Thursday, March 19, 2009

Unwed Mothers

I was shocked to learn from reading the Startribune newspaper today, the birth rate in 2007 was higher than the baby boomers era (1950s). . A big portion of those the births were contributed from the lowest number of abortions in decades because unmarried mothers have been more socially acceptable, Palin's daughter for example. 40% of the births in 2007 were from unmarried mothers. I don't mean to judge them, my point is let's face it, we have a crisis. Looking forward, what can we do as parents to stop this trend ? I have 3 girls and I don't want them to be unmarried mothers one day either. I have a strong reason to be concerned.

Often times people could easily blame on parents for their children misbehavior or misconduct. On the other hand, often times parents get too much credit for the success of their children. There is only so much parents can do and we cross our fingers and pray for the future of our children. Having said that I think there is a fine line between being perceived as good parents and seeking the best interest for our children.

Every parent loves to brag about their children. The question is on the motive. Do we raise our children so that we can claim credits when brag about our children ? It is whether the focus is on our children or on ourselves (parents). For example, parents could spoil their children with luxuries with the purpose of they don't have to deal with their children, and others may see them as great parents by providing so much for their children. In this case it's about self interest instead of the best interest of the children.

Now going back to the article in the newspaper, an unmarried mother said the option of getting married is not possible while she still keeps her relationship with two men who father her children. Some of them simply do not want to deal with relationship, some for career reason, and some for financial reason (tax, welfare) for examples. If those are the reasons, I would think it's a selfish reason (not the best interest of their children). And yes I admit there are many single moms who do not have a choice. But for those who have an inexcusable choice, consider it wisely. A study shows children grew up with single moms are twice less likely religious. 80% of inmates grew up with single moms. I hope at least the numbers speak for themselves.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Recession is Up Close and Personal

For awhile I thought the US economic recession would not impact my job, early this year I was proven wrong. It was a domino effect from the parent company, Sanken Electric (Japan), and the sister company, Allegro Microsystems (Boston). As semiconductor wafer orders are diminishing thus the revenue. That leaves the company with no other feasible choice but to cut cost.

About 50% of the company's expenses are on payroll. After trimming non payroll expenses, this morning a distressful meeting was called. All contractors and temps were laid off. All full-timers will be asked to take 4 weeks off unpaid, essentially 4 weeks lay-off. On top of that the 401K matching will be temporarily removed. All managers will get additional 5% paycut. They amount to 10% paycut to non-managerial positions and 15% for managers.

The good news is I will not get laid-off. I just have to be content with my income after the paycut. After taking into account how much money I am going to get from the unemployment benefit, I will get just about as much as the first half of last year income before I got a raise. Not to mention I am going to get an extra 4 weeks off. It's still a reasonable trade-off and I need to look at the bright side.

I'll pray for everyone out there who is impacted by the economic crisis. Personally I knew people who lost their jobs and those who may lose their house. From time to time I have to remind myself not to be too attached to this world, I recognize it is a sin. It can be a big burden to carry around. Living in America makes it particularly difficult to detach myself from so much "stuff" around me. It's not just belongings but also people, including family, that becomes part of personal pride. I need your prayer as well.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Our youngest stinker: "I still live with my parents"

I begin to think she will never leave the house :) :)

Good: tax deduction.
Bad: saving deduction.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chinese New Year

On Jan 26th we had an awesome family time together to celebrate Chinese New Year. Here is a link to Wikipedia: .

I grew up having the same family meal every Chinese New Year. Unlike American fondue, broth is used to boil food such as meat, vegetable, and noodle. It is a slow process of eating and allowing people to spend time together. I always believe happy family starts in the kitchen.

Back when I was growing up in Indonesia, my school had unofficial two days holiday. Usually most of us took four days off and got into trouble. It was not so bad when it involved 80-90% of students. We spent four days visiting relatives and friends, the best thing was food. It wasn't until late 1990's the government finally declared it as a national holiday. I left the country in 1988 (I can't believe I have spent more than half of my life out of the country).