We Need More Kindness And Compassion

I wrote two posts before on:
the tragedy at Stanford about May Zhou
the tragedy on Virginia Tech

What provoked me to write today is that Mercury News from yesterday provided an update on May Zhou’s incident where they find her death palpably caused by an overdose of sleeping pills, making her death palpably a suicide. I said “palpably” because I’d still like to pay my condolence and respect for her father, who is still pursuing his private investigation…

Disclaimer: The following statements are purely speculative and not intended to provide any “truth” about the incidents. Please read with your own discretion.

Contradictingly, this makes me feel and perceive even MORE of the pain and solitude, which is definitely unimaginable, that May was experiencing. And ultimately, this is where I draw the parallel with the Virginia Tech student, Seung Hui Cho.

Despite the great disparity between the two’s situations and backgrounds, I sincerely believe that both faced the same internal struggle – a sense of loneliness due to others’ lack of understsanding of their true feelings and mentality, as society and others around them are quick to forced upon them pre-judgement and labels. In May’s case, she’s judged to be successful and happy because how she is so very accomplished and of great scholarship. In Cho’s case, he’s quickly identified as weird, queer, “keep-to-himself” most likely because appearance, backgrounds, and association with “mental problems.” Whatever it is, there is this pre-established “lens”, which others ALWAYS perceive them through that is the main cause of dis-communication. These lenses then become an automatic barrier that prevents May and Cho from being understood and communication on a deeper level. As their days go by with such continuance, pain accumulates and the degree of loneliness increases and finally gets to a point when they’re unbearable…

While May’s case requires no “solution”, let me point out how the Virginia Tech panel has just concluded from investigation into Cho’s case, they will not implement “solutions” that involve arming the school with more securities, adding locks on the classroom doors, offering of more mental health facility, etc. Note how this is not the only time that people come up with such “solutions” followed similar incidents.

Ah, their so-called solutions.

All the while, what we need is more compassion amongst ourselves, amongst human beings. What I see is a clear neglect of that in today’s society. We seem look so far and wide and through all these “complications”, then conclusively think by implementing these fancy, superficially sounded solutions will prevent such problems from happening again, meanwhile not understanding the most basic needs of people in general, at a very simple human level.

This, I think is the source of many problems.

Call me naive or foolish, but I think if someone, anyone has provided true regards to May and Cho’s feelings, and genuinly talk to them without prejudice, knowing that we’re all the same human beings, both tragedies could have been prevented.

I see solutions in nothing fancy. Just basic kindness. Just simple compassion.

Originally posted 2007-08-25 17:04:42. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

My Rant on 401K and Roth IRA

I’m here to confess today. I don’t have Roth IRA nor do I plan to open one, au contraire to just about any books, blogs, or references you may have read about personal finance. I do contribute to my 401k to get my company match. It’s my way of putting the personal aspect in my personal finance.

I dislike the illiquidity of retirement account due to the fact that withdrawal without penalty is not allowed until retirement age, which is a long freakin’ 40 years away for me. Enough of my money is “locked up” in my 401k, especially because I made extra contribution to kick start the account in the past/1st year of my career. I switched back to the company matching percentage in the new year.

It’s not like I’m guaranteed to live that long. And honestly, I don’t plan to live that long, pass 80s and such. There is only so long one can stand the absurdity of human society :P Among various factors like not living ’til I have saggy skin, 401k, my wonderful(boring) discipline with money, taxable accounts, and the hopes of a very established future spouse(a.k.a. sugar mama), somehow I have faith that I will manage.

I’m done with my rant. Now is your time to call me stupid.

Oh, I was just kidding about the sugar mama since, bluntly, no one can cover your own a** better than yourself.

Originally posted 2008-01-28 01:13:51. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Do You Have What It Takes?

Thanks to my roommate renting the Bluray, I got to watch the Dark Knight again tonight. There is no argument that it is a great movie. I love it. Let along the acting, I enjoy much of the dialogues between Batman and the Joker. Especially the Joker’s, much of his was quite philosophical.

There is actually a lot to be learned from being a hero, despite we often think that it would be fun to have their power.

Do you know what the toughest part of being a hero is? The toughest part of being a hero is his power. Quoting Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility”.

Power is a gift and a curse because with great power, he has a lot more options including many that are not available for normal humans. A hero has to make choices that normal people don’t have to and cannot make either because they lack the abilities or they possess not the same perception. Also, power puts someone at a higher place to have an opportunity to look at the world differently, so there is a choice for him to see or denies what he sees. Put together with the fact that his choices will influence exponentially more people versus one that you or me will make. Boy, so many things to consider and he just has to make the best choice he could. Things may or may not turn out okay, and there are times he must sacrifice something or somebody to do “good”. What a tough job being a hero. Certainly glad neither you nor I is a superhero.

