Saturday, July 26, 2014

Patience is a virtue

I recently read a short Chinese article which I liked. If you can read Chinese, you can view it here.
It made enough of an impression on me that I decided to translate it into English. So here is the piece, entitled "I think I'll love you later".

Just wait until that day, when I am outstanding enough, and we are mature enough. Wait until that day when I know how to love someone. Only on that day do I wish to meet you.

Love is a responsibility. My choosing to be single does not mean that I renounce love - instead, I want to prove that I am wholeheartedly committed to the future you.

When that time comes, I will have enough intellect and knowledge; I will be able to stand firmly on my own two feet and have the courage to profess my love to you.

When that day comes, let us be together!

If, in the future, you are still the same person I know now, and I dare to hope that we can be together, then let me tell you again that I like you.

A wise person once said that understanding and love alone doesn't guarantee success in a relationship. Young people often need to suffer even more pain than adults. Well, if I can't bear that pain, then don't worry, I won't bother you.

I once heard this story:

There was a 22 year old uni student who was asked why he didn't date.
He said: "At university, everyone around you is a similar age, so students' values are largely the same - everyone wants a good job and a good partner. It is precisely because everyone has similar ideals that young couples find each other so easily and remain happy together. Regarding the effect of a relationship on study, it can have either a positive or a negative impact and so this differs between people.
But after graduating, couples must necessarily drift apart due to the demands of work or research. Even if each lover makes solemn promises to the other, opportunities to see each other in the future become more and more sparse. Don't say that you will continue to love him, because in your career, the reality is that divided attention is equivalent to giving up the chance to excel.
Then one day, when your life reaches its lowest point, that one person who offers you an arm up will make you grateful beyond words, and you will discover that it was actually this person who was the most important to you all along. Whereas in your former partner, hate emerges from love, and you lose a great friend.

In some sense, it is your parents pressuring you into dating, not you using your abilities to make your own choices.

In a normal relationship, if you are eager to improve yourself, then it will do you good to break up sooner or later; if you are not so eager to improve yourself, then it will do her good to break up with you. In a ruthlessly competitive society, being unambitious implies being eliminated by natural selection.

Falling in love does not come from actively looking for the right person. Because before you completely understand someone, he can change himself to appear more attractive to you, but when you finally understand his true character, you can be assured that a break-up is just around the corner.

In real love, familiarity breeds fondness, and when two people understand each other well enough they will come together naturally - even without needing to declare feelings for one another.

Don't settle easily just because you think the other person has a good character - love needs more than just a good personality. You must consider whether the romance has a future.

Most people, if they met someone they loved deeply, and felt that the other person loved them back, would be happy to enter a relationship immediately. For most people, the consequence is as discussed above: the eventual loss of someone very dear to them.

Instead, you should look after her like a friend, and keep in contact with her after graduation, and work hard to improve yourself for her.

Wait until you have some career accomplishments and then approach her - if she is still waiting for you, then you did not set your eyes on the wrong person.

Girls, if a guy falls in love with you very quickly, then it means he can also fall in love with someone else quickly.

If love arrives late, then it won't depart early. We do not have to rely on lost love to grow more mature; we should instead use other people's experiences to build ourselves up.

Schoolyard romances are naive, and relationships in society might have hidden motives. Only the romances that continue strong through adverse circumstances are enduring.

Love isn't about being with the person who is the most suitable for you; it's about being able to keep your promises to the person you love even when someone seemingly more suitable appears.

Love isn't when two people's eyes meet, it's when two people's gazes are directed at the same horizon.

The "I do this for you because I love you" gestures that you see online seem very moving precisely because most people don't possess this kind of love.

Love isn't a trend; you need your own interpretation of it. Before your ideal person appears, you need the willpower to remain by yourself, and not to find a cheap subsitute. When you are able to do this, the romantic gestures you hear about online will no longer be of interest to you, because they are the most basic indication of respect.

