One Should Have a Kind Heart



I must jot it down before I forget. While I was in China, I heard this more than once during numerous conversations with family members.

I love it. Not because I don’t have a kind heart and am in dire need of it. But because I cannot maintain a kind heart when dealing with people I don’t like or someone that hurt me in the past or someone I perceive unfavorably.

A kind heart can dissolve any discomfort or animosity that you might feel toward other fellow beings. A kind heart guarantees you a peace of mind. A kind heart uplifts your spirit to an angelical level.

With a kind heart, you are ready to wish people well, to tolerate people of all kinds, and to forgive any perceived injustices done on you.

I have a mountain of good words for having a kind heart. Trust me. It can work wonders in you. This is especially written for my children.



Recognize and Capitalize Your Intangible Assets


On New Year’s Day, a friend of mine called and we talked for a long time. She has a Ph.D in sociology and used to be a college professor but quit her teaching position for family reason. She was not lucky in job-hunting ever since. When she detailed to me her plan to start a job in China, I told her to give up the idea.

A person always has two great assets but in most cases he/she tends not to be aware of and utilize them.
(1) Your expertise or anything you are very good at and you enjoy doing it. This is something you can share with others or others find it valuable. It can be anything. This friend of mine enjoys and is good at tai ji quan. I am 100 percent certain she can find market for this skill.

(2) Your drive or motivation to success. If you are determined to make it work, go online, go to your neighborhood or the neighborhood of rich people. Advertise the benefit of tai ji at grocery store, public library, offer free demonstrations. Do whatever takes legally.

You will get somewhere as long as you have skills and passion inside you.



Un-sung Heroine in a Family


On the New Year’s Day when I shared my observations of another mother with one of my relatives in China over the internet, she pointed out an interesting phenomenon inside a family. It always seems like a rule with very few exceptions.

Very often the one who does most for the children gets least credit and least appreciation. This, at least, matches with one real life experience that I have witnessed, in which the mother wholeheartedly serves her child who, on the other hand, adores the father of the family and treats the mother as someone less equal. In this sense, such mothers play the role of un-sung heroines.

I don’t know how to explain this phenomenon, other than the father must have something that the youngster adorns and admires and the mother lacks this. One step further, in the long run, for children, what matters is not what we do for them but what we have achieved ourselves when they look back. Most people, at least young people, don’t have this maturity to appreciate silent heroines.

Still, if it is the right thing to do, do it regardless how children view it. After all, silent heroine is better than noisy un-hero. Yes, I just invent a word and I am so proud of my invention.

PS. I got back from China Wednesday evening and received a long standing hug from my daughter.



Be Thankful List from Our Company


This is from our company day before Thanksgiving of 2009. I planned to have it posted here, but forgot it. Now I read it again and still think it too good to let go. Here you are.

“Count your blessing instead of your crosses
Count your gains instead of your losses
Count your joys instead of your woes
Count your friends instead of your foes
Count your smiles instead of your tears
Count your courage instead of your fears
Count your full years instead of your lean years
Count your kindness instead of your meanness
Count your health instead of your wealth
…”



Over-praise or Over-criticism: Parent’s Distortion of Fact


I have been fortunate to know some parents who either unduly over-praise or over-criticize their youngsters. I know of one parent who keeps saying her child is the best even if the fact points to the opposite. On the other hand, another parent always find faults with her children even if they are far better than the average. The over-critical parents must have an extremely high standard for their children, which is equally damaging to the children.

It seems a big challenge for parents to be realistic and objective about their children, as it is a rather emotionally charged topic and as with any emotional topics, people tend to get unreasonable and very subjective.

Every time I hear parents bragging out of proportion about their children, I ask myself, “What is it for? Is it for parents’ vanity or what? Is it to prove that they have been successful as the parents?” When parents deliberately ignore the stark fact, there are always some unspeakable reason behind their minds.

It would help tremendously if we understand perception influences and often becomes reality. Until we can get closer to reality and confront with the unpleasant truth, we cannot expect to initiate any change for the better.



Silent Killer, Ovarian Cancer Whispers – so listen…


This is from a friend of mine, … have to share with many other friends of mine.

