Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Jul 20, 2017

Things that can hurt you, potentially

Filed under: Life — admin @ 9:15 pm

Among many things that can do huge damages to you in the long run, here are some that young people should not ignore.

(1) You don’t know what you want to do with your life. That is, you don’t have a goal in life.
(2) You tend to be pessimistic. When you always think “It’s impossible,” you place a limit on what you can do.
(3) You can’t persist to the end. You give up halfway when things get tough.
(4) You lack objective self-evaluation. That is, you don’t know yourself, your strength and weakness.
(5) You rely too much on others. You are not independent enough to be on your own, mentally and psychologically.
(6) You are hesitant and indecisive, spending too much time balancing cost and benefit. You dare not risk taking a step into the unknown, the unfamiliar. You remain in your comfort zone as long as you can.
(7) You indulge too much in the past and regrets, which only ends up wasting your time and life.
(8) You try to avoid headaches and problems. Problems won’t go away by themselves. Often you experience a leap forward by taking on challenges in life.

1, Jul 11, 2017

Remembering my father, 30 years have passed

Filed under: Father — admin @ 12:30 am


7/11/1987, 30 years have passed since my father left us. I can’t believe 30 years have gone and I feel like I still can’t get over the loss.

Today my old classmate shared some of her travel pictures with me. Above is one of them. For some reason, I think my father would love this picture. It looks so quiet, peaceful, sunny and green, as if life should be like this. I wish he could see it.

Here’s to my father. I remember what you taught me when I was young. I will always keep this in mind. I will try my best to live up to your expectation, to be the person you wanted me to.

1, Jul 3, 2017

An unforgettable meeting with an old friend

Filed under: Friend,Life — admin @ 3:01 pm

It’s been nearly two weeks since I came back from China. I was in China between 4/4 and 6/20. While I was in China, I had many gatherings with friends and old classmates. Some I met more than once.

I met up with Bin at 11:30 on 6/3/2017, our second meeting. We initially planned to meet at Fangjia hutong, but we changed the place because it was too crowded with a wedding activity. We ended up in a small coffee shop on Beixinqiao avenue, close to san-tiao.

Before saying goodbye, he gave me some advice. He said I am at the best time in my life–free from financial worries, free from parental responsibilities, free from physical constraints, free to do whatever I want to do previously but was held back due to this or that reason.

That’s so true! I keep asking myself this question: what is it that I want to do? I know I still have a lot to contribute and to share with. I have this or that plan. But what is it that I’m so passionate about? Teaching? But where? Writing?

In order not to waste time, I have been pouring efforts on Italian language since I came back.

Time is running out like crazy. I need to roll up my sleeves now. More on this later.

1, Mar 27, 2017

Happy birthday, my daughter!

Filed under: Daughter — admin @ 12:18 am

Today is my daughter’s birthday. Like her brother, ever since she left for college, she has been celebrating her birthday with her friends, away from home. She told me her friends came over last weekend, one for spring break, one for a job interview. They had some gathering both for friends reunion and for her birthday, which was so wonderful! I’m so happy for her. I miss both of my great children. Here’s a birthday balloon picture that I made for her.

1, Mar 22, 2017

Happy Birthday, my son!

Filed under: Son — admin @ 10:26 pm

Today is my son’s birthday. He and his girlfriend fly to Sweden for his birthday. He talked to me via facetime from the airport. Ever since he left home for college in 2007, he started having his birthday with his friends. It’s been 10 years. I am so happy for him! I’m so glad that he is always surrounded with friends, and he is able to create a home-away-from-home. I’m happy, as long as he is happy. I miss my children, especially on their birthday. Here’s a birthday cake for him!

1, Feb 28, 2017

Things you cannot overdo

Filed under: Life — admin @ 12:39 am

Here are something that you’d better not overdo:
(1) Social media: it is better to make connections with people who provide support, instead of racking up the biggest number of friends

(2) Parenting: avoid coddling your children, allow them to experience healthy failure that you can grow and learn from.

(3) Housing: don’t obsess over square footage. Not bigger is better. Bigger means more expensive in heating, cooling, cleaning, and of course money.

1, Feb 27, 2017

Can we create more from what we already have or get more from less?

Filed under: Life — admin @ 8:30 pm

This is what I read at Barnes & Nobel’s on 2/25/2017. Below is the note from reading Time magazine.

