Category Archives: Life Stories

The Chess Game of Life

I have always played chess with my uncle back when I was small. I remember each move took my uncle quite a while. He carefully planned each action, pondering every possible counters, maneuvers, attacks, and then triple-checked to see if he forgot any possible or desirable move. That is why it’s so difficult to win him.

He thinks like he plays: precise, observant, deliberate and careful. It has taken me a while to understand him and his playing style. In fact, it’s taken me a while to understand myself and my own moves. Not everything in life can be seen as easily as in chess. Not all moves are as foreseeable; not all decisions are as defined.

Sometimes we make bad decisions; bad choices, in life. The challenges we are facing, and the decisions we have to make in life, are extremely tough. Bullying, academic stress, communication with parents, dating drama, peer pressure, addictions … The list is endless. I would say, without doubt, that this is the toughest time for us than any other time in history.

As the old saying goes, “Experience is a harder teacher because she gives the tests first, the lesson afterward.” There are always a lot of ups and downs in life. They are important to keep us going, because a straight line even in an ECG, means we are not alive.


As I look back on the chess games I’ve played with my uncle, I wonder if he knows how much he has really taught me. The patience is learnt; my learning is improved; my concentration and memory is developed; the mental clarity for solving problems and formulating tactics is developed; that relentless attitude pays off in the end.


Basketball and my destiny

Finally the day had arrived. Another Saturday. I went to Bonsor for basketball along with some friends. I practised my shots, trying to increase the accuracy and releasing speed. Some people came over and asked if we would like to play a friendly match.

I, myself, am not the best player. I remember I started playing basketball because of a friend in grade 8. He was an incredible player. I used to play very badly, missing easy lay-ups and jumpers. I didn’t have the confidence to shoot.

Every time I got the ball, I would pass it to one of my teammates for sure. That friend of mine always plays with me and he’s always on my team. As you would expect, I got blamed, criticized and yelled at for everything – bad passes, slow reactions, etc.

I got a pass from the point guard. Seeing that the defender wasn’t guarding me tightly, I got hold of the ball, and took the shot. I made it! I cannot describe the happiness and triumph inside me.

I’ve always been an admirer of Kobe’s fadeaway jumpshot. I could never figure out how he does it. How he can pull up for a fadeaway jumpshot with the clock ticking and half a second left. I knew Kobe is a hard worker. His determination, his perseverance, and his confidence are all that I envy.

My friend drove to the basket, leaving me wide open. He then passed the ball to me and I took the shot. The ball bounced and hit the rim. The ball spun around the rim maddeningly, and finally, it fell to the floor. I was disappointed.

I remember reading an article about why not making mistakes is the biggest mistake ever. After all, mistakes not only help us let go of fears, but also teach us valuable lessons. As Al Franken said, “Mistakes are a part of being human…lessons that can only be learnt the hard way. Unless it’s a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from.”

Kobe’s story of success as well as Franken’s quote gave me a lot of insights. I started to recall what I did in the last couple of weeks – nearly zero things related to school work. I always regard myself as a procrastinator, but things are getting more and more serious. Determined, I believe that I am the creator of my own destiny and that I should start using my time wisely. “Time flies,” as they say, “in the blink of an eye.”