[Day 696] I lost my hair virginity

I was in Orange County visiting the Vietnamese community and this showed up in my inbox:

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This made me feel a bit rebellious so I wanted to do something different. Kieu, my super cute-and-kind host, recommended a great place for a way overdue haircut and while I was there, I decided to dye my hair. Continue reading “[Day 696] I lost my hair virginity”

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[Day 696] I lost my hair virginity

[Day 691] What PhD students do on the weekend

Breaking news: grad students do have friends.

I was pretty lost at TensorFlow summit last year when I met David, Frederik and a few other grad students at lunch and decided immediately that I’d follow them both on Twitter and in real life. Continue reading “[Day 691] What PhD students do on the weekend”

[Day 691] What PhD students do on the weekend

[Day 683] It must have been love …

.. but it’s over now.

I finished the last exam of my Stanford career today. Halfway through the last exam, I kept checking my watch to see how much longer I had to pretend to care. Looking at the tense, sweaty faces around me, I had that strange out-of-body experience of looking at my past self. “Whatever is happening now, it’s already in the past.” The outcome of this exam wouldn’t affect my future self one tiny bit. It was over. I’d already checked out. Continue reading “[Day 683] It must have been love …”

[Day 683] It must have been love …

[Day 678] My post went viral

I’m not even going to pretend to be modest or less vain. A post that I wrote a few weeks back suddenly went viral. It reached 1.2 million Vietnamese, has been read by 175k people. It’s probably been read by more people since a considerable number of newspapers and magazines in Vietnam reprinted it, both with and without my permission. A couple of publications had the authenticity to copy about 90% of my post, edited the other 10%, and innocuously put someone else down as the author. Oh well. Copyright in Vietnam. What can the farmer do? Continue reading “[Day 678] My post went viral”

[Day 678] My post went viral

[Day 636] Instant karma

Last week, I was being a bad person.

  1. A girl living in my house wasn’t very nice to me and my friend. She wanted to talk later to explain herself, but I just walked out on her mid-conversation. I wasn’t even that mad at her. I didn’t like people who aren’t nice to my friends so I decided to be not nice to her in retaliation.
  2. There’s that one American English teacher in Vietnam whose story has been upsetting me for a long time. First, he made a condescending video showing how his parents react to the way Vietnamese people speaking English to prove that Vietnamese English teachers can’t teach English, together with another video instructing Vietnamese people on how to dine with westerners. Dude, if you make your living in Vietnam, you’d better learn to dine with us, not the other way around. Second, he made a joke about American soldiers bombing and raping Vietnamese daughters – he must have meant it to be satire, but it wasn’t funny. Third, he made another joke, comparing the head of a deceased Vietnamese war hero to a testicle. What upsets me isn’t him — you can find assholes everywhere — but the fact that many Vietnamese people idolize him. A long history of being dominated power has taught us to look up to foreigners, no matter how offensive they are.

Continue reading “[Day 636] Instant karma”

[Day 636] Instant karma

[Day 630] Updates about my upcoming books and projects

I’ve recently had a talk with professor Mykel Kochenderfer about possible career paths for me after graduation. I told him that I want to stay in academia — I love doing research — but I also want to pursue writing seriously. He smiled and said: “Why not both?”

Continue reading “[Day 630] Updates about my upcoming books and projects”

[Day 630] Updates about my upcoming books and projects

[Day 604] New year, old me

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I think I’ve either had a pretty good year, or repeated life misadventures have really lowered my standards. I ended 2017 on a happy note, watching fireworks by the river, eating street food, and screaming at random strangers while Dani was silently judging. I found myself working hard, building stronger relationships with people I care about, and having a lot of fun. Here are some of the things I was happy about in 2017:

Continue reading “[Day 604] New year, old me”

[Day 604] New year, old me