On My Way

Colma BART
Colma BART – June 13, 2007 – 6:33 AM

My first time going to Hong Kong alone, I took the first BART train that arrived and then transferred to an SFO train at Colma. It was an early flight to LAX where I would transfer once again, this time to a Trans-Pacific flight.

冷雨夜 Translation

Here’s my second attempt at translating a Cantonese song. I have to say that it’s not as easy as it first seems. There are plenty of literal-translation traps to avoid, where using the literal translation results in some weird shit (IMHO) in English. At the same time, entire words get lost in translation as a result (example: the street lamps in the second line are supposed to be blue street lamps, or perhaps street lamps that emit blue light, or perhaps aren’t street lamps at all, but the actual blue light emitted from street lamps).

When I listen closely to the song and follow along with the lyrics, a picture forms in my mind. In translating to English, I tried to convey the picture as much as possible, while still keeping a good flow. It’s a matter of choices, as can be seen in the blue street lamp example. Of course, this is just my own interpretation, and I’m sure the picture is different for everyone.

I’ve linked the live karaoke version below, because it has a badass bass solo. The original 1988 release can be heard here.

Cold Rainy Night

作詞: 黃家強
Lyrics by: Wong Ka Keung
作曲: 黃家駒
Music by: Wong Ka Kui
主唱: 黃家強
Performed by: Wong Ka Keung

Slowly walking amidst the rain
Street lamps passing one by one

We gaze at one another
Holding each other tightly, silently

Looking for those days past
Searching for those warm days past
They’ve gone away

The rain hits my face freely
It’s hard to tell what’s rain, what’s tears

My thoughts are a jumble
Worries coiled up like a thousand threads

Going from hot to cold
Words that unintentionally hurt her
Can’t be taken back

On this cold, rainy night I’m at your side
Hoping that you’d know
Know that my heart
Has already changed
There’s only obligation now

On this cold, rainy night I don’t want to go home
Afraid to see you turned away
Smiling ruefully at the rain
Though I know I must make it clear
I’m afraid to even try

Slowly walking amidst the rain
Tasting the flavor of the water
It does seem like
This is the moment it ends

Have not understood
What being together means

Repeat *****
Repeat #####
Repeat *****
Repeat #####


WTF are you looking at?

HK Pier Cat
HK Pier Cat – November 16, 2013

Was supposed to post this yesterday but didn’t get around to it. Lately when I’ve had downtime I’ve been looking at photos from previous years taken on the same day. Yesterday, I saw that we had gone hiking on Lantau Island in 2013. After returning to Tung Chung from Tai O by boat, we saw this cat sitting at the pier enjoying the last remnants of the afternoon, daydreaming about feasting on the fish just below until some stupid human decided to interrupt. I would look annoyed too if someone interrupted me like that.

Instruction Manual – Intra Color Monitor

I’ve made a lot of posts about my first computer, but I don’t think I’ve once mentioned my first monitor, which came with that computer. It was a 14-inch SVGA model, capable of displaying a maximum resolution of 1024×768, though at that time very few programs could make use of it. The 386’s video card was a Paradise with 256k RAM, and I think I somehow convinced my father to buy an extra 256k so that I could make full use of the monitor. The chips came in a plastic tube that you could tilt to slide them out. They weren’t cheap, either.

I don’t remember if the monitor was an interlaced or non-interlaced model. I just know that compared to the one at my aunt’s house, it was darker and the colors less lively, even on the brightest setting. The VGA cord was built into it as well.

Even googling the monitor doesn’t reveal anything at this point. If I ever find a photo of the monitor, I’ll post it here. For now, here’s the manual that I scanned during that big 2012 cleanup. As always, hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane.

Intra Color Monitor - Instruction Manual

Intra Color Monitor - Instruction Manual

孤單一吻 Translation

In an effort to keep up (and possibly improve) my Chinese, here’s my attempt at translating Beyond’s 孤單一吻 into English. The lyrics are copied from Mojim.com, with some corrections. The English is my own. 😉 I tried to preserve the meaning and have it make some sense instead of just translating it literally.

