I started 2021 in Taiwan after the Taiwan Quarantine experience (10/10 recommend). I have to say, being Taiwanese-American has now superseded my Asian American identity by leaps and bounds. It was great to live COVID free for a few months and not eat outside in the snow. If 2020 felt like a slow slog of despair and death, 2021 felt like a speed reel of contrasting revolving doors I’ve been through in and out of confusedly to reach a state where life is pretty much back to normal for me except I put on a mask when I go to the subway and show a vax pass to go to a crowded nightclub, and I’m not mad at that.
Much sooner than I thought after a few more months of cold wintery purgatory in NYC, my parents were able to get the vaccine. I could finally visit them after over 15 months of worrying about infecting them. A few weeks later, I got my first dose. June in NYC had a palpable euphoria in the air. A taxi driver that picked me up excitedly said, “The city is back!” at one point. Summer was then tamped a bit by the Delta variant but not for long. I actually forgot my masks on many occasions in NYC after we briefly abandoned them, except on the train. And then I ended the year alone on Christmas (again) after getting omicron, but I feel great now and ready to run about the world in 2022.
Not that the pandemic wasn’t exhausting enough, I decided to take two leaps of faith. First, I left my cushy director-level job at GroupM, needed a change after so long. I became an individual contributor again at a start-up doing something differently entirely, exploring new ways of applying a technology and wearing more hats. Second, I enrolled in a joint EMBA program run by UCLA and the National University of Singapore, hoping to make Asia a focus in my career again sometime in the next few years. I’ve been learning a lot, and it’s been very humbling. I’m exhausted but grateful.
Things I’ve enjoyed:
- At Home on the Range — Photographing Asian Americans in the West
- Taiwan: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
- Phantom of the Opera Remixed
- Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss on making The Matrix Awakens with Epic Games
- Rabbit Hole — podcast on recent internet history
- How China Censored Peng Shuai — The New York Times
- For truly ethical AI, its research must be independent from big tech | Timnit Gebru | The Guardian
- Bad News, by Joseph Bernstein
- Web3 is Bullshit
- Tiny Wins
- Dancing Through New York in a Summer of Joy and Grief
- How Slack Upended the Workplace — The Atlantic — “many people are typing”
- Tech’s troubled history with Asian workers — Axios
- Black Vinegar Doesn’t Just Season a Dish–It Transforms It | Bon Appétit
- Your Home Wants to Know: ‘Why Are You Still Here?’
Gives: Transitioning from a corporate career to start-up, business school questions, product management questions, data security and privacy issues
Ask: Expansions on the above, making the most of a business degree, long-term career planning