Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My Advice to the Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohans and Paris Hiltons of the world

Are you addicted to alcohol? Cocaine? Meth? Vicodin? Other drugs? Need to stop? Or don't want to stop?
Do you have a son or daughter or friend who is addicted to alcohol or drugs? Do you have a child you'd like to see stop drinking or doing drugs? Is he or she stubborn like Britney Spears and won't listen to your or others' heeding?

I have two simple words that are guaranteed to stop your son or daughter fast in his or her tracks.

No fancy, expensive rehabilitation center that caters only to the client's whims.

No long, preachy lectures or group therapy where the same stories are told over and over again.

No 12 steps.

No lame mottos such as "Just say no."

Just two simple words:

Your liver.

Have your child check his or her liver. Warn your son or daughter that the liver is the most precious organ in the body and that everything we eat, drink or even smoke is filtered through the liver. In Chinese medicine the liver is called as "the general" because of its vital functions. We each have two kidneys and only one liver. If one of your kidneys fails, you have a spare kidney to take over its place. If your liver fails, where is a spare liver to take its place? You'd have to get on a long list and wait for a period of time to get a liver transplant. This is why the liver is VERY precious, more than you ever realize.

The liver is known for its amazing regenerative powers and its ability to handle stress for a length of time. But if it is repeatedly fed with such toxins as alcohol, drugs and junk food over a long period, it may become weaker and lose its ability to handle stress as well as filter toxins. When it cannot filter toxins, disaster happens. Your system would go awry and your health would decline rapidly. Serious consequences can result, such as severe illness, brain damage, coma or even death.

I know. It happened to me.

Friends, gentlemen and ladies, parents, let me share my experience with you that you may share with your friends or children or loved ones who have alcohol or drug problems:

Exactly one year ago I nearly lost my mind, heart and life. It happened right after the Gallaudet protestors' victory over JKF and IKJ. The mood I was in that day was very euphoric. I was not aware that I had a liver failure in progress. Ironically I'd just previously made a resolution to quit drinking for once and all. Not that I was ever a full-blown alcoholic...on the contrary, normally I'd drink occassionally and in moderation. But sometimes when I was depressed or distressed, I would have drinking bouts. And I was a heavy drinker back in my youth, in my old college days. Now that I look back, I regret those drinking bouts and wished I'd be more careful and wise not to drink too much.

But I made the right decision to quit drinking, just in nick of time. Any further would have been an end of me.

The liver failure I had led to a renal (kidney) failure, which produced an encephalopathic reaction. Encephalopathy (literally means in Greek "in the head") is temporary mental instability. In an encephalopathy one enters an altered state, undergoes personality changes, and experiences psychotic symptoms. Depending on the frame of his or her mind and his or her point of reference, one can see hallucinations of almost anything, from an UFO to a phantom to the devil. I saw things that weren't there. Because I came from a Christian background, I thought the world was coming to an end. I became very paranoid. I know it may seem crazy, but that was what I imagined and it was a very frightening experience for me!

I was literally nuts for a few days. Like Vincent Van Gogh before he cut off his ear. I actually had a meltdown, like those celebrities. It was a nightmare for me.

I wasn't aware I was undergoing a psychotic break until I landed in the hospital and my sanity started to come back. I now understood what schizophrenics experience. I experienced only three days of what mentally-challenged people probably experience daily in their lives. What a hellish time it must be, to live as a schizophrenic.

At the hospital I learned that I had cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver. I am not fully sure if cirrhois was caused by years of my drinking or another serious disease that I have. I am not going into details on this serious disease...even after one year I'm still grappling to come in terms with it. (But I can assure you it definitely isn't AIDS.) Someday when I feel more comfortable, I will tell you more about this. But for now, regardless of whatever the cause, cirrhosis is a very serious disease and it can be deadly. It is said that in its advanced stage, cirrhosis cannot be reversed. When this disease progresses worse, it can lead to a coma or death unless a new liver is transplanted. Liver transplants can be very expensive.

Ever since my last diagnosis I've been treating myself with herbal supplements and vitamins. I've been taking milk thistle (which is said to help reverse cirrhois and heal the liver) for a long time now. I avoided alcohol is now 1 year since I last touched a drop of alcohol. I don't feel tempted at all whenever I am at a party or alcohol is around. I miss the sweet taste of cold beer or warm sake, yeah...but I've had enough anyway, for 20 years. No more. I won't ever again wet my lips with beer or wine or sake. I just saw my doctor last week and had blood tests. I will let you know how my health is after lab results come back.

I hope this scares our young beloved into coming to their senses. I think it's easier for a person in 40s to quit alcohol or drugs than a person in 20s. The person in 20s tends to be stubborn because he or she wants more and MORE of this or that. How can you convince this person to stop? Simply, tell this person about the liver!

