What My Choir Instructor Taught Me

The courses we took after retirement, now that there’s, a lot of free time on our hands, we can finally, do something we enjoy, translated…

Many years ago when I started taking yoga, the song of an Indian woman was playing, her uplifting voice had a scent of weathered in it, it’d melted away my tense heart.  Ever since, I’d loved that feeling of spiritual satisfaction.  

a grouip of elderly who get togehter for their shared joy of singing…photo from online…

After retirement, I had a lot of extra time, and started enjoying taking classes; three years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to Mrs. Hsia’s choir class.  The choir taught us to sing using simplified musical notes, we’d learned a song a week.  The teacher would describe the background of the song, taught us how to annunciate the words, the end notes, the volume, as well as other singing techniques, then, she’d taught us how to perform the song with the right emotions, then, after the class, we’d practice the songs on our own, with the tapes she’d provided for us.

 The next class session when she checked our progress, she’d tell us one by one, what we did right, and what we didn’t manage well enough.  And, those who’d done well received a warm encouragement, a simple, “You practiced at home”, “This song was made for you”, then, the students would be very pleased.

The ages of the classmates are past midlife, there were students who’d told the singing instructor that the songs were too hard to learn, that they’d forgotten them after class, the teacher told us, “Don’t rely on luck, you must squeeze out the time to practice your singing skills, and when you go out, play the music on a headset.”  And encouraged us often, “learn slowly, forget slower.”  “After you’d practiced it long enough, the songs will be yours.”  “Everybody can sing, but, being able to sing well, there’s a lot of time that one needs to put into it.”

time for our choir practices again, not my photo…

Every week, we were taught, a different style of song, and slowly we’d come to understand, that the songs are the notes connected by the ups and downs of life.  The instructor taught it to us, to help us stay active in the mind, to stay healthy, so we can have good singing voices.

And now, I’d learned over a hundred songs so far, from “Looking Back”, to “The End Has Come”, “A Decade”, “Red Beans”, it’s as if, I’d been led, into this tunnel of time, and managed to sing out that nostalgia, to help me change my state of mind.  And all of these memories that’s already been erased by time, slowly all came back, with the passing of time, it’d become, even better.

In Mrs. Hsia’s concentrated and delicate teaching methods, I’d not only learned to enjoy what I was learning, I’d also, understood the values of life, thanks to her.

So, this is how someone stays active in the elderly years, and, having a good instructor for these recreational classes is the key, to helping the individual fall in love with the skills learned, and this instructor helped her students to get better at singing, and that, is what these individuals in midlife are in need of, something to do, and they’re, doing it well, having a fulfilling retirement life.


The Dreams that Were Once, So Simple…

Remember when there once, was a time when the dreams were, so simple, we’d not, wanted much, just enough, to get us by???  Where did those days go?

With the pursuits of that higher step on that corporate ladder, we’d, lost sight, of what made us happy, and, lost ourselves, in the pursuits, of these, fame, fortune, reputation, blah, blah, blah.  The dreams that were once, so simple, they don’t seem, quite enough, to satisfy us anymore, do they?  And why is that?  Do you ever wonder?  Did we, outgrow these, simplistic dreams of our, former years of youth, or, did they simply, become, too outdated as we reworked our dreams, into the equations of our lives, huh?

simple dreams 的圖片結果picture from online…

The dreams that were, once so simple, and because of how simple they all were, we’d, lessen the level of importance, after all, the value we’d learned, is that, we all want, what’s hard to come by to us, what someone else has.

The dreams that were, once so simple, they’re, NO longer now, we’d, rearranged our dreams, to fit our current living standards, and, in our current living standards, we won’t take anything that’s too simplistic, something that’s so easily, gotten, because, if it ain’t worth us working our asses off for, then, what good is it, right???

 Dreams that were once, so simple, they’re, no anymore, so, what’s changed?  Did we, the dreamers, outgrew these simpler wishes that were once, more than enough, to satisfy?  Or, did these dreams just become, outdated, like those 486s (don’t ask me what those are!!!)?










The Hardworking Teachers Captured the Hearts of Students

On the dedications of the teacher here, commentaries on the Front Page Sections, translated…

The views of the article, “the best reward of a teacher is from the students”, and I want to use my two daughters and my wife’s example to show this too.

My wife is an English teacher for an elementary school, on September 28th, a young boy in her class used the limited sentence structures and vocabulary terms and wrote a note to my wife, to express how much he’d appreciated her as a teacher—“You are a good girl.”

