Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2019

4.11. DNR...

Dear Grandpa 親愛的爺爺,

Our response to the no-doubt difficult DNR decision before you is nothing but love, and great respect. You have been a role model to all of us, stern yet loving, wise but playful. You and grandma gave us the best Chinese New Year memories year after year, even now, when we return to Pingtung with children in tow, and you continue to create for us happy memories to cherish for a lifetime. We will always have the pebble-stoned beaches, the aboriginal culture museum, grandma's rice balls and pigfeet soup, all the good times--that love is forever part of us.

您一直是我們的楷模,剛毅兼關懷,智慧中帶幽默.您與阿嬤給了我們最溫馨的童年回憶,從小到大每年都如此. 如今我們帶著小朋友一起會去過年,他們也一樣有許多他們將珍惜一輩子的快樂回憶. 我們永遠都記得,在海邊玩水,原住民博物館,阿嬤美味飯糰與豬腳麵線--一切愛的片段烙在我們腦海裡.

One thing not many people in our family know: when my mother coded in the ICU and the doctor wanted us to sign the DNR papers, a "family friend" who was not family and we barely knew, who had become a recipient of confidential information after helping translate wh…

4.10. PAWS = Pet-Assisted Visitation Volunteer Services

Meet Frida, the most cosmopolitan, well-read dog ever. Pets provide more than entertainment, companionship or improvement in literacy (when kids read to dogs--at home or at library events). Pet therapy is an actual thing, though not in a Frida = Freudian psychoanalyst type of way. Rogerian psychiatrist, maybe:
Human: "I'm having a bad day."
Pup, speaking with soulful eyes: "Tell me more about your bad day."

The therapeutic value of pets has been extensively studied, and evidence shows that animals can directly influence a person’s mental and physical well-being. Having a pet, or spending time with a trained "therapy pet" in a hospital, treatment center or long-term facility can decrease anxiety and enhance mood in many patients.  

Penzi, devoted therapy dachscund!
Pet therapy has proven especially effective in people receiving cancer treatment and those with anxiety, cardiovascular diseases, PTSD, dementia, or residing in long-term care facilities.  The sim…

4.9. SATC = Sex & Taipei City

Interviewed here by her favorite librarian, Mimi, Yu-Han Chao is the author of a new short story collection, Sex & Taipei City (available now with Red Hen Press).
Mimi: That’s a really cute book cover. Did you draw it?
Yu-Han: Why, thank you, and yes, I did.

Mimi: Judging from the cover, these are cute stories about sex?
Yu-Han: Yes and no. The opening story is more explicit than the others, the lingering result of edits requested by a Zyzzyva editor when the story appeared in the journal. There are betel nut beauties and a grandfather obsessed with Japanese porn in the collection, but most characters are ordinary people, and the “sex” here has more to do with repression, gender concerns, failures of intimacy, and social (in)justice.

Mimi: Can you cite any direct influences or inspirations?
Yu-Han: Growing up in Taipei city in the 90s. Pai Hsien-yung (白先勇)’s Taipei People (台北人).

Mimi: So a sort of updated Taipei People?
Yu-Han: Not as up to date as it was when I first wrote it, be…

4.8. Sharp Objects: 3 Personality Disorders

Sharp Objects, a novel by Gillian Flynn (and also made into an HBO series), centers on reporter Camille Preaker who returns to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. All three female main characters in the book exemplify Cluster B personality disorders, which exhibit dramatic, emotional or erratic behaviors. *Spoilers below.

To discuss the familial pattern of personality disorders, we may begin with Camille’s mother, Adora, who always has an alcoholic drink in hand and is a candidate for Histrionic Personality Disorder. People with this disorder fail to develop richness of inner feelings and lack the ability to provide people (their daughters, for example) with genuinely sustained affection. Adora also has Munchausen By Proxy (MBP), or Factitious Disorder by Proxy. It’s implied in the book that Adora’s mother had dosed her and sickened her just as Adora does her three daughters (one of them she poisoned to death; the remaining two have issues discussed below.)

Ce …