My World Came Undone Today: Tra________ and Far_________ Have Prevailed

Today’s three-separate-cases-combined-into-one hearing destroyed my life. My heart beyond broken and my spirit defeated, I am starting this blog with a numbness worse than any emotional episode and mental challenge I’ve faced in my life, hitherto. I am making NO statements about the Court itself. This is a SUMMARY OF EVENTS AND HOW I FELT AT THAT TIME! THERE IS NO CLAIM HERE OF ANY WRONGDOING. READERS CAN MAKE THEIR OWN JUDGMENTS.

Simple statement about what transpired:

  • For the second hearing in a row for these three combined cases (remember: the Judge had said at last months’ hearing that he’d combined the finance cases with the new restraining order BS application case to save me time from having to go to separate case hearings, which is utter nonsense). I’d already claimed to the Judge in a document submission last week that he did not save me time and, in fact, it wasted my time because the RO focus and antics at the last hearing completely delayed the nonsensical $90,000US finance case.  That $90K case was NOT addressed at all today, either, being postponed now until July 27th. Nor was the vestigial case for property separation (remaining over from my Civil Court case, whose verdict came out last fall) dealt with. Both will now take place on 7/27, with the Judge claiming that will be the verdict outcome.

Some simple dialogue, from hastily scribbled notes:

  • Judge (J), to start the hearing: “Are the children here with the mother again?”
  • Her Lawyer (HL), “Yes, they’re in the Courthouse.”
  • J: “The ex-wife wants that Michael Brown leave the Courtroom when the children are here. Today, you will leave the Courtroom and your interpreter has to leave, too.” (WHICH COMPLETELY, IMMEDIATELY SENT ALARM BELLS INTO FRAZZLED RING MODE, SOUNDING OUT ALARMS TO ANY… INTELLIGENT PERSON!) “Does the father have anything to say?”
  • Michael Brown (MB), “Sir, at the last RO case hearing last month, my interpreter was allowed to stay in the room.  Why not this time?  Can she stay here? I will have no idea what was said to my children, and she’ll be able to tell me.”


  • HL: “The mother has the right to claim that the father needs to leave the room.”
  • MB: “But Judge, why is the mother’s request to bring in the children happening when I wrote you and the Court in the last two weeks to allow me to ask to also bring the children into the Courtroom at the next hearing [today’s 7/3/17 hearing] so that I can ask them a few questions in front of the Judge?
  • MB: “Judge, may I see my kids face-to-face to ask them questions?”
  • J: “Lawyer _______, Do you agree to let the father ask questions to the children?”
  • HL: “The ex-wife has the right to claim that he needs to wait until after she brings the children in and he [and his interpreter] goes outside to wait, but we need to ask her opinion about doing that.  First, she will bring the kids here and he has to leave with his interpreter.”
  • MB: “Sir, can I ask my children questions? I want the Court to see that my children are not afraid of their father. If the children come in and show noticeable fear [I cowered and dramatically said something like “Oh, he’s here, Why?” to mimic how a kid who is truly afraid may act like], you’ll see that. But I would like to ask them questions.” [My request document in the last two weeks stated I’d like to, at the next hearing, ask, “Do you love Daddy? Do you like to spend time with Daddy? Are you afraid of Daddy?”]
  • J: “According to the Taiwan laws about family abuse, she has the right to separate the children and not have you here.”
  • MB, quite shocked and in disbelief: “Sir, why is that even being addressed here?  Why would ‘abuse‘ laws be used to explain this because… if there has never been abuse and she has no proof or evidence of abuse and because abuse is not involved in this case, then why are those laws even being mentioned? They don’t apply! Again, do I have the right to see my children to ask them questions in front of the Judge?  That’s my only question.”
  • J, dismissively: “You need to get a Taiwanese lawyer [he actually mistakenly said “Judge” at first, in English], because you don’t have training as a lawyer. You should NOT be asking me questions. If you were in America, would you be asking the Judge about the laws? Stop asking me questions.”
  • J, to her lawyer, “I want to ask the children if they want the adults in the room or not when they speak. One child is 8. She has the right to speak for herself. Is that okay?”
  • J, to MB: “Do you have any other requests to ask the children?”
  • J: “We will tell you what the children say. Please, all of you leave the room and wait in the waiting room across the hallway.”

[At the moment my interpreter and I were getting up from the defendant’s bench, with the ex’s lawyer leaving across the room to exit out the main door, with us soon to follow, I NOTICED THAT THE BAILIFF OPENED A SIDE-OF-THE-ROOM PANEL DOOR behind us. A LIGHTBULB FLASHED IN MY HEADAhhhhhh, they won’t bring the kids down the hallway now because, the last time they did, last month, I blurted out from the waiting room across the hallway, “Hey, kids!” as the grandfather ushered the children hastily into the Courtroom with a clerk’s assistance. This time, THEY WERE ALREADY WAITING IN THE WINGS TO ENTER, i.e., IT SURELY FELT LIKE IT WAS ALREADY CHORE__________ AND WELL-ORCHE_____________________.]

The next 15-20 minutes in the waiting room were utter torture, with me suffering from cotton mouth, my mind whirling nonstop, pondering incredulously what was being ALLOWED to transpire and that the decision has already been made! My interpreter and I talked about how nobody came back out to let us know that was happening.  I made these statements to my interpreter because I was feeling** assu______ of these things:

  1. That the decision was already made a long time ago, and this is all just being “documented” to show “that processes were followed”.
  2. That my ex-wife could very well still be in the room with the children, behind closed doors, that once the Judge supposedly asked, “What adults do you want in the room”, that the mother could easily say, “Oh, _____, I’ll stay here with you. Mommy’s here.”
  3. That my daughter, aged eight, and ANY GIRL of eight years of age might very well NOT be willing to say, “Oh, sure, I’ll stand in the middle of this courtroom by myself as a transcriptionist hastily types things in front of me and the Judge sits up above the entire room, looking down from his bench at me, while my mommy exits a side chamber.” REALLY? What 2nd grader is just going to go, “Oh, I’ll do great on my own to explain all these things in this big room.”
  4. That maybe, just maybe, the kids entered and didn’t even speak, or that the mother spoke again, and I WILL NEVER KNOW THE TRUTH.
  5. That the mother and her family may have manipulated the kids’ responses beforehand, that all was possibly staged.