I really like the Latin/flamenco flavor of this song. It’s possible that the lyrics are referring to a flamenco dancer. You can listen for yourself below:

A Lonely Kiss

Lyrics by: Wong Ka Keung
Music by: Wong Ka Kui
Performed by: Wong Ka Kui

The dance music plays like fire
Its romantic rhythm dances with you
放縱野性 似醉在狂舞動
Primal passions unleashed, wildly dancing as if intoxicated

Like seductive fire, a fragrant kiss on your lips
Heat permeates into my dream
Spreading to all, beauty is love and desire

幻想著愛 是永恆的故事
Fantasizing love, an eternal story
幻想是愛 永遠也拋不開
Fantasy that is love, eternally present

Pull closer, skin to skin, romance to your heart’s desire
此刻的心 為你跳動
My heart in this moment, it beats for you

孤單的一吻 她肖像
The lonely kiss, her portrait
消失的一吻 難抓緊
The disappearing kiss, difficult to grasp

A purple fan, face half covered
Enchantment fills my eyes
冷冷笑意 看見亦難接近
A cold smile, both visible and difficult to near

Disappearing into the darkness is the dancer’s silhouette
Indifferently dissipating my hallucination
Looking all over intently, again hoping to find it

幻想著愛 是永恆的故事
Fantasizing love, an eternal story
幻想是愛 永遠也拋不開
Fantasy that is love, eternally present

Pull closer, skin to skin, romance to your heart’s desire
此刻的心 為你跳動
My heart of this moment, it beats for you

孤單的一吻 她肖像
The lonely kiss, her portrait
消失的一吻 難抓緊
The disappearing kiss, difficult to grasp

孤單的一吻 她肖像
The lonely kiss, her portrait
消失的一吻 難抓緊
The disappearing kiss, difficult to grasp

Pull closer, skin to skin, romance to your heart’s desire
此刻的心 為你跳動
My heart in this moment, it beats for you

孤單的一吻 她肖像
The lonely kiss, her portrait
消失的一吻 難抓緊
The disappearing kiss, difficult to grasp

孤單的一吻 她肖像
The lonely kiss, her portrait
消失的一吻 難抓緊
The disappearing kiss, difficult to grasp

起舞如火焰 消失永沒追尋
When dance and flame disappear, never pursue

起舞如火焰 消失永沒追尋
When dance and flame disappear, never pursue

起舞如火焰 消失永沒追尋
When dance and flame disappear, never pursue

起舞如火焰 消失永沒追尋
When dance and flame disappear, never pursue


Since 2012 I have been trying to deprogram, like the waking up late thing, should should should, etc. Trying to become the person that I want to be, to be happy. I want to have less of a part in making myself unhappy. I understand that I can’t control everything, but since there’s no way to not be all-the-time happy in life, I might as well eliminate myself as a source.

Latest thing is deprogramming this notion that I’m better than everybody else, that I’m smarter than everybody else. Moving back home now, I’ve realized that a lot of the programming is due to my family. Little things like my granny saying that we are 大人物 when we go to certain events, always expecting to skip the line at dimsum, or going to well-known schools. There’s also this new thing now with Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and even this website. While sharing is nice, I want to stay cognizant so that I don’t get too full of myself. I’ve noticed that a lot of the times when I’ve made mistakes is when I’m thinking I’m so smart and better than everyone else (in basketball, driving, and work, to name a few), when in reality I’m just the same as everybody else.

One mistake that my family makes is that they think they are special without having done anything. For the people in society who really are special, I think there was something they really wanted to do, and they went about doing it, and did it really well, and then they became famous/special. I don’t understand why people expect special treatment when they haven’t done anything. So, they tell themselves they’re special, when they go out in the world they expect people to treat them special, and when it doesn’t happen they use manipulative or coercive methods to force people to do it. Usually, that just ends up making people feel shitty (the ones who comply) or combative (the ones who won’t).

