Friday, June 30, 2006

Upcoming Hearing

So it is confirmed that my next hearing is scheduled for July 13th at 9 o'clock in the morning.

My sister will answer whatever concerns the judge may have before he makes his final decision.

After the hearing, the judge will still take as much as he needs to give a written decision. Hopefully, it'll be sooner than later.

Everyone is welcome to attend the hearing.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Wisdom of a Parole Violator

"Rarely is coming to prison a good thing, but if it's for 120 days and affords you the opportunity to take another shot at life, it isn't so bad... I'm genuinely grateful to be in here right now. Some people are disciplined and fortunate enough to get off parole without every violating, but I believe it is a process, and as long as I get there and learn as much as I can from my mistakes, who knows, maybe in the long run it would have served me better to violate than to never commit any infractions, and believe erroneously that I am untouchable. I will never downplay my mistakes because I have messed up and deserve to be in here, but at the same time I see the error in my ways and may not have realized it had I not been held accountable."

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Always Waiting

I can't imagine what it would be like to call home and find that my mom wasn't there to answer the phone.

I was supposed to call Mom yesterday, but somehow the day escaped me. How did that happen?

My mom waited for my called and waited. It's her habit.

She's always waiting for me.

I can't wait to reach her.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Life is a Miracle

Have you ever walked around going about your business and suddenly had an ah-ha moment?

It happened to me today. I was walking around and I thought about how each of my body parts was interdependent. Each part was so intricate.

If that doesn't show me life is a miracle and appreciate it, I don't know what can.

Monday, June 26, 2006

One More Hearing

We finally heard from the judge. No. He has not made a decision on my case. He has ordered another hearing to clarify a support letter my sister wrote in 2004 for my parole hearing. The clarification has to do with my request for relief under Convention Against Torture.

The hearing date has not been confirmed. However, it'll be in mid or late July. I will post the date once it's set.

The wait continues, but at least we're moving forward.

Thank you for your patience.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Quote of the Week (77)

"What is man without the Bison? If all the beasts were gone, men would die from great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts also happens to the man."

- Chief Seattle

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Quiet the Mind

The longer I stay in this confined environment, the more effort it takes for me to quiet the mind.

Every day is a challenge to quiet the mind because it requires discipline to look within.

Every disagreement is an opportunity to practice how to quiet the mind.

When I am able to listen 80% of the time and talk 20% or the time, my mind will be sure to be more quiet.

The practice is endless.

Friday, June 23, 2006

No. 16

I received my complimentary issues of Tea Party Magainze today. As I browsed through the table of contents, I was surprised to find a poem written by Kenji Liu. He happens to be a poet and a supporter of mine. Then I saw another poem titled "You Bring Out the Pinay in Me" by Maiana Minahal. I don't know who she is, but the title of the poem reminded me of the poetry slam in San Quentin. An Asian American woman performed "You Bring Out the [Woman] in Me." Bother the poems were inspired by Sandra Cisneros's "You Bring Out the Mexican in Me."

It's a blessing the Tea Party Magazine found its way into my life. I recommend it to everyone.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


A former professor of mine sent me a card to express her support for me. It was a super-pleasant surprise because she has been keeping up with my case. After all, it has been about nine years since I was a student in her basic writing class. She was one of my many favorite professors.

Throughout my state pen college education, I've had the fortune of meeting many wonderful professors and teaching assistants. Anyone who had spent some time bonding with me, I will always remember their names or faces. They had left their footprints in my legacy.

For personal reasons, some of those wonderful people had decided to stop connecting with me. I can respect that. I just want to let them know that I'll never forget their generosity for accepting who I was and sharing their knowledge with me.

One day, we will reconnect with each other in some capacity. You're always welcome in my life.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I am a Prisoner

If I were on the street, I would be considered a parolee and a prisoner. The U.S. Supreme Court majority ruled that "parolees have no more privacy rights than prisoners." That means that police and parole agents can search me at any time no matter where I may be. There are also a list of conditions I must follow when I'm on parole for a specified period. Any violation of parole conditions, and the parole agent can send me back to prison. Though I would be out in the free world, I'd still be treated like a prisoner.

Freedom always comes with a price.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Life is Like a Team Sport

The Miami Heat won the basketball championship over the Dallas Mavericks after losing the first two games in a seven-game series. It took teamwork for Miami to become victorious.

Life is like a team sport. It takes effort in order for out lives to be successful. Our parents, friends, teachers, and peers are part of that team. Our experiences are our coaches. If we pay attention and work hard, our lives will be victorious.

