The system

I've been raised to follow the system. Attend and do well in elementary school, middle school, high school. Get into a prestigious university. Graduate, on time please. Giving $50,000 a year to a private institution isn't exactly fun. Obtain a good job that pays the bills. Find a noble, honorable man (preferably Chinese, my momma's always said) and marry him. Make sure he earns more than you, you don't want to tamper with traditional social roles. Have children before you're 30, move to a house in the suburbs, and your life as you know it has now ended. Now your life is devoted to someone else.

I was reading Hong Kong International School's alumni magazine yesterday, and discovered the great work Charles Watson (the first photographer to ever shoot me!) is doing in Nepal and Ghana during his gap year. Instead of heading to the states like 99% of graduating HKISers, Charles is improving access to information technology in the education field in developing countries. That takes heart.

Recently, my cousin told me she's quitting her job at one of the largest pharmaceutical companies, after years of chemistry and biology lessons in school. She's heading to Hawaii and then South America for a missionary program and will be doing things like installing water purifiers, setting up schools, and teaching. It takes so much courage to leave the system, to leave a Cornell education, to do something important and meaningful for her.

My other friend in Hamilton wants to take a semester off to reevaluate what she wants to do with her life.

I've been witnessing example after example of young people defying society's expectations, and pursuing what they want. What fulfills them. It makes me realize how much of a pussy I am to not seek adventure when it presents itself. It also inspires me to take action to discover more about what I want to do.

Maybe I should take three months off, drive along Route 66, meeting people and finding stories. I want to experience new things and search for inspiring people and live life.

Maybe I should go with a photographer and he could take photographs of me driving naked.



  1. i think about this social system that we are all a part of it...i desparately hope that i can do something so fantastic and different with my life, so that I don't have to follow these rules

  2. It's really frustrating to be a part of it and at the same time be smart enough to know how fickle and hollow it is. and as much as I love dreaming about my future sometimes it's so hard to when keeping in mind parents' expectations or this system in general.



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