Thursday, November 30, 2006
這次 ... 就不加標題吧 ...想寫點什麼，卻又不知從何說起。
梅ちゃん at 3:50:00 PM
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
It's not really about expressing your argument for the sake of understanding one another better. At the end of the day, it's about convincing others so that they'd eventually think that you are right and he/she is wrong. 9 out of 10 times it's not a debate or discussion. It's only persuasion.
In some worst cases, it's all about competition.
To win a debate is easy. To pay respect to those who hold different opinions is the real challenge.
How to let the other person hear what you are saying? How to communicate so that it is out of respect and true willingness to hear? How to move on and co-exist with one another peacefully with differences of opinions and viewpoints in place?
That's called diversity right?
Taiwan has become a place of multi-diveristy, politically, cultually, and linguistically. Everytime I ride on MRT I continue to be amazed by how long each announcement takes since all 4 languages - Mandarine, Taiwanese, Hakkanese and English - need to be run through once. So there is diversity in the air, diversity on TV, diversity in political slogans and election apeals, and diversity at heart.
Yet there's no diversity in peace. There's only diveristy in contention and continual misunderstanding.
Borrowing the cliche of the metaphor of a salad bowl ... I'm not really sure if the cucumbers in Taiwan really understand the hearts and minds of the tomatoes or lettuces or olives in the bowl, nor vice versa. At the end of the day, every single vegetable seems to want to claim its own legitimacy and call out - I'm the king of the salad bowl, the tastiest and best for your health!
But who eats a salad bowl as if he/she is only enjoying one particular vegetable?
Or maybe that's why the salad bowl metaphor is never entirely correct or appropriate?
I don't know how I move from the issue of "debate" to the issue of "diversity." Perhaps these days I crave for someone who could hear me out and really listen to closely what's in my heart and mind without needing to challenge me or question me or pushing me to self-criticize right away.
Back to ground zero - perhaps all we really need to start learning more is how to first listen.
So I shouldn't be deducting points on those quieter students in sections who do listen very closely?
梅ちゃん at 11:57:00 AM
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Country Bumpkin Back in TownFor three and a half days I was lavished with great food - G-R-E-A-T Asian food - good rides, 70-degree warmth, non-stop radio Christmas music, reminisces of the old times in China, and most importantly, amazing hospitality. Like a child coming home to a family member, I didn't have to think about anything but accepting and receiving, freely and abundantly.
What a great feeling.
I have a complete new look on LA now. Just the food, the sunshine, and the diversity of people and cultures themselves are enough reasons for me to plan my next visit.
And knowing that life may be lived in a very different way - in a much slower and simpler pace and style - is encouragement itself. Not everyday needs to be mad busy, every moment filled with commitments and duties, every spoken word polished and repolished with soundingly smart intellectualism. Sitting on the beach, I don't need profound thoughts or moments of epiphanies. Just being is enough of a blessing to be thankful for.
"Don't think too much or worry too much, May-yi," D said. "Everything is going to be ok."
"How do you know? Why do you keep saying that to me? Why do you carry such confidence in your words?" I pursued, in my usual ultra-serious, analytical style. I probably even had a tear or two in my eyes.
"Just c-h-i-l-l ... Everything is going to be ok." The smile reassured me again.
Coming from Boston, the intellectual hub of the nation, I felt like nothing but a country bumpkin in LA. Since when have I become able to be marveled by a simple Korean outlet or Asian supermarket, come to tears when I had my first bite of tuna wafu-salad, or pick up and put down all the goodies in the 98-cent Japanese grocery store like a 5-year-old?
And to sing on top of my lungs with 3 other passengers in the car - one Korean, one Pilipino, and one Chinese - when Jay Chow's CD was blasted in the background? Though we had no Cash Box, karaoke-ing on-the-go while zooming down the freeway in 80 mph was a pretty darn good substitute.
And I almost went crazy when I had the first spoonful of Pink Berry frozen yogurt.
Come on, it's frozen yogurt, what's the big deal?
It's a BIG deal when it actually tastes like 養樂多 from childhood!!! Plus fresh fruit toppings piled above!
Reunion with Bluey the Dolphin or seeing his cousins at Sea World was moving as well, let alone touching them and padding them. It topped that experience in the shady, pseudo sea world in Qingdao (even though I was given a quick kiss on the cheek by the star of the show).
"I think about China all the time. ALL THE TIME. I probably talk to stint people or my discs 3 or 4 times a week here," G said.
"So you are pretty much in the loop, still," I asked.
"Oh yeah, you bet."
"You are one of the coolest M&M's I've ever met. I still remember the time when I visited your dorm room and you pulled out 2 packs of Tiger Beer underneath your bed ..."
