There’s, the miracles in the debris, or at least, that’s what we’d been, prayin’ hard for, but, as the rescue crews started working from Ground Zero, with the bodies, the limbs that got, dug up one by one, and piece, by piece, that dying hope, diminished, little, by, little……….
Miracles in the debris, there must be, I mean, despite how bad this god damn world becomes, there’s, still that, barely, visible, hope that’s, hidden itself, behind, those, dark, clouds, isn’t there?
hope, in the, “form” of, an unknown, flower…short-lived, but, more than, enough…photo from online
Miracles in the debris, we keep on hoping to find, signs of life, anything, anything, at all! And yet, with each piece of the building we’d, lifted up, our hope diminishes, little, by little, until, its, almost, completely, gone.
Then, suddenly, the sun came in, from the broken window, and, illuminated, that, dandelion, that worked hard, to breakthrough, out, of the debris.
That’s hope, right? I mean, we were, longing for a miracle, and, there it was, so tiny, yet, so, very, strong, and that gave us all, that needed, boost, to continue the searches…
The lights in the darkness, as we’re, still, not yet, out of, the darkness, but there’s that dawn that’s, coming on, in the, distance, if only we can all, look closely, and treat those whom we encounter with, kindness, as this world, slowly, heals back up…off of the Front Page Sections, translated…
Going to the super convenience shops, the cashier whom I knew well told me, that the elderly woman’s son is dead. The elderly woman is a frequent customer, she’d often shopped there, and sat for an entire afternoon, and she had only her son with him, her life is, lonely. The younger generations of cashiers and workers all loved the kind elderly woman, and when they’re not working, they would carry in conversation with the elderly woman.
The elderly woman had often come to pay for her own son’s traffic fines, and she’d started, ranting, “Told him to drive slow, he didn’t listen, always sped, and gets caught, and disregarded the fine notices, I can’t stand it, so I’d, paid for the fines for him…”, the clerk told her to get hard on her son, to NOT pay for his fines again. And yet, the next time, the elderly woman still came, to pay, and still kept, telling how bad her son is.
Not long ago, the elderly woman came into the shop to print something, she’d looked sad, and, I’d asked her what happened? She’d told me sorrowfully, that her son is, gone, he’d contracted MERS-CoV, and was, getting better too, but, with a progressive conditions, he’d still, died. And so, all of us, tried our best, to offer her console best as we can, as the New Year’s arriving soon, her being alone, it’d, impacted us so very, much.
An elder told me, that she’d seen the news of the pandemic growing worse again in China, and the Russo-Ukrainian Conflict that’s, caused the people to be without their homes, and all those footages she saw on T.V., made her heart break, and so, she’d, stopped, watching the news. But she’d still, carried on in the means of giving to the community on her own just the same, she’d told, that she hoped that 2022 can soon be over, that the pandemic had taken many lives now, plus the impacts of the Russo-Ukrainian Conflict, causing the hikes in everything we need, a lot of families are, torn apart, so many became, unemployed; there’s no way to make ends meet, in her own means, within her own capabilities, she’d, often donated to the charitable foundations that helped out the lesser in the communities.
In the unsettlement of the times, there are still, many who are, kind and warm in the world, in the waves of the cold fronts coming on, these individuals offered hope, and warmth to the world. A single mother posted on the Group of our local community, that her son in elementary school is saving up the pints of the super convenience stores, he’d wanted the items from the cartoon, but she’s a low-income household, and she also has cancer, she couldn’t, afford to spend so much money, to buy enough to get the stickers for the points she’d begged the neighbors, to donate some points. As soon as the posting came up, everybody started responding, and fulfilled the young child’s wish, and, it’d, helped shown the mother the compassions.
