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

Being a Teacher

I talked about learning and being a student in the last post. To follow-up, let’s talk about being a teacher today.

At the same time as you are learning, the tendency to teach will grow. It is in our compassionate nature to want to share with others, especially when you have come to see the light. As you learn and improve, you will feel a strong urge to educate and advocate and push others around you to change. And that is great.

However, understand that you need to let others walk their own paths. You can always teach, but people may not be ready to learn yet, just like yourself before a certain point. You cannot force information down their throats, and you cannot force others to change. You will only push them further away from learning. This is especially important with the people you care about because your urge to teach them will be even stronger. Be extra careful not to alienate them by forcefully trying to change them.

This is part of being respectful and compassionate toward your fellow human beings. Although it can be painful to watch as they make mistakes and get hurt, people need make their own mistakes to learn from them. That is part of life’s journey. Without the tripping and falling and getting back up, you do not grow. You have learned through the process of falling yourself, so let others do so.

You can change yourself, but you can never change others. Therefore it is important to notice when yourself begins “playing hero” and try to “save people” because you are hurting them in the long-run and not helping them to learn. People can only “save” themselves when they are ready to learn. We all have our own responsibility to learn, so leave others with their responsibility.

What you can do is to make yourself available. You provide them support and kind words in their endeavors but keep from lecturing them. Be present to share their joy and tears. And because you did not push them away through “force-feeding”, when the time is ripe and they are ready to learn and to change, they can take full benefits of your knowledge.

Part of being a great teacher is knowing the timing to teach and the right words to say. You can only teach if there is a student, and by “student”, I mean someone who is willing to learn.

Being a teacher is also a learning process in itself. So once gain, you can never stop learning.

I finish today with a saying from Bruce Lee:

I’m not a master. I’m a student-master, meaning that I have the knowledge of a master and the expertise of a master, but I’m still learning. So I’m a student-master. I don’t believe in the word ‘master.’ I consider the master as such when they close the casket.

Originally posted 2008-03-13 22:58:11. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Irrational Beings with Rationale

I like to theorize, although I may only have the vision of a donkey filled up on a dozen beer. My theory today is that human beings are merely irrational beings with rationale. Below are a few examples to support this theory.

Banks, real estates brokers, and home buyers who fearlessly bet on the real estate market to go up forever. Haven’t they heard what goes up must comes down? And how can anything grow forever?

A president and politicians who think a $600~ per person tax rebate will save people from losing their home and cover the losses in their retirement/pension plan.

People who are easily swayed and hastily change the opinion on a person due completely to rumors and stories about someone else who is remotely associated with him.

Someone in a dire or unfavorable somehow think, hope, or pray that the situation will somehow change without themselves changing.

Those are my few examples… What do you think about my theory? Do you have any examples from your experience? Why don’t you leave a comment and let me know?

Of course, my theory can be disproved as easily by counter examples. Hence, it is just a theory.

There is a reason for me to say this. I believe people make decisions irrationally more often than not, where they are mostly influenced by ego and emotions. I am not judging or saying it is bad per se, but if we can base our decisions and expectations on this understanding as we observe such is the case, we will come across less disappointment and misunderstanding in everyday life.

On the other hand, it is also useful to be self-conscious when you are trying to rationalize an irrational decision. This should help mitigate some of the bad situations we tend to get ourselves into. Some food for thought.

Originally posted 2008-05-14 23:12:41. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Saving On Beverage In Restaurants

When you read the title, did you think “So this guy only drink water, what a cheapo”?

Hey now! I am not gonna ask you to never order a soda or other kinds of beverage at restaurants and ONLY drink water. Let me describe what happened:

I was at lunch with colleagues at an Indian buffet restaurant. Being an engineer, I prefer to have some caffeine in my body for the afternoon (I’m an avid coffee drinker, one cup of coffee everyday is not bad for you). So I ordered a coke. To my unpleasant surprise, the glass they use is at most 6 oz in volume and half filled with ice, so I can essentially drink the whole thing w/ one tenth of a breath. I was not happy.

But here is the lesson:
Before ordering drinks at restaurants, pay attention to surrounding tables’ order of beverages. If most people don’t order beverages other than water, follow suit because something must be off. Then check out the glass size they use for non-water beverages, get it if it’s a decent size in your mind.

That’s it for the day…
Oh wait…
What did I say at the beginning?
Or rather, what did I not say?

Why not just drink water?
It’s good for your health.

Originally posted 2007-08-15 23:25:59. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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