[DISCLAIMER: Feeling** that those things may have been happening behind closed doors are NOT accusations, but rather worries and concerns that may or may not be truth nor accusations! That’s simply how I felt. I may have been wrong in my gut instincts. And countless people who are aware of the cases may all be wrong too to worry about such things happening for the wrong reasons! They can decide how they feel!]

Here follow the statements allegedly made by my children while we were waiting for the Judge to call us back in (THESE NOTES WERE WRITTEN DOWN WITH MY HAND SHAKING THE PEN WITHIN MY GRASP, WITH MY BREATH COMING IN BURSTS, WITH TEARS FLOWING LIKE NO OTHER TIME IN 3.5 YEARS OF COURT HAPPENINGS):

[All of these notes were ALREADY typed into the Court logs by the transcriptionist, who is the EXACT same clerk who handled the 2-plus year custody case and Guardian ad Litem documentation, etc., and my interpreter read them from the monitor as I jostled to get them written on scratch paper. My interpreter read the Judge’s question from the transcript shown on the computer monitor in front of us and the children’s alleged replies, but in haste I could not write down all questions, yet the answers imply what was being asked.]


  • Will you be afraid when you see your father? Yes. How often do you meet your father? Every week. How do you feel when you meet your dad? I am very afraid. Why are you afraid? Because sometimes he brings strange women out. He let’s us eat things I don’t like to eat. He scolds us. He doesn’t let me see things when he is on his computer. He randomly hits my brother. How many times does he hit your bother? Many times he hits ______. He hits his hand. How hard does he hit brother? Very hard. Does he hit so hard that brother’s hand bleeds? No. Does he videotape you?  He tells us how to speak. Do you like meeting your father. No, I don’t. Can I not go to Daddy’s house on Monday. 


Do you want your father to be here? No, I don’t like him. Why not? Because he is very mean to me. He hits me. How many times? Four times. Where? At his house. Why? I don’t remember. How? He uses his hand to hit my hand. Does it hurt? It hurts a lot. Do you get wounds or marks? A little bit of wounds but no bleeding. Do you like seeing your father? No. Do you want an increase in the time to see your father or a decrease? I don’t want to meet him completelyDo you like him? No.  Because he gets mad at me. If we ask him what he’s doing on his computer, he gets really angry and scolds us. If you could go to America with him, would you go? No. I don’t like this idea. Has Daddy ever told you he is recording with MP3s or video recording? No, he doesn’t. If there are some years that go by without you seeing your daddy, will you be sad? No. Because I don’t want to see him anymore. What would you think if you don’t ever see your father again? I’d be happy. I don’t like being with him. Does your father bring you with women? A maximum of three women. Why does he bring you with women? Daddy doesn’t explain that. He doesn’t introduce the names of the women. 

[The entire time of listening to the transcript being read aloud, writing frenetically, I couldn’t keep composed. My hand was shaking. I could barely see what I was jotting down through the pools in my eyes.]

After she finished reading it (having reached out to my forearm twice to try to console me), the conversation continued with the Judge. I simultaneously put my pen down, folded up my notepaper, stacked my phone on top of the paper (I’d hoped to share my ex’s recent email exchanges and accusations).




Her lawyer rambled on for another incoherently blurry 8-10 minutes on his owned, flipping through some paperwork on his desk.  I heard him say something about my having called them liars in other cases and this case. At that point, I almost injected, “Because you deserve that label,” but I didn’t. I was 99.9% tuned out, even to my basic understandings of the fast-spoken Chinese that enveloped the room.

Instead, I was enthralled by my recollections of an email from a few weeks ago, from an expat in Kaohsiung who lost custody of his child, who’d written me that he was videotaped sticking his middle finger out while going down the stairs of the same Courthouse, and him giving the bird to the Courthouse air, itself (explained to be such an innocuous expression of frustration) resulted in being detained by the police.  I don’t know more about what transpired with his situation, but I sat, numbly pondering what I truly wanted to say to the lawyer across the room, to everyone present except my interpreter. I simply wanted to express my true opinions.

Earlier in the day (and for the last few weeks), I’d also considered how I could explain Red’s experience in Shawshank Redemption, that for the first, second, and third 10-year spans of going before the parole board, he’d dramatically received the “REJECTION” stamp on his application paperwork, but the forth hearing’s result was quite different.

I, TOO, WANTED TO EXCLAIM, “So you go on and stamp your forms, Sonny, and stop wasting my time.” [here] I even earlier had asked my interpreter, while waiting in the room across the hall, to be prepared to help me explain the scene, with her checking for the Chinese of “parole board” and the movie’s name in Chinese.

My Walter Mitty-ish hopes of making a dramatic statement about Red’s mindset, directly to the Judge, faded after the supposed transcript was read out. I was dumbstruck.

My life changed at that moment.

So as the lawyer spewed forth his notoriously _________ accusations, I wondered what was my next step. Surely, I have NO plans to do what my ex-wife FALSELY alleges. Such thoughts truly focused on crawling into a hole and hibernating for a while, maybe vacationing on a beach in Zihuatanejo, envisioning my children one day walking up to me on a beach, having had hope all along that one day we’d meet again.

The Judge’s queries broke my fogginess:

J: “What do you have to say?”

MB: “I have no further statements.” [I didn’t even know what 99% of the lawyer’s statements were, for, at my request, my interpreter had just sat and listened as I zoned out beside her.]

J: “Ok. Step outside again with your interpreter. The lawyer will now ask questions to the children again after they come back in.”

MB’s thought process: “Oh, I’m sure he will.”

[Another 10 minutes passed as we sat across the hallways, with my interpreter and I sharing a few tears, with me showing her a video, from my phone, of the breakfast I’d enjoyed with Isa and Derek three weeks ago. In the video, the kids were hissing like snakes, laughing, purely absorbed in the moment of fun. To my interpreter, I emphatically explained that my children would say NO SUCH THING and that I know exactly what is being perpe_______d. It’s perfectly plausible!]

The puzzle pieces have fallen into place. The picture is clear.

The bailiff called us back in.

