My Best Friends

By Gordon HammondMay 2022

          I recently wrote about my Uncle Joe. He was my best friend when I was 10 years old. My next best friend was my roommate at Philips Andover Academy, Billy Ming-Sing Lee. He had recently arrived from China. He needed help with the English language and some other local puzzles. The school closed for the holidays. My family in Hampton, NH invited Billy for Christmas. He enjoyed the visit and playing with my sisters. I showed him how to play hockey and he showed me some soccer tricks. He now lives in California as a retired architect. We use e-mail to keep in touch frequently. I just now sent this article to him for his website: <>.

          My next best friend was Leon Henley, a cotton farmer from North Texas, also known as  ‘Tex.’  He was in my squad in the 180th Regiment of the 45th Infantry Division. We were together from training in Louisiana to Korea. If we didn’t like an order, one of us volunteered to cover the job. Tex had a family and he was drafted into the Army. He hated military life, but I was a volunteer so I couldn’t gripe. Many years after Korean War, marriage, and work at the Laboratory, Polly and I and the kids took a long auto vacation trip around  the U.S.  On the return to home, we passed Tex’s ranch in Childress, Texas. My son Bruce wanted to drive the tractor. Tex said OK.  Bruce drove through Mrs. Henley’s flower garden. We took everybody out for pizza that night.

          Golf had been my exercise until my lumbar discs disintegrated. Now I work out at the YMCA. When Dede and I moved to Florida, I joined a senior golf association that played weekly tournaments around Central Florida. I was frequently paired with Henry Heufner, a snowbird from Cleveland, Ohio. We became good friends and Dede did with Marion, his wife. Henry was a wealthy, retired business man, with an airplane, a yacht, and a condo in Pinellas County. In the Summer time, we liked to meet and play golf in North Carolina. Our favorite area was Pinehurst and Southern Pines. A favorite golf course was the Pit. This was the course that had an island green and I fell in the lake, raking the sand trap walking backwards. Henry laughed so hard all he could do was fish my hat out of the lake with his putter. When we got to the 18th green, I bent over to get my ball out of the hole and my soaked shorts fell down and I mooned the people who watched from the club house. Alzheimer got Henry at an early age.

          At an Episcopal golf outing, we met in the club house for dinner. The men around a table introduced themselves. I said I was an astronomer. Another man said he writes for the Tampa Bay Times. He asked me if I would do an interview with him. Later he called and I said OK. The Times sent a photographer, and I chatted with Dr. Prof. Edward Cifelli. The interview centered on our golf games and we played Scotland Yards several times. Now we go to breakfast every 2nd Friday, we celebrate each birthday, and our wives are good friends. He is my best friend. And I must include Dede as my best friend, also. She takes notes of my phone calls and she takes care of all our meals at home, and she lets me pay the bills. I love her.


Gordon. indeed, is one of my best friends as well. He was the one who helped me without my asking. He helped me adapt myself to the new environment when I came to the U.S, to study at Phillips Academy Andover. He was like a BIG BROTHER to me – very caring with a unique sense of Humor. Thanks, Gordon, for your friendship and for supporting my Friendshipology Initiative !



By Billy Lee – May 2022

Monday May 16, I attended The CCIS 67th Annual Meeting at Stanford University’s Bechtel International Center.  The main attraction was A Panel of 4 Speakers from 4 Countries – Stanford’s foreign students from Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, and Georgia.

I arrived early and sat next to a fellow wearing a tag with a clearly printed one word, ED.  We chatted briefly. I learned that he is a CCIS Volunteer who has been teaching English to Stanford International Graduate Students – 15 students once a week.  I also shared with him my volunteering at CCIS’ English in Action program where I had a Japanese Partner from Kyoto, etc.. It was quite a surprise to me to discover later that he was an invited speaker to speak just before the main Panel.

