I want to talk about Dr. Li Wenliang (李文亮)

First, a little background:


On December 30, 2019, Dr. Li Wenliang messaged his classmates alerting them to what he referred to as “confirmed diagnoses of 7 cases of SARS.” It was not yet known that the cases Dr. Li observed were of a new disease. In subsequent messages, Dr. Li explained that the virus was confirmed to be in the family of coronaviruses (like the virus that caused the 2002-2004 SARS outbreak), but the specific strain was not yet typed.

The new disease, Covid-19, is caused by the virus dubbed SARS-CoV-2. SARS-CoV-2 is so named as it is related to SARS-CoV, the virus that cause SARS. SARS-CoV-2 is the rye dough SARS-CoV the sourdough. Covid-19 is the rye bread to SARS the sourdough bread.

On January 3rd, 2020, the CCP arrested and reprimanded Dr. Li Wenliang and 7 others.

On January 8th, Dr. Li contracted Covid-19 from a patient he treated.

On February 7th,  Dr. Li died from Covid-19. He was mourned and praised by the overwhelming majority of Chinese citizens, who did not agree with the official reprimand. They took to the web to vocalize their wish for justice for him.

Thanks to the outcry, the National Supervisory Commission launched an investigation. On Thursday, March 19th, the investigation closed, concluding that the case was improperly handled. In an extremely rare move, Police of Wuhan City apologized to Dr. Li’s family and withdrew the reprimand letter they issued him.


Now, a few things I want to note:


In the group chat on 12/31/2019, a colleague cautioned Dr. Li against his notice, stating that such alarm could cause the whole group to be censored. Dr. Li replied by asking the group not to spread the information further, but simply caution family and relatives.

Dr. Li’s official reprimand letter specifically cited his language that referred to the new outbreak as confirmed cases of SARS as “unlawful behavior.”

Yet, when asked to comment for the article published on 01/31/2020, Zeng Guang, lead epidemiologist at the Chinese CDC praised the early whistle-blowers, Dr. Li among them, for their vigilance (by then Wuhan had already locked down for over a week, a move that saved countless lives). At the same time, the Chinese government was censoring comments online with regards to the incident. The extensive social media scrubbing meant the removal of countless mentions of the new disease.

Lastly, the fact that the Chinese government launched a formal investigation, concluding with clearing Dr. Li’s name posthumously, is tremendous. I believe this was the direct doing of the Chinese people speaking out for his honor and his sacrifice.


I wanted to note the above because: 


By the rule of the Chinese government, surveillance of civilians is a fact of everyday life. I personally believe that nothing over the internet enjoys complete privacy, and is subject to some form of data tracking, as in the case from espionage to targeted ads. But that’s a topic for another day.

I believe the Chinese government moved swiftly (5 days, from 12/30/2019 to 01/03/2020) to reprimand Dr. Li because he said the cases he observed were confirmed diagnoses of SARS. I think his use of the word SARS also prompted his colleague to caution him, and is why he clarified that the culprit virus belongs to the same family as the virus that causes SARS.

I think this is significant because during its initial outbreak, SARS had a death rate of 9.5%, making it extremely fearsome. Additionally, while the Chinese government mobilized quickly to respond to the outbreak, officials also behaved deplorably with regards to transparency. They did not inform the World Health Organization of the outbreak until February 11, 2002, though they knew “cases had been detected in the province as far back as 16 November 2002.”

Fast forward to the onset of Covid-19, and the very mention of SARS makes tension. Dr. Li was brave enough to warn his fellow classmates, who are all healthcare professionals. (SARS disproportionately affected healthcare workers in 2002-2003, in addition to close contacts of patients, because its transmission required significant exposure to the virus).

By the next day, on 12/31/2019, WHO China country office learned of the cases. The next week, on 01/07/2020 Chinese researchers successfully isolated the virus. Five days later, 01/12/2020, China shared the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus with the WHO. The Chinese government raced to provide public health organizations and researchers with science-based facts, all the while quashing rampant online discussions of the SARS-like disease in a misguided effort to quell panic. They got some things right, and some things wrong.

All of which leads to, how the significance of their formal apology to the widow and family of Dr. Li Wenliang, deserves serious recognition. Those saying, “too little, too late” because Dr. Li is no longer living, miss the point. It is important that he be remembered, and honored in his remembrance. It’s important that while heads of governments everywhere are not fond of admitting wrongdoing, in this instance the Chinese government did the right thing and apologized. It’s important that they formally withdrew his reprimand, so his place in official history is not tarnished. It’s important that the Chinese people spoke up, and the Chinese government acted on what they heard. No matter what, this is good news for doing the right thing, and I’m here for that.

An Introvert’s Guide to Staying the F#$% Home

We know now that in order not to overwhelm our healthcare system and hospitals, anyone who is able to, should do their best to self-quarantine. Staying at home as much as we can is a matter of social responsibility to the elderly and immunocompromised in our communities as well as our overworked and under-equipped healthcare providers.