The Judge said my interpreter could read the newest (apparently “new”) additions to the hearing’s transcript, viewable by her on the monitor in front of her, in Chinese text of course. She commenced reading, but I immediately stopped her.

“Don’t bother. It does NOT matter what was said [while were gone]. The outcome is already set.”

J: “What do you have to say, Michael?”

MB: “I have no further statements.”

J: “Blah, blah, blah…”

MB: “Wait, Sir, I do have something to say,” reminding myself to be careful of being too dramatic, “This is all fake. That’s all I want to say.”

The transcriptionist (the custody clerk who’d also seen my tearfully bemoaning the custody Judge’s usage of the FA______ AND FAB___________ report by the _______ back in 2015) stared at me momentarily as if she were Bambi and a Freightliner was barreling down on her on a lonesome Montana highway.

I wondered why she was surprised I’d say such a thing DIRECTLY to the Judge.

Naturally, I wasn’t pussy footing. Would you?

FACT: That’s all I wanted on record of my rebuttal, for I knew NOTHING ELSE MATTERS.

The Judge then rattled off some logistics that there will be a 7/27 hearing for the combined two finance-related cases, asking me if that date was acceptable, not even awaiting for a reply from me, stating that the verdict would come from that final hearing.

All I recall focusing on from those waning moments was that he’d told me at the last hearing that the finance case and RO cases had been combined to save me the time from having to come to different hearings, now with the LAST TWO finance case hearings NOT EVEN BEING ADDRESSED, being postponed. But it dawned on me that I wanted a record of the transcript, having not gotten a copy of any said transcripts in more than a year or even two. Yet for this one, I NEEDED A COPY, for who knows what kind of help I can get with this case hearing–or how I can further pursue an “informational release” about what was stated and done.

The puzzle pieces had to fall into place further, perhaps, before the final chapter of the finance case.

Puzzle pieces…









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A Divorcee’s Dating Deadline

A Divorcee’s Dating Deadline

Depending on your perspective (especially if you’re a divorcee* like myself), you’ll soon be taking a side on this perplexing issue, one that has—within the last 18 months of my own life—become a prominent, yet hotly debatable topic of discussion. Perhaps you’ll completely concur with my sister. On the other hand, you may very well, unhesitatingly, support my stepmother’s reaction to my surprise disclosure about said topic, back when I first re-entered the dating scene in the late fall of 2015, after a two-year hiatus from “life” after my sordid separation and debilitating divorce.

The quandary I face is this:

Should a divorcee immediately broach his or her status of being divorced, while on a first date with someone new (or even before going out), especially before anything possibly transpires romantically, or should such a discussion take place later down the road, at least until after a few getting-to-know-you outings, despite whatever activities happen spontaneously during that span?

Naturally, there is no answer that will appease all, for it is merely one’s point of view that is the sole determinate of what is “wrong” or “right” here, and regardless of your actual response, you’re neither right nor wrong, either. However, every time I’ve broached this topic to someone with eager ears, there is invariably an automated, automatic reply that I should have ______________ (you can fill in the blank with your own answer).

[*Even the label “divorcee”, I’d like to argue, should be thrown away, banned from future use, for with it surely comes a negative connotation. Why can’t I just be single again—and use that status as the preferred nomenclature that currently shapes part of my identity? Indeed, I am single again, just as I was before marriage, excluding those periodic committed relationships I’d entered into over the years, along the varied path of life before eventually tying the knot.]

On that note, perhaps a divorcee shouldn’t even have the chance to decide when to disclose such things.

Perhaps society should mandate how and when ones marital status is exposed. To avoid any confusion or debate, let’s have a divorcee immediately announce to the world that he or she has gone through the rigors of divorce upon signing official paperwork, right there in the courthouse, by getting a tattoo across one’s forehead in bold red. For added emphasis, perhaps such signage should be hyphenated D-I-V-O-R-C-E-D, and underlined—and even italicized, to boot.

Therefore, such tattoos will serve as a warning sign on any first date—or even while making one’s acquaintance at the check out line at the neighborhood grocery, while winking at some studly studious type while checking out books at the local library, or as you sit across from a hottie on the subway, casting googly eyes from over the top edge of your newspaper.

Who am I kidding? Those approaches to meeting someone are utterly old school.

Thus, all dating app profiles should be required to contain a visibly noticeable forehead shot, with no bangs allowed to cover one’s D-mark. If the State Department can mandate that no one wear glasses in passport photos nowadays, social media could surely weed out those who are trying to hide their D-marks under heavy makeup or baseball cap brims.

With that said, why stop there? If society is so cynical about divorcees (yes, I’m starting to feel that way), why not sequester us all and forbid us from using the typically normal means necessary to meet someone new. We could be relegated to the back of the bus or to using our own dating apps, like D’s Anonymous, Doing the D-Thing, or Dinder, where there’s neither potential confusion nor disappointment in store for whomever you might match with.

Maybe, as an alternative to a D-mark, one can wear an inner t-shirt emblazoned with a Superman-esque, neon yellow capital letter “D”, which could be startlingly flashed upon meeting up with someone on that first encounter.

Said divorcee may shout out, “I’M A DIVORCEE!” as he or she reveals his chest insignia dramatically. Optionally, dudes can pound on their chests like a gorilla, even muttering masculine-ly, “Me Divorcee, you Jane.”

A bit of double entendre could be at play, too, for “D” could also stand for diseased, since that’s what it feels like at times.

Or perhaps, if horizontal romance is on the immediate horizon, and the inevitable “D-revelation” hasn’t yet taken place, one should bring condoms, whether male or female, to advertize his or her previous marital history. The packages or wrappers must be stamped with a “D,” circled by a ring of fire, just in case pending partners prefer to be cautioned that they’re somehow going to get burned just because the imminent exchange is with a divorcee.

Fuck it! Forget the packaging or wrappers! Just emblazon the condom itself with a partially flame-enshrouded D insignia! That should stop one from being duped before doing the D-eed!

Of course, the above offerings in how to signify one’s apparent failings and shortcomings well before romance happens are tongue-in-cheek nonsensical options. Yet at the time of writing this, I feel a sense of sarcasm looming in my fingertips. The above suggestions may have merit, for good reason!

