Sonia

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my career–what I want to do with my life–particularly as a minority woman aspiring to “make it” in the corporate world.  Everyday, as part of my role at Axiom, I research top executives, and it’s pretty damn disheartening to see that 99% of the time it’s white male, after white male, after white male, after white male….

What the hell happened to the rest of us?  We’re bright, too… and driven, and educated.  Where did we fizzle out?  I’ve read the bios of countless general counsels, yet where did all the law school-educated Asians I hear about go?  Did we really all bump our heads on the proverbial glass ceiling?  I just can’t think that we weren’t driven enough.  Perhaps we didn’t know how to “work the system” (or that we were supposed to), how to forge the right connections, how to ask the right people the right questions to get to the top?

That’s why when I do meet the power woman who made it to the top, I watch her closely.  The female CFO leading a male-dominated finance team.  The female GC who knows her stuff and has no time for bullshit.  I’m drawn to how she speaks, how she carries herself, how she commands the attention of an audience.  She’s a rare species.

And that’s why, when I read today that Obama chose Sonia Sotomayor as the ninth Supreme Court judge, I felt really inspired… and relieved.  We need more role models like her.   I need more role models like her.  Thanks, Obama, for choosing a minority woman who has fought through her life’s many setbacks, and succeeded in this male-dominated, white-dominated world.

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Boo ya, Barack!!!

Okay, HUGE props to Barack for nominating Nobel Physicist Steven Chu as Energy Secretary.  Love that we’re getting an Asian brother in this administration!  And he hails from the Bay Area, too!  This guy is a no-joke genius, okay.  According to Silicon Valley Mercury News, “The son of Chinese immigrants recalls spending his lunch money to build homemade rockets and fashioning a pole vault out of bamboo from the carpet store.”  Who DOES that?!?!  Chu is a visionary leader in clean technologies–who better to lead the Obama administration in creating a new era of green energy policies?

photo courtesy AP

photo courtesy AP

Also, here’s an overdue “HELL YEA” for Barack’s nomination of Susan Rice as the UN Ambassador for the United States.

photo courtesy reuters

photo courtesy reuters

This woman is amazingly smart and straightup no-bullshit badass.  Known as “aggressive” against crimes against humanity like genocide, she criticized the Bush administration’s response to the genocide in Darfur.  “How is it that the international community can’t muster 12, 24, 36 helicopters to support a crucial mission to prevent what we have called genocide?” she said.  Damn right.  We need people who will stop quibbling about exactly how many people dead it takes to make it a genocide, and instead actually DO something.  When I read about her nomination a few weeks ago, a literally felt a surge in my chest… I think that was hope, people.  After 8 long years, finally a president that gives a shit about foreign policy!

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Zimbabwe

Just a thought.  I know I’m being way theoretical here, but sometimes we just need to think principals–so just hear me out:

Okay, so strip away the ideas of “my country” and “your country.”  Let’s take it down a notch.  You’re just a person, living in a community of people. Your neighbor’s dad is a drunken mess… as in, he beats his kids, cheats on his wife, takes lunch money from his kids so he can buy beer and get wasted.  Kitchen’s empty–no food in the fridge since there’s no money to buy it.  Kids are sick, but they have no money for food, let alone a doctor.  Wife has tried to divorce him, no luck–he just beats her when she brings it up.  Kids have tried to lock him out of the house, no luck–he smashes a window, gets back in, and beats them, too.  It’s complete hell, and the family is dying from the inside out.

Well, we’re just a neighbor–and one of many–so why should we intervene?  Besides, we’ve got enough of your own crap to deal with, thankyouverymuch.  But at what point do we say, “Enough is enough?”  At what point do we recognize the principals of the situation, and see that our inaction is unacceptable?  Well, I think Zimbabwe has reached that point for a while.

Sadly, according to the BBC, “African leaders have generally refrained from criticising Mr Mugabe in public.”  But I think things are changing.  This week, Kenya’s PM, Raila Odinga, denounced Mugabe and said it was time for African governments to force him out of power–some of the strongest words by an African leader against Mugabe.  In particular, the Kenyan PM believes strongly that if the leadership in South Africa, which borders Zimbabwe, “took a firm stand and told Mugabe to quit he will have no choice but to do so.”  With Mugabe obviously unwilling to loosen his power grip, this might be Zimbabwe’s last straw.

Zimbabwe is practically imploding right now–I don’t even know how to comprehend the current dire situation.  The country’s unemployment rate is at 80% (to put this in perspective, the unemployment rate in the US–with all the corporate layoffs happening and hiring freezes–is 6.5%).  Inflation in Zimbabwe is over 2 million percent.  And then there’s the cholera outbreak, which has already killed more than 500 people since this August. There’s literally no food (grocery store shelves are literally empty), no money (people queue up in lines all day at ATMs because the government has put a daily limit on how much money you can withdraw–not enough to even buy a loaf of bread), and no water (serious lack of safe water supplies, one of the root causes of the cholera outbreak).  Zimbabwe is hell on earth.

