I’m Asian American, and this weekend’s Peter Liang’s protests show that Asian Americans too are marginalized against whites and majority

This weekend, New York cop Peter Liang was convicted for killing Akai Gurley, an unarmed black man, while on duty, which carries a possible 5-15 year prison sentence. As a result, many Asian-American groups have gone out to the streets of NYC and Philadelphia to protest in solidarity with Peter Liang. The issue at stand is that while Peter Liang was convicted of murdering an unarmed person while on duty, while  white policemen, like Daniel Pantaleo, veteran police who killed Eric Gardner with a chokehold, Darren Wilson, who shot Michael Brown, or Ryan Zimmerman, in the infamous Trayvon Martin case, are regularly acquitted of these killings.While many may say that the bigger issue is racial discrimination and racial profiling, as well as the disproportionate amount of people of color who are often targeted by police and also often serve longer sentences than whites for nonviolent crimes, one must note that it does not answer the fact that why Peter was convicted and the other white cops weren’t for their killings. The issue of racial profiling is an issue that all cops in America face, which lends itself to the side conversation of gun control, racial tolerance, and criminal justice reform as a whole. For it is with the vast proliferation of guns in America that threaten the safety of not only cops but also anyone when on duty and investigating cases.

However, one must also understand that Asian-Americans stand at a unique and somewhat awkward position in the US. With cultural stereotypes of Asians as “tributes to hard work, strong families and passion for education” and Asian-Americans as on the upper-echelons of the economic strata, Asian-Americans have been viewed as the “model minority” and thus looked upon with different lenses–Characterized as ‘privileged’ and not really considered minority, yet with unique Asian-American cultures, are not considered exactly mainstream as white Americans.)

Aside from the sheer disparity and competition that Asian students have to score on SATs (which in itself is already unfair to Asian students versus students of other races), the facts are still facts: Asian-Americans still only make up about 5.4% of the US population. Thus, many have certainly overlooked the struggles of Asian-Americans. For instance, Southeast Asian-Americans drop out of high school at an alarming rate: nearly 40% of Hmong-Americans, 38% Laotian-Americans, and 35% Cambodian-Americans do not finish high school. These groups, along with Vietnamese-Americans, earn below the national average. “Sweeping generalizations of Asian-Americans as the ‘privileged’ and ‘successful’ minority cannot replace unnerving disaggregated data that bring truth to the inequalities that many Asian-Americans face daily.” [2]

In addition, because of such “model minority” stereotypes overlooking the real struggles of Asian-Americans as well as other generic Asian-American stereotypes often not as the ‘toughest’ but rather more passive group, the US too is a new, unfamiliar, and daunting place for Asian-Americans. So with these stereotypes, in the midst of the “Black Lives Matter” and the racism/violence between whites and blacks, Asian-Americans have often been seen as not a minority. And as a first-generation Asian-American to Taiwanese immigrant parents myself, such violence and racial instability lately certainly keeps me on my toes and threatening of my well-being. In essence, as Asian-Americans with foreign culture and our parents often with language barriers, we too are victims of indirect racism and discrimination yet are not recognized nor our voices heard as much.

According to investigation sources, Peter Liang discharged his weapon in a “dark stairway” while “the bullet [merely] bounced off the wall” to hit the unarmed father and son, Akai Gurley. Meanwhile, for instance, Daniel Pantaleo with the chokehold of Eric Gardner had done it in broad daylight. Similarly, the police shooting of Walter Scott in South Carolina also in broad daylight. Same with Darren Wilson. Clearly, he can see their “suspects” more clearly, presenting less of a threat to their lives than if it were done at night, as in Peter Liang’s case. Yet Daniel Pantaleo has yet to be tried, and Darren Wilson acquitted? While that contributes to the 2nd-degree nature of the murder than 1st-degree, Peter Liang was threatened, both as a police on duty conducting investigation as well as being an Asian-American amid the recent racially-charged climate of the US. He had to act in self-defense.