Back to the quandry and the reasons for it:

In August of 2015, at a café in my current city, I met a woman, the first time I had the courage to approach someone since my separation back in October of 2013. Even though I was in my 40’s, I chickened out at first, even driving away from the establishment, to then turn around and walk back in, asking for her number in the end.

In fact, it was the first time I’d actually approached anyone since 2005, the year I had met my ex.

My interest piqued, my excitement immeasurable (well, it was certainly measurable, pardon the pun), I then went out for five fun and favorably frisky times with the gal (I have reason to believe that I may have been somehow set up, but that’s another blog waiting in the wings).

On our third date, we walked out of a live music joint together, at closing time, out onto the sidewalk, when she inquired demurely (in Mandarin), “Do you want to go there together to ‘take a rest’?” Simultaneously, as she was pointing across the street to a ten-story hotel, I offered no resistance, nodding my head like a bobble-head doll glued on the dashboard of a Baja 500 rally car).

You see, I’d not been with anyone sexually for two years (and had only been with my ex-wife since the fall of 2005).  To say the least, it was exciting, the long-awaited end of an at-times-excruciatingly-challenging “dry spell”.

Who am I kidding?

The prolonged wait for those two years after separation and divorce was a parched and cracked landscape, like a withered lakebed in the Mojave Desert.

Assertively, she also initiated once we checked in, and that made it all the more stimulating, if you will.

I went with the flow. We went with the flow. Plenty of things went with the flow. Ahem.

Up until the point of consummating the ephemeral acquaintanceship, we’d had beers at an outdoor eatery the first night, for a meal on the second. On neither occasion did our varied conversations bring up my divorce from the year before nor any details about the intense custody battle that I’d been going through. We merely chatted, struggling a bit with two respective foreign languages—for us both, seemingly enjoying the brief times we shared—enough so that physical romance ensued.

Subsequently, the fourth evening also saw a follow up to similar evening pleasures.

Then on the fifth night of our nascent dating life, after a dinner and while on an evening walk in a park, I shared my story with her, explaining that I was divorced and that I have two small kids, not living with me.

Naturally, I had wanted her to know about my past, for it is a part of whom I am now, especially the continuing struggles I had endured to see my children more frequently. Of course, revealing one’s personal path in life and broaching intimate histories takes time, and more dates were needed to explain all, but I at least wanted to get that tidbit of information out of the way on night number five.

My “D-revelation” backfired, however.

The next day she wrote me to say she never wanted to go out again.  Surprisingly, her response killed me.  We’d gotten along… nicely. We’d shared some pleasant times.  I was still the exact same man she seemed to like for the first five days, enough so that she shared intimacy with me.

I didn’t feel used, but I, indeed, felt like I’d been tossed to the roadside like a cigarette butt thrown out a car window at high speed, bouncing and skidding along the pavement, my recently-ignited fire snuffed out by the impact of her decision.

We’d romantically strolled down back alleyways, shared a few laughs, etc., so for her to completely blow me off, a good guy (who is worth getting to know), because I had simply been divorced (and/or had gone through a custody battle), did NOT make sense to me.  Of course it hurt me—because I am MUCH MORE than that seemingly indelible D-I-V-O-R-C-E-D  tattoo I may be forced to bear the burden of for some time to come.

To discredit our five days together because of a newly adorned label she placed on me was, naturally, unexpectedly disappointing.  Feeling like I was the protagonist of a Nathaniel Hawthorne novel, after I had read her text, it was as if I should have been forced to stand in a public square, required to don a shirt emblazoned with a scarlet “D” for all to see.

Damn, where were those D-adorned condoms that night when I desperately needed one? I could have saved myself from the let down earlier in the process. (Or maybe, just maybe, it was all still worth it!)

Logically, when I soon after had shaken the shock off my shoulders, I realized that a divorce is just a divorce, and it is not much different than any other long-term relationship ending. Of course I didn’t deserve a mosquito-repellant-patch-like label, like I had some sort of leprosy, like whatever I had was contagious, but in a day or two, I had, of course, gotten over it.

Her loss.

But the issue has come up again, since that initial incident, repeatedly, sometimes dramatically, sometimes not.

Immediately after being dumped because of “The Big D” announcement (and for whatever other explanations she may have internalized and not revealed), I wrote emails to my sister and stepmother in America about having gone out, finally, and I told them the story of meeting her. Admittedly, even though they are my female relatives, I somewhat gloated about finally having ended the longest arid stretch of my life (sans childhood). Both women were happy to hear I’d gotten out and gotten some.

Zealously and quite adamantly, my stepmother, on the one hand, replied to my D-revelation, incredulously, “Why did you tell her so fast? Why didn’t you just get to know her more, first, so she could merely like you for whom you really are, just a guy named Mike?” Imploringly, she claimed, “You shouldn’t have told her so soon!”

She had a good point.

On the other hand, my sister quickly responded, “Why did you wait so long? You probably should have told her on the first date. If I were her, I would have wanted to know in advance!”

She had a good point.

Neither my sister NOR my stepmother was wrong; neither was right.

Such reactions are simply a matter of perspective.

However, at the time of starting this blog entry, which is exactly what prompted my writing it in the first place, I experienced another slap-in-the-face reality check about when it is “necessary” to tell someone. I met someone else in January of 2017, and the same crap surfaced abruptly and a bit more dramatically.

Having been intrigued by said woman and our online conversations, I eagerly went out with her for a face-to-face outing, a coffee, when she accepted my invite.

While exchanging text messages as I walked across an intersection on the way to the café where she awaited me, she actually revealed she was on her way to me instead since I had been a trifle uncertain about the directions, even with Google Maps laying the path out for me.

On the pedestrian crosswalk, she came up to me and made such an immediate impression that I was smitten faster than an addicted cat takes to a freshly packed dime bag of catnip.

That night, after also chatting in a three-way café conversation with her friend, who just happened to be at the same joint attending some financial advising event, we went for beers at a favorite micro-brew establishment of mine, not so much getting to know each other but rather just joking around openly and shooting the breeze.

Perhaps four hours flew by. Admittedly, I was mesmerized. Attractive, witty, bright, and sarcastic, she hooked me quickly.

After a relationship fails, friends and family often advise that there are ‘plenty of fish in the sea’, but I realized then that I no longer wanted to waste any more hooks.

