Author Archives: d

No More Near Misses

The U.S. should reach an agreement with China before there’s an accident in the Taiwan Strait and before it further emboldens Taiwan separatists into thinking the U.S. will send its citizens to fight and die in support of Taiwan independence. To put it simply, if the Chinese Navy doesn’t sail their ships into the territorial seas controlled by Taiwan or take any other unprovoked military actions against Taiwan then the U.S. navy should not sail their ships through the Taiwan Strait as doing so is an unnecessary provocation that serves no positive purpose.

If an agreement like this was enacted China would not be as pressed into feeling an increased sense of urgency to retake Taiwan and voters in Taiwan would be less likely to press their luck by supporting politicians and political parties that increasingly and irresponsibly flirt with the idea of Taiwan independence. Moreover this gesture of respect, show of support for the One China policy, and meaningful attempt to reduce tensions will not diminish the U.S. capability or resolve to come to the aid of Taiwan in the event of an unprovoked invasion from the mainland.

Congratulations Thailand!

We look forward to a peaceful transfer of power from the military to the people and to seeing what the Move Forward led coalition can do for Thailand and the rights of its citizens. It can start by repealing Thailand’s Lese Majeste law and freeing anyone in jail for violating it. Thailand is better than this and has no need to arrest and detain 15 year-old student activists or anyone else who is opposed to the monarchy and wants to express their opinion.

Peace and Prosperity in the Taiwan Strait

As a supporter of Taiwan, also known as the Republic of China, I oppose any high level meetings between the U.S. government and Taiwan’s President, moreover as a U.S. citizen I particularly oppose U.S. officials meeting with any Taiwan officials that are advocating for or flirting with the idea of Taiwan independence. Meetings like these, e.g. Pelosi and Tsai in Taiwan and McCarthy and Tsai in California, only serve to provoke China and threaten peace and stability in Taiwan, the region, and the world.

The best option for Taiwan is to maintain the status quo while the mainland catches up in terms of social, political, and economic development and until there are suitable conditions for a peaceful reunification. The mainland, regardless of how militarily powerful it gets, should also seek suitable conditions before attempting to reunify because trying to govern Taiwan while taking freedom and democracy away from people who have grown up with it may turn out to be as difficult as any military invasion.

In the meantime the U.S. needs to start speaking out as strongly against moves towards Taiwan independence as it does against reunification by force and make it clear that if the residents of Taiwan do decide they want to move towards independence and elect pro-independence parties and politicians then that is a fight they will fight on their own without any kind of economic, political, or military assistance from the U.S.. The U.S. needs to make it crystal clear that if Taiwan starts moving in that direction it will cease all arms sales to the island because those arms are meant for defense against an unprovoked invasion and should not be used as protection to test the patience of the mainland.

Peace Talks Now

After 9 years of armed conflict, which includes the past 53 weeks of death and destruction, there needs to be immediate peace talks. These talks should be held by the U.N. and in these talks Ukraine and Russia need to state their case and tell the world what they want in order to immediately end this war and remain good neighbors in perpetuity. If an agreement can’t be reached then after hearing both sides all U.N. member states, particularly those responsible for directly or indirectly fueling this conflict, need to decide which side is being reasonable and which is not, and drop their support whether it be economic, military, or moral for the country they feel is responsible for perpetuating this conflict and gambling with the fate of humanity.

Police Belligerence and Brutality

I watched the Tyre Nichols video so you didn’t have to and was shocked at the incompetency of the police involved and shocked that the Memphis police department, or any police department, would hire such unqualified people to serve as police officers. Moreover whoever decided to put them into a group and give them the name “Scorpion Unit” should be fired as if that in itself wasn’t a warning sign that such a unit might become even more aggressive in order to maintain their reputation as the bad-ass unit and to one-up their fellow scorpions. It seemed like for every point of police incompetence came two points of police anger and aggression as if they were punishing Tyre for their own lack of cardio and composure. From start to finish the officers involved did everything you’re not supposed to do to deescalate a situation and turned a traffic stop into a murder so it’s good they were fired and are being criminally charged. The Memphis police department, and all police departments, need to reevaluate their training programs and raise the mental and physical requirements for serving the public as a police officer.

Police Officer Training Lesson One:

Just because a person may not be in full compliance with your instructions, especially after being manhandled, tased, and pepper sprayed, you as a law enforcement officer do not have the right to punch them in the face, kick them in the head, or beat them with a baton. A police officer does not have the right to punish people for not fully following their instructions or respecting their authority regardless of whether it’s because that person is intoxicated, mentally ill, or in a state of shock and panic, however a police officer does have the responsibility to try and deescalate the situation and get the person under control with as little force as possible while protecting themselves, fellow officers, and the public. Once in custody any suspects or perpetrators will face whatever charges they have coming to them and serve any punishment that is given to them not on the street, in the back of a police vehicle, or in a police station, but in a court of law.


A colugo is an arboreal gliding mammal native to Southeast Asia and they are more closely related to humans and other primates than they are bats, squirrels, or sugar gliders. If you’re hearing about this interesting animal for the first time count them as one more reason on a list of many to protect the forests, preserve biodiversity, and save the planet.

2022 Midterms

It’s already been two weeks since my vote and all the other votes were counted but I still feel I should thank and congratulate the U.S. voters who rejected many of the Trump-endorsed election-denying crazies who were endorsed by Trump not because they were the best choice for the country but because they were the best choice for him. It seems more Republican voters are waking up to the fact that with Trump it was never “America First” it was “Trump First” and it will always be “Trump First” and the sooner the rest of Republican voters wake up to this reality and start supporting candidates who are for democracy, against dictatorship, and put the country before their own narrow and narcissistic interests the better.

