Category Archives: A piece of me

“Size matters” for role models

I was reading a book by Iris Chang on the Chinese in America which I found very absorbing. She talked about the high sex ratio among Chinese Americans at the end of the 19th century until the beginning of the 20th century: males are certainly much more likely to come to America, mostly for work, and in some rare cases for business. Yet due to the restriction of the immigration policies back then, most of their wives have to be left in their home country. Only very few of the wives were able to rejoin their husband in the new continent.

One consequence of the unbalanced sex ratio that I did not thought about before reading this book is the lack of female role models, which discourages the next generation of female Chinese Americans from fighting their way of success at that time. Living in the higher segregated Chinese communities, even if a young  girl is highly motivated to pursue educational or professional success, a good female role model from their earlier generation is difficult, if not completely impossible, to find.

My first response to this story was hardly related to Chinese American in Chang’s book. But it does have something to do with role models. From a very young age, all the great people that I adored – scientists, politicians, and artists – happen to be male. I never realized how much difference it makes until around age 20, when I gradually came to realize that no matter how much I appreciate and admire these great people, and no matter how much I wanted to be like them, I am never of the same kind as they are because in every way I am a female. Not that there are no great females in history that I admire, but with their relatively smaller size of population, it is not easy for me to identify a good female role model that I would like to be like on every dimension.  “Size matters.” I am not a feminist, but I do have a clear eye on how the world is for sure a world of men, and will be for many practical reasons. Sometimes this is sad – perhaps not sad in the same way as the smart young girls in Chinatown at the turn of last century – but it is something that I have, by now, learned to deal with.



Part of being mature is…

I did not learn it through a super easy way, but gradually I recognized that part of being mature is to summon up the courage to bound one’s circle of life, because confess it or not, we receive and need to receive influence from our life circle.

There are two types of friendship that one needs to take caution of, and if possible, walk away from:

(1) friends who have continuous negative influence on you;

(2) friends who care more about their influence on you than about you.


Summer tweets

The status of Ono being here or not is a good instrument of my blogging behavior. There seems to be a quota on words that I want to say per day. Once I used it up for one person, I shut up from the rest of world.

  • If you cannot be tough, you cannot be sweet either. Disregard unnecessary distortions, but enjoy the unevenness.
  • Never take the default unthinkingly.
  • “The best way to predict future is to invent it.”

Over the Wall

Probably the only thing that is more difficult to do in mainland China than to log onto Facebook is to log onto WordPress. I have to climb over the wall.

As Pink Floyd would ask, “Am I just another brick in the wall?”

The Surgeon

This may freak people out, but I crazily think that a good scientist should be as good as a good surgeon: They should be the combination of extraordinary familiarity with the subject and extraordinary intuition in his field.

His expertise should be accumulated through millions of times of surgery experience, through the weirdest and toughest cases that he tried hard to fix. His wisdom should give him excellent intuitions in cases where nobody has complete knowledge before a treatment has been performed.

Once he grows old, a good surgeon should still be able to perform a basic surgery completely with his own hands.

Once he grows old, a good scientist should still be able to derive an equation confidently on the blackboard.

No patient wants to put his/her life in the hands of the second-best surgeon.

No good question wants to put its answer in the hands of second-best scientist.

There is no shame in not being the best, though. But the bottom line is that, if you do it, you should keep going for the best.

I know this is crazy thinking, and may earn me a risky and bumpy path. But after all, life has so many other places to keep peace for me.

Where you want, where it wants

The moment I woke up this morning, I noticed that the curve of my hair does not match my expectation.That reminded me of what my hair-dresser said about hair when she trimmed my hair last month:

“Don’t worry. Sometimes it goes where you want, and sometime it  goes where it wants.”



Anyone finds the new album of Coldplay, Mylo Xyloto, unsatisfactory? Because I do.

I have to go back to some of their impressive old songs that I enjoyed, such as The Scientist, to reconstruct my fondness of this band.

Well, “Nobody said it was easy.”

The Voiceless Song

Once in a while I wish I were not as sensitive as I actually am.

If things are going to happen anyway, let them happen. If there is nothing that I could do to change about something, I shall go on by myself. Just don’t take any detours.

Keep working. In any case, live for the present and the future.

The Prospective Book Shopper

Having pre-ordered three books on Amazon, I suspect that I have turned from retrospective book shopper to prospective book shopper. Pre-ordering means that I pay online (at a claimed-to-be discount guaranteed price) a book before it is published. Ideally (which never happened), the book will be delivered to me in no time of its publication.

The first book I pre-ordered last year was Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow. I finished it. It was an impressive read! I recommend it to everybody.

This year, I have ordered to books:

1. Why Nations Fail, by Acemoglu and Robinson.

2.The Social Conquest of Earth, by Wilson.

The former will come out March 20, and the latter April 9.

If I go broke someday, it would be due to my prospective book-shopping, because I am spending in advance against future income flows.

“The Road Trip”

It snowed today, and was extremely cold. Not a good day for driving, but I “accidentally” had a one-hour drive out of town near mid-night.

It was dark local road, but the snowy night was so damn beautiful! After making sure I know my way back, I turned on my CD. It was Brahms Cello Sonata No.1. A perfect company at this snowy night. The dark shadow of naked tree branches was painted against the grey sky. Their curves were carved deep into the canvas of clouds. Far away towards the horizon, the unknown villages were reaching towards the snowy mist, roaring like wild animals. But other than that, it was indeed quiet, as if you can catch every breath of your car. Yet inside the silence I heard the voice of the strings, tapping on my soul. The cello and piano streamed down the road, they resonated with the painted nature. The snowy night finally came to a sonata composed and performed by the unknown force.