My two most outstanding traits are sensitivity and joyfulness. By sensitive I mean that I'm very perceptive of other people's feelings as well as my own, intellectually sharp, and appreciative of beautiful things like nature and art. By joyful I mean that I believe that life's a beautiful thing to be enjoyed and savored. I believe in doing work I enjoy, being with people I love, doing activities I enjoy. I’d also say I’m very childlike at times: I like to revel in childlike joy.
I am sensitive, joyful, and smart.
If you want a partner who’s a ceaseless font of knowledge and wonder and dazzling wit,
Who splits your sides with laughter and engages your mind in sweet silent thought,
Who can be spontaneous as lark or well-tuned as a cuckoo clock,
Who listens, and tries to understand, and doesn’t assume or judge or turn personal conversations into teaching moments,
Who's courageous and strong but not macho,
Then I’m your man.
A third way of describing myself would be a really nice guy who's kickass smart and awesome at his professional stuff.
I have extensive experience tutoring high school and college students before medical school and during the first two years. I tutored physics, chemistry, and biology at the college and high-school level (including for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)) and English, Chinese, economics, statistics, and calculus at the high-school level.
I'm also have a sharp memory for what's going on in the lives of my family members and friends, and a love for all sorts of knowledge. Besides music, poetry, and the visual arts, I like learning about world history and literature generally, partly because they can be inspiring or moving and partly because they give me insights into other cultures and my friends from those cultures. I like biological science and want to contribute to it partly because biological science supports medical advances which contribute greatly to human happiness but also because I find the intricate mechanism of life scintillating and enchanting. I like learning the other natural sciences because there's a noble structure and grandeur to their view of the universe.
To give you illustrations of the depth and breadth of my intellectual interests, in the last two years, I've read Nicholas Boyle on Goethe, Edward Mendelson on W. H. Auden, Charles Tilly on European state formation, and Donald Tovey and Richard Taruskin on music. Most of my research experience has been with molecular biology, but in the last year I've developed an interest in imaging and so have taught myself quantum mechanics and relativistic electromagnetism. I'm currently teaching myself quantum electrodynamics. A favorite magazine I enjoy reading to keep abreast of recent publications in literature, literary studies, history, and other humanities is the Times Literary Supplement.
Some of my favorite authors and books are: Shakespeare, George Eliot's Middlemarch, Virginia Woolf, E. M. Forster, Turgenev, Dickens, Harry Potter, The Lord Of The Rings; the poetry of Ben Jonson, Andrew Marvell, Keats, and Homer; Don Quixote, and Bocaccio's Decameron (A great 15th century collection of Italian short stories).
Here are some thoughts on why I like some of these authors and works: I like Shakespeare's tragedies, comedies, histories because of the complexity of the characters, which allows the reader or the audience to have the highest empathy for characters and for the human condition; because of the the catharsis the tragedies allow and the joy the comedies release, because of the intoxicating and dreamy lyricism of the language. I like Shakespeare's sonnets because of the sound of the language and the simplicity of the emotions (e.g., loving admiration in "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day"), which I find graceful.
I like George Eliot's Middlemarch because of she shows the highest empathy for her characters and the human condition; and because she writes about people being happy as a result of making material sacrifices to do what they love and to be with people they love.
I like Dickens for his combination of social messages with sweeping plots, sharply-drawn characters, and impressionistic language (e.g., the start of Bleak House); and I love the joy he's able to convey in his descriptions of the festive occasions in A Christmas Carroll. I like Harry Potter because I love the friendship of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, the mixture of magic and emotion, and symphonic pacing (e.g., how in Deathly Hallows the chapter on the confrontation the House of Malfoy is followed by the chapter on mourning and reflection at Shell cottage). I like The Lord of the Rings for its combination of mournfulness for lost things of the elves and Numenorians with the pluck and joy of the Hobbits and the determination of Aragorn and Rohirrim. I like Don Quixote, a Spanish novel about Spanish squire of the 17th century who thinks he's a medieval knight, because of humility, zanniness, and warmth of the narrator's voice ; the possibility of interpreting Quixote both as a man of ideals and as a man of illusions; and the slapstick comedy. I like the Decameron (a 15th Italian book in which a group of Florentines tell each other short stories--many of them erotic, or telling of close escapes from danger, or making uproarious fun of authority figures in contemporary Italian society--in order to keep each other's spirits high during the plague) because of its spirit of witty, sensual celebration of life in the darkest of times. I like poetry like Jonson's, Marvell's, and Keats for their creative imagery, rich sounds, and the restfulness many of their poems evoke.