After his talk, I all of a sudden realized how important it was in Setting the Stage. According to ED, he simply told funny stories to enliven the meeting.  Photos below from Lydia Moret show the atmosphere we have at most CSIS meetings. Indeed, the usual CCIS Spirit is one of Goodwill, Caring. Engaging, and Sharing of Joy and Hope.

ED, whose full name is Edward Loizeaux, has special skills to teach the rest of us who believe in Promoting International and Cross-cultural Friendship. Ed is a retired management consultant specializing in the evaluation and implementation of company-wide computer systems, such as MRP, for mid-sized manufacturing firms worldwide.  His clients ranged from Brazil to Singapore to Philadelphia to San Francisco and all points in-between.  His travels to numerous foreign countries inspired his current volunteer activities at Stanford University teaching English to international graduate students. 

I have serious hearing difficulty and cannot catch much of what people say to me, but I try hard to catch a few key words when possible, and make special efforts to watch what is going on and how things are delivered and received.  Unfortunately, of ED’s 3 Funny Stories, I caught the essence of only two, but they are so uniquely international and effective for the occasion. I like to share them with you even though I wish you could have heard this directly from ED himself. One was about an Asian Scientist being introduced by a jovial American colleague: “A Jolly good friend and a Bachelor”. Pounding on a table near by, Ed showed the Asian Scientist very upset and said “ Dear Friends, I am a PhD !

The second one was about the Finns from Finland. They are normally “Introverts” and tend to talk to another person with their faces turned downwards and eyes focusing on their own shoes. When asked if the Finns ever become “Extroverts”? The answer is “ Ofcourse ! When his or her eyes focus on the other guy’s shoes. “

ED has his own charming way of engaging his audience. Note how he bent forward to engage Giorgi Abaiadze from Georgia as he also captured full attention from the entire audience.

So impressed by Mr. Ed Loizeaux, I asked for his email address and wrote to him to invite him to lunch and perhaps also to write something for my Friendshipology website : <>.  He graciously rejected because he had to take care of his wife who is not well. Instead, he offered some ideas for Friendshipology to pounder. Please see below :


— how to do it —

1.  Do you really want a new true friend?  Or, do you prefer a fast and efficient transaction?  Making a new friend will take some time.  Time is the most valuable thing most of us have and should be spent carefully.  Knowing what you want is the first step.

2.  Perhaps the easiest way to make a new true friend is to find a common interest.  Use that interest, whatever it may be, to begin a conversation.  Use this discussion to test the likelihood of mutual interest.

3.  Listen very carefully and thoughtfully.  Place yourself in his (or her) shoes and reply from that perspective.  Your ideas will eventually work their way into the relationship.  There is no need to be first.

4.  Do not offer an opinion unless one is requested.  No friend likes being told what they should believe.  Listen and be accepting of new ideas even though they may seem strange.  Giving advice can come later. 

5.  Extend an invitation for a future friendly conversation.  If it is accepted, you will have planted the seed for a meaningful new friendship.  It will need water and fertilizer, but it will grow with time.

6.  Keeping in touch over time and distance is usually necessary to sustain a new friendship.  Try hard to prevent long periods without contact.  The best friendships are often those which have lasted a very long time.

by Edward Loizeaux ( CCIS volunteer )


Meaning of Yi (義) by John KC Liu– May 2022                                

A while ago Billy asked me to write about Yi (義) and Yi Chi (義氣).  I said I would try, and this assignment has been on my mind. Apologies for taking a long time to respond. Let me put down what comes to mind even though a lot of its deeper meanings are above my level.

Let me start with an everyday example of a voluntary act of reaching out to another person.  In this case, a passerby saw that I was looking for something and she stopped to ask me what I was looking for. I had accidentally dropped my glasses and she must have thought that I was helpless without my glasses. Without any hesitation, she started looking around trying to cover all possible locations where I might have dropped them.  After about fifteen minutes she was not successful and said sorry to me and went on her way. But just a minute or two later she came back and said that there was one more possible place she had not checked and she was going to look again. Well, this time she came back with a big smile holding my glasses. Before I could say ‘thank you’ and ask her name, she just waved and disappeared into the crowd. The whole episode happened in a natural and matter-of-fact way, without any fuzz or anxiety. The way she handled the situation had a sense of simplicity and beauty.