But if we take a minute to think, we normal people aren’t so different.

To get something done, to accomplish a goal, to make a change, you first observe and then you must make the choices for it to happen, many of which maybe simple but not easy. They may not sound conventional to you. They may not feel right. They may make people who are your friends and family dislike you.

As you are growing, as you learn more and obtain more knowledge and wider perspective, which is the equivalent of “gaining power”, you will need make the choices that you couldn’t have made before the growth. As you have outgrown your environment and your peers, if you so desire to become better, you likely need to make more choices that maybe against “common sense”, against “standards”, against “traditions”, against “pervasive believes”. Sometimes, that will lead you out of the crowd and you end up being by yourself.

Imagine you want to buckle down financially, save up, clear some debt, or simply get rich. Perhaps it would be the case that you need to cut back on social outings, or not buy things that others have that you want, or drop a hobby or two, or sell somethings they thought are so important. How easily do you think people can make up their mind to do so? Who would want to do that?

Same applies to health. For example, if you have always been couch potatoes, or going out every night with your best buddies, do you think you can choose to do otherwise? Maybe head to the gym instead? Maybe cook at home? Maybe read up on fitness and nutrition (beyond the marketing crap)? Even though it means you will end up being by yourself?

Would a so-called normal person chooses to be chased after like a fugitive by the people he chooses to protect like Batman did? Would a so-called normal person chooses to bring chaos to break the social norms like the Joker did?

Do you have what it takes to kick old sets of habits? Do you have what it takes to perhaps be different than your family, friends, and peers? Do you have what it takes to make the tough choices, like Batman did? Do you have what it takes to choose “uncommon sense”, like the Joker did? Do you have what it takes to wield your own power? Do you have what it takes to be who you want to be, who you are inside?

I want to get this out of my system before bed, so now… time for bed, peace!

Originally posted 2008-12-12 01:40:09. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Life Thoughts arising from Tao Te Ching

Yes, I took the liberty to take a “summer break” from the blog. I need my time to do some other things and work has been crazy. But, I’m back. And allow me to share a picture I took from my recent trip to Tahoe :)

Following is an email I wrote to a good friend, which I find makes a good post, though with some Chinese excerpts from Tao Te Ching. Here goes.

Life is really really very basic. The ultimate place (which is no where really) to be is just to understand Tao (not logically, but like we know how to breathe or beat our heart) — 道可道,非常道;名可名,非常名。 無,名天地之始;有,名萬物之母。– and in behaving, behave like water — 上善若水,水善利萬物而不爭.

And more significantly to your story. To be like water, is to behave in the manner of true love (in all forms of relationship). Does water ever need/demand things from organisms that it nourishes? True love has absolutely nothing to do with need as oppose to what our attitude of it is now. That to be truly compassionate, loving, and courageous, requires a non-attached perception. Be like water.

And not to say to that you must behave unselfishly. Because water is neither selfish, nor unselfish.

The curious thing to be cautious is, these are no “set rules” like those doctrines that people LOVE to hold on to and impose on each other with grandiose righteousness. To fully grasp all these mean to be free from all these — words and concepts. One is to be free to behave as such, yet also free to behave not as such. Words and concepts are always something to get past. That is to say, to be a master, one needs to move beyond the idea of wanting to be a master.

That is why, quote Hassan-i Sbbah, “Nothing is true, everything is permitted.”

Nothing is true — Because words and concepts are never the “whole idea.” Because to name/explain Tao is to lose the essence of Tao. And we can also take the meaning of what Buddhism ultimately wants to convey… that nothing IS something [and something means nothing].

Everything is permitted — Does water ever get restricted/confined? As we are, in the name of good or evil, we forever restrain ourselves. As it is now, in the many names of “doing-good”, we are doing everything we can to foul our environment and in fact, also harm ourselves. In the age where goodness is proclaimed the loudest, we are probably doing the most evil ever in history, in the perspective of the whole earth eco-system (and also against each other). Hence, 智慧出,有大偽.

For me, the question is always, how much can “I” give up? If we realize this “I” in the first place, of course. And we don’t realize because death got swept under the carpet always, even though its the best and benevolent thing/help/tool we have, because in the face of death, nothing of “I” holds. We are scared shitless that this “I” is going to disappear, but we forget that this “I” will not be around to worry.

And this “I” is what keeps us from being like water — which destroys if the flow means for it to overwhelm, creates if the situation allows it to nourish.

Shed this “I”. 為學日益,為道日損。損之又損,以至於無為。

Originally posted 2010-08-17 22:30:22. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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