When my older daughter was in the sixth grade, there weren’t many students in her class, and they were, the only graduating class, the instructor made a decision that was hard on herself, not carpooling in a tour bus with a nearby school, instead, taking the students by train and bus to visit the Hualien-Taidong area for two nights three days, this trip made my eldest daughter so chatty for days after she returned home.

My younger girl’s sixth grade instructor placed emphasis on essay writing, not only would she write customized comments, my youngest carried on in conversation with her teacher in writing, the more the teacher wrote back, she’d written very avidly, and, there was, almost, NO secret in her essay books.

I’m glad, that the student from my wife’s classes felt her dedication; I’m also grateful, that my daughters could have the opportunities to encounter teachers who’d touched their hearts, a focused teacher is a most beautiful one!

So, the teachers these children encountered are, very dedicated to what they do, and, it’s true, how in order for a teacher to touch the hearts of her/his students, the instructor can’t just teach in the classroom settings, they must show more cares and concerns for their pupils outside of the classrooms as well.

Passing Through the Valleys of Life & Finally Tasting the Sweet Fruits of Her Labors

A woman who worked hard, to achieve her goals and dreams, translated…

Whatever You Do, Do it from the Heart

Yen-Hong Liao, this beautiful woman, with that flair about her, was from Chibi, Hubei, at the age of two, when she hadn’t learned to read yet, she’d started, acting out the stories in the pictures, and before school age, she’d told her mother she wanted to go to school, and followed her mother who’s a school instructor to class—as her mother taught the classes, Yen-Hong sat in the last row, on the high chairs, and, as the classes are off, she’d needed her mother to carry her down; after she started going to school officially, she’d become her mother’s student naturally, and, every time she’d answered the exam questions completely right, but, only received a ninety-nine for it, because either that her mother told her, “you didn’t write perfectly”, or that “you didn’t keep the test papers clean enough”.  Recalling, Yen-Hong realized, that in the pursuit of the perfect grade, she’d slowly, learned to be careful, which had, influenced her as she grew older.

圖/王嗚咪illustration from the papers…

She’d graduated out of business high school, at the age of nineteen, and started as a contractor, with the funding of 10,000RMB, started selling cigarettes, alcohol, and snacks, and worked hard, in the harsh cold weather, until her clothes became completely dampened with sweat.  She’d not minded the hardships, and when necessary, she’d stayed up through the nights, or camped out in the truck, and finally, she’d turned her losses into profits, and made everybody looked at her differently.

Her parents felt awful, that their daughter was working so very hard, in 2000, the whole family moved to Shenzhen.  And, love came too, she’d met Hua from Taiwan very shortly after the move, Hua fell in love at first sight with Yen-Hong.  And because her parents were, arguing incessantly over money, she saw that Hua was sunny in temperament, very quick to react, fluent in Japanese, with good work abilities, and shoulders she can, rely on, she’d decided to marry Hua.  In 2002, they were wed, and in 2003, Yen-Hong moved to Taiwan.

The pressures from childrearing made Yen-Hong have postpartum depression, without the emotional supports from her own next-of-kin, when it got very serious, she’d thought about killing herself, with her crying child, but thankfully, she’d, made it through.  And, she’d finally seen the light, getting along with that traditional mother-in-law who was, raised by the traditional Chinese beliefs.  Back then, her mother-in-law was overcome with diabetes, and became incontinent because of her condition, fell into comatose, at first, Yen-Hong unwillingly looked after her, until one day, she’d found a verse in the “Holy Bible” that stated, “Whatever you do, do with from the heart, like for the Lord, not for the people.”, she’d gained a sudden understanding.  She’d said, “Doing it for people, we’d complain, but doing it for the Lord, the rewards shall come to us from heaven.”  Later, she’d fired the nurse’s aide, and took care of her mother-in-law personally, she’d had no complaints, having to clean up the soiled clothes of her mother-in-law’s, the two of them became close like mother and daughter.  Before her mother-in-law passed, she’d told her, “You are really a nice girl, I will put you in my will.”

After a Year’s Work, Fulfilled Through the Hardships

In June of 2014, after everybody’s encouragements, Yen-Hong signed up for a pageant before the deadline, on the day of the finals, she’d gotten a serious cold, but, she’d still won the first place trophy for “International Arts & Culture Ambassador”, and received two extra awards, “the Best Talent”, “the Most Photogenic”.

After she was selected for the first place of cultural ambassador, she’d gotten invitations from all around, Yen-Hong felt her own shortcomings, decided to enter into college.  After preparing for six months, working hard in her studies and training, in 2016, she got into the Chinese Opera department of the National Taiwanese Theatrical University.  Because she wasn’t from the major, Yen-Hong spent more than ten times the energy and time, to get herself caught up with the rest of the classes, and, as the year went by, she’d felt, fulfilled.