Congratulations Brazil!

Thank you for sparing us another four years of Bolsonaro and we look forward to a return to responsible environmental stewardship of the Amazon rainforest.

Every vote counts and that’s why I went out of my way today to send in my absentee ballot for the U.S. mid-term elections. Stay informed, speak up, and vote!

Iranian Protests

The world is inspired by the brave people protesting injustice in Iran. Governments need to focus on improving people’s lives and not on enforcing what they can or must wear.

Brazilian Elections

Another 4 years of Bolsonaro would be a disaster for Brazil, the Amazon, and the World so Brazilian voters need to vote this dangerous and delusional joke of a president out of office like we did with Trump!

臺灣 Taiwan 台湾

The best way to safeguard Taiwan as the beacon of freedom and democracy it is, and in particular Chinese freedom and democracy, is to not take provocative and counterproductive actions that embolden Taiwan separatists and make the mainland feel that the island is being pulled away from reunification and towards independence by the U.S.. This ill-advised Pelosi visit does nothing for peace, stability, or freedom in the region. It only puts Taiwan at greater risk of invasion and forced reunification while increasing the chances of miscalculations and misunderstandings between the U.S. and China.

The leaders of China understand the difficulty and costs of invading a heavily armed island of nearly 24 million people and will be less likely to do so if that island shows no signs of moving towards independence or unilaterally changing the status quo. This is the best chance that Taiwan has at existing in its current state for as long as possible into the future and until both sides decide to reunify by peaceful means in a mutually beneficial way. I hope at that time the mainland will socially and politically look a lot more like Taiwan than it does now and until then it still has a lot to learn from free and democratic Taiwan.

Durian Season and a Kingfisher

The durians are dropping and so is the price however the named varieties like Red Prawn are still too expensive so with only a few exceptions I’ve been eating the village variety durian aka “Kampung Durian” in Malaysia or “Durian Baan” in Thailand. The price of these has fallen to around 10MYR, 80THB, or 2.30USD a kg which is considered cheap in Malaysia and is about as low of a price you will find in the city. Just be sure to check carefully for any holes otherwise you might find an unwanted guest in your durian.

May Update

My neck rash featured in the last post healed pretty fast without the assistance of any medicines or creams and now that I’m back in Penang I hope I’ll be able to avoid another close encounter with those insects. My primary strategy is to avoid opening the windows and doors at night while the lights are on and it seems to be working so far.

Durian season in Penang has just started and I had a really good one yesterday however it’s still weigh too expensive, around 35MYR, 280THB, or 8USD a kg which is quite expensive considering only around 20% of it is edible so I’ll be trying my best to abstain until the price drops at least another 10 Ringgit.

Have a great day and a great May!

Paederus dermatitis – Rove Beetle Rash

Some species of rove beetle have a potent toxin called pederin in their hemolymph, which is like insect blood, and although these ant-like beetles don’t bite or sting if you squeeze one or even wipe one off of your face or neck, perhaps while you’re asleep, you could end up with an extremely itchy and painful rash. These insects are common in Penang especially in high rise buildings. The best thing you can do is place screens on your windows because if you don’t they will be attracted to the light and fly into your home. On the bright side pederin is being researched for its potential to slow the growth of cancerous tumors which just goes to show you how much we still have to learn from all the insects, plants, and other life we are causing to go extinct before we have a chance to research it. Let’s all do a better job at wasting less and conserving more in hopes of slowing down this sixth mass extinction that we are causing.


After two years of dodging it I have been infected making it the first time I’ve been sick in over 4 years. It all started last Thursday when I had a slightly sore throat which I thought was from all the talking I did on Wednesday. However on Friday I woke up feeling a bit off so I got a test and tested myself and sure enough two lines appeared. Out of all the self-tests I’ve taken and have given to kids it was the first time I saw two lines so I was a bit surprised and also kind of excited just to see two lines instead of one but I hope it’s the last time I see two lines.

After I saw that I was positive I began my quarantine. The first night was marked by a terrible headache which prevented me from sleeping much. The second night was marked by the chills and cold sweats which also prevented me from sleeping much and the third night was marked by mucous draining into my lungs which made it very uncomfortable to lay on my back and kept me up most of the night having to clear slimy translucent phlegm. After those three sleep deprived nights I started feeling much better and have since tested negative and completed my 7 day quarantine.

Happy Lunar New Year!

Depending on which calendar a society uses there are many different New Year’s and in some places more than one is celebrated. Calendars are generally one of three types: lunar, solar, or lunisolar. A lunar calendar is based on the revolution of the moon around the earth, a solar calendar is based on the revolution of the earth around the sun, and a lunisolar calendar is based on the moon’s revolution around the earth but includes a thirteenth month, aka leap month, every two or three years to keep it in sync with the earth’s revolution around the sun.

In lunisolar calendars like the Chinese calendar a leap month is periodically added so the months correspond with the seasons. It takes the moon around 29.5 days to revolve around the earth which means 12 lunar months is around 354 days and since it takes the earth around 365 days to revolve around the sun the months and seasons would drift apart around 11 days each year without this leap month. The New Year’s that takes place on January 1st is according to the Gregorian or Western calendar which is a solar calendar and the New Year’s that takes place today and every year on the new moon between late January and late February is according to the Chinese lunisolar calendar.

Happy New Year! 新年快樂!

Sheen = new 新
Nee-en = year 年
Kwai Luh = happy 快樂

Sheen Nee-en Kwai Luh! Try it if you encounter a Chinese speaking person this week because unlike the Western New Year Chinese New Year, aka Spring Festival, is a multi-day mega holiday that doesn’t officially conclude until the 15th day which marks the first full moon of the new year and is celebrated as Lantern Festival.