Being single is not bad. You can still take care of people you appreciate, and this will show others that you are a good friend. Doing the same thing in a relationship will lead to jealousy, and from the perspective of your partnership it can be said that you are not committed enough; on the other hand, neglecting those around you will lead to the loss of many friendships, and can turn out to be a double loss if your relationship also ends badly.

So being single now doesn't mean you renounce love - rather, it is proving that you are wholeheartedly committed to the future her.

If an accomplished person is single it means that he has excellent morals, but if someone commits early, regardless of how outstanding he is, it means that his virtues are only superficial, for use in attracting a partner. A person who truly wanted the best for his counterpart, would silently care for her behind her back. The best promise isn't "I will love you forever" - it is not needing to make any promises.

So understand that you should not lightly commit to someone just because you are lonely - you have to take responsibility for the other person's heart, and first make sure that your own heart is worthy of her kindness.

Also understand, that a male confidant is the most virtuous type of friend.

Further understand, that there is a kind of happiness which is simple and pure...

Remember this: it may not have started yet, but that means you don't have to worry about it ending. Everything remains the same as before.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Exchange Essay

So I just found this thing which was written mid-2013. The flow of the piece isn't perfect but it has some interesting ideas which I think are worth thinking about.

A few reasons for applying to go on exchange
I have always been of the belief that ‘education’ refers not to exam results or degrees, but to the learning of a broad range of ideas. To me, being a student is about having a desire – sometimes a craving – to understand all kinds of things. As I see it, what separates a student from other people who attend university is that a student goes to university with the aim to learn, while other people go to university with the aim of emerging out of it with a qualification or a social status.
My viewpoint has manifested itself in several ways. During VCE I obstinately studied nine unit 3/4 subjects despite being constantly reminded that three of my results were going to be ‘wasted’. My reply back then was that I enjoyed all my subjects and don’t want to give any of them up. Nowadays when people make similar enquiries I make the rather more pungent remark that “education is not a waste”. And although accumulating extra knowledge is helpful, I believe it is having the modesty to constantly seek new ways to improve which prevents us from standing still.
Similarly, despite completing a first year extension subject during year 12, I continued to study eight more subjects in my first year at university. During my VCE and university study, I have covered a variety of topics such as music, physics, psychology, mathematics, chemistry, Japanese, Latin, criminology, geography and economics. When people express curiosity at my study of additional units and non-major-related subjects, they implicitly reveal a belief that university is only to be viewed as a means to an end – i.e. that hard work is justifiable only if it contributes towards your degree. Although I can understand the social and life pressures which might lead someone to hold this opinion, I personally feel that this kind of attitude leaves a person in a passive state and very much ‘at the mercy’ of external influences with regard to decision-making. In my mind, it shows moral superiority to choose to do something extra even if there are no immediate benefits.
Indeed, the immediate benefits of an exchange experience are negative because the monetary cost is very high. Some people argue that this is a good investment to make because going overseas ‘looks good on your resume’ when applying for a well-paid job. I have no respect for such arguments. They do not transcend the limitations of predictable cost-benefit calculations. The investment I am making is in learning. A student does not learn by being taught something and remembering it. He learns by actively seeking new experiences and new ways of looking at things. And to do this, the humble student has to recognise his shortcomings, that somehow what he knows and has is not enough. I have always thought that when children become adults, they do not get wiser; they simply become more adamant that their beliefs are correct. I do not wish to fall into this trap. I hope that while I am learning new things, I can also be shown how much I do not know.
Having lived in Melbourne for fifteen years, and having attended primary, secondary and tertiary school almost continuously during that period, I can say that the routine is starting to feel a bit tedious. If something is a thrill at first, doing it continuously reduces its excitement. Fortunately, throughout my life I have discovered that trying something different is often a great way to break out of an unpleasant cycle. When I lose a lot of chess games in the same way, I try playing some new openings. When I get too stressed out by exam study, I go out and sit in the park. Therefore, I feel that an exchange experience is the perfect way to invigorate me with new enthusiasm for life. I am not content to wait until I finish university before I try something new; I believe tempus fugit only if we allow it to.
When we attempt to explain differences in the way people from different countries do things, we often end up coming to the conclusion that ‘that’s culture’. I think ‘culture’ is a term we use to explain away everything that we don’t understand. It means “that’s just the way it is; it doesn’t concern me so I needn’t put in the effort to understand it”. Having come to Melbourne from Shanghai at a very early age, I have noticed many, many differences between the attitudes of Chinese and Australian people which I do not understand. Obviously, asking someone why they think or do something is rarely any help; internalised norms are powerful and we often act subconsciously without much forethought. The only way to achieve real understanding and empathy is through full immersion of the Chinese lifestyle. And that is the second major reason why I feel that going on exchange would be valuable for me.
It is possible that an exchange experience would simply confirm all of my current thoughts about Chinese attitudes. But is it any loss to gain greater confidence in your beliefs? As Martel remarks in Life of Pi, “To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation”. If I tried a hundred new things and found myself still at my starting point, at least I have now experienced those hundred things. But I would have almost certainly learned a few things along the way. On the other hand, a sure way to guarantee stagnancy is to forever avoid trying anything new.

