Writing: Autobiography

Chapter 16: The Many Faces of Poverty

Dr. Paul T. P. Wong’s autobiography is published in weekly installments. Stay updated here. The Many Faces of Poverty One does not really understand poverty unless one has lived through it; it is a world which has its own rules and logic. I am grateful for the privilege of having experienced poverty—and survived. Both the darkest and the noblest aspects of human nature manifest themselves in dire poverty. For some, poverty justifies their worst brutality to exact revenge against an unfair world; for others, it inspires their bold idealism to treat all people as members of the human family. This is a...

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Chapter 15: Pui Ching & Life’s Tough Lessons

Dr. Paul T. P. Wong’s autobiography is published in weekly installments. Stay updated here. Pui Ching & Life’s Tough Lessons After graduation from St. Stephen’s as the top student in my class, I was automatically accepted by the best schools in Hong Kong. However, against my father’s will, who preferred an English education for me for a better future, I chose Pui Ching Middle School. There were two reasons: First and foremost, I wanted to learn more about Chinese history and literature because, at that time, I was caught up in a patriotic fever. Second, Pui Ching was indisputably the most prestigious...

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Chapter 14: A Year of Awakenings

Dr. Paul T. P. Wong’s autobiography is published in weekly installments. Stay updated here. A Year of Awakenings A good education is transformative. I am so grateful that Father arranged for us siblings to spend one year at the residential school of St. Stephen’s College Preparatory School. Realizing that Temple Street was not the best environment for children, he decided to enroll us at St. Stephen’s so that we could learn more English in a good and safe environment, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. St. Stephen’s College and the Preparatory School were located on the hills in the...

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Chapter 13: Hong Kong—A Haven for Chinese Refugees

Dr. Paul T. P. Wong’s autobiography is published in weekly installments. Stay updated here. Hong Kong—A Haven for Chinese Refugees My childhood was in China, but I became an adult in Hong Kong. Perhaps the ordeal of escaping from China as a refugee turned me into an adult, almost overnight. Perhaps it was because I had the added responsibility of taking care of my two younger brothers, Oscar and Joshua. My family was very fortunate that father arrived in Hong Kong ahead of us and booked the Kowloon Hotel on Nathan Road as our temporary home. Nathan Road was—and still is—the heart...

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Chapter 12: Farewell, China

Dr. Paul T. P. Wong’s autobiography is published in weekly installments. Stay updated here. Farewell, China We are on a cruise ship celebrating my 80th birthday. The smell and the view of the ocean floods me with many memories of my life-changing voyage from Tianjin to Hong Kong in the December of 1948. I can’t step back into the past, which is forever gone with my childhood; the past is no longer the same, seen from the lens of an old man. But some memories remain as vivid as yesterday. We Escaped and Became Refugees It was a last-minute decision in a...

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Chapter 11: The Story to Live By

Dr. Paul T. P. Wong’s autobiography is published in weekly installments. Stay updated here. The Story to Live By On a scale of one to 10, I will rate my life seven on happiness but 10 on meaningfulness. My life story is one of overcoming insurmountable problems, pursuing impossible dreams, and striving to achieve worthy goals. I have no major regrets for my life, and I am satisfied with the small victories I have achieved in spite of all the obstacles. Sick and Tired of the Happiness Craze These days, I am really sick and tired of the endless stream of publications...

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Chapter 10: Looking Backwards & Looking Forwards

Dr. Paul T. P. Wong’s autobiography is published in weekly installments. Stay updated here. Looking Backwards & Looking Forwards I cannot believe that I first started working on my autobiography way back in 2008 at the urging of Mr. Chou, President of the Chou Ta-Kuan (CTK) Cultural and Educational Foundation. Many things have happened in the past nine years which have interrupted the project. I am grateful that Mr. Chou has not given up on me and is still interested in publishing my life story. I have just finished the first section of my autobiography, which is about my family members. From this chapter on, it will be about different aspects of my adult life. I will be writing about not only key events in my life, but also share my thoughts and insights. Meanwhile, it seems appropriate to set the stage by reprinting my prologue written in 2008, because this backward glance provides a snapshot of my difficult life circumstances and my mental state at that time. Prologue Written in 2008 It is near midnight. Alone in my office, I’m savoring the balmy breeze from my half-closed window. The college campus is all but deserted except for the lone security guard at the main entrance. The city is sound asleep. Silence works its hypnotic magic; it cradles me with the sweet warmth of a mother’s embrace. It’s hard to resist the...

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Chapter 9: My Brilliant Younger Brothers

A Lifelong Search for Meaning: Lessons on Virtue, Grit, and Faith Dr. Paul T. P. Wong’s autobiography is published in weekly installments. Stay updated here. All my younger brothers have fared much better than my older siblings. They have surprised me with their achievements and financial success. Maybe it is a matter of being born in a better historical period; maybe it is because they have learned valuable lessons from the failures of the two oldest brothers. Constant Wong (王载熙)—A Genius Inventor Constant is only one year younger. Therefore, we spent a lot of time together, especially during our high school days. We shared many interests, such as adventures in nature and English poetry. After graduating from high school, Constant worked in the post office, at the same time as when I was employed at the Peak Police Station as an interpreter. One day at work, I received an emergency phone call from our mother that he was arrested for “stealing stamps.” When I went to bail Constant, he was pretty shaken up and his face was very pale. According to his account, he was only guilty of lifting several stamps off incoming mail from foreign countries. One of his colleagues must have reported him. I wonder how this traumatic experience has affected him and whether it has embittered him towards life. Shortly after, I went abroad to study in Canada; Constant also went to abroad,...

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Chapter 8: Helen Wong Chao (趙王德珍)—A Modern Mulan (花木蘭) Who Saved Her Family

A Lifelong Search for Meaning: Lessons on Virtue, Grit, and Faith Dr. Paul T. P. Wong’s autobiography is published in weekly installments. Stay updated here. Helen Wong Chao (趙王德珍)—A Modern Mulan (花木蘭) Who Saved Her Family What do you expect from a girl growing up with seven boys? A tomboy. Helen was definitely not a typical Chinese girl. I can’t recall ever seeing her dressed up or with any make-up on. She was as sharp and tough as any guy; she could more than hold her own in any company of successful men. In many ways, she was a very precocious child. Compared to her, I...

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