“The science of stretching offers an effective alternative for us to do more without getting more, see potential rather than worrying about perceived limitations.

The habit of stretching readies us to work through the challenges. With too many resources, we become distracted by our accumulations, focus on the wrong goals, become wasteful of what we do have already.”

I have to add something else here. Sometimes when we are surrounded by too much stuffs, more than we need, we are rendered unable to enjoy life. We have to spend time organizing stuffs, trying to decide which we will keep and which we will dispose. The more time we have to spend on our stuffs, the less time we have for our life, the more miserable we feel, the more we wish we had not bought them home in the first place! Lesson learned too late!

Question for ourselves: what can I do with what I already have, instead of waiting to get more in order to do more?

Stop comparing with others! Sometimes, it is difficult to be productive and content with what you have when you are constantly making comparison with others.

1, Feb 22, 2017

Your character determines your destiny

Filed under: Life — admin @ 10:59 pm

You are responsible for the direction of your life’s journey. Don’t blame others when you become adults.
Your experiences are the most valuable asset of yours, especially when you hunt for jobs.
Your character determines your destiny.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I thought of this today. It sounds true even though I forgot where I read it.

1, Feb 17, 2017

Thought on the practice of foot binding

Filed under: _Today I learn...,Thought of the day — admin @ 1:39 am

It’s easy to see the physical harm and the restriction of mobility inflicted by the foot binding practice in ancient China. What is not easy to perceive is the mental binding and restrictions that we feel every day — the pressure to conform and the fear of taking a path that is different from the majority, the fear of the risk and the unknown, the fear of missing out.

It is easy to say that we are not the slaves of others, that we don’t copy others. What is difficult is to express our own thoughts instead of echoing those of others, to follow our own passion instead of doing things because this is what you are told to do.

It is okay that we do things like the nursery rhyme when we were little, but we have to tell ourselves that we got to graduate from nursery days when we are adults.

This is the way we wash our face,
Wash our face, wash our face.
This is the way we wash our face,
So early in the morning.

This is the way we comb our hair,
Comb our hair, comb our hair.
This is the way we comb our hair,
So early in the morning.

This is the way we brush our teeth
Brush our teeth, brush our teeth.
This is the way we brush our teeth
So early in the morning.

This is the way we put on our clothes,
Put on our clothes Put on our clothes
This Is The Way
This is the way we put on our clothes,
So early in the morning.

1, Feb 16, 2017

Thought for the day: Keep up this upbeat searching spirit everyday

Filed under: Thought of the day — admin @ 1:37 pm

There are many factors that contribute to lifelong success, success beyond high school and college. One of them is an upbeat, searching spirit, the entrepreneur spirit, seeking opportunities to get things done, or create opportunities for you and others, to harness your creative mind and energy to create and serve, create service, create products, company, etc.

Keep up this spirit, let yourself be guided by it, no matter what you do and where you are.

1, Feb 9, 2017

From my office to my home office

Filed under: Life — admin @ 3:21 pm

Months before I left my office, I took down all these from the wall of my office. I didn’t throw them away immediately. How I love these words. Today I copied them down once again, saved it on my computer and posted them here.

1, Jan 30, 2017

Answer to the root of happiness, Five happiness traits

Filed under: Happiness — admin @ 7:47 pm

I have been wondering why I seem happier than some people that I met. Now I found the answer from this article, “The 5 Personality Traits That Make for a Better Life” Not surprise that I find myself high on all five traits.

Here are the five traits from the article:
1. Enthusiasm
2. Low withdrawal
3. Industriousness
4. Compassion
5. Intellectual curiosity
Enthusiasm: This is a trait defined by such phrases as “has a lot of fun” and “laughs a lot,” and so it is not surprising that the human golden retrievers who score high in enthusiasm would also report leading more enjoyable lives. This aspect of personality falls under extroversion, and as such, it also has to do with how you relate to others: enthusiastic people tend to make friends easily, and they warm up quickly to others. They also tend to get carried away by their excitement.

Low withdrawal: This is rather inelegantly named, as it’s primarily defined by what it isn’t. Withdrawal is an aspect of neuroticism, and people who are high in this trait have an uneasy relationship with themselves — they are easily embarrassed, easily overwhelmed, and easily discouraged. A low score in this trait makes for a better life (which, of course, makes a lot of sense).