If I were someone else, this essay might have been very different to read. I might have highlighted the benefits to my Chinese language skills, opportunities for future employment or becoming more independent. But those are very much ‘rational’ motives. My reasons for applying to go on exchange cannot be considered persuasive from a direct evaluation of costs and benefits. This is because there are benefits which cannot be directly listed and assigned a monetary worth. Hopefully I have explained, not too cryptically, what these items are and why they are of such high value to me.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Peanuts Comics

Hello nobody, here are some Peanuts comics.
All of the below comics were taken in 2013 from GoComics (

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Landon Carter

Everyone has friends. I don't think everyone deserves to have friends though. Unfortunately it's not my role to play God, so I'll just content myself with giving my opinion on what a good person should be, and how I choose my friends.

Last year at a mentoring presentation night, a student from Scotch College presented his topic 'What makes a good man?'. Personally I thought it was very interesting, especially with the inclusion of Catcher in the Rye and The Outsider. But as so often is the case with philosophisationing, there was too much discussion and no conclusion. I on the other hand have pondered long and hard on this topic, and some time last year came up with some concrete theories. I delude myself to think that what I write has meaning, so please read slowly and try to take in what I mean.

But first I must apologise to the less-than-ten blog readers for the delay (to put it mildly) between this and the previous blog post. I've been tired and uninspired, and I can't work when I'm like that. Anyway, as some wise guy once said, better late than never.

A good person is someone who is nice. Not necessarily polite, or smart, or inspired, but nice. "Great, but what is a nice person?", I hear you ask. Good question. From my experience, a truly nice person is someone who can empathise with others and makes an effort to act accordingly. Anything less is selfish. Think about it.

I wouldn't be writing this though if the secret to choosing good friends was contained in a couple of sentences. Inevitably, problems arise.

Nowadays, there are too many fake people who have learned to adopt the facade of a polite and caring person. Those people appear friendly and interesting just like everyone else, but when you get to know them better, you realise that they don't have any qualities that you like at all. This kind of person has the most annoying character because there's nothing that can be done about them except to avoid them thenceforth. It's quite difficult to be sure that someone is a good person. Any good deed, if it makes you trust them more, might have a selfish motive. Judging someone's character therefore is a matter of pure intuition and comes with experience.

However, sometimes one deed is all that is needed to demonstrate that someone is not a good person. One thing working in our favour is that maintaining a mask requires infinite patience, and people are always going to make a slip sometime or other, showing their true selfish character. Take the analogy of climbing up a very tall ladder. Going up is slow and arduous, but it's easy to fall all the way back down again.

Therefore, you should get to know people better before deciding that they're a good person. In this regard, talking to them is ineffective because that kind of person has built up a lifetime's worth of experience with talking. I agree with a theory that I've heard somewhere, that people's true characters are only revealed during times of emotional stress, so you should make judgements based on that.