"... and 3 bottles of spirits from the fridge right?" G laughed. "Oh, I miss the old days when I'd invite my discs over, hand them each a bottle of Tiger beer and just talk about school, life, and God."
"Or with other stinters in which the guys were smoking their lives away with cigars on the rooftop of your dorm?" I laughed too.
Good times, good times.
In our hearts, none of us perhaps have ever left China. We somehow have all left a portion of our hearts there that continues to call us back there, over and over again. Sometimes the voices are loud, sometimes barely recognizable. But they are there, unquestionable.
GC is still there, J is going back, and G may be committing to a one-year project there as well. Me? I'll be in Asia in 7 months.
Reminiscing with good, trustworthy friends from the past is one of the greatest blessings on earth. All b/c of having journeyed together through thick and thin.
It's about sticking together, not deserting each other, and always being there for one another for encouragement and edification. It's about not giving up. It's about picking the other person up when he/she falls short, and it's about receiving and accepting and forgiving and loving. Not that there isn't tension or friction along the way, but the spirit of always wanting the best of one another and the willingness to work through difficulties is what brings all of us through the journey to the very end.
Looking forward to the day to continue the journey with them.
G and D – a million thanks for the great break in LA.
梅ちゃん at 8:02:00 AM
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Better LivesI came home and was just browsing online while munching on dinner. Watched a few video reporting on New York Times online on child labor issue in Africa and the crisis of environmental pollution along the Yellow River in China, then checked C's website and learned some latest updates on her yak enterprise ... Then came a mixture of feelings ... There are so many problems - major problems - in this world. While there are so many people who endeavor to work towards solving these issues and bettering people's lives, I wonder if there are ever enough people or resources or talents and wisdom to end such suffering of all, once and forever ...
And it brought me to think about what I can do besides sitting in my comfy (though cold) little apartment in Cambridge. What have I done today to better people's lives? I guess I helped a bunch of distressed students who were worried about their mid-term papers, or at least I helped increase their knowledge or clarify their muddled thoughts on the notion of "clashes of civilization." But really, other than that, what else have I done today?
I guess I could sit here and tell myself that I'm still young, still in the season of my life where I'm simply building myself and equipping myself for something greater to come - something hopefully that will SERIOUSLY better people's lives. On the other hand, sometimes I'm just deeply afraid that I may be wrong after all ... Perhaps all I'm doing here is pursuing after my own interests, own gain, own comfort in life. Sooner or later age or financial concern or the need for status or recognition or even just a simple graduation paper would weigh so much down on my shoulders that I'd forget about people and issues and problems outside my immediate surrounding, this tiny tiny little bubble that I live in.
On the other hand - this should NOT be a small little bubble right? This is Harvard, one of the hubs of the greatest educational experiences and intellectual expertise of humankind Supposedly from here the best and the brightest goes out to courageously solve the problems of the world and make serious changes that impact people's standards of living and happiness in the most positive way. Supposedly the difference starts here, right here, with our minds and hearts and courage and visions and perspectives sharpened, challenged, cultivated so that the most neediest issues may be addressed most immediately or the gravest problems of earth may begin to see the light of hope.
However, at the end of the day, is that what's happening here? Beyond grades and good papers and satisfactory teaching and student consultation, are we here striving for that development of mind, thoughts, souls and hearts?
I hope I am making a difference, as tiny as it may be. I hope that somehow through whatever that I said to my students or whatever actions, attitudes, or perspectives that I carried out in front of my students, I would not only serve them, increase their knowledge, but truly better the lives of those who would one day leave this campus and go out to move and shake the society positively.
Yet somehow I wonder if the difference that I'm making is simply too tiny or insignificant when facing the enormity of issues that need to be solved and justice that needs to be extended. I wish I could spend all my consultation time with students talking about their dreams, hopes, and ambitions for the future rather than merely talking about the civil examination system back in Tang dynasty or the issues of tea trade during the Qianlong reign in Qing. There's nothing wrong with the latter and that's exactly what I'm hired to do. But is that what I enjoy doing the most or where I may make the most amount of impact?
Questions that I don't have the answers for today. But I do hope that I do continue to challenge myself each day with one simple question - have I made a difference today? Or have I helped better someone's life, make someone laugh, solve someone's problem or de-stress a person's mind?
And then I may go to bed in the evening and say, now you have a reason to wake up again and continue on with the same mission.
And with hope.
梅ちゃん at 10:47:00 AM
Monday, November 20, 2006
Thank you, My FriendA surprise email from London. So comforting that it almost brought me to tears.
