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It has now been five long years since I started to post articles on my blog. In this time, the blog has gained more than half a million reads. I continue to feel grateful that Shaoting and the forces that worked with her to push me to start this blog, as I have learned a lot during this period of my life. When I first shared my plans to write with my friends, many of them revealed concern, as they knew that I had no prior training as a writer. In fact, my background was in biochemistry, DNA and Chromosomal study, which are all straight forward and does not require much written description. They were also puzzled to learn that I intended to write in Chinese without knowing how to type Chinese characters on the computer.
Recently Shaoting came to visit me after she moved back to Taiwan. She posted an article of about friendship on her blog, and I was honored to find her say these sweet things about me: “She [Alice] often told me over and again, that she was hoping to one day write a book that would help people heal psychologically so people could live better lives. Upon returning home at midnight from our meeting at her house earlier that night, I decided to set up the blog for her. She did not know how to type in Chinese, yet she was determined to write in Chinese, even if it meant doing things the hardest way possible. She wrote it in English first, and then translated it into Chinese. With her persistence, she has now written many wonderful life stories on her blog, ‘Zero Limits.’”
It is true that I used the most primitive way possible to start writing my stories in Chinese. I wrote it in English first then I used Google to translate for me. The translation was not perfect, but still I gathered all of the Chinese characters Google provided me with and then put it all together to form the article. Of course, it did not come out as smooth as I expected. It read like a translated article in the beginning. Gradually I learned the method of *Zhuyin, then I used a writing pad. I can just simply write the Chinese characters on the pad and then transfer onto my blog fairly easily. Thanks to the advances in technology, I have since added one more tool to help my Chinese writing now: I use voice recording to type in Chinese on my computer.,
During this time of intense effort, I suffered from my own self-doubt. Perhaps not so coincidentally, I met a new friend at this point in my life who helped put an end to my worries. One day, the two of us and several other friends met for lunch in a restaurant. Just as we were all catching up on life, my friend happened to see her numerology teacher there. She grabbed me and brought me to see her teacher right away. She asked her whether I would one day be able to write my book. Her answer caught me off guard. She looked up at me and said that she knew I would be successful in my writing endeavors because of the numbers in my date of birth and because I was a famous writer in a previous life. Wow, what an encouragement! Maybe, just maybe, God sent her into my life to help free me of my worry so I could move ahead with my writing.
I often admired one of my distant uncles, Chung Chao-Cheng, who is the sixth-generation **Hakka writer. He is a proponent promoter of Taiwan Nativist Literature and is well respected by the Taiwanese people. He wrote over 100 books, but understand that it is not my goal to reach his status. I just want to write one book and one book only that is simple enough to touch the lives of ordinary people and to help heal those in need so I know all of my sufferings are not in vain. The sufferings serve the purpose and make my life beautiful because I make a difference in the lives of others.
Although my journey as a budding writer has been mostly positive and supported by those I love, I did receive some strong discouragement from a close relative not too long ago. After learning of my dream to write a book, she sent me the nastiest e-mail I had ever received. She stated that her husband told her that it was not a big deal to write a book about my life because everyone had his or her own life stories. It was said that my dreams were only mediocre because everyone could write his or her own life story. I deleted the message right away because it upset me so much. However, I want to take this opportunity to thank them now. I managed to convert their negative energy into positive energy within myself. Whenever I think of that e-mail, energy rushes through my veins, giving me the power to continue to pursue my dream of turning my blog, Zero Limits, into a reality. When we believe in ourselves, there are zero limits to what we can achieve.
*Zhuyin is a system of phonetic notation for the transcription of spoken Chinese, particularly the Mandarin dialect.
**Hakka:The Jews of Asia
The term “Hakka” was not originally a designation for a certain ethnic group living in a particular area. When the term “Hakka” first appeared in household registries during the Song Dynasty, it was used to indicate “guests” who had left their homelands to settle down in other parts of the country, in contrast to residents originally from the area. Although evidence is sketchy, the Hakkas are thought to originate from the lands bordering the Huang River (Yellow River) or Shanxi, Henan, and Hubei Provinces of the Northern China of today. To escape calamity, they would later flee southward traveling through many lands. They eventually settled down in Guangdong Province.
The Hakkas took to the road in five separate major migrations. The nickname “Jews of Asia” intimates these mass migrations and their pioneering spirit.
Taiwan has a population of 23 million. The larger part of the inhabitants are the descendants of immigrants from various provinces of mainland China, but in particular from the southeastern coastal province: Fujian and Guangdong (Hakka). There is also mainland Chinese who came to Taiwan after the surrender of Japanese, and Taiwanese aborigines who reside in the mountains. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hakka_people)