Friday, February 18, 2011

Midwestern friendliness and the flu

A few days ago, I came down with a mild case of what I conclude is the flu. A little headachy, slight body aches, fever that progressed daily from 99.4° to 101.4° to 100.8° to normal today, and a general blah feeling. With my Internet connection, I was comfortable at home, keeping in touch with family and friends via facebook and email. I got a lot of sympathy and good advice.

This morning, my pastor, Kai Nilsen, called to alert me that he was stopping by in a few minutes to drop off some chicken soup and a bagel for me (and he's not even Jewish!). Kai and his family have become good friends of mine, but I really am not accustomed to church pastors making house calls! I took advantage of the sunny 60° day and went outside to meet Kai. I thanked him for the soup and the bagel – but neglected to thank him for the gifts of his kindness and friendship – and explained I didn't want to risk giving him the flu, so didn't give him my traditional hug or invite him in to my virus-laden home. I did say that I was floored by the fact that I had received a house call from my pastor – on his day off – and would be posting the fact on facebook.

Kai's visit ranks way up there in my book, on a par with my having personally been cooked dinner and served by then-Governor Kathleen Sebelius in her Kansas Governor's Residence. I've told all my family and friends around the world that my life in Ohio is distinguished by the genuine friendliness of people here. Today's experience is another example of that friendliness.

This is the first time I've had the flu since 1988. I've been good at getting my seasonal flu shots each fall. I also take Chinese Yin Qiao Jie Du Pian herbal cold pills at the first sign of a sniffle. Despite these precautions, I got the flu – or maybe because of these precautions, my flu was mild. Or perhaps the mildness the result of the midwestern friendliness that I've been so blessed with.

In any case, I recalled and stuck by my doctors' old advice for the flu: "Stay in bed for 3 days. You may feel better the second day and want to go to work. If you do, you'll relapse and be in bed for 2 weeks." So I stayed home, drank plenty of fluids, including my Mom's new recommendation: honey and cinnamon in hot water (I used hot green tea, taking advantage of another friend's recommendation). I feel almost completely normal now – and very blessed. Still, I'm going to limit my contact with others for the next couple of days to be sure I don't spread any lingering virus particles.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cornell Asian Alumni Association's 2011 Banquet

"More than any other person I know, [Rod Chu] is an international leader in higher education." – President Emeritus Frank H. T. Rhodes

The Cornell Asian Alumni Association had its 20th annual banquet on Jan. 22, 2011 at Grand Harmony Palace restaurant in Chinatown, NYC. Here are the videos that my good friend Chester Mah took of the entertainment and speeches from that fun evening.

The 350 guests who attended the dinner were astounded by a performance of Bian Lian - Chinese Face Changing Dance - by Master Jiao, introduced by Matt Palumbo. Can you count how many times he changed masks?

Did you notice that he also changed his costume? How many times? Here's a closer view that I got with my handheld camera.

I am especially happy to share these videos as I was the honoree at this year's event. Bringing greetings was President Emeritus Frank Rhodes, who was introduced by CAAA President Monica Gelinas.

Martin Tang, a Trustee Emeritus of Cornell and past CAAA honoree, came from Hong Kong to support the banquet. He introduced me ...

... and presented me with CAAA's award.

Here's the video of my remarks, which I entitled Reverence for Education - and Our Educators.

The text of my remarks is in my earlier blog.

Next came a vibrant performance of traditional Korean percussion by the student group Shimtah. This video was posted on YouTube by the group.

It was an absolutely delightful evening. I'm glad we have these videos to remind those of us who were there how much fun it was, and to enable me to share the evening with my family and friends who couldn't be there.

Johnson Dean Joe Thomas, Winston Tom, Frances Wong, President Emeritus Frank Rhodes, Frances Chu, Rod Chu, Monica Gelinas, Matt Palumbo, Cornell V.P. Susan Murphy
Congratulations and thanks to the Cornell Asian Alumni Association President Monica Gelinas, Banquet Co-Chairs Winston Tom & Frances Wong, Matt Palumbo and other committee members, and all my Cornell friends and supporters who made this 20th Anniversary Banquet so memorable.

Thanks to Chester Mah for all his hard work in taking and editing the videos and hundreds of photos! You can see Chester's photos of the evening on his photo website with password = banquet.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Year of the Rabbit

Happy New Year!