I really pray that the international community, especially the African nations, recognize that they have a responsibility to speak up. UK Prime Minister Brown has already spoken out against him, I hope other world leaders follow suit.  “If this is not evidence to the international community to stand up for what is right, I don’t know what would be,” South African activist Desmond Tutu said. “And frankly the nations of the region have to do it.”

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Denizen likes Global Mobile!

Back in our high school days, Steph Yiu, founder of online magazine, Denizen, and I were co-editors in chief of Eagle Eye, our high school newspaper.  Who would have thought we’d join forces again years later?  Steph had read my (Ex)patriotism blog entry, and suggested I turn it into an article for Denizen.

The result?  Well, check it out yourself!  http://www.denizen-mag.com/?p=90

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Mumbai: “Too Little, Too Late”

Breaking News:  It’s official.  Shivraj Patil is out.  The Home Minister’s offer of resignation has been accepted by the prime minister, but people in India are still pissed off, saying its “too little, too late.”  According to the Times of India, even Railway minister Lalu Prasad said that Patil’s resignation as home minister over the Mumbai attacks came “very late.”

shivrajpatil1

You would think that, by now, they would have figured out at least some of the holes in the country’s national security.  What I don’t get, is when Patil offered to resign back in September after the Delhi bombings, India’s Congress rejected it.  Granted, I’m still pretty new to Indian politics–so I’m sure there’s a lot more to say about who how and why–but you’d think that with the flurry of attacks the country has suffered even in 2008, it would have all the more highlighted Patil’s incompetence.

Anger is boiling in India right now… about the government’s lack of preparation despite knowing that attacks were going to happen… about Pakistan’s role in this.  Its just a real shame that it always seems to take something awful like this to happen before any real action is taken to improve things.  So now they’re going to consider an “anti-terror” body… a bit late, mate.

Well, the newly-appointed Home Minister, Chidambaram, has now got quite a shitshow in his hands to deal with…

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(Ex)patriotism

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So Gong Li recently became a Singaporean citizen–and people in China are completely freaking out.  Online dialogue about her decision has been downright nasty.  One person wrote, “Traitors like this don’t even love their own country. These people were only fake countrymen of ours. Let them slink off to other countries and die!”

Another wrote, “All traitors will be nailed to history’s mast of shame. We should resolutely reject any further contact with such people.”

Um, seriously??  Calm down, people.  Geez.  That’s psycho ex-boyfriend talk.

Maybe its just me.  I don’t think 3rd culture kids ever really “get” the whole patriotism thing.  Even my passport sparks confused questions that I don’t quite know how to answer:

180px-ukpassport-cover

“Oh you’re British?”

“No, its a Hong Kong passport that looks like a British passport.  You know, British colony…”

“Weren’t you born in England though?”

“Yeah, but… um… I dunno, they wouldn’t let me be British.  Damn Brits.”

“Wait, isn’t Hong Kong part of China now?”

“Yeah…”

“So you’re from China?”

“Uh, not really… but kind of, I guess.”

Yeah, you get the point.  Totally confusing.  But I think there’s something to be said of not taking this nationalism thing too seriously.  I think there’s such thing as a healthy sense of national pride, as well as an unhealthy (and often scary) kind of blind patriotism.  And from what I’ve read and seen, a lot of Chinese people tend to be on extreme end of the spectrum.

… or maybe that’s unpatriotic of me to say.

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Kickass Turkey

Personally, I prefer fried chicken.  But yesterday, Hubie and I made a kickass turkey.  We marinated it, stuffed it, roasted and basted it for four hours… and I have to say, the result was pretty damn awesome.  Moist, tender, and flavorful…. yummmm.  To me, Thanksgiving doesn’t exactly invoke feelings of nostalgia or “warm, fuzzy, holiday feelings”–never grew up with the tradition, and in fact, don’t think my parents back home even know what Thanksgiving is.  But this year, I feel particularly thankful for a couple things:

My parents and bro

Hubie and his family

My job with Axiom

God… a lot to say there

Health insurance benefits (yesssss!!!!)

$700 rent for a sweet studio in San Francisco

My plane ticket back home

Having legal status in the US!  Woot! (am I a fob or what… haha)

No doubt, there’s still a lot of shit I’m still figuring out in life, but for my first year being completely financially independent… and for deciding to move to San Francisco and make this city my (latest) home, Mum’s words of wisdom really ring true (in her Cantonese accent, of course, so that, for deeper meaning, it actually rhymes): Thank Got for what you got.

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