打開Gmail之前，看了May-yi最近在部落格的文章，真是不知該怎麼安慰妳。（某某某）又傷了妳的心嗎？「太沈重的愛」，這樣的一個概念，一定有很多情歌，改天我們三個去KTV（and when will that be?）給它好好的唱一唱，唱到大徹大悟後，再以陶喆的「王八蛋」收尾，然後Matt帶大家去士林夜市吃炒羊肉。希望May-yi能看開一點，以後一定會找到懂得好好愛妳的人，別急，我們才27歲！看看身邊的人就知道，在21世紀的感情路上，27歲還很年輕！」
Thank you thank you thank you, my friend. And all of you who love me deeply and always believe in me. You know who you are.
很努力地尋找中 ... 那個地方一定存在。
梅ちゃん at 8:23:00 AM
NeedI need to pray.
And I need to pray and pray and pray and pray and pray, until an answer is given.
梅ちゃん at 5:32:00 AM
Friday, November 17, 2006
原來我少愛一點，少 care 一點，少送幾張 e-card，少問日子過的好不好，今天做了什麼 ... 對方就會多愛我一點。
At least the sentence could have been: "Thanks for loving me this much. Although I'm sorry that I wasn't able to recipricate as much."
Instead, it was - "Your love was unbearably heavy for me. It would have been better for you to stop 'trying' and back off for a whlie ... It's not that as long as one gives presents, hugs, smiles, and so on then love is enhanced. It's more about knowing and accepting what the other person wants."
（沉默 ...）"Sure, I'll 反省. I will try to love less next time," 我說。
But I do want the presents, the hugs, the kisses, the smiles, the care and the concern and the love, even if heavy.
Get it? Not everyone is afraid of heaviness.
Who's not understanding here?
Perhaps it's not about the other person trying too hard, but about oneself not being able to give as much and thus becoming afraid of receiving.
是知道自己給不了所以也不敢收吧。Then why does the person who gives more gets to take the blame at the end?
梅ちゃん at 5:05:00 PM
梅ちゃん at 6:21:00 AM
Friday, November 10, 2006
改變嗎？It took me 6 hours to get into NYC. With $15 ticket, what can you expect?
I've learned to have zero expectation on American public transportation.
「27歲的我，人生是否該有些改變？」On the way to NYC, that was the question that kept looming over my head.
過去兩年的我，日子太沉靜了吧。一個人念書，一個人在校園裡走來走去，一個人坐著電梯又走過Widener D-level長長通到 Pusey Stacks的走道，一直走一直走直到抵達最後頭H的書架。有時候電梯坐著坐著突然會想：萬一電梯一打開不是圖書館，卻是 Dolphin Hotel 中伸手不見五指的漆黑走道時該怎麼辦？
On a second thought, perhaps it'd be better off to be in Dolphin Hotel then Widener's stacks room.
"This is good, but this is merely a limiting choice for you, May-yi," a friend told me. Limiting choice with limiting thoughts. 來到研究所的我不知不覺日子越活越單調，夢想越來越小，理想與熱情﹣不知為何﹣逐漸離我遠去。過去兩年過得安逸，卻也最不知道還有什麼值得去紀念的東西。
梅ちゃん at 5:08:00 PM
Monday, November 06, 2006
27Alright, here we go, birthday reflection, the 27th one (if I had any slight reflection on the idea of "birthday" from age 1-5).
2 unexpected phone calls from overseas that made my day. One from my last year roommate, the quintessential nomad of the 21st century. "I'm moving to Shanghai on Thursday," she told me. "Then I'll spend a month in SH, a month back here in Taipei, and then another month to the states."
"Boston by any chance?" I asked.
"Well, San Francisco, Atlanta, NYC, DC, and yeah, Boston, though I don't know the exact date yet."
Now, what does that mean that she's "moving" to SH? "Going" might be a better word?
Makes no difference to her perhaps. I miss her dearly and for once I feel that she's one of the few people whose life style has been far more mobile, transient, and nomadic than mine. And no sign of slowing down any time soon.
Now, how is this related to my b-day reflection? Just wait, I do have a point.
2nd phone call, my high school best friend A.
"Hi May-yi, happy birthday! This is A calling from London. 哇，恭禧恭禧，二十七歲了。I trust that you're doing well in Boston and having a good b-day celebration. 我弟和我說你的evite invitation寫的很intellectual, the typical May-yi style of writing. Well, I hope and trust that you'll have a good time with friends in Boston, and again, wish you ..."
Quintessential int'l-school-style talking. We can't carry a conversation without mixing a few words or phrases in Chinese and English if not changing the grammatical structure.
"我想要 go KTV-ing" - so far one of my favorite lines, 雖然已經非常久沒有說了。
We also cannot carry a conversation without being on the opposite side of the ocean from each other or always needing to take time difference into consideration. Daylight saving time just makes the matter more confusing.
