Terror alert

So, it seems kinda bad there on paper. How bad is it? Next going to be the Chrysler building? Empire State? Citibank? Met Life?

What’s the mood there?

What I want to know is that since 9/11, how the hell could anyone penetrate our ‘defenses’?

Bush must go.


Sunday Comics

This past week’s “Doonesbury” and today’s edition (wherein B.D. continues his recovery (if there’s such a thing as “recovery”) in losing his leg) – has been great stuff. B.D.’s young daughter doesn’t quite understand what happened to her dad, the leg and helmet gone. Even B.D. wonders – geez, what did happen to the helmet? 😉

(my previous comments on the B.D. storyline)

I do think that Garry Trudeau has done a nice job showing how B.D.’s progress – or the fact that B.D. is still just trying to deal with it – like today’s instance, where the occupational therapist is running B.D. through a model kitchen to get used to living life again.

Therapist asks: “For example, what if your wife asks you to remove the trash can from under the counter? What’s your strategy?”

B.D.: “I say, ‘You do it. I lost a leg in Iraq.'”

Deadpanned Therapist: “No, I mean bio-mechanically.”

Ok, B.D. needs a little work here. But, he’ll get there.

I don’t like what’s happening to the “Annie” comic strip – and this has been going on the past four years now. Annie back in her 1970’s to 1990’s incarnation under comic strip artist Leonard Starr was fascinating. Starr didn’t have the libertarian/conservative/nationalist bent that Annie’s original creator Harold Gray had, but Starr knew how to craft characters and stories. Annie would wander the country trying to look for Daddy Warbucks; Warbucks would be obviously missing his daughter, but was caught up in protecting her or dealing with his multi-billion company; their poignancy was strikingly apparent.

During the final years of Starr’s work, Annie was trying to catch up on her education and recognizing that her dad has some seriously unresolved love affairs (Angela, who had her naternal feelings for Annie but had to get over her abusive husband, and that Russian spy, who saved Warbucks’ life from hypothermia using her… um… body warmth); Punjab, Warbucks’ sidekick/bodyguard/wise man, was passing the duties to his teenager nephew, Punjee – who was dealing with the burden of those duties (which meant sacrificing a love interest and a mainstream life); and even the Asp, the other bodyguard/wise man, had to deal with the fact that his niece, Stella Han, was a serious villain (putting aside that Han was the stereotyped Asian Dragon Woman, who was hardly attractive and had issues about her uncle). Stuff like that.

The new cartoonists (or at least the writer, a Daily News writer who has new cartoonists working with him every year) aren’t quite as good. Annie hasn’t been her vibrant self in so long – it’s this fake version of her (Annie was a tough but not stupid kid; these days, she’s just… I just don’t get it). Warbucks has been reduced to being a seriously absent dad who’s only goal is to serve the War Against Terrorism. In fact, the writers of the comic strip’s current incarnation are back in the political commentary mode (I mean, please, spare me the not-very-veiled political stance about the terrorism problems; villains say their lines like “We will not be able to hurt the Americans, no thanks to Warbucks. Curses!”). And, while it’s nice that Annie now has an ethnic female role model/guardian, Amelia Santiago (a Cuban-American pilot), I do miss Punjee and other characters. If the Asp and Punjab make any appearances these days, they’re Noble Minority Characters/Warriors, Serving The War Against Terrorism. There’s no mention of recurring characters like Huff, Warbucks’ gruff lookalike bodyguard, who was a softy to Annie underneath his gruff demeanor; Ezra Eon, the genius professor who still talked like a hick; Dermot, the cute young man (who Annie may or may not have had a crush on) who was too busy with the computer programming stuff to get a love life; etc. The absolute crime for a comic strip is to have average or even bad writing. The guys behind the current Annie should actually go back and read the past 20 years of Annie and figure it out. (and one of these days, I’ll write to the Daily News and tell them to do so). “Annie” is missing the richness she used to have.

I’ll stop now. Enjoy the work week.

What is a “Banana” – Here and There?

This short article was posted on one of the Forumosa forums for discussion. Not sure what to say about it but offer it as an interesting juxaposition between the Asian American experience in the US and the Asian American experience in Taiwan.

You take the people from a AA forum like Model Minority who see the world with tunnel vision who are no better than the “ugly” Americans they like to blast away for their “plight”. Then, you have the author of


, who gets insulted by his treatment because the natives here can’t believe some one like him can exist. “Marginalization” is indeed color-blind :|.

Unfortunately for the author, his article devolves into a poorly sarcastic rant which takes away from the opportunity to do something with it. On the other hand, if I were in his shoes, what exactly would I say about it? I mean, our uniqueness, is something that can’t easily be explained or described. Being an ABC in Taiwan makes the world even stranger. At least the Angry Asian American[tm] has status in the US, whereas the status in Taiwan is lower. The one way to avoid that is to position yourself as a “meiguo huaqiao” and you gain immediate status. However, that’s not always easy if you don’t have someone “in front” of you to make the necessary introductions.

In the meantime, I have learned my lessons and come up with my own survival rules. Survival Rule No. 1 is: let people know you are a meiguo huaqiao! Survival Rule No. 2: don’t ever be mistaken for a Korean! Survival Rule No. 3: use English only! In order to come across as a meiguo huaqiao, it is necessary to speak English as much as possible even if it causes cognitive dissonance.

When I first came to Taiwan, my cousin here insisted that I follow these exact rules to enhance and perserve my “status” to the locals. Only in this way would I be able to successfully position myself for business opportunities. The minute I deviate from this formula, I would be “lowered” in the business person’s eyes.

Side note: Cool website for spelling