I am a Failed Nepotism Baby

Hopefully by the time you’re reading this, you’ll have seen the video where I shared my biggest secret.

I am a nepotism baby. Specifically, I am a failed nepotism baby.

In Hong Kong, my family are well known and well-respected right leaning philanthropists with connections in politics and the entertainment industry. And in my early 20s, I turned down my family’s offer to give me a recording/TV/film contract on the condition that I de-transition to be their son again… Have I mentioned that they are also evangelical Christians who believe all queer people are sinners that will go to hell?

Before I share my story, I want to acknowledge the privilege I have because how many people have parents that can just offer them a recording deal off the backs of their connections even if it was motivated by their internalized transphobia? It’s only recently that I’ve found humor and lightness in my story through Jennifer Coolidge’s character in The White Lotus. Because with my family’s wealth and resources, Tanya McQuoid is probably who I would’ve grown into if I were cis and straight.

I have always been honest about my strategy for survival while living under a transphobic household: play the best hand you can with the cards you’ve been given. And truth be told, I have been given some very good cards.

I carry a lot of shame when it comes to this part of my story because I’ve always felt that if, or when, people find out, I will be canceled and abandoned with vitriol thrown my way. Like I was when I came out as trans to my family.

My inner critic loves telling me, “Boohoo at this rich girl complaining that mommy didn’t love her. Big deal that you turned down a contract, you still got handouts from your family, didn’t you? If you were good enough, you would’ve made it on your own. You don’t deserve sympathy; you don’t deserve anything. So many people are working two jobs and barely scraping by. You had all the resources in the world, and you couldn’t even make anything of yourself. You’re a joke.”

I hear versions of this in my head all day long.

In therapy, I learned that compassion isn’t a fixed pie where if I’m compassionate towards myself, it means other people have less. But more importantly, I’ve learned that everyone deserves help and while I am grateful to financially have a leg up, it doesn’t disqualify me from compassion, kindness or seeking professional help to process and unlearn the abuse and trauma I experienced.

So with that out of the way, this is me, my healing, my journey.

TW: mentions of abuse, trauma, suicide, queerphobia, classism, sexism, wealth and just general shittiness…

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“You know how your dad is always working in China for weeks?”

“Yes mom, I know dad is working very hard to provide us with the life we have.”

“Good…I’m telling you this because you’re old enough to know this. Your dad encounters a lot of temptations when he works up north. There are a lot of young and beautiful women throwing themselves at him. I’m doing what I can to keep this family together, but he can’t stand seeing his sons act like sissies. He wants to come home to see his sons strong, masculine, tough… I’m sure you don’t want to be the reason why your dad leaves us to start a new family in China right?”

“No, I don’t.”

“So will you make some changes so that doesn’t happen?”

“Yes.”

“Good. God has blessed us with so much because we’re a good Christian family. You have two parents who love each other, there’s food on the table and you get anything you want. You know how lucky you are? Only problematic, bad families will have kids that turn out abnormal. We are normal. That doesn’t happen to us…”

This was one of the core memories I had as a teenager during my mandated walks with my mom where she would not-so-subtly tell me what she thinks of my queerness.

I often disassociated during these conversations to slip into a fantasized better future. One where I’m on stage with thousands of people singing the words to my songs, receiving a platinum record for my number one billboard hit, being on a Late Night interview promoting a culture-gripping show I star in or, at the very least, playing an important, recurring supporting role.

If you knew me as a kid, you would think I was silly that this is what I fantasized about.

It’s not because the fantasy seemed impossible.

I grew up around my parents’ friends who were chart topping pop stars, box office breaking movie stars, and award winning actors. I called major media executives “Uncle” and “Aunty” at social gatherings who would comment that when I’m older, I could have a career molded in the image of the superstar Wong Lee Hom. A “good, educated, church going, piano playing gentlemen who writes romantic love songs that girls will swoon over…” (The irony of the recent allegations his wife made is not lost on me.)

No, you would think I’m silly because I don’t have any obvious talent for singing.

Back in grade 4, I overheard my mom’s phone call with the school’s esteemed choir teacher.

“Can’t you just let my son join? it would break his heart.”