Industriousness: Here’s where this new paper starts getting interesting, particularly for those of us who find ourselves drawn to the life-hacker-y corners of the internet. According to this paper, the getting-shit-done personality also tends to be linked to greater well-being. Industriousness is a side of conscientiousness, and it’s marked by a tendency toward planning ahead, working hard, and finishing what you start, without wasting time or getting distracted in the process. Leave me to my lists; I am happiest with them.

Compassion: This is an aspect of agreeableness, and it describes the sort of person who is interested in other people’s lives and problems, and who likes to do little acts of kindness for loved ones and strangers alike. An interest in others’ well-being seems to spell good things for your own. Who knew?

Intellectual curiosity: This is a trait defined by a love of complex problems, difficult books, and meandering philosophical conversations. People with intellectual curiosity — a facet of openness in the original Big Five — are quick learners and thinkers, with rich vocabularies and the capacity to handle high volumes of information at once. Curiosity about the world around you turns out to predict your happiness within it.

1, Jan 25, 2017

Health advice to my children

Filed under: children,Health — admin @ 1:23 pm

Today I read about this in Chinese. I thought of sharing them with my children. So, here’s the English version on health.

1. On health, nurture works better than nature. You might inherit longevity gene from your parents, but you won’t be able to carry on this gene if you don’t take good care of your body. Nurture means a healthy lifestyle with diverse food intake and daily exercise.

2. Overnutrition is a form of malnutrition.

3. Getting mad or upset or low spirit or sad or depressed hurts your body as much as a disease does.

4. Getting drunk damages your liver like an attack of acute liver infection.

5. Family disharmony is detrimental to your health.

6. Loneliness hurts people more than poverty.

1, Jan 23, 2017

Volunteer high school English writing starting 2017

Filed under: After I quit my day job...,Volunteer 2017 — admin @ 9:04 pm

Today is the first week that I am totally free since I quit my last position. Last Monday we drove to K-State, last Tuesday I sent my sister back to Beijing. Last Thursday I participated in Blue Valley Multi-culture festival, involved in both teaching and fund raising using my origami skill. In the late afternoon, I went to Edward Jones office.

Here are things that I have done today.
1. Called health insurance on vision benefit
2. Called Shawnee Mission School District about volunteering, tutoring English class, talked to Katie, 993-6411, SMSD volunteer manager, and Erin Burvee, the south social worker. Erin told me she would contact English teachers to find out if there’s a need for it, and would get back to me. I have not heard from her by the end of the day.
3. Continued reading Neapolitan Novels
4. Walked to neighborhood Walmart
5. Fasting since last night, first time to see how I take it.
6. Helped Jiadi with T-Mobile online payment
7. Went to JCPenny to get eye glasses for the other adult in the evening

1, Jan 1, 2017

New Year Resolutions — 2017

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 12:03 am

This is the first draft.

New Year Resolution 2017

Rules for myself:
1. Get up no later than 6:30 in the morning
2. Use Timer as soon as I sit down either reading or writing or on the computer
3. Socializing only on weekend (email, facebook, LinkedIn, wechat)
4. Watch my time, avoid spending too much time on something meaningless.
5. Do not purchase anything other than edibles without the absolute need for it.

Must do daily:
1. Read one joke per day
2. Stretch/swing 5 minutes each morning
3. Walk at least 30 minutes
4. Formulate one exercise and do it once a day

Must do this year:
1. Learn one German song per month
2. Read at least one book per month
3. Memorize one poem per month
4. Write at least one article per month
5. Fasting for one day per week, each Monday.
6. Volunteer maximum two hours per day
7. Learn a new skill, e.g. drawing

Personal Improvement:
1. Hear other people out without interrupting and without jumping to conclusion
2. Try not to raise my voice no matter how upset I might be

To be continued…

1, Dec 30, 2016

My last email to the work place on 12/30/2016

Filed under: work — admin @ 3:21 pm

I sent it out the minute before I left for that office permanently today. Great feeling!

1, Dec 16, 2016

Leaving a workplace on the best possible term

Filed under: work — admin @ 11:12 pm

resignation-email
I sent out this one today, finally. I felt so great after I did it!

1, Dec 1, 2016

You first need to please one person — YOU

Filed under: Holiday,Life,work — admin @ 12:01 pm

I wrote this great piece today. Please go to LinkedIn to leave your comments.