People constantly excuse their own or others' wrongdoing by blaming it on their emotional state, and this could not annoy me more. If someone can't control their emotions then they might as well be Doctor Frankenstein's creature, wanting but not knowing how to go about it. In fact, even worse than Frankenstein's creature because their predicament is their own fault. After all, emotions such as anger are not one-off events, it's bound to happen again and therefore a single event cannot just be dismissed.

Okay, that's all great, now onto the grand finale, how to go about making good friends. Firstly make sure your own character is likable. If you're not capable of making friends, you certainly won't be able to choose friends. Don't always jump into everything that's social. Be like Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice (I think he's really cool) and observe others from a distance. Of course don't run away if someone new talks to you, but just be wary, especially with people of the opposite sex, because sense is almost always blurred to some degree in those cases. Decide if the things people do are really out of generosity or have selfish motives, that's important. Be as nice to people as you can without trusting them foolishly. As an old saying goes, in order to make friends you have to be a friend. But in order to make good friends you also have to use your brain.

This time I really do owe the reader a thanks for reading, because I realise that most of the stuff above is just me rambling on and being hard to understand. Even the last paragraph fails to tie things up properly. Apologies for that.

p.s. I realised I forgot to mention anything about whether a person is interesting or not. About this I say that it doesn't matter. As long as they're a good person, they deserve your friendship.

p.p.s. I also realised that I neglected to mention the very important fact that people change. If you hate someone, wait a suitable amount of time and give them a second chance (building up the friendship from scratch).

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Are you clueless, trying desperately to find a way to escape the labyrinth that is the mess of your life? Probably not. But chances are that you understand your flaws, and want to improve your personality.

In response to one of the comments about the last post, I realise that figuring out what a perfect person is difficult and a subjective matter. What I probably should have added is that there are a lot of matters in which one choice is clearly the right choice and one the wrong choice, and of the rest, there is usually one option that stands out amongst the rest as preferable; I want to learn to recognise those options. Generally my quest to become a perfect person involves becoming nicer (i.e. understanding others more), and more able in all areas so that I can maximise the impact of my (hopefully positive) actions.

Having said that, I am quite a weird person and no-one is anything like me. But I'm going to give some tips that should apply to everyone. Quite simply, I am going to tell you how to live your life. Look out ten commandments, you're being replaced.

1. Be Nice. This doesn't mean offering people sushi at lunch, or inviting someone over to play. Niceness comes from ability and willingness to understand how someone is thinking, and striving to choose what is best for other people. It's not so difficult, but humans have a tendency to be self-centred. Ideally we want to consider the consequences of our actions from every viewpoint; this takes practice. But with the change in attitude comes a great sense of satisfaction, so it benefits everyone.

2. Modesty is all-important. Countless stories have been written in which a character's hubris leads to disastrous consequences; these stories are not without wisdom. Note that being modest means 'respecting others' rather than 'self-flagellation'. Excessive pride only leads to self-contentment, therefore stalling of progress, and putting-down of others. On the other hand, being modest means we always admire the good points in others and work to become better and better. Many people feel it's okay to be somewhere in-between the two, and it is. However, I suspect these people carry the natural tendency towards pride that most humans carry, and I see no arguments against being modest.

3. Persevere. Overcome setbacks. "The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times", said Paulo Coehlo in his introduction to his book The Alchemist. This could not be more true. One way (admittedly quite a narrow way, but it serves to demonstrate my point) life could be judged is to put the success of everyone's life on a line, from 'absolute failure' to 'perfect success'. Now, when we encounter a setback (and these occur simply by bad luck), we can either give up or persevere. It's clear then that perseverance can only push us towards the successful end. By the way, one good way of emotionally overcoming setbacks, which I heard from my friend the other day, is to think 'Yes that was not ideal, but in the great scheme of the world and my life, it is utterly insignificant, and there is so much more that I could be concentrating on for the future'.

4. Find Inspiration. It doesn't have to involve an apple falling from a tree and making world-changing scientific developments. Simply find something that motivates you to continually push forward, and overcomes the barrier of laziness. The desire to improve is a large part in finding meaning in life. Many a person has spent a too large phase of his life spending every day doing the same thing, with no goal, with the result of having a wasted life. This is probably one of the more difficult steps to follow. Possible motivators are: a good friend whom you care about, the rewards of accomplishing a particular goal, thinking about the brevity of life, etc. I'm sure you can find one.

