Crazy Dude vs Stupid Dude

So. I was on the T (Boston's MTR, only about 50 years older, 20 times slower, 10 times less efficient, 3 times more dirty, 2 times as expensive, and 1.5 times ruder) on my way to work late morning. About 10 am, I'd say, so it wasn't very crowded. A big black man comes into the cabin and starts to talk to himself. Just a crazy dude that I've grown accustomed to seeing on the T. He talked about how he is a slave with money, and he can't use it because he is a slave, the world is fucked up, and whites discriminate against him. Crazy dude. Nobody cared. Nobody responded. He kept talking.

In comes a white dude on the next stop. He listens to this crazy dude and then starts to reason with him. I refer to this white dude as stupid dude. Anyway, the stupid dude starts reasoning with the crazy dude about how he is not a slave and he enjoys freedom as he speaks. Valid points, certainly. Bra-fucking-vo. But not to a crazy dude. Remember, he's crazy! Reasoning quickly a shouting match. A shouting match becomes a yelling match. A yelling match quickly escalates to agun fight. Nah, just wanted to see if you were paying attention. It became a profanity-laced screaming in your face type of thing.

At this point, every passenger on the T were dead silent and closely monitoring the situation. In case someone pulls out a gun or gets into a fight, we all know where to duck. Or how to grab the gun, for American cowboys. "This is Park Street, please transfer to the green line here." I got off as soon as possible and transfered to, what else, the green line.And so I ask, what is the moral of the story? It is this: the world can have a crazy dude. It can have a stupid dude. It cannot have both. That is, we can either have Saddam or Bush. Not both. You put them together, disaster ensues and people get scared and leave the arena.

Just thought it was funny how I immediately thought of those two.


Someone said I am "Dai Nam Yan" but couldn't come up with an example. Could you? I'm wondering. I don't think I am. Sometimes I get angry when things aren't smooth and it seems "Dai NamYan" but I quickly cool down and think about the actual situation. I keep wondering.


More on Break Down Guy

Alright, I feel I left you guys hanging with my story about the "typical" HK worker whom I thought was in a sad situation. A little recap: this guy who just joined Analysis Group broke down at 4am and started crying to everybody he spoke with. He refused all help offered and insisted that he himself was the center of problems. At the same time, he talked about quitting the company because he doesn't think he's treated right.

So of course you see the conflicting comments already (the latter one wasn't mentioned in the earlier emails). On one hand he thinks it's unfair. On another hand he thinks it's his fault. And all in all, he thinks he needs to work alone to solve all problems. He refuses help and wants to keep everything a secret.

And I was talking about a typical HK employee in the same sense. They all work so hard with absolutely no target in mind. They say yes to every request. They think that if they finish it quick and without help, they will be recognized for their working prowness, if you will.

If I could yell at this guy (and many more HK dudes who pretty much behave the same), I would:

First off, you cannot say yes to everything. The world of working consists of givers and takers. Givers will be bigger givers if takes become bigger takers. You have to stop the cycle. ESPECIALLY if you don't like it. If you like it, all bets are off. Work 24 hours. I don't care. If you don't, JUST SAY NO. What's the big deal when you say no to an unreasonable request?

Second, why blame yourself? There're are at least two people: you and your manager. There's also your other colleagues, your manager's manager. If you are the only person working at 5AM for your team and everybody else is gone, you have a real problem. Certainly, some blame falls on you. But it doesn't ALL fall on you.

Third, why refuse genuine help? Why try to be your own hero when you can't? Does asking help show a weakness? NO. It shows that you understand your weaknesses and you are working to address it. Always ask for help. And if help is offered, don't refuse it. Use resources that are available to you!


Office Story

Tuesday: the previous day I worked until 3 am and went back home. I woke up at 730 am because a colleague and I were going to interview at Tufts University. That started at 900 am and ended at about 500pm. Of course I still have my Thursday deadline for work and Friday deadline for school. To be honest, unless I can find another body to substitute me at Tufts, I have to go.Anyway, after interviews ended, I headed back to the office and started to work. To be honest, I'm much more efficient at night. Nobody calls to disturb my work and I can work at an astonishing speed when I am not bothered. So the night keeps going by...

