Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Uncle Who

My seven-year-old nephew answered the phone when I called my mother today. He sounded full of energy, but "hello" was the only word I heard from him. When my mom asked him to talk to his little uncle, he said he was hungry and had to get something to each right then. He just came back from school. Food was on his mind.

That's another important part of life that I missed: having a relationship with my two nephews.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Check and Balance

Today the California Senator Jackie Spier presided over the Select Committee on Government Cost Control. She heard testimonies from program administrators for inmate drug and mental health programs how funds were misused by different departments.

Roderick Hickman, the secretary of Corrections, is quitting his job after being in the position for two years. The newly named Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation did not change the condition and environment that promote punishment. How can anyone realistically expect the rehabilitation prisoners when funding for inmate programs is cut?! How can taxpayers expect a safer community when prisoners reentering society without support and marketable skills cannot survive?

Somebody needs to be checked.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Quote of the Week (60)

"I know this. I know that I want to find my way to where you are...What I do not know yet, unfortunately, is how to get there and what it is that is waiting for me there. In this whole long time since you left, I've lived with a feeling as if I had been thrown into absolute darkness. Slowly but surely, though, I am getting closer to the core, to that place where the core of things is located. I wanted to let you know that. I'm getting closer to where you are, and I intend to get closer still."

- excerpt from The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

Saturday, February 25, 2006

High On Life

Somehow, I got up feeling energized this morning. Then I received a few letters from friends. That brought a huge smile to my face, especially when I saw some poetry from Nellie Wong. By the time I got to the kitchen for lunch, I was in an excellent mood. When the cook started to prepare the meal for dinner, the sweet aroma of chocolate chip cookie bars permeated the kitchen. For a few minutes, I imagined that I was home cooking a feast with friends. I was high on life.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Telemarketers Blues

My mom picked up the telephone and yelled, "Who is it?!"
Then she hung up. I was surprised and worried at hearing the anger in her voice. I called twice before she had answered the phone again.

Then she explained that the telemarketers have been calling the house all morning. She was agitated so she started to scold them. She sounded helpless since she didn't have privacy management on her phone and didn't know how to to use one. She doesn't understand English.

She has the telemarketers blues.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Poetry Session

After the Chinese kid wrote Langston Hughes' poem "Oppression" on the blackboard and recited it to the class, I felt proud of him. Everyone in class including the teacher was surprised that he'd committed the poem to memory. Next thing I knew, everyone wanted to share a poem in his native language. The guys wrote poems in three other languages: Chinese, Spanish, and Arabic. By coincidence, all the poems were about dreams and homesickness.

Today, we were able to keep our dreams alive through poetry.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Case Update

It's confirmed that my next and final hearing is scheduled for March 22, 2006, at 1pm. The judge will hear more expert testimonies on my I will not a threat to society when released, but an asset. The government will present its witness on why I shouldn't be allowed to stay in this country. If all goes well, the judge will make a decision on whether I'll be deported or allowed to stay to contribute to society.

As always, I will not be in this position of my case without the support of my family, friends, and the community. Thank you for believing in me.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Just Wondering...

A young girl sitting at home doing her homework gets shot by a stray bullet.

A 15-year-old kid kills a woman in a murder-for-hire plot.

New Asian immigrants in schools face discrimination and racial slurs because they don't speak English.

Taggers deface businesses and buildings with graffiti.

These are just a few crimes I have read about in the newspapers in the past week that involve youth in the community.

I ask myself why I am still locked up when I can be outside helping the community address youth problems.

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Day Before the Murder

San Quentin Prison is on lockdown today because the state-sanctioned murder of a human being is going to take place at midnight.

All the prisoners will be confined to their living areas to avoid any unrest. Also, they'll get extra goodies for dinner. It's one way to pacify the prisoners. That has been a policy since execution was resumed in 1992.

Rumor has it, back in the old days, when the state killed a prisoner, the prisoners would kill a guard in revenge. The cycle of killing never stops.

Who is to say one life is more valuable than another?

All lives are miracles. Let's stop the killing and get busy loving.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Quote of the Week (59)

"Beauty, no doubt, does not make revolutions. But a day will come when revolutions will have need of beauty."

- Albert Camus

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Answer, My Friend, is...

Within Stacey. First of all, when you said, "I have been looking into the refuge of Buddhism..." it tells me that you've been avoiding your problem. One doesn't seek refuge in Buddhism, one embraces Buddhism.

To me, all spiritual and emotional enlightenment comes from within. Spirituality is the process of understanding the purpose of our existence on earth beyond the physicality. We have to identify ourselves in relation to the entire humanity. When we are able to fully understand the ripple effects of our actions, we're on the path to enlightenment.