Because without team work, it'll almost be impossible for ourselves to win the championship of life.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Across the state of California, African American prisoners are celebrating Juneteenth to commemorate the end of slavery in the U.S. There are usually music and study groups on the prison yard or cell blocks to honor the historical event. It's always necessary to remember history and educate the younger generation. At the same time, it's also imperative for people to be critical about the issue of slavery in the U.S. As everyone should know, under the 13th amendment of the U.S. Constitution, slavery is still a fact of life.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Quote of the Week (76)

"If a man speaks or acts with pure thought,
joy will follow him,
like a shadow that never leaves him."

- a Buddhist saying

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Unending Cycle

A white county jail prisoner yelled out my name as he saw me. He couldn't believe that I was still in custody. After all, that was his third time coming back to the jail within a year. I still remembered him telling me that he was going to change his life in the GED class a few months ago. He was in his fifties. He would get out again soon, but when would he be back again? That was the question.

For me, my cycle of violence and incarceration ended when I'd decided to change my life. There is no compromise. For many others, they'll continue to suffer the unending cycle of incarceration. Let's hope they'll find their way one day.
I believe everyone has the ability to change for the better.

Friday, June 16, 2006

You will Know

Another week came and went without a decision from the judge on my case. It's useless for me to speculate the cause of the delay because only the judge knows. Therefore, I continue to live my days in custody.

It has come to my attention that some of my friends think that I've been released since they haven't heard anything about the decision. I want to say that even if the judge grants me stay in the U.S., the government has the right to appeal the decision. I will not be released immediately. There is still more waiting ahead of me.

I want to assure you that you will know when I'm no longer in custody. Until then, always assume that I'm still locked up.

Thank you for caring.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Class Poetry Anthology

A teacher friend of mine sent me a copy of her 10th grade students' class poetry anothology. It was a humbling and tender experience to read the thoughts of youth. The poems expressed their struggles with identity, culture, peer pressure, secuality, love, and diversity. Whenever I read about the difficulties youth have experienced, I instinctively wish that I could be there for them, even just to lend an ear.

I'm grateful to my friend for keeping me educated about the many issues that youth face today. Because the more I understand them, the better I can help them.

I hope all the youth will stay creative and keep on educating their peers and society.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Waiting like the Steel Bars

I admire those steel bars
that never tire
of waiting
they are not afraid
of being lonely
they are where they are
supposed to be
they do not worry
about erosion or rust
a new coat of paint
will disillusion their time
of waiting
their companions may
come and go
but without eyes
how can they bear
witness to
how long they will
stay and how long
they have been waiting
for luck to come

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

No More Bacteria Ice Cream

Did you know that if you use tap water to make ice cream, it will increase the bacteria? I learned that it's good to boi water and let it cool down before mixing it with the ice cream powder. I've been eating way too many bacteria ice cream so far.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Selected Media

Larry King was in San Quentin State Prison. What is Larry King doing in San Quentin of all prisons? If there's no execution or showcasing something to portray the prison in good light, why did San Quentin allow media inside its walls? Hmmm... After all, a law was passed in the late 80s that banned media access to prisoners. The prison system does not want prisoners to profit from their crimes or complain about frivolous issues. So it says. Hmmm...

Well, Day 2 in San Quentin with Larry King on CNN shows the interviews of four life prisoners, an ex-San Quentin prisoner who is a volunteer for the Protestant Chapel, a woman volunteer who coordinates the college program and the prison spokesperson. The interview takes place in a grassy area between the chapels of different faith and the adjustment center, which holds death row prisoners like the notorious killers Richard Ramirez, Richard Allen Davis, and Scott Peterson.

Here are some of my observations of the interviews:

All the male interviewees are Christians, born-again Christians.

There are two whites, one black, and one Mexican prisoner who have been incarcerated between 20 and 27 years for murder.

No Asian prisoners.

When asked of one white prisoner whether there were drugs in prison, he said he didn't know because he didn't hang around with people who did drugs.

They are model prisoners.

They take responsibilities for their actions and participate in various programs to help themselves and others.

They all hope to get out one day.

The camera shows the Mexican born-again Christian reading a Bible the first thing he does upon entering his cell.

No questions were asked about the conditions and treatments of prisoners.

No answers reflected anything negative toward the prison.

Almost everyone was on a first name basis during the interview.

I wonder what would have been the chances of Larry King interviewing me if I were still in San Quentin? What would have happened to me after the interview if I were chosen? I'm grateful that I don't have to be in that position.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Quote of the Week(75)

"Peacemaking involves finding some quiet and stillness. To do that we need to be willing to be with our loneliness. We need to surrender the constant barrage of busyness we swim in, and be willing to swim outwards with stong sure strokes to a place that provides quiet and allows the mind to settle."