I stand in solidarity with both Peter Liang and Akai Gurley. Both were simply at the wrong place, wrong time. Both Asian-Americans and African-Americans experience racism and discrimination. Both are minorities with different struggles to overcome in the US. Therefore, what we should focus on is not to use Peter as a punishment, a precedent to cops killing unarmed people. Rather, we should focus on reaching out and even the playing field for all races, religious groups, for all people in general. We should focus on tackling criminal justice reform, dealing with the issue of urban and minority poverty (that is a significant cause of the disproportionate amount of people of color behind bars and their disproportionately longer sentences) through extra funding in education and welfare.

We are at a crossroads of 2016. We have had too much shootings and racial-profiling around the country. We’ve seemed to have forgotten the progress that we had built during the Civil Rights Movement. African-Americans have most definitely come a long way. But while there is still a long way for them to go, let us remember that there are others as well who are also in the void, beneath the shadows. While incidents like Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, while heinous and racially-charged which certainly requires the unity of the African-American community to protest, the same should be with Asian-Americans as well. Our voices too should be heard, and heard loudly across the nation. The US is a land of diversity, we must accept each and every racial group in America, and treat each and every one of the same. I hope that through this entire experience (and, the protests), my fellow Asian-American friends would start to challenge our silence and call attention to our struggles. 亞裔美人萬歲!華人萬嵗!正義何在!



[1] https://www.facebook.com/NowThisNews/videos/998175980272526/?pnref=story

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/10/16/the-effects-of-seeing-asian-americans-as-a-model-minority/model-minority-seems-like-a-compliment-but-it-does-great-harm

[3] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steph-yin/peter-liang-protests_b_9289990.html


El Chapo’s Infamous Prison Break

News of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s escape has exploded across North America. The notorious drug lord is credited as one of the most dangerous men of our time. Leader of Sinaloa Cartel, Guzman is considered the “most powerful drug trafficker in the world” by the United States Department of Treasury in 2014. He has also been listed as one of the most powerful men in the world and one of the richest men in Mexico with a net worth of $1 billion in 2011. El Chapo’s influence is so wide spread that in 2013, the Chicago Crime Commission named him “Public Enemy Number One”, even though there was no evidence of El Chapo in Chicago. The last person to have created such an extensive criminal record and criminal notoriety was Al Capone from the 1930s. Hunted by law enforcement agencies across the world, such as the Mexican PGR, US DEA, Interpol, and various other agencies, El Chapo was arrested in 2014 for the second time. His first arrest was in 1993 and he was placed in a maximum-security prison. Even during his time in prison, Guzman’s drug empire continued to operate successfully. While in jail, his associates brought him suitcases full of cash to bribe prison workers and to allow El Chapo to maintain an opulent lifestyle. However, on January 19, 2001, with the aide of bribed guards, El Chapo made his escape. A  guard opened his electronically operated cell door and Guzman hid in a laundry cart, which a maintenance worker rolled out of the prison. Once outside, Guzman was transported in the trunk of a car to a gas station, from where Guzman made his escape on foot. This escape plan seems to have come right out of an action movie and it is even more surprising that El Chapo was able to execute it successfully. This just goes to show the extent of one man’s power and influence. El Chapo was on the run for several years but was caught again recently in 2014, but he didn’t stay there very long.


Last week on July 11th, 2015, El Chapo escaped once again from a maximum-security prison. His escape and more importantly, how he escaped shocked the world. Guzman escaped through a tunnel dug in his cell’s shower. What’s more surprising is that the hole was placed such that the camera could not see him climbing down into the tunnel. The next part of his escape route, the tunnel, was even more incredible. The tunnel lead from the prison facility to a house construction nearly a mile away. The entire tunnel was dug through with proper equipment, a ventilation system, and installed lighting. In addition, oxygen tanks were found in the tunnel along with a motorcycle to take El Chapo across the tunnel quickly. The extensiveness of the tunnel and the coordination needed to make it possible have led many to call this tunnel a “feat of engineering”. If anything, this demonstrates the vast resources at Guzman’s disposal. Now several federal entities have begun the manhunt for El Chapo. Here’s the coverage of El Chapo’s escape route, covered by CNN. Sources:

“Joaquín Guzmán.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 17 July 2015. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joaqu%C3%ADn_Guzm%C3%A1n&gt;.
“Seven Are Charged in ‘El Chapo’ Escape – CNN.com.” CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 17 July 2015. <http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/17/americas/mexico-el-chapo-escape/&gt;.

