Finding meaning on Father’s Day — A letter to my two fathers

Finding meaning on Father’s Day — A letter to my two fathers


By Assunta Ng

Northwest Asian Weekly

From left: Dad Eric, Charles Johnson (associate justice of the Washington Supreme Court) and Assunta Ng in 1992. (Photo provided by Assunta Ng/NWAW)

Dear Fathers,

On this coming Father’s Day, I suddenly realized I have no memories of Father’s Day even though I had two fathers. How ironic!

Now that you’re both gone from this world, I wonder what it would have been like if I could have just one Father’s Day experience with either my biological dad or stepdad.   

So why didn’t you spend Father’s Day with me?

Both of you abandoned me when I was a child. That torturing question has opened up old wounds.



Dad Wai, since you and mom divorced before I turned 6, I did not hear from you or see you until I was in my teens. Dad Eric, you and mom got married, but you didn’t really want me at first, because of the financial burden. I could tell that you had a change of heart when I was in high school. That’s when we started to have longer conversations, and I didn’t have to avoid you and hide in my room. You were impressed that I passed the Hong Kong public examination (for high school seniors) with flying colors. Since then, you accepted me as your daughter. You traveled for business most of the time, and mom would join you sometimes, in Japan and Thailand for months.

Dad Wai (left) with Jason Liu in 2006. (Photo provided by Assunta Ng/NWAW)

Mom did a great job in playing the dual role of both parents when I was growing up. I couldn’t imagine what it was like to have a dad loving me, raising me, nurturing me, playing with me, and protecting me like I observed my friends’ fathers.

I am forever grateful that you agreed to support me financially to study in the United States, after much begging.

By the twist of fate, we were never together on any Father’s Day! But I did go back to Hong Kong for your birthdays and paid for the dinners.

Dad Wai, mother wanted us to sever ties by lying to me at one point that you were dead. Mom got upset every time I went to visit you. When I left for college in the United States, you were both in Hong Kong. Although I tried to visit Hong Kong as much as I could, it was never on Father’s Day. But then, if I had visited you on Father’s Day, would you have made time for me?

You both had children in your other marriages. I was just one of the daughters. I didn’t think I mattered. Years later, I found out that you, Dad Wai, told relatives how proud you were of me and raved that I was your most capable daughter, but lamented that you were unable to get close to me.

Two years before you died, I visited your home. There on your bed, I saw the Father’s Day card and envelope with money I sent long ago. Amazingly, you still remembered my birthday at the age of 90.

And you, Dad Eric, thank you for treating me as your real daughter as you grew older. You trusted me more than your own son. I played a big role at your funeral service, which I never expected.

Research has found that boys, more than girls, have a hard time in adjusting to not having their father around, and society has to pay a high price for their rebellious behaviors. I never knew what it would be like to have a father growing up. I can’t describe what I have missed. That void in my childhood can never be filled. Yet, I am not angry or bitter. My unhappy childhood has helped me to develop the ability to cope with adversity without blame. It’s not in my nature to blame. Nor do I give myself excuses for not working hard and giving up. I guess that’s the difference between the attitude of a survivor and victim.

Also, I strive for forgiveness rather than hate. I turned out to be a better person in understanding and accepting human flaws. What else can you ask for? And thanks to you, dads, I watched and gleaned meaningful lessons from the way you lived your lives.

To both of you in heaven, Happy Father’s Day!

Your daughter,

— Assunta


Source: Finding meaning on Father’s Day — A letter to my two fathers

16 Superb Health Benefits Of Cucumber | Care2 Healthy Living

Pick a handful of firm, dark green cucumbers and pop them into your shopping basket. Congratulations! You have just bought yourself a fruit (yes, the cool cuke is fruit, not a vegetable) full of good health!

