May 1st, 2005


the nonce prize

    Is Min Zhu, founder and CTO of WebEx, a self-dealing child rapist?
    In the summer of 1988, Min Zhu threatened to kill his fourteen year old daughter Erin Zhu, unless she gave in to his sexual advances. Min continued to rape Erin every night until the school year began. He did not want his sexual needs to interfere with his daughter’s studies. The thoughtful patriarch henceforth confined his child abuse to frequent beatings.
    Erin Zhu has been telling this story since 1988 to friends and strangers, physicians and programmers, lawyers and policemen. Her serial rape accusations against her father are convincing. The evidence that supports them is compelling. Around the end of 1991, Erin publicized her story on the Usenet newsgroup alt.sexual.abuse.recovery. It remains accessible via Google search. A record of her subsequent complaints can be found in Santa Clara Superior Court case number CV809286, filed by Michael Zeleny in December of 2001 against the Zhus and WebEx for breach of contract.
    Erin Zhu formed a business partnership with Michael Zeleny. Their partnership lasted from January of 1995 to January 2000. It performed many jobs commissioned by Min Zhu and his company, WebEx Communications, Inc. In 1999, it entered into an agreement with WebEx. In January of 2000, WebEx reneged on their agreement.
    In January of 2000, Erin Zhu made a claim for childhood sexual abuse against Min Zhu. Shortly thereafter, Min paid his daughter $300,000. According to Erin, Min also promised to give her 500,000 shares of WebEx stock in order to settle her claim. This transfer was meant to be made in secret so as to cheat Erin’s lawyer David Affeld out of his 2.5% contingency fee for representing her rape claim against Min. Affeld had to sue the Zhus for his fees. Last November, they settled his lawsuit.
    In January of 2001, while Erin Zhu was prodding her father to complete his rape payoff, WebEx delivered to her 5,000 shares of its stock. At that time, WebEx owed 5,000 shares of its stock to Zeleny’s company. After Zeleny attempted to communicate with WebEx to recover this asset, he received anonymous death threats in the names of WebEx and Min Zhu. These threats recapitulated the pattern of Min Zhu’s intimidation, as recounted by Erin. The threats ceased as soon as Zeleny sued WebEx and the Zhus.
    On October 25 of 2004, the defendants settled Zeleny’s lawsuit. WebEx is suing Michael Zeleny in connection with his publication of this story, in Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BC324927. To date, WebEx has been ordered to pay Zeleny’s attorney’s fees twice in a row for bad faith pleadings. It has been sanctioned for filing its lawsuit in an improper venue. It has also been found to have filed frivolous claims against Zeleny and will be sanctioned in an amount to be determined on June 10 of 2005.
    WebEx management is aware of the sexual abuse allegations against Min Zhu and the evidence supporting them. It continues to employ Min Zhu in its senior management. Min Zhu has refused to respond to questions regarding his daughter’s accusations.
    Child rape is a loathsome crime, all the more so when it violates the bond of trust between parent and child. WebEx shareholders continue to entrust their assets to alleged daughter rapist Min Zhu. In his proper setting, the prison lingo identifies a child molester as a nonce. On May Day of 2005 the WebEx Experience at Westin St. Francis in San Francisco shall receive a new slogan: Don’t work for the nonce.
    — Michael —
    7576 Willow Glen Road, L.A., CA 90046 vox:323.876.8234 fax:323.876.8054 cell:323.363.1860
    All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. — Samuel Beckett

