Monday, September 17, 2012

Reunion Weekend (or so it felt like it was.......)

This weekend was fairly quiet.  The youth volleyball season started and I put in some work over four youth games.   I played my usual Saturday pick up basketball with my friends and did some shopping both on Saturday and Sunday.   Got a chance to watch plenty of baseball and football as well!

The trend of this weekend was talking to people that I hadn't seen or talked to in a while.  After playing basketball Saturday, I went to the mall to look at a few things.  I had a gift card for a local sports store so I stopped by to see if there was anything I wanted to buy.  It was at the sports store where a former high school classmate was there with his family.  He actually saw me first and we chatted for a while.  Turns out this former classmate lives in a complex where one of my close friends live.  What a small world!

After chatting with the classmate, I wandered around the store a bit longer.  As I prepared to leave the store, I ran into young lady I knew.  The young lady, along with her two older brothers, had gone to the same grammar school I did.  I had coached the young lady's oldest brother in basketball and watched both the other brother and her play during their time at the grammar school.   Even though we were connected on Facebook, it had been years since I had seen her.  We chatted for a little while and then we went on our way.

Then today, out of the blue, I received an email a bit of out of the blue from a married lady friend in Canada.  This friend and I have a very interesting history.   We actually "met virtually" when I was in college in the 1990s.  We had emailed, chatted online and even sent some letters / photos.  However, after I graduated from college, we lost touch.   Several years ago (according my old emails, it was 2008),  this friend crossed my mind.  I still had an email address for her and decided to email her.  Fortunately, she was still using the email address and we corresponded a few times

From my old emails that I have, after our talk in 2008, we didn't talk again until 2009.   Of course, my friend decided to email me today.  We exchanged a couple of emails today and I made sure I got her IM and phone number for future communication..   I feel blessed that we have managed to stay in touch despite the geographical distance between us.   I'm quite thankful this friend decided to reach back out as I had done a poor job in doing so.  However, like anything in life, you go through peaks and valleys.  Perhaps today was a sign that it's time to renew this old friendship that I had.  I'm a believer in having MORE friends than less.

In any case, the weekend wasn't the most exciting in terms of activity but connecting with people was a blast.  Thanks to all the old friends I ran into this weekend.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I'll Pray For You

(NOTE:  This isn't meant to offend, just a thought that came up recently)

A couple of days ago, I was up late cruising around on Facebook.   With some 700+ friends on Facebook, there's a lot of noise on my Facebook newsfeed.  Some of the posts are interesting and some of the posts are not.  This night, I saw something that caught my attention.

A person had posted that they had some issues they had been dealing with.  Without disclosing all the details, this person indicated they were doing to tackle the issues on their own.  I know this person but not particularly well so I was a little concerned when I saw this.   I immediately responded and asked if the person was ok. The person did not respond to my post (or others) that were there.

The next morning, after I had taken care of some morning business, I gave the person a call.  I think the person was surprised but we did talk for a while.  I got their perspective on what was going on, lent an ear and offered advice when needed.

One thing that I thought was interesting was that some others had offered encouragement but also said that "I'll pray for you".   I noted that whenever people have struggles and you're talking to someone of the Christian faith, most of the time, they will say "I'll pray for you".

I'm not questioning the sincerity of the statement.  The majority of people say it with the best of intentions.  They are asking God to provide you the means / resources / whatever is needed to work through the situation you are in.

I hope that people don't overuse this statement in place of providing some actual assistance.   For this particular person, I felt it was better to call them instead of just hoping they would answer my Facebook post.  I don't know if any others called this person besides offering encouragement on Facebook.  It seems an awfully passive way of doing things to just post on Facebook and say "I'll Pray For You".
God can and will provide for those in need but perhaps YOU are the person that God wants to provide the assistance!  Don't forget about that.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

The Influence Of Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee passed away in 1973 but yet his influence is still felt around the world.  In fact there were one event and two videos that celebrated Bruce Lee:

  1. The San Francisco Giants hosted a "Bruce Lee Tribute Night" at AT&T Park.  Fans purchasing special event tickets picked up a Bruce Lee bobblehead doll and there were appearances by Bruce Lee's widow Linda Lee Cadwell and Bruce Lee's daughter Shannon Lee sung the national anthem.
  2. Additionally, to promote the event, the San Francisco Giants created this incredible video:  Bruce Lee Bobblehead vs SF Giants
  3. Lastly, a musician / remixer took part of a 1971 interview Bruce Lee did and made it into a video (song / mp3 also available for free download):  Be Water My Friend! Bruce Lee Remix
All of these Bruce Lee events got me thinking of Bruce Lee so much that I watched the 1971 interview with Pierre Berton.  By all accounts, this is the only interview Bruce Lee did that was preserved: 

In listening to Bruce Lee speak with Berton, I realized that Bruce Lee was not only a positive role model for Asian Americans (then and now) but he was also a spokesperson for Asian Americans.  

When Bruce Lee passed away, most people focused on the fact that Asian-Americans lost a visible icon, role model and the best known Asian-American film star.   While representation is important, I feel that losing Bruce Lee as a voice and/or spokesperson for Asian-Americans was probably greater than any movies that he may have done if he lived.  

It is evident from his interview with Berton that Bruce Lee was a thoughtful and well spoken man.  He knew there was some stereotyping or racism in Hollywood.  Bruce Lee knew some projects might not happen because of his "Asian" (or "Oriental") face.  Bruce Lee didn't openly argue against it but he was going to try and break through those barriers regardless.  

Had Bruce Lee lived, he may have been able to change Hollywood for the better for Asian-Americans.  Even nearly 30 years since his passing, there has been no Asian-American film star that has completely replaced Bruce Lee.   Asian stars like Jet Li, Jackie Chan and Chow Yun-Fat came to the United States and did some films but they were foreign born.   No Asian-American actor has fully replace Lee. 

But beyond movies, the Asian-American community has also lacked a visible spokesperson like Jesse Jackson and others for the African-American community.  If Bruce Lee had lived, I could see him BEING that type of spokesperson for Asian-Americans. Bruce Lee spoke his mind and I would be curious to hear his thoughts on the current state of affairs for Asian-Americans.  

There is a small glimmer of hope.  Jeremy Lin of the Houston Rockets suddenly became a household name this past year.  While Jeremy Lin is dramatically different than Bruce Lee in personality and temperament,  Jeremy Lin has given Asian-Americans a VOICE like Bruce Lee did so many years ago.