She’d always told me, “Learning is addictive.”  Hoped, that after she gets her degree, she’ll be able to, dedicate herself, to give back to the community, and help more people with her performances of Chinese traditional opera.

Hua worked yearlong in Dong-Wan, China, and Yen-Hong is all alone in Taiwan, raising her son and daughter, in order to not cause her children to be discriminated against, she’d entered into the parents’ volunteering committee, volunteered as a story-telling mom, performed the shows.  In the time she’d accompanied her own children, she’d not gotten the accolades from the rest of the students in her children’s classes, but also, the respects from other parents as well; more importantly, this had helped trained her as a public speaker.

She is however, NOT the only one who’s giving to this family, Hua felt bad about how hard Yen-Hong works, he’d made a trip back every single month, and used his actions, to show support for his own wife.  She’d just had her 15th anniversary wedding photos with the family, Yen-Hong looked at the pictures sweetly said, “I’d come here many years ago, and I’d, fallen deeply in love with the people, the things, the culture here, and, I’d carried that mindset of learning, that spirit of giving to the community continually.  And now, I’m finally, savoring, the sweet fruits of my own labor.”

So, this woman came here all alone, for love, and, because of her never-giving up nature, always striving for excellence mindset, she’d, made it to the top of her own life, with a husband who loved her dearly, and children who are, well-behaved too, what more, can a woman ask for???

She Said

The influence of a great teacher, lasts longer than just your schooling careers, translated…

That day, I’d received a call from Mrs. Chuang, she’d told me she was coming up north for a seminar, asked if I was free to go out for a meal?  That familiar voice, that gentle tone of voice, we’d chatted, for hours on end.

Mrs. Chuang was my English class instructor from middle school.  Back then, I’d entered into the G.T. class as a low scorer, I was, clearly, very behind on my studies, and she saw how I was willing to work hard in my studies, she’d had me come to the office after school for a study session, she’d helped me improve my English skills.

the influences of a great instructor carries through someone’s lifetime…not my picture…

Don’t know when it’d started, Mrs. Chuang started telling me, “You know what, I’m so proud of you!”

After I was caught up with English, she’d told me this.  As I’d done better in school, she’d praised me so too.  Any changes she saw in me, she’d commended me as such.

We all need encouragements, to help us improve, basking in this sort of a positive energy, as I got a job up north, I’d always been able to keep my jobs going.  Recalling I’d gotten my position in the government, she said, nope, she said again, “You know what?  I’m so very, proud of you.”

On the other end of the line, Mrs. Chuang heard how I was doing, she’d felt glad, and was proud of me again.  I’d told her, thank you, for having the faith in me, making me feel like a gem, that’s slowly become polished to a shine.

That, is what a good teacher does, s/he helps the students to want to improve themselves, and, these teachers are not easy to find these days, but, they are, out there, if you’re lucky, to have found one…

My Angel in White

The nursing occupation, it’s hard all right!!!  From a mother’s observations, translated…

The night is deep, with the raging rains and howling wind outside, the powerful typhoon draped over southern Taiwan; the cries of the wind, broke the quieted night, the roads, attacked by the flooding rain, I can’t even see the roads anymore.  I’d started, panicking, because my daughter gets off at midnight.

illustration from the papers online…夜深了,窗外仍是狂風暴雨,颱風威力籠罩著整個南台灣;淒厲的風聲劃破了夜的寧靜,受...

During those two days, there were, two typhoons that hit southern Taiwan one right after the other, although the government’s announced that schools and work are off, but my daughter still made it out to her shifts, as her mother, I’d wanted to tell her, “With the rain and the wind, please stay in.”  But, as the words got to my lips, they’d become, this gentle sigh, my husband had, driven my daughter to around from work in the storms, and he’d not spoken a word of worries to her, fearing that it may affect her moods.

My daughter is a nurse.

That year, she just graduated from middle school, told us she wanted to go into nursing, being surprised, I wouldn’t agree, because this was, a difficult path.  I know, that this, is a noble job, saving lives, but I couldn’t, feel at ease.  This sacred work, because of the matters of the job requirements, the workers would be on shifts continuously!  Seeing how my daughter’s made up her mind, in the end, I can only, accept her choice, told her, that she can’t quit half way because the work’s too hard; that not only because of how important this job is, more that it was because it was, her choice, I wouldn’t want her to become an escapee from the nursing fields.