About two weeks ago, we learned that our manager’s husband is very ill. I know her parents have passed away and she doesn’t have any children of her own. So when I think of the coming holiday season, the time of family gathering, I feel like reaching out to her and letting her know that we care, even though she is a rather private person. I shared the idea with a colleague of mine and went out to get her a blank thinking-of-you card.

After I got the card, I typed these words on a piece of paper, printed and pasted it on the card– “… hopefully, knowing that someone cares will help you going through the difficult time in your life….” Both of my colleague and I signed on the card, then I emailed to a colleague at another location, asking her if anyone wanted to sign the card.

This week that colleague of mine wrote to the whole team, “I was wondering what (if anything) the … staff has done for [our manager] in the past around the holidays?” The ideas of sending the boss this or that gift rushed in.

Giving the manager a holiday gift? We have never done anything like this before. I feel uncomfortable doing it simply because she is the boss. No one ever gives me, a rank and file employee, anything on holiday, even though I have more than once gone out of my way to help. It disturbed me even more when I thought of the fact that the team had done nothing when another colleague’s mother passed away. Not that they didn’t know. The double practice brings to my mind words like curry favor with, ingratiating, efforts to please the superior.

Make no mistake that we all start our lives trying to please others like our parents so that we can be taken good care of when we are too small to survive on our own. I remember clearly that I was so eager to make my parents happy by trying to do well at school, even though I seldom did well there. Also years ago when I got back from office, the first words that my son shouted out to me through the door were like this, “Mom, I got another 100!” I was very pleased that he cared so much to please me. But still I keep telling my children that I am pleased as long as they are pleased with themselves.

As we grow into adulthood, we realize that we have our own journey to cover, and our own dreams and passion to fulfill and to follow. Pleasing others is no longer the priority because we no longer latch on other’s pleasure for our happiness. We create our own happiness through our own accomplishments and attainments. In adulthood, it is crucial that we understand that we need to please ourselves first if we want to please others. If you are not happy with yourself, it is difficult to make others happy.

Of course, I am not naive to the point of not knowing modern day politicians. Pleasing voters at any cost is just the means to their end. Their end is winning the election. Winning makes them happy. Perhaps, gift-giving to one’s boss alone is also a means to an end, ulterior or not.

1, Nov 30, 2016

If you need a good laugh, read H.L. Mencken

Filed under: American Culture,Best quotes,Fun,Happiness,Life — admin @ 10:11 am

On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. H. L. Mencken

It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.

The difference between a moral man and a man of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act, even when it has worked and he has not been caught.

It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man.

In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican.
For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.

Before a man speaks it is always safe to assume that he is a fool. After he speaks, it is seldom necessary to assume it.

Communism, like any other revealed religion, is largely made up of prophecies.

To be in love is merely to be in a state of perceptual anesthesia – to mistake an ordinary young woman for a goddess.

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.

The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out… without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, and intolerable.

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

A bad man is the sort who weeps every time he speaks of a good woman.

1, Nov 27, 2016

Introducing Zhongshi Chen’s Modern Classic, White Deer Plain

Filed under: Book — admin @ 12:19 am

I wrote this great book review and published on Critical Flame.

I am not sure how large is the readership on this book review. It won’t make much sense if you have not read the original novel, White Deer Plain. Since there is no English version of the novel, only those who can read in Chinese can possibly read this, which makes readership even smaller.

Another discouraging fact is in this age of mobile technology, people don’t have time for long novel like this. They don’t have time for even short essays like what I posted on LinkedIn. The age of no deep reading. It is what it is.

1, Nov 26, 2016

Doing what you preach: teaching local Chinese kids, making Xmas ornaments…

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 8:38 pm

I went to Blue Valley library today to teach a group of Chinese kids making Christmas ornaments, like the ones I posted on 11/17/2016. I remember the words that I kept telling my children when they were small, if you are smart and want to mean something to others, do one thing — help others. Whatever you know, whatever you have means nothing to others, if you don’t share with others, if you are selfish… I am glad that I have lived up to what I once preached, exemplify the virtue that I want my children to possess.

I only hope the children were teenagers or little ones with their parents around helping them. It took too long to get anything across with the little ones. I don’t think I have achieved what I had planned. I wish I have the virtue of patience. I’d like to work with teenagers, sharing with them both skills and ideas. But I guess by teenage years, kids feel like above doing things like this. They might not like listening to adults at all. That’s life.