“Well, he has a wide range and a big sound but during the audition, he was pitchy and couldn’t really hold a tune. I’m looking for kids that are good enough for national competitions. Disney just reached out to me to pick kids to record a song for their upcoming movie. There needs to be some standard…”

“Well, what if you put him in the very back? He can sit out during competitions or auditions for recordings. Maybe he just needs time to get better…maybe puberty will change his voice.”

I hear a sigh from the other end of the phone, “You know I’m a big fan of yours, from when you were performing, and you are such a great singer… I am surprised that’s all. Maybe if you give him pointers, do some scales…”

“Of course…”

I soon heard my mom hang up the phone and quickly ran back to my room.

I should’ve known this was coming. How stupid was I to audition?

Just a few weeks ago, she pulled the car aside after I sang at full volume to a hit song that was playing on the radio and gently said, “My dear, you have so much passion and you are so great at so many things…but maybe singing just isn’t one of them. And that’s ok! You are great at the piano!”

At the time, I nodded but really, I was confused. How could I love something that I was so “bad” at?

As a kid, I loved hearing my mom tell me how she got discovered.

Her older sister was participating in a singing competition and dragged her to join for moral support, and even though my mom was technically not allowed to enter because she was underage, she was so good that they created a special award category just for her. And one of the judges, who was a star vocal coach, saw her talent and offered to teach her for free. But as a teen, she was sent stateside for schooling and when she came back in her early 20s, she was discovered by a scout who then placed her on major TV appearances, films and pumped out records annually.

She’d often tell me, “I could’ve gone so much further. The only reason I didn’t have a bigger career is because when I starred in my first movie, the studio asked me to show my tits and when I refused, they went behind my back to hire a double. So, I sued them and got blacklisted! But that’s alright, I did the right thing… And also, by then I’ve met your dad. So I retired to have you guys.”

That was my mom. She was everything to me — beautiful, talented, charismatic and also, gatekeeper of all things moral. She was the biggest star in my eyes, and she succeeded at everything she did.

Yet she was also overbearing, a straight shooter who at times can be cruel with her words and it was often her way or the highway. Everyone and everything bent to her will and I was the most willing participant. I wanted to be near the glow of her stardom, even if it was just standing in her shadow.

Whenever I sang in the house, my mom loved to joke that I must have taken after my dad, because he too couldn’t hold a tune.

But I was undeterred. When I started asking for singing lessons, she’d entertain me and pay for a few lessons before stopping it abruptly.

She’d say that supporting me to learn singing was like throwing money into the sea.

Her counteroffer to coach me wasn’t a pleasant experience either, as her method of teaching involved her reading the news or being on the phone while I sang, critiquing where I was flat or out of breath before waving me off once her patience ran out.

And worst of all, my singing annoyed her.

After I stopped seeking her out to coach me, I turned to mimicking powerhouse female vocalists and practiced to their records in my bedroom at night after finishing homework, extracurricular activities my parents signed me up for and our bible study sessions.

One night my mom threw open the door and yelled, “SHUT UP WITH ALL THIS NOISE, IT’S 10PM, NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU PRACTICE, YOU’RE JUST NOT GOOD. SHUT UP.”

Then she pulled the CD out of the CD player and slammed it to the floor.

After she left, I picked up the CD and tried to wipe the scratch marks off with my shirt. I promised myself: I’ll prove her wrong one day, but until then, we’ll just sing as quietly as we can so this doesn’t happen again.

My dad, on the other hand, was not someone I could talk to about my creative ambitions. He wanted nothing more than to dissuade me from pursuing the arts. He wanted his kids to have a safe career in law, engineering, finance, or medicine. The arts were just too fickle.

As a kid, I would habitually sit outside my parent’s bedroom, pressing my ears on the door to overhear their conversation. This is where they’d retreat to, after my siblings and I did anything bad, to discuss our punishments. More often than not, when I came up in conversation my dad would comment, “It’s your fault that he’s acting like this. He needs lessons on math, chemistry, physics. Put him in basketball, Kung Fu classes, instead of all this music singing girly stuff. If he turns out abnormal, it’s your fault for encouraging it.”

And there it was, the problem of me being trans.

I didn’t know what trans was as a kid. I just knew I was different and because I didn’t have any queer people in my life, I felt like the only one in the world who was abnormal.

It didn’t help that one of the only queer people my mom knew personally, one of HK’s biggest popstars, had committed suicide due to depression. I saw how sad she was by the news. She’d often say that she didn’t understand why someone so talented, handsome, and famous — had everything one could want — would end their life. Her conclusion was because he was queer.

