Hours

I have taken to watching late night crime shows every now and then. You know, the brainy ones like CourtTV that show you, in the unlikely case you decide to go tearing off to the dark side, exactly how to cover up the most heinous of crimes by not doing the dumb stuff that gets these amateur criminals caught.

A new one that is a pretty subtle rip-off of the 24-style of cinematography is a show called The First 48. Now the reason I mention this, other than to sneak in a confession that I'm a chronic channel-flipper bound to drive my future significant-other to madness, is that the other night there was a really interesting episode involving what was turning out to be a revenge killing in some neighborhood in the south, I think Tennessee.

The investigator had brought in her suspect for questioning and prefaced the scene with a statement to the effect of, "We really need to get a confession out of him." Now the investigator is a stocky black woman with simple but pleasant features. I didn't take much notice of her as the show followed her between the crime scene and the police station. One scene even showed her in such a mundane situation as showcasing some items in her closet, such as her interrogation jacket ("this one really gets the confessions," or something to that effect), and a large purse ("especially good for carrying my gun").

All that changed when she stepped into the interrogation room though. What she brought to bear was not only riveting, but completely unexpected. I'll try to do her justice but bear in mind this is paraphrasing. Speaking to the suspect:

"Now I know that the man killed last night was actually involved in a murder a ways back, he shot your brother, right?" No answer.

"Now sometimes things happen and I'm not saying it's right, but you know, I understand." Stoic silence.

"You've been carrying this torch for a long time, and that's a lot of burden for a man to carry." The man — boy, really — puts his head down on the table and starts to cry.

"I know how hard it is to be a black man in this town. You know sometimes s*** happens and sometimes black men don't know the right way to respond; you probably didn't have any role models showing you what to do and how to behave. I know, it's hard. Now I want to help you but you need to let me." And with that he is sobbing, covering his face, as if trying desperately to save it and whatever dignity he has left.

The scene finally ends without him confessing but later on I think it is mentioned that he does eventually break. What is so startling to me was this detective's ability to connect immediately with all that he had stored up emotionally. It was surprisingly skillful and very moving, as if I too had come in contact with all the stored up neglect, anger and futility that led to this tragically pivotal point in the young man's life.

At the same time the thought lurked in my mind that while the detective stated she was there to help the suspect, the audience is privy to the fact that if he refused to confess, they might not have a case to prosecute. Of course from the spiritual perspective, I believe it really would be helping him to coax him into admitting the truth, and that "getting away with murder," had it ended that way, really wouldn't be. I couldn't help but wonder, though, if the detective herself was really thinking that far ahead, considering the tone of her statement right before the interrogation. Regardless — kudos, detective.

The Big 3-2

I suppose an occasion like today (technically yesterday) would be a good excuse to resurrect the dead carcass that is my blog. Thirty-two good years and I'm still going strong.

Here are the highlights of the past few months.

I am going to UCLA in the fall for graduate school in computer science. As I was making my decision to go I was fluttery with anticipation and excitement, but since then the thought of missing San Diego, DivX, and the comforts of the home here (not to mention the pains of finding new housing, finding a new tenant for the house, moving, and the prospect of adjusting to new roommates) have found me more recently a bit subdued and not a little bit nostalgic. And while a lot of close friends have moved away, two friends have actually moved back, making my move all the more poignant.

I should also mention that I did manage to get rejected from quite a few other schools as well. Quite an exhilarating experience for the ego, the rejection thing. I heartily recommend it.

My grandfather was recently diagnosed with stomach cancer. My mother is in Taiwan right now, doing what she can to tend to him. From her reports at first he did not want to accept treatment, but it sounds like now he has changed his mind and will undergo chemotherapy. Although I have grown up separated by both an ocean and a language, I have always respected grandpa and admired his noble contribution for many years as a clinical doctor in the village where he lives. And of course the fiery character that is my mother certainly speaks volumes of his influence. I wrote him a letter recently but it seemed like such a feeble attempt. I have deep appreciation, nonetheless.

I have been working a lot on a project of Mark's invention called (please be patient if the site is down — it's under construction!). It's been a lot of crazy hours but it's already been very rewarding. And now with the prospect of bringing on some other people to do development, I think it will have a good chance of picking up some real momentum.

I am no longer attending a church regularly. Occasionally, usually at the suggestion of a friend, I visit a church now and then. I have had countless discussions with friends regarding that decision and, more specifically, my perspective on God and Jesus these days and it probably would do some good to try to express it here. At the very least my numerous attempts at explaining it have forced me to refine and revise my thoughts. And although I have probably talked to everyone I know about it, I certainly haven't tired of the discussion yet.


Well I've been trying for about two hours to express it but it is starting to go long and to lack coherency so I will have to finish it later as another post. Stay tuned, if you dare.

P.S. Joel if you read this, love the blog. I took a couple of days but now I'm all caught up.