Pick up a copy of “The 1988 Dodgers” today!

Order The 1988 Dodgers: Reliving the Championship Season

Print Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Another personal reflection: Sept. 23, 2022

September 23, 2022 (Friday)

Today was another day when my older sibling treated me as persona non grata… even though she owes me several hundred dollars and mostly only is friendly to me when she needs a loan. 

Add to the fact that I purchased a home and my older sibling has done nothing to help me in the process.

On Labour Day long weekend, yes, she drove me and a chair and a few small boxes from my current home to the new home — but she charged me $75 for that. (I paid her $77.77.) It was not a pleasant ride. Almost every time I’ve been in the same car as her (with her driving), she’s swearing at other drivers and cursing them for driving too slowly and being stupid drivers. It’s never a comfortable ride because there’s a lot of stress. I’d rather pay a taxi driver or Lyft driver to get from Point A to Point B and ride in peace. But this time I wanted to move a chair and a few boxes, and she “offered” this for $75. 

In talking with peers and bosses, I’ve been told that they would never charge me any money for driving me somewhere.

So, think about that for a moment. 

Again, today I’ve been treated as persona non grata and there is no remorse whatsoever shown by my older sibling. 

One more thing is her constant dishonesty. I have not moved into the new place yet but have gone in periodically to move things in. I would notice my older sibling’s belongings in the new place (she has keys and she moved those things in herself without offering to help our elderly mother or me). I commented then, “So, I see you moved things in within the last couple of days,” to which she would respond that I was mistaken because she moved those things in the same day that she drove me (for that $75 offer). 

What’s the point of lying? I wasn’t picking on my older sibling for moving her things in on her own. But she chooses to just lie with a straight face. It’s like, okay, and I’ve told her before that she’s just like “the boy who cried wolf.” How do I know when she’s telling the truth or when to take her seriously?

Her response: I was mistaken because that stuff was moved in the same day she drove me.

That happened during one of the days when I wasn’t treated as persona non grata. 

Speaking of which, my older sibling treats our elderly mother as persona non grata, openly calling her “the bitch.” On that same day she drove me to that place, she commented that she was taking one of the storage areas and staking her claim “before the bitch hogs it.” 

Here we have a situation in which my older sibling has not done anything to help out and is treating the place as her own—even though our mother paid for part of the down payment. My older sibling has not made any payment and instead has:

  • asked me for money constantly (I said no a few times but lent her money other times)
  • insulted me constantly during this entire process of searching for the home (calling me “stupid” for looking at places in the suburbs instead of Vancouver—even though I was seeking those places since they are more affordable as I was—and am—not getting other support, and none from her, while looking for places that had an extra room so she could live there).

So, I can say with good conscience that I have done my older sibling no wrong but she has chosen to be the way she is. 

I am “stupid” indeed

I am “stupid.”

During the process of purchasing my home, I was insulted several times — multiple, multiple times — by my older sibling because I was looking for properties not in Vancouver but in the suburbs of New Westminster and Richmond. I was “stupid,” in her words, because those places are too far from Vancouver. It was inconvenient for her to commute. 

During this process, I was not supported with any encouragement or kind words. I was not supported with any funding. Instead, it was insult after insult after insult — and she was even borrowing money from me periodically — and when I wasn’t needed, I was treated as persona non grata and ignored like I’m a non-person. 

What’s lost was the fact that I couldn’t afford a place in Vancouver, and the fact that I was looking for properties with two bedrooms so that she could also live there. Properties with two bedrooms (so that she could also live there) cost a lot more in Vancouver.

Sure, I am “stupid” — my peers have told me I should have just cut my sibling out of my life. I am “stupid” indeed for being protective of her and supportive of her despite her lack of respect for me and her constant negativity during this entire home purchase process. 

I am “stupid.”

The Life of a Writer, Part 2

So, I worked for a local major midget hockey team last winter, and I wrote recaps for their games on their website.

The local Richmond News ripped one of my stories off, taking my story verbatim except for a few words, without crediting the team and me. When I reached out, the response was snotty.

When I contacted the Canadian Media Council to complain about this situation — after all, in the current 24/7 media cycle, even if it’s just about a local midget hockey team, “ASAP” implies providing a solution immediately — the response was also not satisfactory.

The takeaway: It’s okay to plagiarize??

I’m no longer a person – again

Once again, I’m back to being a non-person.

