Selfish, and yet more?

Although quite a portrait has seemingly been painted of me so far in my life (to many), here’s what I also know:

EXAMPLE 1 — AIRLINE:

When I worked for an airline back in the 1990s, I laboured for well over a year on a proposal that would have improved the entire company, and benefitted all of its internal and external customers around the world. I DID SO, EVEN IF IT MEANT PUTTING MYSELF OUT OF A JOB. (I always figured there is always other work to be done. And I used to believe in improving things for their own sake.) 

My boss literally spluttered at me: “Are you trying to get us all fired?!?” Then, she promptly kiboshed the whole thing. 

Yet, centralizing information management would have vastly enhanced both internal-external communications in all types of media, across 7 languages, globally — and it would’ve meant 100% accuracy, accessibility and accountability — plus more flexibility, efficiency, strengthened customer service, and a better bottom line. And it would’ve cost ZERO DOLLARS to implement. 

With all the technical and scheduling information, alone, and communicating with such disparate parties as their subsidiary companies, loyalty clubs, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), 52 airports worldwide, thousands of travel agents / agencies and tour operators, hotels, mass media, the budding internet (in the form we now know it)**, and so forth — well, you can imagine that accurate information is absolutely imperative. And yet, that wasn’t necessarily happening. Or, it was very difficult and cumbersome to maintain; and there were a lot of information silos. It was a simple solution to an obvious problem; and it didn’t take a lot of brains to see it.

Still, I worked my ass off — slaving away through holidays; staying late regularly; and even pulling all-nighters at the office. I also put my own funds into creating the proposal; recruited friends to help me; and started to sprout gray hairs by age 27.

And what was in it for me? Maybe a pat on the back (as they were damn frugal); but most of all, it would’ve made my own job easier and less labour-intensive. Eventually, defying my boss’s orders, I did invite various middle managers together to present the idea to; although in hindsight, I should’ve just gone straight to senior management, as one of the managers eventually tried to do with my proposal — after I had tendered my resignation, and minus all the research and evidence I had accumulated to back it all up. 

The only cost involved would be to reassign one of their crème de la crème management trainees to be the central information coordinator in the Corporate Communications Department. A few of the managers immediately suspected me of trying to create this new position for myself; but no.

**NOTE: History of the Internet: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Internet

EXAMPLE 2 — PETITION LETTER

At another job, prior to above, the management merged both the engineering department and design section  (basically , the office part of the company) with the factory — and then, simply rolled back the employee benefits of the former two. 

Obviously, people were upset, and I agreed to write a letter that was signed by I forget how many people (25-50?). A few people tried to quietly suggest that I was putting myself at risk. And indeed, the company did use various intimidation tactics to get people to hastily sign and accept their new contracts, so the concerns for me were not unfounded. 

I had more to lose than to gain, yet I did care about my fellow co-workers and respecting basic rights — despite my now having evolved into someone who is at times arrogant, and sometimes self-obsessed and unempathetic towards others. 

EXAMPLE 3 — O Canada!

It is an understatement to say that I have been closely watched, studied, psychoanalyzed, defamed and defrauded — with just a scattering of indirect proof that any of this has gone on — starting in 1998 and lasting until now. With the most recent assault of digital hacking and tampering of my key accounts and device (eg, email, banking, blog, FB, my phone, etc) to various problems in our homes and vehicles (trespassing, minor theft, seeming vandalism) beginning since April 1, 2022 (April Fool’s Day). And yet, most of it (the at-home stuff) is so trivial as to be absolutely ridiculous! And yet, undeniable.

I’m not going to go into all that. Just trust me that others have witnessed some of the goings-on and/or believe in the illegal surveillance activities and targeted harassment after so many years. And upon seeing the albeit *breadcrumb* evidence, they are likewise baffled by it.

Seemingly inexplicable things have happened to and around me, but how, why or by whom doesn’t make sense to people — unless they critically analyze the whole thing from a sociopolitical perspective, know my story and how things evolved, and most of all, understand that the “surveillance state” isn’t just a news segment on W5 — it’s actively happening to all of us. I just blundered into a bad situation — and am hopelessly outspoken, critical, and defiant — and unfortunately, dragged in others (though I’m trying to learn to do differently).