Some other examples to be aware of:

  • Putting down others to raise yourself up. It’s internalized so that it’s done without thinking, without being aware of why, i.e. when you’re pointing out what you perceive as flaws in another person, you don’t go into it thinking “oh I’m going to make myself feel good now”. Also, because it does feel good, it keeps happening without you realizing it.
  • Spending a bunch of money irresponsibly (and beyond your pay grade) and then thinking you’re special because you’re a “high roller”.
  • Apps that ask for a lot of permissions – I have this weird thing where I believe that companies are out to get your information, and that I’m smarter than everyone else because I don’t fall for it and don’t download those apps – but is it really so bad and am I really that smart when I’m missing out on all the benefits?

This brings us to my current dilemma, which is trying to find a job. When you’re looking for a job, you’re supposed to show why you’re better than other people applying for the same job (or at least that’s what seems to be the readily apparent goal at first, see below). When you’re trying to deprogram, selling yourself as better than other people doesn’t really help. If you think of yourself as better than others, it’s also easier to get disappointed and start getting down on yourself when nothing happens.

So maybe it’s time to approach a job search with a different mindset. Stopping to think for a second, in your experience what is it about people that makes them good coworkers or employees? Is it because they know more? Is it their personality? There is so much variation in just these two things, let alone the entire spectrum of attributes that each and every human being has. Is one “better” than the other? What is “better” anyway? There are some generally accepted standards in society, and also some standards depending on your circle, but it’s probably safe to say that it’s subjective and that everybody’s standards are different.

That said then, I think fit is a better way to think about it. Like a jigsaw puzzle, each piece is relatively the same size, made of the same materials. The backside is the same. Only its shape and the drawing on the front is different. Is one piece of the puzzle better than another piece? I don’t think so. When a piece doesn’t fit, you can try rotating it around, and if that still doesn’t work you look for another piece, but you don’t say “oh, this piece is useless, I’m throwing it away now”. If you did, the puzzle would never be complete. In other words, each piece of the puzzle is vital to its completion, and in no circumstance is one piece “better” than another piece.

So, maybe the puzzle is society, and the pieces are people. As a job searcher, in order to not get discouraged, I need to take on the mindset that I’m a piece in a puzzle, that I’m not better than everybody else, because at the end of the day finding the right fit is a slog, with a massive amount of luck involved, too. I would be completely demoralized if I got down on myself every single time I didn’t hear back. While everyone has their unique combination of attributes, most people are relatively the same in terms of the total attributes that they actually have, the only variation being the degrees of each attribute (like a pie chart with differently-sized slices maybe?). It’s this combination that cannot be measured, yet in society and in my own upbringing, people still try to measure complete individuals using tests and scores that only measure a portion of that individual.

Lastly, it helps to remember that the programming has built up over years and years, and that it will take sustained effort and awareness to erase or rewrite it. There will also be setbacks when you will fall back on the original programming, but if you keep in mind that before you made a conscious decision to deprogram it never even would have occurred to you that what you’re doing is counterproductive to being happy, then that’s already way better than how it was before. Be patient, never stop trying to improve, and ignore those who try to hold you back. At the end of the day, you are responsible for your actions, and you are the one who has to or gets to live with the consequences of those actions.

Basketball is Life (Another Lesson from the Court)

Victoria Park Basketball Courts - June 30, 2015
Victoria Park Basketball Courts – June 30, 2015

June 30, 2015

It’s a Tuesday afternoon. Having just finished a game, I’m sitting on the asphalt, watching the activity on the courts, soaking in the sun, and thinking about all the time I’ve spent here during the previous two years. All those nights staying until lights out at 11 PM. The time when I destroyed my ankle because I was an idiot. It’s just a regular day to all the players here, but for me I’ve just played my last game here until the next time we return to Hong Kong, whenever that may be. Earlier in the day, we moved out of our flat and turned in the keys; instead of going home to clean up, I’ll be heading to the hotel when I’m ready to leave.