China is currently being HIT by the waves of the pandemic, there’s the cold meds shortages, my older sister who lives in China couldn’t get the meds, and asked if I could mail a couple of packs of cold meds, or the Chinese herbal cure remedies for MERS-CoV. I bought a few boxes of Theraflu, and, there was only, a box of the Chinese herbal cure remedy left, I’d bought it, and thought, I should probably, mail one more does, and as I passed through the traditional Chinese medicinal shop, I’d gone in to inquire if there are the ingredients, and as the owner heard I was mailing them to across the strait, he’d pulled out two bottles from the back, told me that there are only, two bottles remaining, that he won’t sell them, only give them to those who are in need; and told me, this was made from the same ingredients of the Chinese herbal remedies to treat MERS-CoV, that from before when the pandemic was hitting us hard, he’d given away so many bottles, not asking for money for them. I am so appreciative for the shop owner’s compassion, and grateful that he’d held no discrimination toward China, and was willing to help me help my own sister.
In the past year, although, the nine-in-one election had shaken up the communities here, I’m still more than grateful for all the loves, all the wonderful things I’d encountered, I hope, that the new dawn of the new year will light the path of our future, I hope, that the pandemic, wars, and inflations, will all be over, soon.
And so, despite how the world is really bad, overall, there are still, those tiny moments of hope that sparked, that lights people’s heart up, like this woman’s encounter, and that just showed, how kindness still starts small, from individuals, and then, it will hopefully, spread out, and, if we interact, relate to one another in this mean, I’m sure that this will speed the healing process of the planet up too.
The portrait painted with the poet’s, words, translated…
Between heaven and earth, there’s no world you can, squeeze, into.
The distances between raindrops, however, is, more, tolerant, the years squeezed through the spaces, how easily, it’s only, false fat.
the painting by the writer, courtesy of UDN.com
The shadows of the birds in flight, rested atop the surfaces of the waters, thoughtless. The light blues, the navy blues, deep blues, midnight blues………..no ripples in the heart, but quite, deep, the real depth can’t be expressed in written forms. The coldness bit, like the sharpened teeth of, the silence and solitude.
The rain and wind came in late autumn, like the older folks we knew, never, stopped chatting when they’d called us up.
And so, this is personification of nature, there’s, that scent, of being solitary, but not the loneliness which, hurt.
The lessons taught by the losing team, what’s to be learned, in the games, other than the skills used in playing to win that game, translated…
For some time, I’d gone regularly to the Hsinshen
Park on the weekends to shoot the hoops. As I played, one day, three others came to play on a team, one of them was quite tall, about 5’11…wow, he couldn’t be, an agile, player, could he? Is he, trained as a professional basketball player? Would we get, slaughtered?
And as we began…….hmmmmmmmmmmm, those who play, can tell, by dribbling, if the person can play or not. As the guy dribbled uncoordinatedly, that awkward, shot, didn’t make it, and, the ball was, way too, faraway from the, baskets.
Then came our turn as the offense, soi weird, we got the points, without even needing to try. They moved around quite slowly, couldn’t jump high enough, they seemed, a bit, timid even, on the courts.
And quickly enough, one point, two, three, six, then, they got off.
Yep, we’d guessed right, they couldn’t, play!
But, even if they’d lost to their pants, they’d still courteously, congratulated us, and this made me pay attention to them, and I’d found, that they are there every single weekend at the parks, and, in the time I’d gone to the Hsinshen Parks, they’d, never won a game, not even, once.
the comic by the writer, off of UDN.com
“So long it’s a game, we must, win!”, that’s the mindset of almost everybody, but it seemed ill-fitted to them. Even if they kept losing, without any, progresses, couldn’t win a single game, whenever they’d made a shot, they would, genuinely, feel happy for one another, high-fiving. It seemed, that they truly, loved the game, for the, game itself.
Slowly, their being weak players left that deep impression, that whenever they made a basket, we, as players on the benches would start, hooraying for them, and they’d, shown that, shy, bashful, smile.
This experience became my inspiration for my comics “Geeks Shooting the Hoops”. I learned from them, “there’s not just the winning in the basketball games”, I’m too grateful for this, valuable, lesson, they’d, taught me.
And so, this team of, losers had, gained your, respect, because of how they never gave up on playing the games, and that’s something that we can all, learn from, the attitude to which we all need to own, to face all the obstacles in our own, lives.
That wakeup call from his, near-death experience, that made him shift his focus, and, reprioritize his own, life, translated…
My close friend, W is from the civil engineering majors, the very first job he’d worked after he’d served his armed service terms was in Alishan.
