The Silver Lining of Self-Inflicted Torture

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This morning, I was at the subway during peak hour with a latte in hand. Normally, I am fortunate that I live close enough to the office that I don’t need to subway as my commute. But today, I was…

How to Connect with an Audience

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Over the past few years, I’ve had increasing opportunities to speak in front of audiences, big and small, in both English and Mandarin. Formats have included panels, workshop-style discussions, and long-form remarks. The subject matters have spanned from Chinese civil…

Who Do You Want To Be?

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On this gorgeous afternoon last Saturday, I sat around in a circle on the Great Lawn of Central Park, ruminating on the nature of decisions with a group of China Personified network friends and members. Except for me, everyone belongs…

A Fragment of Memory about Harm

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Recently, while reading A Border Passage, an autobiography written by a contemporary Egyptian woman writer Leila Ahmed,  I found many pieces of her delicate reflections and sayings resonate deeply with me. Born in 1940 and having lived through an age…

Three Great Gifts From My Mother

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On this Mother’s Day, I can’t think of a better way to remember my mom than to share three great gifts she gave me long time ago. I can’t say that she knew how these little random things she’d done…

Can We Really Balance Work and Life Well?

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Recently I read some articles shared by friends on Wechat, and they are all about how to smartly strike a balance between work and life, especially when you are  buried by everyday duties and have limited spare time. It resonates…

Choices & Crossroads

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“Why am I here?” “I want to go home…” “Should I stay?” “Should I leave?” “Where am I going?” On this late night when I was screaming my lungs out, I was breathlessly holding onto a lamppost to avoid getting…

What Do You Know for Sure?

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This past weekend, I started a book club with some women in my apartment complex. I suggested we read Oprah’s “What I Know for Sure”, as this book has consistently been popping up in my recent conversations and I decided…

Can China Lead?

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Last Thursday, I was invited as a guest to join Harvard Professor William Kirby on a Boston public radio program “Open Source” to discuss a billion dollar question – Can China Lead? “Can China Lead?” is Kirby’s new book based on…

On the Road Again

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Every spring break international students travel all around the world. To California, Florida, Cancun, Puerto Rico, Japan, China, France, UK, on and on. For the city of Cancun, what does it mean to be occupied with luxury hotels, fancy international…

The Waiting Game

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It’s the thing all Ivy kids fear: not living the first class life worthy of 100+ Facebook likes. If I told myself one year ago about what graduate admissions turned out to be like, she would have been preciously horrified….

Getting In v. Fitting In

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  Earlier this year I applied to get into the piano performance and interpretation seminar at NEC – the New England Conservatory As I read the class description, I thought I should get in and fit in because it sounds like…