What do you think success means?
The definition of success depends on the individual. I grew up in a society where people thought getting married, having kids, and having a good paying job defined success. I realized how narrow that definition was. For me, I think finding a balance is the definition of success. I work, I exercise, I read, I cook, I listen to music, I wander, I create, I make friends, I help people… everything that I do has to have a balance. When I feel the balance, I enjoy my life. I think that is the greatest success in my life.
How do you think finding/creating success today differs from 10/20+ years ago?
As I said, society (either western or eastern) generally has a narrow definition of success. A lot of people grew up with that mindset. There’s nothing wrong with it. But it is also not a universal standard that applies to everyone.
Describe your relationship with your work
I work as a musician, and an artist. I have a kind of love-hate relationship with it. It’s frustrating to get work, and it requires so much attention to detail, patience, endurance, and perseverance. But the satisfaction of it cannot be described. My work is based on the communication between me and the audience through music and arts. It feels amazing when people understand.
What, for you, is the significance of creating?
The superpower of time control. In reality, we have no control of time. It is linear, and cannot be stopped or stretched. Every single living creature shares the same sense of time. My 5 seconds is equal to your 5 seconds. This is reality. But in creative art forms, we are able to control it. For example, still photographers can stop time at one moment. Filmmakers can shrink 3 days into 1 and half hours. Musicians can divide time and transform it into a universal language. It is amazing power we own when we create.
What are you passionate about?
Arts and human beings in general. Having said that, I also like food and tennis.
What do you value?
Myself the most. Only to the extent that I’m able to help others.
What are your expectations for yourself? Do you meet them?
I always try to be a better person, have greater ability to help more people, and bring more joy to the world. I don’t know if I have met these goals yet but I am certainly working on it.
How do you see yourself? How does this compare to how you would like to be seen?
I see myself as a woman full of curiosity and conflicts. I’m not sure how other people see me but I assume my friends see me more as a simply happy girl who likes arts. They are right to an extent but that is just one part of me.
Are you who you want to be? Who is that person?
I am who I want to be. I want to be me. Of course I have some role models who I look up to. But I know there’s only one form I can be, that is Chung Ling, myself. I can’t live other people’s lives. I can only live my own life in the way I want it to be. I like to be myself. It makes me honest to face my feelings and fears. It makes me vulnerable and strong at the same time. I think that is called growing up.
What about yourself/your life are you most proud of?
I’m proud of being curious. I enjoy learning and I always stay curious.
What words of wisdom do you live by?
You learn by doing.
If you could change something about society, what would it be?
No rape please. It is the worst crime.
What do you think it means to be kind to yourself?
I used to be very harsh on myself especially when I was performing on stage. I would be sad for playing a wrong note, and then I would carry on those feelings to the next performance. It was highly unhealthy and stressful. I finally learned how to let those feelings go but it was not easy at the first. Now I still have to remind myself I am just a human being. It is absolutely ok to make mistakes.
If there was anything in your life you could re-do what would it be? Why?
I don’t regret what I’ve decided in life. If there were anything I could re-do, I would read more and write more. Reading and writing are just like working out. If I stop for a while, it takes longer and much more effort to get back in shape.
Do you think it is more important to try and make an impact in the world at large, or in your own world? Why?
Not necessarily. Being a strong person has a certain impact on the world. If I had greater power, I would love to make an impact on the world. But being strong and kind is the first step. I don’t see one as important than the other. I think both are connected. Working on something greater may help you become a better person, but it works the other way as well.
What do you consider your flaws? How have the hindered or helped you?
I have too many. But instead of considering them as flaws, I like to think them as my personal projects to work on. For instance, I’m not a person who has perseverance. I lose interest quickly. So I set up a project to work on my social media skills. I force myself to post something everyday even when I’m not inspired to do so.