I would consider this as a kind of impersonal but universal act of Yi. It’s impersonal since we are strangers to each other, but it’s universal because it happens everyday, everywhere, all the time. Each of us are in touch with thousands of such examples of selfless giving and mutual help. In the U.S. during the sixties when I was in college, there was a popular saying “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty”. In ancient China, Confucius teachings assigned the concept Yi to this fundamental human impulse towards others as duty to do the right thing. Not to do the wrong thing, or not to harm others, is part of this human impulse.  Of course another important Confucian concept of Ren (仁), meaning kindness and benevolence, is closely related to Yi. So Ren and Yi are one of the basic building blocks of humans as social beings.

On another level, among colleagues, family, and friends, the practice of Yi takes on additional meanings beyond just doing a kind deed. There is a sense of honor, loyalty and commitment that comes with belonging. By being a member of a family, a group, an association, or even a political party, one has the duty and the responsibility to serve the needs of that group, most often unconditionally. In Chinese we refer to a volunteer as Yi Gong (義工), an YI worker. Here I think the term YI Chi (義氣) is most often applied.  An example in the work place is when a colleague is overworked and is facing a deadline. You decide to help finish the task at hand, foregoing, perhaps a family dinner. Chi is inner energy, so Yi Chi is the act of honoring a commitment to an organization or to those that you have an affiliation with. 

Likewise with an old friend, in this case when I recently asked Billy to support a project of mine, Billy committed his support without any hesitation.  An important part of this Yi Chi is mutual trust. Trust requires cultivation, but interestingly it needs not necessarily be physically close; trust may grow across space and time. For example last year I got in touch with my grade school classmates after more than sixty years. It was quite a reunion and after they heard about my project, my desk mate in fifth grade just volunteered to help me promote it. Another facet of the practice of Yi Chi is that it is not tied to the notion of fair exchange. One does not practice Yi expecting something in return, nor does one calculate the costs and benefits of the act. The act itself has its own intrinsic value independent of return and rewards. 

At an even larger scale of the community and the nation, Yi is often practiced by pledging to work together on selected social causes. An example is our Building and Planning Research Foundation at the National Taiwan University.  When we started, we had committed ourselves to applying our professional planning and design skills to solving social problems such as public housing for the needy, rural community development, and infrastructure planning for native communities. Many of our team members have pledged their professional lives to working for social justice. Such social commitment have earned us trust from the communities we serve, and likewise we have developed trust in them to do the best they can to better themselves. The operating human value at work here is the mutual practice of Yi between the professional and the local community.  Of course, examples abound and each of us can think of many examples at this scale.

At an even larger scale, addressing the whole of a culture in a particular place and time, we also find forms of associations based on Yi, such as political parties formed to promote specific social goals, and various civic and philanthropic associations engaged in achieving certain social values. An historical example in ancient China is the well known story called “ Oath of brotherhood in the Peach Garden” (桃园三结义) which appears at the beginning of the novel Romance of Three Kingdoms (三国演).  Here the term Yi , referring to duty, loyalty, honor, allegiance , is at the center of the story in forming political and military alliances to achieve perceived social goals. In more recent history, the republican revolution led by Dr. Sun Yat Sen was very much a voluntary movement based on shared ideals of a just and modern society. Here Yi takes on a more direct and radical commitment of both soul and body. My grandfather was a member of the revolutionary league the Tong Meng Hui (同盟会), though he was not one of the famous 72 martyrs who gave their lives to the revolution.  During WWII, in the fight against Japanese aggression of China, many Taiwanese volunteers joined the fight on Mainland China. General Li You-bang (李友邦) led a Taiwan voluntary army (台湾義勇军) to fight along side with the Chinese army against the Japanese. So at the national level, the practice of Yi  is an essential motivating force to seek a better world.