The Alishan back then, had everything it has right now: the sun rise, the beautiful clouds that roll, and the wasabi that’s planted for two, to three years before harvesting; it has something that we didn’t: like those swarms of flies, and mosquitoes. Back then, the construction workers of the local tribes had come to work with their machetes on their belts, dressed in their native attires, looked like they were, out of, some ancient, tales. As W got to here, his face glowed: ahhhhhhhhhh, there was the freshly made wasabi sauce, and we had those knife carrying men to keep us safe and secure, those were the, days! But what W wanted to say, was what followed, “until that one day”, the “on that day”.
To get the cement shipped by the small trains, the other construction materials, W’s construction sites had its own two iron carts, going to and from day to day, up and down the slopes, the slope was about a couple of hundred meters, right beneath the hotel, that was the steepest section; on one side, there’s, that sharp cliff, and on the other, a steep, slope.
“That day”, they were filling the cement in, one of the two transporting carts stopped working, because of the brakes, the driver took the day off, gone off the mountains, seeing how the supply of the building materials was running short, W decided to drive that no-longer working iron push cart, and entered the line for transporting the building materials. Thought that in the past he’d done it in the same situations, that even if the brakes malfunctioned, he just, drive slow, and use the handbrake, to stop the car in time.
illustration from UDN.com
As W shifted into first gear, slowly gone up, as he climbed up onto the steep slopes, he’d thought to switch to second gear, and yet, as he, switched, the stick shift got jammed between first and second gear, and he couldn’t, move the shift at all. The car was then, in neutral, started, rolling backwards on that steep slope, the weight that the car carried, made the handbrake malfunction, the car started gaining momentum, as it’d, rolled backwards. W’s mind was suddenly drawing that blank, but, there was that thought that came, “I will hit the cliffs, and not fall into the dropoff!”
The steering wheel then, became the key moment of his, gamble, he’d started turning it, and, a loud BANG!, the back of the car hit the cliff. And yet, the flatbed immediately bounced back onto that slope, continued, rolling down. W clenched to the steering wheel like his life depended on it, again, the second BANG, finally stopped the car from, rolling. The whole thing, in the metal hitting the rocks, creating the sparks, it’d taken away, ALL the spirit that W had, the skies grew dark for him, he was, dizzy, his legs started, trembling, in that, silence.
That experience made W suddenly more open to what fate may bring, he’d started, focusing on keeping his life bright, like wearing those, shined shoes, carried himself with confidence every single step he’d, walked, with his head held high, and he became able to, remap and map out the course of his, brand new life. Like a lot of others, in the past, W also questioned the “life of reduction”, aren’t there those who’d preached, that in searching for meaning in life, one should, reduce the thought of the “self”? As he’d started, traveling light, W became, better at finding the “definition” of his own, life. A lot of the mementos are from W’s days of work, the reminders of his own ups and downs in life, he’d, kept all of these, artifacts in mint condition, refusing to let any of these items, fade, everything, every item became, what W uses, to encourage himself in his own, life.
After the incident with the iron cart, in the scenes of life, W started, living comfortably, in his life of, “reduction”. As the fires of life was burning bright, he’d lived every day to its fullest, as the fires of life was about to burn out, he’d, carried that same means of living his life to its, fullest potential as well.
And so, this was what this man learned, from that close call with death, it’d turned his life around, made him refocus on things that actually mattered, and sometimes, we are in need of that wakeup call like that, to remind us, to shift our focuses, to focus on what truly is, the most important things in life to us, to reprioritize our own, lives.
The kindness from an unknown stranger, took to heart! Translated…
The thundershowers in the afternoons caught us all off-guard, and we’d, dodged the rains like wet rats.
My relative’s only daughter finally found the one, and decided to get married, and yet, MERS-CoV came, and everything got stalled, the two families got taxed, strained, from the wedding preparations, and the defending against the pandemic. After the many rehearsals, the families decided to hold the wedding ceremonies outdoor, in the tents that can get, set up, inviting all of the families, relatives, friends too, to offer the newlyweds the blessings, to bring this celebratory mood to all, but not the banquets, and, the families hired the five-star chefs to make the takeout meals, for the guests to take them home to enjoy. The newlywed written on the invitations, that everybody should greet each other, by nodding heads, and not shaking hands, and, to mask up, in the get-together.