Our second night saw us heading to another expat hangout for a beer/drink—and then to a Greek joint, where we didn’t stop talking and laughing, unless to nibble a bit of hummus. All seemed right, sitting side by side in a semi-circular booth. Conversation, unguided and unplanned, went with a natural flow. Our guards down, we both simply enjoyed our time together.


In a slight drizzle, we later strolled to the nearest subway station in the city, expressing, mutually, how we’d like to meet up again, yet realizing she was heading south to visit her family for the pending holidays. We talked of getting together and maybe exploring the countryside near her hometown a day or two later since I was on a three-week holiday then.

Standing under the same umbrella, having just giggled and guffawed about whatever topics we had broached that evening, we kissed, ever so slightly. No deep-tongue action transpired. Rather, it was simply a slight caress of the tips of our tongues and the tender touching of our lips.

Shooting stars never came to mind as our lips met at that moment. Instead, I envisioned every celestial body in the Milky Way exploding simultaneously into a gigantic fireball. Even months later, I wish I could re-live that instant.

“Why did you kiss me last night? Did you think I was a slut?”

When I opened my email the next morning to find her accusatory queries, my jaw dropped, smashing into the chair between my thighs, even rattling the floor via the vibrations sent out by the impact.

“Why didn’t you tell me you were divorced?” she continued feverishly.

Truly stunned, I inquired how she’d discovered that I’d once been married. Turns out, she did a Google search of my email address and discovered that I’d once posted a question about air pollution on a website dealing with climate issues here in my adopted country.

Shocked beyond believe that she had accused me of thinking she was somehow loose like that (and partially so that my email revealed such findings), I ensured her that I’d thought no such thing, that we’d both made a mutual decision to partake in that ever-so-brief, spontaneous kiss in the rain.

We’d not dropped doggy style onto the sidewalk or a back alleyway after eating Greek.

One brief kiss. That’s it.

I couldn’t see where she was coming from.

In subsequent email and text exchanges, I explained myself as best I could. Eventually, we met again, and we talked about her expectations and why I’d not come “clean” so quickly.

Think about it, this quandary:

The first night with her friend at a café, followed by beers at bar, there was no perfect time to just blurt out my past relationship woes! We were having a casual, stress-free conversation that involved such topics as learning Mandarin, mango smoothies, and dating apps. Should I have just randomly interjected to commence a tirade about all the problems I’d been dealing with over the last three years?

On day two, all also transpired without a plan. Natural dialogue streamed forward without direction, as first or second dates often do.

Then the drizzle. The laughter. The kiss.

When should I have stopped the natural progression of either evening? Should I have forced it, unnaturally, like a doctor just emerging from the ER, having just lost a patient, to deliver the bad news?

Was my sister right?

Should I have interrupted the specific moment we got close under the umbrella, with an, “Oh, geez, we better not kiss—for I am D-I-V-O-R-C-E-D .” None of those options seem plausible then, even now, but she accused me of thinking she was a slut, and that somehow I was wrong in doing what we did!

Should I have flashed my neon yellow chest insignia dramatically as we stood in the drizzle? Should I have actually gotten the forehead tattoo so none of this had ever taken place?

In the few months since meeting her (we wound up dating from January until March of this year), I’ve been on other single or multiple dates. I’ve met women who are quite compatible, women who are outrageously whacko, and the gamut running between. That’s par for the course in being single again (or am I required to use the term d-i-v-o-r-c-e-d here)? Unhesitatingly, though, I’ve never lied about my past on any date, but I still don’t feel overly obligated to unexpectedly suspend an evening’s conversation to let the cat out of the bag about my failed marriage. It just doesn’t feel right.

This much can be said, however: I’ve ruined a few first dates by sharing too much, too quickly, by revealing that I’ve been living a nightmare for 3.5 years—after someone has asked, “Have you been married?” or “Have you been divorced?” To focus an hour or two on answering the requisite queries about the reasons for my separation, etc., is utterly draining. Why do I want to spend the duration of a first coffee or meal having to explain all related negativities?

As of May, 2017, I have just recently met a woman who was equally able to sweep me off my feet upon first sight (like the kiss-in-the-drizzle gal), or at least within the first twenty minutes of walking together to a café from our meeting point in a public park in broad daylight. However, practically upon receiving our lattes, she asked if I’d been divorced.

I have NO reason to lie—and it surely is best not to (in fact, it isn’t even an option).

Pathetically, though, I got too deep into the topic, even going off tangent in explaining the egregiously unfair court theatrics and the dramatic, associated bullshit. Lo and behold, she went from all smiles and an openly warm persona to being a trifle standoffish later. Since, I’ve tried to get her to see that I’m at least worth another coffee, knowing (or at least feeling in my gut) that she too seemed excited to meet, at first, until my drama-heavy D-revelation.

Undoubtedly, I shot myself in the foot. A subsequent text exchange revealed that she’d thought it was a bit too much information. Crap!

Was my step-mother right?

Maybe I just need to state, henceforth, “Yes, I was once divorced. One day, if you’d like to get to know me first, instead, I’ll be totally willing to share the whole story with you, but for now, can we just chat about life in general—or at least about positive experiences we’ve had in our respective lives?”

Of course, I shouldn’t send a deluge of details one’s way as I open up about divorce, but this may be said: If I’d not shared so much with the latest lady on that first date, we may have made a stronger connection than we did, and by that I’m not stating anything about physical connections. Just being able to chat about every day life and loves, habits and hobbies, etc., would lead to a simple understanding about compatibility. That connection could be later tested by the heavier-baggage details.

Perhaps if she and I had continued with the initial humor and the light-hearted zest that our first conversation contained, we’d have hit it off better. However, if I then didn’t tell her about my D – I – V – O – R – C – E – D status for a few dates, regardless of what transpired, I could then have been potentially accused of hiding something deliberately (which I didn’t and wouldn’t have), and as I’ve seen twice, the results would not be so pleasant.

So when is it best to make such a D-revelation? I’m sure you’ve already filled in the blank, dear reader.

