Ok 2011 February : EddyZheng.com

If it doesn’t bleed…

it doesn’t lead… as the saying goes.

A 16 year old Asian teenager was stabbed and passed away last night in San Francisco. One of my Case Managers notified me of the incident and I verified the facts with a staff who works in the wraparound service in SF General. So I went on SF Gate news online to read the news reporting. The staff writer wrote that a 16 year old teenager was stabbed to death by a 18 year old man. That statement made me pause to think how media can portray things base on what it wants readers to feel and believe. How can a 16 year old be called a teenager and a 18 year old called a man? The last time I check Sixteen and Eighteen both end with teen. So they should both be Teenagers. Where’s the man comes in? I’m just saying… Then when I look at the same news again at night time, the whole story changed. That’s online media for you.

On another note, a Chinese World Journal reporter expressed to me that in her 20 or year career, this is the youngest Asian homicide victim that she’s aware of. The Asian community is definitely shaken up by this tragedy since there’s very few murders in its history. Unlike the African American and Latino American communities where young people are killing young people all the time. That’s another reality.

It’s a sad reminder that life is short. I hope everyone gets that message.

link to sf gate article
link to sf examiner article

War according to Mao

“We are advocates of the abolition of war, we do not want war; but war can only be abolished through war, and in order to get rid of the gun it is necessary to take up the gun. …When human society advances to the point where classes and states are eliminated, there will be no more wars, counter-revolutionary or revolutionary, unjust or just; that will be the era of perpetual peace for mankind. Our study of the laws of revolutionary war springs from the desire to eliminate all wars; herein lies the distinction between us Communists and all the exploiting classes.”

A friend gave me the English version of Quotations from Chairman Mao Tsetung many years ago when I was in San Quentin. I remember reading the Chinese version when I was in elementary school in China. I didn’t understand the meanings of what I was reading. Now I can comprehend the depth of Mao’s analysis.

I picked up the book from the book shelf and randomly came across the passage where Mao spoke about War that I found worth sharing.

New Year at the Q

Different cultures have different superstitions. One of the superstitions in Asian culture is it’s bad luck to go visit a prison. It’s one thing if you have loved ones locked up and you’re visiting them. It’s all bad if you just go visit a prison.

In the past, I had encourage some youth to go visit San Quentin so they can get an ideal what life is like so they won’t do things that land them there. However, most of the Asian youth don’t want to go because of superstition. Their parents don’t approve of them going for the same reason.

For me, I would like to think that I transcend all superstition. Therefore, I went to visit San Quentin this afternoon to brainstorm on setting up a culture competent program to help the Asian and Pacific Islander prisoners. One of the prisoners showed me a “lai shi” he received from an older prisoner. “lai shi” is good luck money that married people or elders give to the youngsters in a red envelop during new year celebration. Since there’s no red envelop in prison, they guy use a paper towel and shaded with red color pencil to make the envelop. For money, he put a prison photo ducat (Photo ducat is used in the visiting room to take pictures with visitors. It’s sell through the Prison Canteen.,) which worth two dollars, inside the envelop. I asked the guys whether all the Asians are going to have a spread to celebrate the new year. They said everyone’s too busy working and going to self help programs. They may do something over the weekend.

Culture is important. For those who are incarcerated, they still observe their cultures as much as they can. Therefore, it’s important to have cultural specific programs cater to their needs to reduce recidivism.

Again, I’m grateful that I can walk out of the prison each time I visit. Each visit gives me perspective and makes me more appreciative of freedom.

New Year’s Eve

It’s the eve of the Year of Rabbit. The atmosphere in the US is definitely different from the home country as Asian immigrants from different shores celebrates the Lunar Year. I hear the firecrackers popping here and there in my part of Oak Town. And it seems like those sounds of scaring the devils away becomes lesser and lesser with each passing year with all the banning of fireworks and all. I guess that’s the way it goes when you’re in a foreign land.

I wish I have some firecrackers to remind me of the good old childhood day.