These are the signs of this so-called silent killer:
–watch for Pelvic or abdominal pain or discomfort;
–vague but persistent gastrointestinal upsets such as gas, nausea, and indigestion;
–frequency and/or urgency of urination in the absence of an infection;
–unexplained weight gain or weight loss;
–pelvic and/or abdominal swelling, bloating and/or feeling of fullness;
–ongoing unusual fatigue;
–unexplained changes in bowel habits. Aching legs.

If symptoms persist for more than 2 weeks, ask your doctor for a combination pelvic/rectal exam, CA-125 blood test, and transvaginal ultrasound. A Pap Test WILL NOT detect ovarian cancer.



Tips For Children with ADD Discipline Issues


On Sunday afternoon, 1/24, I was in Xi Dan Beijing Booktore looking for some books for my children. Oh boy, what an ocean of books and people, pressing breathlessly around you from all directions. I got hold of a translated book originally written by Eric Jensen on brain enrichment. What a glorious goal! I never allow myself to miss a chance to rake my brain. So I bought the book, even though I am sure I won’t have the time for it.

There are a few pages on children with ADD (attention deficit disorder), which I found interesting. I realize there are way too many children in the U.S. being diagnozed with ADD when in fact it is more a matter of discipline than physical problem. The book partially confirms my prejudice.

There are many treatments for ADD children. Instead of using drugs and other similar chemical therapies, the book recommends that the best therapy is management and development of certain techniques. This is nothing but applying some disciplines on children, to which I agree without any reservation

Here are some therapy tips.
(1) User planner, stick notes or calendar as a reminder for deadlines and anything that need your care.
(2) Make a list of to-do-task when you feel overwhelmed by the amount of work that need to be done. Manage each task from this list.
(3) Use key words to help you focus on task on hand
(4) Divide time into small chunks and allocate tasks for each small timeframe. Strictly complete each task without given time.
(5) Use plan instead of impulse

Good luck to both children and parents.



Time Management Tool for All of Us



Time management — I have found it an universal challenge facing adults and children alike. I know the frustration that one feels over the passage of time without getting anything done and the dire consequence of constantly waiting for tomorrows. Hence, I created this easy-to-keep table for all who have issues with time management and care to keep track. You can get rid of this tool when you can manage your time well.



Developing Good Habit, Key to Good Parenting


My mother shared with me an article on children education, entitled “Habits determine a child’s destiny” written by some expert in education. Below are some notable notes from the reading.

Children without exception want to do well at school. The trouble with those not-so-good children is they are bedeviled beyond themselves by some bad habits. On the other hand, the key to good students is their good habits. Habits are certain stable and automatic behavior that links the stimulus and reaction. A habit is initially formed when a behavior is repeated and maintained in at least 21 days and become stable after 90 days.

A habit is restricting on the surface but liberating in essence. You seem to be restricted from doing the undesirable things, yet it liberates you from ever thinking of not doing it at all. That is, you avoid doing thing of low value without ever thinking of avoiding! Isn’t that wonderfully energy-liberating!

Good habits bring you many unexpected good opportunities while bad ones ruin you without your knowing it.

A Russian educator once said something like this. Good habits are an asset deposited in one’s CNS (central nerve system), which will continuouslly appreciate over time, enabling a person to benefit from its endless interests. On the other hand, bad habits are moral debts which will continuously accumulate and augment to an uncontrollable mass pressing on your nerve till your last moment. As the result, you will never be able to pay it in full in your lifetime and eventually it will lead you to total bankruptcy. In my mother’s own word, a bad habit will push you over a thousand-depth cliff. What a horrible nightmare!



Observations and Random Thoughts in China


Human feelings invariably play a role in all human interactions, no matter where you go. In the U.S. the first impression during a job interview is very much made of feelings, one’s like or dislike of the interviewees, unexplainable at times and not based on reason. Yet, in most cases, feelings play a much lesser role in the U.S. than in China. The United States, being vastly different from China, is largely a land of laws.

The visit of the aunt and uncle of the family on 1/19/2010 brought to us the news of their son’s second divorce, under the excuse of his second wife’s mistreatment of the child of his first marriage. Later we learned the man had another extramarital affair before this second divorce, as if history repeats itself again and again, giving us a peek at coming attractions. No wonder China rates highest in divorce in the land strangely governed by human feelings and relations instead of laws and rules, fashionably reinforced by modern divorce laws.

