A brief history of my childhood

July 25, 2021

It’s natural to begin my life tale with my mother. I would not live in this world or write this book if it weren’t for her. Before I was born, I had no idea what had happened in the world. According to an interview with my mother, I was an accident rather than a plan. It’s probably true because I’m an only child, and none of my aunts had any children. My mother could have chosen to abort me, but she decided against it since life is a miracle. I was born on July 31st, and I was fortunate enough to survive. My early memories are forgotten, and I only vaguely recall my mother’s mantras, such as “money isn’t everything,” yet “everything needs money.” My mother is an accountant who takes pride in her education and ability to solve problems mathematically. And she is convinced that my current intelligence stems from her genes rather than my father’s. Overall, I believe she is a smart person, although she did not have an official educational degree from a university back in the day.

When I was only a few years old, my mum’s father died of lung cancer. When he was healthy, he was thrilled to see me eating and complimenting the food he cooked. It was a legend about how wonderful he was at cooking and how he escaped from Chaozhou in China’s Guangdong region to Hong Kong. He used to be a chef and had a strong personality. He had developed a bad habit of heavy smoking. Despite requests to quit smoking, he stated that he would rather die young than suffer the discomfort of not smoking. Smoking makes life more joyful, and it was his own choice. Perhaps he would still be alive today if he had listened to the advice to end his addiction. His approach toward life, on the other hand, is something we should respect. It is worthwhile to give up our lives in exchange for something enjoyable. Even if the opportunity cost is high, life is too short if we cannot enjoy what we do. I could only admire his preferences and life decisions, for the time being, hoping he did not regret them.

My parents have provided me with many things for which I am grateful. If I get my IQ from my mother, my father must have passed on his appearance genes to me. As a result, I have the best of both worlds. I’m of medium height and have a pleasant appearance. It’s not good enough to be an actor, but good enough to get many girlfriends if needed. My mother used to punish me with a clothes hanger throughout my childhood, while my father rarely rebuked me. The only thing I recall is that I was addicted to internet usage, and he forced me to stop by switching off the router at midnight. My father was a morning person who wanted me to develop a healthy habit, while my mother is a night owl who never sleeps beyond midnight. I followed my mother’s schedule, and we both like watching television and reading newspapers till 3 a.m. My father enjoyed playing computer games, such as Red Alert and war games, which we used to play together. As an electrical engineer, his passion for electricity, networking, and computers motivated me. Thanks to his introduction to the knowledge when I was a kid, I am now a software engineer who uses computers daily.

Pokemon, a Japanese anime, was quite popular while I was in primary school. I was anti-social and never watched a single episode, which was ironic. It was silly, and I couldn’t understand why a yellow object could be so appealing. It significantly impacts my social life and interactions with my peers, because their only topic for conversation during class breaks is Pokemon. They enjoyed playing a game where they attempted to memorize as many pocket monster names as possible, beginning with Pikachu. I hate this ridiculous conduct and have no desire to participate. Instead, I volunteered as a librarian. Without talking with friends, I preferred to read books. Chinese history was a subject that stimulate my curiosity. The two campaigns that preceded the Han Dynasty are remarkable. I like the heroes and would like to meet them in person during the battle between Xiang Yu (項羽) and Liu Pang (劉邦). I want to be a strategist who can advise the emperor on how to win the war and implement policies that will benefit everyone. According to history, many kingdoms have failed, and dynasties have fallen due to bad policies and advice from the king’s inner circle. If given a chance to rule, I sometimes wonder if I could be a better emperor. That is just a fantasy.

I went to a Catholic primary school for six years and can still recall the prayer. The first thing I did every morning and afternoon was praying. We prayed right before school started. It did not convert me to Catholicism, but it did teach me to be kind. The school was a short walk from my home, and some of the pupils were from lower-income households. The nearby secondary school was notorious; it had a reputation for terrible students fighting one another. As a result, our teachers advised us to stay away from the troubles and return home as early as possible. At that time, my best friend was a child who had been born prematurely. His physical growth was hampered by his early birth, and he appeared physically weak. He was a school bully’s target. This type of treatment at school was completely unjust. The kids acted as though they were animals, following the strongest and laughing at the weakest. I was a brilliant academic student, but I was also a shy kid who struggled to establish new acquaintances. Naturally, the most unpopular classmates want to make friends with me because I am intellectually proficient but socially shy.

I couldn’t recall many details from my youthful days, but I remembered my terror of the teacher. Mrs Chan, a P.E. instructor, was the most terrifying. She liked to wear a lot of make-up and a lot of perfume. We could tell when Mrs Chan was nearby through her aroma, which was a smell of panic. She had a habit of yelling at pupils, so I tried to stay as far away from her as possible. Although I was a good student, I would occasionally get into trouble for no apparent reason. For example, when I was younger, I rinsed my hair with water and combed it up. It was the style of those days. However, it would be good if you had the hair gel to go with it. In our school, we were not allowed to use hair gel. It was an offence to do so. One day the teacher claimed I was using hair gel, but it was just water. It was easy to see or distinguish between water and hair gel. The teacher refused to listen to me.

Consequently, the teacher punished me. I thought there was no justice in school. I feel bad. In retrospect, the school was more akin to jail for children. It was a pity that it was mandatory. I didn’t appreciate the free school system as much, and if there had been a better education system, I would have performed better now.


Profile picture

Experience in software development, application architecture, and deploying cloud solutions for enterprise customers. Strong hands-on skills with a Master's degree in Computer Science and business acumen with a master of business administration (MBA) in Finance. Certified in Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Microsoft Azure, Kubernetes (CKA, CKAD, CKS, KCNA) and Scrum (PSM, PSPO) with experience in building banking products from scratch. Connect on Linkedin

© 2022, @victorleungtw