We are the future.

This past weekend, I attended an event held by The News Lens called “Becoming Aces” where 30 Taiwanese under 30 shared their stories and experiences: from how they got started to their plans for the future. This event came at a good time because I was losing hope in Taiwan (from the rising cost of living to wages that remain relatively unchanged, among many other things), but like Woody said: “it’s always easier to complain rather than getting to the root of the problem, so if you’re unhappy about your current situation, then do something to change the world“.

What I learned from Becoming Aces:

  • On jobs: You don’t need to work for a “great” company – work for a place that has similar values to yours.
  • On startups: Sometimes “good enough” is enough, give up the things that aren’t important to your core value, the start is always the hardest – remember the reason for doing what you do, and everything will become possible.
  • On crowd-funding: The majority of people in Taiwan don’t believe in crowd-funding, so entrepreneurs who want their projects to do well require really good marketing. These promotions are to let others know about you; not everyone will support what you want to do, but at least those who want to now have a chance – because now they know about your existence.
  • On trust: Don’t try to do everything for others, because by doing that, you are taking away their opportunity to learn.
  • On grey areas: Sometimes there are no perfect solutions, but the best solutions. E.g. building a dam would bring economic value to a country, but also destroy an aboriginal tribe’s way of life.
  • On being ready: If you have a plan or an idea, don’t wait until you are “ready” before you start, because by the time that you’re ready, it will be too late.

Be the change that you want to see in this world.

Approaching 25 (& feeling every minute of it)

I’m turning 25 in 4 months, which means I’ll be a quarter of a century old, and 5 years away from 30 (I still remember the birthday message I received for my 15th birthday: “half-way to thirty”).

Feeling almost-25

  • Sleepy at 11pm (those days of sleeping at 3am are behind me)
  • Facebook friends are getting engaged, or married, or having kids (should I be worried??)
  • Being health-conscious (because without health, you can forget about everything else)
  • Becoming more conscious of my spending – like L. N. Smith said: “every dollar you spend (or don’t spend) is a vote you cast for the world you want.”
  • Having a few close friends is better than having many acquaintances
  • Accepting that everyone is different, and not judging others for being different.
  • Becoming more aware of the world around me (Woody has been a good influence on me in that sense)
  • Starting to understand things from my parents’ POV (and thankful for their many sacrifices rather than focusing on the shortcomings)

Circle Game by Joni Mitchell – A song from my childhood (grade 2) — how time flies. I am dragging my feet in the circle game now. Please slow the circle down…

Music therapy

I just discovered BBC live lounge, and I’m hooked! There are so many nice covers – Ed Sheeran’s “Dirrty” cover, The Script’s “Chandelier”, and of course, Birdy’s “Let her go”…

Good music. Friday night. Relaxing evening. Good night, world.

Update: March, 2015

I’ve started taking a translation course this month for two evenings a week, and I must say — translation/interpretation really isn’t what I thought it was! There are so many techniques to learn in translation, and being fluent in the subject or target languages does not mean that you can translate.

We are currently learning English -> Chinese written translations, and it made me feel quite inadequate in terms of my Chinese abilities, so I borrowed the Chinese translation of “The Great Gatsby” to: 1. improve my Chinese, and 2. study the translations in hope that I’ll learn something. (I absolutely love “The Great Gatsby”, and I was so happy to see that this Chinese translation did it justice)

In the end, I decided that written translation is not for me. Well, the oral translation part of the course will start in a couple of weeks, so maybe? Hopefully??

Honesty is a virtue.

I was going to write about honesty today, and something along the lines of how I appreciate having a special person in my life who is honest with me, and tells me the truth even when it hurts.

However, tonight I decided that it would be more fitting to write about the things not said. Sometimes it isn’t the spoken truth that’s scary; rather, it’s the unspoken. When something isn’t said, then the mind goes wild and imagines many things. Trust is a tricky issue, because we want to believe that we can truly trust the other person, yet our hearts still worry and yearn.