I’d set up the meet up with my young cousin close to an intersection of the banquet hall, and yet, the afternoon showers came, too hard hitting, as I exited the MRT stations, the wind and the rain came at me really hard. Normally, I would’ve, run, rammed off, and yet, I had my hair done, I was in a pencil skirt, high heels, there was NO way I was going to be able to run fast.
Seeing how the time is quickly approaching, I’d called up my cousin, I got her voice mail, the rain got worse, I became flustered, worried, completely stressed out. As I was at my wit’s end, an older woman with gray hairs approached me, “forgotten to take an umbrella? Take mine, I live close around the corner, I won’t get too wet, you are dressed up, and, it would be a total shame if you got completely wet!”, I’d kept thanking her, wanted to get her address, she’d waved goodbye and left.
The older woman helped me with my immediate problems, and, I’d made it to the wedding on time, and I couldn’t, thank her. And so, I’d, placed that umbrella into the compassion umbrella box set up at the MRT station after the wedding was over, so this kindness will continue to get pass on down. At the same time, I’d taken a note of the kindness shown toward me by the unknown stranger, reminded myself, “no small deeds of kindness are overlooked!”
And so, this is how the help from a random stranger had, touched you, because the woman’s umbrella came right in time, when you needed it the most, and, you took her kindness to heart, and, as you were shown the kindness by this unknown stranger, that seed of care and concern for others got sown down, and you’d, passed along the kindness which was shown to you by this unknown woman, to someone else who may also be in need as well.
Repeated in that vicious cycle of his own misbehaviors, led him down this path of, no return, and now finally, as he sits in his cell, he’d, realized what he’d done, and what he can do, to turn his own life, around, translated…
For Most, This is a Hopeless Sort of Life……………
My rebirth from the flames, started from owing two hundred million dollars, the ability to introspect, to admit to what I’d done was wrong, was from my twelve years’ sentence in prison. For most, this is a life without the chances, but to me, it’s, a brand new, beautiful, beginning, because, I’m now able to use my mindset of learning for life, to, turn the bottom half of my own life, around.
Walking on That, Right Path, Finally
Back when I was too young to know any better, I’d thought, that putting my fist out to help a friend, is the true meaning of giving them the support they were looking for, and yet, what I got were, the conflicts of the fights I’d gotten in, at age twenty, I’d, faced my very first, prison sentence, being taken into, custody. Everybody told, that the longer you get locked up in prison, the more badass you’d, become, that it’s the path, of becoming a gangster, so, the very first time I got stuck in a cage, I just wanted to, make more friends, to expand my connections. And surely, I’d not changed a bit after I’d made bail, and, I’d, hit the walls, soon enough, and only, stayed out of prison, for one short, year’s time.
The second time I got taken into custody, I’d met a white collar criminal, the worst step I’d, ever taken, and became, a con artist, got on that path of, no return. The second time I’d made bail, I went into business with a friend, and, wrote the scripts, used the cons, to get my very first bucket of gold in life, ever since, I’d, gotten lost in the nightlife, took up the habits of gambling, and, started, squandering everything away to soon, which was a proof of, traveling down the wrong road, it’ll, catch up to you eventually.
illustration from UDN.com
By age twenty-five, I’d faced my third, two years’ worth of prison sentence, being righteous toward my friends, I’d, taken all the blames, and in return, all my friends, they’d, deserted me. My wife went into labor when I was held in custody, and she was too distressed and had postpartum depression, and in the end, my only source of strength was my parents’ never giving up on me, which was, the start of, me, waking up, and turning my life, around. I’d started, making friends with books, started getting into the habits of reading, to change my own heart, and understood the meanings of, “helping others” and the meanings of “helping another is helping ourselves”. My own experiences made me reached out to my fellow inmates, hoping they don’t travel down this same wrong path I had, to improve themselves, for those around them.