In any case, I’ve been cast as a ‘hater’ of all sides and groups, by my own country — one that I have deeply loved and cared for, and believed so much in. My love for Canada ran deep, until they spited even that last bit of care out of me. Admittedly, though, I’ve held nostalgically onto a Canada that seems to have rapidly disappeared. 

Elsewhere in this blog, I mentioned how I love having a balanced diversity and inclusivity — but I also mean one that is in keeping with this nation’s unique history of both the First Nations people and the European settlers (initially British and French colonizers, then others).  Yet, I also said many years ago that I believed we should “work with what we have” — whilst stemming the tide of uneven immigration, or even too much immigration. I have said repeatedly that the original Canada I once knew and loved is being dissipated and weakened; that it needs to keep fortifying itself from within — its own historical roots, customs, values, practices and overall rich heritage — before it can take on so many newcomers. 

(The same is true for the U.S., who unfortunately is even more fragmented and polarized than we are; plus, they disperse their efforts and resources in so many different ways and in places around the world. Driving up their debts, and owing so much to China. And both war and the military — plus the after-effects like PTSD or suicide, drug addiction, homelessness — damages or kills so many of their fine young people. Gun violence is another crazy problem plaguing that great nation. They literally have the equivalent of 1-1.5 mass killings per day, annually. And all their schools have safety drills, in case a shooter shows up — what a way to grow up!)

Anyway, like many other fellow native-born or long-time Canadians, I recognize that many people who have lived and worked in Canada all of their lives, or who have served as veterans for example, are getting short shrift — especially those in their retirement years — as compared to, say, new refugees who get a generous leg-up and tend to network in ways that many people who are originally from here don’t.

These are all very complex issues, and I am admittedly very ignorant about it all. But I was once upon a time quite passionate about collaborating with others on innovative solutions to address these pressing problems — especially from a healthy, holistic, transformative and sustainable environmental perspective. 

CONCLUSION

The bottom line is: as with the above 2 examples, I have personally wished to preserve and also revive the primarily Eurocentric Canada* that had made it such a shining example of excellence, integrity, unique character and courage, both at home and on the world stage — but I had wrongly hoped this might be done with its lawfulness and some recourse to justice still intact. (And I have been much persecuted and profoundly misunderstood for my outspokenness, at times — hence, the hacking and in-home GASLIGHTING. Plus I have had chaotic relationships and other challenges to deal with. Long story. )

Anyway, I believed in this vision — even if it means facing and enduring systemic racism and oppression in my own life, on a daily basis [ or even dying for the greater good (which IMO is unnecessary and reflects exactly the psychopathic undertow with which this whole scenario began — the fact that I am Asian-Canadian, bisexual, feminist, a former activist, underemployed, a mental health survivor, etc — and therefore, was racially-profiled for an incident involving a legal document**; became increasingly marginalized and a social pariah; and was simply an easy target and interesting case study)].

*NOTE: Having said that, in evolutionary biology co-evolution (or cross-breeding) can strengthen a group, and I would suggest it is likely to be all the Caucasoid groups (Europe + Middle East, West / Central / South Asia, South America, North Africa) bolstering each other, yet still heading towards a European model in future. A return to Eden, and vastly less populated.

**NOTE: Happy to discuss further.

SIDENOTES

About systemic oppression: many people don’t fully appreciate how soul-destroying and yet intangible it can be. How it hits some harder than others, depending upon so many factors. I can give just one tiny example of a Jewish guy whom I knew briefly. 

This wonderful young man introduced himself and later oscillated between giving us the anglicized version of his surname and his actual one — although neither would have been seen as anything but anglophone, which is exactly how it came across. 

And yet, it was clear to me, in that moment, that he bore the full weight of his ancestry, with all its historical persecution** — even though, he has ‘white privilege’; was among supportive, open, friendly people; had no language barriers or accent (or acquired speech + vocabulary difficulties, in my case); wasn’t identifiably Jewish in any way, including his last name(s); and so forth. 