High Class Fashion Handbags Meet Low Sales

Throwing it back to the ‘90s when high end fashion products were a symbol of nonchalance in the social facet. Coach, Kate Spade & Co.,Gucci, Michael Kors, and many more were the place to shop if you had the money. This generation’s teenagers or the “Gen Z” as we call it, have definitely deviated this concept. Adolescents nowadays do not wish for the costly, luxurious items they would have desired about a decade ago. Instead, they rather support their fashion icons who encourage them to purchase the affordable products on the market rather than the expensive. Nancy Nessel, a Generation Z expert, told Business Insider “For Gen Z, gifting is an occasion that mirrors the more conservative behavior of Gen Z: they are practical, frugal, and prefer to blend in, not standing out with glitzy items.” Concluding from Nessels statement, young people do not have interest in purchasing expensive goods such as handbags to show their standards. Researchers have noticed the changes in sales in many of these high end companies which may not be so high end anymore.

Data shows that Coach, a prevalent handbag company, dropped 12% in sales in its fourth quarter of 2015 and declined 19% in stock value. In addition, Kate Spade & Co. plummeted in stock value about 35% since the beginning of 2015. Michael Kors lost nearly half of their value in share price. Lastly, Gucci’s sales have slumped 1.1% in 2014. As you can see, reduction in sales have certainly occurred. The real question is, what conflicts will arise for these companies if the situation is not treated properly?

The shift of preferences in goods could lead to a surplus in goods for the high end companies who experience a decline in sales. The company then loses all the money they spent into producing how much is left over. In addition to sales dropping, the value of the company drops as well, inducing its share price to fall. People start selling the stock when they come to realize the company’s sales is not doing good and the company itself loses even more. The chain of events that may occur could lead to a very disastrous outcome. On the other hand, Vera Bradley, being a well known but not so lavish compared to the others, saw an immense growth in the latest holiday season in which their sales rose 48% and share price increased by 46%. Therefore, the chic companies are in trouble as a result of the Gen Z finding interest in fashionable products that are not so high end.  


MIT Hyperloop Competition

This past weekend, a team of MIT students won the first round of the SpaceX Hyperloop Design competition which was held at Texas A&M University. The hyperloop design consisted of a high scale transportation design, a concept originally developed by Elon Musk a few years back. Through this design competition, these MIT grad students came one step closer to fulfilling Elon Musk’s vision.

The vehicle that these students created will travel inside the hyperloop which will connect various cities to one another. This pod that the team developed will hover above the ground and will travel at a very high speed to transport people across various cities included in the route. In order to make the pod hover, the MIT students used magnets above a conducting plate.

The team will now build a miniature prototype to test in California this summer. In the past, MIT has been a part of several technological breakthroughs and now it’s appropriate that they contribute to progress in transportation as well. The team has strengths in areas such as mechanical and electrical engineering which helped them win the first round of the competition. The team is being supported by all of MIT and everyone awaits to see what happens in California this summer.

Why We Do What We Do

What makes the difference in the quality of people’s lives?  How do you make a change?  What is it that shapes us?

So many people fail to do what they want to do, and they blame it on so many things: financial issues, lack of training, social or family issues, even lack of motivation. It seems like only the super-gifted and talented people become what they want to be; we don’t know why we can’t achieve what we want to achieve, it seems.

People like Tony Robbins are not just here to just motivate people, their job is to find out why people do what they do.

In this TED talk from the legendary man himself, Robbins explains everything he knows about how to help people accomplish their dreams and aspirations.




The Art of Stillness

Sometimes we are all so caught up in our own business; sometimes we feel like we are so ‘busy’, like we have so many things to do. Sometimes we simply feel like we have no time to do what we really want to do. Indeed, I sometimes experience this same predicament. ‘If only I had more time.’ I keep telling myself. Hours and even days go by and I wish I had them back, feeling like my seconds are ticking away. We all want to do great things, like traveling the world, or writing a novel, or becoming famous, or changing lives. This world puts a lot of expectations on our backs. But, ironically, the place that travel writer Pico Iyer would want to go to is… nowhere.

Pico Iyer is the author of the book The Art of Stillness, and he talks about his story in TED talks, like this one below.