And so, I’d prayed every night to God to cure me. I had graphic nightmares where I pushed Jesus off a building’s ledge while he begged me to not kill him again and to turn towards the light. I’d wake up in cold sweats.

I later learned that this was my subconscious re-enactment of my parent’s most vitriolic shame-filled rant about how being queer is demonic and how this sin equates to crucifying Jesus repeatedly.

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As I entered my teen years, I started to spend time away from the family and more time in my room on my computer where I had my first foray into queerness watching Desperate Housewives.

Bree’s gay son was the first queer character I saw, and I was obsessed with his story line. I’d watch compilation edits of all his appearances on YouTube, which led me to binge watching promotional interviews from these actors, which led me to discovering Oprah.

Oprah was the mom I wish I had. I loved her warmth and felt like she was my first ally after watching her interview with Ellen. Every day, I’d scour YouTube for full length episodes and the first one I found was where she interviewed the authors of the “The Secret” on the “Law of Attraction”.

The belief that there is a loving universal force that cares about me and loves me resonated with my Christian upbringing minus the hate. It felt like a way forward to reconcile my spiritual side and my queerness.

Oprah’s take on spirituality made me feel less alone because it gave meaning to chaos.

How can we understand everything when we’re only shown the smallest corner of a big picture?

I knew that if I stayed in Hong Kong, I wouldn’t have a career without my parent’s blessings because they knew all the major players in the entertainment field. I would’ve been snuffed out before even releasing my first song and so leaving was my only option.

At 18, I believed the bigger picture was my eventual global success that would prove everyone back home, who thought me being trans would only lead to failure, wrong.

And I went gung-ho with the law of attraction. Every morning I’d write manifestations in my journals and meditate on them before school. I made detailed vision boards. I carried a gratitude rock with me wherever I went to remind me to practice gratitude. And it only invigorated me when all these habits brought positive changes to my life.

Right before I was sent to a conservative Christian university in the US, I wrote that I’ll find my community no matter where I went. And within a month, their underground queer group announced themselves publicly. I promptly reached out and found solace attending their weekly off campus meetings.

I wrote that I’ll be able to find a mentor and, by a stroke of fate, I scored an internship with GLAAD, the biggest LGBTQ media watchdog organization in the states, where my supervisor was the first trans person I met in an esteemed position who opened a lot of doors for me.

I wrote that I’ll attend my dream school and be able to transition. And within a year, I transferred to NYU and convinced my dad to buy the school’s insurance policy that covered 80% of transitioning fees *which I manifested he wouldn’t read over*. I rerouted all the medical bills to me so he’s none the wiser while I paid it off with the two jobs I worked at *which I also manifested*.

Once my dad paid off all my college tuition and sent additional rent payment as my graduation gift. I felt secure enough to post videos as Summer on YouTube during my last year at NYU. I was convinced that the “universe was conspiring in my favour” and that all my dreams were about to come true.

And because of my videos on YouTube, an acting agent approached me within 2 months of graduating to audition for a limited series that ABC greenlit. They were specifically casting for a trans woman from Hong Kong and it would be directed by an Academy Award nominated director.

This was my in.

I was certain this was the door that would open all doors. I double downed on my manifestation. I watched Oprah’s video on surrendering on repeat and often sang the church hymn “I surrender all”, like Oprah did right before she got casted in The Color Purple.

My casting tape made its way to the director, but the role ultimately went to a more experienced trans actress.

In my head, I saw this as a setback. But I was not deterred as I got glowing feedback from the casting director and the agent offered to work with me while I honed my craft.

I was convinced this meant better things were on the horizon.

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When my parents found out I used their money to help fund my transition, they cut me off financially. I was working multiple minimum wage jobs, living paycheck to paycheck but I didn’t mind. I was so certain of my success that I thought this would just give my story “depth”… until reality gave me a wakeup call.

During those years, I realized that despite my hardest efforts, I couldn’t really find my voice, nor did I have the success that my fellow NYU classmates found. I was pursuing music, taking classes, writing songs, putting music out and working the open mic circuit which landed me some sparsely attended gigs. At the same time, I was learning acting, going for auditions, but hearing no over and over again, a thought popped in my head. “Maybe I wasn’t destined for greatness.”