I have always been puzzled by the surreal complexities of human relations in an other-oriented culture but am more than amazed by the rising disintegration of families brought upon by the hot pursuit of inner-oriented feelings or gan3 jue3 at the cost of everything else.

It is no exaggeration to claim that on the average people in China are hugely more complicated than those outside China.



The Purpose of Education


What a boring topic, as if I did not know it! I am sure people from background can come up with different understanding on this question.

The question popped up in my mind when I was chatting with my relatives in China. The more they talk about schooling, the more I feel lost. They spend so much time on preparing for the exams, all kinds of them, so much so that you feel exam preparation is the center of gravity, the core of education, leaving you wondering what, in the end, we want to get out of education, other than good grades.

Einstein was once quoted saying something like this. “What is education? It is whatever left after we forget all that were taught to us.” Educational process is like water flowing through our brains; the deposit is what we eventually get from this process.

Grade reports are rather superficial and temporary when comparing to a person’s ability to think, analyze, search and research, persistency in goal-setting and pursuing, personal integrity, responsibility and reliability, and all the fine qualities that will accompany and benefit a person in the long years to come.

Alas, I just realize there are so many things that are more important than a mere good grade. Still, for now, I love good grades. The more, the better.



Ethics and Clinic Research, Protection of Human Subjects (3)


The Belmont Report of 1979 is the cornerstone and the foundation behind all of federal rules and regulations governing today’s clinic research, at least according to my understanding.

As a further reaction to Tuskegee Syphilis Study (1932-1972), the then United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare drafted and passed this report in Belmont Conference Center. That’s how the report got its name. The report attempted to lay out the basic ethical principles and guidelines that should assist in resolving the ethical problems that surround the conduct of research with human subjects. The main idea of this report is RBJ — Respect, Beneficence, and Justice, so much absent in the Tuskegee Study.

Respect for persons –Individuals should be treated as autonomous agents; persons with diminished autonomy are entitled to due protection. No study can be legally carried out without the informed consent of the subjects.

Beneficence –No harmed shall be done to the human subjects. Research should maximize possible benefits and minimize any possible harms. The nature and scope of risks and benefits must be assessed in a systematic manner, so that benefits must be greater than risks.

Justice –The benefits and risks of research must be distributed fairly. The selection and treatment of subjects must be fair and square.



Self-Assessment Better than Other Assessment


I had a very interesting email exchange with the training and development manager in our company on 12/31/2009. When we were asked to have four people doing assessment on our leadership skills, I wrote to her, voicing my objections. I told her frankly that I don’t like the idea of letting others assess me. Why?

(1) I believe I know myself best and I can be as objective as I should be in judging myself. You can challenge my objectivity as much as I challenge that of other people’s.

(2) It is human nature that people can accept pleasantly anything unpleasant about themselves if only it comes from their own mouths. e.g. if I am fat and plain, it is perfectly okay if I mention my extra pounds but boy, how mad we would be if we hear it from others.

(3) Even worse, people tend to feel a bit resentful when they hear negative comments on themselves or get a lower rating. That’s why I always ask my children to do self-evaluation.

If we trust that our employees have the ability to assess themselves, why not handing over this tool to the employees instead of having others do it on them? What is the consequence of not trusting them? Damaging on all fronts. What is the consequence of not having an objective self-assessment? Nothing but lack of intellectual maturity. But the process might help them know themselves better and reach the level of mental maturity that they should have.

Finally, I believe it is always the best policy to have people do their own self-evaluation or assessment. Same can be said of our children.



A New Year Resolution for You and Me


This was sent to me by a colleague of mine on 1/6, right before I left for China. I love it. Here it is.

This New Year…..
Mend a quarrel.
Seek out a forgotten friend.
Write a love letter.
Share some treasure.
Give a soft answer.
Encourage youth.
Keep a promise.
Find the time.
Forgive an enemy.
Listen.
Apologize if you were wrong.
Think first of someone else.
Be kind and gentle.
Laugh a little. Laugh a little more.
Express your gratitude.
Gladden the heart of a child.
Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth.
Speak your love. Speak it again.
Speak it still once again.



Develop Wide Range of Interests to Prevent Dementia


While shopping at a nearby super-market in China, we talked about frequenting places of unfamiliarity as a prevention of senile dementia. One way of prevention is to do something different from what you normally do. This sounds new to me. I was once puzzled by the fact that some senior computer programmers or scientists like nobel prize laureate Charles Kao are struck down with Alzheimer’s disease.

One explanation is people who do not have a wide range of interests and are single-mindedly engaged in one kind of mental activity are likely to contract dementia in early senior years.

Talk about taking piano lesson or drawing class or having a variety of interests. The benefits of these classes and interests will be unfolded in the long years to come. Here’s for my children and those who care to live a long and healthy life.



Like a Mother Bird, We Build Nests for Our Offsprings


While I am in China, I hear lots of talks about Chinese parents amassing wealth for their children, in the form of house and money. To be true, it is a very primitive type of love that parents naturally demonstrate for their offsprings, very much similar to that shown in a mother bird when she builds a nest for her fragile eggs and baby birds before they can fly on their own.

Guess what? Human parents are a lot smarter and powerful than birdie parents. Human parents can build nests that covers way beyond the point of their childhood, intending to shelter all the way to children’s whole adulthood, rendering them incapable of living on their own, forever. Human parents are expert in bringing out dependent adult children. So loving, caring and dedicated! That is, if both parents and children are happy with this arrangements. Let us hope parents can live as long as or longer than their children.

For me, I still follow the primitive love of the birdie mom and let my youngsters stay in their first nest only before they are strong enough to fly on their own but let them out when they become independent adults. Absolutely no baby nest beyond their childhood. Cruel love!



Simple Scam on Simple-Minded People


On 1/12/2010, I went to meet three middle-high school classmates, two of them still working and one in retirement. I learned some kind of scam going on targeting senior citizens in China. The scam goes like this.

Some illegal people calls your home, confirming your name and bank account number, informing you that certain criminal group has crept into your bank account and intend to withdraw all your money. You should immediately transfer your money to another account, which is given to you over the phone. The key to the safety of your money is total confidentiality, not a word is uttered to anyone else, even to your spouse or children. As soon as your transfer is complete, the swindler takes away all but a few cents from your account. A friend of my classmate was thus swindled, with damage totalling half a million yuan or nearly 76,000 US dollar, the sum of her lifetime savings.

I related the detail to my mother, hoping she would be well informed. It turned out she already knew it and much more. Next she opened my eyes to more scams implemented here. Alas, I feel so out of touch with the reality in the land of my birth. I might be too ignorant or inexperienced or having lived in a very restricted and limited quarter. Anyway, I must admit that China has changed way deeper than I am prepared.



Children and Parents: You Reap What You Sow


While chatting with some of my long-time classmates, as early as our Preschool/Kindergarten years, we inevitably shifted the topic to parenting. We shared a similar family background with our parents serving in the army and dedicating their whole lives to the revolutionary cause, giving no thought of proper parenting of their youngsters, so typical of parents in those years.

Our parents gave us the least attention while we needed them most. Talk about proper guidance and nice things like these! Many of us got into the field of learning which least fit us and changed careers later in our lives.

Now that I become a parent, I want to do my share of duty and avoid the same experience in my children as I see it as the mission of a parent to discover what the children are interested in and where their natural aptitudes are and guide them through their formative years.

To be sure, nearly all parents throughout generations have the best intention for their children, but the results are so much different, subject to so many unpredicatable factors resulting from their personality, environment, and parenting style.

I like this well-known saying uttered by this classmate of mine, “Sow mellon, reap mellon; sow bean, reap bean.” So is it true with parenting, so is it with older children when they should know better than being stupid with their time.



Experience in Healthcare in China and in the US


I have been to healthcare practice both in China and in America, experiencing the same high quality medical service on both sides. To be sure, medical facilities in the US are far better equipped than those in China, though I am not sure if American physicians are as well qualified clinically as those in China. Yet, one striking difference that I have shockingly observed is that of privacy.

In America where HIPPA rules are adhered to everywhere in healthcare field, the accepted practice is one patient, one time and cared by one medical professional. It is a HIPPA violation if a doctor or any medical professional talks about patient’s problem in front of a third person without the permission of the patient. One cannot even leave a message about a lab or CT result on a patient’s answering machine without patient’s permission.

In China, all kinds of HIPPA rules that you can imagine are violated relentlessly with several patients sharing the same clinic room and even the same physician at the same time, even in GYN/OB clinics. At times I feel it rude to have someone interrupting the service when you expect full medical attention.

Do in Rome as the Romans do. The only wise thing to do.



Thoughts on My Observations and Experience


It has been a few days after I arrived home on 1/8/10. I spent a great deal of time chatting within family, interesting and thought-provoking at times. Here are some of my thoughts and observations that I think it worthwhile to share with my children.

(1) The only unconditional love that you can expect and experience in your life is the one from your parents. Parents are too ready to forget and forgive any wrongdoings of their children, and giving and loving without a thought of any return. On the other hand, other type of love, especially the one behind the forming of a marriage is the most fragile one, regardless how beautiful that kind of love is cherished and articulated. That is why one in two marriages in America ends up in divorce and we see this trend happening in China now.

(2) It is interesting to notice two of my cousins, brothers to each other, are going farther apart because of their different social-economic status, with one being a factory worker, the other being a mid-level manager. True meaningful happiness and interactions, even among siblings, are seldom maintained between people of unequal footing. So sadly true.

(3) Let go of control because the more you control with your tight fist, the less you will find in your hand. I never realize its importance until after I have learned more about one of my relative’s family. It actually makes sense regarding any type of human relations.

(4) Treat others the way you want to be treated. Or “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I am not sure if it is written in Bible or some kind of classic reading. I keenly feel there is so much wisdom in this saying yet so easily forgotten in real life.

I love truth just as I love hamburger and pizza because they give you fat and energy in this cold winter Beijing.

P.S. I miss my children greatly, especially when we talked about their time in China during their childhood.



Coming to America: The Long-Enduring Theme of a Journey


When I was talking with the newly-arrived relative about her son’s coming to America in May 2006, both of us believed it was beneficial to the young man in the long run in terms of his life’s experience and his maturity, even though it might not make economic sense as he sees one of his cousins started working right after college and has started building up wealth and seniority.

In the large context of a person’s life, this young man’s coming to America can be interpreted as imbarking upon a journey, a long-enduring theme in a literary work both in western and Chinese cultures. It is a journey to a faraway land in the quest of adventure, excitement, something new and better, through which the hero will eventually achieve the final triumph after repeated conquests over evils, devils and diverse adversities.

Very often, in the process of this journey, when the challenge is too overwhelmed, the protagonist inevitably suffers from the agony of setback and failures, to the point he/she even entertains moments of doubt and question. “It might be an unwise move to take on this journey,” or “After all, what is the meaning of it all?” — cropping up these questions.

In the case of those who embark the journey to America, the adversity presents itself in the form of unfamiliar language and the total social and cultural environment. Again, like the heroes in traditional journey novels, final triumph belongs to those who overcome all adversities in the land. I am fortunate to personally know numerous Chinese who have achieved high and great through this exciting journey. Again as for all epics, final triumph belongs to the brave and diligent.



Children Come Into Parents’ Lives for a Season


A friend of mine sent me a long piece on why people come into our lives. I cite the season part below.

“People come into your life for a REASON, a SEASON or a LIFETIME. When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.
…”

They are your children who come into the lives of their parents only for a season. When the season is over, they move on to their own lives. Therefore, treasure every moment of it when the season is still in.

P.S. I contacted two college classmates the next day after I arrived in Beijing, whom I have not seen for some years. To my surprise, the two reacted differently to my contact, with one sounding warm-heartedly and the other communicating coldness and suspiciousness, as if … Well, very interesting because they come from different social backgrounds.



Whatever Parents Proposes, It Is up to the Children to Make it Happen


I have shared my New Year Eve posting with my children and some of my friends as my heartfelt New Year wish. I hope they will appreciate the message in my writing and cram value into their time. Yet, I am not sure if it will happen. As a saying goes, “Man proposes, God disposes.” Eventually, whatever parents proposes, it is up to the children to make it a reality.

I talked to a monitor on 12/23 at SMMC about parenting. She has two young children. She said my children were lucky to have the proper guidance during their formative years. I said, “They are lucky only if they take my advice, and that I am not sure of.” Same as with other people that I talk and get in touch with. By the way, to my surprise, I have found not many people are truly interested in being wise parents for their children’s sake, though nearly all parents wish their children well.

