I decided to do some due diligence and crunch some numbers for the benefit of my readers.

To reiterate, I found it quite frustrating to get any straight answers out of the Aeroplan website. I will, therefore, attempt to answer a few basic questions myself. (Note: I’ve used the term “points” instead of “miles”. In my mind, using miles adds even more confusion.)

How many points do I get for my purchase?

There are many, ways to get points. They are all calculated differently. It’s terribly complicated. I’ll do a basic point calculation on a “standard” airfare purchase. So, here we go. I purchased an Air Canada ticket (Economy) for $926, which resulted in my accumulation of 8800 points. This means one dollar earns 9.5 points, or 10.5 cents per point.

How much are points worth in real dollars? Continue Reading »


I have a problem with Aeroplan. Actually, several problems. My experience with this rewards program is only as a customer, and let me tell you, I’m not a happy camper. How so?

  • Aeroplan seems to make it fairly easy to collect points, but difficult to redeem them. Tangible evidence, I have none, but it’s just a feeling I get when using the Aeroplan website.
  • If there’s no activity in your Aeroplan account for one year, then Poof! all your points disappear. This has happened to many people, and it’s just very customer unfriendly. Perhaps there’s a good reason for this, but no matter, it’s just not very nice. Continue Reading »

When we travel to another part of the world, we tend to notice many little things, and we can’t help but to compare things with “the way it is back home”.

I’d like to share some random weird things I’ve seen in Taiwan. (Weird to me, at least.) Most of them relate to the Taiwan economy, which is an aspect of Taiwanese culture which is easily visible.

  • Stores really want your business. Everywhere you go, store owners actively greet you, invite you to enter the store, and show you their products. Business is very competitive. Even store personnel who are obviously not owners are enthusiastic. They probably get commission. It means that shopping in Taiwan is excellent, but it also means people end up often buying things they don’t really need. How very different than the typical Toronto store staff, with a buy-it-if-you-want-to-but-it-doesn’t-matter-to-me attitude.
  • As part of actively pursuing the customer, it seems that every store has their own points collection system. The idea is that you collect points and redeem them for products. Imagine that, collecting points at the gas station, points at the mall (each mall seems to have its own points system), points everywhere. Coupled with the Taiwanese obsession with being frugal, it means that practically every Taiwanese household is filled with clutter they don’t need. Talk about being buried under materialism!
  • The restaurants located in shopping malls are decent and inexpensive. A far cry from crappy food courts in Toronto malls, including the Chinese malls. Now, this is progress!
  • There seems to be way too many employees paid to do menial tasks like greeting you, pushing buttons on an elevator, cleaning the bathroom. I swear that every time I have gone into a washroom in a mall, there would be a cleaning lady, cleaning away. I mean, how much cleaning is there to do? What a waste of human resources.
  • You can’t get a table for 4. It’s a table for 3 + 1, since the number 4 is bad luck. (In Chinese it is pronounced the same as the word for “death”). There are many such superstitions, which is so weird given the technological progress Taiwan has seen in recent decades. Taiwan is both cutting-edge as well as awkwardly stuck in time.

Taiwan, marvelously weird and wacky!

– I’m going to pursue my dream.

– What is your dream?

– I wish I knew. Sigh, I wish I knew.

I am embarking upon a journey which many, many people make, a journey to find my identity, my life’s purpose, who I am. I remember writing an essay when I was in my last year in high school, entitled “Who am I”. WHO am I? Who AM I? Who am I? The question still haunts me after a dozen years.

It is a life journey which many people are not able to make. For the majority of people in this world, they live to work, and they work to live. They are hungry, busy, and poor. They dream of enough to eat, an end to violence, and safety for their family.

Another group of people choose not to make this life journey. These people, for one reason or another, have stopped dreaming.

I am one of those people who have stopped dreaming. Somewhere along the way, and slowly, imperceptibly, my curiosity was tamed, my poetry silenced, my pen dried, and my ideas squashed. Certainly, everything seems OK on the surface, but profound changes in the soul may not be so easily detected.

Awake, now, my soul and soar above the daily routine! Oh, the sacred privilege of pursuing the unknown dream, the called, in search of the caller and a call.

I recently went to the Toronto Art Show where there were about two hundred artists displaying the fruits of their labours. As I wandered the aisles of fine art, I kept obsessing about the question: “How do you classify art and artists?” I often obsess about putting things — everything! — into neat little categories. I find it helps me to understand the world.

So, here’s what I came up with. Continue Reading »

Welcome, dear reader, to my blog! I have attempted to launch a blog several times before in the past, but somehow, it just never got off the runway. So, here we go again! This is my nth attempt at starting a blog. (n > 3). I pray this time, it’ll take off. Join with me as I write on topics of interest to me, topics on which I hope I can share insight.