Here is a short list of the impressive health benefits that a cucumber carries:

  • Keeps you hydrated. If you are too busy to drink enough water, munch on the cool cucumber, which is 96 percent water. It will cheerfully compensate!
  • Fights heat, both inside and out. Eat cucumber, and your body gets relief from heartburn. Apply cucumber on your skin, and you get relief from sunburn.
  • Flushes out toxins. All that water in cucumber acts as a virtual broom, sweeping waste products out of your system. With regular use, cucumber is known to dissolve kidney stones.
  • Lavishes you with vitamins. A B and C, which boost immunity, give you energy, and keep you radiant. Give it more power by juicing cucumber with carrot and spinach.
  • Supplies skin-friendly minerals: magnesium, potassium, silicon. That’s why cucumber-based treatments abound in spas.
  • Aids in weight loss. Enjoy cucumbers in your salads and soups. My favorite snack? Crunchy cucumber sticks with creamy low-fat yogurt dip.
  • Revives the eyes. Placing chilled slices of cucumber on the eyes is a clichéd beauty visual, but it really helps reduce under-eye bags and puffiness.
  • Cuts cancer. Cut down your risk of several cancers by including cucumber in your diet. Several studies show its cancer-fighting potential.
  • Stabilizes blood pressure. Patients of blood pressure, both high and low, often find that eating cucumber brings relief.
  • Refreshes the mouth. Cucumber juice refreshes and heals diseased gums, leaving your mouth smelling good.
  • Helps digestion. Chewing cucumber gives the jaws a good workout, and the fiber in it is great for digestion.
  • Smooths hair and nails. Silica, the wonder mineral in cucumber makes your hair and nails stronger and shinier.
  • Soothes muscle and joint pain. All those vitamins and minerals in cucumber make it a powerful enemy of muscle and joint pain.
  • Keeps kidneys in shape. Cucumber lowers uric acid levels in your system, keeping the kidneys happy.
  • Good for diabetics. Patients of diabetes can enjoy cucumber while also reaping its health benefits: cucumber contains a hormone needed by the cells of the pancreas for producing insulin.
  • Reduces cholesterol. A compound called sterols in cucumber helps reduce bad cholesterol.

Read more:

Source: 16 Superb Health Benefits Of Cucumber | Care2 Healthy Living

Patients Ponder Life and Death as California’s New ‘Right to Die’ Law Begins – NBC News


Terminally ill California residents may now legally take medicine to end their lives, thanks to a new law that goes into effect Thursday.

Under the “End of Life Option Act,” California has become the fifth state in the nation to create a legal process for patients to obtain aid in dying.

And how the law fares in such a large and diverse state could shape whether this controversial option gains traction in the rest of the nation.

Advocates say people should have the right to decide whether they want “aid in dying,” while opponents argue patients could feel pressure to take their own lives.

‘I love my life’

Kristy Allan, a 63-year-old who has been in hospice care for terminal cancer since November, says the new law gives her peace of mind.

“I like my life, I love my children,” Allan emphasized. She has already decided, however, at what point she would seek to end her life.

“For me, it’s if I can no longer hygienically take care of myself,” she told NBC News, adding, “I don’t want my husband to have to.”

Kristy Allan and husband Ken J. Smith Courtesy Kristy Allan


Allan has been living with Stage IV terminal colon cancer since 2009.

Last fall, after exhausting all viable chemotherapy treatment options, she says she decided to focus on the time she had left. The turning point was her daughter’s engagement.

While gathering to celebrate with her family, friends — and even her oncologist — Allan sensed their concern that she might not live to see the wedding. Yet she was more focused on how she would experience the wedding.

“About a month before the wedding, I just said, no more — no more treatment,” Allan recalled.

By taking that step, Allan felt she was not only accepting her condition, but taking control of how she wants to live. Under the new law, Allan says she is also able to take some control of how she wants to die.

She learned about aid-in-dying from a radio interview about Compassion and Choices, an advocacy group.

Allan now views the option as a human right, telling NBC News, “I was confident the moment I heard the speaker on public radio that I was in support of getting the law implemented.”

If Allan is like other patients who have considered aid in dying, there is no guarantee she will ultimately use the option.

Kristy Allan (r), husband Ken Smith (l) and daughter Lillian Smith (c) Courtesy Kristy Allan

In Oregon, which has offered a similar program for almost a decade, some terminally ill patients obtain lethal prescriptions without using them.

Last year, for example, about 40 percent of patients who received prescriptions did not use them.

The California law requires that patients be informed that they can obtain the prescriptions without taking them, to discourage any sense of obligation for beginning the process.

To be eligible, the law also requires that patients are mentally competent; have a prognosis of less than six months to live; and are physically capable of ingesting the drugs — a contrast with euthanasia that requires direct lethal action by another person.

The law also states that physicians have no obligation to prescribe aid-in-dying drugs, or even discuss it, if they oppose the practice.

Patients should not ‘be abandoned’

Still, many doctors and medical ethicists object to lawmakers bringing suicide into the medical process.

