Was That Me?



Today I was back at the Government House to be part of the Australia Day celebrations. I very much looked forward to attending the event, partly because the invitation came for no obvious reasons — something completely out of the blue, yet something mysterious and exciting, something unknown. Why would the Governor of Victoria want me there — again? Surely once is enough? It turned out to be a nice big party, where approximately four hundred people endured stifling summer heat in the Great Hall until the Governor and Deputy Premier concluded their speeches and released us out to the gardens. People were drinking water, juice, champagne and wine, wildly, like desert camels finally entering an oasis. That is the Aussie Way.

Having returned home in the late evening, I checked my email and found a reader’s comment on some writing I did a long time ago. Specifically, it was an attempt to translate the Introduction to Stephen King’s The Green Mile (1996), which I did back in March 2012. I used to run a blog in Chinese, to introduce bits and pieces of information about this great author to readers in the Chinese World. When The Green Mile was published in Taiwan in 2007, the publisher somehow neglected to include the author’s Introduction, Foreword and Afterword in the Traditional Chinese edition. Therefore, I did my own translation and published them on my blog as three separate posts.

Life has been so busy since June 2012 (when I started my Chinese ebook publishing business) that I completely forgot about these posts. Indeed, I have not written anything for or about my Stephen King blog since July 2013 — until now. While it is nice to be reminded of the hard work I did, what really caught me off guard while re-reading my old blog is how different I was as a writer and translator. Or, if I may say so, how good I was.

Was that really me? Did I really write and/or translate that? It looks amazing!

I am a more experienced writer and translator now. Gazing at my old Self, however, I realise how rarely we turn back and truly look at our own achievements with a critical eye. We are always looking forward, establishing new goals (and new goal posts), starting new projects, envisioning a future that is bigger, brighter and better. We always want to improve ourselves, but we seldom pause for a second to examine the footprints we left behind. “Hey, I was good!”

Accepting we were good is the reason why we are better now and will be achieving our best in the future. It is like looking at our baby photo — how that little person evolved to become us today is something mysterious and even sacred. This is something only we can see, a rainbow that only shines for our eyes, a secret we would and could only share with ourselves. “Shhhh… Don’t tell anyone, but do you know who that brilliant person was back there? That was me!”


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