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Biotechnology, information technology, and nanotechnology

HAL 2001 - an odyssey of the nanobiotech kind
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HAL Bioinformatics & Binformatics

HAL Meets the Press
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HAL chairing an international meeting.
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Political Rally for Presidential Hopeful Senator Hillary Clinton
February 1, 2008, Friday
San Jose Convention Center
Downtown San Jose, California

Hal left work early and he was one of the early birds to show up at the huge temporary blue/white "tent" set up specifically for the presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton's political rally. The "tent" was just next to the San Jose Convention center.
(1:42 pm)

Hal arrived 2-3 hours early. Supporters were still coming in to line up, anxiously waiting for the arrival of Hillary Clinton who had an earlier rally in Southern California.
(1:42 pm)

Casual, but it was for an occasion of history-in-the-making.
(1:42 pm)

The sign read, "We Have Come A Long Way. Hillary For President."
(1:44 pm)


Hal was waving other supporters to come into camera view to get a photo together. "This is history in the making. And this is for posterity!"
(2:12 pm)

One of the youngest supporters, too young to vote, and her mom who had moved to California from the east coast.
(2:12 pm)

After more than an hour in the cold, Hal had to visit a restroom at a nearby hotel. Walking past the entrance to the tent on his way back from the hotel. Volunteers and some too young to vote, volunteers nonetheless.
(2:48 pm)

Some supporters are selling Hillary-for-president T-shirts.
(2:48 pm)


Still in the line. This lady was a retiree. She and her husband spoke to Hal about their experiences working for Lockheed. This made the standing in line easier in the cold weather. They were from Morgan Hills.
(3:25 pm)

Hal had to make another visit to the restroom. When he returned, he lost his position in the queue and was sent all the way back to the end of a long, long line which wound around the corner for more than a block. On the way to the end of the line, and this was NOT the end of the line yet.
(3:51 pm)

The line was moving, slowly but steadily.
(4:08 pm)

The line was still moving, but still very far from the entrance.
(4:17 pm)


Supporters were still coming in. Some carrying very interesting signs.
(4:22 pm)

Wait! What does the sign say?
(4:31 pm)

"There are 3 kinds of people: 1) people who make things happen, 2) people who watch things happen, 3) people who say "what happened?" Hillary makes things happen."
The broom is next to a line that reads, "It takes a Clinton to clean up a Bush mess!!", apparently referring to the remark Hillary made in the debate the day before, who scored points and a winning line when asked about why voters should tolerate another Clinton in the White House, having endured two Bush Administrations - the father and son. "It did take a Clinton to clean up after the first Bush and it may take another Clinton to clean up after the second Bush."
(4:31 pm)

Finally Hal got to the security check points. He was among the last few to get into barricades around the speech platform. Others were just admitted, could get into the "tent," but not within the barricades. Apparently, the crowd was larger than expected.
(4:55 pm)


Happy to get through the security, and anxious to get to the speech platform, Hal accidentally took an empty shot.
(4:58 pm)

On the way to the platform was a huge American flag.
(4:59 pm)

Turning back to take a shot of the security check points.
(4:59 pm)

Having walked into the enclosure of the barricades. Hal joined the crowd. "Solutions for America."
(5:03 pm)


Hal holding a sign "Hillary for president."
(5:04 pm)

Just in case the previous shot did not come through, another shot to make sure the moment of history-in-the-making was captured in a digital photo.
(5:04 pm)

The early crowd. Hal could be among those if he had not been to the restroom and lost his position in the queue. He could have been closer, and likely a photo with the presidential hopeful. But he was most happy to be able to get in. No complaint.
(5:07 pm)

A little lower please.
(5:19 pm)


Whoever they were, they were young Hillary supporters.
(5:24 pm)

Hal and a columnist from AsianWeek magazine, Vu-Duc Vuong, after an interview.
(5:44 pm)

Hillary made her way onto the platform to address the crowd.
(6:19 pm)

Here she is.
(6:19 pm)


She touched on healthcare, immigration, national security, and bringing innovation back to America.
(6:20 pm)

The crowd resonated with her remarks.
(6:21 pm)

After the political rally and Hillary's speech, suporters were taking some photos for posterity in this history-in-the-making moment.
(7:03 pm)

A big flat screen, by the roadside, showing what was going on in the tent.
(7:08 pm)



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The interview in a downloadable Word format



Vu-Duc Vuong



- The Voice of Asian Pacific America

February 1, 2008.



A reporter walked up to Dr. Hwa A. Lim (Hal) during the Hillary R. Clinton political rally in San Jose, California, February 1, 2008, Friday.



Q: "I am from AsianWeek. I would like to ask you a few questions."

A: "Sure."


Q: Why Hillary?

A: We need someone who not only can do things, but also do the right things. Bush can do many things, but he did many bad things; McCain can do many things, but he does not necessarily will do the right things; Obama wants to do many right things, but he does not necessarily can do them. In Hillary, she is very smart and has bright ideas, and most importantly she can put these ideas to work.


Q: What are some of her policies that attract you?

