Excerpts from self-portrait

1. Life is shallow. I should get plastic surgery.

2. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been shy. Not that this applies to all Asians, but I was one of those “quiet Chinese kids” who sat silently in the back of class doing math. This is probably a culture thing that Asians need to work on, as being shy sucks. A lot.

3. Elementary school is a hostile environment for a dorky-looking kid. It also doesn’t help if you are short, quiet, and have an easy-to-pun-and-rhyme last name.

I remember being nine and sitting in math class with all the kids giggling, saying I had Chu germs and touching each other to pass the germs from one person to another because, “It’s Michael Chu,” and why would anyone ever want to be infected with Chu bacteria.

That was not very happy.

4. Junior high school sucks if your name is Michael Chu and you meet a Korean kid.

“Haha, if you say your name quickly, it sounds like ‘My gochu,’ and gochu is Korean for penis”.

This did not help with any self-esteem issues I had/still have.

5. High school and college are fine if you are a dorky-looking kid named Michael Chu.

I was/am not made fun as often. That may be because people are more mature or I went to really nerdy schools. That, or I just learned to accept my name and be happy with its plenty of jokes. It’s probably the latter.

6. Happiness is relative.

I am really happy to be involved in writing at RPI, because a lot of students at this school don’t care about reading and writing (see: my past “Editorial Notebooks”). Writing has helped build my confidence and communication skills. And I am really happy and grateful to have friends on the publications who call me Michael Chu and like me for who I am.

7. I know that this is the wrong publication or whatever, but I think I’ll take this moment to do some shameless advertisement.

I am currently the Selections Editor of Statler & Waldorf, RPI’s glossy, ampersand-ridden publication. The Selections section is used to print submissions (from students, professors, people around Troy, etc.). If you have creative writing or pictures/drawings you’d like to share with the campus, I’d gladly publish them, because there is so much to write and there are so many stories waiting to be told.

8. This is here just to make my other Editor in Chief happy: You should stop by the Poly office and do some copy-reading (proofreading) for The Poly.

9. I think about RPI publications too much.

I am currently writing this notebook in DiffEq. This is bad, as I have a test on Friday and am not following along (then again, who does? I kid, I kid). In fact, the last three items have derailed from the initial subject of this piece—my name.

10. People refer to me by either my whole name or just my last name. It is never “Michael.” The reasons I have gotten for this include: 1) The name Michael is all too common, 2) Michael Chu flows off the tongue, and 3) Chu is a fun last name. All are valid.

11. Michael Chu is a fairly common name. In fact, it is so common that there is currently another Michael Chu at RPI. I am chum4. He is chum2. The other day, I was talking with someone who has been around the Institute for a while and refers to me as “the new Michael Chu.”

“You call me by my full name. You catch on pretty quickly.”

“It’s the same for the other Michael Chu.”

If you are reading this, chum2, we should totally meet up and talk. I hear you are a legend, and, apparently, I have a lot to live up to.

12. I like my name. It has made me who I am/will always be: a Chinese, dorky, growing-self-esteem, good-sense-of-humor, loves-writing, scatter-brained, still-shy-but-still-working-on-it Chu.