The American Medical Association, the largest physician group in the U.S., has a formal ethics policy against doctors facilitating a patient’s death, including offering information or drugs “to enable the patient to perform the life-ending act.”

“Physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks,” the policy states. It advises doctors to “aggressively respond to the needs of patients at the end of life,” rather than deciding patients should “be abandoned” or offered “assisted suicide.”

Neil Wenger, a doctor who directs a health ethics center at UCLA, opposes the practice and says the new law crosses a fundamental line.

“We have always, up till now, been able to say we will never hasten a death,” he told the Los Angeles Times.

While the human and ethical dilemmas run deep, at a policy level, state health officials project that very few people will actually exercise the new option.

Less than 1,500 adults per year “would request and obtain prescriptions” for aid in dying, based on the “low utilization” rate in states with similar policies like Oregon, according to an analysis by the California Department of Health.

Politically, the law has also drawn wide bipartisan support, backed by 67 percent of California Republicans and 82 percent of Democrats, according to a Berkeley poll last year.

Yet like many core questions involving death, the issue may feel fairly unknowable, or theoretical, for many people. For patients like Kristy Allan, the new law could not come sooner.

Source: Patients Ponder Life and Death as California’s New ‘Right to Die’ Law Begins – NBC News

These ancient Asian primate fossils might be the missing pieces of a major evolutionary puzzle – The Washington Post

These ancient Asian primate fossils might be the missing pieces of a major evolutionary puzzle

By Sarah Kaplan

Lower jaw fossils from the ancient primate Yunnanadapis folivorus, one of several species newly discovered in southern China. (K. Christopher Beard)

For decades, scientists thought that the story of human evolution was fairly straightforward: We and our primate ancestors evolved in Africa over millions of years, then started crossing continents and traversing seas to reach all the places we’re found today. Simple (ish).

But then, in the 1990s, researchers in China made a surprising discovery: The fossil of a tiny monkey-like creature that was some 10 million years older than anything that had been found in Africa. The ancestors of apes, and ultimately us, seemed to have come from Asia. But they hadn’t stayed there.

“There were a lot of questions,” said K. Christopher Beard, a paleontologist at the University of Kansas. “What caused it was the biggest kind of cosmic question, because we always want to answer ‘why?’ But even things like ‘when?’ and ‘how?’ were a mystery.”

Decades later, “the full story is only now emerging,” Beard said. And a new discovery could help fill in the gaps.

[New monkey fossils suggest the primates made a wild migration across the sea]


In a study published Thursday in the journal Science, Beard and his colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing report on an “incredible cache” of fossils from 10 previously unknown species uncovered in China’s Yunnan province. These fossils help illuminate a new story of our evolution: one in which our primate ancestors evolved in Asia, sailed across a narrow sea to Africa, then were pushed to extinction on their home continent because of drastic climate change. Some of the only primates that survived were the ones whose fossils were just uncovered — primitive creatures that were closer to lemurs than apes and humans living today.

“It’s a little complicated,” Beard said, almost sheepishly.

You don’t say.

This more convoluted version of our history begins in the Eocene, some 40 million years ago. At this time, Earth’s climate was hot and humid, and the continents were just beginning to move into the positions they hold today. India was zooming headlong toward the bottom of Asia (the inevitable collision would one day give rise to the Himalayas). An inland sea flooded the center of the Eurasian land mass. And Africa was an island continent, separated from Asia and Europe by a narrow stretch of ocean.

Early anthropoid (humanlike) monkeys were flourishing in Asia at that time. But they also, somehow, found a way to migrate across the watery barrier to Africa. And since monkeys don’t really swim, scientists’ best theory about their migration is — I kid you not — that they sailed across on rafts made of trees.

“You’re laughing,” Beard said, “but it’s now known that this happened repeatedly. Because of the greenhouse conditions, a lot of monsoons were hitting Asia at the time. When that happens, rivers would flood, riverbanks erode. A half an acre of land with a bunch of trees growing out of it falls into a river and floats out to sea.”

“And if there are a bunch of monkeys hanging out in the trees when that happens,” he continued, “suddenly those monkeys become sailors.”

This chart shows the “evolutionary filter” of primates across the Eocene-Oligocene boundary. (K. Christopher Beard)

It was a good thing, too, because climate records show that dramatic changes started ravaging the Earth soon after. Around 34 million years ago, the warm, wet climate of the Eocene gave way to the cooler, drier Oligocene epoch. Tropical forests receded, open plains and deciduous trees sprouted across the Eurasian continent. Life for monkeys in Asia suddenly became very, very hard.