A: Her universal health care plan, her education agenda, her promise to bring innovation back to the U.S., create jobs for the country, her care for the middle class, her concerns for the environments and her stand on foreign policy. These are real issues facing us now.


Q: Do you think she will be a good commander-in-chief?

A: Absolutely. Bringing democracy to a country does not mean militarizing the country, nor does it mean attacking the country. The latter itself is self-contradictory - if the U.S. truly believes in democracy, then it should let the country in question make their own choices.

Hillary spells out clearly how to handle those who have crossed the borders, and how to protect our borders.


Q: What do you think of her senate vote for the invasion of Iraq?

A: First, I want to emphasize that I am openly against the Iraq war. Having said that, I would also emphasize that I am willing to accept that vote of hers because she was misled and misinformed. As far as I know, the Bush administration misled the Senate that the war was just "to go in and clean out Iraq of nuclear weapons," but that turned out not to be the case.


Q: That is what she said in the debate yesterday. Did you see the debate?

A: Yes. I am very impressed by both candidates. They not only did not bicker at each other, they each laid out their positions, were very professional and show mutual respect for each other. They both made us Democrats proud. Obama was great, so was Hillary.


Q: At the end of the debate, there was a question about the possibility of the two running on the same Democratic ticket. What do you think?

A: If Hillary wins the Democratic nomination, that may happen; but if Obama wins the Democratic nomination, that is not as likely to happen.


Q: You really think so? Obama is not likely to choose Hillary.

A: Yes. Hillary might choose him but Obama will not choose her.


Q: Is this your first political rally?

A: Embarrassingly, yes. I travel frequently. In the past, I missed the opportunities partly because I was abroad.
In fact, this time I am making sure I vote. The Chinese New Year is on February 7, and Super Tuesday is February 5. In order not to miss out, just in case I will be traveling around the Chinese New Year, I mailed in my vote already. It is a no brainer to guess who I voted for.


Q: What is your profession?

A: I am a board member of several companies, and I go overseas to lecture frequently.


Q: On what?

A: Biotechnology and biotech-related areas primarily, and genetic diseases.


Q: Your Name, please?

A: Hwa A. Lim. Here is my business card.


Q: Why this time?

A: This time it is different. We are seeing history in the making.


Q: I actually took off work early to be here. I was here since 1:30pm. I was the first 20 or so to arrive. Having waited for almost 2 hours, I had to go to the restroom at the adjoining Marriott Hotel. When I returned, the line had started moving and I lost my place in the queue. So I went all the way to the back of the long queue. It was not too bad. I took me an hour longer to get in, but I got to see what I would otherwise not have seen. Throngs and throngs of supporters keep coming, and they all seem very cheerful. I was in the long line long enough to see a lot.


Q: Since when are you registered?

A: 1998.


Q: Did you register just to vote?

A: No. That was when I became a naturalized U.S. citizen.
But I have never voted. I misunderstood that I had to register each time to be able to vote. In the past, I was physically overseas: with Al Gore (2000), I was in Taiwan leading a biotech delegate to meet the president of Taiwan; with John Kerry (2004), I was in Malaysia on a lecture circuit.
This time I actually called up the registrar of voters to enquire about my status. That was when I found out that I had been a registered Democrat and needn't have to register again.
This is a historic moment. I wouldn't want to miss it. And as I said, I mailed in my vote already. It is my first, for this historic moment.


Q: Where were you born originally?

A: Malaysia.


Q: Did you come as an immigrant?

A: No. I was in London to study and then the U.S. for my doctorate.


Q: In what?

A: Biophysics and biotechnology.

...(interrupted by applause and noise)...

Let me let you in into something more personal. I had written the Clintons. They responded. They wrote advance praises for my books.

He lives up to his name as "the people's president," not because they responded to me, but they are quite accessible.


Q: This makes interesting story.

A: Yes. But that is the more personal side. It is not the main reason why I am supporting the Clintons. She is very smart, and he was a "the people's president." We did have a very good eight-year period.


Q: What do you think Hillary's policy toward Asia will be?

A: Hillary is well traveled. She was in different countries and was in China during the Clinton administration. She knows Asia well, and she will likely engage the Asians, rather than being confrontational.


Q: How about with China?

A: She knows that China is an economic power. Currently we have a huge trade deficit against China. She will not exercise containment policy; rather she will exercise engagement policy towards China.

The British way of circumventing the trade imbalance with China of the 1840s using gunboat diplomacy led to the Opium War. It was a containment and control foreign policy. The U.S. approach to the Soviets during the Cold War was a containment policy. In contrast, the Clinton administration policy toward China was an engagement policy. Hillary is smart enough to see that it is time for us to stop seeing China through the lenses of threat and to fully view China as the enormous opportunity that it is. She is smart enough to exercise engagement policy with China, like Bill Clinton.


Q: Thank you, Dr. Lim. May I take a photo of yours?

A: I would like to take one with you as well. May I have a business card of yours?


End of Interview (5:44 pm)

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Dr. Hwa A. Lim, and AsianWeek magazine columnist Vu-Duc Vuong.

Dr. Hwa A. Lim in front of a huge America flag, after the political rally.



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