The two years’ prison terms, I’d, come to understand, that the justice system is maxed out in giving me my second chances, that every time I returned back to the society, I’d, strayed, farther from I did before, that I may not have the opportunity to get out, on good behaviors again; and, maybe, it’s going to take me more years to finally appreciate being able to feel the love from my parents, to find the blessings of sharing a meal with my wife and children. And yet, in my time of serving prison, I was, blessed by heavens above, as I was told, that I was allowed to make bail a third time, I’d sworn, that in the time I’m serving, I shall, stay away from the bad, and, start walking out, a better path of life for myself.
The Encouragements to Myself, “It Takes Ten Years to Make a Perfectly Sharpened Sword”
After I’d made bail, I’d, still, gathered with those friends, but without, the bad influences, sharing only the ideals, and I’d, come to understand, how those friends’ not, deserting me was, too precious to, come by. As my case was still pending, I’d discussed with a friend on the future direction of my own life, “We’ll try it with you.” with their supports I’d, become, an entrepreneur. And, as I got totally immersed in what I was doing, I fell, in love, and in the process, I’d come to understand the meaning of “there’s a house of gold in every book”, the books I’d read in prison became quite useful in business, I’d started up from the fundamentals, and because of how my partners and I were on the same page, in only three short years, we’d, made a “good grade”. I’m more than grateful to my friends’ trusts in me, from the team of five originally, squatted inside that compressed, tiny office, and now, we’d, expanded to more than thirty employees.
During the time of our startup, I’d worked in the merchandising department, and, used the knowledge I’d read up on in the books from prison, to lower the costs and to barter with the providers, but, being a con artist myself, I got, conned, and, I’d originally wanted to, shoulder the money I’d lost for the firm, but, my partners denied my request to, and said, that the company will pay up the total. And in the end, the providers were touched by my story of turning my own life around, and, refunded the amount we’d lost back to us.
We all eventually, pay for our own, mistakes. My trial dragged out for three full years, as I’d gotten that serving sentence to prison, I’d felt upset, but I’d not, gone back on that promise I’d made three years ago when I’d made bail then, and my families saw how hard I’d, tried to work to turn my life around too.
And to this very day, whenever I get anxious, upset, or agitated, I’d still told myself, “it takes ten years to sharpen that sword”, we needed to trim the rough edges of our own character off, to better our own, abilities too, and I’d understood the true meaning of “only when you change for the better, the meanings of you becoming a man showed.”
still serving his time…
I am, a textbook example, although I’d still caused myself to get stuck, but I hope, that the life experiences of this decade of life from my twenties to my thirties, can help light the way for all those who are currently lost at the crossroads of their own, lives.
And so, this is the man’s, tracing the wrong steps he’d taken in his own life thus far, and as he’s serving his current prison term (hopefully his very last one!), he’d, realized the wrong steps he’d taken thus far, and, decided to make the changes, to make sure he doesn’t, go down the wrong roads in his own life again, and hopefully, that will to change in him, will be enough, to keep him from straying again.
The act of kindness, from a customer, who saw how hard hit the restaurant industry had been during this past year of the outbreaks, and gave the workers, a boost of, hope that they’re, in dire need of, it’s her heart that’s touched the restaurant workers, more than the amount she’d packed into the red envelope to give to them I’m sure, translated…
My former employer is considered one of the hardest hit under the epidemic, after May of last, it’d, gone toward the bottom of operations, all the way to the end of year, and finally, as the guests returned, the epidemic started, growing again, those of us who worked in the restaurants aren’t afraid of getting too busy with work, unafraid of hard work, only worried, that our service skills aren’t, put to, good use.
leaving the huge tip…
Watching the news, and, I’d started, worrying over my former coworkers, that day, I’d chatted with a head chef, and he’d told me, that currently, the reservations are, bipolarized, in the cities and counties where there’s a higher number of cases of confirmed contractions, there are only, a handful of reservations, and the primary means of making the money turned into takeout or deliveries, or, the frozen dishes sent to the customers’ homes, while for the other regions, the restaurant made sure of the safety protective measures of cleanliness, and take advantage of the time we have to dine out together.
He’d told me, that the previous evening, he’d waited on a returning customer, who’d dined in as usual, and, he’d served the guest, and, as the man paid for the tab, he’d, given the server a red envelope, told him, “I’d heard that you guys won’t get any year-end bonuses, this is my blessing, and something extra for you guys, you must, take it!”