Age 17, junior year in high school. Spent the entire school year getting over a relationship that was never meant to be (though sweet for a few months; again, how many HS relationship are meant to be?). Perhaps one of the hardest times in life. For the first time in life I was brought to, forced to, and inevitably led to confront face to face with the most dreadful fear in life, the greatest yearning unfulfilled, the source of all inner anxiety and insecurity. The journey was long, lonely, and one that did not seem to promise an end at the time.
可是想逃都逃不了。Once you are in the tunnel, there's no turning back. The only way out is to keep walking until you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
走著走著, I met God along the way. I don't think I ever made it to the end of the tunnel, because before I could get there - if there ever was an end to it - God pulled me straight out of it. I wasn't dragged out of the tunnel nor led by His invisible hands to somehow tumble or stumble out of the tunnel. He simply shattered the tunnel, defeated it, and led me to a brand new horizon of hope, joy, and restoration.
Where the spirit of the Lord resided, it was clear to me that that tunnel, perhaps, had never even existed in the first place. Only in the mind.
But the source of anxiety and fear remains. Throughout the years, I've learned to, trained myself to, had no choice but to be independent. "There's nothing that a guy can do that you cannot do. Not only can you do just as well as they do but even better," D likes to tell me. So, like a man trapped in a womanly body, I live my life like a guy. I study, I move, I travel, I write applications, I transfer, I make decisions alone. If men and women have received the same education and given the same opportunities to develop all of our faculties, there's no reason why a woman cannot achieve just as well if not better. There's no reason and no need for women to rely on men, no logic behind a man being the bread winner of the family, no rationale as to why monetary, status, or performance achievement should be any different for a woman.
And many remarkable women that I've encountered in life run their lives along the same rationale. Including my nomadic ex-roommate who's now devoted to the building of a social enterprise, a formidable task that she has so daringly taken upon, a challenge that she faces so boldly with courageous spirit that many of the guys that I know would never be able to compete.
可是，也會累吧。當身邊一個一個的同學慢慢進入他們人生的另一個階段, having found that significant other to start a family together with or even start bringing out new lives into this world, I wonder how many of us women - the strong, bold, independent and nomadic type - would not pause and second guess ourselves. "Wait, maybe we are the ones who've got it all wrong?"
Or even if we haven't got it wrong, perhaps it's just that the society hasn't caught up with the footsteps of such women?
So when I'm simply expecting someone to give me a hand when I busily engage in a simple activity called cooking, I might begin to be labeled as a "大女人". Wait, let me get this straight ... Why does asking for support for something eventually enjoyed by both parties suddenly place me in the category of female chauvinism? Who have I oppressed or whose rights have I taken away by asking for support? Have I been sitting in front of the sofa watching TV while ordering the man to cook me a nice meal? Or am I simply asking for equal share of responsibility in a nicely cooked dinner, something that I'm originally entitled to?
'Coz women know how to cook better? Hmm ... Where have men been or what were they doing when women were busy LEARNING how to clean, cook, grocery shopping and wash dishes? Playing videogames? Another try please.
So I continue to study, travel, pack, and move. At least if that support is nowhere to be found, I get to study, travel, pack and move in the name of building myself, training myself, and making myself more independent.
梅ちゃん at 4:21:00 PM
Now5 things that I wish I could be doing right now:
- To take a walk down the golden ginko tree lane in an early early mid-autumn morning near Aoyomi-ichome. There has to be beaming sun above me.
- A gaze at the glittering night lights across the Huang-pu River from the rooftop of Waitan #3 on a mid-summer night. Some moist, summer breeze would be nice.
- Standing on the platform of any of the Chuo line in Tokyo. Just wanting to hear the platform music again. The standard announcements wouldn't be too bad either.
- Taking a casual stroll around hometown neighborhood. Probably walking Quan-quan from home all the way to Yong-kang Jie.
- Getting lost in a sea of people who are busily walking by me. Some neon lights flashing around me or blazing pop songs streaming from a CD shop or something. Wouldn't even mind the cigarette smell even. Shibuya intersection, that would be a good place to start.
Perhaps I should start learning a new language. The unknown, the unfamiliar, and the slight feelings of uncertainty at times put me at ease way better than the feeling of being known, giving an ID, or being called as part of something, some group, or some community. The former grants freedom and infinite new possibilities whereas the latter wearies me down.
Reminiscing the hard, old high school days when one was so young, knew so little, yet had more courage, hope, and confidence to dive right into the future.
Wanting to find that source of courage and confidence back, even if at the most naive level.
梅ちゃん at 11:28:00 AM