So what can we do? Well, falling in love means taking a risk that you will be hurt. In the end we can only put our faith in the other person and hope that their feelings are true. I know that mine are.

Happy Year of the Sheep

Happy Chinese New Year!

We got 6 days off for CNY this year (4 days off from work with a weekend), but time sure flies when one’s having fun! It was hard to go back to work after, but thank goodness for the 228 long weekend which offered a nice 3-day buffer before returning to the 5-day grind next week.

CNY is a pretty big deal in Taiwan and it’s equivalent to Christmas in the West (Taiwan celebrates Christmas too, in a superficial, Christmas-tree-and-gift-exchange kind of way). It’s all about family time during CNY! Here’s a quick recap of what I did:

Day 1 (CNY eve) – CNY lunch.

Grandma's amazing cooking

Grandma’s amazing cooking

It’s all about the food for CNY. It is tradition to eat family dinner on the eve of CNY, but we usually celebrate over lunch instead. Grandma and uncle’s family flew back from Beijing for the holiday, so it felt extra festive in Taipei! It was almost a complete family gathering minus my aunt, who unfortunately had to work.

Grandma and my baby cousin Howard

Grandma and my baby cousin Howard

Family photo

Family photo (minus my aunt, who unfortunately had to work)

Day 2 – Hiking with Xiao Wu

Zhongzheng hiking trail

Zhongzheng hiking trail

It was a day for getting lost. Xiao Wu and I had planned to hike the Zhongzheng hiking trail near Beitou, but we got lost and hiked some nameless trail instead! We did not encounter a single living soul along the way, and my cellphone was running out of battery (I rely way too much on Google map), but we still managed to find our way back to the city!

As the saying goes, it’s the journey that matters and not the destination. I want to get lost more often.

Day 3

– Karaoke day with mom and sis.

It was my first time going to karaoke with my mom and sister, and we had a great time. My mom is a great singer and she almost entered a singing competition after graduating from university, but life forced her to be realistic and find a job instead. I wonder if her life would be different if more people had heard her sing?

– “American Sniper” with mom, sis, and CY

I have mixed feelings about the movie. On one hand I think the movie is great in showing us the dilemmas faced by a sniper and for not glorifying America’s role in the war against Al Qaida, but on the other hand it also felt like propaganda. I don’t know if I agree with the Oscar nomination.

Day 4 – Day trip to Shiding with Family.

Nature hike

Nature hike

Tofu pudding in coconut milk

Soy pudding in coconut milk

In Shiding, we walked my dad’s favourite trail and ate the local delicacy: tofu. I want more soy pudding!

I went for dim sum with WY in the evening. It’s been a long time since I last had dim sum, and the place we went to actually used the traditional carts on wheels to push around the snacks (at Brother’s hotel in Taipei). Even though they don’t take reservations so it’s almost always going to be a wait, I have definitely added it to my pocket list.

Day 5 – Mage war with WY

I lost again; no surprise there. 2 games in 4 hours this time – a big improvement from our 7-hour game the first time.

Day 6 – Shiding with WY

We visited Qiandao (thousand island) lake. Words can’t describe what a beautiful place it is! It was quite different from my Shiding trip two days ago. Both were nice though, in different ways. I am so thankful to WY for taking me out on so many adventures; my world is growing with every new place that I visit.

2015-02-23 13.12.482015-02-23 13.08.21

And that concludes my 6 day Chinese New Year break. Eventful, exhausting, and full of memories.

Happy Year of the Sheep!

No Sound Without Silence

The Script released a new album last September, but I didn’t know about it until yesterday! Songs nowadays revolve too much around sexual references, with music videos equally trashy (like J. Lo’s “Booty”? What happened there???); but sex sells.

I’m glad that the Script stayed true to themselves; meaningful lyrics and touching music videos are why I fell in love with their music in the first place!

The Script’s “Superheroes”. How sweet is this video? :’)