Yet THAT is how burdensome both systemic and internalized oppression can be, often suffocating people in so many layers of experienced negativity — usually by being identifiable, not accepted or discriminated against, and thus, often unable to surpass certain sociopolitical or economic barriers — both obvious and hidden ones. It is so painfully real that some may even twist themselves into knots just trying to be seen for who they ARE, or what they CAN DO — without prejudice or stereotypes, or being somehow cast aside. 

**NOTE: The persecution and exile of Jews, and in more recent times, systemic discrimination and attempts at extermination (ie, the Holocaust of World War II, 1939-45), has actually been going on for 2.5 millennia. There are many examples, but I remember being surprised as a young person at quite a few. And later, a Yahoo news article on that subject, which I attempted to post to an older, activist blog got pulled the next day. So much for freedom of the press. Anyway, here’s one quick summary, and the Wikipedia page on the Persecution of Jews.

Anyway, both traditional and social media, as we know, is massively powerful. It can also be abused, manipulated and totally faked, with complete news stories perpetuated — even headlining ones! And technology is so sophisticated now that they even have the ability to resurrect people from the grave in life-size 3D talking, moving holograms (see 60 Minutes segment).

In short, I am guilty of many things — including over-glorifying myself and engaging in ‘aspirational puffery’ (see TheIntercept.com article by Sharon Lerner about bottled water giant BlueTriton). And yet, I believe there are also some minute grains of ‘other’ truths, above. Me, pre-surveillance days.

However the ‘powers that be’ and my many detractors may showcase me in laugh-worthy memes, or videos of my various (grotesque, desperate?) failings and the like; yet, I obviously made some kind of impact and was an unwitting catalyst for certain developments in the ‘global village’ turned surveillance social bubble. ‘Big Brother’ a la 1984 by George Orwell (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four). Also, must-see Marshall McLuhan (1911-80), Canadian media theorist andprophet of the Information Age”.

At the very least, I emboldened ‘the watchers’ in certain ways, and perhaps even helped speed or facilitate the transition of business and industry as ‘socio-environmental saviours’ — rather than the increasingly conflicted view of them as exploitative, greedy and oppressive (see Occupy Wall Street 1%). 

Marrying corporate efficiency and its results-oriented and performance-dependent survival with left-wing activism and values, is something I tried to advocate for in 2000 onward. And in 1998, I had decided that fostering more (democratic-style) cooperatives would be an ideal counterbalance to unchecked global capitalism. Social enterprise and beyond.

I also was studying Organizational Change and Action Learning, and pointed out that the government is an organization like any other, which needs to be made efficient and effective. No surprise there. But it’s the How. And, unfortunately, the conservative Right have indeed closed that gap between business and government — but not by promoting smaller government, as they once claimed, but rather, an ultra-powerful one that serves their cronyism business and political objectives. Bending all laws and rules, as it suits their interests. (I used to have an apt quote about how sometimes Big Business feels govt regulations simply get in their way.)

Worst of all, government has been totally turned away from being in any way responsive to the people’s needs — despite any appearances to the contrary — and instead, into the worst kind of self-protected and self-interested towering entity. A far cry from being accessible, accountable and transparent. It’s honestly like a futuristic movie. Anyway.

How government should work?

“Basing politics on the consent of the governed, limiting government power, respecting the rights of citizens…”

https://ourworldindata.org/democracy

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Colourings for Christmas

This year my Christmas gifts are simple — colour a picture!

These are the ones I’ve done so far…

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Early Snowfall in November 2020

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To my Library friends…

Please read ‘About Me‘. Thanks

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High Notes Avante

J. and I attended ‘These Are Their Stories’. Grammy-award winning singer/guitarist Dan Hill was one of the speakers and performers for mental health. Dan spoke about his mother and siblings, who struggle(d) with Bipolar Disorder. One in five are affected by mental health issues.

J and Dan

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Arts Therapy

Collaborative mural we women did in Women’s Wellness Arts Therapy group. Profound comment by one participant, Lisa: “Science makes living possible; the arts makes living worthwhile.”

 

These two pieces were done by Lisa in about an hour. It’s hard to see all the elements, but I believe the first one speaks to her passion for music and guitar-playing; and the second one is a powerful piece about time and being ‘good enough’, and it includes a fire-breathing dragon.

And each of us made a mask of how we see ourselves, and how others see us.

