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Monday, May 29, 2017

Kindle eBook: Belief

I am very pleased to share that my first eBook ( a short story of about 20 pages) is now live on Amazon. You don't need to own a tablet or a Kindle device, you can view it using the Kindle app for Android, Mac or Windows.

Though self-publication is the most convenient way to offer your work to others, there are certain limitations to it. The cover page, the content layout, and the formatting have all been done by yours truly over a weekend. There is a possibility that you might find some errors because the automated conversion from PDF to Kindle supported DRM format via Kindle Direct Publishing(KDP) is usually fraught with issues. I invite you to share them with me at I will try my best to fix those.

It would help if you can leave a review on both Amazon and Goodreads, even if it is just a few words. If you like the short story, please share it with your friends.

eBook links:

Cover page

PDF preview of first page

'Belief' is now #15 in Kindle Short Reads in the US.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Identity and passion

All my life, I have wanted to become a writer. But I have realized that the world is full of dilettantes who keep wishing to become something without making any serious efforts. I hate a weak will. I hate it when people say-'Wish I could do that!' and then do nothing about it. If my friends confide in me their personal goals, I will often push them towards it and remind them of their commitment. I care about their dreams as much as I care about them.

One of my favorite teachers told me that my strong suit was my determination. When I look back, I feel that I made leaps of faith with a bullishness bordering on stupidity.

My mantra of life was: Always seek a higher datum plane of existence. Evolve your identity by giving yourself opportunities to pursue your passion.  And that requires discipline, dedication, and the willingness to make some uncomfortable decisions.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The business of beauty: playing on our insecurities

I have found that people who try to make you insecure have an ulterior motive. Normal people don't go around putting down others. For example, my regular aesthetician says that I don't have any blackheads and we forego the painful procedure upon my request because it doesn't make much of a difference. Some days ago, my Vietnamese hairdresser was trying to convince that I need a special facial package to remove my blackheads. I had to say firmly,'No thanks. I have a regular aesthetician who takes care of me.'

Another day, a saleswoman of a luxury cosmetics and skin care brand said that I have to use an undereye cream because I am getting dark circles. I do get circles easily if I stay up late at night. Not my strong forte. I am a morning person now. But the primary reason was that I used a certain liquid liner with high-density pigment which gave a sharp line but was difficult to clean up even after using makeup remover wipes, cleansing milk, and face wash; leaving the sensitive eye area darker after each application. So I starting sporting a nude eye look instead. It goes well in Summer and I am out with the shades during daytime anyways.

So this brings me back to the topic again. Why do people try to play on your insecurities? What do they want to sell to you? What is it that they want to hide about yourselves that they distract you with your flaws? And to feel better about ourselves, we hide behind contoured cheeks. And then they comment' OMG! Why do you put so much makeup?'

I have realized that you can never make some people happy. They will always find something to complain about. And it has absolutely nothing to do with you. It is just their perspective. A friendly advice is quite different from a mocking tone. We are grown up enough to understand the difference.

We should avoid people who try to make us feel inferior. Our time can be spent well elsewhere. Maybe cooking something for our friends, or just talking to someone over the phone whom we really connect with. Sometimes, just doodling or reading a book. At least, we will learn something new.

We are often too polite to ask people to back off. But this builds resentment. I don't want you to be a snowflake who feels slighted by others too easily. It is just about managing your energy better and focusing on what really matters.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Spotlight: Lloyd Lacuesta

I was very inspired to hear the story of our MC last night. Lloyd Lacuesta was a long time South Bay Bureau Chief for KTVU Channel 2. He was awarded six Emmy awards and many other accolades during his broadcasting career which spanned 43 years. Some of his major stories included the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, the Oakland hills firestorm 1991, and the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado in 1999. Lloyd was the founder and the first elected national president of Asian American Journalist Association(AAJA).

He joked that Mexicans and Phillipinos shared the same colonial masters. Hence, similar surnames.

His father was a labor on a pineapple farm in Hawaii who had migrated from the Philippines. As a journalist, when Lloyd waited on the White House lawn to shout questions at the President, he thought to himself -not bad for a laborer's son!

His wife, Mona Lisa Yuchengco, is a filmmaker. Her father, Alfonso Yuchengco, was an Ambassador to China, Japan, and the United Nations and a prominent businessman in the Philippines who established a generous grant at the University of San Francisco to create the Maria Elena G. Yuchengco Philippine Studies Program.