Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The 21st Century Angela Davis

Last Sunday I had the opportunity to attend a fundraiser at Angela Davis' home for preparation of the 10th anniversary of Critical Resistance conference next year. I was curious to meet the person that I had read and heard so much about while I was in prison. According to different literature, Angela Davis was a revolutionary woman who was in the Black Panther's Party, a comrade of George Jackson and other Black revolutionaries among many other things.

When I arrived at Angela Davis' house, the million dollar scenery immediately captured my attention. Then I saw all the white people packed the house. There's two black caters cooking food in the kitchen, a white bartender serving wine. The music was jamming while people eat, drink, mingle and enjoying the view. Then, for the first time in my life, I saw Angela Davis. She looked different from the pictures I saw on books. She's not dark skinned nor does she has an Afro. Instead she wore her golden dyed hair short with curls and her skin was bronze color.

Angela Davis made her pitch to raise funds for next year's Critical Resistance Conference and people donated. At one point she asked whether anyone would like to say something. I was tempted to ask some questions, but decided to hold my tongue for the fear that I would ruin the event. However, I did introduce myself to her.

Our conversation went something like this:

Me - Hi, Ms. Davis. My name is Eddy Zheng. I just want to say hi.
Davis - Hi. Didn't we meet...?
Me - No, this is first time we meet.
Davis - Are you working with the Critical Resistance?
Me - No, I work for CYC for the Community Response Network - Asian Pacific Islander in San Francisco. But I will be participating in the Critical Resistance conference next year.
Davis - So you will be involve with the Critical Resistance.
Me - Yes. Nice to meet you.

I left Angela Davis' house thinking that her house must worth 2 million dollars.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Not everyone can stand in front of an audience and speak comfortably. I am fortunated to have no fear when it comes to public speak. Just give me a forum and I can talk for hours, especially when I am talking about myself.

Professor Russell Jeng from the San Francisco State University's Asian American Studies class invited me to speak to the students. It was an honor for me to share my story and experience with university students because they are willing to lisen. One thing I learned from my talk was I need more time to share my story. In order for my sharing to be effective, I have to have two hours. So one thing I thought of doing is to design a curriculum to teach in a class format. That way I can cover all the issues that people are interested in.

I enjoyed sharing with the students after class. They are a captive audience. As the school year continues, I will have many opportunities to share my experiences in the university setting.

Monday, October 08, 2007


Counting breath without thinking about anything is extremely difficult. I'm only talking about counting from one to ten. As I was sitting among a community of people during meditation, I noticed that I've been out of practice. My mind was roaming so fast that I couldn't keep up with counting my breathing one breath at a time. However, there's this comfortable and familiar feeling settled within me. It allowed me to be in the presence with those around me. As usual, the support from the community sustained me. After all, it was my first sitting with a community of people of color.

A new friend invited me to the evening sitting that she'd organized in her house. I decided to go check it out since I haven't been meditating in a group setting. Since she lived fairly close to my house, I rode my bike to her place. It's my first time riding my bike going from and to a destination. (I experience many firsts.) Once everyone showed up for the sitting, we did two rounds of stretches that each one took turns to lead. Then we sat for thirty minutes. After that, we shared tea, fruit and how we felt about the sitting. Through the sitting, I realized how much I missed sitting with a community of people for personal healing.

Sitting is living...sitting is being...sitting is healing

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Little Rooms

A friend was sharing with me that for the first time in her life she is living in a big room by herself. As the conversation went on, I realized that I never lived in a big room by myself my entire life. When I was in China, I slept with my aunt on a bed that was made up with two wooden stood and four planks of wood. I shared the room with my sister and brother. After I came to the US, I slept in the living room sofa and shared a room with my sister. Then the 21 years I was locked up, I slept in rooms that are smaller than any average bathroom at home. Now I'm still sleeping in a room about the size of a bathroom. (I'm not complaining at all.) I find it interesting that I didn't noticed this fact until now.

I wonder what effect it has on me psychologically having slept in small rooms all of my life, if any.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Body Fat

For the longest time I thought I have about 10% body fat (not that I've measure it before) because I'm a fairly fit guy. So when the 24 Hour fitness trainer told me that I have 16% body fat, I was surprised. Not that having 16% body fat is a bad thing, I just thought I was better than that.

I joined 24 Hour Fitness (it's half a block from my work site)so I can workout to keep myself in shape, but it's difficult to make time to exercise. The good thing is I am getting up early to jog around Lake Merritt three times a week. If I can only make it to the gym three times a week, I will be a happy camper.

Physical and mental healthy are extremely important. I can't see myself not exercising and just vegetate.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Independence Day

Today is the People's Republic of China's Independence Day. It's going into its 58th year. Wherever there's mainland Chinese people in the world, they're celebrating. They're proud to be Chinese. However, whether everyone likes the way the current Chinese government is running the country, that's another story. After all, the ambitious ideology of pursuing a socialist and communist system has disappeared with the embrace of opening to the west and market reform. Capitalism has once again reversed the communist revolution. Freedom comes with conditions. Democracy becomes the new jingoism. "It's the end of the world as we know it." That's just the lyric of a song.

Mao proclaimed at the steps of Tienanmen Square to the world in October 1, 1949, "The Chinese people have stood up." I wonder whether the people are still standing.