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In loving memory of Kusum

My beautiful friend Kusum Bhatia passed away in a tragic house fire on Tuesday, November 20th, 2018. She is survived be her dear husband Ravi and her loving son Roche.

Kusum has been a wonderful friend these past 6 years, after we first met as roommates for 2 weeks in 2013. She, Susan, and I were the ‘Three Musketeers’ – Kusum called us that. Sadly, we were supposed to meet for coffee the very week she passed so unexpectedly. I was just thinking of calling her when her husband notified me of the news. Synchronicity.

Kusum has been a true friend of the heart and an unforgettable companion, with all her funny stories about family and life. She is the only person in my contact list with a special symbol next to her name that always brightens my day whenever she calls – it’s a flower, like her name, which means Blossom (and Fire) in Hindi. May her bright spark rest in peace. (K’s Eulogy)

I am including just one pic of her here; the rest are sprinkled throughout this blog.

(NOTE: Whenever you reach the bottom of the screen, please wait for the rest of the pictures to load. You will note that I’ve given up photography as a hobby, as years have passed between posts!)

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Muskokas

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Danforth shooting site

This is steps from the Danforth shooting site, just a few months after the tragedy.

It is one short block from where I used to live for 9 years (and 4 years on Pape), and where some of my friends, acquaintances, and former neighbours still live.

The weird thing is the two areas I go to visit friends – Danforth/Carlaw and Yonge/Finch – both had mass killings this past year. VERY SCARY AND SAD!!

1) Unsealed warrants reveal Toronto Danforth shooter had ‘fascination with death’

2) ‘Nobody’s seen anything like this’: 10 dead, 15 injured in north Toronto van ramming attack

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Bunch of pics…it’s been awhile

Haven’t been posting for quite some time. Here are some pics for posterity (including one by PetSmart and two from the media).

This is reaching back a ways, but a good friend from high school played on Team Canada Women’s Ice Hockey team for two Olympics. These are pics from the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City – the year that BOTH the Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey teams won!

Women’s sports has come a long way in the past 30-some years. When I was a teen, there was next to no future for women in sports, particularly team sports. Vicky is now the Head Coach for U of T’s Women’s Hockey.

Vicky is also one of the most humble people you will ever meet. She excelled at every sport she played, had a room overflowing with trophies and medals,  yet she is just so modest with a great sense of humour. (We even bowled at a Doubles Bowling Tournament together as kids and won – they paired the best bowlers with the worst. Guess which one I was?)

Above left: Jayna  Hefford, Cassie Campbell-Pascal (captain) and Vicky Sunohara (assistant captain)

Friends from CMHA: Dave and Jim.

–>  AUGUSTINE, I didn’t include your pic to respect your privacy.

         

 

 

Above: Much-loved Smoky, the rescue cat I got for my friend Aaron in 2015.

Below is Professor Li, who is 106-years old in this picture. She is related to the last emperor of China and was born and raised in the Forbidden City. She’s a specialist in the Chinese language. She also raised 9 children by herself (!!) and was invited to Canada in the 1950’s at the invitation of the United Nations to help with translations at the Toronto Reference Library (her English is very good, luckily for me). The Canadian government is currently doing a study on her because of her strong genes, obvious longevity, and Manchurian ancestry with gray eyes.

Allison on one of our rare, though enjoyable, walks. Mostly we do coffees together and email and text lengthy essays on life to each other – LOL!

Don and I are coming up to our 3rd anniversary this month (June 2018), yet I have never posted his pic here. I try to be mindful about how people may feel about being seen on a seemingly stigmatizing site, such as this one.

Let it be known that no one turns me on more than a switched-on woman of colour. I have had lovers of every major race (African, Asian, Caribbean, European, South Asian, etc, etc) and religion (Aboriginal, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, etc), and both genders or gender-fluid. So being with Don can sometimes feel so ‘status-quo’ – until you get to know him!

Andy Capp, an old cartoon favourite.

