Who Am I? – From Leo

About the Author:

DBLeo has been working as a programme host and producer in Jiangsu Broadcasting Station since 1991 in Nanjing City, China. In 2001, he took a M.A. in Information Technology at the University of Nottingham in UK. He now is a deputy director of Jiangsu Communication Broadcasting Station.


Several weeks ago, one of my colleagues designed a section in his evening talk show to let the audience take pictures with their parents’ by mobile and put them on the website of the show. This idea was inspired by a listener sending an email to him talking about his regrets for spending too little time with his parents when they were alive. He said he even had no photo with them. Surprisingly, this section received unexpectedly warm responses from the audience.

After the show, when I visited the website on a cold morning, I saw so many lovely photos, simple but warm. I was thinking it was such a beautiful thing to tell people especially young people to cherish the time with their parents and remember their young faces so that they will not regret when their parents are getting old. I wonder how many people remember their parents’ young face. If we do not open the old photo album, we will hardly believe the old man in front of us used to be so young with so much energy.

This makes me think about my parents. Last year, they moved to my city and we lived together again after 25 years. My father came from Shanghai and my mother came from Beijing. They were sent to Guizhou province , one of the most undeveloped provinces after their graduating from universities according to “national need”. From then on, they have been spending their most beautiful time in that place for 47 years.

Since I was very young, I have been told the thought of “leaving that place” a lot. I think I understood my parents’ generation. They never considered themselves as locals, and it is natural that they wish their children to leave. This idea has been accompanying with me until I graduated from high school and went to Nanjing University when I was 18 years old. This is the very reason that I bought the house for them and moved them to live in Nanjing when I settled down after experiencing plenty of my own “troubles”.

Complicated feelings come to me when I live together with my parents again. On the one hand, watching their ageing face and weakening body, I was so afraid of losing them suddenly someday. On the other hand, I felt the two persons in front of me were no longer the persons I knew when I was a teenager. At that time, what they said to me was always right, just like the truth and they were always my safe harbour. But at present, although I accompany them to watch movies, TV shows and chat with them, we had so many differences. We do not like the same movies and shows. We have different thoughts and views to things, even to the world. Sometimes I wonder, who am I? Am I their child?

I know the difference comes from the time of 25 years and it is actually not the difference but the misunderstanding, as I left them before I spent time knowing them. If I can reverse time back to my age of 18, I would spend as much time as I have to talk to them, to listen to them… However, it is impossible now.

Fortunately, there is still plenty of time for us. I don’t care how different we are at all. What I can do is to spend the time now as compensation for the past 25 years. I will do this as much as I can.