Category Archives: identity

story of my love life

yeah…… i know the dysfunction of my masochistic tendencies


story of my life

the role of APIs in the immigration reform battle


Representative Mike Honda’s APIs need to take a stronger stance on immigration reform in AsianWeek


Representative Honda gives some solid points, demonstrating that in all of the talk about immigration reform, its been focused has been primarily on just one immigrant group. but often in the same conversations, people talk about how diversity is one thing that makes America great.

one of the commenters called for a stop to H1B-Visas and other similar temporary worker programs until the American unemployment rate decreases, and ‘Americans actually have jobs again’. while he makes a valid point that the unemployment rate in this country has reached a terrifying high and more work needs to be done to create new jobs and put Americans into jobs, this type of rhetoric about stopping the ‘foreign intellectuals’ from coming over to take ‘our jobs’ can quickly  slip into ‘anti-foreigner’ xenophobia. as Representative Honda points out, the H1B immigrants coming from China or India are starting new companies here. The new income created is going into the American economy, their companies like all other American companies need to be offered incentives to stay in the country, and to provide employment to people here. According to a UCLA report, by tying a comprehensive immigration reform system to attract these newly formed immigrant companies to stay in the US, that can add 1.5 trillion to the GDP over the next 10 years. considering the deficit we have now, any way we can start to shrink that exorbitant number, the better.

another misconception that Representative Honda corrected was which countries are receiving the largest amount of remittances. With the focus of the immigration reform battle on Latinos and the money being sent back to Latin America, he writes that we are overlooking it is actually Asian countries receiving the most in remittances. this point may be directly refute my previous paragraph that Asian immigrants are starting new companies here and keeping the money in the American economy. But it actually adds another layer to the debate. The American government needs to create incentives for companies to keep their money rolling in this country, but that overlooks how interconnected all the economies in the world are to each other. also, immigrants send back remittances to their families because their situation in the home country is much more dire. that’s why the immigrants chose to come to America, they believe opportunities are here for a better life. a reform of the immigration system must address the backlog in visas, these applications are often of families who have someone already living in the states. The Reuniting Families Act is one piece of legislation that can help address how much in remittances is being sent abroad, more of that money can stay within America to create more jobs and opportunities.

Representative Honda is right that we can’t ignore any immigrant group in the push towards a better immigration system, each has specific distinctions that have deeper class, education, and economic implications.  For any sort of immigration reform to be comprehensive, it must also be inclusive.

The United States of McDonald’s



driving down a seemingly barren highway suddenly interrupted by big box stores, Stephen Von Worley felt inspired to ‘gauge the creep of cookie-cutter commercialism‘. mapping out McDonalds locations across the United States with the nifty data tool,, he came up with this. notice how the McDonalds hug the coasts and borders of the US to form essentially what is a map of the US. the United States of America? or the United States of McDonalds? Hmm…  The farthest isolated spot in the 48 states from a McD’s is between the tiny Dakotan hamlets of Meadow and Glad Valley: 107 miles away, 145 miles by car. I wonder what mapping the McDonalds across the globe would turn out.

Amy On Traveling

Amy T. is one of my longest, closest friends. I’ve known her for more than 10 years, starting with our younger days at amyPrinceton Chinese Language School teaching Chinese Knotting and trying to learn Chinese. She’s been one of the busiest people I’ve known, always off doing amazing things – getting involved in this program, applying to this school, making plans with friends to visit this place, etc.  She just finished this great roadtrip across the country where she and her friend Pin recorded their scavenger hunt as they drove from NJ to CA to drop Amy off at Stanford where she is starting an engineering Ph.D. yep, she’s incredibly smart, well-traveled, laid-back, totally fun, and i get to call her ‘friend’.

considering my incessant wanderlust, i was inspired by this recent NYTimes article Q&A With Beth Whitman, a Woman’s Perspective on Solo Travel to ask amy about her traveling experiences. this is the first in a new series i’m starting of interviewing friends on a topic they have expertise on or at least a lot of experience in. I’m still working on finding an appropriate program to record skype conversations, somehow the one i was using didn’t fully record, and also deleted itself after the trial 30 days was over. so, against all journalistic integrity, parts of this are paraphrased. BUT without further ado: Amy on Traveling.

Why did you choose this type of program for your next travels? [Amy’s headed to Romania for a Habitat for Humanity trip]

I’ve wanted to go to Eastern Europe for awhile. Plus my friend, Nancy, brought up the idea of a service trip. I’ve heard Romania is beautiful, this just seemed like a great opportunity.

Is it better to be a tourist, a student, or a worker?

I prefer a combination of all three. i like having some structure, and it’s safer to travel as a group.  I liked being a student abroad because it made everyday things like late-night food runs, or figuring out a library system seem like new.

Any advice for travelers, especially women traveling alone?

I really don’t like traveling alone. Even if it’s 2 girls, it doesn’t feel safe. its better in a group, guys will look out for you. it’s sad but that helps a lot.

Why do you keep traveling? Any life or world lessons learned?

Ease into traveling, its much easier to travel somewhere where you know the language. So if that’s English, seriously, go with England first. Without sounding corny, I keep traveling because you really can learn so much from new and different people and cultures.

What other places are next on your list?

I’m trying to see more of the US, I think we forget there are some great places right in our own country. I’ve also wanted to go to Italy for a long time. I love Italian food, great art and architecture.

why women’s colleges are still relevant


Forbes Why Women’s Colleges are Still Relevant


i feel like i may spend the rest of my life explaining why i went to a women’s college, Smith College, or whether i’m a crazy radical lesbian [some of those may apply depending on the day]. the relevance of women’s colleges has been something i’ve definitely grappled with, but ultimately i always come to the conclusion that they are still needed and important today. certainly my college experience would have been different if it were co-ed, but now tSmith-Collegehat i’m out in the ‘co-ed’ world, i can’t say i feel like i missed out on a lot. there were periods when i wish i went somewhere else, but that had more to do with the intensity and ‘bubble’ of Smith, less with its single-gender demographic. being in an all-women environment doesn’t freak me out but i’m rather comfortable in it. i learned to really speak up for myself at Smith, and so much of my personality and interests have started and evolved from my time there, so i can’t say that I regret having gone there. now if only the alumnae network could kick in to get me a job, i’d be singing the ultimate praises of the school from every high place in DC. but in all seriousness, i’m glad i went.

women take over job market


USAToday: Women gain as Men Lose Jobs


Recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that for the first time more women are currently employed than men. women entered the workforce in expansive numbers during the wars of I and II b/c men were off fighting, and Women_Welderswhile we’re in a war situation now, this increase is attributed more to the recession. The industries hit hardest by the current crisis are those in construction and manufacturing, still heavily male-dominated sectors. While the few industries that seem to still be growing are healthcare, education and government, two of which are heavily female-dominated. so while there’s been a tipping of labor scales by gender, the industries affected are still one gender dominated and very much the same. “The change reflects the growing importance of women as wage earners, but it doesn’t show full equality”, says Heidi Hartmann of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, wage-wise-> women are still earning less than men. and men still hold most of the high-level executive jobs. this news isn’t to mark a turning point or new ear in the American payrolls, but simply to note that more women are working now than men, by sheer numbers, not by more jobs or increased wages across the job board.