1, Nov 24, 2016

Three salient features of Poor man’s mentality

Filed under: Time management — admin @ 1:53 pm

I wrote this wonderful piece a few days ago. Please go to LinkedIn to leave your comments. Thank you.

People are likely to associate mentality of the poor with the real poor who have no plan of getting out of government assistance. But in reality this mentality is found not just among the real poor. It exists within many who are in the range of middle class. It is the mentality that traps people where they are for decade after decade, leading them to be surrounded by a pile of poor man’s junks.

Number one salient feature of this mentality is they don’t know the value of time, in that they value money more than time. They are willing to save money at the cost of spending extra time. They let time pass without gaining any tangible and intangible value. In a way, we all trade our time for money when we go to work every day. Very often, how much value we can extract from our time at office is not entirely up to us to decide. Some people have to take a day job for basic sustainability so that they can work on their day dreams as soon as the day job is over. There are always something that we can control in regard to our time. Here are some examples.

An IT guy who works in the neighborhood of Overland Park Convention Center lives north of the Missouri River. He spends an hour and half daily on the road. He told me that he would not be able to buy a large house like his in Overland Park. Never mind about the cost of daily gas and the stress on the road. I would say he exhibits the mentality of the poor when he tries to save money by squandering extra driving time every day. The thought process must be like this– while time is free, large house costs more. He would trade his free time for the costly house.

Influenced by this mentality, he finds it hard to part with his money and would grab anything that is free. Here’s what he doesn’t realize: the free time is not unlimited. With money, he earns, spends and can earn it back; but not with time. Always keep this in mind — time is the only thing in life that we have less and less.

It is because they don’t value the free yet limited resource that they don’t invest wisely their time to generate more values or assets. People waste something that is the most valuable one in life.

There is another case where a friend of mine drove us around the town in Los Angeles to find sale beef. For a ridiculously insignificant amount of saving, we spent like an hour checking in and out grocery stores. It even seems comical.

Number two of poor man’s mentality is to trade health for money. Like when people work strenuously or sit there for so long that they won’t stop until they are struck down by illness. They don’t know how to extend their life span by investing in some fitness activity or by stopping working when they should. Whatever they earned is not enough to pay their medical bills or to bring back their health and enable them to enjoy life. What a short-sighted idiocy!

Number three is to bring home sale items or free stuffs even if he doesn’t need them. Nothing is free. Everything he brings home takes up his time and space. Once again this mentality leads people to trade their time with some cheap or free stuff that they don’t really need, and later on they will have to spend some time to decide how to dispose it, like selling them at garage sale. Gradually they end up being collectors of poor man’s junks and their lifetime will be an endless cycle of junk collection and junk disposal. How pathetic!

My 85-year-old mother knows best. She keeps telling me, “Don’t bring back anything from America. They are all made in China. If I need, I can get it cheaper here. More important, I don’t need anything.” I know what she needs most. My time. Good luck on this.

1, Nov 23, 2016

Men, you don’t have to follow the masculine norms, it’s for your own mental health

Filed under: Men's Health — admin @ 1:16 pm

I read this article today. I cannot say that there is a definite association between masculine norms and man’s mental health. But I can say for sure that the society-enforced masculine norms are unnatural. And anything unnatural is detrimental to our health. Take for example self-reliance. On the one hand, it is great that we are financially independent, that we don’t have to be seeking daily assistance; on the other hand, we are social beings. From time to time, we rely on each other emotionally, psychologically, and financially. It would be unnatural if a man tries to appear like a superman when he is not.

The title of the article is “Being sexist could harm men’s health, study suggests”

The article starts this way, “Men who have “playboy” attitudes and believe in power over women may face a higher risk for mental health trouble than men who don’t, a broad new research review suggests.”

The findings from the studies that involved nearly 19,500 predominantly white male participants include:
(1) “the more that men conformed to masculine norms the poorer their mental health, and the less likely they were to seek mental health services… men who adhere to masculine norms are generally in a worse state of mental health, and less motivated to seek psychological help.”
(2) “self-reliance was the trait most strongly associated with worse psychological outcomes.”
(3) “masculine norms was more likely to be associated with being lonely, hostile or having problems socializing than it was to a risk for depression.”