- Diana Lion

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Monkey See Monkey Do

"If he jumps off a cliff would you jump off one too?" I've heard and said the cliche many times in the past. Obviously, no one sane would jump off a cliff just because someone else does it. Unfortunately, oftentimes people would copy others' bad behaviors more than good ones. Those bad behaviors are worse than jumping off a cliff sometimes. But sometimes it takes jumping off a cliff to save one's life.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Uniform Superiority Card

The more I deal with those in uniform, the more I realize they can be extremely unreasonable. When they are in uniform, they always feel that they are more superior. Once someone challenges their false sense of superiority, there is no reasoning with them. They are no longer responsible for their actions. Just look at the recent police killings of unarmed citizens. Where was their reasoning?

Of course, there are exceptions to the rules. However, one thing remains unchanged - those in uniform can always pull the Uniform Superiority Card as a last resort.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

World Cup Fever

As the World Cup fever permeates the world, I don't share the enthusiasm. I used to get excited about the number one sport in the world when I was a kid in China. I remember playing football, as the rest of the world called it besides the U.S.A., every chance I got. Ping pong and basketball came second and third compared to football. Once my dad brought me a pair of cleats. I wore them every day to school. Somehow after I came to the U.S., I rarely played football. I picked up basketball. I'm sure it was due the change of environment that my interest in football ebbed.

Though I no longer feel the World Cup fever, I still enjoy a game here and there.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Who's the Next Wen Ho Lee?

After reading Helen Zia's Open Forum on the case of Wen Ho Lee in yesterday's S.F. Chronicle, I got a better understanding on how the government had framed the former Los Alamos nuclear physicist as a spy. Though the federal judge had apologized to Wen Ho Lee, with the latest settlement, the government did not have to admit it has done anything wrong. Based on that and along with "Lee [being] the first - and remains - the only person to be criminally prosecuted and imprisoned for mishandling classified information," I concluded that law continues to be a double standard. The question is who will be the next Wen Ho Lee?

For more details on Wen Ho Lee's case, please read the book My Country Versus Me co-authored by Helen Zia.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

No Party for Me

The Tea Party Magazine is having a magazine release event this Saturday and I'm invited. Of course, I will not be able to attend because I'm still in immigration custody. It would've been nice if I would be there to meet some creative people. The good thing is I'll get to read the new issue of the Tea Party. I'd contributed a piece of writing to the magazine.

If anyone is interested to read my writing, you can go to

Monday, June 05, 2006

AIDS in Prison

As the 25th anniversary of AIDS awareness brings huge media attention around the world, I can't help but think of the prisoners who are suffering from the incurable disease. Are they getting the necessary treatments when people in the community aern't getting theirs?

In prison, the most common way to spread HIV and AIDS is through unprotected sex and sharing needles abusing drugs. It's tragic, but the reality is that there are many prisoners who have AIDS and are not getting any treatment. Not only that, they're infecting others with the deadly disease because they hide the fact that they have AIDS. They hide the truth because they're afraid and unaware.

ADIS is affecting everyone. AIDS awareness and treatment are for everyone. Let's hope no one is being left behind.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Quote of the Week (74)

On this 17th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, it's important to remember those people who had sacrificed their lives for freedom in China. It's equally important to expose to those people and governments who had capitalized from the tragic and historical event.

- E.Z.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Teacher and Author

I like to read the S.F. Chronicle's Book Review section whenever I get a hold of one. I want to see whether there are some new books that may catch my interest.

When I was looking through the book reading schedule from last week's Book Review section, I came across the name of someone I know. Jane Juska is the author of Unaccompanied Women: Late Adventures in Love, Sex, and Real Estate. If that's the same Jane Juska I know, she was my teacher in the short fiction writing class in San Quentin. Juska is a unique name, so not that many people have that last name. I recall Jane broke down the meaning of her last name for the students. Somehow, I forgot the meaning and origin of the name Juska. After all, it's been about 5 years since I was in her class.

I wish I was able to attend Jane Juska's book reading.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Write What I Know

Some days I don't know what I'm going to write on the blog. The days get so mundane sometimes they blur together. Luckily, I always have books to keep my days interesting. I can imagine how boring life can be without any books.

I learn from writers and professors to write what I know when I get stuck in my flow. I'm glad that I can always open to share my experiences and memories with the world

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Hundred flowers blossom. That's the slogan I remember when I think of the park I used to love as a child in China. It's the Memorial's Park in Guangzhou, China. Whether I went with my school or family, I always enjoyed the flowers. There are several hundred types of flowers blossoming. The names of those flowers that I once knew had faded from my memory many years ago, only joy that they'd brought me remained. How wonderful it is to have good memories!