Gordon Lau: Journey of a Student Philosopher
Gordon Lau recently graduated from NYU with a degree in philosophy. Compared to a student philosopher, I find Gordon much easier to relate to as an athlete, a musician, a master-level scuba diver.
At age five, I took Gordon skating for the first time. He furiously got up after after each fall and didn't want to leave for hours. At age ten, he won a Ping Pong Tournament in Hong Kong, played Rugby for the Hong Kong National Junior Team against some of the most competitive leagues in the world. He's a skateboarder who self started several skate camps to help others learn.
Gordon and his family moved to Toronto when he was three. He didn't speak any English and was enrolled in a Montessori School. Just before middle school, his family moved back to Hong Kong, when Gordon experienced reverse cultural shock. He then enrolled in the brutally competitive Hong Kong International School (HKIS) through high school.
I have known Gordon since he was born and we've stayed very close regardless of the distance between our families. Our moms are very good friends and Gordon spent a few summers with my family in Beijing and in Boston. Through the years, I was surprised to witness Gordon's transformation from a kid to an intelligent young man.
What will you get out of this interview?
Beyond my own reflections for Gordon's upbringing and recent development, his story isn't unusual for millennials today. Many children grow up in multiple continents as a result of their parents jobs, choice of immigration. I find it intriguing and often educational to connect with people like them. They have all faced and overcome fears and struggles at an early age.
When you have to move around constantly as a kid, the lost of friendship and familiarity of the life you once had can be difficult to manage. People who experience these transitions early in life are often more calm and resourceful as they get older.
Feisworld Podcast has tapped into an interesting theme about change, because all of us go through changes frequently. Very few of them are unnoticeable. Many are uncomfortable and intimidating, or even scary at times. We are not alone in this most human experience. Hearing other people's stories on Feisworld has painted a vivid picture for me to understand just that.
What was it like to study in a Montessori school?
How would you describe your experience of confidence?
How do you find a passion that will allow you to continue to grow?
How do your scuba diving and your philosophy interests intersect?
What are the books that have had the most impact on you?
What are the current news channels you’re following?
Who are the philosophers that you find most inspiring, living or dead?
If someone wanted to get into philosophy, what are some of the books or resources they could start with?
What is your view on how to live a meaningful life?
Who is successful in your eyes?
What's your take on nutrition, fitness?
Friedrich Nietzsche (philosopher)
Michel Foucault (philosopher)
Arthur Schopenhauer (philosopher)
I am just going to express my instinct right now, which is that I’m attracted towards products or services, or things that people do, that are not without a blemish. I kind of like vulnerability.
I got introduced to underwater world through scuba diving and the philosophical part of me was just kind of angry, actually, that we know so god damn little about this ocean that’s on our planet, and we’re trying to send people to Mars.
I was in psychology class and I was just unsatisfied. Everything the professor said, I was like, there’s this bigger context to it than what you’re providing. And not to be snobby or anything but it seemed like I was missing out on what psychology was trying to get at. Things branch out of philosophy, but when these branches try to reference the trunk that it came from, it’s almost as if the limb is floating, detached from the trunk. Because they really don’t want to admit that it came from it.
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