Douglas Tsoi, JD, has been a lawyer, schoolteacher, and climate change activist. He is also the founder of PUGS. 



Douglas' Proust Questionnaire

__1.__What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I'm a bit of a Stoic, so perfect happiness has to be some sense of peace and inward centeredness, no matter the circumstances, right? On a more practical level, a perfect day would be getting to play soccer, see the ocean, having deep conversations with wonderful friends, eating Asian food, and napping. 4 of the 5 would be great.

__2.__What is your greatest fear?


__3.__What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

I get impatient with people at times. Not pretty.

__4.__What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Selfishness/entitlement. It may be my Canadian background or my Chinese-American upbringing, but Americans seem really demanding in getting what they want.

__5.__Which living person do you most admire?

Barack Obama handled his 8 years with class and grace. In the old days, people used to have photos of FDR in their living rooms. Mine will be Obama. The civil rights leader John Lewis as well. Courage and integrity.

__6.__What is your greatest extravagance? 

I eat out once a day. I budget for that extravagance.

__7.__What is your current state of mind?


__8.__What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Consistency. Human beings are a myriad of desires, fears, and emotions. AND we change over time. 

__9.__On what occasion do you lie?

Out of fear.

__10.__What do you most dislike about your appearance?

My parents tell me my face is getting fat. They are right.

__11.__Which living person do you most despise?

That's a moving target. 

__12.__What is the quality you most like in a man?

Gentleness and the ability to listen. So attractive.

__13.__What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Curiosity, centeredness, and the desire to help. So very attractive.

__14.__Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

"You can't afford not to buy that." It's a joke I use ironically about consumerism in the U.S., probably too much. 

__15.__What or who is the greatest love of your life?

I've yet to meet her. Cautiously optimistic?

__16.__When and where were you happiest?

Early 20s, right after college. I felt capable of doing anything (ha!) and the world seemed open to me.

__17.__Which talent would you most like to have?

I'd like to be handy. I'm jealous of people who can build a house or fix a car.

__18.__If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I have a heel problem that limits my ability to physical things like hike or play soccer. It's the biggest thing bumming me out right now.

__19.__What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Oooh, now we're getting personal. Scary. Making career choices that felt honest and true.

__20.__If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

There's something very attractive about being a dolphin. I want to spend my life swimming with 12 comrades, eating sushi all day.

__21.__Where would you most like to live?

I've spent 10 years in Portland and I'm pretty rooted here. That said, I would live a year in Japan. Japan is amazing.

__22.__What is your most treasured possession?

Past utilitarian things like my laptop? I don't know. I fall in love with pieces of clothing for 3-4 months and will wear them all the time. Then the season changes and it'll be a different one.

__23.__What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Lack of dignity. It empasses a whole host of sins, both personal and global. Dignity is something we should work for everyone.

__24.__What is your favorite occupation?

I loved being a busboy when I was a teenager. I was in love with the older waitresses.

__25.__What is your most marked characteristic?

When I was a kid, I had fantasy about growing up to be that smart urbane man at cocktail parties who could hold a conversation with anyone about anything. I still have a little of that desire. I want to be interesting and interested.

__26.__What do you most value in your friends?

My friends fulfill different needs and I've learned to delineate that. I have friends with who I talk business, play soccer, feel my feelings, go out to eat, and travel. It gets better when someone crosses categories. But I don't expect that from anyone.

__27.__Who are your favorite writers?

I've read every issue of the New Yorker since 1995. Unbearable Lightness of Being is my favorite novel.

__28.__Who is your hero of fiction?

Ignatius J. Reilly?

__29.__Which historical figure do you most identify with?


__30.__Who are your heroes in real life?

My law school professor Anthony Amsterdam was the civil rights lawyer who argued the Supreme Court case that (briefly) abolished the death penalty in America. Smartest, kindest man I've ever met.

__31.__What are your favorite names?

If I ever had a son, I'd name him Benjamin, after my dad.

__32.__What is it that you most dislike?

Other than the big things, like intolerance and greed? I dislike olives with a passion.

__33.__What is your greatest regret?

When I think about regret, I think about the people I hurt.

__34.__How would you like to die?

Well, I live in Oregon, so I have some pretty good options that are looking pretty good. I want to die at peace and on drugs.

__35.__What is your motto?

"When spring comes, the grass grows by itself."

An interview with Douglas.

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