And I'm almost done with my work at about 4am. Ready to go home. Call my colleague to see if he needs any help. Then he tells me that another colleague of mine just had a mental breakdown in the office and is crying uncontrollably. Great. Now I can be a baby sitter too. The guy is talking to his parents on the phone while crying and just couldn't get a hold of himself. After hanging up, I go to his office and tell him to GO BACK HOME RIGHT NOW.He refuses. Saying that he has to finish his stuff before 8am. I told him that he must go home now because he cannot work inn his state of mind. Just doesn't work like that. He's probably 10% efficient and at 10% efficiency, nobody should be working. Refused again. Finally, my colleague and I tell this broken guy that we won't leave unless he leaves. Furthermore, since I was the most senior of the three, I told him whom he should talk to for help. In these situations, although hefault lies with the analyst, whoever is the manager MUST bare responsibility. And if this broken guy doesn't speak up, he will be broken all the time. Predictably, he insisted that he should solve everything himself and he didn't want to seek help. UP TO YOU, I said, withholding DUMBASS in my sentence, BUT I'M HERE TO HELP YOU AND IF YOU DON'T WANT TO TALK TO "THEM", I CAN DO THAT FOR YOU. Refused.So, the night ended at 5am when I literally dragged this guy out of his office, put him on my car, and drove him back to his home (near mine, luckily) and told him to skip the morning meeting.

Wednesday: The guy told me not to tell anyone. But I just felt that I had to. Analysis Group treats me very well and I think it should treat every employee just as well. I spoke to the people in charge (HR-type, for emergencies and personal problems, etc.) and the issue has since been resolved.



This will probably mean nothing to you all. BUT THE RED SOX WON THE WORLD SERIES!!!!! Wow. I am still in disbelief.

Well, if you truly do not understand, here's a list of reasons why the Red Sox came back from 0-3 against the Yankees. For games 4 to 7 (read on your own peril):

1. I was in Boston, not Chicago (games 2 and 3).
2. I watched the games at MY HOME, not a bar (game 1, game 3).
3. I did not cut my nails (until today)
4. I did not change my clothes (Red Sox logo)
5. I did not change my shorts (Red pants)6. I did not change my boxers (blue strips)
7. I was on the phone with Kaleen THROUGHOUT the ENTIRE games
8. I had my Chinese health balls (Kin Hong Kau) for rallies
9. I never watched the first inning (game 1 and 3)
10. There are about 5 million people in Boston doing similar things.


Book Review 2

Finished reading Tuesdays with Morrie. Another very good book with a meaningful story. I'd recommend it.

My friend Ben says the book has a short effective (affected?) period: you will go back to normal life after reading the book. i.e. not that life changing. Yes, life does go on after reading books that talk about how to improve life and what should living life be like. I don't expect books to make an immediate impact on lives. But there will be a time that comes and something in your life will suddenly be relevant to something in the book. I promise that. For Tuesdays, it's a young man watching an old man die. As we age, that will happen to all of us as well. And I think it is at those moments that books we've read before come back to touch us.

Two books about the lessons of life and death. One teaching through life before death and the other life after death. I enjoyed both. Read them. Oh, and I already mailed three to my family in HK.Today, I went sailing after a nice brunch. Then came back to the office to study GMATs. Yet I cannot bring myself to full concentration... oh well. Two weeks before exam, and I don't have enough time to study.


Book Review

The book I just finished reading is "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" by Mitch Albom, who also wrote "Tuesdays with Morrie." I have never read Tuesdays, but I plan to buy that book based on what I read in Heaven. A very creative book with a light story about life - a man dies and he goes to heaven and his experiences up there.

I wish Alan went through the same thing.

Back to the book. It's light and it warms your heart. Critics have said that the Tuesdays book is much better. I wonder. Heaven is already a very good book... most critics may be religious and therefore have a bias against Heaven. Either way, I haven't read the first book so I will pass on judgement now. Will get back to you guys once I read Tuesdays. Oh, and if you are religious, Heaven should still be a nice story to read. It's very short and shouldn't take more than a day.

