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

1, Jul 11, 2019

Remembering my father

Filed under: Father — admin @ 12:09 am

My father left us on July 11, 1987. I don’t know what the life would be like if he were here. I have no doubt that he would thrive and be very productive if he were alive. Every year, on this special day I make a point of writing something to remember him, so that I will be a better person. This year I wrote it in Chinese what my mother told me about him.

1, Jul 11, 2018

Remembering my father today, the summer of 1987

Filed under: Father — admin @ 12:51 am

I remember the date July 11, 1987 when my father left us. But only this year I realize that he left in a summer. Perhaps because it has been very hot this year.

On this day, as I have done many times in the past, I tried to gather some flowers for him. This year when I thought of summer, I would like very much to share with him some summer scene, green grass and wild flowers under the blue sky. I wish he could see this lovely scene. I wish… so many of my wishes and so many words about what I have been doing. I hardly know where to begin.

In short, for me my father has always embodied the best qualities of man. I am still trying to live up to this model of mine.

Each year when I go back to China, I ask my mother to tell me about my father. I will do more of this next year.

1, Jan 16, 2018

You must have a plan for a semester, a summer, a year…

Filed under: Father,Learning,Life — admin @ 11:00 am

Lately I had a rather difficult exchange with one of my relatives. He goes to a local college here. He went back to China for winter break and came back on New Year’s Day. As soon as he got back, he made it clear that he would go back to China in May for the summer. That means he would spend both winter and summer breaks in China, totally four months out of a year. Two trips and four months in one year! This is crazy. I mean when I went to school back in 1980s, I lived on scholarship. Not much, of course. I made a trip back home once in three years. I just cannot wrap my head around this!

I know they have money now, still it makes no sense. I cannot advice them not to waste money since they seem to have too much on hand. I can only approach them about making good use of time, three whole months in summer.

I wrote to my relative, “What ultimately matters is no matter where he spends his summer, he needs to have a goal, a plan, so that he can get something done, so that he won’t waste his life. It’s OK if he desires the comfort that Beijing home offers to him. It’s OK that he wants to be high with his friends in Beijing, but it’s not OK to waste the whole summer without getting anything done.”

“I remember when I was in elementary school, my father always asked me to make a plan for the summer break, expecting me to complete at least one thing during the summer. I didn’t know better at that time and was rather resentful of writing any plan. When my children were little, I set the same expectation of them. Now both of them have got into the habit of planning and finding a goal for a set period. So much so that even my son’s girl friend is going to write a resolution for this year. I think it a good practice. It helps us not to waste time.”

Since I spent some time on this issue, I found it rather meaningful, helpful. So here’s the record.

1, Jan 11, 2018

Remembering my father…

Filed under: Father — admin @ 1:08 pm

On 5/4/2017, while I was in China, my sister mentioned one thing about our father. When he was around, he never spoke ill of people behind their backs, neither did we at that time. But after he passed away, we all started bad-mouthing people, including our mother.

What she said is true. Why so? Why do we start gossiping and bad-mouthing after my father left us?

I don’t know the answer at this moment. In fact, the answer is not important. What matters is the fact that we realize this and we want to get back to the way my father wished if he were still around.

I am genuinely sorry that I have deviated from the teaching my father exemplified in his life. I want to be a nice and kind person like my father. Apples do not fall far from the tree. I want to show to myself that I am my father’s daughter in deed!

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 11, 2016

Remembering my father who left us 29 years ago

Filed under: Father — admin @ 12:16 am

Remembering my father07112016
It was a Saturday, 7/11/1987, when my father breathed his last and I was in America at that time. I was not there when he passed, which has been a huge remorse ever since. I know he died of cancer which I could do nothing about. Still I often dream of other realities and of things and activities that we could do together if he were around.

More often I thought it would be a huge comfort to him if I kept doing what he wished, even though I know this is nothing but a wishful thinking. I don’t believe people feel or know anything after death. It’s all over beyond that point, as if that person had not been around at all. It’s all what the living does in order for the living to feel better. The dead lives in the mind of the living only.

