About Me

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Mabuhay! I'm an Asian American writer (Back Kicks And Broken Promises, Abbott Press, 2012), martial artist and teacher who was born in The Philippines, raised in Hong Kong and ended up in New Jersey.

23 November, 2011

Encouraging, I Suppose

Every now and then, usually after I post a new entry in this blog, I check my stats to see how many hits I've been getting, where they're coming from and so on. It's what we - bloggers and writers - do. I suppose there's a certain amount of vanity to it but there's also a sense of wanting to know who gives a you-know-what about what I have to say because it can have a bearing on who's going to go out and buy my novel when it comes out (which should be sooner than later). There's a certain validation too when I see my stats growing - as humble as they are - and to see that I have readers from places I'd never even thought I would to have them.

I suppose with the internet I shouldn't be completely surprised. After all, one can simply do a keyword search and come up with millions of links relating to that keyword. In fairness, I'm sure many of the hits I've gotten must be incidental ones; someone checking out my websites and this blog to see if it's what he or she is looking for and leaving when they discover it's not. However, as happens to me when I do a search, others may have stumbled upon my sites, gotten intrigued by them and stayed. Perhaps they even check them semi-regularly or bookmarked them.

It's just fascinating to me - and I'm grateful for it - that I've had hits from all over the world. I personally know three people in Germany and I have regular hits from there. I even have hits from India, Russia, Malaysia, Poland and Hungary. I don't know anyone in these countries so the hits from these places are from people who just like what I write. I'm getting regular multiples visits from some of these countries, which means they're regular readers.

I write about all of this because it tickles me. It shouldn't. After all, getting my work read is what this is all about but it's a hoot that strangers in places I've never even been to - not even made a transit stop in an aeroplane - have read my work. And for that I say thank you. Tomorrow's Thanksgiving and, in addition to my family, friends and the cool things that have happened this year (like winning a State Championship, getting my sixth degree black belt, coming tenth a the US National Taekwondo Championships, my novel getting closer to being published, my wife's parents' 50th wedding anniversary), I'm thankful for my readership. It's small, to be certain, but I have one. And for a writer, any readership is better than no readership.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

22 November, 2011

Innocence Lost

I watch my son and he amazes me. I watch him play with his toys and see him make his superheroes fight and fly. I see him make his cars, bobble head Superman and my Chapstick have conversations about being best friends and having to fight the "bad guys." I watch him mimic my Taekwondo moves and his mother's dance moves and when we ask him if he wants to learn either, he simply says, "No. I want to fly." Then he proceeds to run, jump and land on one knee the way Robert Downey Iron Man does in the movies.

Recently, we were at The Disney Store in Manhattan where we picked up some Christmas presents, taking advantage of the sales and to have a family day out. I watched my son run around and look with desire at every Cars 2 toy and every Captain America doll and all the stuffed plush dolls of his favourite Disney characters - Mickey, Special Agent Oso, Buzz, Woody, Handy Manny, you name it.

Naturally, with lots going on and money being tight (when isn't it?), he ran around and looked at the toys with joy and wanted everything without concerning himself with how much things cost and what it means to wait, be patient and earn something. I wished then, as I always do, that I could get him whatever he wants whenever he wants it but I know that's not a possibility and that would, if I could do that, only spoil him. However, watching him was such a joy but it also broke my heart.

At his age - three and a half- of course he doesn't understand things about money and such. Of course that made me feel sad that I couldn't just get him everything. What really made me melt and broke my heart, though, was knowing that one day, when he's older, he will lose innocence and that the proverbial and not so proverbial, real life will catch up with him; that he will (have to) worry about money, patience, taking care of things and not just playing and laughing and having fun.

It's a shame that the purity and joy of the innocence we possessed as kids has to diminish, vanish even, as we get older. It disappears, too, not just with age but with experience and time. I look back at my Taekwondo life. As much as I love it still, and relish in the fact the I am not a novice anymore and can say that I am somewhat of an expert, there are times I miss when I didn't know so much and wasn't the teacher or highest ranking student in the class. I also miss the sights, sounds and smells of my early days living in America and the excitement and uncertainty that came with not knowing the place. Now, on some level, it all feels so 'old hat.' Just today, I was having a chat with one of my closest friends and we were talking about how long we've been doing what we do - teach - and how we're wiser and getting into the ranks of the older, longer serving staff members at our school.

I don't know about anyone else but, at 42, I feel that the last 26 years - the time I've lived in the United States - has flown by way too fast. At times it feels like I just landed at JFK and now I'm here, typing at my dining table in my Millburn rental. There are things I remember having done but I recall them happening at different times from when they actually happened. That's how fast and jumbled the years have snuck up on me. Sometimes I feel the time has been wasted. If not wasted, definitely lost. And with the lost time has come lost innocence and growing cynicism.

Thinking about my son and his joy at the Disney Store, I just hope and pray that we - my wife and I - can prepare him for the reality of what is to come and that, when he's 42, he can recall every moment of his life with a smile and that he never feels that his life has been wasted.