Few Chinese Horoscope books contain overall prognostications for the year. In my large collection of these books, one of the few that does is the first edition of Theodora Lau's The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes, published in 1979. Unfortunately, in the later editions of this book, her overall predictions for each year have been removed.

To provide my friends with this interesting information, here is Ms. Lau's overall forecast for the Year of the Rabbit, plus her predictions for how individuals will fare this year, given the animal that represents their birth year. (To determine what animal you are, see my table of animals for birth dates.)

The Year of the Rabbit – 2/3/2011-1/22/2012

A placid year, very much welcomed and needed after the ferocious year of the Tiger. We should go off to some quiet spot to lick our wounds and get some rest after all the battles of the previous year.

Good taste and refinement will shine on everything and people will acknowledge that persuasion is better than force. A congenial tone in which diplomacy, international relations and politics will be given a front seat again. We will act with discretion and make reasonable concessions without too much difficulty.

A time to watch out that we do not become too indulgent. The influence of the Rabbit tends to spoil those who like too much comfort and thus impair their effectiveness and sense of duty.

Law and order will be lax; rules and regulations will not be rigidly enforced. No one seems very inclined to bother with these unpleasant realities. They are busy enjoying themselves, entertaining others or simply taking it easy. The scene is quiet and calm, even deteriorating to the point of somnolence. We will all have a tendency to put off disagreeable tasks as long as possible.

Money can be made without too much labor. Our life style will be languid and leisurely as we allow ourselves the luxuries we have always craved for. A temperate year with unhurried pace. For once, it may seem possible for us to be carefree and happy without too many annoyances.

How you will fare in the 
Year of the Rabbit

Rat: A calm and quiet year. Still, the Rat must be careful with money. There may be some misunderstandings within his family or at work, but he will make new contacts in business. New members will be added to his family.

Ox: A fair year for the Ox, although he still has many loose ends to tie up and other problems to settle. He could still lose on some investments or fail to collect debts owed to him. His health is protected although he may experience some sorrow at the death of someone close to him. Progress is steady.

TigerA happier year for the Tiger. Some good news is forthcoming and his love and business affairs look rosy again. There are still obstacles in his path, but he will surmount them with little difficulty. All in all, he will be quite content with his achievements.

Rabbit: A very auspicious year for the Rabbit native. Promotions, career advancement or financial success can be foreseen for him and he will reap unexpected benefits or recover lost funds. His plans are easily executed and there may be happy tidings at home or celebrations at the arrival or homecoming of new or old members of the family.

Dragon: Calm returns to the Dragon’s life in the year of the Rabbit. Fair progress can be expected as the winds of fortune blow on his sails again. His home life is more settled, although he could experience minor health problems. A stable time as no financial upsets or bad news await him.

Snake: A fairly happy year for the Snake although many commitments keep him very busy. A year of not being able to spend enough time with those he likes because of fulfilling other promises. Money comes and goes easily.

Horse: A lucky year for the Horse, especially in his investments. His life will be smooth but very involved. He can expect happy news or new members in the family. A protected year in which he can venture anywhere and encounter few problems.

Sheep: A fair year as the Sheep chalks up some gains at work and in his finances. He could also suffer an upheaval at home or some repercussion for past neglect. Health problems are caused by accidental injuries. But he will emerge from all his troubles with more gains than losses.

Monkey: A good year. The Monkey’s prospects are bright again and he will receive help from unlikely people or places. Tranquility is restored at work and home, and business is back to normal although his gains will only be modest. A time for him to seek out new opportunities or make changes in his environment.

Rooster: A fair time for the Rooster if he remains conservative in outlook. Investments this year are shaky and he should not speculate, as loss of money is indicated. He is also prone to miscalculations and his profits may be eaten away by unpredicted expenses. It would be advisable for him to join forces with others this year instead of acting independently.

Dog: A favorable year for the aspirations of the Dog. He can start his own business this year or go into partnership. He will be able to advance his position and can reorganize things for the benefit of others. Problems are solved with a minimum of complications.

Boar: A fair year for the Boar with some modest results. Obstacles still crop up but there will be no major upheavals. He makes some financial gains and is able to consolidate his position to a good degree. Home life is calm and happy. Much entertaining and socializing foreseen.