This cartoon clip applies to everyone, righteous priest and alcoholic alike…

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RIP Uncle Tony

My Uncle Tony by marriage is a proud 3rd-generation Chinese-Canadian who passed away on Sunday, June 3, 2018. He is survived by my aunt Wei and his daughter Lian. His funeral and life commemoration was on Saturday, June 9, 2018 at the atheist church in West Hill (this church is a real gem and is led by the dynamic Gretta Vosper).

It is a shame I or someone didn’t  video-record Tony’s funeral service. It was beautiful and moving, and a real slice of history (Canadian, American, Chinese). Some of his former students from the University of Washington flew up and spoke of Tony’s ability to inspire a genuine desire to learn. Tony travelled to 29 countries and worked in 5 (?). A former CBC anchor, documentary filmmaker, ground-breaking author, and a much beloved professor of many years, Tony B. Chan was a trailblazer in so many areas.

Rest in peace, Tony (June 25, 1944 – June 3, 2018).

Above: University of Toronto’s main campus library set up a memorial in Tony’s honour, featuring some of his many works (written and film).

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Canadian family history

Sorry to the subscribers for all the mass editing!

Since I do rattle on about socio-environmental issues in Canada, here are some ‘fun facts’ about my family below, since *credibility* is at a premium when one is a mental health survivor…

  • A number of my relatives are 4th- and 5th-generation Chinese-Canadians;
  • My parents obtained their respective degrees at Queen’s ’61 (Kingston, Ontario) and Mount St. Mary’s College ’64 (Los Angeles, California);
  • My engineer father worked for Ontario Hydro for a couple of decades, and was responsible for a billion dollar project, back in the 1980s;
  • My late grandfather (born 1909) and his 11 siblings were/are all university-educated, as was my grandmother I believe (she passed before I was born), and all my aunts and uncles on both sides of my family, and so on;
  • My maternal aunt is in the Canadian Who’s Who, and has sat on the board of directors for TIFF, several hospitals, etc;
  • 3 of my aunts, and 2 of my uncles (by marriage), are published authors;
  • My cousin moved to the U.S. to study architecture, and ended up working in New York — this is one of his projects:

https://vimeo.com/103481838;

  • My uncle (by marriage) had 3 uncles who served in the Canadian military during WWII, and their family restaurant Panama Café was a Victoria landmark from 1910 to 1967 (see photos below; I haven’t gotten around to digging out our family photos).

Pics from the extended family…

Interior of the Panama Café, ca. 1917. Chan Dun is standing behind the counter (City of Victoria Archives, M00274).

Standing in front of the Panama Café are Koo Ching Lim (left) and her husband Chan Dun (right) with three of their four sons who served in the Second World War: (from left) Ira, Paul, and Roy. (Photo courtesy of Anthony Chan).

Thanks Tony, be well. We love you.

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One-Word Essays

(Note: These are NOT my photos; they come from an email circular.)

My relative who has been on psychiatric meds for over 40 years sent this email. She was able to stay at one job, got married, and has been active in church and in her communities.

One Word Essays

Determination

 
          
 
 

Hope

 
 

Contemplation

 
 

Love

 
 
 

Excitement

 
 
 

Security

 
 
 

Adventure

 
 

Contentment

 
 
 

Longevity

 
 

Curiosity

 
 
 

Heroism

 
 
 

Aspirations

 
 
 

Confusion

 
 
 

Honor

 
 
 

Accomplishment

 
 
 

Perseverance

 
 
 

Whimsy

 
 
Tradition
 

Companionship

 
 
 

Beauty

 
 
 

Caring

 
 
 

Relating

 
 
 

Fruitful

 
 
 

Awe

 
 

Tenacity

 


 
 
 

Friendship

 
 

May your troubles be less,
May your blessings be more,
May nothing but happiness
Come through your door!

 

Hope You have an enjoyable DAY

and experience all of GOD’s BLESSINGS !!!

 

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Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the women who have children of their own, or have been like a mother to others! Have a great day and year!

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Remembering Tooker

Today is activist and politician Tooker Gomberg’s Memorial Day.

Please read here to learn more about Tooker.

And a NOW Magazine article on his passing.

God bless his widow Angela Bischoff, who is handling both Greenspiration.org and her other eco-campaigns through the Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA). Angela has twice  been voted Best Activist by readers of NOW Magazine in 2013 and 2014.

Love and peace to all.

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