That’s evident in the fossils Beard and his colleagues found in Yunnan province. These tropical tree-dwellers had been pushed south to stay with the dwindling tropical forests. They were almost all strepsirrhines (lemurlike) primates; the only anthropoid fossil came from a tiny, very primitive member of the group.

“This was more or less the anthropoids’ last stand that [the fossils] are capturing,” Beard said.

[New fossil could reshape our understanding of ape evolution]

The fossils “fill a gap,” in our understanding of our evolutionary history, Stony Brook University primatologist John Fleagle, who was not involved in the study, told the Christian Science Monitor. They illustrate “a whole aspect of primate evolution that wasn’t clearly documented before.”

They also help pinpoint exactly when “the plot shifted” from Asia to Africa. “Everything that happens subsequently leads to Africa becoming center stage,” Beard said.

Even as Asian anthropoids were dying out in droves, the population of their seafaring African relatives exploded. The species spread and diversified, developing swiftly into the vast variety of primates we know today, from little masked vervets to huge, powerful gorillas to australopithecines such as the famous “Lucy” and, eventually, to us.

Exactly why these primates were so successful is a question for further study, Beard said. It may have been pure chance — evolution rolled the dice in two places, and only one game worked out well. Or it could be that Africa, which was closer to the Equator and less climatically chaotic than Asia, was just a better place to try to survive.

Whatever the reason African monkeys were able to hang in there, we should be glad they did.

“If these monkeys had not been in Africa right before this big chill,” Beard said, “then it’s an open question whether or not we would be here today thinking about it.”

Source: These ancient Asian primate fossils might be the missing pieces of a major evolutionary puzzle – The Washington Post

Do Racism, Conservatism, and Low I.Q. Go Hand in Hand? | Psychology Today


Goal Auzeen Saedi Ph.D.

Goal Auzeen Saedi Ph.D.

Millennial Media



Do Racism, Conservatism, and Low I.Q. Go Hand in Hand?

Lower cognitive abilities predict greater prejudice through right-wing ideology.

This morning as I logged onto Facebook, I came upon this image. Having followed the Boston marathon and MIT shooting coverage initially, I lost some interest when it came down to the “hunt.” As much as justice matters to me, so does tact and class, and the sensationalism of manhunts always leaves me uncomfortable. I also knew it would be a matter of time before the political rhetoric would change from the victims and wounded to the demographic factors of the suspects—namely race and religion. And alas, it has.

However, what struck me most about this image posted above was the Facebook page it came from, “Too Informed to Vote Republican.” I wondered about this, recalling an old journal article I’d come across when studying anti-Islamic attitudes post 9/11. The paper referenced a correlation between conservatism and lowintelligence. Uncertain of its origin, I located a thought-provoking article published in one of psychology’s top journals, Psychological Science, which in essence confirms this.

Hodson and Busseri (2012) found in a correlational study that lower intelligence inchildhood is predictive of greater racism in adulthood, with this effect being mediated (partially explained) through conservative ideology. They also found poor abstract reasoning skills were related to homophobic attitudes which was mediated through authoritarianism and low levels of intergroup contact.

What this study and those before it suggest is not necessarily that all liberals are geniuses and all conservatives are ignorant. Rather, it makes conclusions based off of averages of groups. The idea is that for those who lack a cognitive ability to grasp complexities of our world, strict-right wing ideologies may be more appealing. Dr. Brian Nosek explained it for the Huffington Post as follows, “ideologies get rid of the messiness and impose a simple solution. So, it may not be surprising that people with less cognitive capacity will be attracted to simplifying ideologies.” For an excellent continuation of this discussion and past studies, please see this article from LiveScience.

Further, studies have indicated an automatic association between aggression, America, and the news. A study conducted by researchers at Cornell and The Hebrew University (Ferguson & Hassin, 2007) indicated, “American news watchers who were subtly or nonconsciously primed with American cues exhibited greater
accessibility of aggression and war constructs in memory, judged an ambiguously aggressive person in a more aggressive and negative manner, and acted in a relatively more aggressive manner toward an experimenter following a mild provocation, compared with news watchers who were not primed” (p. 1642). American “cues” refers to factors such as images of the American flag or words such as “patriot.” Interestingly, this study showed this effect to be independent of political affiliation, but suggested a disturbing notion that America is implicitly associated with aggression for news watchers.