The study defines “masculine norms” as
— the desire to win;
— to retain emotional control;
— to take risks;
— to engage in violence;
— to exert dominant behavior;
— to participate in a “playboy” lifestyle;
— to be self-reliant;
— to elevate work to the highest level of importance;
— to retain power over women;
— to maintain a disdain for homosexuals;
— and to pursue “status.”

1, Nov 22, 2016

Christmas for the needy families

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 9:05 pm

Our clinic participates in adopting a needy family during this holiday season. Below are the items that they need. It gives me a sad feeling when I go through the list. I think of my children and miserable I would be if I wasn’t able to provide them with what they needed when they were small.

Mom Age 32
· Wears size M Shirt
· Wears 12/13 Pants
· Wears Shoes size 9
· Coat Size Large
daughter Age 12
· Wears size L Shirt
· Wears 14 youth pants
· Wears Shoes size 9
· Favorite Color RED
daughter Age 2
· Wears size 4-5t Shirt
· Wears size 4-5t Pants
· Wears Shoes size 10 Toddlers
· Loves Disney Princesses, Peppa Pig & Mickey Mouse
· Favorite Colors PINK & PURPLE

Items that are needed/requested:
1. Coats
2. Gloves
3. Toddler Bedding
4. Twin Bedding
5. King Bedding (Earth tones/Black/White/Grey Preferred)
6. Sweatpants
7. Underwear (Size 7)
8. Shirts
9. Pants
10. Gift Cards for the Teenager (Target/Walmart/etc.)
11. Toys/Dolls for Toddler (Disney princess preferred)

1, Nov 18, 2016

The highest insult at workplace

Filed under: Leadership,work — admin @ 9:30 pm

I wrote and posted this one today while at work.

1. Unappreciative of Efforts
2. Lack Recognition and Respect
3. Constant Criticism
4. Expect Employees to Be Like Them
5. Hypocrisy
6. Delegate Too Much – or Not Enough
7. Micromanagement
8. Manipulative
9. Don’t Value Employees

What an awful list! Two years ago when I read Glenn Lopis’ article “9 Ways Leaders Insult Their Employees,” I thought who, in his/her right mind, would do these to his/er employees, like hypocrisy, manipulative? Get real! Not in my wildest dreams!

I have seen micromanagement. It is called super responsibility in my vocabulary. I have no complaint about it as long as the manager takes responsibility for whatever under his micro.

Many of the items in the list look like the same thing to me, like appreciation, recognition, respect and value. Of course, appreciation and recognition encourage people to keep doing what they have done. But what difference does it make if you are paid adequately? We are old enough not to crave for recognition, and we won’t do a shoddy job even if we are not duly appreciated. Respect? It would be nice if you are truly respected. But how do you know it’s genuine or not? I can live without it. What matters most is you are treated legally, that is, without any form of discrimination.

To me, the highest workplace insult for someone, who is the key player in a team and who should play the leading role in a project, is assigned a subordinate position and is told to play second fiddle to an outsider who doesn’t know what he is talking about and who interferes in whatever the key player does.

Readers, what is the highest insult that you have experienced at your workplace? Go to LinkedIn to post your comments.

1, Nov 17, 2016

The season of giving … share the joy of origami with patients, colleagues and all….

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 3:38 pm

I made over 50 of origami ornaments and donated them to our clinic. These will be sold at $4 each and the proceeds from the sale will go to benefit some needy families during the holiday season. I felt like breathing a sigh of relief when I finally handed them over. It’s a few months in the making. I have realized that it takes more time on my part than simply handing out some cash. It’s not that I have more time than money but the fact that I wish to share with people the joy of origami. I am sure the joyful color will bring festivity to the season.

This is one of the reasons that I’d like to involve in teaching teenagers. As the saying goes, many hands make light work. No fear of spoiling the soup.
origami-ornament-home-door
origami-ornaments-office
the-joy-of-origami-ornaments

1, Nov 10, 2016

Some questions from Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Filed under: Book — admin @ 10:37 pm

Some questions from Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (designed for 文化村英文读书会 by 吕行)

1. Why do you think Coates decided to format the book as a letter to his son? Why is it effective? (Fun fact: the book wasn’t formatted this way until the book’s fourth draft!)

2. Coates praises Malcolm X for being “the first pragmatist I knew” (p. 36) and speaking like “a man who was free” (p. 36). Do you think Coates would describe his own writing in this book as such?

