Pray for 2017

Welcome to 2017, a tough year that begins with controversy and uncertainty. This entry is long overdue. When I was still, as the people say, “licking our wounds” after the night of Nov 8 last year, just a week before the Christmas holiday, my encounter with two kind strangers at a gas station on one night lifted my spirit.

Long story short. It was my first time to pump air into my auto tires as their pressure were low in wintertime. At a gas station where the free air pump stood, I watched a middle-aged woman and her daughter doing the drill–the mother was pumping air into the tire, and the daughter was monitoring the pressure number shown on a screen. The were experienced I could tell, at least the mother was. After a good 15 minutes, they were done. Just before they was about to leave, the mother came to me and asked, “Do you know how to do it?” I said frankly, “I have no idea.” Well, she began to tell me how–

Check the car manual in your car, you’ll find the tire air pressure reference there. Press the button on the pump for the desired level; give one number higher as it’ll give enough pressure to your tires.

She turned on her cell phone flashlight and helped me to check the magic number. Then off they went. Just as I was about to finish, I lost the cap that cover the air hole of an auto tire. My surrounding was poorly lit. So it was my turn to turn on my cell phone flashlight to search for the tiny black cap. It was like finding a needle in a haystack. Then another SUV approached me. The driver was so thoughtful that he turned on the high beam toward me. At first, I misunderstood it was a signal for asking me to go away. So I hurried to turn away. He jumped out of his car and asked me what I was looking for. He explained that he was hoping the high beam light could help me find what I was looking for. Aha, I found it!

I thanked him cheerfully and excused myself from standing on the very spot that he was about to park his car. On one night, I was helped twice. What are the odds? I thought this country is divided profoundly especially after the presidential election. I thought this country that I call mine for two years would be now filled with hatred and selfishness. But that night, I was helped by two warm-hearted strangers. Perhaps America is not as cruel to immigrants as some pundits believe.

President-elect Trump said only the reporters are interested in his tax returns, the public don’t care. WRONG! If only the White House under his administration would be open for public petitions like President Obama, I would create a petition for “Releasing President Trump’s tax returns for the past 10 years”. Sadly, like millions of Americans, we have to say goodbye to the very popular website We the People (

The federal government makes Jan 20, 2017 a federal holiday because of the fanfare of welcoming a new, unpopular president. I told myself, perhaps this is the few benefits given by President-elect Trump to the people–a day off. In my wildest dream, I do hope there will be another public holiday in less than four years to celebrate another Inauguration Day. Deal me in!

A thought-provoking article:

Photo taken on a DC street a week before Inauguration Day. The ad is posted everywhere on my way to work. I’m sure this won’t be the first time in the coming years to show people’s attitude on the streets.



I was surprised to catch this mention of my alma mater on a DC metro paper.  I posted it on my Facebook immediately. #ChathamUniversityRocks

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In God We Trust. Pray for 2017!


Las Vegas photo album

OK, I finally got my hands on this project. This is an online photo album for the highlight of my first visit to Las Vegas in early October. The main purpose of the trip was to see my dream star Celine Dion on stage for her 1,000th concert.

Photo album with Chinese caption:

If you want to read an account about my trip, here is the travelogue:

A little preview, I’ll revisit Las Vegas next Feb for a trip to Grand Canyon. Wow, I’m so psyched about it!  More to come. . .

The Price of Democracy, or what?

It has been four days since my first vote for the U.S. presidential election was counted, my heart is still heavy. So heavy that I am unable to use my second language to describe. I remember on Wednesday at my French class, our teacher who is Belgium-American made a sentence with a new French word: amusant. She wrote on the white board:

“Le résultat des élections est amusant.”

I chuckled. To me, and perhaps to millions of American voters, the result is more than fun, in a sarcastic way. It’s surprisingly heart-wrenching.

The weather on Wednesday morning matched the mood of the Clinton faithful in northern Virginia and District of Columbia after the electoral disaster–gloomy and gray. The morning shower added a feeling of sadness as if God was crying for the U.S..  I went to work at 5:30AM as usual. On the commuter bus and metro train, only the engine and the heater were moaning and groaning. Riders were dead silent. They could be too weary to utter a word for they stayed up the night for the election. Or they were too disappointed about the result to express the emotion.  No wonder the newspaper man who handed out metro paper every day at the entrance of Vienna metro station said to his patrons, “Have a happy day!”

Can we really be happy that day? Or even in the next four years under the unpopular president-elect? I don’t even want to say his name.  On Wednesday morning, my best friend in London texted me and asked, “What is the mood there?” I texted back: “Like Brexit.” She replied, ” According to the news, the Canadian immigration site is crashed.” “Yes,” I texted, “my friend in Canada said the same thing.”

On Wednesday evening, I went to my French class as usual. Our French teacher was talkative about the election in Belgium comparing to that in the U.S., and about the preposterous promises that the U.S. president-elect has made during his election campaign. I didn’t know our French teacher was so into the U.S. politics. Who wouldn’t?

Any U.S. citizen who loves this country and any human being on this planet will live with the consequences of any decision or change made by the U.S. president-elect. The future of the U.S. is uncertain and alarmingly worrisome.

With my two-year-old toddler’s mind as a U.S. citizen to understand the election process in my country, I have truly witnessed the power of democracy. Or is it fairer to say it is the price of democracy, or what?

God bless America, as the U.S. presidents always say.

In God We Trust, as it appears in the US money.

The shower on Wednesday morning echoed—-

the U.S. 45th President's mein kampf


My Input on DC Metro

This week I took park in the contest for DC metro improvement. If you are interested in what I suggested, check out this link:

Metro Contest screenshot


Letters to the editor at the Economist

I sent out two opinions to the editor at the Economist today. I doubt they will be published in the print version. Anyway, this is really what I think:

Dear Editor,

Your article on plebiscites in Europe (Referendumania, May 21, 2016) was spot-on. The reason for initiating an EU referendum in the UK and for its decision on Jun 23 to leave the EU is more political than economic. It’s saddening to see the EU, which was build on postwar economic cooperation and the integration of Europe, lose its key member the United Kingdom, whose majority of young voters in fact voted to remain in the EU. If the future is now and the voices of Britain’s future have spoken, how will Westminster react to it? Alas, the future of the UK is so uncertain that even the passionate “Vote Leave” campaigners are dodging questions about how to steer the ship of Britain’s future without EU membership.

Your description of the ritual that follows a mass shooting in America (Guns in America: Control, alt, delete, Jun 25, 2016) cannot be more apt. If the gun lovers in America see the Second Amendment as their mantra, they should know with fundamental understanding that the prerequisites for the people who keep and bear arms must be “well regulated” and in a “militia”. In none of the recent deadly mass shootings, from Sandy Hook to Orlando, did the gunman meet the prerequisites as “well regulated” and being a non-professional soldier to defend “the security of a free State”. If only a complete U.S. Supreme Court will revisit the controversial Second Amendment  and the last majority opinion written by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.