When I emailed my uncle the address for Delta Hotel, a small budget hotel in the Chungking Mansions, he immediately called me to express his concerns about the safety and cleanliness of the area. "You should cancel the booking and stay with us," he urged. "A Chinese girl was raped there before. It was all over … Continue reading Why the Chungking Mansions are actually awesome
I finally finished reading Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I also finished putting together the audio for a Bone Lab episode featuring our interview with a bioarchaeologist. Together, these things are giving me a less despairing lens with which to view this strange and tragic era. And can't we all use a little less despair right now. Last … Continue reading The universal constant
Anyone who follows me on social media will know that I love Ask Polly, the advice column written by Heather Havrilesky for NY Mag and previously for the Awl. I was struck today by her latest response, in which she basically tells the letter writer that she needs to acknowledge that her childhood was shitty … Continue reading Grieving for the lost child
I don't often feel compelled to write about the plays I see (yes, I've become one of them bougie cultured folk in my old age), but holy smokes, that was amazing and hilarious and unexpected. Between Riverside and Crazy tells the story of a wounded former NYPD cop, Walter Washington, fighting to keep his rent … Continue reading Between Riverside and Crazy: a world-class performance at ACT SF
I read about Jennifer Pan yesterday over breakfast, how she doctored her report cards, pretended to go to college, and hired people to kill her parents when they found out about her lies. At lunch, I read some of the comments after the Toronto Life article (I know, I know, never read the comments), and I had to … Continue reading How did Jennifer Pan slip so far, and why are so many people sympathizing?
Last month, a youngish man of Asian descent got onto Muni (the SF train system) a few stops after me. He had shoulder-length hair, square thick-rimmed glasses, and wore a bright red suit. I guessed from his trendy attire that he was an art student and went back to my podcast without giving it further thought. I … Continue reading How to build empathy: musings about police training and medicine
"You were born with [an American passport]," my cousin said over WeChat yesterday, "So you will never understand those who desire it so much." I will point out that my cousin was born in Australia and now lives in Makati, the wealthy district in Manila, with two live-in maids. His father, my uncle, is a tenured professor … Continue reading The Improbable American Dream: Independence Day reflections