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Revelations from an Aussie Dad

[Disclaimer: This blog, and all entries I’ve made over the last few years, shies away from generalizing that such issues are only happening here in the country I live in, abroad, away from ‘home’.  Even if I’ve stated that international organizations have placed this country’s judicial system relatively high on corruption-in-the-Courts lists, I admit my own country is somewhere mid-ranking on the very same list. Indeed, this type of crap happens all over the world, with certainty. Please don’t dismiss my comments about what those involved in the various phases of the Court dealings have done as a narrow-minded blanket statement about all people living here. Though I am admittedly bitter–and rightly so, and although I have reasons to be cynical and skeptical about the people directly involved in the last 3.5 years of this hellishness (and those behind the scenes), I don’t want readers to feel I have cast all citizens of this country in a negative light, for I have not. Yes, I fully have reason to believe that either racism or corruption, discrimination or bias have been at play here, and I can provide logical explanations and evidence as to why that’s so, but I will never categorize all here as being on board with and inclined to such antics. My apologies in advance if any statements come off as harsh.]


Revelations from an Aussie Dad

[This blog posting was started a few months beforehand, but published in June, 2017.]

If you’ve been prone to reading my periodic posts here these past three and a half years, posts that have primarily focused on the pathetic nature of the ongoing divorce proceedings and custody case battles I’ve endured, you may recall that one of my entries was Crawling out of the Woodwork.  Because I have had expats here get in touch with me through this blog, or via word-of-mouth contacts, or through my GoFundMe campaign, I have readily discovered that I am surely not the only foreigner here who has undergone and/or at times escaped from the hellishness of the wrath of either on-the-warpath local families or vengeful ex-wives who have aimed for the jugular in keeping the children, the money, the whole shebang.

For example, from abroad I’ve received messages about how a former expat has started over back home, in Canada, with a new family and children, after having given up here, having acquiesced because he got nowhere in seeing his children nor gaining legal rights as a custodian. His comments broke my heart–and I simply couldn’t fathom needing to “start over” with a new family to replace the old because he was forced away from his children here.

Additionally, a European man I’d met a few times has also recently thrown in the towel after losing his custody appeal case, a story that brought tears to my eyes, for in his homeland, the Courts would most likely have given joint custody because the system there targets the children’s need for both parents as of utmost importance (unlike here, where even my custody verdict states, “If parents cannot get along nor communicate**, then one party shall receive sole custody”).  [**For 3.5 years, such antics have clearly been perpetrated for that reason, undoubtedly, with that end goal in mind that only one person will get legal rights if the two parties don’t work well together after separation or divorce.]

However, amidst the horror stories of unfairness, injustice, and discrimination, rare stories of hope have periodically popped up, and just yesterday, it happened again.

At a cafe in the capital city, my ears wide open and my mind going a mile a minute, I listened intently to the revelations an Aussie expat made about the six-plus years of his own hell here, which had even trickled over to antics Down Under a number of times during that span.

With the focus on his daughter, his stories about how he’s actually received full custody inspired me, allowing the slightest slimmer of hope that all is not done yet. Will such results be possible in my appeal case?  Or will such outcomes destroy me, my relationship with my two children?

Without a doubt, his ex tried to destroy him, and he has risen from the fire.  Yet, he seems to have doubts, still, about how much more he can endure because even though he has custody of his child, she comes home to lament things the mother and her family have filled her head with.

Knowing that the judge in my now eight-months-old appeal case is currently reviewing the case documents, I am nervously-more-than-eagerly champing at the bit to see how this unfolds for me.  However, for two hours yesterday, I was reminded that just decisions are still possible.

To say that our stories have run parallel is impossible, yet there were countless similarities that came out, with some details being shockingly analogous. Here is a run down of experiences he has braved, been beaten down by at times, with some being eerily equal to what I’ve witnessed; other experiences, more unbelievably tragic; others less so:

  1. To help get through the worst times, he has started an outline for a book he’d like to write about his nightmare, just as I have done, yet he finds it hard to go back and read nowadays because it brings a lot of negativity to his heart, for bad memories come rushing back.  I mentioned how reading old emails, for me, especially the positives about love and from when things were good, while looking for evidence about finances and a whole slew of issues to give the Courts, can likewise bring on a lot of emotional turmoil.  He’s got the title already chosen, as do I for mine.
  2. Sadly, he has also had thoughts of throwing in the towel–even now, but not so much, it seems, for a lack of energy (though he’s been through the ringer), but rather as a way to lessen the probability that his daughter will have to endure more of what she has.  The stories he explained, revealing what the child says to him when she comes back from weekends at the mother’s, immediately haunted me, pulling at heart strings to the point of deep exhalations and the need to fight back tears. With everything from, “Grandma and Uncle said you’re a bad person,” to “Mama said you used to do bad things to her,” such lamentations from the daughter are clearly indicative of the games being played–and the end goal in mind.  As the Aussie bloke described similar divulgements his lil’ one shares, I couldn’t help but highlight my own experiences with my children  stating, “Baba, we come back too late at night to call you because Mama said you’re sleeping,” or, “Grandma said one day is enough at your house,” [though the Court allows the whole weekend, twice a month; incidentally, all has been given to the Court on audio or video recordings].  And one moment of such behind-the-scenes tactics stands out clearly when, two years ago at a park, in front of three other adults, my daughter and son started chanting, “Baba is a liar, Baba is a liar,” after my daughter caught on that I was sharing something to the mom who was present, out of earshot from the kids. From out of the blue, their saying such things knocked me for a loop. That moment crushed me, remaining indelibly imprinted on my memories from the last 3.5 years. Brainwashing blatantly?  Subtle hints?  Whatever they are, it is cruel.
  3. Having apparently made off well financially back in his home country before moving here, he had some money to invest in his two-to-three years of full-fledged efforts to fight for his daughter, so he didn’t work full-time.  Envious I was listening to that facet of his experiences that I cannot relate to, for I’ve had to burn the candle at both ends for the duration, beating myself down doing so.  One thing I could simply concur with was his statement that, “It was a full-time job going through the Courts here.” Well said.
  4. And here, Dear Reader, is the deal breaker, in his favor, something so horribly wrong, that one should applaud the Courts here for their decision. It turns out that after separation, his wife moved back to Australia, leaving him here with his daughter. When his child was a mere three, the mother started writing the Courts and social services warnings that he was molesting their daughter. She made claims from afar that they needed to intervene. Apparently, contact was made, with queries about his behavior, etc. At some point, the wife returned and the allegations continued, enough so that the Courts decided to order a physical exam of the girl, for mother accused him of penetrating their offspring with his fingers, both vaginally and anally. Lo and behold, however, the doctors examinations revealed no foul play, no signs and symptoms whatsoever. His daughter, too, admitted to Court-ordered social services, that, “Mommy told me to say those things.” Combined, that was enough, supposedly, that the Judges awarded FULL CUSTODIAL RIGHTS to the father! Now, even celebrating such a victory does NOT seem even remotely right because it came at the expense of a wee child’s emotional and mental suffering, hardship, challenges. However, kudos must be given to the judicial system for stepping up to the plate for the Aussie dad and his daughter. NO WOMAN DESERVES THE RIGHT TO HAVE DECISION-MAKING POWER OF HER OWN CHILDREN, GIVEN THAT BEHAVIOR (AND NO MAN SHOULD EITHER, IF THE ROLES WERE REVERSED).

