Thursday, March 6

Advise I will give to my daughter

This prayer has so much impact on me through out my life. This prayer apply for everyone who believes in God. This is one strong guide to keep up sane in this confuse world. This is one prayer that make us compassionate to accept other different view. This is one prayer that make us humble and see things with the heart more than the mind. This is one prayer that make us Human.

This prayer was found by Reinhold Nieburh and American theologists.Click here to read about him and here as well. I rather you read it yourself and have an understanding yourself. I am not here to represent anyone or any institution nor a belief system, I am here to speak as a mother to a daughter.

When you travel and live most of your life away from your own country, the place where you are born, the place where everything is in order according to how you grow up with, things are not easy. Different places on earth take different things to handle in order to survive. That is why I admire those who can travel to many different places, live there and handle things around them elegantly. They can just fly and dance around with what ever beat thrown to them. They can easily pick any rhythm and improvise from that. 

Living the life overseas outside the campus compound, fighting for the rice bowl, mingle around with the local, speak to them, visit their home, see how the struggle in life and understand their shortfall will give us a different perspective about life all together. I am glad I did that in NY. It is probably one of the most amazing life experience I had ever have in my life. I face struggle everyday, I see struggle everyday ... I smell, taste and touch them in real. Human suffering is not just based on the text book, but you basically live through it. 

NY was one of the most expensive place in earth that time. Being a foreign student who had to struggle with tuition fees, books, meal and rent were not easy. I have to work ... not only just one job but few of them. Study and work together is not a nice combination for someone who was just about 21 years old. I worked in the place call Park Avenue where it is full air-con with beautiful arranged flower in expensive Parisian vases on almost every table for those guys who live inside the room with the door. I have my own cubicle which I share stories with my gay friend from Brooklyn. I remembered he always looking forward for Friday so that he can spend his week-end with his boy friend. I actually went out with them for ice cream during one of the beautiful Sunday in central park. I know now that my friend was starting to show the symptom of HIV, there were not much publication or awareness at that times about aids. It was in the early 90, when Reagen just left the office. Next to our cubicle is Pat, she is a single African American mother who share her apartment with her one and only daughter and her boy friend. She went to school and work, just like me at that time. We work in the morning and go to school at night. She left her daughter with her mom somewhere in Bronx. Then so on and so on ... friends from different background, stories, I don't know why, they loved to tell me their stories even to the most intimate way. I think it was a great time for me to learn NY in a very natural way .... listen to stories.

I worked in the bank on Saturday, where I can see someone with close to 9 digits amount of money on her shabby bank book without believing he is one of the millionaire. He always come with his shabby look, dirty jeans and boot as well as tired face, but he kept coming to bank in his money. Old lady, with broken voice and shaken body, always dress in black, same thing, she came and bank her money, sometimes she told me stories about the lousy bagel and coffee that were sold just outside the bank. I was awarded as employee for the month once, the Italian bank manager said, few customer gave me stars for being very patient and friendly to them. This is a small bank, Chase Manhattan bank somewhere in Flushing. 

I also once worked for Au Bon Pain, a french food chain. I started out as the cleaner for the table then promoted to be a cashier and resign as the stock keeper. This was in One metrotech brooklyn, just a bridge away from Manhattan. Some said this was one of the most notorious neighborhood in NY at that time. Many drug dealers and street gang. I saw them as real everyday, friends bought drug from them too, sometimes I was with them on the way home. Most of them are Hispanic and black American, I was the only Asian. They took me as their sisters, they called me ... shortie. I was closed to few of the girls, I went to their house too, meet their parents. I could not imagine myself actually to step to the neighborhood at that time considering I live in one of the most save place in earth now, Singapore. I even saw one incident where a boy was killed in gun shot on the train ride home back to queen from Brooklyn. I could not eat for three days remembering how that boy was jerking on the ground while the train was still moving until someone alerted the train. 

NY is not the only place where I live. I lived in Tokyo for sometimes too, where I learn to work with the Japanese. I learn a different work culture compare to the land that I just step out where you can have an argument with your boss and you are still save to come to work the next day. In Japan, people respect seniority. It is not about how smart or more educated you are but it is about the length of year you work for the company. I had to be very careful to understand who they are and make sure I did not step any wrong door and commit a sin. I represent Singapore office at that time. Exactly the same period, I faced another different game in Singapore where another type of office politic or culture being run. In Singapore I have to understand group. Who and who belong to which group, and where I will be in which group. The most fatal mistake to be in nobody group that I will be fighting alone, which exactly I did because it was just too confusing for me. 

I learn in many years of my life, there are things written on the wall with transparent ink. They are not suppose to be seen with eyes but with understanding and comprehending. These skills, no body teach us in school, we pick it up a long the way. Some learn it well, because they grew up with people skill since they were young, some did not, then they have to learn thing in the hard way just like myself.

I always have this urge to be a hero, to save the humanity, to fight the battle of unfairness etc etc. My dad always shared me a lot of stories of standing up for what is right. But after a while I learn, life mold us, reality check comes in. I did not blame my dad, as I was just a kid that time, he was just doing his job to make sure I protect friends who were weak and helped those in need. But as I grow up .... context come in, priority roll in, real life embrace us. Without I realize it, I did not stand tall as before, I end up with many bruises and pain to see what is happening out there. 

A friend in facebook just told me ... he said, we did not have to win every battle, but we win the war. Life is a matter of perspective ..... how we adjust our sail and make sure we ride on the right path. 

So if someone ask, what advise I will give to my daughter .... I will give exactly this serenity prayer. Sorry it is a long post, I just have to let it out from my system. Thank you so much for reading ..... I could not be bother to check my grammar and vocabs. Cheers from Singapore.

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