Fighting AMEX’s Refusal for Credit

AMEX refused to issue a credit for one of their promotions. I refused to take no for an answer.

A while ago, American Express was doing a promotion on their Twitter account to influence people to make purchases at Best Buy with their AMEX credit card. The promotion value was a $25 credit. My sweet, hard-working, college student, brother was saving up his money to purchase a new laptop to replace his ancient one. Naturally, he decided to take up this promotional offer. All he had to do was tweet to the American Express twitter account and link his credit card when making the purchase at Best Buy. A few days later, he received a message from American Express telling him that they cannot honor the promotion because they have exceeded the offer limit. However, this was not mentioned in the promotion rules. I told him to make a phone call to American Express’s customer service whom I believed would graciously give him the promotion offer.

Fighting through Phone Calls to AMEX

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Advice To 31 Year Old Self

About 4 years ago, I wrote my advice to my 27 year old self.  The other day, I was reviewing it to see if there was anything I disagreed with my 27 year old self and concluded with “No.” For fun, and because I recently turned 31, I wrote a piece on to 31 Year Old Self.

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  1. Girl, get real.  You cannot drink as much as you did compared to your early 20s, nor can you stay up too late too many nights in a row. Enjoy the routine life, enjoy getting up early in the morning and going to sleep before midnight or even 11 p.m., or maybe even 10 p.m.
  2. There are assholes in this world. You really don’t need to be kind to them. What you do is take a brick and throw it at them. Ok, fine, be kind to them. Ugh.
  3. You cannot control everything so relax, enjoy every moment, especially the present.
  4. Life is way, way, way too short. Do you know exactly when you are going to die? Do you know exactly when your closed ones are going to die? No.  Continue reading…

Disappointed at Jackie (2016 Film)

Recently, I re-visited my adolescence obsession over the JFK assassination. Maybe it was because in high school, I had written a thesis paper on who I thought had killed President Kennedy. Maybe it was because of my mother’s fond comments of JFK Jr., who at the age of only 3, saluted his deceased father as his casket passed by him. Maybe it was the strong sympathy I felt for the Kennedy family when I learned of their subsequent tragedies: that his brother, “Bobby” Kennedy was later also assassinated, that his son, JFK Jr., and his wife died in a plane crash, and that widow, Jackie, died of cancer at the age of 64. When the movie, Jackie was released, I was reading two books written by Clint Hill, the secret service agent assigned to protect Jackie and the agent who threw himself over President Kennedy and Jackie after the first gunshot was fired. After watching the film, I was incredibly disappointed because of the horrible job it did. It failed to portray the charming, elegant yet strong Jackie; it had a list of historic inaccuracies which didn’t even enhance the movie; and it made a poor decision by not including scenes of emotional significance.

For those of you who want to learn more about Mrs. Kennedy, and I call her Mrs. Kennedy instead of Mrs. Onassis because the stories were when she was JFK’s wife, I encourage you to read Mrs. Kennedy and Me as well as Five Days in November, both written by Agent Clint Hill.

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The movie, Jackie sucked. Jackie, played by Natalie Portman, was not Jackie. She had little charisma, First Lady presence, and strength. This was the First Lady who managed to charm the President of France, President de Gaulle, the leader who was notoriously known for being not so easy-going. Jackie used her fluency in French and her deep knowledge of the country (she had studied there during college) that helped build a positive relationship between President Kennedy and President de Gaulle. She was the woman whom JFK had joked in speeches that he was honored to be accompanying her on trips.

Contrary to the movie, Continue reading…

China’s One Child Policy and JFK’s Death

One decision cost a country its leader’s life. One decision left a country with damages that will take decades to undo.

“It’s unsafe. It’s open space.”

“It’ll be good for publicity.”

“We won’t be able to adequately protect him.”

“We’ll have motorcades. We’ll have patrolmen in the front and back.”

“Someone can still shoot in this open space.”