His story, tragically arduous, gave me a ray of hope momentarily, as I started this posting back in February of 2017. However, as of June 7, 2017, my situation has dramatically worsened with the latest nonsensical, hurtful, allegations that I’m “planning evil acts”.

Other postings will be made to explain that all, but suffice it to say that my heart goes out to that Aussie’s daughter.  May she live without scars from the ordeal that was forced upon her by a woman that clearly aimed to destroy her husband.  Does a spouses hatred or vengeful attitude outweigh a child’s rights? Never. A lesson to be learned, indeed.






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A Bro Hug, Much Appreciated

3.5 years.  That’s the span of hellishness for which I have endured a bombardment of attacks from a particular “source”, and, admittedly, some blows have landed, knocking the wind out of me with force, sending me, buckled over, into the corner of the ring, ready for my cornerman to throw in the towel.

At times, I’ve felt pummeled by such incessant blows, coming in the form of accusations made in court documents.  Other times, a single jab breaks its way through my guard, having been delivered sarcastically or accusingly via text messaging or by email, at times when I have thought things had calmed down, reminding me that the end is not in sight.

Undoubtedly, I’ve bounced back from all, and in the end, I’ll be fine, surviving as best I can, wherever and however I can.

Yet one aspect of the onslaught that has somewhat consistently maintained an echoing presence in my life for these three-plus years of a nastily overwhelming divorce and custody battle is the attacks that claim such things as, “Your friends have turned on you,” “Your so-called friends now know the truth about you” and have allegedly turned their backs, and in family court documents, the regularly employed, “Nobody likes him.”

In fact, in the last year or so, I’ve made acquaintance with a local artist, exchanged numbers, and on the second outing together, gulped incredulously when she stated, bluntly, sitting down for dinner, “So I heard you had an affair on your ex.” Immediately, I refuted such nonsense, rightly so, explaining that no such thing ever transpired, inquiring glumly into the origin of the ridiculous claim, to which she simply replied, “I have my sources in town.”

False accusation number one.

As for number two, leave it to a British guy whom I once knew from a semi-athletic club here, who came up to me at a cafe one morning, where I was typing away on court documents before heading to work, blurting out, “I heard you are bi-polar.  I am, too, so if you need any help, maybe we can talk about it.”  Near simultaneously, disbelief jumped from my face like a slinky whose bottom band got stuck on a stairwell yet whose top had already started its springy descent. Naturally, I let him know that such accusations are completely false–adding that I’d made similar statements myself over these past few years (no, not about myself).

Number two was in the books. Dismayed and hurt, my doubts about living in this city long-term started to fester.

To top that off, a European bloke, who used to have fairly regular contact with us, approached me recently at another outdoor cafe, starting up a chat about all that life has entailed, which naturally turned to the absurdities of court antics, my playing on an uneven field, etc. At one point, he guffawed when I mentioned the aforementioned episodes of rumor receiving, adding, “Oh, yes, I’ve heard you supposedly have PTSD, too.”

Of course, my replies was swift: Though I was in the service for four years, I never saw that kind of action! Being on a NATO peacekeeping tour, running logistics in the rear, visiting some local schools to help with reconstruction, etc., was not enough to result in PTSD!

What is really going on?  Is life going to encompass being bombarded by such absurd allegations the next umpteen years here?  Are rumors going to be intentionally spread to serve an end purpose?  Is the source going to cease spewing the BS?

The blatant accusations hurt only because people may believe it, yet I imagine it simply boils down to a matter  of living with a non-deserved tarnished image for the duration of time here in this city.  If people don’t like me because of any experience they’ve personally had with me that allows them to make such a judgment, so be it, but to have such falsehoods wrongfully revealed and the potentiality of someone buying it does vex me to some degree.

Anyone who has suffered through a wicked separation and/or a daunting divorce can attest to this fact: Friends will take sides. That’s a given in practically all similarly shitty situations I assume.  Whoever had sided, whoever had remained neutral, and whoever simply didn’t want to be involved, on either’s behalf, had a right to make such choices on their own, but when folks were deceived into believing something other than truth, or when not given all the facts, and their decisions are based on bias, it is frustrating as hell–especially to learn about it in the manner that I have.

Regardless, the unknown is what actually irks me most.  “Have people turned in droves? Do those initially-stated vindictive, hurtful statements from the source have merit, or were they meant to deliberately cause me to cast doubts about myself internally–and perhaps cause me to depart ways?” I started to wonder.

Having periodically experienced my own self-doubts as to whom the source may have implied as having turned on me over these past three-and-a-half years, I’ve mostly stayed away from former haunts, worried that I’d get an earful if the source’s claims were partially true (that some people had turned on me), if they were blindly led to believe the negative hype.

Eerily I can still hear a former female mutual acquaintance rip into me once at a coffee shop three years ago, telling me to not be bitter about things, even though I explained, even with tears starting to form, that I’d not been able to see my kids for months, at that point of a 189-day-long hell. Incredulous I remained about the woman’s reaction because I was suffering big time then, and my pain was abruptly dismissed by the suggestion that I merely stop being bitter about it.