In a world where everything is happening and people want to do everything, I take some time to just do nothing but think. It’s a cathartic experience; taking a break from the world helps you come back to your senses and set your mind back on track. Spending just 5-15 minutes just being separate from EVERYTHING, is a very powerful act. It’s not very easy to explain here, so I recommend you try it for yourself. Pico Iyer is a much better speaker than I am, so take his word for it.

The World’s First Hoverboard

For many years now, people have been introduced to different versions and prototypes of a concept of a real hoverboard. A hoverboard has mostly remained an object limited to movies and fantasies but now the aerospace company, Arca, has already started taking orders for what it claims to be the world’s first real hoverboard.

This hoverboard is known as the ArcaBoard and has the ability to hover up to a foot over any surface including concrete and water. The device is powered by 36 electric ducted fans and has a maximum thrust of 200 kgf. The ArcaBoard can be controlled and manipulated through the use of your phone as well and is about 57 inches long, 30 inches wide, and 6 inches thick. To maneuver the board, the rider just has to lean forward to move forward and lean backward to slow down or back up. However, the top speed is limited to just 12.5 mph which doesn’t exactly make it the best option for commuting. The ArcaBoard is currently priced at $19,900.

Inline image 1

The CEO of Arca Space Corporation first got the idea for a hoverboard when he went to the Organ Mountains with his kids a few months ago. As he was taking pictures his son suggested the creation of a hoverboard to make travel over the rocky terrain easier. And just two months later, they tested the first ArcaBoard after putting the idea to work right away. The ArcaBoard is probably one of the most powerful vehicles created in recent times.

At first, the announcement that a new hoverboard had been created seemed doubtful especially after the 2014 hoax that Tony Hawk had released. But Arca started off as a corporation that worked on rockets for the Romanian government. They have also released drones and relocated to the U.S. recently. Considering their past work and experience it seems that this ArcaBoard is for real.

True Underdog

I’m certain a multitude of you are familiar with the story of David and Goliath. Here’s an excerpt from a source which I will explain later:

“At the heart of ancient Palestine is the region known as the Shephelah, a series of ridges and valleys connecting the Judaean Mountains to the east with the wide, flat expanse of the Mediterranean plain. It is an area of breathtaking beauty, home to vineyards and wheat fields and forests of sycamore and terebinth. It is also of great strategic importance.

Over the centuries, numerous battles have been fought for control of the region because the valleys rising from the Mediterranenean plain offer those on the coast a clear path to the cities of Hebron, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem in the Judadean highlands. The most important valley is Aijalon, in the north. But the most storied is the Elah. The Elah was where Saladin faced off against the Knights of the Crusades in the twelfth century. It played a central role in the Maccabean wars with Syria more than a thousand years before that, and, most famously, during the days of the Old Testament, it was where the fledgling Kingdom of Israel squared off against the armies of the Philistines.

The Philistines were from Crete. They were a seafaring people who had moved to Palestine and settled along the coast. The Israelites were clustered in the mountains, under the leadership of King Saul. In the second half of the eleventh century BCE, the Philistines began moving east, winding their way upstream along the floor of the Elah Valley. Their goal was to capture the mountain ridge near Bethlehem and split Saul’s kingdom in two. The Philistines were battle-tested and dangerous, and the sworn enemies of the Israelites. Alarmed, Saul gathered his men and hastened down from the mountains to confront them.

The Philistines set up camp along the southern ridge of the Elah. The Israelites pitched their tents on the other side, along the northern ridge, which left the two armies looking across the ravine at each other. Neither dared to move. To attack meant descending down the hill and then making a suicidal climb up the enemy’s ridge on the other side. Finally, the Philistines had enough. They sent their greatest warrior down into the valley to resolve the deadlock one on one.

He was a giant, six foot nine at least, wearing a bronze helmet and full body armor. He carried a javelin, a spear, and a sword. An attendant preceded him, carrying a large shield. The giant faced the Israelites and shouted out: ‘Choose you a man and let him come down to me! If he prevail in battle against me and strike me down, we shall be slaves to you. But if I prevail and strike him down, you will be slaves to us and serve us.