With that thought, I often feel pressed for time. Time is all we have in this life. My father’s life was cut short at age of 57. So many events, significant and unprecedented, happened in China and in the world during the past 29 years and he wasn’t able to witness them at all. He was an exceptionally intelligent and diligent man and could have accomplished so much in 29 years. He would be 86 years old now if he were around. The thought of that reminds me of the fact that being healthy is of paramount importance to me now, that I need to take good care of myself especially when my daughter is still young. I don’t know what my father wants now, but I know what my children want from me and I still have a lot to deliver on.

Before I can create and enjoy life, I must have a good health. This is what I think of today, the day when I remember my father.

1, Jul 11, 2015

July 11, in memory of my father

Filed under: Father — admin @ 12:27 am

It has been 28 years since my father left us. Every year on this date I think of him and the memories that I keep about him. There are lots of thoughts on this around this time of the year.

Sometimes, I wonder if my father knew how much we miss him, as if he were in heaven and were watching us. Then I realize this is simply not true. I want very much to tell him that he has not died, that part of him is still alive in us, not physically but spiritually.

I want to tell him that the older I am, the more I realize that I am so much like him in many ways, like having this never-ending drive to be something better with each passing day, that with this desire to learn and never letting a day pass without learning something new, even as I approach 6 decades of life and still try to learn a new language.

Even in my dealing with people, I have the same kindness that my father possessed, that I never hurt people, exactly like what he wished. He just never said anything bad about anyone at all. He truly had an angel heart! The sad part is when he was alive, we never told him this and he never knew how we appreciate and carry on his legacy.

I want to tell him that his two grandchildren are very much like him, too. They are extremely kind-hearted and have the same thirst for knowledge as their grandfather and the desire to be better everyday. I bet it would be a huge comfort if he knew this.

He was such a rare wonderful man. I wish he were still here with us. I miss my father. It is definitely unfair that he was taken away so early in his life.

1, Aug 22, 2014

A father sending his son off to college

Filed under: Father — admin @ 8:29 am

If you feel a sense of loss or overwhelmed with sadness when you have to say goodbye to your child, you will find many parents, be they famous or not famous, share your feeling. I read this piece today, Rob Lowe on sending his son off to college. It is a very touching one, well articulated, though a bit long when the author keeps flashing back to his childhood.

It is nearly a week since my daughter left for Boston. I still could not hold back tears when this morning I opened refrigerator and found blueberry that she likes and we bought for her. Everyday when I drive back home, passing their high school, the memory of going there always come back, hurting me. I don’t remember how many times I cried when I entered an empty house after work.

I told my son “No worry. Time will heal it all.” But as we age, the past is so much present and that past is no more. It seems time won’t do the trick, unless we lose memory of the dear-departed past.

Of course, that will be a terrible thing because that means senior dementia. It’s better to be tortured by the past memories than by any disease of this type. For now, I try to behave well as I know what my children expect me now.

1, Jul 13, 2014

A family man met his death at the hand of a high-priced call girl

Filed under: family,Father — admin @ 1:33 am

I read this piece of news on 7/9 about a Google exec’s overdose death on yacht.

The 26-year-old high-priced call girl Alix Tichelman and 51-year-old google executive Forrest Hayes “met on, which according to the website is, for sugar daddies and sugar babies seeking mutually beneficial relationships and arrangements.”

They had met a few times before their Nov. 26 encounter on Hayes’ 50-foot yacht, Escape, at the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor, said Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark.”

The “SANTA CRUZ Police have arrested the call girl from Georgia who is suspected of injecting heroin into a Santa Cruz tech executive on his yacht and then fleeing when he overdosed.

“Tichelman, who allegedly worked as a call girl, had an ‘ongoing prostitution relationship’ with Hayes, who was married and a father of five, police said.”

“Hayes, originally from Dearborn, Michigan, worked in the auto industry early in his career. He lived in Santa Cruz for years and worked at technology giants such as Sun Microsystems, Apple and Google, according to his friends and family. He is survived by his wife of 17 years and his five children.

“Forrest will be remembered above all as a loving husband and father. More than anything else he enjoyed spending time with his family at home and on his boat,” according to a January obituary that his family wrote for the Sentinel. “His brilliant mind, contagious smile and warm embrace will be missed and cherished in memories by his friends and family.”

Family man–Hayes’ co-workers and friends described him as intelligent, a family man with a great sense of humor with a penchant for impulse buys.”