Have fun reading. And hopefully you can reflect on your life as well.


Let's start with the movie I saw. "The Village" by M Night Shyamalan. Excellent movie. If you haven't seen it, go see it. As you know, Shyamalan has made Six Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs. He's a great story teller and has a knack for creating fear among the audience. Personally, I think Six Sense and Signs were just good stories. Unbreakable had a bit more flavor to it... the movie itself wasn'tthat great (certainly not as good as Six Sense), and the twists were that "twisty"... but it had a certain vibe about it. A certain vibe that people like myself would think about and talk about long after the movie was over.

The Village is like that. Except that it's a better movie and a much better story. What I liked most about it was the moral story it told. Although you may be tempted to think about the twists, think about whether the movie made sense, whether there were any points where you could have sensed the twist (I know I did... very early in the movie), whether there were any mistakes in the story telling of Shyamalan, I urge you not to. Think about the WHYS in the movie. It's fascinating how much moral come out of this movie.

I just worked 18 hour days... leaving the office at 330am and then returning at 630am... and now still going at 230pm. Will go home soon and sleep my head off... unless, I get to see another movie.


Quarterlife Crisis...

Quarterlife Crisis, clarified and simplified:

You are done with school, came out to work with many hopes in life. You think you are going to make a difference in the world... or at least a difference in other people lives... or at the VERY least a difference in your own life. Not quite. Find out the real world is in fact quite routine and boring. Look for a reason to continue this boring and routine life. Start working for only the pay check. Looks at other options. And find none.

Here's my take: that's why people get married from 25 to 30. In crisis, some huge and some small, people grab onto whatever they can grab on. Family just happens to be a good option. The aim from then on is to have a happy family, and this process would take at least 21 years (born child to adulthood).

heh heh.


Dog Food

Let me rewind on my last few weeks. I mentioned that I was very busy. I spent about 15 hours a day in the office for about a week to finish a report that was going out. Finally, we got it done. Saturday, Kaleen came over to Boston with an unexpectedly cheap ticket. We spent a nice weekend together. She left this morning. And after two weeks of basically doing nothing at home, I sat in front ofthe computer all afternoon to pay my bills, return emails, take care of business, household, and basically manage my life again.

Okay, asking about dog food again... well, Kaleen and I spent most our time just strolling around Boston, enjoying the summer weather (no, we don't have much of that lately, as McWing can testify to). So we were sitting on a random bench on a random street, just talking and stuff. Suddenly, this little kid runs to the bench, opens a can right beside the bench (Kaleen and I never noticed it), picks out a dog biscuit, and then runs away with it. This all happened in a few seconds, so we were wondering what was up with the can... later in the afternoon, alady with her dog walks by... and the dog refused to leave the bench area cus obviously he smells the dog biscuits! Anyway, we start talking to the lady and she told us a story about the can. There used to be a retired old man who always sat at that bench whenever he could. He'd have his dog biscuits and feed it to all the dogs who walked by with their owners. Every dog in the area knew him, andobviously all the dog walkers knew him as well. However, nobody knew his name. In 2003, this retired old man died and the bench became empty. The neighborhood, after some time, finally found out who he was, dedicated the bench to him, made a can to be placed beside the bench, and every dog owner started putting dog biscuits in the can since then.

I don't know about you, but I found this story incredibly touching. This world needs more of this retired old man and less of George Bush, Republicans, Democrats, French immigration officials, English royalties, Russian 'democratic' presidents, Israeli armies, Palestinians Jihads, nuclear scientists, terrorists, extremists, political groups, Ah Bien, Lien Chin, Ma Ying Kow, Chinese officials,Tung King Wah, Martin Lee, Szeto Wah, Tsang Yuk Shing, etc etc.

Look at this retired old man. Nobody knew his name despite receiving so many little things from him. Why did he do it? Maybe just because he was bored at home. Either way, he made a difference in the neighborhood. And he made a believer in me. I will never forget this old man.


I never thought I'd hear it from James. But I did. I've already started the week off with a headache at work... guess bad news keeps accumulating regardless.

