My Grandma & Be Humane

My late grandmother never finished elementary school. She had to drop out of school in second grade. She did not know the term human rights. She couldn’t pronounce the word discrimination. And, yet, for all years of her life she always respected others, regardless of their religion, race/ethnicity, social status, or even sexual orientation. Continue reading “My Grandma & Be Humane”

A neighbour with a beautiful mind

In the last decade or so, I came across some intellectual celebrities in various occasions in various places. No, I don’t have any evidence of my encounters with these people, no autograph, no selfies, nada. I had some email exchanges with a couple of them but I’d keep these to myself. Also, while they’re inspirational, meeting them didn’t not make me any special. Just because they’re brilliant, genius, and famous, it doesn’t mean that I turned brilliant, genius, and famous once I met them. Unlike in scenes of many feel-good Hollywood movies, I don’t have any life-changing moments in any of these encounters. In fact, some of the stories are probably rather ordinary, as exemplified in the story I am going to tell you. Continue reading “A neighbour with a beautiful mind”

A traveling professor

Last Thursday I delivered a ten-minutes-speech at the Passion for Research Luncheon, a university-wide annual luncheon to celebrate research excellence. Instead of ‘preaching’ (to the choir) about research/being a researcher, I chose to tell a story…. the story … here it is…
Warning: (Most likely) You will not get smarter nor gain any knowledge by listening to this. But if you get ‘it’ from it, then you’d be a little happier, oh well, temporarily.

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A story in a string

An old man let me squat next to him while continued drawing on the ground. As usual he did not speak any word. After several minutes, a glimpse of a shape appeared from the emptiness. It was a temple. A beautiful pagoda.

I sighed, “Wow….”

The old man looked at me, broke a chalk he held into two pieces and gave me one of them. In the next five minutes or so I found myself doodling next to him.

“I didn’t know you can draw.”

“I didn’t know you can draw either,” I replied. Continue reading “A story in a string”

A story in a copper spoon

“Why not you use my coffee spoon?” My father’s line sounded like a sweet surprising melody to my ears. I never heard it coming from his mouth before.

copper spoon. A long slim brassy spoon. It looks like it was made for a perfect coffee spoon. It is sturdy and stirs well, easily reaching to the bottom of any coffee glass/mug. My father is quite possessive about it. He never lets anybody use it, even though I – the only child in the family who shares his love for coffee – secretly used the spoon without his knowing several too many times. Continue reading “A story in a copper spoon”