Saturday, July 09, 2016

Quiet Reading

That was half of the story I told at the graduation ceremony at the primary school.  Here is the other half.  The guy who graduated from primary school twice (GWGFPST) is not rich.  The one thing that he has quite a bit of is books.  And the reason why he likes to read was due to something that many would consider a character flaw.  

He was and is still very shy, getting very nervous whenever he has to talk with people.  Early on, he discovered that if he was reading something - anything - people would leave him alone.  So he made sure that he always had something with him to read: books, magazines, newspapers, …   It started out as a defence tactic.  But gradually he discovered the joy of reading and learning - and reading turned into almost an addiction.  

He read classics such as War and Peace, and Quo Vadis ("Where are you going?" - a legend of Peter, who fled from persecution from Rome, met Jesus, ask Jesus this question - who replied that He was going to Rome to be crucified again, returned to Rome to be crucified upside down), stories  of Chinese guerrillas who fought the Japanese, ..., novels of existentialism. He memorised maps of the provinces of China, world maps, 長恨歌,琵琶行,…, the names of the emperors of the Ching Dynasty. He was fascinated by the shape of sharks and airplanes, which led to interest in the beauty of geometry, mathematics and engineering.   He remains fascinated by science, history, philosophy, religion, psychology, …, neuroscience. 

From Aberdeen Technical School, he learned woodworking, small hand tools, machine tools such as drilling machines and lathes, electronics, electrical wiring, technical drawing.  From his extremely-dexterous father, he learned how to do home repairs, even mixing concrete.   

Years later, now that he is asked to develop service-learning at the university, he has to take students to install solar panels, wire up houses, learn and explore multiple foreign cultures, persuade colleagues in all disciplines to apply their discipline to service-learning projects - it feels like God has been preparing him throughout his life for what he is doing now.   All the time, he thought he was just following his heart - doing something that he enjoyed.  Little did he know that God was preparing him for something he could not have imagined.  

Hence, the lesson from GWGFPST: follow your heart, pour your heart into everything that you do, and be courageous when God opens the way.  


Anonymous said...

A very touching piece. Thank you for sharing. I reckon you received an IIE scholarship years ago which I did too. It brought me to the US 39 years ago and I stayed abroad for 32 years. I too had switched majors and careers and little would I know that 39 years ago. It is wonderful that you can develop service learning and contribute to humankind. I am so pleased to read your blog as I share many of your viewpoints. Thank you.

StephenC said...

IIE, indeed! So you received it in 1977? Mine was 1975. Would you care to share more? Perhaps through email?