Please give a short description of yourself. You might include your family, work, background, interests, beliefs.
I was born in Palo Alto, CA. As I grew up, my Taiwanese immigrant parents went from having a middle class life to an upper-middle class life, as they worked in the tech industry and Silicon Valley’s innovations brought a lot of wealth to the area. My parents grew up poor, and worked very hard to get to where they are today, and to give my sister and me a very good life.
I went to college in New York, where I studied Economics and Philosophy, and then returned to San Francisco, where I’ve lived for nine years. I’ve worked in finance, investing, data science, and business development. At one point, I took six months off work to go solo backpacking through Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Nepal, India, and Indonesia. On this trip I also did my first Vipassana (10-day silent meditation retreat), which changed my life. I consider myself spiritual and very motivated to understand what makes a “good life”.
I am engaged to be married this April. The values I try to live my life by are Love, Learning, and Creativity. On a daily basis, I spend my time working, being with loved ones, doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and reading.
What are your personal motivations for wanting to be part of this project?
The implied artistic expression of this project really resonates with me; one of my tattoos reads “SEAMLESS”. It is an expression of the concept of “Seamless Interbeing”, from Buddhism, which observes that everything is connected. A piece of paper was and is a tree, which was and is rainwater, which was and is a cloud, which was and is an ocean. When we humans exhale carbon dioxide, trees inhale. When trees exhale oxygen, we inhale. Everything around us has an energy, especially the living things. We all keep each other alive; everything is the way it is because it got that way.
As stated above, my values are Love, Learning, and Creativity. I spent a lot of time to decide that these were the values on which I would judge if I am living what I consider to be a good life. I believe this project touches upon all of those values.
What is the experience in your life which has most influenced who you are?
My parents, who I love immensely, and who love me immensely, did not approve of my choice of life partner, based solely on descriptions “on paper.” They did not care who she was as a human being; they cared only for what I considered to be her “qualifications”. This was a multi-year struggle for me and it tore at my being.
To be torn between family and love helped me understand my priorities and my sense of right and wrong very deeply. I am now marrying this partner. I believe that judging a person based on their resume is deeply wrong; what matters to me is how GOOD a person is, and what they are passionate about, and how they treat others, and how they view themselves within the context of the larger world. Humility, curiosity, kindness, honesty, joy, and a deep appreciation of beauty. These are the things that matter to me in a human; these are qualities I love to see in other people. None of these qualities can be read from a resume.
Please provide a short description of your current tattoos, where they are placed and what they depict?
In chronological order:
1 – I have the letter “C” on my right shoulder/arm, for “Calvin”. This was my first tattoo and represents to me ownership of my body.
2 – I have a circular tattoo of mountains and trees on my left ribs, which says “The Journey Is The Reward.”
3 – I have a badge that says “If” on my right chest/shoulder, referencing Rudyard Kipling’s poem, which my Mom loves.
4 – I have a clock on my left chest/shoulder that shows the time 11:50. This is a reminder of a quote about compassion, “treat everyone you meet as if they’ll be gone at midnight. It will change the way you treat people.”
5 – I have the constellation Cassiopeia above my heart. This is a reminder that no matter how things change in life, for they are always changing, the stars are a reminder of permanence and stability. They will always be above me.
6 – I have a lotus flower on my back, with the word “Seamless”, and a sun/moon pattern. This is a reminder to maintain equanimity amidst the changing of the sun and moon; to be present and “blossom” in the moment; and of the concept of “Seamless Interbeing” – that everything and everyone is connected.