Cumulatively, the aforementioned eye-opening scenarios have had an impact, not to mention some folks who had rejected my requests for letters of support as a father and a good guy, as a teacher, with them citing various reasons.  Indeed, on the other hand, I had received some wonderfully supportive letters, having submitted nearly 50 separate letters to the Court in a packet to show that I’m not the horribly abrasive, anti-social guy I was claimed to be.

Thus, with that background exposed, Dear Readers, to paint a picture of my mindset and the status of my heart (at times) here in this city, in a foreign country far from home, one minuscule-on-the-surface gesture recently stood out as one of the most powerfully supportive moments I’ve witnessed, hitherto.

After dropping my kids one night, after a damn splendid weekend with them, once again, I wandered a bit after getting a bite to eat. On every second and fourth weekend, each month, the hours after I say goodbye to my children for another two to three weeks are never good ones. Loneliness hits me hard.

I go instantly from a daddy role with two children to a man with less of an overall sense of purpose in life, having spent the previous 36-or-so hours protecting them, educating them, entertaining them–and reaping the benefits of fatherhood and the natural bond we share. My main purpose after saying goodbyes, besides my career, is to stay around until the next time I see them. But the presence of love is instantly gone, at least the tangible love of being with them.

Aiming to walk to and in a park a few blocks from the restaurant where I’d been, I was also contemplating going to enjoy one beverage at either of the two establishments in the vicinity. When I reached the corner of an intersection across from the park, I was a bit startled to see a Canadian dude I’d known before, whom I’d not seen in ages. Admittedly, it dawned on me that perhaps he’d have something to say–if the source’s accusations had some truth. I was probably on guard a bit.

When he saw me, he finished packing his helmet in his scooter seat, and walked up, pulling me into a bro hug, patting me on the back enthusiastically, asking how I’d been.

That man wouldn’t know it, and he still didn’t know it after just a few-minute chat, standing face-to-face on the sidewalk, for I surely didn’t say it, but his ephemeral embrace was just what I needed at that moment.

If I had a Bud Light to open, I’d say, “Today, I salute you, Mr Bro Hug Giver!” and then crack a cool one to share.  It was greatly appreciated.

Perhaps one day I’ll buy that beer for him to say thank you. That’s if I can risk going out and being bombarded with more nonsense by others who’ve heard the wrong things.  Or, luckily, hopefully, there’s another supportive friend out there who hasn’t turned his/her back, willing to share just one more hug.




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Awesome Attitudes

This Yahoo posting makes sense.  How I wish…

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An Article That Sheds Light

A childhood friend just sent me this article. What an absolute shame.  If a parent does that, there should be laws and incarceration as a consequence.  Child abuse, indeed.


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Absurdities Continue

The following is the latest ridiculousness of the Custody Appeal Case; such allegations are nonsensical fabrications.  Without any hesitation, the aspects of the allegations which are ridiculous and absurd are marked with a BS.

Custody case related opinions are listed below:

A.The supplement filed by the defendant has contained selfish, twisted, arrogant and inexplicable accusations BS. The explanations below are based on respondent’s written opinions:

  1. The defendant claim that the ten days holiday requested by the respondent was intensionally causing his trouble. The reason is: the defendant could not travel alone according to the respondent’s time schedule BS. There is only himself in the defendant’s mind, he never care about the kids BS and the kids’ caregiver’s plain and need BS.
  2. The defendant claimed that he couldn’t talk to the kids through phone, and even asking for the judge to rule that the respondent must arrange twice calls a week for him and kids. In fact, kids don’t want to or are afraid to get phone call BS from the defendant. Instead of accepting the fact, the defendant blamed it on the respondent. The respondent and her parents feels embarrassed to make the emphasis that it is actually the kids who’s rejecting the calls BS, they are afraid of that the defendant would threaten the kids then BS. On the other hand, they are also afraid of that the judge might give him the permission, they really don’t know what to do BS.
  3. The daughter has been telling her that she’s feeling uncomfortable BS. The defendant were seducing them how to make recording BS and collect evidences every time they met. As what Dr. Kuo has claimed, the facts are different from the recording BS. We can tell that the defendant never cares about the kids’ feeling BS, and he is happy about it BS. And as what the defendant said, he has already edited BS hundreds of video, trying to mislead the judges.
  4. The daughter was crying BS and emphasizing that she has already express her willingness to the aunty who sent from the court. Why does she still have to go to papa, and why does it has to be that long(10 days)? BS

5.The daughter has to meet the defendant on Jan 14, 15 (Sat, Sun), but she has final exam in Jan 16 and she is very nervous. She was crying and begging for not going to papa BS and stay home to prepare her test. After placated by us BS, she finally asked her grandpa to make some of the chinese words into word card for her to review there (at her papa). She also expressed that if she wouldn’t be able to go to third grade if she failed the test BS. The defendant could make up those inexplicable accusations BS toward the respondent and her parents, and criticized Taiwanese educational system BS based on such a easy and normal thinking and expression for a kid. It is truly unreasonable. BS

  1. Some evil and harmful teaching methods BS of the defendant has caused serious trouble for the respondent and the family on teaching kids. As the words from the daughter: BS
  2. Teaching the kids its okay not to wear helmet when driving BS. Causing their son’s head injured by car accident BS.
  3. Teaching the kid that it is scary that the plane will crash BS. Leading to the kids’ insistence on not taking airplane. This has shown the evil intension of not letting the respondent take the kids abroad BS.
  4. Inculcating the kids that their grandparents are mean, don’t listen to them. BS
  5. Teaching the daughter that the eye of shrimp, fish, crab and sort of seafood is creepy, don’t eat. BS
  6. Threatening and seducing the kids to film and record the twisted, false and aggressive speech toward the respondent and her parents. BS
  7. The daughter has mentioned many times that the defendant told the kids to leave quickly BS without paying after the meal when the defendant took them out for food. It is unbelievable. BS (YES, THIS IS ALL UNBELIEVABLE!  BELIEVE ME.  EVERYONE IS INCREDULOUS!)

How do you educate the next generation properly with such an evil and false educational behavior BS? The once-a-week meeting between the kids and the defendant has caused the respondent trouble BS. The respondent therefore holds that the meeting time should be cut down BS, and the additional 10 days/20days during winter/summer break should also be canceled BS. In order not to cause the respondent and the kids trouble BS.


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