Fairness: why I delayed the letter

“But even the most cynical secretly admit that success exists; that achievement counts for a great deal; and that the true myth is that the actions of men and women are useless.”

After three months delaying, I finally finished T’s reference letter. It need not be so: Half day is enough.

So why the delay? Excuses abound: hectic moving, busy schedule, etc. But these would not matter if I were convinced of her merit.

Our profession is largely meritocracy. Like any other professions, it has its dark side of dirty politics. But if you are talented, if you work hard, you will succeed.

Unfortunately, T is more into the political rather than meritocracy side. All she cares is the comfort of living, rather than the excitement of the profession. Despite my constant reminding in the past five years, I have never seen the sparks of burning curiosity or ambition from T. On either talent or effort ground, I am not convinced.

It is disappointing.

With two publications, I have already helped T on top of her cohort. To be fair, now I’ll let the matter run its own course.



Self: Discipline

There are two selves: Today and Future. By human nature Today hates difficulties. He likes benefits but wants Future to bear the costs. Without discipline, Today can ruin Future.

Therefore, discipline is to force Today into difficult actions he dislikes, for the benefit of Future.

Redemption: guilty no more

T. has been complaining about my intervention of her school choice: she thought she would have a better future, had her not listened to me.

This is a claim you can never disprove: we can only live once; choosing one means forgoing the rest. And the forgone is anyone’s imagination.

But if redemption means to get your victim what was denied, you have done enough. This time, you single-handedly build her entire record for the job market: two publications and two ideas.

We are even now.


I had a wonderful dinner with Cindy at Ushuaia steakhouse. Intelligent, successful, and graceful, she is one of a few I envy.

The only problem is that she comes as cold, at least some times. I have long been wondering why we did not click. Her new information gave a hint. When our LA gang of eight hanged out in 2008-2009, she and Rae were friends. One day Rae told her if she did not intend to approach me, she will.

Rae is an outgoing girl, the type that I can easily connect with. But Rae and I have never had intimate relationship. To me, Rae is a good buddy. But others don’t see that way. Cindy, even her mom, thought Rae and I were couple.

So Cindy remained distant till Rae went back in 2010. Afterwards, it became even more awkward to hang out with her. We see each other once or twice a year. After all, if neither is willing to make the move, why wasting time?

I have made many mistakes. I don’t know if this is one. But if it were, then its pain may take years to sink in…


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