I don't know what else I can tell James. He's 17, quite mentally mature for his age. I'm neither a very good big brother nor a very good family member. Here I am, alone in Boston, doing my own thing. Taking full advantage of my parent's willingness to let me live free from them. I care about all of them in Hong Kong. But the bottom line is that I would not want to go back now. I want to finish my AG career, go to graduate school, find out who I am, find out what I want to do, and find my path for my life. At the same time, I want to be a "hau suen" son. Maybe that's an impossible proposition. Fuck.

When James told me that he is very sad and misses Alan very much, and that mom cries all the time, I almost feel ashamed that I am one who is not too sad, doesn't miss him too much, are rarely cries. Maybe I have truly understood Alan and life. Maybe I'm just one cold blooded bastard. Parts of me believe I am the former. Parts of me believe in the latter. Life is full of these dilemma.

And my ultimate advice to my youngest brother? Is to be selfish and think about himself first. ah, the circles in life.

So... I have the responsibilities of an associate, but not the resources. How do I express this to managers and other people who supposingly have a higher rank than me? I don't know. I will voice up though. Hopefully help will arrive and I won't have a headache at work. So this is how stress builds up. One thin leads to another.

Taiwan is a mess. Two things I learn from this. One is that our so called free press in everywhere is not free. Wait, I learned this a long time ago. Two is that democracy does not come easy.

Every person from Hong Kong I speak to thinks the shooting is staged and fake. The basis of their conclusion? The evidence that Ah Bien has benefited from the shooting, there are many grey areas surrounding the injury, and that the injuries aren't life threatening at all. Where do they get this kind of evidence and conclusions? From the HK press, the Chinese press, and, most important of all, their pre-installed perception that Taiwan independence, directly linked to the PPP and Ah Bien, is bad. The last point fuels the first two.... or maybe the first two fuel the last. Either way, the evidence to conclusion path is seriously flawed and biased. To the three points of evidence above, I say: the injuries COULD be life threatening... they are, afterall, right in the stomach and could easily have hit other more important organs; the grey area of the aftermath of the assassination comes with the health of the head of the state; the fact that Ah Bien has benefited from the assassination is no evidence that he staged it himself.

On other hand, it's hard to believe the assassination attempt was a clear assassination. Doesn't assassination mean the taking of ones life? It seems that the shooter knew exactly when the fireworks would go when the car was where. That sounds like an insider knowing exactly the parade and the accompanying functions! Furthermore, an attempt on Ah Bien's life would be fruitless if the shooter shot at the stomach, since presidents are supposed, as we are told later, to wear a bullet proof vest at all times. Also, from the release of information, the shooter seemed very close to the car. Couldn't he or she have attempted a shot at the head? Anyway, evidence exists on both sides of the argument. If you are a truly reasonable person, you would need to consider all this evidence... and it would tell you that it's unclear who shot Ah Bien and why. If it is unclear who the shooter is, how can you conclude it is staged? Unbelievable. People always let their preconceptions of a situation get the best of their judgment.

You call this democracy? No, not the 'staged' (or whatever) assassination to get more sympathy votes. The fact that people are voting not based on what the presidential candidates can do for the people, but based on solely the colors (blue and green). You think Republicans always vote for Republicans? No. Much of the party is moderates and they could easily switch to the Democratic camp if George Bush fucked up. Ditto for the Democrats. No votes are taken for granted. In Taiwan, votes seem to be taken for granted. If you are green, you must vote for green and vice versa. That is not quite democracy.

To some extent, I feel that Hong Kong people are more suitable for democracy. Most people are moderates and they indeed will judge a politician by his or her performance. There are of course contingencies that will support their own party no matter what. But I'm willing to say that the vast majority of the people are not that way. The leftists who have been so critical of the Democratic Party are a perfect example of being extreme. Whatever the DP does, they oppose. Now... how is that different from the DP opposing whatever the government does? I don't know. So many things in the world not going right. It's a depressing world, from Taiwan to Hong Kong to the USA to Iraq to Israel to Madrid to Afghanistan. I hope I can do something to help when I grow up.