“The limousine has no top.”

“He and the Governor will be closer to the crowd. Political overtone.”

He was the first Chairman of the Communist Party of China, Chairman Mao. Continue reading…

Safety Tips as a Solo Female Traveler

When I was working at company John Doe, I was in charged of monitoring the voice messages from the tip line. These voicemails ranged from compliments to tips to threats. Whenever there was a threat, the protocol was to transcribe the message and pass it along to a group of executives. I took this responsibility very seriously and transcribed every word of any type of threat. Threats included profanity towards the owner of company John Doe; other threats were “I’m going to kill you, [owner of company John Doe].” I was unable to tell the seriousness of each threat so I reported all of them. Better to be safe than sorry.

One day, I received a phone call. It was the delivery guy from Seamless. After I picked up my lunch from him, the security manager for company John Doe called me. He told me that my emails containing these transcribed threats were helpful then he taught me how to evalute the seriousness of a threat. He said if people call and leave a message with very specific details of what they will do, that is a red flag. An example of a clear threat would be callers providing exactly what they were going to do at a specific time and location.

A few months later, during lunchtime, I received a phone call. The caller was a male who had a very deep voice. It was a wrong number. Moments later, Continue reading…

Being in a Strange Place

This is the beginning of a creative writing assignment I did earlier this year. Enjoy.

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“We’re waiting for the other cars to go down the mountain, one hour break,” the bus driver said.

I turned on the pink, portable fan that was 2 inches in diameter and held it close to my neck. That morning, my wife took the fan out of my suitcase and made me place it in my pants pocket.

I stepped outside. My cellphone vibrated; it was a text message.

Miss you dad.

Another vibration. It was from my boss.

The hotel is reserved under Kelly. Don’t sleep there tonight, too dangerous.

There were four restaurants on the block: all of them were one story tall, with wood chairs outside and plastic covers that served as roof top over the wood tables. A few flies circled around every table that had leftover dishes. There was no visibility of any paper menu. Meal descriptions were written in chalk on the blackboards outside every restaurant. I picked the one closest to me and used a Kleenex tissue to wipe off rice on the wood chair. There was a pile of chili oil, about 1 inch in diameter, on the table and some scallions that made their way off of plates instead of on them. I took off my black suit jacket and felt a sweat spot on my back.

“Cigarette?” a passenger from my bus asked me. He looked between the ages of 30 to 35, 5 feet 7 inches and probably 160 pounds. He had two piercings on the left ear.

He lit the cigarette for me as I took an inhale.

“Ice water,” I told the waitress whose hands looked like they’ve been washing dirty dishes, serving food, cooking food and cleaning up tables.

She let out a laugh.

“What makes you think we have ice?”

“Soda then,” I said.

I pulled out my wallet and placed 3000 Cambodian Riel on the table.    

She went inside the restaurant where the kitchen was, the only area where the rooftop was made of brick. She came out with a glass Coca-Cola bottle and handed it to me. It was hot.

I saw bathroom signs, pointing me towards the bottom of a hill. I took my black suit jacket with me and descended on pebbled pavement. Ants accompanied me along the way, just a few of them, not a group. The closer I got to the room that had the “Men,” sign, the stronger the smell of feces.

I opened the door to a hut; the roof was made of mud and grass. There were two stalls; a 3 feet tall cement wall separated each. One stall was empty; the other stall had three pigs. I had a few options of where to place my jacket: over the cement wall which looked like it had splashes of urine and solid waste, on the pigs themselves, or back on my sweaty back. I chose the third option, stepped inside the stall and unzipped my pants.

I got a cigarette from another passenger and lit it up. I used the smoke to override the scent of feces off of myself. The Coca Cola glass bottle was still on the table. The 3000 Cambodian Riel was gone.  

Incoming vibration.

Kelly has been shot. Come back.

One more vibration.

Honey, missing you, call us when you get to the hotel.