You can save more lives this way by spreading the message. I care that our deaf children, the '00s generation, doesn't end up as screwed as many of us in the deaf '60s, '70s and '80s generations. Let's pass this message to future deaf generations. Let's show we care!

Thank you for listening AND caring, y'all

UPDATE 3/30/10: I would like to give Britney Spears credit for the hard work she's done to recover and straighten up her life. I noticed from media reports that she's improved a lot. Hand waves for her! Paris Hilton...she did fairly well and toned down her partying ways. But as you know, Paris will be always Paris. As for Lindsay Lohan...sadly, she hasn't changed much. Want to know something freaky? I NEARLY meeted Paris and Lindsay! Believe it or not...I have this close friend who happens to know Paris and Lindsay. When I was staying over at my friend's place in Los Angeles, she received a page from Paris who wanted to see her. But unfortunately it was a wrong time, when she was just packing and getting ready to move out of her apartment. Another late night after hanging out on the Sunset Strip my friend and I headed back to her apartment. All of a sudden she got a page from Lindsay who invited US to her party. But it was almost 3 A.M. and she was too tired. Besides, there was another reason why she didn't want to go to Lindsay's party. So oh well, there goes my opportunity! It would've been interesting...I might've in a way reached out to Lindsay (but then with her mindset, WHO can reach out to her?). Life almost imitates art, doesn't it?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The ASL Militant's Nightmare

A Halloween Special

Hello, everybody! Gather around the fire, folks...I'm gonna tell you a horror story! Here it is...

ADA in Struggle

Political Cartoon of the Week

This is an old political cartoon that I did for SIGNews back in '04. After seeing discussion on the issue of the ADA Restoration Act in the blogosphere, I thought I'd share this cartoon with you. The struggle is still ongoing. Whaddya think, fellas?

Friday, October 26, 2007

DCS Chair's Vlog Broadcast

DCS Board Chair Leslie Elion just put out a vlog this morning, explaining how DCS came up with the estimate of 1,000 deaf evacuees and further updating the situation on wildfires and evacuation.
She raised a good point why an estimate was necessary in order to help FEMA project their services for meeting the evacuees' needs. This seemingly minor thing may help deaf agencies a great deal in the future in emergency preparations.

Regarding some people's expressed puzzlement over the estimate, I brought this up with an interpreter I was talking with at the DCS booth at Qualcomm Stadium yesterday. She thought the figure of 1,000 was about right because there is a bulk of deaf people living in Chula Vista, southeast of San Diego. There are also more deaf people who live in Poway, Escondido, Julian and the surrounding mountains. Some of those deaf people have families, usually tend to stay at home and don't hang out as some of us San Diego regulars do at Deaf Coffee on Fridays or other places. Some of the deaf evacuees don't go to Qualcomm or other evacuation centers but spend the nights over at their friends or relatives' houses instead.

Despite that the winds calmed down, the fires are still raging in some parts of San Diego County. For a more updated information on the five major fires in San Diego County, see this link.

The deaf evacuees that I met and interviewed with yesterday were fine and in an upbeat mood. One of them told me DCS was very outstanding in its services that it provided. The emergency services people were great to them, this evacuee told me. Jon Savage already posted photos of evacuees at Qualcomm that you can see here.

I pray that the evacuees' houses are intact!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Update at Qualcomm Stadium

I just went to visit the evacuation center at Qualcomm Stadium today. With my press credentials (I'm a staff writer for SIGNews), I was admitted in. When I entered through the gate, DCS' booth was right there in front. I was greeted by an interpreter there and I interviewed two deaf evacuees there. I saw that there were only 6 deaf/HOH evacuees altogether at the stadium. I took some pictures as I walked around the stadium. The number of evacuees at the stadium has dwindled, as many of them are being relocated to Del Mar Fairgrounds and some are allowed to return to their homes. What touched my heart was seeing the drawings of children on the walls. These drawings were expressions of thanks to the firefighters for their hard work. I will share with you two pictures tonight. Look forward to my coming detailed report in the next issue of SIGNews. I'll comment a little more on my experience in my next blog tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

DCS Estimate: 1,000 Deaf/HOH Evacuees

I just visited Deaf Community Services' office, which is open today. After vp'ing my friend, I saw the chairperson of DCS as she walked into the lobby and I greeted her. I asked her a few quick questions about the situation with deaf evacuees. She said that DCS is doing well in its job of providing interpreter services at Qualcomm Stadium and other evacuation areas and that 4 or 5 interpreters were present at the stadium. She estimated that there are about 1,000 deaf and hard of hearing evacuees, some of who are at the stadium and some others who are at other areas. She added that DCS may possibly open a relief fund for those deaf evacuees and will post an announcement soon in due time. When I receive a press release from them, I will post a copy of it here.