When you've allowed something to get the best of you, that means you're no longer in control. To regain control you must embrace your issues. You have to be brutally honest with yourself in addressing your issues. You have to identify the origin of the problem and examine the value in relation to your life. Once you're able to internalize those issues, you can let go of them. Taking quiet time to be by yourself and meditate is a great way to find clarity in your presence on this earth.

Your desire to embrace the teaching of Buddhism can give you different perspectives in seeking spiritual and emotional enlightenment. Buddhism's four noble truths and eight fold path are key to end suffering. You should embrace what is applied to you. Freedom of mind always supercedes physical freedom. Good luck on your journey.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Something about Love

I have been feeling mad love from the community and network of friends. I just wanted to share something the poet June Jordan wrote:

"...Or maybe the purpose of being here, wherever we are, is to increase the durability and occasions of love among and between peoples. Love, as the concentration of tender caring and tender excitement, or love as the reasons for joy. I believe that love is the single, true prosperity of any moment and that whatever and whoever impedes, diminishes, ridicules, opposes the development of loving spirit is 'wrong' & hateful."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Can't Wait to Go

The eighteen-year-old Chinese detainee asked me to let him do some math problems instead of English grammar. I told him that he needed to learn more English. He said that he was going back to China so he didn't need to learn it. He couldn't understand why he was still in jail when he had been ordered to be deported. He just wanted to leave. I told him to take advantage of his time and learn as much English as he could because it would help him gain employment in China.

He reluctantly started to work on the English grammar sheet. I knew his mind was not into learning. He just wanted to go back to China

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Kids with Kids

"I'm almost 21 years old and I have 6 kids," the white guy with tattoos all over his body and skull proudly declared. "I had my first kid when I was 13 years old. After I get out of jail, I'm going to make more babies."

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Books of Love

For Valentine's Day, I received three books from friends. I felt their love from afar. That's the beauty of friendship.

I'll be reading the following books:

Revolutionary Petunia by Alice Walker
Asian American X by Han & Hsu
Black No More by George Shuyler
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Caucasia by Danza Senna
Preaching from a Pulpit of Bones by Bob Avakian

I'm currently reading The Dragon's Village by Yuan Tsung Chen.

Thank you for keeping my mind sharp.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Bearing Witness

Today I went to San Francisco again to continue with last week's hearing. This time I didn't have to talk. Instead, I was able to listen to my witnesses testify on my behalf. Everyone did a great job speaking from the heart.

As I listened to all the testimonies from family members and friends, I was experiencing a wide range of emotions. Yet, nothing was able to compare to the emotions I felt when my mom testified in tears. My own tears were finding their way to the tearducts as guilt and love battled it out inside of me. How many sons realize the heartaches we have caused our mothers?! How many sons comprehend the depth of our mother's love for us?

At the end of the hearing, the judge did not make a decision on my case. He requested from us an expert witness who can testify that I will not be a threat to society and that I will be an asset instead. The prosecuting attorney requested more time to convince my victims to testify against me. Therefore, the judge will set a new hearing to finish my case. The hearing will most likely take place at the end of March.

I'm forever grateful to all the friends who had come to support me at the hearing. Without your presence, none of this progress would have been possible. I love you!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Quote of the Week (58)

"As for courage and will - we cannot measure how much of each lies within us, we can only trust there will be sufficient to carry through trials which may lie ahead."

- Andre Norton

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Staying on the Right Track

When people are in prison they all want another chance to start their lives over. However, most people who have those second-chance opportunities don't often take advantage of them. Therefore, the recidivism rate continue to drive up the prison population.

For those who are determined to make their second chances count, they must stay on the right track. That means they have to mind their Ps & Qs, especially for those who are on parole. They cannot take anything for granted.

So for those who refuse to lose their precious freedom for any length of time, stay close to your families and stay away from those who will bind you.

A friend will not jeopardize another friend's freedom.

Friday, February 10, 2006



Now dreams
Are not available
To the dreamers,
Nor songs
To the singers.

In some lands
Dark night
And cold steel
Prevail -
Bu the dream
Will come back,
And the song
Its jail.

I taught this poem by Langston Hughes to two eighteen-year-old Chinese men today. They're able to translate the poem by looking through the Chinese dictionary. Then they're able to relate to the poem as they too are dreamers.

They said they'll never forget learning their first poem in America.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Apology to the Anonymous Student

I'm sorry for responding to your request so late. I received your complete comment from December. Please forgive me.

By now, I hope the struggle you're facing with school and medical concerns have subsided. We're living in infinite time with finite lives. Living in the past is an abomination to life. Every struggle in our lives is an opportunity to strengthen our character. Therefore, we must embrace all our struggles.

