February 11, 2017 — “I believe…”


 

These past couples of months, I have been searching for inspiration to cultivate and personalize my website. This was daunting at first but I eventually settled on one inspiration. Friends. They are the people we associate with and define who we are: Our culture, values, and beliefs. They are the ones who shape our personality and ultimately define who we are based on the interactions between one another. Since I am still in academia, it is easy for me to make friends with random people. Although these people were strangers, I shared common interests with them. From there on out, those strangers have become the people I talk to and trust. These strangers have become my friends.

For anyone who has known me in my high school years, I was heavily involved with an organization called the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). In this organization, I’ve met like-minded individuals that possess a drive to be the best they can be and showcase their talents and skills at competitions. This past weekend I was fortunate to be invited to judge students who wanted to compete amongst their peers in specific events. While these students were hard at work preparing for their events, there were also many friendships being born as they converge and discuss their experiences with the judges (aka me). It was interesting to evaluate the performances of many students in reciting the FBLA Creed. But as I judged each person, I saw the fire in their eyes and their ambition to exceed in their event. After listening to each student recite the FBLA creed, I began to reminisce the good times I’ve had and the people I spent it with.

As I reflect back on my experiences with FBLA, I have met many great people who have similar mindsets as me. These people are the ones who I can relate with and talk about practically anything with. It doesn’t have to be about FBLA or our schools but it can be about music, cars, or even our teenage infatuations and loves. While these topics were interesting on its own, the people I spoke with then are the people I still talk to today. Although there have been many ups and downs throughout my high school career, I know that if I didn’t walk into that one FBLA meeting during lunch that Thursday afternoon, I wouldn’t be where I am standing today. Although I am still learning and my life is still uncertain, I am certain about one thing. I am certain that when I walked into a room full of strangers, I walked out with a room full of friends.

 FBLA Creed

I believe education is the right of every person.

I believe the future depends on mutual understanding and cooperation among business, industry, labor, religious, family, and educational institutions, as well as people around the world. I agree to do my utmost to bring about understanding and cooperation among all of these groups.

I believe every person should prepare for a useful occupation and carry on that occupation in a manner that brings the greatest good to the greatest number.

I believe every person should actively work toward improving social, political, community, and family life.

I believe every person has the right to earn a living at a useful occupation.

I believe every person should take responsibility for carrying out assigned tasks in a manner that brings credit to self, associates, school, and community.

I believe I have the responsibility to work efficiently and to think clearly. I promise to use my abilities to make the world a better place for everyone.

From

http://www.fbla-pbl.org/about-fbla

 

04/14/16 — Through the Other Side 

 

“Look around you and tell me what you see…” – Henry Spencer (Psych)

Each day we are immersed in entertainment, often ignoring the details of the things around you. We watch films, listen to music, and socialize with others in order to entertain ourselves. But do we really know where we are? Who we are? Who we’ve become? It is often theorized that our environment shapes us into who we are — who we’ve become; our family, friends, brothers, and sisters, schools, and community have shaped us into how we act, react, care, and love. However, we immerse ourselves with what we want to let in. Though this psychology is often overlooked if not carefully studied and observed there is often conjecture about what we are told. This is how I see the world. Through details, through observations, through other people’s eyes. I see myself through other’s perspective.

My friend and I went out for lunch today — though our time was hardly a lunch. With lunch being defined as buying chocolate pretzels or dried pineapple slices to eat, we spent the afternoon getting to know each other while sharing our likes, dislikes, similarities, and differences. But one conversation that peaked my interest was when she said something along the lines of “People see others in a way they expect themselves to be” . In an unfazed way, I agree. Her words made me think: Am I a product of California’s education system or have I been influenced by my environment to be the person I am today? Though these words resonate with me, I see my environment as a blessing. To see what affects me and to determine if I want it to shape my character. It is through these talks with my friend do I really see what we’ve become in each others lives. These details, no matter how big or small, determine who we are today.


01/01/16 — Holiday Specials 

 

 

My family observes the winter holidays a little bit differently than other families. Rather than setting up a Christmas tree or decorating the house with lights, my family passes the last weeks of each year preparing for the ‘surge’. The surge, although it does sound quite cool, is not related to any mechanics or electrical situations but rather a high flux of new and existing customers ordering sweets for the holiday season. Each year, my parents asks my sister and I to help out at our family business in order to make the business run more efficiently. Although reluctant, my sister and I go to work with our parents to begin the holiday ‘busy’ season.

While we began our day by folding boxes to prepare for the surge, we bonded over the memories and traditions that have been practiced from all the years we’ve worked. I can recall we created games, competitions, and ultimately, brotherly and sisterly rivalry from each holiday season from where we played and competed with each other ever single year while at work. Because my parents operated a small bakery in the local community, they used pink pastry boxes as their method of delivering baked goods to the customers. However, those famous pink pastry boxes were never without manual labor to utilize them.