The movies nearest and dearest to my heart are a BBC production of Chekhov's Three Sisters (1970, directed by Cedric Messina), The Sound of Music, and Juno. Other older movies that I like include Singin' in the Rain, Some Like It Hot, Mary Poppins, Master and Commander, Fanny and Alexander, Almost Famous, Metropolitan, Rachel Getting Married, Holiday (1936), The Best Years of Our Lives, and Yasujiro Ozu's Tokyo Story, Early Summer, and Late Autumn. More recent movies that I like include Barbara (2012), Frances Ha (2012), Stories We Tell (2013), Enough Said (2013), Boyhood (2014), Carol (2015), Spotlight (2015), 20th Century Women (2016), and Moonlight (2016)
I'd like to add that while the above are my favorite movies, I like and am knowledgeable about another movies. Specifically I'm familiar with a lot the critically popular ones on the BFI and AFI lists; classic Hollywood movies such as those with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant or those directed by Hitchcock or William Wyler; historically reknowned directors such as Renoir, the Italian neorealist, Kurosawa, Bergman, Truffaut, Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, and Kielslowski; more recently acclaimed indie directors such as Aki Kaurismäki, Lee Chang-dong, Hirokazu Koreeda, Lyn Shelton, and Sarah Polley; and a lot of contemporary main directors who make romantic comedies or relationship comedies, such as Richard Curtis, Nora Ephron, Lawrence Kasdan, and James L. Brooks. I also have a interest in recordings of plays, ballets, operas, etc. With the vast number of recordings of performances now available as DVD's or streamed on youtube and Amazon, it's possible to say watch 10 versions of Hamlet and pick one's favorite (mine is the BBC version with Derek Jacobi). Despite my knowledge of the movies, I'm a big fan of trying new things and checking out DVD's or movies at the theater that I don't know much about. I think I have a good attitude toward movies and enjoy most movies I see, even I don't pick them; I appreciate the escape and any emotional message the movie has, even if it's simple, so long as it's not false.
“All art aspires to the condition of music”—Walter Pater.
One of the most important purposes to which art can be put is to channel, release, and transform our emotions. In my opinion, music more than any other art form opens a direct window onto our hearts, pierces into our wells of emotion. It’s for this reason that 19th century Romantic such as Walter Pater worshipped music. It’s for this reason we turn to particular moments in particular pieces of music for solace, for celebration, for courage, in despair, and in hope. It’s for this reason that our favorite pieces of music can be a reflection of our philosophy of life, how we meet disappointment, how we endure loss, how we grab onto life’s transcendent beauty.
Here are some pieces of music that have special meaning for me.
The Marriage of Figaro
What finer encapsulation of intellectual and psychological combativness can there be the overture to The Marriage of Figaro? What “Eye of the Tiger” is to Rocky, the overture is to me.
What finer celebrations of the shimmering beauty of love can there be than “Voi che sapete” or “Deh, vieni, non tardar”?
The string trio K. 563
With just a violin, viola, and cello, Mozart creates a sonic world. Probably because of Mozart’s brilliant development of his musical ideas, when I listen to this piece, I tend to think about the parts of my professional intellectual work that I most enjoy, complex challenging problems in which I can lose myself.
The 9th Symphony’s 3rd movement (Any of the versions conducted by Wilhelm Furtwangler)
This movement, especially in Furtwangler’s recordings, brings me back to certain days when I was a teenager and life seemed ugly and bleak and I seemed on the verge of despair but a kind gesture from a friend made life beautiful again. Of course, this makes sense in light of the restful descending motif that opens the movement, and the development of the principal theme from a contemplative to a heroic form.
The piano sonata Op. 109, the theme and variations movement (The Annie Fischer recording)
When I’m old and gray, I’d like to be able to look back on my life and smile on my strivings myriad like the variations on the theme in this movemennt, to know that I’ve fulfilled myself as thoroughly as Beethoven develops the theme, and to feel the deep sense of rest and satisfaction that Beethoven reaches at the end. A more gun-ho musical formulation of this idea is of course Frank Sinatra’s “My way”, which I can croon pretty well if requested =)
Symphony No. 6, Mvt. 3 (Recordign conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos)
Perhaps more than any other piece of music, this movement articulates my attitude to the brutal conflicts and inevitable defeats we must all suffer. One has got to fight to the best of one’s ability, so long as there’s a reasonable hope of victory. Even though one will lose some fights, and many beautiful things in life will fade, it’s still worth it to fight for them and to experience their transcendent beauty if only for an instant.