I believe in my mantra "the more I suffer, the stronger I become". I'm able to stay strong and keep fighting because I know how to take care of myself mentally, physically, and spiritually. Mentally, I never stop learning from books and other people. Physically, I exercise, eat well, and do not indulge in illegal substances. Spiritually, I meditate and connect with people from all walks of life.

Of course, I cannot remain strong without the support of my family, friends and community. After all, it is in struggles that we know who are our true friends.

Please know that you're not alone, my friend.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Face the Music

I finished reading volume two of Barefoor Gen - the Day After by Keiji Nakazawa today. The last page ended with "The atomic bomb created hell for the dying, and hell for the living. The bitter tears of the survivors fell throughout the land..."

When I read about the suffering of the Japanese people caused by the atomic bomb, I couldn't help but feel empathy for them. The world can never forget the mass destruction the H-bombs that changed the course of history.

That's why I can't understand why so many Japanese people in the government refuse to acknowledge the rape of Nanking and the suffering it caused the Koreans. To deny the rape of Nanking is like denying the dropping of the H-bomb ever happened.

After all, taking responsibility for our destructive actions is the first step towards healing and forgiveness.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Frozen Time

Time stood still for the direct victims of my crime for the past twenty years. I read a letter from one of my victims during yesterday's hearing. An extreme sense of shame, guilt, and regret consumed me immediately. The victim painfully depicted the suffering the family had endured and the impact of the crime on them. I can only imagine how difficult and painful it was for the victim to write the letter. I was not surprised that the suffering was fresh on the victim's mind as if the crime had happened yesterday. I'm grateful that the victim had found the courage and strength to share her feelings with me. By knowing how the victims felt, it reaffirmed my vow never to commit a crime against anyone.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Final Hearing

The day that we've all be waiting for has arrived. I went to my final deportation hearing today to seek cancellation of removal. I was able to express to the court why it should allow me to stay in this country. Then my friends were able to testify on my behalf. However, due to the lack of time and my long list of witnesses, we didn't finish the hearing. It's going to continue next Monday on February 13, 2006, from one to four o'clock.

The hearing started around 9 in the morning and ended at 4:15 in the afternoon. There were many highlights through the day. I will not go into detail. It was impossible to depict the odyssey of my life in a couple of hours. I did my best to share it with the court.

As always, I couldn't have come this far without the support of my family and friends. Thank you to everyone who had attended the hearing to support me and those who couldn't make it but kept me in your prayers. All of you are part of the necessary ingredient to create a miracle.

I love all of you!!!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Quote of the Week (57)

"Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you."

- Aldous Huxley

Saturday, February 04, 2006


The past week has been hectic for me as I prepare for the upcoming hearing. Actually, there isn't much for me to prepare. When I was in prison going through the process to see parole, I had learned that when I stay ready I don't have get ready. Therefore, I prepared for my hearing my clearing my mind.

I've been receiving many letters in the past couple of weeks. I have almost 25 letters to respond to. However, I want to keep my mind relaxed and focused on my hearing. I apologize for the delay in responding to all of you who have written. I'll get back to you after the hearing. Please be patient with me.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Traveling Blues

I took another trip to San Francisco today and visited with my attorney and met a new friend. The ride to the city was pleasant despite the silver jewelry that adorned my waist and wrists. However, the trip back to Yuba was torturous. Someone had thrown up in the dog pound van and it was not cleaned. Therefore, the stench permeated the holding cage in the van. For the three-hour ride, the smell hung in all the detainees' notrils. I almost threw up myself because my immune system was battling the assault to my senses. It was a huge relief when I won the battle.

After I got back to Yuba, a deputy gave me my mail. There was a message informing me that my visa petition had been approved. That was the best news I could hope for. The next step is going home. We'll see.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Meditation Fountain

Many years ago, I bought a three-layer meditation fountain as a gift for a friend's birthday. Because it was trendy at the time, it cost some money. However, being able to find peaceful mind during one's chaotic life made the price worth it.

For the past five days, I have been able to tune into a natural meditation fountain in my cell. I couldn't get used to it the first day, but after the second day I was able to find many soothing moments listening to the fountain. Then the maintennance guy fixed my sink and stopped the running water. Now I will have to find peace during the quiet moments.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The First Day of February

Another month has somehow slipped by. As my final deportation hearing is getting closer, I can't help but get excited. I look forward to the opportunity to express myself to the government and the people about why I deserve to stay in this country. I'll be speaking for my future.

The month of February is full of hope and potential. I'm waiting for another miracle.