Character Builder

I’ve met many nice, interesting and funny people when I started blogging and came across many not so nice ones. As you can see, my English is not perfect because it’s not my first language, more like my third, but most of my readers are very forgiving, and one of the reasons that I blog is to improve my English, as for some of you reading this might say I’m writing Engrish, as one of my readers was kind enough to point this out to me.

When I was growing up, I was taught to follow the golden rule, of course, my parents didn’t teach me in this order nor we had to sing the song of the golden rule, but the concept was the same; the song of the golden rule by C. Albers goes ,

“Do unto others as you wish

That they should do to you.

Then would this earth a heaven be

So beautiful and true.

Be kinds to those who are unkind

Give love to those who hate;

Thus will your merit be untold,

Your blessings very great.

Give unto all the best you have

To all a favour do,

And all those blessings in their time

Will then come back to you.”

Sometimes I find it hard to follow this simple rule, even citing it wrong at times, and changed it to “Do unto others as they had done to us…” which at the end only lead to hatred and never ending battle war of words. I knew in the past that I wrote a lot of stuff that offended people, but that’s a personal opinion, and I believe that one should be allowed to express his/her opinion on his/her personal blog.

Temptations come to us all, it’s so easy for us to say hateful things or lash back to those that are mean to us, sort of seeking revenge, wanting that person to pay for what they said or done to us. When I was younger, I thought that ‘Eyes for Eyes, Teeth for Teeth and Life for Life” was the way how things should be handled, might be because I watched one too many Kung Fu movies, but as adult, I believe that character grows stronger each time that we resist temptation to do anything that we know we ought not to be doing, but sometimes I still find myself the victim of my own emotion, as anything else in life, practice makes perfect.

Another character-builder for me is hardship and many that came to this country as a refugee or an emigration would agree with me on this one. I believe that each of us really needs to go through a certain amount of hardship to appreciate life or living. If everything is too easy and comfortable for us, we are likely to become softies, not only physically but also in our spiritual nature. It’s also very likely that living too easy a life may cause us to lose all feeling of sympathy with those who are less fortunate than we are.

I think that the more we learn to resist evil temptations and the more we can endure a certain amount of hardship, whether it be poverty, sickness, disappointment, grief or any other sorrow, the stronger we grow in our moral nature, and more and more we have sympathetic understanding of the problems of other. Eventually there comes a time when we realize that the things we used to think were so important are not so important after all, it still holds true for me that the best things in life are free, and that less is more.


  1. I think Asians are the brightest people – cuz you know what? We started to learn English since we enter school. We learn english everyday – say watch TV for a few hours, later you’ll pick a word. I really don’t mind how I sound like when I write it as long as I can pronounce the word correctly – and people can understand me, I’m fine.

    During my FOB days in HK, I never really understand a word they say on TV (British). I mean I do, but it’s not easy to pick up. A friend once told me that watching a British movie can help you learn to speak their way thru watching at the mouth. It’s funny because, I am not there to watch the whole movie by watching their mouth. In HK, people have a hard time to understand/speak english – in every movie they watch, they rely mostly on “SUB-TITLES”. It’s bad and annoying at the same time. Annoying because they laugh from the subtitles (as they read) than the actual scene.

    Speaking english is easy when you are in a group of English listeners as well. Since you like to read books, you learn English and put them in your head – but how are you gonna use it when talking to people?


  2. “Be kinds to those who are unkind” probably means that we should always be kind when we’re upset or just be diplomatic about it. If we argue with a fool then others can’t tell which is the fool. And if we were to be kind to all the people who are unkind to us, then that probably means that we’ve been taken advantage of us. But I will always want to introduce myself kindly and hopefully find something in common.

  3. Hi K, I think for some Asian, including myself, that English is not our first language, we’ll always have to think before we write or speak, it’s not second nature to most of us, and many readers are very forgiving, but apparently, some are not very forgiving and have the need to say something mean about it which is fine by me, but keep in mind that I reserve the right to delete that comment if it’s just pure insult to me and not benefiting anyone else in anyway. I think if you’re reading a blog, you can expect opinion from the author, and as in my case, maybe some Engrish.

    When I was in High School, I watched a Chinese movie in Chinatown, NY, didn’t understand Chinese, and had to rely on the sub-title. It’s a comedy, I always was the last one to laugh, sort of slow reaction, and I can’t say it’s a fun way of watching a movie.

    >>>“Be kinds to those who are unkind”… probably means that we should always be kind when we’re upset or just be diplomatic about it. If we argue with a fool then others can’t tell which is the fool.

    Hi Sim, in situation like this, it does take practice, and I do have to say that I’m getting better at it, being diplomatic that is, and sometimes I often wonder if acting kind of dump might be a simple solution, seems to work for me also. I don’t like people taking advantage of me, and try to avoid those that do.

  4. I think that is so sad that some one would correct you. I hope you will be confident in who you are and anyone who is critical better have your best interest at heart (you will know it if they do). If they don’t it’s not your problem to own!
    Debbie aka The Real World Martha

  5. Hi Debbie, thank you for your kind word, I’d have published her comment if she dared post her link, and it’s ironic that I knew who she was, not personally but she left enough trail for me to follow even if she’d intentionally left the wrong information for me to go on a wild goose chase but she seems like a nice person, one of our WP users. I do feel sad that it’s this way, her comment was, as if I can’t write perfect English, then I should not be allowed to express my opinion (this is mildly put), but I realized that I do need to work on my grammar, which I’ve been working very diligently, reading my grammar book on a regular basis, sounds boring, but it does help some. Thanks for your visit and kind word. 🙂

  6. Honestly, I write on wordpress because I want to imrove my writing in English. I have a hard time trying to translate things in my head. I think I still thinking in Laotian. You know what I mean?

  7. Hi Amphone, I think one of the main problems that many Asians have is the usage of the verb and the tense, and it’d be very confusing to readers in trying to figure out what we’re trying to say,

    “If it happened already or it’s happening now or it’ll happen in the near future.”

    Most of us have no intention of writing it wrong just to be made fun off, but English is a very difficult language to learn. The comment that I received was a bit mean, an exaggeration of my situation, and had every intention to hurt me, but I do take it to heart that I need to work on my grammar, that’s one of the main reasons as to why I started writing to begin with. It’d be nice if you’d have a friend to point out your errors but most people don’t want to do that in fear of hurting your feeling.

  8. Hi Ginger, I think people none other than Asians can make any mean comment any time they want to. They probably already decided that English is our second language. Since we don’t have a master in English, we will have to keep learning. But I do know some Laotians who have a master in English. They write very well. I just want to learn how to write better. If you or someone point my mistake out, never mind the style, I would take it pretty well.

    I do write a lot better since I came on this blog. Thanks for sharing ideas.

  9. Amphone, we should not let what other people think prevent us from writing, and that’s the only way to improve our English, as practice makes perfect, and like I said earlier that most readers are very forgiving, and for those that are not, think of it as ‘sieng nok sieng ka’, nothing to worry about. 😉

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