My close friends would gently remind me many times during those years that I sounded entitled because while it sucks to not get casted or have a packed show, it was never a guarantee.

And hearing that, I spiraled.

This rude awakening shook the foundation of what my early 20 yr old self believed. Success came easily to those that had “it”. And maybe, I didn’t have “it”.

My continuous string of failure and struggle was humbling. In my mid 20s, my older sibling encouraged me to move back home to Hong Kong. “Isn’t life hard out there on your own? Come back, we have hired help who’d cook and clean for us,” he’d say. And it was so tempting. An easy life where things would be handed…that sounded nice for a change.

Truth be told, I had a hard time standing on my own. I cut off contact with my parents for the first time after my visa expired in the states and I moved to the UK. After a few months, I felt ready to reach out. We met in Italy and I saw that my mom’s stance on me being trans had softened. She explained how she didn’t work so hard and earn this much money only for me to be a personal assistant or a food server. And a compromise was made.

She’d help me here and there financially on the condition that I didn’t talk about being trans and I agreed.

I was tired, lost, and burnt out. Her helping hand felt like manna from heaven.

But cracks were showing in this approach as her shame towards me as her trans daughter was apparent.

During the beginning of Covid, I was living in Australia on a working holiday visa and with all the uncertainty up in the air, I was ready to call it quits and move back to Hong Kong for the first time.

The plan was to stay at one of the family’s empty apartments during quarantine before going home.

But in the 12th hour, right before I was about to purchase my ticket home, I received a frantic call from my mom.

“Did you ask your aunt if you could stay at her place?’

“Yea, I did and she’s ok with it. Why?”

“You shouldn’t have asked. You are making things difficult for everyone. She called me just now to say she doesn’t feel comfortable with her neighbors seeing you, a t-slur, walk in and out of the building. She has a reputation to uphold, you know?”

“Mom, I’ll be quarantined indoors and then going home. The only time her neighbors will see me is when I arrive and leave.”

“Exactly! When you made your decision to transition, which we didn’t approve of, you know how we feel about this. You know your dad can’t bear seeing his son, looking like whatever you look like. He doesn’t want to see you day in and day out at his home…he’s old. His health can’t take it.”

“…Ok. So what are you suggesting?”

“You should enroll in a master’s program and stay in Australia. You’re already there anyways. And I’ll give you enough money for rent and food since you got laid off but don’t expect to depend on this. You’ll need to stand on your own after you graduate and keep your promise about not talking about being trans.”

“Of course…yes, I will.”

I hung up the phone feeling rejected but ultimately grateful for the money and privilege I had.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Around this time, I had a song, Masterpiece, that I wanted to put out and TikTok was on the rise. I didn’t have much to do outside of online classes and decided to start posting on the app.

I compiled a list of over 1000 TikTokers to reach out to and many of them were happy to promote my song for free and the ones who required payment kept it low as I was an independent musician.

While the promotion of the song did not result in the next “Old Town Road”, I was still grateful for the process because I made lifelong friends with some of the content creators I reached out to. Also, I was more accustomed to failure at that point and as a result, I was less harsh on myself.

One of the friends I made, a creator in Australia with over 5 million followers, offered to collaborate with me as a fellow Asian and encouraged me to start posting consistently.

I followed his advice and found it fun and a great way to pass time.

But soon, I had comments asking if I was trans, why my voice sounded “weird”, and whether it was an Adam’s apple they saw. I made a video replying to one and said I am trans, and that it’s the only time I’ll mention it because I want to keep it about good vibes and my music. But secretly, I wanted to say more. I wanted to be myself, tell my story and I saw so many trans creators succeeding on the app that I thought maybe I could too.

My mom called the next day asking why I posted that video and demanded I take it down.

I made the video private and silently prayed to the universe, “I want to tell my story, but I can’t if my mom is watching. Show me a way forward.”

Hong Kong banned Tik Tok within 3 days and it felt like God was testing to see if I’ll follow through now that my biggest obstacle was removed.

In the early days, I was posting 3–5 videos daily and consuming many social media coaches’ content on the best strategies of when to post, what hashtags to use, what trends to follow etc… and I found success. I started building a following and I was able to transfer it over to YouTube and Instagram. It was intoxicating to watch the numbers rise and to start getting brand deals and money off this.

