Thursday, January 30, 2020

Out & About with #RandomThoughts

Election season is yet again upon us.   It is great to be witness to Democracy in Action.    This is especially poignant for me personally as Measure H & Measure I will be before the Votes to transform our Schools throughout Capistrano Unified.     

What led to Measure H and Measure I began two years ago when I made a decision to apply to serve on the Finance and Facilities Advisory Committee and the Board took the risk to appoint me to the Committee.   I have had the privilege to serve as its’ Vice Chair during deliberations.    It was quite a journey as I was witness to selfless souls who truly lived up to Victor Hugo’s admonition to make sure one always looked to the future because if the almighty wanted humans to go back to the past, human heads would have had an eye behind them.    History, though, is an important lesson to understand what happened—and our Committee went through an exhaustive deliberative process to make sure to understand what happened, get a true realistic sense of the true realities and come up with a realistic road-map.     I have also been gratified throughout my walkabouts in the Community as I have seen transformations throughout the Community.  The advent of Solar Power throughout our High Schools and a vision of the Future as I saw what can be possible with Esencia School in Rancho Mission Viejo.   I first raised the idea of going Solar when I had the pleasure to serve on the PTSA Legislative Committee about 6 years ago and it is just simply great to be witness to Community Commitment of Climate Change.     
One of the most important aspects of our Committee’s work over the past two years was its’ independence.   I was so proud to see the vibrancy of the debate and how we challenged the Staff at every turn.   Although we were appointed by the Board, we did not take direction from the Board and took our charter seriously.   I commend the Board for adopting both measures for the Voters unanimously because the idea of creating a safe and amenable environment for our Children should not be up for debate.    It reminded me of all the times I used to be at the Aliso Niguel High School GYM serving as a Volunteer Proctor for the AP Exams as the kids took the exams as the deafening sound of the Fans tried to keep things reasonably amenable.   The idea of having something like an Air Conditioning System should not be up for debate.    The idea of fixing leaking roofs at San Clemente High should not be up for debate.  I remembered a conversation I had with an Aliso Niguel Student who was jealous after we finished a meeting at JSerra and I told him to have faith and stay strong—and this Wolverine is now in his first year at UC Berkeley studying Engineering.     For me, this journey has been about him and the thousands of other kids who look to us to make sure we create a future they can be proud of.
In spite of all the challenges, the District continues to do wonders with our kids.     However, some of the discourse I have seen seems to question it all—as some have questioned salaries and benefits to Teachers and Staff and notions of mismanagement.     As I have seen the debate on salaries, I ran across a thought from the Prime Minister of Malaysia when he was severely criticized when he decided to increase teacher Salaries 10-fold.  His response was quite interesting as he noted that he was making a long-term investment in the long-term welfare of Malaysia’s Children.     Look at what Malaysia is today.    I have also seen push back by many over the years about the pay package given to top District Staff.   I would not want their job even if they paid me twice the salary—especially as I have been one in my capacity on the Committee as I have given District Staff a lot of grief over concerns over the past two years.  
Debate is always healthy in a Democracy—as long as we remember to disagree without being disagreeable.   For me, it has been to live up to an admonition from the great Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez as he noted that all of us have an obligation in our own way to make sure that we create a World better than we found it—and if even if one person took a breath a bit easier because of our efforts, it would mean success.     It is on us as the Community goes to the polls on March 3rd.

I remain hopeful and optimistic in spite of the all the challenges. 

Onward to the new month with all its' possibilities!!!

Monday, January 27, 2020


Tehran, Iran (01/26/2020) 
It has been quite a challenging week, yet again--Public Health Pandemic in China, Floods in Iran, deaths in Iraq and the broader Middle East.     I captured a scene from Tehran which I decided to headline my weekly #RandomThoughts with to think about the beauty of it all in spite of all the challenges as it was not easy to be witness to it all.   I helped with a Notation for the Daily Outsider which will be available tomorrow in the Perspectives Platform.


In Spite of all the tragedy of the past week, I decided to begin the week on a bit of a high note as I was witness to the celebrations of TET at Mile Square Park--The vibrancy of the Vietnamese Community was especially fabulous to be witness to it.   I produced a Visual Essay  of a day in the Community to sustain a sense of hope and optimism: 

Onward to the New Week....

Monday, January 20, 2020

Out & About re #RandomThoughts On this #MLKDay2020

It is #MLKDay2020.  As I have been on a weekend of reflection and engagement, I decided to headline it with this I captured from Dr. King about not being afraid.    I also wanted to share some #RandomThoughts about grace, class and dignity (exemplified by what Justin Trudeau and Canada has done remembering the fallen angels of Ukraine Flight P572): 

I was heartbroken when I saw this from the Son of Narges Mohammadi speaking up for the plight of his Mother who was assaulted in Prison in Iran: 

As I was thinking about the plight of the prisoners and all Iranians, I caught this as a Mother reported to Prison for a year --and all her crime was to seek Justice for Her Son: 

I took comfort in this about righteousness, though: 

As I reflect upon this thought, I close out with this thought:

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Out & About with Brief #RandomThoughts

I decided to "break the ice" for the year as I began the year featuring the Retrospective on my Life I produced in close collaboration with StoryCorp.    It was important as this week will be 90 days since My Aunt Mahroo Left Us.

As I have hit the ground running for the year, I decided to share this Visual Essay I produced of my Year-End Travels in 2019 --and how I was in awe as to what I saw both in National Harbor and in Washington.    Please enjoy these scenes as I look forward to being supportive of the Daily Outsider and the challenging times we're faced with. 

Friday, January 10, 2020

"Who Am I?" Mike Pouraryan

I wanted to break the ice for the new year by featuring this I produced as part of the story “project last year kind of introduce myself to the world be proud of where I’ve been with Nghiem for a future of profound possibilities this is as or the last number of days and weeks there have been some distressing things about our world -They need to stay upbeat is ever so critical specially as we begin a new decade onward