I still have some time before a scheduled farewell dinner, so I continue to sit, and watch. The sun will be setting soon. I watch the local HK basketball players wearing their NBA-style jerseys. There are some familiar faces. I watch the double decker buses passing by. I look towards Causeway Bay and the skyscrapers. Soon, the Excelsior Hotel will be gone, too. It’s a moment to remember, and I remember it vividly now as I write this.

For some reason, my mind thinks back to my college days, when some NBA alumni would come to our gym to work out. During practice, they would bomb threes like they were doing layups. In the NBA, because players are so good at putting the ball in the hoop, defenses have to be sophisticated (and physical) to counter them. There can’t be any slacking and players are actively and constantly trying to stop you. The fact that NBA teams regularly score over 100 points a game even in the face of hounding defense reveals just how amazing these players and coaches are.

I start thinking about efficiency in basketball. At the most basic level, depending on which side you’re on, there are two goals in basketball: put the ball in the hoop, or prevent the other person from putting the ball in the hoop. It’s a very simple premise. And yet, I unnecessarily complicated the game that I had just played. Instead of simply and efficiently putting the ball in the hoop, I often do a lot of unnecessary dribbling trying to get by my defender. Sometimes, when I have room to shoot, I’ll do a few shot fakes to see if the guy will bite, and if he finally does, I sort of stand and watch to admire how I faked a guy into the air (wtf). If he doesn’t, I don’t take the shot and end up back where I started. It’s a lot of wasted energy and unnecessary movements, and by the time I finally do put up a shot, I’m exhausted. I wonder why I don’t just put the damn ball in the hoop, especially when I have the capability to do it.

Now, it’s time to go. I make some notes in my phone so I can remember my last time here. On the way back, I almost get off at the wrong stop, having gotten off at that stop so many times without thinking.

November 5, 2015

Now, I’m back in America. I’ve started playing more games and have been reminded that it is much more physical over here. Less (or no) fouls are called. People are bigger, faster. In Hong Kong, I was able to get by people, but I don’t think I’ve done it once here. It’s also possible that my age has finally caught up with me – although it’s only been a few months since HK, a precipitous decline once you hit a certain age is not unheard of. Maybe it’s a combination of the two. Being unable to get by people makes it that much more important to take the shot when you have it.

So that brings us to today. The reason I’m posting this now is that I had one of those games today, where if I had been more business-like and efficient in my approach to the game, I could have done a lot more, and maybe even have won. It was a good 1-on-1 with some back and forth missing early on, but later on my opponent caught fire and hit several shots in a row while I was stuck at 2. Despite a furious attempt at a comeback and hitting several shots in a row of my own, he was able to finish the game off with a contested jumper. Final score: 7-5.

I spent a lot of energy dribbling around trying to get by the guy and getting nowhere when I could have just pulled up and taken a shot. I had a stupid hang-up thinking that the game would not be fun if all I did was shoot (and make) threes from the top of the key. In the end, it was a good game and a good workout, but I couldn’t help thinking what could have been if I hadn’t hindered myself with that unproductive thought.

That brings us to our final thought for tonight, which is, once again, that basketball (in this case, specifically pickup ball) is a microcosm of life. The court is the world, the players are society, and everybody has a different motivation for playing (living). Most people want to win, some people want a good work out, some people want to start a fight, and some people want to hang out with their friends. Players are able to influence or be influenced by other players’ behavior. If you don’t have a goal in mind, which puts your mind in the wrong place, then you don’t know what to focus on, and you allow others to dictate your actions. This is the part that bothers me the most, in life and in basketball, and is what happened today. I allowed some completely made-up hang-up, one that only existed in my mind, to affect my focus, which in turn affected what I did or did not do on the court and cede control of the game to my opponent. That is not who I want to be. I want to be the person dictating my actions, having a plan, and knowing what I want – not the person limiting myself. There are already plenty of others trying to limit you, so why do it to yourself? Time to drop the hang-ups.