Taken together, what do these studies suggest? Excessive exposure to news coverage could be toxic as is avoidance of open-minded attitudes and ideals.  Perhaps turn off the television and pick up a book?  Ideally one that exposes you to differing worldviews.

*Please note comments that are offensive, defamatory, discriminatory, racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise inappropriate will be automatically removed by the author’s discretion.


Furguson, M.J. & Hassin, R.R. (2007). On the automatic association between American and      aggression for news watchers. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33,1632-1647.

Hodson, G. & Busseri, M.A. (2012). Bright minds and dark attitudes: Lower cognitive ability predicts greater prejudice through right-wing ideology and low intergroup contact.Psychological Science, 23, 187-195.

Follow me on Twitter at MillenialMedia.

Source: Do Racism, Conservatism, and Low I.Q. Go Hand in Hand? | Psychology Today

Woman Faces Racial Discrimination in New York Dunkin Donuts Store – Bystander gets involved, but not in the way you expect

Peiyin Shih fell victim to racial discrimination in a New York Dunkin Donuts on Monday afternoon when an employee refused to serve her a glazed chocolate donut until she [said] “the whole name of the donut” Her Facebook post below:
 ‎Peiyin Shih to Dunkin’ Donuts via Facebook
Peiyin Shih's photo. Hi, I went to this Dunkin Donuts located at 100-05 Queens Blvd, Forest Hills, NY 11375 with my nanny & my one year old son today 5/30/2016 at 3:38 pm. Besides juice & hot chocolate, we order Glazed chocolate donut. Staff Yaibur R. told me that I have to say the whole name of the donut. I point it to him & tell him that I want the “glazed chocolate donut” with a accent. He is like “What? What are you saying?” I point it again & say “that chocolate donut.” He does not even want to look & help me. He just look at me & say “you have to say the whole name of the donut.” I say why should I say the whole name. You already know what I want. You just want to make fun of me. He said you just have to say it in order to order it. I said I want to talk to your manager. He said you don’t have to see the manager. Manager is not here. You think he will be here all the time. He has home. Today is holiday. He has to go home. I say what is your name? He point his name tag & say “Here is my name. Do you know how to say it?” I insist to see the manager. Of course that staff ignore me.
  And then, this customer start to scream at me. When I start to use my phone to record, that Dunkin staff finally stop making fun of me. But this customer start to approach me & scream at me saying that he is going to take my phone away & throw it outside of window. I say don’t touch me. I am calling the police. The customer even say that I must be illegal. How humiliated. The staff is just standing there laughing. Doing nothing. I called the police. This guy keep making fun of me before he run away. He even call the police & tell them that i am just a Chinese lady who doesn’t like the Dunkin personnal’s attitude. Language violence? Discrimination? Bully the women with a children? Is this represent Dunkin Donus? This behavior of discrimination & arrogant is unacceptable.
See Peiyin Shih’s actual Facebook post HERE

Chick-fil-A Free Sandwich

By EatDrinkDeals Staff     June 1, 2016.

Get a free Chicken Sandwich at Chick-fil-A when you download their app starting today, Wednesday, June 1, 2016.

CLICK HERE to download the app.  After you install the Chick-fil-A One app and join or sign into the Chick-fil-A insider program, open the app and you’ll see the free sandwich coupon.  Or, click on Treats to find the coupon.  Good for a free regular, spicy or grilled Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich.

To get the free sandwich you must install the app and sign in with your email address by June 11, 2016. The free sandwich offer expires on June 30, 2016.  Chick-fil-A announced the free sandwich offer on Facebook and the Chick-fil-A Home Page.

Chick-fil-A said the app allows you to skip the line when placing your order and build up rewards points for future free treats.

About Chick-fil-A (from Wikipedia)

Chick-fil-A is an American fast food restaurant chain headquartered in the Atlanta suburb of College Park, Georgia, specializing in chicken sandwiches. Founded in 1946, it has been associated with the Southern United States, where it has become a cultural icon. 

Chick-fil-A has more than 1,700 restaurants in 38 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and is focusing future growth in the American Midwest and Southern California. Unlike most fast food restaurants and retail chain stores, all Chick-fil-A restaurants are closed for business on Sunday.

Source: Chick-fil-A Free Sandwich