Pick Up Signals
I feel that I have been much better at picking up signals now. Probably because I’m getting older and wiser–I wish. I know that I tend to self congratulate on some partial understanding and superficial knowledge. Knowing that I have such a tendency, I understand it is hard for me to grow wiser even with the continuous accumulation of life experiences.
Considering how bad I was at picking up signals (hints, verbal cues, pause, gestures etc.) in the past, I think I can say that I have improved somewhat in this direction. The reason I am so slow and awkward is probably due to my upbringing. With my parents constantly fighting in hot or cold battles, with neither of them having any interest in child rearing, I grew up trying hard to block myself away from my environment, disengaging rather than engaging with my immediate vicinity. I left home when I was 15 to attend a rather bad boarding school. I knew its reputation–its bad food routinely made students sick, and its ridiculous curriculum and rules can make me cringe when I think about it decades later. Still I was determined to go because I wanted to leave my parents as soon as I could. Since then, I have tried to unlearn the blocking skills I had learned from home, but it is a long and painful process. Often I failed to comprehend a signal days, months, or years after the signal was given. Also the dread of misunderstanding a signal was so severe that I was afraid to even interpret a signal.
Thankfully, I’ve learned and improved…
One thing I am really grateful for is the emphasis on education in the Asian immigrant community. Actually the over-emphasis of education has almost sucked all the fun and imagination out of the education. It’s quite unnatural, but it is what it is. We just have to accept it since I don’t see it being changed any time soon.
There are various historical reasons for this, but I guess the most obvious reason is the instability of Asia’s geopolitics and the uncertainty of life. Education and knowledge are something one can pass to one’s offspring and it is something one can preserve in one’s own mind. One can lose one’s money, one’s property, or even one’s social network etc. when wars, famines, or other disasters strike, but one’s knowledge is always stored in one’s head and can be preserved. It’s Asian people’s defense against centuries of misfortune and insecurity.
Despite my constant complaint of how conservative the Asian community is, its emphasis on education has instilled in me a habit of continued learning. I think I want to be grateful about that.
Housing In Asian Community
I went to Walmart early today since they usually have their freshest lettuce available on Saturday morning. And I thought I might see a homeless guy pushing his belonging in a shopping cart and trying to buy something. This was what I saw a month or two ago when I went to Walmart in early morning hours. However today I didn’t see such a figure. Instead, I saw a woman loading supplies to her car. And if you looked into the window of the car, you could see a blanket, a towel, and everything else. I instinctively felt that the woman is living in her car. I just feel so sorry for her. I mean she is such an able bodied person and I bet she’s willing to work. However New Jersey is so expensive that housing is becoming quite un-affordable. And Edison is considered a middle level township, but its housing is staggeringly expensive. I have a friend who just spent $300,000 to buy a 1100 square feet (102 square meters) condo. It is super small and the living room can only hold his big dining table and no space left for anything else. It is so not worth it.
And it is a good thing that many people here love to share. It is against the township regulations, but many Asians would take tenants so that they can get some help to pay for mortgages and property tax. Thankfully this is the case. Otherwise, there would be a lot of Asian homeless, which will really break my heart.
Getting Over Narcissism
I am thankful that I stumbled on some videos and online material on narcissism, which have helped me examine my own family. It has been a eye opening process. And now I want to become an advocate to help others to understand the narcissists in their life. I will share all the stories of my family so that people can make comparison and reflect on their own experiences.