3. How does he differentiate between the racist individual and racism as an institution? Does he believe there is a difference? How does the moment in the movie theater with his son speak to both?

4. Who are the Dreamers? What does he mean when he says “The Dream is the enemy of all art?” (p. 50)

5. Coates claims that he has not spent his life studying the “problem of race” (p. 115) and yet many would argue that the problem of race is this book’s very focal point. Why is this an important contradiction?

6. What is “the black body?” (p. 35) Who are those who “believe they are white?” (p. 42)

7. What did Coates gain at Howard University that he feels other universities in America could not offer?

8. Describe why Coates felt more freedom as a foreigner in France than as an American. Why did he feel it was important to take his son to Paris?

9. How does he differentiate between the violence at home (in the form of corporal punishment) and the violence experienced by the black body outside of home?

1, Nov 8, 2016

Five categories of to-do list

Filed under: Time management — admin @ 1:34 am

When I was in school, weekend relaxation started Friday noon. When I work, weekend planning starts Friday afternoon when I am physically in the office but have mentally checked out. Sometimes I made such a long ambitious list for the weekend that it is even discouraging to look at it. Recently I found that I will be able to get more things done if I divide the tasks into different categories. I think for me there are at least 5 categories of to-do list for now.

(1) Office (I make this one during weekday, not on weekend)
(2) Sideline –books I’m reading, articles that I have saved and will read, pictures that I will take, writing topics;
(3) Friends and relative — my children, my relatives in China, crafts I promise my colleagues, friends I will contact, volunteer activities if there is an opportunity
(4) Family — grocery shopping, cleaning (endless), kitchen work, yard work;
(5) Personal care — walk and other exercise, daily mental exercise, memory training.

1, Nov 7, 2016

Reading A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Filed under: Book — admin @ 1:48 pm

I remember a colleague of mine told me she couldn’t remember what was about in a book that she has read. Now that I have read novels and non-fictions one after another, I want to make sure that I will take home at least one thing from each of the books that I have read. I just finished reading A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.

The story is pretty straightforward. As the title indicates, A Little Life, it is about one person’s little life — Jude, though the novel starts with the lives of four college kids.
JB — artist, gay man
Willem — actor, gay man
Jude St. Francis — lawyer, gay man
Malcolm — architect, non-gay, got married
In the end, only JB survives. Willem and Malcolm died in a car accident. The four men were friends and roommates in college and continued being friends throughout their lives.

More than anything else, the novel is about the long-time impact of the traumatic experience that Jude had during his childhood. He was a foundling in a bag by a dumpster, picked up, raised and abused by monks in a monastery. One man (Brother Luke, a pimp) took him out of the monastery when he was 8 years old and turned him into a male prostitute. He prostituted till he was 15 years old. He developed the habit of cutting himself during that period and continued throughout his life.

Jude wasn’t able to recover psychologically and emotionally from his childhood trauma throughout his life, even though he was smart, very handsome, worked very hard, became successful lawyer, loved by everybody who knew him. He committed suicide at age 53.

I think the author’s message is one’s children’s trauma is like a lifelong psychological wound that is hard to erase, that is continuing cutting a person, that it is crucial that parents provide children with a happy childhood so that they can grow into healthy adults.

Some people might think there are plenty of people who haven’t had healthy childhoods and not all end up killing themselves. I agree with this view. There are always something that we cannot control in our lives, especially in our childhood, but once we are strong enough to protect ourselves and wise enough to make sound decision, we can be and should be masters of our lives.

Then again, I think people are different. In some rare cases, some people simply can’t rise above life’s traumas and adversities. Since I don’t have that kind of extremely traumatic childhood, thank goodness, so I don’t know what I would do if I were in Jude’s shoes. That’s why I try not to judge too harshly.

1, Nov 4, 2016

Plan for next year… continue good practice

Filed under: _Today I learn... — admin @ 10:52 am

When I started my current job in 2005 in healthcare area, I realized this was a totally new field for me and I had a lot to learn at this place. So I made a point of learning at least one thing a day. I even created a file named “What I learn Today” to record my learning. lol

I plan to quit my job at the end of this year. But I don’t want to get lazy and boring, and quit some of the practice that has benefited me for the past decade. One of them is learning new thing everyday, even if it’s not everyday, at least continuously.

With this plan, I have changed the title of this site to “Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day”

I hope my readers will learn and grow with me as days go by.

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