abiding or abating

    About seventeen years ago, Michael’s asshole buddy Mischa K. complimented the legs of his friend with bennies, Louise M. It was something said at safe remove, praising the good luck of their have been found in their place, there being nothing else of redeeming value in the immediate vicinity. Thirteen years later, Mischa made the introductions betwixt Rachel W. and Michael, thereby sealing his own doom as her friend with bennies.
    About ten days ago, Tal K. observed that Rachel is, in many ways, a very conventional Chinese woman, as befits one who had left the mainland in her late twenties. As in the aforementioned event, the triteness of his observation failed to mitigate its eye-opening effect. Michael is grateful to Rachel and Alisa for filling in the nauseating details.
    Alisa provides an outside perspective. She would prefer to stay out of Rachel’s relationship with Michael, because she knows enough about it to assume that:
  1. In some very sick and twisted way they both enjoy what both of them are doing.
  2. Neither one of them is planning to make any changes.
  3. They are a perfect match because they both like to be victims while holding a lot of power over the other person.
As far as Rachel being “torn” about whether or not she wants to be with Michael, Alisa thinks it’s a load of crap. Yes, Michael is a very difficult person to be with, yes, he will insult her, demean her, scream, get hysterical, be cold, ignore her, get consumed by abstract thought, be distant, weird and arrogant. And yet, he makes no pretences about who he is, and Alisa sincerely thinks that many of those rather unappealing traits are correctable. (Michael doesn’t think so.) Rachel knows what she’s getting when she’s with him, all the bad stuff comes with him being kind, gentle, funny, loving, generous, unusual, deep, and all the other good stuff. Alisa thinks that this “not being to make a decision” is a mean game to keep Michael at bay, while making him feel bad about himself. Rachel knows exactly what she’s getting with Michael, and if she does love him, as she says she does, being “responsible” means not just making a life for herself, but being responsible for the well being of the people she loves, and if she is a good person, as she says she is, then she should not want to make Michael feel bad about himself, as this “monumental indecision” does. Nor should Rachel be saying what he should or should not “learn” because he is as responsible now as he’ll ever be, and she is free to accept it or reject it, emotional tribulations aside. Now clearly Michael derives some sick pleasure out of being put into such a position, and uses it as an excuse to treat Rachel very badly. So Alisa will in no way discourage either of them from continuing what they are doing, but she thinks it’s utterly self indulgent for both of them to act the way they do towards each other, and in the end they will both end up with nothing. Rachel thinks too much. All this contemplation on “fairness”, “responsibility”, “making the right decision”, and so on, is just an escape out of real life, and is utterly irresponsible, while easily understandable and excusable, short term. If Rachel’s heart is true, making the right decision is very easy, whether it’s for a “long productive life” or a brief moment of honesty.
    Meanwhile, Rachel is of two hands. In one hand, Michael is like real family to her. In the other hand, she doesn’t think they can be wife and husband.
    She came to USA, like most Chinese, to pursue success. She admits that the definition of success has been changing along the time. She has been striving to be accepted and be respected by the society here. She is from a very different culture. She has no relative here. Her Chinese friends had long gone to different directions in life. Her ever-changing life has made her attached little relationship with school-mates and co-workers. So, she has a strong need to either blend in the American society or go back to China. Being accepted and respected by the society, and having a peaceful environment to prepare myself are the basic conditions for her to establish and then succeed in the United States. It is not an easy thing. She has found it especially difficult to achieve them while trying to share a life with Michael. Although Michael hase great knowledge on so many fields, including classic western theories and American popular culture, he has very different ideas and style of life than hers.
    Like we all know, Michael is a great person, warm, deep, tough and pure. Rachel knows that she will kick herself someday for letting their relationship go. But she thinks it is for the best to do so now. She sincerely wishes all the best for Michael. If he ever needs a friend, she will be there for him.
The Kid: Santa!
Willie: Yeah.
The Kid: You’re bringing my present early?
Willie: No.
The Kid: But I never told you what I wanted.
Willie: I said I didn’t bring it, dipshit.
The Kid: Okay, good. I want a stuffed elephant. A pink one.
Willie: Well, wish in one hand, shit in the other one, see which one fills up first.
The Kid: Okay.
Bad Santa
Between all her hemming and hawing, Michael discerns a request for a counteroffer in Rachel’s kissoff missive. When they last met, Rachel asked Michael whether he would like to move to a small town together. Michael liked the idea. Life in the big city has been trying. Everywhere he goes, he is reminded of his father’s suffering. His home is a refuge that can be easily replicated elsewhere at a fraction of the cost. He has enough money to set himself up in perpetuity amidst displaced city dwellers in Marfa, Texas. But there is something desperately strained about Rachel’s pitch. Her tortuous attraction to Michael bespeaks her incapacity to blend in. She cannot exude common airs by a fiat. As for going back to China, she would not be the first to discover herself unable to go back home again, let alone to do so with her tail tucked between her legs.
In a nutshell, Rachel’s inner need to serve conventions is frustrated at every turn by her deviant desires.
    Michael is no stranger to deviance. He knows how to enjoy it in its proper place. The main obstacle is elsewhere. Rachel is unfit to lead and unwilling to follow. Her life plans add up to nothing productive. She falls back on expecting to be bailed out by a conventional man, knowing full well her inability to play the part of a conventional mate. He offer of friendship rings hollow. Michael has plenty of wishing on hand. He needs no more of that. Friends do things for each other. Rachel is unclear on her capacity for doing. Her most cherished asset at the moment is an easy job she can do without thinking. If that makes her happy, so be it.