The tiny act of kindness from a frequent customer, sent that surge of warmth throughout the entire restaurant, the restaurant became, not just a place to gather to eat to make good memories in, we’re, very grateful for this beautiful, and wise customer, who’d, given us that warmth of blessings in the cold of winter.
And so, this just showed, how the acts of kindness can touch someone so deeply, and we’re, especially in need of these encounters in our lives, as the epidemic still rolls, and, there’s still no end in sight, and, if we can’t give each other the tiniest sparks of hope, then, we’d all be, living in the darkness of this trying time.
These are the acts of kindness, that we all need to see more of these days, from strangers, who saw a need, and provided the need to others, translated…
My father, who’s over ninety years of age, due to how his legs are no longer as agile anymore, at the start of the year, he’d started walking with a cane to help him, and, his areas of activities became, limited greatly.
A few days ago, I’d gone back to my parents without any plans, as I’d turned into the alley where they live, I saw my father sat down on the chair, set by the side of the front door of someone else’s home. As I’d asked, I’d learned, that my father was out walking a bit for exercises, as he returned, he’d felt tired in his legs, that’s why he’d sat down for a short rest, pops also told me, that the neighbor of this house was quite kind, every time he’d seen them, other than greeting him kindly, they’d also told him, that if he gets tired from walking, he is to sit down by the chair they put out by their front door to rest a bit.
the cultures of tea-offerings from the olden days…
In the earlier eras of Taiwan, in the less densely population areas counties, there would be those with kindness in their hearts, that sat up the tea kettles out by their own doors, to help the passersby, the travelers from afar, to take a breather, to have some replenishments of fluids they needs, so they have the energies to keep going to wherever it is they’re getting to, which turned into a culture of “tea offerings”. And now, my father’s neighbors kind act of “seat offering”, shared the same effects of kindness, and it’d, touched me very much.
A chair that’s, set up by the side of the door, allowing the elderly in the neighborhood, who are no longer agile enough to walk all the way home, to sit and rest a bit, then to keep going, this tiny act of kindness, showed the compassions of the homeowner. Because of the reinforced actions of the neighbors, I’d felt, that this road home was, more beautiful than ever before.
And so, this, is the kindness of stranger to you, the neighbors close to where your father lives saw that there’s a need for your father to sit and rest a bit, and, provide a chair out by the front doors of their home, and it’s this act of kindness, that may not be that much, that’s, touched you and those who will come and sit in the chair as they needed the rest.
How these, random acts of, kindness, from complete, strangers can, touch our lives and the effects of their kindness surely are, ever-lasting, translated…
Some twenty years ago, I’d gone to stay at California for a short while, after supper I’d still gone on a stroll like I would when I was at home, I’d often strolled by the residential estates, to work out for starters, and to get a closer look at the locals’ gardens, the quietness was what made the years memorable to me; but, what touched me the most, was the lights on the front porch that the local residents left turned on for the strollers to be able to see better in the nights. How the lights were, motion-activated, lighting up the path before me. Many a year later, these sensor lights became, more prevalent here in Taiwan, that was when I’d, realized, that I may have, interpreted, too much, into what I’d felt back in the U.S. on my trip from back when.
Switching gears to May of 2021, the unannounced power outages came, in the darkness, the inconvenience, I’d found, that sense of warmth of the light too.
It was seven in the evening, I’d walked that path I’d walked for over a thousand times home, the street became too dark beyond my recognition, someone used the flashlight on their cell phone to light up the way; but the bigger light came, from the local residents, the families put out their flashlights in front of their homes, some hung on the first-floor front doors, some on the second floor balconies, those lights that are up and down, are all the love, compassions of the local residents, not for themselves, but for those, who are, heading home at night, to get them safely, home.
You may be, on that path, with the dimly lit light, but, there’s, that warmth from within, and, the steps you stepped felt, lighter, and, you’d started, humming that song as you walked onward.
And so, this, is from the kindness of, complete strangers that offered that light to light the way, for the passersby to their, neighborhood, because they know that there’s, a need for those out and about to see the way, and offered their kindness to those around them.
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