Alfred is a Resilient Leadership™ Mentor amongst our Resilient Leadership™ Community.
In this story Alfred shares his journey to discover his resilience, especially the many kindnesses that others showed him along the way.
Photo by Rob Campbell.
Life is a journey.
My life journey is my resilience journey. And it is my Christian journey.
I was graced with many gifts, talents as well as challenges through out my life journey. Health challenges of pituitary abnormality, back injury, diabetes and cancer have not obliterated the use of my photographic memory, ease of learning and high IQ to live a full life pursuing my passions and ambitions with my mission firmly planted on my Core Values based on Christian principles. I fully embrace what I believe in, being authentic.
Exposed to a mixed cultural background growing up in the hustle bustle of the cosmopolitan city of Hong Kong in the 1950’s and 60’s gave me a broad insight into various religions, cultural practices and superstitions. This has given me a deep appreciation of the nature of human living history. It has helped me greatly in clarifying what my Core Values are and what I stand for.
Life in my childhood years was generally happy but I had to deal with issues of mocking and ridicules due to my extreme overweight. I was unable to participate in a lot of activities due to my size. Family was generally supportive. My father was particularly resourceful to see that I had as much a normal childhood life as possible.
All my schooling was in a Christian based environment, transitioning from the school attached to my local church to an Anglican school founded in 1851 where teaching was conducted wholly in English except for Chinese language and literature. The school environment was generally positive but I could not escape from being socially excluded on many occasions. I had to learn to stand strong for myself from an early age.
Unable to secure a scholarship to pursue my tertiary study in the USA caused me to spiral into a depressive state of mind, losing hope and future. My beloved father once again provided a lifeline by securing assistance from The Royal British Legion for me to come to Australia to complete my tertiary education. He was associated with the British Army all his life from his employment to his long term commitment to the Royal Hong Kong Regiment.
I became an Australian citizen in 1975. I secured permanent employment immediately after my graduation and was granted permanent residency soon after. Returning to Hong Kong for the first time five years since leaving for my tertiary education, I saw the place I grew up in from a different perspective, looking it from the outside in rather than inside out. I could understand a lot more about myself, where I came from and what are important to me . I was able to re-confirm my authentic identity and Core Values which was a significant milestone in my life.
Through complicated circumstances, I ended up having to care for my mother in Australia for the last 15 years of her life until she passed away in 2005. I had not lived with my mother for more than 20 years until she arrived at our doorsteps. It was a difficult time for all my family. My children were growing up in their teenage years. My wife is an Australian .My mother rejected our mixed marriage from day one. Mum had little English and no one except I could speak Cantonese albeit with much difficulty as I had not use the language for more than 20 years except on limited social occasions with a few Chinese friends and my sister’s family who had migrated to Perth in 1984. We had to establish a new home with a built-in granny flat to accommodate Mum. Navigating between her demanding requirements for the granny flat and being practical was indeed a challenging exercise to say the least.
My pituitary abnormality subsided in my mid 20’s. However, the decease has left long lasting effects to me for the rest of my life. Added to extreme stress with my work and my home life, I eventually succumbed to diabetes and cancer in early 1990’s. I have learnt to live with diabetes and managed it well to date. Fortunately, I was considered cured from my cancer after being monitored for 13 years. All these times I have to strongly focus on what are important to me and be authentic to my Core Values.
Kindness has been around me, and shown to me many, many times in my life. I call these lovely folks the angels of my life that come with grace and kindness. Some just have a brief presence during a particular circumstance or event whilst others stay around for some time, walking alongside me throughout my resilience journey, even continuing for now. Dear friends and lovely Christian couple that not only live out their Christian values but show unfathomed love and kindness to me and my family for forty odd years and continuing. A real estate agent that provided over and beyond her professional services to get us through our complicated housing downsize process and then quietly moved on, and many others. Wendy Campbell is yet another such person that has influenced and supported me since we met in 2006. Seemingly met by chance, I know more clearly everyday that we are actually building a strong future together, with other mentors, to foster a Resilient Community that will leave a bright and worthwhile legacy for years to come.
I hope that the brief journal of my resilience journey will give you glimpses of kindness that you might have experienced or can relate to. I will be privileged if you would allow me to walk along you, even just a while, on your resilience journey.
Here is a short video about my Core Values, which keep my resilience strong: