I’m a leader though I have never been a supervisor or a manager or a boss of any kind


This sounds like a classic oxymoron, same difference, right? Right. How can you be a leader and command a group of followers when you are not in a leadership position to command and lead?

Still, I call myself a leader when I treat everybody with due respect like what a real leader should do, greeting everyone with a smile and bellowing out good morning to colleague walking from afar.

I call myself a leader when a group of colleagues complain and I chip in, “What’s the solution? We won’t get anywhere without that.” In other words, what’s the use of complaining? Let’s focus on the real thing. I did steer the herd away from their favorite indulgence.

I call myself a leader when I recognize the positive forces around me and try to encourage that force by letting people realize their own positivity. Like telling people, “You are so positive! I like working with you.”

I call myself a leader when the manager joined the pack in steamy gossips and I, instead of succumbing to this group pettiness, cracked open the door and said a doctor was passing by, which put them back to work.

I lead by example, by simply being the role model that I have aspired to be. Everyone can be a leader in his/her group. Everyone can inspire and influence, command respect and authority, by exemplifying our values and principles.

Everyone has an ideal self. Be that self. And you are the leader.



“Where do you see yourself five years down the road?”


A young colleague of mine, one year younger than my son, came in for a short while today. She was in a hurry, saying too much work and too much stress. She is a smart one and has a high aspiration. I once told her to look out for her own dream and her own agenda. I shared my son’s word with her — “Life’s too short to live other people’s dream.” It’s been over a year since that conversation.

She started working here at the end of March 2014. It’s been nearly a year and a half. I wish she could start something seriously instead of toiling on here. Really this is the place where people like me are hanging on and waiting for retirement. Today I wrote on a thick piece of paper — “Where do you see yourself five years down the road?” and gave it to her, telling her to keep it as a reminder. She said I always gave her good advice. She will keep it with her all the time as a reminder.

This reminds me of my advice to another colleague of mine back in 2007 when both of us just started at research. She was in her early 30s then, now pushing towards 40 with two young children.

At that time, I asked her if she wanted to be like the then CRC in our team by the time she was their age. She said no, with an emphasis. Now after 8 years, nothing has changed. It is harder to initiate changes now than if she did it, say 5 years ago, even though she still can. Time and tide wait for no man.



Going to a cinema without watching the movie


Yesterday around 9 PM we drove to the cinema on Antioch and 55th street in Merriam, where my daughter and her friends often go. She said it was too expensive to watch movies at AMC (American movie theater chain). For the same movie, you watch it for $4 at cinema while over $10 at AMC.

It was Saturday evening. It was okay to have some fun driving 11 miles to a cinema, even though I was sure I would fall asleep there. Because I seldom stay so late at night now.

The cinema at Antioch and 55th street is really huge with a vast parking lot. While waiting in line at the ticket booth, I noticed those movie-goers were young people. My daughter said the couple in front of us were younger than she was. They were perhaps high schoolers.

The movie that we were going to watch had already started while we were still waiting for the ticket. Finally, it was our turn. The salesgirl told me the total cost. Without thinking, I was going to pay for it. My daughter cut in, confirming the cost of each ticket.

She couldn’t believe what she heard. Immediately she said to the salesgirl, “We are not going to watch it” and told us “Let’s go.” I was glad we turned back home because I was really tired and feeling a bit uneasy over the thought of sitting in a huge room with a few hundred young folks.

It turned out that she normally goes there with her friends on weekdays. They raise ticket prices on weekends. I am proud of my daughter.



Tutoring essay writing and making a difference…


Tomorrow I will start tutoring a friend of mine’s teenager boy on his writing skill. I was a bit dreadful of taking on this task, as I was afraid that I might not be of any help at all. Then the thought that I might make some difference in another person’s life motivates me to take the challenge. I might be able to improve the quality of his writing which might help him in the long run. This is rather encouraging to me.

The task seems daunting to me because I know it takes much more than writing skills to write well. In fact, it takes a certain level of logical and clear thinking in addition to language skill to be able to produce high quality works. How can I teach a person how to think when people think differently from one another? How can I judge what is a good writing and what is not when there are different styles involved?

It is a path filled with uncertainties. Still, I proceed. Because I believe I can be a positive influence in a person’s life.



Sending my son back to NYC today…


I told my son that we were going to NYC to see him during a weekend in August. He said it was a lot easy for him to come back home for a week. So he did.

He came back last Saturday, 7/25. It has been the most joyful week for me. I feel extremely blessed for having him back, even if it’s only a week. He told me his company was going to launch their product on 9/1, so August would be a busy month. Today we drove to the airport again to send him back to New York.

I felt sad and was quiet as I helped him packing things up and sadder as I said goodbye. It’s like before, like every time I went to the airport to send him off. I can never get used to his leaving.

We hugged each other goodbye. I told him to keep fit and get more values out of our time here, together or separate.


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