Heavy slumber within sun-washed steel
A railway route on daily commute
For despite talk of missions and aspirations
The world in here do my eyes paint
An impressionist chorale of color
Strung from thickets of green and adobe
Adorned with garden patches of graffiti
A momentary respite and escape
From stories unknown in between
Home and destination stations
A series of stories of silent towns
Are ever feeding my deep sleep
Fields of dreams filled with sheep
I write down my status report on my five long-term aspirations to help me remember where I am and what I need to do next.
Settle down and raise a family
Co-conspirators: #dat #huy #huy
This past month I overcame personal confidence issues that came from great uncertainty in the direction of my life. But the act of writing about my progress helps me clarify that uncertainty. To be sure, after many months of talking to individuals, a major theme in my self-confidence is that being a breadwinner is somehow part of my identity, even though I only have myself to take care of at the moment. My workaholism stems from an insecurity I feel when I’m not producing enough that would secure food and other material necessities.
My co-conspirators have given me insights on what it means to be a man in a relationship, not just with a significant other, but also as a best friend, a cohort, a team player, a community-servant leader, etc. I feel it important to start recording these thoughts specifically in order to remember and share on how to be bảo, that I hope would be a loving, brilliant, and generous man.
Loving is to give care to everything around him, because he lives in an ecosystem on which his livelihood depends. Sustain and nurture the environment.
Being brilliant is to have the confidence to tackle complex problems, almost with some arrogance that hints of optimism. The ability to resolve issues requires tremendous creativity, analysis, insight, perspective, and last but not least, tenacity to keep your eye on the prize.
And being generous is to create more than you consume such that you can give to others, that they may thrive. The difficulty is when you find yourself in a zero-sum game where there are winners and losers; but step out of that box and ask yourself what it is that everyone is trying to protect. There must be as-of-yet-unknown path that maintains everyone’s spirit of generosity.
Next step: Read and share articles on personal/relationship development. Get away from vague generalizations; stories are more interesting.
Build a Vietnamese community center
Co-conspirators: #quyen #anh
A community center needs a reason to exist. What community needs warrant one? The difficulty arises when you don’t have sufficient facts and stories to prove that there is a need. Lawyers who make compelling arguments are able to weave facts with stories; it’s not enough to say that some percentage of a demographic lives below the poverty line; we are skeptics until we hear the suffering such people feel because they live with limited means.
The people I most often communicate with will gripe about their salaried jobs, talk about difficulty finding housing, and rave about a new web app to come to their smart phone. These don’t really necessitate a community center. And for awhile, I thought that maybe we just don’t need one because the community I communicate with are all doing just fine.
But what I find is that the communication is lop-sided; we often limit our conversations to shallow greetings and food and drink stories. Wallowing in our family problems doesn’t make for great dinner conversation; who wants to be a downer?
But it is these stories of pain that drive me: when Cong’s dad is stuck in limbo after being hospitalized from a heart attack and coming back to work only to his hours reduced to 4 hours per week, so that the company won’t fire him, and being denied unemployment because the government says he still has a job and still can do less straining tasks.
I want to say “The Vietnamese community is doing just fine; they live with justice, equity, prosperity, and dignity.” But Fascinasians and other story collectors remind me that statement can’t be true.
For the time being my theory is that activism in the Vietnamese community is very personalized but has been limited in terms of public policy discussion. Afflicted individuals will turn to family members for assistance, and this makes it difficult to compare and aggregate individual cases into larger trends.
Next step: Create a blog that solicits stories of injustice or affliction in my area.
Develop software to help people achieve goals
Co-conspirators: #duy #vincent
I’ve just been hired as a user interface developer for a web app startup that strives to empower individuals in taking control of their personal finances to help them achieve their goals.
It was a great chemistry after talking to some of the team that my desire to build tools that help people develop their potential was very much similar to theirs.
This means that I’ll be talking a lot more about how people become inspired, and challenging our views of culture and economy. I had a great discussion with Ryan, one of my classmates, the other day about this predicament:
Assuming you’re unemployed, would you try to spend time finding a job to make money so you can hire someone to remodel your kitchen? Or would you spend time learning how to remodel the kitchen yourself?
I call it the beat-around-the-economic-bush paradox. When people are stuck waiting to find an income flow, their productivity is idled. They could be productive, if they started doing work not necessarily for money but for bartering, e.g. I will trade my marketing consultation time in exchange for your legal consultation time.
In any case, I’m happy to be moving forward on this goal with some very passionate people.
Next step: Onboarding to the new company and do some reading on UI/UX trends.
Start a Lantern Moon Festival association
I want to reduce the festival into its fundamental purpose: helping families better bond with each other. This ties back to my first goal of raising a family, and to do that I need to understand the issues that cause stress within a family.
While observing my current mentor and boss, Keith, I noticed that he works ridiculously long hours, which deprive him of bonding time with his kids. I then ask myself: If you had a weekend, bảo, what would you do to help father and children build their relationship?
They could just go to the local amusement park or the Children’s Discovery Museum. As long as alternatives to festivals exist, especially if the alternatives are better at what they do than what a startup festival could, the frugal bảo in me says we don’t need a separate festival.
But what we could do is to create a list of family-building activities and to solicit vendors/institutions to join in on a “day of family activities” marketing campaign. Quyen might tell me it’s not cultural enough. I’ll save the long-winded lecture on the origins of cultural practices, but at the end of the day, purpose is more important than routine.
Next step: Create a list of family-building activities for Keith, and heck, for my own family with mom and brother too.
Construct a thousand electronic lantern sculpture installation
I think I’ll just do sketch illustrations of lanterns at this point. I have enough work on my plate already, hah!
Next step: Create a lantern sketch, similar to show fashion designers sketch clothing ideas.
Taken from American Community Surveys 2005, 2006, and 1-Year Estimates for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 for the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara MSA. Vietnamese data for 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 have been corrected according to ACS Errata 57 and 59 which described an overcount of the Vietnamese population. Vietnamese data column does not include multiracial/multiethnic Vietnamese.