P.S. Once again, I must reiterate this to my children. I found out social networking and Internet surfing are the biggest time-thief of all. Watch out!



Ethics and Clinic Research, Protection of Human Subjects (2)


An equally famous or infamous chapter in the history of clinic research is Tuskegee Syphilis Study (1932-1972). It occurred during a research project conducted by the U.S. Public Health Service, where 600 low-income African-American males, 400 of whom were infected with syphilis, were monitored for 40 years.

The participants were given free medical examinations, an incentive to any folks from low-income group; however, they were not told about their disease. Even though a proven cure (penicillin) became available in the 1950s, the study continued until 1972 with participants being denied treatment. In some cases, when subjects were diagnosed as having syphilis by other physicians, researchers intervened to prevent treatment. Many subjects died of syphilis during the study.

The study was stopped in 1973 by the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare only after its injustice was publicized and it thus became a political embarrassment. In 1974, National Research Act was passed due to the publicity from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. The Act created the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, which was charged to identify the basic ethical principles that should underlie the conduct of biomedical and behavioral research involving human subjects and to develop guidelines which should be followed to assure that such research is conducted in accordance with those principles.

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study is probably the worst case of unethical human subjects research in the history of the United States. In 1997, under mounting pressure, President Clinton apologized to the study subjects and their families.



Treat Others as Others; Self as Self


An old man gives a youth four pieces of advice:
(1) treat self as others
(2) treat others as self
(3) treat others as others
(4) treat yourself as yourself

Following the first advice, you will be able to better endure whatever sadness or happiness that you have when you imagine how others feel in your situation. With the second one, you will be able to feel the joy or the pain that others experience. The third one emphasizes the fact that each individual should be accepted and respected on his/her term, that no one shall impose his/her will upon others. The last one is this — we are responsible for our own lives.

It is so easy to forget accepting others and treating them with due respect, especially within family members or between intimate relationship. And very often we fail to be responsible for ourselves and our commitment. We would be much wiser and happier if we could take to heart these advices.



Self-Deceiving Behavior Hurt the Doer Most


Back in Ohio in early 1990s we had a neighbor, who brought a small Mac PC loaded with a few simple games, all in the name of learning English. Yet, she spent large chunks of time playing games, knowing too well that she should be better than this. Every time I called her, she told me she would close the game first for fear that her husband suddenly came home and found out her game addiction.

I always remember this episode as I thought to myself at that time, “You can cheat your husband and even everybody in the world, but you cannot cheat yourself. You cannot cheat your life. In the end, you hurt yourself most by this self-deceiving behavior. It is your time and your life that you game away. So foolish!”

When we met nearly a decade later, she commented how lucky I was with job, degree and two children while she had none. It is not the matter of luck. Each of us is given equal amount of time. How much can we expect to get out of our time with this self-deceiving behavior? Not much. Life is so precious. Don’t shortchange yourself with cheap games.

P.S. tomorrow morning I will leave for China for a 20-day visit. There are mountains of things that I need to attend on this last day. Already feeling exhausted inside out.



A New Year Resolution Dedicated to a Co-Worker


It happened again right after New Year break on the Monday of 1/4/2010, in the holiday spirit. A co-worker could not find something and deadly believed that I took and lost it. I was at another clinic today. Still that would not stop the barking of a mad rarity. To say I was not disturbed by the uncivilized outburst is a lie, even though I am aware of the fact that we are not on the same level on all aspects and I should block her out of my radar of attention.

I shared the experience with my daughter, who told me that I should tell the manager. There is a difference between school and company, though I don’t like adult way of settling differences either. To record this event, I wish this co-worker adopt the following New Year Resolution.

(1) Stop accusing others when you don’t have any evidence
(2) Stop treating others less than human
(3) Stop yelling when you can talk
(4) Stop acting like a brainless high school bully in work place

P.S. I shared my writing with a friend of mine who cannot understand why I don’t rise up in arms and fight. I don’t risk my peace of mind this easily. Honestly, this is the only really bad egg in the pot and I have never been in it.



Holiday Season Ends Today at Least For Some of Us


Today the house is strangely empty, a nice break though. My daughter resumes school and my son goes back to college. Two relatives are out in the Southeast touring the States for one week. Less housework, less cooking, less noise, another kind of blessing.