That said, not everyone loves being at home as much as I do. So here are some ideas.

Things you can do everyday:

  1. read
  2. journal/write/blog (insert cheeky, winky face)
  3. craft/draw/paint
  4. jigsaw puzzles
  5. crosswords/sodoku/adult coloring books
  6. check your plants

    i finally potted my props that had already rooted in water, and started this batch of goji cuttings
  7. cook/bake/play “the pantry game” (instead of making unnecessary trips to the store or worse, engaging in hoarding/panic buying, try to get creative with ingredients you already have/pantry staples)
  8. check in on family and friends via calls, texts and social media
  9. catch up on shows/video games
  10. look for the good news amid the dual threat of inaction and panic– here are some I found:
    1. zoos are live streaming during quarantine
    2. digital giants actively combat spread of misinformation
    3. chef Jose Andres converting his temporarily shuttered restaurants into soup kitchens for the areas’ needy
    4. Jack Ma’s twitter that is regularly updated with donations his team has planned and deployed
  11. yoga/meditate/body weight fitness
  12. play with/train your pet

    If I’m being honest we went right to annoying them with costumes instead
  13. practice how to sew, take on “visible mending” projects for pieces with little holes or stains that you can cover up with beautiful embroidery
  14. play with makeup/nail polish
  15. disinfect high touch/use surfaces
  16. wash your hands
  17. complete you small home improvement items

One thing I have noticed changing in myself since going into voluntary semi-lockdown, is that I have an increase in energy levels. Luckily this is not restless, stir-crazy energy. It’s just that frequent errands, public outings and social interactions drained me, so now I have more energy from staying home extensively. For that reason I chose to cancel our weekly cleaning ahead of PA Governor Tom Wolf ordering all nonessential businesses to shutter temporarily. Instead I am cleaning one area of my home everyday, taking Saturday and Sunday off, and scheduling my areas such that all trash is out by the night before weekly trash collection. Our house is by no means so large that I couldn’t just clean it in one go, but I’m being more thorough while taking care not to feel overwhelmed. It’s working out for me, and, it’s a free workout!

That said, if you wanted to tackle deep cleaning your living space in a day or two, more power to ya! Here are some other projects:

  1. declutter
    1. your bookshelves
    2. closet(s)
    3. bathrooms
    4. kitchen
    5. hobby spaces

      The Boy is an electronics/gadgets and photography enthusiast and by going through his hobby collection, we’ve now set up a photo box to list redundancies for sale!
  2. Learn
    1. an instrument
    2. language
    3. hobby
  3. Challenge
    1. set a fitness goal: I’m working on improving my flexibility and being able to do a full side split by year end!
    2. set a reading goal: mine is 48 books in 2020
  4. Give
    1. if you are young and in good health (relatively low risk), you can sign up to run errands like shopping or dog walking for neighbors who are higher risk, check your local Facebook group or the app Next Door to connect with those in need
    2. or, volunteer from home! join coronavirusarmy.org
    3. as before, there is always Lifeline, so connect with your local crisis center to explore the possibility of volunteering from home

Stay well and we’ll see one another soon!

Stephen Colbert and Anderson Cooper on Grief

I’m staying in as much as possible to do my part in helping to curb the spread of Covid-19. Found a YouTube gem today. Little silver linings.

14 unreleased Billie Eilish songs

Lyin’ 2 Ya
Because I’m in love with you
Use Me (snippet)
Another Stupid Song
sHE’S brOKen
Fingers crossed
The hill
True Blue
If I can’t
Bad company
How do you see me?
I don’t know, I just wish I wasn’t breathing (snippet)

A snippet from every book I read so far in 2020

I used to post a lot of first lines and final lines, but have fallen off since last year. I’m finally accepting that– for me– attempting to update on preset days (see also Poetry Ptuesday, which doesn’t even alliterate for real) won’t get me to blog consistently.

But, I do still dearly love sharing what I’m reading. So I’m going to start catching y’all up with some lines from each book I read in 2020. I’ll also revisit maybe the top ten books from last year, since that was when I stopped updating my ‘currently reading’.


We begin with The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok, a memoir of her mother’s schizophrenia and final days.

“For every memory about her there is a melody hidden inside my brain.”

“There are fleeting pictures in twisted hallways of my palace, improbable stairs, like an Escher print, leading to doors that do not open, rooms too dark to see. This is how the memory of trauma works, how we glimpse forgotten years trapped inside the amygdala, that almond-shaped center of fear in our brain.”

“At sixteen, I vow to hold on to beauty, no matter what– to sitting in a rich carpet of grass, a concert hall, a museum full of art– in a place that has nothing to do with the unbearable glare of grief.”

“Afterward, I go to the church and light a candle for my mother. Not that I believe it would do any good; it’s just to remind myself that she is still lost in the world.”