Here are some other musicians I enjoy listening to
Rogers and Hammerstein
Ella Fitzgerald (Her American Songbook recordings especially)
Helen Forest (A 40’s big-band jazz singer)
Blind Lemmon Jefferson (A 20’s blues singer)
Liz Carrol (A virtuosic Celtic violinist)
I’d like to explain that the above music is my favorite music, but there’s a lot of music I like and am interested in. In fact, I have a pretty encyclopedic knowledge of American popular music. For example, you might be surprised to know that I’m records knowledgeable about the early history of rap-- Def Jam Records, Run DMC, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Bad Boby Records, Puff Dady, Notorious BIG, Death-Row Records, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, 2pace. For another example, I’m also familiar with the mainstream rock bands of the 1970’s--the Rolling Stones, Led Zepplin, and Pink Floyd—and the punk rock bands of the 1970’s—the Velvet Underground, Stooges, New York Dolls, and Ramones. For a final example, I’m familiar with early 1930’s country artists like The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. Also, the list of classical music pieces is about 1% of my collection, and I’m starting to get into a lot of folk music—for example, Czech, Cuban, and Indian. My general attitude toward art (as well as politics in fact) is to be open-minded, respectful, and thoughtful, so I’m sure I can find some find common ground and a way to share the car radio with you.
THINGS I FIND FUNNY
I think a sense of humor is extremely valuable for a happy life. One cluster of types of humor I like are childlike, cerebral, and/or positive humor. Some examples of this genre: Calvin and Hobbes, The Daily Show, The Sound of Music, Bringing Up Baby, Much Ado About Nothing, and Henry IV, Part 1. I also like dark humor that arises from, gives vent to, and laughs at one's personal frustration and concern for the well-being of the world. Perhaps the best example of this type of humor is Dr. Strangelove.
The place I want to visit most in the world is Salzburg, Austria during the its annual summer classical music festival. Nestled under the Alps, I think that that classical musical festival is one of the finest in the world, and it's definitely set in a historic city with masterful baroque architecture. I'd love be to climb those mountains or explore the ancient city by day and listen to that music by night.
I should also say that I love the outdoors. Although I've lived In New York City from middle school through college, I was able to take many trips with my parents to the national parks of the West, and do quite a bit of hiking. My favorite natural place is Resurrection Bay, by Kenaj Fjords National Park. That bay is a magnificent glacier-carved artifact, still fed by glaciers running from the largest ice field wholly in the United States. It's surrounded by snow-capped mountains and lined by forests of ever greens. In the summer, it receives 20 hours of sunlight per day and is home to an incredible diversity of animals--whales, otters, eagles, and too many others to list. The most strenuous hike I've done is from the Southern rim of the Grand Canyon to the bottom and back in one day (My dad an I hiked it after my college graduation via the Bright Angel and South Kebab trails). Now that I'm living in California, I'm trying and (having some success!) getting out to the wilderness on a monthly as opposed to a yearly basis =)
As I mentioned in my discussion of musical tastes, my attitude toward a lot of life is to be open-minded, respectful, and thoughtful. Therefore, I don’t support politicians because they’re Democrat or Republican but beacause I’ve thought and read about their positions (and sometimes read articles in journals of Economics or wonky economists’ blogs or analyzed the relevant data myself) and I agree with them. I will take action to support a policy I passionately support. Recently, I've campaigned for the Democrats on a few issues, especially for healthcare reform. In 2009-10, I probably called about a hundred-fifty voters to urge them to take action to support healthcare reform. I think that the US has a terrific governmental system, that I'm fortunate to live in it, and that I have a responsibility to keep up a decent level of engagement in it.
Currently, I have loads of intellectual challenge from my schoolwork and lab-related work. For the opportunity to provide service to others, I have a fair amount of practice work with patients per week, and I'm also involved with a community service group here at Stanford that teaches art to high school students. For fun, I'm mostly hanging out with friends near where I live; however, I've also gone hiking and camping quite a bit on the weekends. For appreciation of art and beauty, I listen to music and read poetry on the weekends, and sometimes make trips to SF for cultural events or go to events here on the Stanford Campus. For friends and family, I'm in weekly contact with my mom in New York, and in frequent contact with my friends--from my elementary friends in China, with whom I communicate by e-mail, to my high-school friends, to my college friends.
I think the most important things in a friend or romantic partner is the ability to be the non-judgmental and supportive, so you should value these qualities!
Besides kindness, I find smartness and a sense of humor captivating!
In other words, I agree with http://waitbutwhy.com/2014/02/pick-life-partner-part-2.html. In a romantic partner, I’m looking for someone who’s a good listener and makes me feel at home; who’s fun to talk to, even on a mundane errand like a run to the grocery store; and who’s committed to making the relationship work.