I am so glad that my son made a winter break plan and made efforts to follow through. For both of my children, I have to emphasize this again — No plan means plan to fail. If we don’t want to fail, we always plan ahead.

Here’s the New Year Resolution of one person.
(1) Complete phase I of the project and start phase II this year
(2) Exercise at least three times every week
(3) Continue looking for better ways working with the youngsters
(4) Continue working on self-improvement

Here’s one from another person from my work place:
(1) Lose 25 pounds
(2) Save 10 percent for each paycheck
(3) Exercise daily

I never forget one of my colleagues in 2005 before I moved to the clinic site. She blamed all of her relatives for her obesity when I observed with a silent horror how she devoured a whole huge chocolate cake. I see this blaming game all the time, including myself. It is almost natural for most people to shift responsibilities to others when something undesirable happens. On the other hand, it is sorely funny that we maximize the power of others when things go wrong and celebrate that of our own and give ourselves full credit when things go wonderfully. What a great shame!

For many of my dear friends, when we make excuses for not taking good care of ourselves, we know deep in our heart that we are responsible for ourselves and there is absolutely no excuse for failing in taking care of ourselves first. We are the ones who fail.

Here’s one from C. Darwin, “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.



An Architect Lost His Job and Stayed Unemployed


Yesterday was a cold Saturday. I went to a friend’s house, where we talked about economy or rather the bad economy and severe unemployment. She told me of one of her acquaintance who used to be an architect but has lost his job for some time. The guy has been home waiting for some architect job openings. Luckily the wife still has the job.

This is so typical with not a few people who have lost their job but refuse to adjust their expectations and get back to work force in whatever form they can. If they cannot find a job relating to their educational background, find whatever job in the market as long as there is paycheck, unless the guy is willing to be a stay-home dad. Otherwise, anything is better than staying home and waiting…

I told my friend that the guy got to have some other skills that he can sell. All he needs is to make an inventory of his skills and expertise and check these skills against job market. Once he finds a match, go full speed selling his skills. One step back, if the guy has no marketable skills, try and get some training or re-education. Trust me the combinations of these two assets — skills and initiative– can eventually take you to your destination and much much farther than that.

My daughter heard the story, commenting, “The guy got to change his course if that road has no outlet.”



If It is a Good Thing, Start It Now


The New Year’s day is gone like a flash. Now day after New Year, I am thinking of implementing New Year Resolution. To be sure, we all have one for this year, just as we did for the past few years.

This is what has happened at my office, which makes me think again. A few days before New Year, I heard a few colleagues of mine talked about weight control starting right after New Year. “I will start over with a clean slate with the New Year.” It sounds a bit ridiculous when you think of the fact that if they start controlling their food intake during holiday season and gain less weight, they will have a relatively less weight to lose after the New Year. I can find no reason for not starting weight control right now.

“New Year New Me.” I heard this kind of talk too often to believe it, especially from my children. Experience has told me that chances are they won’t stick to it for long. Because New Year is a once-a-year occasion and self-discipline and self-improvement are constant nonstop demand on ourselves, a long term commitment that recognizes no time frame and no spacial limit.

For anyone who wants to make a change to his life, there is no better time to start than this very moment.

P.S. last night we went to a friend’s house for New Year’s day dinner — another extra load of food for the holiday season. This is the last weekend before my son leaves for college and before I leave for a 20-day trip to China.



New Year Resolution — Why I Insist on Having It



Happy New Year!
This post is scheduled to be out on 01-01-10 01:01. It is so cute to see so many 01s lining up neatly, reminding me of the binary numeral system.

“It is this time of the year,” I told my children to hammer out their New Year Resolutions just to carry on this family tradition, specifically the practice that I imposed and insisted since their early years. They have certain built-in psychological resistence to any suggestion of this kind. “You asked us to write this every year. If we don’t pay any attention to it afterward, what’s the use of writing it?” one of them asked.

“Good question,” said I. That’s how I answer a question when I don’t have the answer. Still, I insist on their writing something on computer or on paper because having a resolution. Even if they cannot implement it, it is better than not having one, in case they want to have something to target at. Plus, I still believe it a good habit and like all good things, it is so easy to get rid of it and leave room for its opposite to slip in. Good thing they all work out something to this effect.


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