In her five years of study, she’d had a hard time, getting through it all.  The very first internship at the hospital, the very first time she went into the O.R., it’d impacted her so, as a mother, I can only be, her strong backup support system, giving her boosters.  Later she’d transferred to the various hospitals, the various departments, she’d still, bitten down hard and weathered through it all, and successfully gotten certified, putting the perfect ending, to studying nursing; and the schooling she’d received afterwards, it’d made us see how much she’d grown, how hard she’d, worked, and, upon entering into the workforce, that was, another different kind of a test for her.

the nurses, not the easiest job in the world that’s for certain!!!  Photo from online…

Once, we’d asked her to take a leave of absence because of her health or the weather, but she’d never gone according to our wishes, because in the shifts, if she doesn’t go to the hospital, the one working couldn’t take off.  She’d told me, “Mom, if I’m the person who’d worked for eight, nine hours on end, and still have to take the shifts, you can imagine, how I would feel?”  For the patients suffering, for those working alongside her, helping to cure the illnesses, this was the price she must pay.  I’d recalled awhile back, my daughter couldn’t work because of a car wreck, her coworkers, without another word, took up the shifts for her, this sort of a compassion, I’m sure, that my daughter had, taken to heart!

The night is deeper now, nothing but black outside, the shops were all closed already.  It’s midnight, my husband went out in the raging storms, to pick up my daughter, I stood by the window, watching the wind and rain attacked the roads, and from time to time, there would be, headlights, speeding by, I imagine, they’re all people who needed to head outside for needed reasons!

That familiar headlight slowly approached, stopped, and, my heart that was in the air, settled down too, the two of them had, arrived home.  Seeing how with a fatigued look, with her clothes all wet, I’d felt, a bit, muffled.

My own angel in white, you’d, worked very hard; all those angels in white, you’d all worked, very hard.

So, this, is the requirements of the nursing staff, they are still on duty even when the rest of the public can take days off from the typhoons or adverse weather conditions, because that is the nature of their work, and, this young woman had CHOSEN her path as a nurse, and, took the needed responsibilities of her work duties, she’s taking the responsibilities for her own life.

Collectibles, to Fulfill a Childhood Dreams

Now, as you’d become, richer, you’re able to, buy the toys that you weren’t able to get from when you were, younger, living out, that child’s fantasies again, for real this time around…translated…

“Wow, look how cute the train model is on your desk!”, every time as a coworker entered into my cubicle, s/he’d always, feel intrigued by the train set that’s moving about, and always added, “You’re an elderly now, and you’d still played with these sorts of toys?”

I’d always told them, I’m still young at heart, and besides, the toys we’d had growing up, weren’t as wonderful as they are now, and now I’d had some extra money, I’d wanted to, “make up” for the loss of my childhood; and on top of that, I’m intrigued with the assortment of transportations, and so, no matter it be bicycles, motorcycles, or train models, I’d collected them by the numbers.

starting with something like this…not my photograph…

And of these, I’m mostly intrigued with the trains.  Because my first home was right next to the tracks, every day, I’d watched an assortment of trains, speeding by, and I can’t help but dreamed, that if one day I get to drive a train all over the places, or take the trains to various locations, it must be very interesting and wonderful!

As I got older, I’d gotten into a teacher’s university up north, and for the very first time, I’d, alighted the “regular” trains, the daytime commute.  From the daylight in the early mornings, I’d enjoyed the scenes that sped by my window, and finally, I’d gotten to experience, the speed from riding on the trains; later on, although I’d not become a train operator, but I’d gotten this deep affinity with the trains, either that I’d taken the Dzi-Chiang trains to Taipei for business, to gather with friends and families, or that I’d taken the Takoro trains to Hualien and Taidong to travel, making up for my childhood fantasies of venturing out on trains.

Turning it into this…not my photo still…

And because of this, many years ago, I saw a model train set, and needed to get it for myself; I’d especially loved the whole sets, set them up on my desk at the office, setting them in motion, and when I get tired, I’d, imagined, that I was, riding in them, traveling across the island.

Other than trains, I’d also bought the models for the bicycles too.  One of the pink ones, was a gift to my wife from back when I was trying to get her to go out with me.  While we were still dating, I’d often rode out on my bicycle, with her behind me, and ventured out together, that romantic scene, it’d made me pull out my wallet, as I saw that bike model at the toy shops, and, as we got married, she’d given it back to me, as a “dowry” from her too!

Playing with these models, it’d allowed me, to keep my heart and mind, young as a child’s.

So, this, is one of your fads, you’d collected the trains, because they’d, intrigued you since when you were a young child, and back then, you couldn’t afford to get these models, and so now as you’d become, better economically, you’d started, collecting these trains, to fulfil your childhood dreams.