This is such a regular occurrence that I shouldn’t even bat an eye when it happens – again.

I have an older sibling who’s four years my senior. Just last Saturday, my sibling was buttering me up when wanting to borrow some cash for lunch (because that place is a cash-only establishment). I loaned the money and I was paid back later. No big deal. My sibling also wanted to borrow even more money, but I declined.

Interestingly, the next day, my sibling was no longer speaking to me – again. I don’t know what I had done wrong this time, but I mean, I’m again no longer a person. I’m back to being persona non grata. As I type this, it’s Wednesday night, meaning it’s been four days now of this silent treatment. I’m back to being invisible.

So, really, it’s nothing unusual because that’s how it seems with many people in society. When they want something, they butter you up. And when you’re no longer needed (this time), you’re kicked to the curb.

Just the other day, someone asked me rhetorically if I felt I was “childish” because I have a toy collection at home. I chose not to answer the question.

But being “childish”? I can say that the passive-aggressive approach employed by my sibling would count as that. And it is passive-aggressive behaviour, that’s for sure. There’s tension which can be felt. Yes, I’ve experienced this type of treatment from both my sibling and my father repeatedly over the years, so it shouldn’t affect me.

But I’m not a machine. I’m not AI. I’m not a robot. I’m a human being. A person.

Except when I’m treated like I’m not. Like I’m a non-person.

Now, when I was younger, did I ignore people? Yes, I often did in school. That was a time when I was extremely shy and afraid of talking to people. Did I offend anyone then? Yes, I’m sure I did. But again, at the time I was extremely afraid of talking to people.

When you’re older, you change. But some people don’t. I used to work at this school where there were two instructors who were like that. Now, keep in mind that we’re talking about grown adults who are educators. Let that sink in for a moment.

I was new at that school at the time. I said “Hi” to a math teacher whom I came across in the hallway. He stared at me without a word. Eventually, he returned the favour by saying “Hi” back, but the first few times were awkward. Then, there was this other teacher named Cicy. I said “Hi” when coming across her in the hallway. I was ignored. It happened a few times. Another time I was approaching the school building and saw her coming in my direction. I said “Hello” and was ignored.

Now, this Cicy was not shy because I’d seen her yapping it up with the school administrators and other teachers. So, I guess the question is this: Am I too much of a loser that people – in this case, Cicy – just don’t want to talk to? Again, let that one sink in for a moment: We’re talking about a grown adult who happens to be an educator. So, here’s yet another reason that I think teachers are overrated.

If this particular teacher had any issue with me, let’s discuss it. But this passive-aggressive nonsense is just silly. I often joked to myself that the “C” in the name of the school stood for “Clique” – It’s like this Cicy still thought she was in high school.

One time, I was told by a student who was from the same ethnicity with Cicy and the math teacher that in their country, if someone randomly said “Hi,” they would just walk away and thought the speaker was weird. Well, that’s fine. But hello? We’re in Canada. Besides, if you’re an educator and you’re behaving like that, well, I have to question your ability to teach and inspire kids.

Of course, how can you blame others for treating you like you’re invisible, like you’re a non-person, when you’ve received that kind of treatment from your own sibling and father? If family can do that, I guess that’s fair game by others. (Oh yeah, speaking of family, I heard that Cicy’s mother taught at a different location of that school, so I would guess that’s how Cicy got that job. Nepotism at its finest.)

There was one incident when Cicy brought her dog to school. My classroom happened to be across the hall from hers. My students were supposed to be focusing on their English 12 reading assignment, but they were too busy checking out Cicy’s dog across the hall. I closed the blinds but that didn’t work. Now, some peers will scoff and say that it proved I didn’t know how to teach. But the thing is, Cicy could have done something to help out the situation by maybe coming over to apologize and ask the students to focus in their class? This Cicy never even bothered to come and talk to me to acknowledge that her dog created some inconvenience for me.

So, okay, I collect toys. But the actions of this grown adult, this female teacher, should be considered even more “childish,” in my opinion.

And speaking of being “childish,” I can say that people who refuse to follow rules are childish. In some cases, they’re thieves. Recently, I took the bus (and, sure, some people will scoff and say “Serves you right for taking the bus,” but last time I checked, countless people use transit every single day) and sat at the back, where I witnessed this bald dude get on via the back door, did not pay (passengers are supposed to tap their Compass bus card on the system), and took a seat and proceeded to stick his knee out in the aisle during the duration of the ride in a way that would make Ulf Samuelsson proud (that’s a reference to the former Pittsburgh Penguins player who famously stuck his knee out and injured Boston Bruins star Cam Neely). And, oh, he didn’t wear a mask, even though for transit passengers in this city, it’s still mandatory to have a mask on.