But on the inside, I was very scared of the day where my mom would discover what I’m doing, and I’ll have no ground to stand on because I was lying.

Only through therapy did I see how cruel I was to myself. Because while I was lucky and grateful to receive help, I was judging myself so harshly on what I did to survive.

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Perhaps the best thing that happened during this extended period was the distance Covid provided. I had a legitimate excuse to be away from my family and their influence for the first time and as I unpacked my trauma over the years on TikTok and shared aspects of my story publicly, I saw how I have never felt safe.

I saw how it was not ok that I had an exorcism performed on me at 15; how violating it was that my body was inspected at 16 to ensure I didn’t inject estrogen or had any surgical alterations… This realization was healing.

It also helped to not have a parent constantly critique and comment on what I was doing.

Being away from my family gave me space to reflect on our relationship. Their language of abuse and the extent of our toxic relationship became apparent as I read other survivor’s recounts.

I remember how my parents would always say, “No one will take care of you other than us”, “You’re crazy to think other people will want you if they find out what you are”, “You’re nothing without us.” And because I was sharing my story so publicly and finding community, it was like shining a bright spotlight on the shame I felt. As Brené Brown says, “Shame cannot survive being spoken.” I was slowly believing in what they said less and less.

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During my time in Australia, I decided to start therapy again, something I’ve done off and on over the years, and I sought out a queer therapist.

Together, we explored the complexity of grief and how two things or more can be true at the same time.

I love my parents. I believe they love me deeply. We have shared many tender loving moments. I yearn to be loved and validated by them and yet they are abusive, caught up in their own ego and ultimately not good for me.

I learned to forgive myself for believing that money was a justification for the abuse and shame I faced. I learned to forgive myself for how badly I hoped my love and willingness to compromise again and again would result in them loving me back as their daughter unconditionally.

Simply put, my family lacked the tools needed to raise me.

My mom saw my transness as irrational and an inconvenience. We were at the top of the rung, and as Miranda Priestly would say in The Devil Wears Prada, “Everyone wants to be us.”

She often told me that she thought she raised me to be smarter than this. Being trans meant losing social status, moral high ground, and the only way was down. She was incapable of seeing past the systems that set up the gender binary and created the transphobic community she exists in.

It would be easy for me to simply paint her as bad, but a more honest realization was: who would question a system that is rewarding their behavior?

My parents once scolded me after finding out I went to an aunt, who has a more lenient understanding of gender for support, “You think your aunts or uncles are better than us? Look at how they treat their kids.”

It was true, their kids were also deeply traumatized.

No one knew better.

And I had to come to terms that it wasn’t my job as the child to make sure they healed.

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I want to clarify that seeing my family as the multi-dimensional human beings that we all are helped me recognize my own toxic judgment and binary thinking I held from my time online.

As I slowly gained my sense of self, I realized what I was doing with my social media platforms.

The energy I used to figure out what my parents wanted me to say was now redirected to figuring out what the internet would want me to say. I was doing “performative wokeness” for many of my early videos and the validation I got from those viral videos, from people telling me they loved me was intoxicating. But it also left me restless and scared for when I’ll be ostracized for having the wrong take or condemned for the privilege I have.

I often find myself spiraling in these thoughts, similar to when I was a teenager struggling to formulate a stance on any issue, feeling so scared of being shamed for saying the wrong thing.

It was a classic catch 22: we will ask you what you think but you better only give us the answer we want to hear or we will silence you.

I have since learned to zoom out and practice healthy coping mechanisms, using Pete Walker’s 13 steps for managing flashbacks. And I found that people are often kinder than I thought, especially those who I was certain would judge and cancel me for asking the wrong questions or saying the wrong thing.

It was reassuring when they shared that they too are struggling with the same questions and anxieties that I have. I learned that if I don’t have an opinion, or I’m still forming one, it’s ok to stay silent or simply spotlight those who are more educated. Sometimes I’m just not the right person to speak on an issue.

Each time my survival mechanism kicked in and I looked for evidence that I’m bad, that I was doing something wrong, that I was about to be punished, I healed myself by simply witnessing this pattern and exercising compassion to my younger self that felt so unsafe.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

And that brings me to the last piece of the puzzle to my healing.