This is a big joke or what — a loving husband and father, a family man with 5 children messed up with a 26-year-old high-priced call girl and lost his life? Would he be still alive if he were a truly family man? Of course, he would. Someone got to come up with a new definition of a family man , that is the one with “ongoing prostitution relationship” to convince me that he was one of them.

I know I shouldn’t be too harsh to a “dear departed.” Still, truth be told, he got himself in this ending. A lesson for all is, no matter how rich and successful you are, be good and don’t do what Forrest Hayes had done to himself and to his family. What a shameful ending!

1, Jul 11, 2014

Remembering my father, July 11, 1987

Filed under: Father — admin @ 12:42 am

I searched flowers for my father. There were so many of them that I would like to gather them all for him, which was, of course, not possible. Here are some of them. I know he would like them all. It is 27 years since his departure.

To my father 07112014

1, Jul 29, 2013

One of those morning walks and chat on the grandparent

Filed under: Father — admin @ 12:23 am

During one of those morning walks with my daughter, I shared some of my father’s stories with her. On the one that I posted on 7/11, she said, “Never said a bad word about someone? This is so rare!” That’s what I thought, too.

It could be because he was not interested in what was going on with others. He was a very introvert person. It could also be because he thought it morally wrong to say bad things about others. I cannot state explicitly or exactly the reason, as I had never asked him about it.

Both my daughter and I agree it is a good habit and rule to go by. Actually, I told my daughter she was very much like her grandfather in this aspect, better than I am.

1, Jul 11, 2013

Today in History, my father left us 26 years ago today

Filed under: Father — admin @ 12:27 am

My father (10/30/1929 – 7/11/1987) was still young when he left us 26 years ago.

This year when I went back to China, my mother talked to me again about my father. Most of the stories are not new to me. My mother told me my father was a real kind-hearted man. She had never heard him say unkind words about others, not a single one, either in front of or behind that person. If he heard others say something along that line, he would only smile.

Honestly, none of his three children are like him in this aspect. We all gossip and indulge in endless exchanges of nasty words behind people’s back. Strange enough, both of my children are like their grandpa. They would correct me or my prejudice when I behave this way.

When my father died, I couldn’t understand why he left so young because I still believed at that time that good people would have a happy ending. Not really. In real life, good people often die early probably because they have been too nice to others and too unselfish to give themselves a break, break from being nice to others. Also in real life, selfish people way outlive unselfish ones. Why?

I took this picture on 6/1 this year when I went to Ba-bao-shan with my daughter this year.
Words on My fathers tombstone

1, May 8, 2013

Sherwood Anderson’s letter to his son

Filed under: Father — admin @ 12:59 am

On 4/23, the day my daughter went to Minneapolis with her school, I read this piece from a book. It is writer Sherwood Anderson’s letter to his son written on 1927. I love it and am amazed how wise he was as a father to a teenager child.

“The best thing, I dare say, is first to learn something well so you can always make a living. Bob seems to be catching on at the newspaper business and has had another raise. He is getting a good training by working in a smaller city. As for the scientific fields, any of them require a long schooling and intense application. If you are made for it nothing could be better. In the long run you will have to come to your own conclusion.

The arts, which probably offer a man more satisfaction, are uncertain. It is difficult to make a living.

If I had my own life to lead over I presume I would still be a writer but I am sure I would give my first attention to learning how to do things directly with my hands. Nothing gives quite the satisfaction that doing things brings.

Above all avoid taking the advice of men who have no brains and do not know what they are talking about. Most small businessmen say simply — ‘Look at me.’ They fancy that if they have accumulated a little money and have got a position in a small circle they are competent to give advice to anyone.

Next to occupation is the building up of good taste. That is difficult, slow work. Few achieve it. It means all the difference in the world in the end.

I am constantly amazed at how little painters know about painting, writers about writing, merchants about business, manufacturers about manufacturing. Most men just drift.

There is a kind of shrewdness many men have that enables them to get money. It is the shrewdness of the fox after the chicken. A low order of mentality often goes with it.

Above all I would like you to see many kinds of men at first hand. That would help you more than anything. Just how it is to be accomplished I do not know. Perhaps a way may be found. Anyway, I’ll see you this summer. We begin to pack for the country this week.

With love,


1, Apr 2, 2013

From a loving father

Filed under: Father — admin @ 12:54 am

YanBin on parenting
This is from a friend of mine When we talked about parenting boys. I think it a simple statement showing a fatherly love for his daughter.