Yet tomorrow will be just another day... and I will have to deal with my own issues again.


I swear, I'm not picking this day because it's Charlotte's birthday. Just pure coincidence.

Lately, I've been having a lot of revelations about myself. It's quite ironic that this has happened after my wisdom teeth have been taken out. It also comes at a time when many things have gone wrong with my body and yet nothing has gone wrong in my personal or professional life. I guess it's just to be consistent with who I am... unpredictable! So, let's see, what revelations do I have?

I give up, I just don't get a long with Hong Kong guys. I think I try hard to be a good friend, but it never works. I don't get along with guys in general. But with Hong Kong guys, I have more difficulty. Maybe it's because of my abrasive and sarcastic choice of words. I honestly don't mean any of it... they come out of my mouth without me noticing it. They are jokes that are sometimes inappropriate and therefore interpreted the wrong way. I give the impression of confidence, arrogant, and cocky. That probably won't score a lot of points either. Sometimes I think I'm acting that way but really, inside, I'm quite insecure. Well... nah. I am confident of myself. Sue me. Though combining arrogance and sarcasm is the ultimate killer. Also, Hong Kong guys are more competitive when they are with other Hong Kong guys... I think that also adds to the fire a bit.

I do get along with many girls. Maybe it's cus of physical attributes, maybe cus of charm... I think mainly is because I could think in a feminine way. And when I do, I have much more patience than other guys. I can listen all day and night to some girl babble about nothing. Though I do confess this is mostly limited to girls that I have a good relationship with. Others, I just scold them off and ask them to be practical.

Perhaps being good with girls hasn't helped my cause to be good friends with guys.
Anyway, I've pretty much come to terms now. So be it. Good with girls and bad with guys... guess that's not too bad a position to be in.

I enjoy long distance relationships. Sometimes I think I deliberately chose one this time. I don't want to become too attached. I don't want too much responsibilities. I cannot, actually. One thing I learned from Alan's passing away is that if one is able to let go of things easily, one can regain strength faster and more effectively. By doing so, one can also extend a helping hand to others who cannot regain strength as fast. I like to help people, there is no doubt about that. It kind of conflicts with my abrasive and sarcastic self. Well, what can I say, a classic Gemini!
How does one easily let go of life? Understanding oneself certainly helps. Why did Alan pass away? Why did all this terrible things happen to my family? Such is life. We all make choices and Alan made his too. Once I understood that, I let go. Mom doesn't understand it still. Her life is based on her love for us. Perhaps she will never understand that we are own selves and no one can take it away from us. You can influence us, but we govern ourselves. No matter how much love is showered and how much hate is spread, we must concentrate on ourselves and not on others.

It sounds cold and selfish. Even I would admit that. But that is who I am and that is how I like it to be. I avoid to be too attached to any person. For fear of being like my mother. But then I realized it's not about being attached to someone; it's about how much of a person do you really understand. The more you understand, the more you can deal with what he or she is doing in her life. I think that's why I am such a great listener. I listen, I try to understand, and I advice. May not be the best advice, but I tried my darn best to come from the other person's angle. So... I can still love, I can still care, I can still be attached. But at the same time, I want to understand whom I love, whom I care, and whom I am attached to.

Gear switch.

It's time to move on. My days at the Analysis Group are numbered. Suddenly, I know I'm meant to move on. What have I learned in my time at AG in terms of my career? In classic Gemini fashion, I am good at what I don't want to do as a career: analyze data. The other side of my would really want to do more management but I've seldom been given the chance to do so. I understand why. If Lam is good at collecting data and analyzing it and presenting it, why give him other things to do? And of course on my part, if I am already good at certain things and doing those things would make my day look better, why not continue to do it? It's a vicious (well, not that bad I guess) cycle.

Anyway, I need to go to graduate school. What they will give me I don't know. What they will teach me I don't know. I do know one thing: I go there to learn what they teach, and I do get what they may or may not give. And at the end, I decide what I want to do for a career. Who knows, could come full circle and continue on analyzing data. Or could... gear switch again. Frankly, I don't care. Do my best and see what happens.


