10/26/17, 3:09pm

At a presentation for Taiwan-Chinese relations, and I can’t help but feel conflicted.

It is naive. It portrays the entire conflict as a facade as a problem of ‘lack of understanding’ and ‘differences of human needs’, fixable with ‘human connection’. They likened the problem to an ‘onion’, in which economic power, independence, and national identity was the superficial facade and ‘self expression’ was the core.

I was angry at their naiveté, but I was also angry at my cynicism. I have no solutions — how can I fault them for trying? What ideology am I trapped in?

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07/13/17, 6:28pm

Today, I read an old NYTimes article about the Xianmen Square Massacre and felt — off. There I sat, reading, confused, with something bubbling up inside of me, something I really couldn’t recognize at the moment even as I contemplated it. I opened my mouth. And suddenly, there it was: with no control over myself, I began to weep; great, croaking heaves and downtown open mouth, wetness flowing out of closed eyes. So this is emotion, I thought to myself.

And upon reflection I see now that it goes back to that artist and meeting him (nay — more like seeing him, meeting being too far a stretch for the encounter) in person, as a real human being standing in the lobby of my building. It goes back to reading about Liu Xiaobo not one night ago for the first time and reading his poetry after having read American poetry and then waking up to a small, glowing notification on an iPhone: China’s most prominent political prisoner has died under guard at a state hospital. Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, was 61. It goes back to talking to the international Chinese student co-worker of mine, watching her Chinese insecurities and Chinese envy fall out of her like stale water, and yet hearing her speak about censorship, and protest, and student voices in stifling dorms. It goes back to my own college, and our conversations, and our own protests; the things I am scared to say; the person I feel coerced to be. It feels so immediate. It feels so imminent. It feels so personal. It feels so real. It feels so real.

send 

you half-sit, half-lean against a lamp post in midtown. you try your best to shut out the sexy sax man song the busker has been playing for an hour. he’s pretty good, which means you pity him a little for how dead his soul must feel.

you wait for a friend’s call. you text the sf moma number over and over again. 

send me shrimp, you write.

they have no shrimp art.

send me alabaster, you write.

nada.

send me china, you write.

stop.

send me china, you write.

and you realize how fervert it is, that text. and you write it again and again.

send me china.

and again.

send me china.

and again.

send me china.

05/30/17, 10:37am, sitting on my bed in Beijing, in the middle of reading Calvino’s Invisible Cities

It has come to my attention that I have in the past devoted significant amounts of time towards gaining a single adjective attached to my being, like being well-read, or being carefree, or being obliviously attractive. I’m not proud of it, but I’m also not yet sure whether I should be ashamed of it.

05/29/17 at 3:44am

I need to remember who I am without my grandma, my mother, in order to progress and not regress when I return home. I need to be conscious of the ways in which I’ve improved, and in that security of who I am and who I want to be, keep a strong eye on what it is in my grandma and my mother that I do not wish to take, and prevent these things from seeping into my still impressionable mind.

Some things:

  • I should not push onto others what I think is good. I should not push onto others anything. I will keep myself to myself unless asked.
  • I should not comment whatsoever on anything about others. Compliments should be reserved for that which they deliberately chose, which means I can compliment an outfit, but not a character trait, and not one’s bodily appearance. I especially should not comment on anyone’s eating habits. Because any sort of influence on a person is negative: I don’t want to push anyone in any direction; a person should float free and choose in which direction they should go.

05/29/17 3:32pm, sitting at the supper table with LaoLao reading Einstein’s Dreams

Reading novels like Einstein’s Dreams, texts that survey human life and distill it to simple actions of arbitrary and interchangable men and women — always put me in an odd state of mind. The Bible. One Hundred Years of Solitude. I can’t quite describe it. It takes me out of the present, takes me out of engaging truly in interactions: persons are people, and everything is somehow mechanical, a board game.