1, Dec 17, 2012

The stove that sings, a woman’s memory of her childhood

Filed under: Father,Mother — admin @ 12:37 am

On 12/13/2012, a friend of mine sent me this story by Chi Zijian. Below is the beginning and the ending of this short piece.

The stove that sings

The author records a piece of her childhood memory, a sweet one in hindsight, when her father took her and her sisters to the snow-covered mountain in winter. I am not sure if the father was aware of this far-reaching impact on his daughter. Maybe it doesn’t matter whether or not he was aware of that. What matters is the result.

Reading piece like this often leaves me with a feeling of regret and then of sadness because, once it’s gone, I cannot relive those precious childhood with them. I should have done this or that with my children to make them happier.

1, Oct 30, 2012

Tyler Perry on his motivation, his mother and his father, part II

Filed under: Father,Mother — admin @ 12:47 am

Tyler Perry’s father was so abusive that Tyler once went so far as to consider suicide as a way to free himself from his abuse. Because of this experience, he hated his father all his life until he was in his 30s when he “started on the path of letting go.” Because he realized that “If you’re holding on to the anger and the pain of what someone has done to you, you are not hurting them at all, you are hurting yourself.”

“… the anger was the fuel, but what happens – and this is why a lot of people don’t want to let go of the anger… And once I forgave him, I was no longer angry. So I lost the motivation, and I lost the fuel.”

When Terry Gross asked “So, what’s it like for you to take care of him [his father] after he was so cruel to you?”

Tyler Perry said, “… first of all, I believe you honor your father and your mother, period, no matter what, no matter who they were, no matter what they did; …”

The money is an easy partWhat he doesn’t have with me, which I think is worth way more than money, is a relationship – a father-son relationship.”

Indeed, it is one thing that a child fulfills his filial duty to the aging parents; it is another when they have this genuine parent-child relationship — with open communications, loving care and respect for each other. No money can buy this parent-child relationship.

1, Oct 29, 2012

Tyler Perry on his motivation, his mother and his father, part I

Filed under: Father,Mother — admin @ 12:20 am

On 10/15/2012, while driving home, I listened to NPR program — Fresh Air’s Terry Gross interview with Tyler Perry, the screenwriter, director, producer and actor.

There are many excellent parts in the interview. One of them is the following, when Terry Gross asked him “When you started making money, … what were your dreams of what to do with your money? Was it to, you know, just, like, reinvest it into more of your work? Or were there, like, material possessions that you really wanted?”

Perry answered, “I had one dream and it was to – and when I was a kid I told my mother I would take care of her so she wouldn’t have to deal with my [abusive] father. And I didn’t know how much of a driving force that was until she died. That had been the burning fire in the pit of my soul for many, many years. And I never thought any amount was enough.

“I know it sounds really crazy but I was working so hard and didn’t realize it until the day she died when I had no motivation, no – nothing. Didn’t want to do anything. Didn’t want to get out of the bed. Nothing mattered, as far as work and success. So that was my motivational factor, just to be able to support and take care of her and give her the life that I felt that she deserved and should have always had.”
To be continued…

1, Nov 2, 2011

Ideas, Gifts, Men and Women

Filed under: Father — admin @ 12:27 am

Good sayings — I dug them out back in August, copied them down before I threw it away.
Kind words can be short, but their echoes are long.
Lucky is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.
The most important part of communication is to hear what is not being said.
The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.
The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.

On 8/23, I told my daughter that the least quality that a man is expected to possess is responsibility at work and at home. I have seen too much lack of it among male folks.

She asked me why I did not expect a woman to be responsible. I said, “A woman can do something that no man can, that is, giving birth. A man should keep in mind that she is at her weakest moment in her life and needs him most when she makes the greatest contribution to their family, at the moment of giving birth to his child. This is also the touchstone of a man’s responsibility.”

Moreover, stay away from he who believes giving birth is the only thing that a woman can do.

1, Jul 11, 2011

In Loving Memory of My Father

Filed under: Father — admin @ 12:23 am

Today marks the 24th anniversary of my father’s departure from this world. I always observe this day not only to honor the memory of my father but also reflect and remember what he left to the living.