Sometimes I wonder whether he is looking down at us. I feel a sudden need to achieve these days. It's hard to describe why I feel that way... maybe having an actual date for the GMATs actually put my time in perspective.

Maybe mom will never recover. My physician told me a month ago that some people never recover. I think she unfortunately will be one of those. I'm not sure what other things I can do to help mom get over her suffering... though I do hope that it is only she that suffers, and not my dad and youngest brother. I hope the two of them are okay. Mom may think a lot and mourn a lot, but she's quite able to take care of herself either way.

Sometimes I wonder how I can still listen to another person tell me that they want to die and commit suicide. On the one hand, I feel that they have absolutely no respect for me and what happened to Alan. I think they are completely insensitive and I often just cut off myself from this person. On the other hand, what if he or she were serious? What if by cutting off myself with him/her, I contribute to his/her death? Now I'm confused... I guess I'd rather listen to the person.

Only that they are never serious until it's too late.


Saw "Lost in Time" with Lau Ching Wan and Cheung Pak Chi. Such a simple and moving movie. Once again, Cecilia Cheung proves herself to be a much better actor than entertainer. She depicts the initial life of a survivor flawlessly. Of course I trembled and tried in vain to control myself the first 30 minutes of the movie. I remember my mom telling me all her horror stories after Alan's death. She too didn't know who she was, where she was, why she was doing a certain thing, and what she was just doing. And all the mental lapses at the weirdest possible moment. I don't just weep for Alan. I weep for my family more now.

I wish I had my Lau Ching Wan in real life. Someone who witness my sorrows and supports me with action and thought. Then again, I don't need him now, so why do I want to waste his time. Ah, such conflict with life.


Switch topics yet again. I went to do a body check up with the doctor closest to my office. She asked me many questions, including if I have any stress or depression. So I told her the whole thing about Alan and my family. I said personally I don't think I have any stress and I am not depressed. I have some recurring memories sometimes, but mostly I snap out of it within a few minutes. She went on to tell me that I should be careful and that it doesn't go away that easily. Since then, my week has been awful. I keep thinking of Alan and loosing concentration at work. My productivity is way down and I am always 'mo sum gay'. Don't worry, today, I actually felt great. More on that later.

So my question is... if I hadn't seen this doctor, maybe none of this 'downturn' would have happened. Makes me wonder if she actually screwed with my mind by talking about it!?

And I feel better cus Kaleen got a new job today. She's really happy about it and I think it's affecting me too.


I haven't been to the movies in a while. Need to get hold of a movie buddy and use him/her often... I saw Big Fish, a decent movie about a son and a father reconnecting after years of ignoring each other. Unfortunately, the reason was because the father was dying of cancer. Remember I wrote that with death, comes strength? I think that theme was resonating throughout the movie. I still believe strongly about that statement. Tears come down my cheeks sometimes when I think of Alan. But that is a mere physical reaction... inside, I know I am happy with my life. I have two lovely parents whom all my friends want to adopt (can you adopt a parent!?) after they meet them. I have two lovely brothers who make people around them special (including myself). I feel I have made the most out of what I am given. What's more to ask for?

Question: if you could change one thing in life since you were 9, what would it be? Vincci, my friend at Harvard, had wished that her father didn't die of cancer when she was 14. My wish was to understand Alan more than I already did. Initially, I naturally thought that I wanted Alan alive and well now. But all his life he has wanted to be free from all his burden... hence all I wanted to do was to understand him more. Maybe I can convince him to choose another path for life, maybe I can't... I don't know. But at least I would have understood him. That's the one and only thing I would change if I could.


If I start writing about my entire Spain trip, I can easily go ten pages without stopping... so I won't do that to bore you to death. A little prelude to the trip. The entire trip was actually 'financed' by Alan. He had about 200,000 miles left in his UA mileage account, and so we got four tickets off his account, virtually using all of it. I guess the idea was that this would be his last Christmas present to us. And what a present it was. I still see sorrow in my parent's eyes. My mom's in particular. Breaks my heart. Personally I am doing very well. So don't worry...! I had tons of fun in Spain... I'll be back there, for sure!