At these different scales, Yi plays a critical role in connecting a person to others, a person to a community, and a person to a larger cause.  For me, among these and many other ways of practicing Yi, there is a very important element of “empathy” that seems to be always present. Empathy, I think, is a capacity to step outside oneself and to see the world from another’s point of view. Likewise, it is also a communicative tool to motivate different peoples to see each other and to respect the culture and values of others. At the very base of being humans, we have the obligation, the Yi, to respect and love each other. Here, I think Mo-tsu (墨子) a century after Confucius and one of the key ancient sages, gave Yi a adjunctive meaning  in his “universal love, practice no harm” (兼爱无攻) dictum, which I think is very much in need during these turbulent times of 2022.

OLD FRIENDS:  Lucille Lee, Shirley Liu, John Liu and Billy Lee


A Friend Offered Me Five Rules in Trying to Convince or Persuade A Reluctant Listener.

The following Rules apply across all cultures .   OBT, James

Rule 1: Never directly challenge any statement made by the person you are trying to convince, educate, or opinion change. Such challenges set up mental defense mechanisms. Phrases such as “I hear you.” rather than “You are full of it.” tend to work better at getting people to eventually and actively listen to the truth. (Always remember that hearing is not listening; listening is not comprehending; seeing is not examining; touching is not feeling; tasting is not appreciating; learning is not understanding…and so forth.  Whether you are talking with an unruly child or a reluctant adult, it is useless to ask, “Are you listening to me?”  Of course they are listening…especially if you are shouting.  What they are not doing is comprehending or even trying to comprehend. Huge difference.

Rule 2:  Listen to what the person is saying, then ask questions seeking clarification.    You will acquire a long list of inconsistencies, holes, logically flawed beliefs. These

you will use later, either in the initial conversation or, if possible, in later conversations.

Rule 3:  Find out, beforehand if possible, what sources of information the person believes are reliable. Also, what sources of information the person believes are infallible (if any).  If you know what sources the person believes, then study those prior to the conversation.  If you do not, but rather discover what those sources are during the conversation, then ask to postpone further discussion until you have read the person’s trusted sources. This has several good effects, such as showing respect for the person’s opinions and sources (NOTE: “respect”, not “agreement”). More importantly, such knowledge will provide you with the keys to that person’s mental stockade.

Rule 4.  Having accomplished 1 through 3 above…Use the person’s own statements and sources against them in a casual, friendly manner. This frequently opens a slight crack in the mental armor that allows you access to the person’s shielded brain.  Once you have access, then you can gently insinuate simple, non-threatening thoughts and ideas that do not directly attack the person’s beliefs, but which rather causes that person to internally begin to question their beliefs.

Rule 5.  Don’t expect to convert anyone instantly…not during the first discussion nor any subsequent discussions with that person. Conversion of a fixed, inflexible mind must come from inside that mind. You must plant a seed inside that mind and water it, feed it, and let it grow all by itself.  Conversion takes time and patience.

Same Friend Offered Me A Beautiful Essay On “BE”

“BE” by James Luce

Life is a unidirectional path with lots of curves and bumps

Life is crowded road where you will encounter a lot of grumps

Yet it’s amazing what can happen when you say “Can I assist ?”

Holding out a helping hand is always better than an angry fist

Don’t be the Grinch, rather strive to be one of those Forrest Gumps

Be the kind of person that you’d want everyone to be

Be the kind of person who puts “Others” ahead of “Me”

Be the kind of person who is held in great respect

Be the kind of person who does not ignore or neglect

Be the kind of person who bounces babies on their knee

Be the kind of person who helps out another in a bind

Be the kind of person who’s of a gentle state of mind

Be the kind of person who lends his eyes to the blind

Be most of all and forever be a person who is kind.