The household that I grew up is very much like everybody else in my generation — basic, void of unnecesssary luxury. The only electronic gadget in our family was a radio box, which I took apart at least twice, once without a book, once with one. I remember the only place that had a lock on was a bookshelf, with plenty of old books. They must be very precious to my father.

All of his children have now shared his love of books, although none of them have read as much as he did. This brings to my mind the motto on his desk–it is always beneficial to read.

I wish he were still around and I would get him a large size kindle and open an amazon account for him, so that he could read to his heart’s content.

1, Jul 11, 2010

To a Wonderful Father, With Love

Filed under: Father — admin @ 12:28 am

A few days ago, I searched around trying to find a flower for my father. I know he loved flowering plants but I never had a chance to find out his favorite ones. July 11 of 1987 saw his early departure from this life. 23 years later, as I try to honor the memory of him by writing about his life, I realize once again how little I actually know of his life stories, his childhood living with his stepfather, his experience in the army, years in Korea, his journey from a remote country village to the capital of the country.

I knew my grandmother was an old-fashioned village teacher. She not only gave her son his elementary education but also inspired him to fly high. But again, much as I want to know the person who had once exerted tremendous influence on my father, this person remained as unknown to me as any stranger on the street.

Winston Churchill liked to wonder about the future, always asking what would happen next, in one year or 5 years, etc. During his senior years, he realized that he had had a very eventful life and there must be many people who would write about him after he passed away. “Instead of having others write about me, I am going to write about myself.” And there he was, out with three volumes of memoirs and much more, setting the fact straight for all who later attempted to write about his life.

I wish my father had left some writing so that we had a chance to get to know him. I wish he could see the flowers that I have gathered for him here.

1, Jun 21, 2010

A Wonderful Father in To Kill A Mockingbirds

Filed under: Father — admin @ 12:10 am

In the spirit of celebrating Father’s Day, I have to post an entry on a wonderful father, — Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird, one of the books that I have never failed to appreciate. Written by Harper Lee, it is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of 1960. It has been half a century since its debut and it will definitely go down history as one of the powerful classic books. I like the main characters — the widowed dad and the 6-year-old daughter, Atticus and Scout Finch.

The story, being historically realistic, happened in 1930s in American South. The lawyer Finch is to defend a black man who is wrongly accused of raping a white woman. Knowing the danger and the threat from the white mobs that he will face, Atticus demonstrates an admirable courage when he takes on the role of defending this black man.

The readers are impressed by his strong sense of justice and the courage to fight for it. As a dad and a single parent, Atticus has given his children the value and a good role model that will shape the minds and influenced them throughout their lives. As a parent myself, I can relate it to myself when I think of the fact that my actions, conscious and unconscionce, will be observed and followed.

1, Jun 20, 2010

Be Good on this Father’s Day, Part 2

Filed under: Father — admin @ 12:08 am

Happy Father’s Day. To be continued from yesterday.
“Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. “What is it you want?” I snapped.

“You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.

“Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding – this was my reward to you for being a boy. It is not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.

“And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bed-side in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!

“It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: “He is nothing but a boy – a little boy!”

I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.”

In the end, it is the little boy’s good-night kiss that brought about all the changes in the heart of a father. Alas, on this wonderful Father’s Day, how many fathers miss this simple expression of love from their children or need this to enlighten them?

1, Jun 19, 2010

On the Eve of Father’s Day, Part 1

Filed under: Father — admin @ 12:20 am

Quote from Father Forgets.
This is dedicated to all parents, especially to dads on the eve of Father’s Day. I read this piece long ago but it is so touching that I have never been able to forget it. It was written by W. Livingston Larned, later condensed in the Reader’s Digest. I hope every father will read this piece.

“Listen, son: I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside.

“There are the things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.

“At breakfast I found faults, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbow on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, “Goodbye, Daddy!” and I frowned, and said in reply, “Hold your shoulders back!”

“Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the road I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbkes. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stocking were expensive – and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father!”
To be continued…

1, Feb 22, 2010

Next Life, We Won’t Meet Again, a Father to His Son, Part 3

Filed under: Father — admin @ 12:16 am

To be constinued.
(7) While you can make yourself keep your promise, you cannot make other do the same. You can be nice to others, but you cannot expect other to be the same. The way you treat others does not mean others should treat you in the similar manner. You will save yourself a lot of trouble if you can understand this.