5. Always feel Emotion. Life is empty and pointless without emotion; indeed, emotion is what defines life. One of my friends constantly tells me of her problems and her sadness; while I feel full sympathy, there is a part of me that is envious of her for having such rich emotions. A popular emotion is love; this is to the wholeheartedly pursued. If there is nothing to provoke emotion, find a way. Do things differently, take up something new. If all else fails, watch A Walk to Remember. If that fails to make you sad, you must be Mersault and I cannot help you.

6. Make good Friends. Friendship is a fundamental requirement to living a good life. We are shaped by our friends, and our happiness rests in their hands. One's utopia might consist of being surrounded by only the best friends, but this is difficult to achieve in practice. Everyone has flaws, and friendship is about overlooking those flaws which don't matter. Of course, in order to make good friends, you must be able to distinguish from those who are friendly inside and those who lack real substance but survive on their ability to talk. Making good friends is a topic I intend to discuss at a later date.

7. Reflect. Think as much as you can about everything. People under-use their brains, which is a big waste. Think about life, the universe, your favorite hobby, how your dog feels after being kicked by you. Thinking, unlike other things, takes very little energy, but it increases your understanding of the world. And understanding, as opposed to pure knowledge, is all-important. And, thinking is fun!

8. Do a Variety of activities. Ideally you should be involved with at least an art, a sport and a science, so that you get an understanding of all aspects of life. For example, only someone who has done some kind of public performance will understand the feeling one gets just before the performance. Of course, do not force yourself to do something you don't like to do, but at least try. Doing more activities will probably equate to a more exciting life.

9. Forgive. Bad stuff happens. We hate people sometimes and we vow to hate them forever. But somehow, through the passage of time, we forget our negative feelings and are alright again. Which is just as well, because people change. People are not bad forever; they learn. And someone who changes deserves to be forgiven. In the bible, Jesus was asked 'Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?', to which Jesus replied 'No, seventy times seven'. Although I find the bible an extremely dull read, I do respect Jesus's attitude of turning the other cheek. Hate leads nowhere.

10. Appreciate life. This is undoubtedly the most important one. We only get one life, and that means we can choose to live, or we can lounge around doing nothing. Do not fear failure. Remember that each moment is precious. If you do that, you should be quite satisfied with your life. There is an emotion that is attached to this point; it's some mix between euphoria, awe and longing. Please tell me if you know what I'm talking about, because I feel quite alone in this. To feel this emotion, perhaps ride your bike through a place where no-one is, or stand on top of a mountain by yourself. I think the key thing is to be alone in an amazing place.

Thanks for reading, I hope this is of help.
Now comes a fun part for me: thinking up some Mnemonic to remember these ten points.
Never meet people in equine flu; rabbits verify fast applications.
...Okay I'm not good at this.

Friday, July 9, 2010


I dream of creating amazing works of art.

Whenever I listen to Arabesque by Debussy, or read a touching book, I think, "Why not me? Why can't I do that?" And it always frustrates me that my brain is about 90% logical thinking and 10% imaginative thinking.

So the reasons for me to revive this blog are twofold:
1) In order to improve my abilities of English expression and let more imagination out through that medium.
2) So that the reader, being a thoughtful individual, may learn something about life, or at least find what I write interesting. I will try my best to write in an entertaining way.
2a) Because I think this would be more productive way to waste my time than to play ping-pong against the wall.

I'm not intending to continue my event-by-event diary that I terminated some time ago; no-one wants to hear about my life. Indeed, one person the other day tried to summarise my life as follows: "maths math chinese rice maths maths sleep rice"
...Which is pretty accurate, but I would add the following to complete the list: chess flute badminton. The point is, writing about my life and getting other people to read it would be a bit egotistic, and I think it would be a lot more productive if I posted lots of my random observations on life here, because I have a lot of them and they go to waste otherwise.

