All posts filed under: Reflections

Letters on Tuesdays – Seeing the World

Dear Wilton, We have been very privileged. Remember to thank mom and dad. Our parents never really stopped us from exploring the world around us, though sometimes it definitely made them uncomfortable. They were not passive either. Indeed, you can recall the numerous times that they took us on vacations to different countries in an effort to broaden our worldview and our horizons. Travelling and seeing the world take on different meanings as you grow older. As a kid, I was fascinated by the physical differences of all the places we went. Every place looked different and felt different. Some, like Singapore, was hot and humid. Others, like Thailand, was more rural and resort-like. Still others, like Japan, was highly technologically advanced. I was focused, always, on the present moment and present location. Slowly, however, I began to become more interested in the fabric that makes each place unique: history, environment, people, culture, etc. Perhaps the change was driven by my own interests in history and biology, further developed by my pursuit of an anthropology …

Letters on Tuesdays – That Friend You Hate to Love

A young man on his journey to make “F-you money”. Another one of my successful brothers from college. Dear Wilton, I have been very fortunate to have met and made friends with many great men so far in my young (somewhat, but probably not to you) life. As a kid, you have met many of them: Charly, Chicco, Michael, Ivan, Dan, Hien, Rambo, Nathan, and the likes. Most of them, it was a smooth ride to friendship from common interests and backgrounds. Other friendships, and perhaps you have experienced this, grew out of competition and contentious relationships. You know the old Chinese saying, “不打不相識” – unless you fight first, you won’t be friends. That literally sums up my friendship with Dan. To me, he is brazen and witty, sometimes callous, sometimes caring, but more often than not, a huge thorn in my side with his stinging banter. If he was a superhero, he would probably be more along the lines of Deadpool or Flash (but probably less comical) than say Thor or Batman. Yet, as much of a …

The Bus (in America)

It’s always darker in here. There are days without light. Even those loud colors are subdued on the upholstery. Then there are the bangs, shocks and impacts, direct hits of the road rattling up backs and spines. Rain dampens the floor with sun baked crumbs, gums and who knows what left behind, left forgotten. — The morning swell through the doors of untold routines and responsibilities. These weary eyes and ears time for signs to disembark. Yes, all is trapped, on routes dictated by stops. Outside the window, single passengers throttle by. It struggles to navigate the sea of more nimble cars. It struggles to maintain a timely pace. — Waiting could mean five minutes or twenty, with a near miss. Sometimes, a short sprint is required. It doesn’t wait. A suit and tie is rare among sweaters and hoodies, just as an unwashed shirt always lingers in the corners. It’s a decisive non-decision, collectively by those whose only way to get somewhere, is trapped together with some bodies. – Fu Lien Hsu Oct 27, 2016

Letters on Tuesdays – Defining Success

Image used cause my friend, pictured above, is a very successful man. I am sure you remember him. Dear Wilton, Last week I wrote about failure and accepting failure. In light of the previous discussion, it would make sense to discuss success. Yet, I do not believe we ever talked about how you defined success or what you saw as success. I remember when I was your age, thirteen years ago, I believed that success consisted of a few things: the best grades in class, the most friends, and the most athletic. Some of my friends, if they knew what I thought, would probably laugh at how absurdly unsuccessful I was and, to be honest, I am chuckling to myself right now at how absurd  my definition of success was. Yet, this might very well be how you are seeing success right now: getting that A in class, getting into that boarding school. You see, like failure with its internal and external components, success can either be defined by you or by people other than you. …

Letters on Tuesdays – Failure is Inevitable

Dear Wilton, Today, I want to write to you about failure. This is related to the first letter I wrote you two weeks ago, but this time I want to directly tackle your fear of failure. The timing is, perhaps, impeccable as you make your way with our parents to interview at various boarding schools. You have mentioned how you feared that you are not good enough, that you are going to fail to impress the admissions at the various boarding schools. Well, the truth is, we all face failures throughout our lives. Whether it be failing to convince our parents to buy us that toy when we were a kid, to failing to be accepted by our dream school when we were in high school, to failing to land that “perfect” job when we graduated, or to failing to complete a project to satisfaction when we are worked. You see, failure comes from having expectations. Expectations are standards of achievements we set for ourselves and sometimes for others. Not that there is anything wrong …

Letters on Tuesdays – That Thing Called Passion

Dear Wilton, Remember our conversation about what you really wanted to do and what you really enjoyed doing? Though you had your reservations and concerns, you suggested that you, perhaps, wanted to become a writer. Having seen you disappear into books and having read your writing, I am not surprised. Your writing is mature beyond your years. The logic and creativity within your words and sentences are at a level higher than mine at the same age. So with regards to that, I believe you will go on to achieve great things if you truly put your mind to it. At the same time, you expressed the fact that you were unsure if that is what you truly wanted to pursue. You felt as if you had no direction or sense of purpose. That is okay. If we look around, we all have friends who know what their passions and dreams are from a young age. They will likely accomplish things we can only hope to achieve at the same age. Again, that is okay. You and I, …

Letters on Tuesdays- Learning to Learn

Dear Wilton, Where do I even begin? The first time I held you in my arms, you were this tiny little baby, thirteen years my junior. That age gap is precisely the reason your sisters and I ended up missing the majority of your growing up; I have not been by your side since you were 4. Over the years, I tried to be the best brother I can be despite the distance, but in many ways it does not feel enough. I cannot be there for you like I was for Willy and Jenny, and I cannot grow with you like I did with them. So here I am, perhaps in a way to stimulate your critical thinking, perhaps in a way to serve up some brotherly advice. In this way, perhaps I can make up the lost time and grow with you, now that you are finally at an age where we can hold a proper conversation. Perhaps, you can get to know me a little better. I remember a couple months ago, …