I’m a Big Crybaby

For as long as I remember, I’ve always been a huge crybaby. As a kid, I used to cry watching Disney movies. There was always that one scene! From particularly tear-jerking scenes, such as when Dumbo snout-hugged his mom outside her prison carriage, to Little Foot telling his mom to get up when she was dying after an earthquake.

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The Little Things are Big Things

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A few months ago, I was following a link online that was raising money for childhood cancers. In the description, millions of dollars were already raised in a matter of weeks, surpassing the end goal by far. I had a moment of hesitation, whether or not I should donate. They already raised more than they had set out to raise. And what contribution would my $20, or even $100, be in the mist of the multi-million dollar sum? Continue reading

Don’t Waste Your Life Waiting for the Weekend

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Today is hump day (Wednesday). It’s one of those days that don’t exactly excite anyone, but it’s the “after hump day” that everyone looks forward to. Why? Because we passed the middle of the week. We managed to trudge up that glorious hill that is Monday and Tuesday, and on the other side is a direct downhill roll to Friday. Alas, the weekend! Continue reading

The Life Unlived

I attended a hot yoga class a few weeks ago, and aside from it being a sweaty experience, it turned out to be quite thought-provoking. The instructor said something at the end of the class that kind of intrigued me; so much so that I actually think I can quote her word for word:

“We all have two lives. The life we are living, and the life unlived. Between that, is resistance.”

For the rest of the day, I’ve been thinking about what she meant by that “second life” and what mine would look like. How would I live it and why isn’t it lived? By nightfall, I simply figured that perhaps my unlived life are all the experiences I haven’t experienced yet – both the good and bad. But then I was still bothered, because that doesn’t resolve the second part of that quote. Resistance. Maybe I still wasn’t getting the point. Until recently… Continue reading

Humans of New York

I’m currently in New York as I start writing this post, and I thought how opportune it would be to write about the page  “Humans of New York (HONY)“. HONY is run by a guy named Brandon, who originally started capturing portraits of people on the streets of New York and posted them on his website. After awhile, he started interviewing his models and he included a snippet of his conversation in the captions of the photos. I’ve been following HONY for awhile now, from simply seeing portraits of people without any background, to seeing a glimpse of their thoughts. And I must say, the captions are what gave this page a whole new potential.

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Having the Courage to Fail

I have a very big fear of embarrassment, rejection and failure. I hate losing and making a fool out of myself. Worst of all, I am extremely weary of what people may think of me. But I’m starting to see that we learn and grow not in succeeding or failing, but in the course of going through a process.

Too often I get intimated by the idea of losing and of coming up short, and I think a lot of people feel this way too because that’s what the focus is on. That’s what everybody notices and talks about. Success has become a primary motivating factor and failing has become a solid reason for not trying. I mean, if you knew you were going to fail before indulging in something, why even bother in the first place?

In a world of competition and opportunities, too often we shy away from the battle. I think this is one of my biggest set-backs as a person trying to advance myself. I’ve gotten into the mentality that if I were to compete as an underdog, I might as well not compete at all. But being the losing underdog who puts up a good fight and takes the beating, is far more respectable than one who backs out and never tries. Continue reading

Learning From the Poor – Quote Review 3

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I stumbled across a series called Sweatshop; a 50-minute series, broken into 5 short episodes. I watched it in one sitting. It’s about 3 Norwegian teenagers who made a journey to Cambodia to experience the working conditions of the garment industry. Sweatshop is a term used to describe working conditions that are deemed unacceptable, dangerous and unfair, yet most of these sewing factories work for large names like H&M, Joe Fresh and Walmart. And while the company’s goal is to decrease cost and increase profit by outsourcing, their employees across the world are struggling to put food on the table. While watching this documentary, I thought of this quote:

To help the poor to a capacity for action and liberty is something essential for one’s own health as well as theirs. There is a needful gift they have to offer, which cannot be offered so long as they are confined by poverty. – Rowan Williams

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What I’ve learned from cancer.

Yesterday, I finally submitted my thesis. It’s hard to believe that this is really the end of my 2 year M.Sc. experience. As much as I want to talk about the fun stuff, like the dramas at the lab and all the struggles and triumphs, I feel like there is something more pressing to say; something that really struck me a while back. I’m going to talk about cancer. Cancer is a broad topic and there is a lot I can say about what I’ve learned. My master’s project involved breast cancer genomics and chemotherapy resistance. I’ve learned so much about the different types of breast cancer and gene mutations. However,  I won’t talk about what I’ve learned about cancer. I will share about what I’ve learned from cancer. Aside from the nitty gritty details, cancer is a much bigger picture. There is a really weird feeling to be working for a supervisor who is also a breast surgeon. In our lab, we deal with many patient biopsies, blood and surgical samples. The identity of these patients are confidential and are always labeled simply by a code. We talk and discuss about their cases professionally, as we should, but by being exposed to this everyday, sometimes it slips my mind that these are actual women. Women out there who are currently struggling, or whom have already passed away. Women who are mothers, grandmothers, sisters and daughters; women who have people they love and are loved in return. When I make the journey to the breast clinic at the Jewish General, I see so many people in the waiting room looking just like you and me. You couldn’t even tell they have cancer. Continue reading