Stay tuned for incoming news or announcements.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Firestorm 2007

Where I live, the air outside is now a little misty and smells slightly of smoke. Fortunately my home is in an area far away from the wildfires in the eastern parts of San Diego County. However, there is a small fire raging in Tierrasanta, 10 miles north of my home. My roommate, who is hearing, told me the mayor urged on radio for everyone to stay indoors and be prepared for evacuations. Deaf Community Services, which office is not far from my home, is providing interpreters for deaf evacuees in need of help.

For a more detailed report on the wildfires from the perspective of a longtime San Diego resident, go to this link:

Hope all the folks are allright! I will keep you updated.

UPDATE 10/24/07: My area was not affected at all by the fires. I walked outside and saw people were doing their normal businesses. Only one or two I saw wore masks. The air quality is improving, less hazy than yesterday. All schools will remain closed this week, however. A friend of mine informed me that she was told by her company to go to work on Monday. Then the order was reversed and she and her co-employees were sent home in the afternoon. She worked from home during the day yesterday.

I saw reports on TV that about 500,000 lives were affected by the wildfires, especially most of those living in the northern and eastern parts of San Diego County.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Racism at MSSD


As a MSSD alumni, I am shocked and appalled at the racially-charged incident that occured recently at my old high school. I read Berke's blog that one of the seven students involved in the assault on the black student was black. It seems that the teenagers do not understand the full implications of using hate symbols of the swastika and "KKK."

An article recently published in CNN describes it as a "game." According to the article, Metro Police Chief Cathy Lanier understood it started out as a "friendly horseplay" that got out of control and escalated into an assault.

Gallaudet President Robert Davila is quoted by CNN as saying that the game was "destructive and represented a kind of evil that existed in society."

I agree totally with President Davila. Sadly, this incident demonstrates ignorance on part of the students involved in the incident. It also shows that not much changed at MSSD after thirty years.

I am reminded of my time at MSSD in the late '70s to the early '80s, when I have encountered a few students who were racially biased. MSSD back then had a high percentage of Hispanics and blacks (as it still does today, I think). I am part white and part Latino myself, but often I was confused for Italian. So one or two white students, thinking I was white, would whisper to me a snide comment about Hispanics or blacks. I was immediately put off and would inform the white student of my true ethnic identity, and he would blush and apologize. This has often happened to me beyond high school.

There was once a gang at MSSD, all white, who at first dubbed themselves "KKK." They'd wear jean cutoff jackets and bandanas on their heads and strut around, acting like they thought they were cool. But none of them were really racist. I'd seen the gang leader hang out and joke with black students, as if it was no big thing. When I asked him why he'd call his gang "KKK", he explained it was for shock value. He wanted his gang to look "bad" and intimidate students. Later his gang changed their name to "Bragg." Those of you who went to MSSD with me may be familiar with this gang. The gang wasn't violent, however; it was known for playing pranks and harassing certain students.

Admiral Thad Allen (in response to the noose incident) said that "this type of racist conduct, like other forms of discrimination, runs counter to" the Coast Guard's core values and should not be tolerated. Likewise, the type of racist conduct at MSSD, regardless whether it was horseplay or not, whatever racial background of those individuals involved, runs counter to MSSD's core values and should not be tolerated.

The way MSSD authorities handled this must be commended. However, the issue remains educating deaf teens on the subject of prejudice and bias.

MSSD is a school. MSSD is supposed to be a for democracy, tolerance, unity, and education. To preserve their pride and honor, MSSD students must kick out bigotry, discrimination, prejudice, hatred and bias!

MSSD is #1! Keep up the Eagle spirit!

Update 10/8/07: I am back from a weekend trip. Recently an anguished mom of the MSSD perpetrator wrote a blog that shed light on the situation. I sympathize with this mother because I happen to know a few students back in my old days who were, too, developmentally disabled. As I pointed out in my story of the gang that labelled themselves "KKK" for shock value, there were students who lacked the knowledge nor understanding of hate symbols they utilized in their fantasy entactments.

I read with interest Brenda Zimmerman's comment on Mishka Zena's blog "CNN: Not A Racial Attack, But a War Game Gone Too Far." She described a pretty accurate picture of what it was like at MSSD back in the late '70s to early '80s. I reiterate, however, there were indeed a few students who were prejudiced. I remember one or two students who made anti-Semitic remarks in my presence.

I agree with Carl Schroeder's comment that dormitory staff should be responsible. However, I think more could be done to educate MSSD students on U.S. history, why such hate symbols as the swastika and KKK are anti-American and what our core American values are. This way students would develop more respect and tolerance for each other. Maybe this is a project MSSD's social studies department could consider? I remember MSSD has done projects like this in the past to raise students' awareness on several pivotal issues such as respect for the other's property or right to religious belief.

Now, see my responses to the posters here.