In the Israelite camp, no one moved. Who could win against such a terrifying opponent? Then, a shepherd boy who had come down from Bethlehem to bring food to his brothers stepped forward and volunteered. Saul objected: ‘You cannot go against this Philistine to do battle with him, for you are a lad and he is a man of war from his youth.’ But the shepherd was adamant. He had faced more ferocious opponents than this, he argued. ‘When the lion or the bear would come and carry off a sheep from the herd,’ he told Saul, ‘I would go after him and strike him down and rescue it from his clutches.’ Saul had no other options. He relented, and the shepherd boy ran down the hill toward the giant standing in the valley. ‘Come to me, that I may give your flesh to the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the field,’ the giant cried out when he saw his opponent approach. Thus began one of history’s most famous battles. The giant’s name was Goliath. The shepherd boy’s name was David.”

This was how it all began. A battle between two seemingly polar opposites in terms of strength, power, might, and skill. You have Goliath, an absolute giant who was trained to fight from birth, and then you have David, a young shepherd boy (which was one of the lowest occupations back then) who claims that he killed lions and wolves. Who do you think would win?

Here’s how it all played out. Goliath was offended when he saw David walk down the hill, looking at his staff and saying, “Am I a dog, that you should come to me with sticks?” While the giant was mocking him, David took a stone and put it into the leather poach of a a sling, and fires the rock at Goliath’s forehead. Boom. The stone hit him square in the head, making him fall unconscious. David then “runs toward him, seizes the giant’s sword, and cuts off his head.” The Philistines were so afraid that “their warrior was dead, and they fled.”

How is this all possible? How could a shepherd boy who couldn’t have weighed more than 150 pounds take on a brute of a man with spears and swords and armor that probably weighed more than David himself? This type of story is what popular culture likes to call “an underdog story” – a battle that was won by someone who shouldn’t have won at all. This is how I interpreted this story, but as Malcolm Gladwell states in his new book David and Goliath, we all got the story wrong.

Since this is Gladwell’s book, I feel he deserves the honor of explaining how we all messed up the legendary story of David and Goliath. Here is a video of Gladwell speaking at a TED talk, where he tells the story perfectly.

Star Wars: A Box Office Force

In 2012, Walt Disney spent $4 billion to buy Lucasfilm. For most analysts and critics this seemed to be a relatively unwise decision
considering that there hasn’t been a Star Wars movie in nearly a decade now. People were surprised to see that there was interest
being shown in making a new Star Wars movie.
The new movie “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is expected to make nearly $2 billion in profit. The popularity of the franchise along
with the highly anticipated reboot makes $2 billion in projected profits seem pretty reasonable. “Star Wars”  sales will also be boosted by additions to theme parks and the sale of merchandise associated with the franchise.
Through Star Wars, Disney has a new channel of profit through new and unique characters. The business of Star Wars expands far beyond just the movie itself. It is unclear how Disney divides its revenue but it’s safe to say that this new movie will be a profitable venture for the company. Additionally, four more Star Wars films to build off this success have already been talked about.
In September, Disney had a Force Friday in which they released nearly 500 items and it is expected that Star Wars will be one of the biggest sales generators for Disney. A new Star Wars video game called “Star Wars Battlefront” released by Electronic Arts has already become popular especially since the holiday season is close by. It is expected that by the end of 2015, nearly 13 million units of the game will have been sold. Disneyland is also planning to open “Star Wars” themed lands which will definitely drive up the number of visitors. They have already started planning for these “Star Wars” areas.
However, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has an important task along with making a large amount of revenue. It needs to restore the excitement that old fans had for the franchise. The three prequel movies from 1999 to 2005 disappointed many fans and there were many who expected a better ending. This movie could be perfect for that task but it needs to meet the expectations of the audiences. All Star Wars fans will be seeing many newcomers in the cast which may provide a new perspective for the movie.

A UNiversal Deal


December 12th 2015 ; a historic landmark was reached in France that is an amalgamation of thousands of delegates and 195 countries efforts to solve the pressing issue of climate change.This unprecedented accord will commit to every country to lower greenhouse gas emissions to avert climate change in every possible way.Hence, this deal was no ordinary one, it was rather “a historic breakthrough on an issue that has foiled decades of international efforts to address climate change.”