In order to deliver products to our customers, my parents would enlist my sister and I to fold thin cardboard sheets into boxes before peak hours. Albeit it was early in the day, I remember I used to challenge my sister to a folding competition to see who can fold those pink boxes the fastest. Sooner than later, we became efficient experts at folding various boxes. We became accurate, fast, and efficient at folding but there wasn’t a single instance when we didn’t get injured. Since folding the boxes required speed and accuracy, my sister and I would get small paper cuts that would deter us from folding boxes for the rest of the day. However, I claim that I was the faster one to fold boxes although it was never officially measured.

Throughout the holiday season, my family is together. Instead of being together at home, we bond over the countless memories we had at the bakery shared over our lifetime. We live, laugh, and occasionally get mad at each other but at the end of the day, we know that we are there for each other. The holidays create an atmosphere to reminisce and create shared memories with family and I am truly happy and appreciative for who I have in my life. Despite the fact that the winter holidays only happen once each year, memories with loved family members will always cherished and never forgotten.


9/24/15 — Continuation 

Today marks the first day all University of California schools start classes – or in my case, resume classes. Being back at school brings back some memories I’ve had when I was a neophyte to my home UC. From freshmen holding maps wondering where their class is located to the upperclassmen and veteran UC students trying to promote their clubs, I find these events almost calming in comparison to everyone else who find it stressful. However, I do remember when finding classes and being promoted to was stressful as well. Today, I helped my fellow peers do both of those things – share on Facebook the events they’re promoting to helping a lost freshman find his/her class while on the way to mine. The feeling of helping someone brings me joy and is not comparable to anything else. I guess it’s a way of giving back to my community but in my personal opinion, I believe it’s doing the right thing; to help each other out.

Each and everyone of us belongs to a community, whether it be a housing community or school community – everyone does their part in one way or another. It brings me joy when I see and experience first hand of people helping one another. There’s no better feeling in the world than being happy when you expect it the least.


8/30/15 — Good Morning 

 

A couple days ago I was riding my bike through the heart of Pasadena with a friend of mine when we rode past this keenly observable makeshift home for those less fortunate than the majority of us. Initially I rode past the home as I was riding through on the streets but this caught my attention through the corner of my eye. I was perplexed, wondering what is was and why it was there. It wasn’t until I turned around and went to observe it more in detail when I said to myself, “wow, it’s a bit heartbreaking to see that someone has set up refuge in a well-off community.” When I took the photo, I knew that I had to document this somehow to express the gratitude that I have for our community. In the photo there is a sign that says “Good Morning” with blankets and books to the side as well as water and food left wrapped in tin foil and styrofoam boxes. In a way, this establishment was nice to see; however it really made me rethink the way I see this community and the city it helps supports. I didn’t stay to see the occupant return home but I do sure believe he/she was welcomed home with caring acts of kindness from the people who walk by his home every single day.


8/27/15 — The Simple Things 

 

Photo taken from Bamboo Plaza parking garage facing S. Hill Ave. – Jonathan Ng
“Take a look around you and tell me what you see” — Henry Spencer (“TV Series “Psych”)’

The quote, as scripted, is one where I can relate.  Having binged on summer TV series and episodes, I tend to have picked up a few quotes here and there from “Psych”, a series that I have binged over summer but in this instance, I ponder the words from Henry Spencer’s mouth (fictional character). I listen and think about what those words really mean. Are we oblivious to the outside world by being immersed in our “smart” culture using iPhones and automated searches or do we experience the art and beauty by analyzing the buildings and architecture around us? Point is, we are living in a society that is constantly changing cultures and lifestyles.

I recently visited the part of Chinatown where I grew up and the sense of feeling is uneasy because today’s Chinatown is extremely different from the past. I’m used to car horns blaring, Asian ladies screaming, near accidents between cars and pedestrians, and the most of all, the inability to get from one block to another without being harassed to “move” or “get out of the way”, all spoken in Chinese of course.

Today, the streets are clear rather than the jam packed alley that we call Broadway Avenue. Rather than Chinese people being in Chinatown, there are many tourist roaming the street, most of which have no Asian descent whatsoever. It is sad that there is hardly any culture left in the town where I grew up. With renovations to store foreclosures, it saddens me that what was once a booming little town turned into a historical landmark to a culture that was once there.

Our life is different today than how it was a decade ago and it will be different again ten years from today. However today, I believe that we have become oblivious to our surroundings and fail to realize the simple things in life; the details that matter the most. I reminisce the times where I had to beg my aunt to buy lychee jelly snacks for me at the Chinese markets but my begging, unfortunately, never worked. Further, I remember I used to hold my breath when my grandma dragged me along with her to buy chicken from the poultry market for dinner that following evening.

Between our family and our friends, we inevitably changed lifestyles. We grew up. Instead of disliking the taste of ginseng from when I was younger, having it now brings back memories of the time that was once lived. Memories of the past are simple and beautiful. Our likes, dislikes, to our experiences, whether good or bad shape who we are today. It’s the simple memories that tie us down to our roots and sometimes, we forget the simple things. The most simple details can be ascertained by rekindling our experiences that we have endured in the past. Our past is not complicated, it is simple. It is beautiful. The beauty of it all is that no matter where we stand on our cultural belief’s, we can always reflect on the simple things that make us who we are today.