(8) I have bought lotteries for about 20 years and are still penniless. This tells me a person has to work hard if he wants to thrive. There is no free lunch in this world.

(9) We only have one chance of being together. Please appreciate the moments when we are together. Next life, whether or not we love each other, we won’t meet again.

This last piece is so touching. I can’t believe it was written by a father. Indeed, value every moment when our children are with us. Once they leave us, they are on their own and nothing will be the same again, this life or next life.

1, Feb 21, 2010

Next Life, We Won’t Meet Again, a Father to His Son, Part 2

Filed under: Father — admin @ 12:14 am

To be continued from yesterday’s posting.
(4) There is no things like “loved most” in the world. Love is how one feels at that instance, but that feeling will definitely change with the passing of time and your mood. If the one you love most leave you, please give yourself some time as time will slowly wash away whatever you feel, … Do not expect too much of the beauty of love and exaggerate the sorrow over its loss.

(5) The knowledge that you have learned will empower with weapon [in his word]. While a man can rise above the world without anything, he cannot do anything without any resources. [I don’t know exactly what he means, but my guess is he wants his son to study hard and learn some skills as his resource. Nice way of expressing himself].

(6) I won’t ask you to support me in my later part of life. Similarly, I won’t support you either. When you have grown up and become independent, my responsibility for you will end. It will be totally up to you whether you take bus or Benz or have fish or rice noodle. [cool love]

1, Feb 20, 2010

Next Life, We Won’t Meet Again, a Father to His Son, Part 1

Filed under: Father — admin @ 12:19 am

This was sent to me by a friend of mine. It is a letter written by a Taiwan TV anchorman to his son. I love reading fathers’ letters to their children. They are so rare and so full of useful and rational love, vastly different from motherly one!

(1) Don’t take it seriously if somebody is not nice to you because nobody is obligated to be nice to you, except your mom and me. As for those who are nice to you, you should, apart from appreciating and feeling grateful, be on guard, because there are ultimate motives behind everything that people do. That is, when somebody is nice to you, it is probably not because he likes you. You really should not befriend of that person just because of this. [this is true and scary]

(2) Nobody is irreplaceable and no possession is a must. Once you realize this, you won’t take it to heart in case someone closest to you leave you or you lose all that you love most in the world.

(3) Life is but a brief span. While you waste your life today, tomorrow you will find life is farther away. Hence, the earlier you value your life, the more you will enjoy it. You would rather enjoy it early than expecting longevity.
To be continued tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.

1, Jul 30, 2009

Happy Birthday, A Dad Writes to His Daughter

Filed under: Father — admin @ 12:04 am

My heart misses a beat or two every time I read about a dad’s love for his child, no exception this time. I received the following from a long time friend of mine. A few scanty lines have expressed so much.

Late into the night, stars shimmering all over the sky;
Deep in my heart, for you
Qingqing, my dearest daughter,
A light is lit — a light of prayer.
On this day — a special day,
Your old dad,
Wish you — happy birthday and happy everyday in your life.
Happy birthday to you!!!


1, Jul 11, 2009

To the memory of my father, the flower and all

Filed under: Father — admin @ 8:50 pm

22 years ago, July 11, 1987, my father, consumed by cancer, left us forever. Otherwise, he would be 80 years old this year. I was then in America, a second year Ph.D candidate. This morning I called my son and talked to him about his grandfather.

My father had an exciting and interesting life, born and raised in a mountainous area in Shanxi, a country boy who left his home village as a teenager to join the army, then became a member of Chinese communist party, had been to Korean War, graduated from a college in Beijing, had been in the inner circle of Ministry of Culture, ending his political career as a high-ranking army officer.

My father seldom talked to us about his past experience, but occasionally we heard some stories about my father from his comrades and my mother. We learned that he always emerged a key player wherever he went. During the Cultural Revolution, once two large contentious groups in Tianjin were on the brink of violent clash, with their swords already out of sheath, my father talked both sides out of their arms and retreated to their home, thus preventing the bloodshed of a large scale.

I once urged my father to write down his stories, my father, being an astute yet deposited politician, said, “Whatever I write, no one will publish it.” “I can find some publishers in Hongkong,” said I. “Not possible.” My father liked reading biography or autobiography of politicians. He once indicated that someday he would write his own memoir. In the end he left unprepared, leaving nothing written, nothing except memories in the living.