“I have always known deep down there is a great love and sweetness inside her, her true self she had at birth, but schizophrenia devours it every day.”

“I think about what people say about the dead, how they’re always with us. But what exactly do they mean? Do they mean that they turn into ghosts, that their souls become part of our body? Or do they mean the rustle of a blue jay’s blue-gray wings in winter? How the sound makes you turn so quick and hold your breath?”

And, from her mother’s writing contained within the book:

“Presently I draw only when I feel very acutely my muteness.”


Next up is Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor, which y’all might’ve remembered peeping from January 2nd. Be back soon!

An abbreviated survival guide to gloomy, rainy days

stay in bed for as long as you can, aka 賴床
have a bath and treat yourself to a new book (doesn’t matter if you’re already in the middle of two more, just live a little and Treat Yo’ Self!)
outwardly express you’re unimpressed when in the presence of company

Happy Friday, kids!

Plant Stand Part 3 of 3!!!

Yesterday the saga came to a conclusion. Here is part one and part two of the snail’s pace progress I made over the last few weeks. I didn’t work on it over the weekend.

Instead Saturday we went to see this show

It actually says Cambodian Rock Band, but, no spoiler, rock BAN is fitting as well. It was a glorious, phenomenal show. Jane Lui, a musician who we were so honored to have perform at our wedding, actually stars in it, which is how we learned about it in the first place.

You can catch Cambodian Rock Band at the Signature Theater in midtown, and Jane’s newest album arrives in April. Her single, Barcelona, is out now.

On Sunday we had a potluck dinner party and our friend took the following pictures

We had some birthday whisky
I made mapo tofu

Funny story, the boy was supposed to make mapo tofu but when I found out he used corn starch to thicken the sauce instead of spicy fermented bean sauce I had to ban him & take over.


So he took up cake duty, but it was a William Sonoma box mix so, you know, IJS…


In addition to cooking all the Indian food on the table, our good friend took this excellent picture too

In the end I think I had too much fun over the weekend so the home improvement gods punished me for my excess.



I was short on supplies again, somehow, after many trips to the hardware store, and this was the final product I was able to come up with

I couldn’t build my stand out the way I had drawn it. The wheels were VERY difficult to screw on, and I snapped a wheel brake into my hand, shattering all good feelings I previously held towards this project.


I found these pet safe friends during my last trudge to the hardware store

Last night, the boy sensed my great and mounting distress over this monstrosity and valiantly stepped in to help me complete the horrible undertaking.


But once the stand was completed, all the plants had to be moved out of the way
Finally we come to our journey’s end, for now

I was supposed to affix fabric to the top right shelf so I can hang my (currently wall mounted) ferns in their new snug as a bug kodekama setups. But of course that hasn’t happened yet.

Oh and don’t worry about Mr. Foxtail over on the left hogging all the light from the southern exposure. He actually belongs outside. I made the mistake of re-potting him in the winter so now I have to keep him inside so he can recover from that insult in friendlier surrounds.

Moral of the story? Plant stands, don’t try it at home, kids.

My morning routine (school day)

Hello! I wanted to share my morning routine with you so you can learn a little more about me and maybe become more productive yourself!


7:05: I wake up and get out of bed
7:05: I take the dog out
7:10: I take a hot shower and change into my outfit (which I pick out the night before)
7:25: I eat a light breakfast and take my vitamins
7:40: I use the restroom and brush my teeth
7:45: I do my skincare routine (cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and spot treatment)
7:55: I put some natural makeup on and maybe do something with my hair
8:15: I fill up my Hydro Flask, unplug my computer, and make sure I paxked everything I need
8:25: I leave for school (Class starts at 8:50)
Thanks for reading! Comment below if you’d like me to share my nighttime routine!

Plant Stand Part 2 of 3!

Remember when I sketched a lot of plant stand configurations trying to optimize my plant storage?

As of today, construction has begun.

Yesterday I went and got myself supplies

It took no joke eons to get someone to cut this 12ft plank down to the lengths I needed.

So before I left I also bought myself a consolation prize

Then I took the rest of the day off.

Even though I don’t have all my materials yet, I went ahead and got started

Pretty soon I made my first mistake

It was actually my second but I didn’t take a picture of my first because I didn’t want to neg myself like that.

But I got back on track

This was all I could do pending the arrival of missing supplies
I used my diagram to keep track of the progress I made

All in all, not bad for two hours of work and hand tools only. Stay tuned for the final update when I finish!

Poetry Ptuesday: Heart of Silk by Federico Garcia Lorca

My heart of silk

is filled with lights,

with lost bells,

with lilies and bees.

I will go very far,

farther than those hills,

farther than the seas,

close to the stars,

To beg Christ the Lord

to give back the soul I had,

of old, when I was a child,

ripened with legends,

with a feathered cap,

and a wooden sword.

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