Even President Obama praises this deal as a crucial segment of his presidency as he televised from the White House “This agreement sends a powerful signal that the world is fully committed to a low-carbon future.” This powerful statement showed that the UN and the world as a whole has the innate virtuosity to take on a challenge that might lead to some devastating effects. However, this deal alone won’t solve climate change even though it is the world’s last hope before it will succumb to global warming.

The scientists present in France, have analyzed this decision and said “this will cut greenhouse gas emissions by almost one half to reach a certain global temperature.”If this temperature is passed even by a margin it will result in an increase in sea levels,severe droughts and floods,food and water shortages across the globe,and even more devastating storms.

Despite the negative effects of climate change in accordance to the deal, there is an incentive to the world financially.There will be a necessary halt  in investing for coal,oil, and gas for energy sources, but a growth in the use of solar, wind,and nuclear power.This can become a reality depending on how seriously every country will follow through to it, looking back at Copenhagen where a similar consensus was reached and collapsed due to lack of cooperation within certain nations.The primary difference that makes this Paris accord more suitable to this day in age , is the transformation within “domestic policies,and bilateral relations between China, and the U.S, the world’s two largest polluters of greenhouse gas.”

In regard to this relation Xie Zhenhua , a Chinese climate change negotiator says this deal needing some additional improvement is still “fair comprehensive,balanced, highly ambitious,enduring,and effective.” President Obama also had a say on this by enacting the nation’s first climate change policy which will include, stringent regulations for EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to stymie greenhouse gas pollution emanating from coal-fired power plants.

This does not only concern China ,and the U.S, but rather every countries national plans.These plans will greatly vary in terms of their requirements since there is no standard amount of cutting off greenhouse gases for each one.Hence, these countries will have to reconvene after 5 years to update their policies and plans using a universal account system, resulting in a hybrid legal structure as the crux of the accord.
The Paris accord is the framework for a world with limited greenhouse gas pollution that will depend on the global peer pressure, actions of future governments, and future leaders in upcoming elections. In response to this and the Paris attacks there are doubled efforts to show the nations goodwill towards France. EU commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete couldn’t have culminated the spirit of the conference any better and motivating than by saying “ today we celebrate, tomorrow we have to act that, this is what the world expects of us.”

The Sound of Silence

“The Sound of Silence” is a song written by Paul Simon and recorded by the American folk-rock music duo Simon and Garfunkel. Paul Simon himself stated that this song was about people’s lack of ability to communicate freely, and that people are oppressed into silence. The song speaks of the need to come to grips with reality and that when meaningful communication fails, the only thing that remains is silence.

The general essence of the song goes as follows: A man meditates on a vision that has been troubling him. The vision was about people idolizing celebrity, wealth, and possessions and worshipping the materialism/consumerism and fake culture that everyone lived in but did nothing about; a shallow, culturally bankrupt society that crushes a more beautiful, simple world.

People are afraid to speak up, and so remain silent. Besides, no one is listening anyways, so “the cancer grows”, as everyone lives in ignorance, complacency, conformity, and submission, completely powerless against the fakeness and absurdity of what they are doing.  One stanza that is very profound includes the lines: “

People talking without speaking,

People hearing without listening,

People writing songs that voices never share

And no one dared

Disturb the sound of silence.”


The word ”dared” implies that the people knew of the absurdity of what they were doing yet still refused to speak up, and instead resorted to remaining silent. Later in the song, even when the narrator tries to reprimand and lecture the people of their ways, his words fell like “silent raindrops”, and the people continued to blindly worship their “neon god”. The narrator himself eventually settles into helplessness and grief, as he watches the people fall to their doom.

The entire song is laced with negative words, like “darkness”, “cold”, “damp”, “stabbed”, “naked”, “disturb”, “fools”, “cancer”, “silent raindrops”, “wells”, ”warning”, so that just listening to the song makes one experience the sense of loneliness and gloominess, the kind that someone feels when he/she gives up hope on the people around, when the end, the conclusion, is drawing near. For me, this song perfectly compiles all of my feelings about the absurdity that this world can have sometimes.

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”  —-Martin Luther King.

This is the sound of silence. The oppression that is accepted, not fought.