At that time I didn’t understand why he did not let me get it outside China, especially his experience during the Cultural Revolution. Now when I think back, I understand how much freedom of speech he had for someone in his position. He belonged to the Party, regardless how he was treated. Nowadays, you don’t often see such dedicated and self-disciplined party member.

The world has changed tremendously since his times. I wish he were still here.

P.S. My father was very proud of my writing, showing them to his comrades whenever someone came over, modest as he was elsewhere. Writing is the time when I think of him, eager to make him a proud dad. 7/12/09

1, May 27, 2009

A Wonderful Father and the Son Relationship

Filed under: Father,Reading — admin @ 12:52 am

I have been lately reading a book, One in Three: a son’s journey into the science and history of cancer by Adam Wishart, 2007. The author is a London-based documentary filmmaker. The title of the book implies cancer is the disease that touches the lives of one person in three. Not pleasant to know. Forget this.

The author interweaves memories of his father and the story of his father’s cancer treatment with the western medical history of this disease. To be sure, the book is very informative on the one hand, making us appreciate the advances in science and technology in medicine. On the other hand, to me, the book is more like a celebration of a wonderful relationship between a father and his son. I am touched by the growing up experience of the author and his father, a very loving, caring and positive one!

The author recalled his childhood moments with his dad, his dad’s unremitting quest to educate him; the story of Dr. John Snow’s discovery, the first piece of work on epidemiology, the story of cholear epidemic of 1854, how the father and the teenage son went to movie together, so many such intimate moments of father and son … The readers can see the definit imprint of his father’s caring work in him.

The author fondly recalled, Dad “was always telling me stories about scientists, mathematicians, and revolutionaries … From my adolescence it was our habit to stay up late and, with Mum in bed, to sit talking about these things in the kitchen table. For two men who never spoke about their feelings, our intimacy consisted in sharing our interests in politics, history, or the progress of science. If I knew history, he thought, then I might be better able to navigate through my life, because he always used the past as a way to understand his place in the world.” p. 2

“When I was a child and Dad was in his early forties, he regularly carried me up the Lakeland fells so that I might see the English landscape laid out below.” p. 215 The book abounds with anecdotes like this.

Such a beautiful picture of father and son! Such a wonderful father! There are so many things that a father and his son can do together and so many chances for them to form a loving and meaningful relationship, yet some choose doing nothing at all or abandon these chances to live a richer life. How I wish most of the dad were like the dad of this author! Dreaming again, I know. Guess what? I just discover dreaming is the most harmless activity that one can engage, only on the verge of being useless.

1, Mar 24, 2009

Parenting — You Reap What You Sow

Filed under: Father — admin @ 8:13 am

Spring sowing season always reminds me of the Chinese saying, Sow bean, reap bean; Sow melon, reap melon. Don’t complain if you see other people’s plate full of delicious fruits while you don’t have any. You know I am talking about parenting, don’t you? It is both similar to and different from actual spring sowing.

They all emphasize the consequence of our actions in early time. The difference lies in the fact that you can always sow next time when spring comes around and there is always next spring as long as you live. Not with parenting, sadly to say. Once the child becomes an adult, we don’t have the magic to turn back the clock.

I know of two fathers, both being long-time friends of mine. One father has a son of my son’s age, about one month younger. He sounds such a grumpy dad, never writing to me without complaining about his son. The boy either failed in school or did not go to class after the dad had paid for the tuition. His negative attitude is very discouraging.

Honestly, I don’t have patience hearing him out and don’t even want to read his emails. To garbage, it often goes. Toxic and time-wasting. I know how cantankerous I sound to be. My questions are: where were you when the boy was little? Did you spend time making sure the boy on the right track? No, nothing like this. Then, as you sow so shall you reap. Don’t act like a whining baby.

Opposite to this is another friend of mine, also from high school, in fact, the dad of the girl who wrote poems posted on 3/4, 3/7, and 3/8 of this year. His writings of the girl are thoroughly exuberant with joy and content. You can even see his smile and happiness on his face just from his writing! Well, with your imagination. I am sooo happy for him!

If you spend your time going fishing or playing games while your child is little, in formative stage, think again. You might be better off postponing fishing or gaming till your child is in college, that is, till the fall of your season. Why? For your own happiness. Are you happy with a bitter melon in the fall?

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