Currently I have over 1.2 million followers cumulatively across my social media platforms and while I am proud of what I have achieved, I always thought that I would share my story after I had made a name for myself, preferably after I’m interviewed by Stephen Colbert about my sold-out Madison Square Garden show.

But in truth, I was still looking for reasons to prove I was not enough, because until I have achieved some arbitrary success that’s out of my control — I am never enough.

My worst fear has always been that I wouldn’t make it on my own without my parents’ help.

And so far, I’ve not proven to be the kind of creator who can move products or generate millions of streams on their songs. I ask myself, Why am I not more “brand friendly”? Why is my work not resonating with the public? Is it because I didn’t have what “it” takes?

This is where my spirituality side comes back in because the grounding questions I ask myself are…what do you want? Who are the creators you look up to and why?

When I’m being honest with myself, the content creators I look up to aren’t the ones who have the biggest brand deals or have their faces plastered across billboards. It’s the ones who can just show up as themselves.

I’ve spent so much time building my platform by following and recreating popular trends in hopes that my platform will be big enough that when I release my own work, people will care.

Looking back at my 1500+ videos, I cringe at most of them except the ones where I am leaning into my creative instincts, talking about healing trauma, overcoming adversity, and choosing myself.

And I realized that that is my clue. That is my intuition telling me what direction to follow.

I’ve made peace with the fact that my work may never resonate with the public… That factor is simply out of my control. But how lucky is it that I am now in a position where I can make art on my terms because I’ve built a community that will support whatever I put out?

Looking back, I was raised to believe in a narrow definition of success that is based on numbers. And as I healed, I had to unlearn the capitalistic programming that was so deeply embedded in me. I have a lot of compassion for my younger self that was indoctrinated with the belief that people “chose” to be poor because they are “lazy” instead of being taught to recognize the bigger systems that are at play.

But that realization was depressing. Because it means that nothing I do matters, and everything’s just a chaotic shitshow where the winners and losers are already predetermined — and that makes me feel hopeless.

I am a firm believer that there is beauty in life and how I have regained some semblance of agency is to reprogram my brain to stop focusing on what didn’t happen and what I didn’t get. Instead, I acknowledge and am proud of all the work I did put in because at the end of the day, showing up fully is all one can do.

When hard times come, I lean on the Buddhist teaching that suffering doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong; it’s simply a part of life. I find a lot of solace in that, and it opens up space in my heart for kindness, curiosity, and compassion.

The truth is I never had to defend or justify my inherent goodness. I never had to wait for a greenlight because the permission I was seeking wasn’t defined by any numbers. For now, I get to create funny silly videos for a job and I’m paid enough that I can funnel that money back into my creative projects. I am where I dreamed of being so long ago and if/when that changes, I will still be alright.

In the last conversation I had with my family back in April, I asked for space, and told them that I’ll reach out when I’m ready. The goal was for us to seek professional help so that we can heal.

My mom diverted the conversation by using the same tactic of offering me money.

Recognizing that she was unable to truly listen to what I was saying, I turned down her offer. But I knew it was not over as just this October, she flew from Hong Kong to Toronto, demanding to see me. I momentarily reverted to my teenage self, scared of the punishment I’ll receive for going against her way, until I realized that I have long since left the shadows of her world.

I understand that this was her way of showing love, which is unfortunately refracted through the prism of control. But I didn’t need to compromise or comply anymore. I was clear with my boundaries and I see now that I never needed to ask for what I wanted and deserved more than once.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

And this is where the abridged version of my story comes to a wrap.

Like I mentioned in my video, I didn’t build my platform by associating myself with a famous family. I have left HK for over 10 years. I have no desire to return or make it my home.

It was always a place I saw I had to escape from.

I hope you’ll respect my boundaries by not investigating who they are.

I deserve to stand in my own light and I hope that this is the relationship I’ve built with you all.

The overarching theme of my life thus far is that it was full of people telling me what to do, who I should be, what’s the smart move to make… when really, what I needed all along were loving, curious witnesses who could hold space and support who I am becoming.

I’m happy to share that I have been taking singing lessons again. And I am excited and surprised by how this form of art has now become my spiritual practice. Whenever I start unfairly critiquing my progress or writing myself off as untalented, I practice compassion towards my younger self that deserved so much more.

Looking back at the lyrics I wrote for my song Masterpiece, I think my soul always knew that this is where I would eventually be because, “This love comes from within, that is where it begins.”

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