So, you have this fellow who 1) didn’t pay (meaning he’s the equivalent of a thief), 2) didn’t wear a mask (a type of childish behaviour when we’re in the midst of a pandemic), and 3) stuck his knee out and was in the way of people who were trying to get to the back of the bus the entire ride.

I mean, at least this thieving fella wasn’t a teacher, I don’t think. But shame on people like Cicy and others who treat others like they’re invisible. And the sad thing is some of these people are teachers.

Oh yeah. This school that I referenced? I quit twice before and I was begged to return, so I did. However, I quit a third time recently – and I don’t think I’ll be back. If I wanted to be treated like I’m invisible, I could just hang out with family and get that.

Teachers who didn’t care

Last year when I spoke with Mark Langill, the LA Dodger historian, about advice for students aspiring to work for a sports organization, he recalled the time when his high school English teacher helped him by nominating him for the school newspaper:

Mark acknowledged he was very lucky.

Not everybody is, however.

In my own high school, there was no teacher like that. All I encountered were teachers who didn’t care. Or not enough.

At the time, I was shy and timid, afraid of speaking. I was often unhappy. Not one teacher ever pulled me aside to ask me if everything was okay. Not one.

After I graduated and then completed my first year of university, that summer I was looking to volunteer my time at the Neil Squire Foundation, to help people with disabilities learn to use the computer. I returned to my high school to ask some of my teachers for a reference. Two of them laughed and said, “Shouldn’t you be looking for a job instead?” It was obviously a harmless joke. Yet, for someone who didn’t have the highest amount of self-esteem at the time, being laughed at for wanting to do something positive was deflating. If I had completed eight weeks at Neil Squire, I would have received a certificate. I left after six weeks, not because I didn’t like it, but ultimately I let those teachers’ remark bother me (ie. I chose to interpret the comment to mean, “If you’re not chasing money, you’re behind everybody else and you’re a loser,” or something to that effect).

But I want to go back to English class specifically. It was Grade 8. I had just immigrated to Canada two years earlier and was new. In Dickson’s English 8 class, I scored the highest in the first term. I know that because Dickson, an older gentleman who had no sense of humour and was always very serious, read out all the marks for the class. He read out each person’s student number and percentage. I listened attentively and heard that my 83% was the highest. Nobody else got that or a mark higher than mine. To my utter disappointment, though, Dickson never acknowledged who had the highest mark (me) and also gave me a B, even though nobody else achieved a higher score.

So, on two levels, I was disappointed. Dickson did not acknowledge me. He also chose to grade us strictly by the book: 86% or higher would be A. Anything less would not be an A.

When you have teachers like Dickson who did nothing to support or encourage you, it is very deflating. None of the other English teachers I had after that — Comey, Comeau, and Borgen — cared either. Borgen was a funny dude, but he wasn’t caring.

I haven’t even talked about classmates yet. There’s a big deal about how there’s Asian hate crimes, etc. Not to dismiss any of that, but even Asians were bullying fellow Asians. There was an Asian classmate named Kenny. My name has the word “Kok” in it (and hence I’ve now shortened my name to KP), and Kenny and his Asian friends were mocking me once. (Once out of numerous times.) I’m Asian. Someone made a joke about my name, and Kenny said my dad’s name was probably “Dick” and my mom’s was likely “Vagina.” So, when you have fellow Asian classmates who treated you like crap and teachers who didn’t care, things were very difficult.

There was one teacher who was kind — although she wasn’t someone who actually taught me. She was a teacher in the school but I never had classes with her. She might have seen my career interest questionnaire results and thought that I really wanted to be an accountant. (I didn’t.) I don’t know why she assumed I wanted to be an accountant, but I never told her that I didn’t want to. She approached me and started giving me advice on how to pursue that.

Our school counsellor was also caring. But again, she wasn’t my teacher whom I saw every day.

So, even though I’m a teacher myself right now, anytime anyone asks me about teachers, I give the straight answer — based on my own experience: Teachers care only about themselves.

Unfortunately, that’s true. At least based what I have personally experienced.