Saturday, June 07, 2014



Dear Mom,

Thank you for your impassioned and expressive email. I think of you every June 4 and of the way you take a personal stand every year for something you believe in strongly, and I, like you, can feel the power of memory and the risk of forgetting. Our minds -- and, for those who believe in them, our souls, or our essential selves -- are really all that we bring and leave behind in this world and the impact we have on one another, the ways we touch each others' lives, are, to me, the closest thing we have to 'immortality.' I am not saying we should strive to be immortal; I am saying that we are more than our time on earth and that the difficult distance between life and nothingness finds a beautiful bridge in things like memory and family, and the idea of passing on a legacy or a set of core values, or even of having brought children into the world who then go on to have their own impact as well.

I think Liang's Mother's Day email expressed it perfectly: something about caring for children forces a restructuring of the brain towards selflessness, towards thinking about how each action and decision will affect someone else before oneself.

What I find inspiring in your example, and in Dad's, is that you have both translated that selflessness toward the world at large and that you are both engaged in the complicated political and social challenges we face.

Living in Quebec and in Montreal, where, much like in Hong Kong, there is a daily culture clash between English and French -- in Hong Kong, I see the clash between the Hong Kong citizens and mainlanders, I am learning a lot about living with uncertainty, with disagreement and with a fundamental clash of values and human rights. I won't go so far as to call it a clash of civilizations and really I think Fukuyama is now outdated for our interconnected world where people from all different countries move to and live in all different countries and kids grow up having moved all over the world, but regardless, I feel like I am able to practice not only how to be respectful and civil towards people with whom I strongly disagree, but additionally, to practice how to contribute towards a fun-loving, healthy and creative society regardless. I do this because I want the world to be a better place for my children, but I also do it because I have watched you both in action and know that we are all powerful -- individually and collectively, as a nuclear family and as an extended family, for each other, but also for ourselves.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Really impressive!