But right now I'm going to do a self-introduction (ignore word 'egotistic' in previous sentence).

I read a lot ( for a list of good books I've read). I write too little. I am right too little of the time too, but I don't care, because I only care about niceness as opposed to intelligence. No amount of intelligence can equal the skill of being able to understand how someone is thinking or feeling and acting accordingly.

I wish that appearance wouldn't have an effect on how we judge people. But it does. And that means that beautiful people make friends more easily. But I've discovered that ugly people have one important advantage too - they make better friends. They don't have to distinguish between the superficially nice and the truly caring, which is made all the more important because we live in a world which is dominated by idiots who meet lots of people simply because they are social.

My life goal is to be a perfect person. I know you're going to think 'Perfect is impossible, go for more realistic goals, blah blah blah' but I don't care. If I can get very close to it, then I will have done all I can. Near-perfect is good enough. But what's the harm in setting goals higher?

Being shy is not a crime. Of course part of the reason I say this is because I am such a person myself, but one theory I believe in is that understanding is power. I understand chess, so I can use my understanding to crush amateurs. My friend understands how I think, so he can predict a lot of things I do (and I regret this very very much). So in my unpopular opinion, those who sit back and observe others are at an advantage compared to those who jump straight in, because they will have a better understanding of things, be able to better choose whom they talk to, etc. Also, many modest people are shy, and modesty in my opinion is one of the most important virtues to have.

I'm too tired. I'll stop writing now.
p.s. Please do not comment. (I hope you will be suspicious of my reverse psychology and comment just to annoy me. Or I could be employing double reverse psychology... Anyway it's your choice, but if there's something that can be improved, please do comment for my sake. And anonymous comments are possible as far as I know.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Math Camp + Wednesday/Thursday

One happy Monday morning, I woke up. Unlike other poor people, I didn't have to face the daunting task of completing three more days of school. No, I was to complete nine days.
That afternoon, I arrived at Newman College. After some asking, I managed to find my apartment block and room, and was pleased to find that it had a roof. In fact, it also had a window, fridge, tap, wardrobe, closet, desk, and even a bed! Seriously though, it was an awesome room.
After about half an hour we recieved our timetable. Every two days had an exam, and every day contained nine hours of maths. Heaven...
Nine days later, I emerged from the training school with exam results of:
Number Theory - 9/35
Geometry - 2/35
Algebra - 0/35
Combinatorics - 11/35
AMO trial 10/28
The lectures were great, even though I couldn't understand what was happening half the time. But there was heaps of fun other stuff, like:

* Playing card games like Mafia, Mal, Bartog and 99
* Bagging David (even the lecturers joined in)
* Schnapps
* The hat game (Stacey's mum. Jensen's mum. Stacey's mum again. lol)
* Ross showing us cool tricks
* Math contest relay thingy at the end
* Getting caught outside the infamous 'Alfred's room' by Graham who was eavesdropping on us talking perhaps a bit too loudly
* Food. Awesome food there.
* Listening to everyone playing the piano, and feeling sorry for myself that I couldn't play
* Beating Phil on the combinatorics exam :) by one mark, but still...

Math Camp was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I actually want to do well on the AMO now so I can go to April Camp in Sydney.

When I got back on Wednesday I went straight to sleep.

Yesterday I slept in for until 11:00, Then played the flute for most of the day. Somehow I improved a lot over the nine days without practising.

I spent most of today making a new game, which can be downloaded at
I cooked rice and eggs for lunch simultaneously and separately, and the eggs popped a lot and I ended up getting bits of friend egg in my otherwise perfect rice.
In the afternoon I rode to Ormond to buy a tournament board. On the way I was swooped by a magpie, so I promptly got off my bike and stared the magpie down. Then I walked my bike away, still being careful to keep the magpie glued to the spot. I managed to ride from McKinnon to Ormond station in 2 minutes 25 seconds, which is like faster than the train...

Current favourite song: 'Still Alive' from Portal

Comments and feedback are good. I think you can comment anonymously. Or, give feedback on msn.
Thanks for reading! And have a good holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.