Life Enrichment 2012

Life Enrichment Club: 2011 to 2012


Sung-Peng Hsu (徐頌鵬)

May, 2012


This is the third year since the Life Enrichment Club (暢樂人生社) was formed under the Taiwanese American Senior Society on June 22, 2009.   We have held seven sessions during the year of 2011 to 2012:


Sie-Ling Chiang (姜西淋), Liu-Hsiung Chuang (莊六雄), and Stephen Hung (洪啟峰), “Learning and Life Enrichment” (活到老學到老), July 21, 2011

May-Fong Tsay (黃美鳳), Jing-Ji Chen (謝靜枝), Susan Kuo (陳秀鑾), and Cathy Ho-Nu Chi (陳和女), “Painting and Life Enrichment,” August 25, 2011

Liu-Hsiung Chuang (莊六雄), "Establishment of Values” (價值的建立), September 22, 2011

Sung-Peng Hsu (徐頌鵬), “My Paternal Ancestry and Human Migration,” January 26, 2012

Yud-Ren Chen (陳育仁), “Micro Evolution and Macro Evolution of Genes,” February 23, 2012

Lien-Fu Huang (黃連福), “Exploration in Economics and Politics” (漫談經濟與政治), March 29, 2012

Henry H. Yu (游宏仁), “Introduction to Human Brain: Nervous System” (神經系統), April 26, 2012


Our first meeting was held on July 21, 2011, on “Learning and Life Enrichment” (活到老學到老).  The topic was inspired by an article recommended by Sie-Ling Chiang (姜西淋).  It tells a story about a man, 趙慕鶴, in Taiwan, who pursued many unusual hobbies throughout his life and got his master degree in philosophy at the age of 98.  When people ridiculed him why he would do it when he was about to die, he answered defiantly, “But I am still alive!”  Though none of us was that old or that crazy, the story is definitely inspiring.  We shared our own experiences of learning and craziness in our own ways in the panel discussion format.  First, Sie-Ling Chiang shared with us how he, after retirement from the Federal Government in the field of engineering, got fascinated in the fields of science, philosophy, and religion, and then published a book “知命開運” in Chinese, which is being published in English as “Genetic Fate, Environmental Chances, and Your Destiny.”  After retirement from the field of economics, Liu-Hsiung Chuang (莊六雄) also shared with us how he got into the broader question of values and many fields in science, philosophy, and religion.  Then Stephen Hung (洪啟峰) shared with us how after retirement from various jobs in engineering he has become hooked into photography.  In chasing after snow geese and many other things, he has also hooked many people into photography.


After the session on “Photography and Life Enrichment” last year, we felt it would be wonderful to hold a panel discussion on “Painting and Life Enrichment.”  It became a whole-day event on August 25.  In the morning, a video was shown about the famous scroll「富春山居圖卷」(272 inches wide) painted by a great artist 黃公望, a Taoist master, in about 1350 AD.  The video, recommended by Sie-Ling Chiang, was presented by a well-known scholar in Chinese and Western art histories, 蔣勳, who covers the painter's life, his Taoist philosophy, the history of the painting, as well as the best way to understand and appreciate the great artwork.  For the video, please visit:  After the video, May-Fong Tsay (黃美鳳) shared with us her research about the scroll when she visited the National Palace Museum in Taipei earlier.  Moreover, Willie Maar (馬作忠) brought an actual but imitation scroll for display at lunchtime.  He also provided a link to a video that transformed the still scroll into a moving one.  For the moving scroll, please visit:


During the panel discussion after lunch, Jing-Jy Chen (謝靜枝), Susan Kuo (陳秀鑾), and Cathy Ho-Nu Chi (陳和女) shared with us how they had become interested in and hooked into painting, the different styles of painting, some techniques about painting, and, above all, how they had enjoyed painting, and how painting had enriched their lives.  Each of them is an accomplished painter and has found some mystical moments of joy through painting.

Painting: Panel Discussion

Cathy Ho-Nu Chi, Susan Kuo, and Jing-Jy Chen


On September 22, we invited Liu-Hsiung Chuang (莊六雄), with a Ph.D. degree and much experience in that field, to share with us his interest in the subject of “Establishment of Values.”  With a PowerPoint Presentation, he discussed the reason why he chose the topic and introduced his “hypothesis of institutional sustainability.”  He delved into the meaning of values; the relationships among values, norms, and beliefs; individual values; family values; social (corporate, community) values; values for countries or states; and universal values.  He attempted to develop a systematic framework or foundation for understanding and establishing the different kinds of values.  We were very impressed that he had been working on this project and wished that he would share with us again some time in the future.


“Establishment of Values”:  Liu-Hsiung Chuang


We resumed our meeting on January 26 after four months of recess.  I volunteered myself on a subject that had fascinated me for over a year.  It all started when the Life Enrichment Club began to discuss DNA back in May of 2010.  I became curious about my ancient ancestry and human migration through DNA tests, so I participated in Dr. Spencer Wells’ Genographic Project of National Geographic.  After I was identified as a member of the haplogroup M175 from my Y-chromosome sample in the summer of 2011, I read many books trying to understand the test report.  I felt the urge to share my findings with the topic “My Paternal Ancestry and Human Migration.”  For those who are interested in my report and presentation, please go to my website, toward the end of the “Science and Religion” webpage:  While preparing for the PowerPoint Presentation, I was reminded and amazed again that we are living in the “Genetics Valley” of the world, the Montgomery County of Maryland!


“My Paternal Ancestry and Human Migration”:  Sung-Peng Hsu


After many months of prodding from me, Yud-Ren Chen (陳育仁) finally took up the challenge of leading a discussion on evolution on February 23, with the title “Micro Evolution and Macro Evolution of Genes.”  His interests and specialties ranged from mechanical engineering, solar physics (Ph.D.), to agriculture.   For his PowerPoint Presentation, he collected more than 80 slides.  He gave us a sweeping picture of micro evolution and macro evolution, and provided enough details from the molecular genetic point of view.  According to him, evolution is about change of gene frequency over time in a genetically continuous population.  He reviewed how genetic information is passed from generation to generation, how the processes of cell replications may go wrong (mutation), and how and why DNA sequences change over time.  Then he discussed gene frequency change in a species due to geographic isolation, genetic drift, climate changes, and its adaptation to environmental pressures that may result in a new and more species.  Genetics and evolution may be considered the latest wave of scientific revolution, along with neuroscience.  As Yud-Ren Chen said, we are fortunate to live in this age when we get to know the universe and ourselves so much more.


“Micro Evolution and Macro Evolution of Genes”: Yud-Ren Chen


On March 29, Lien-Fu Huang (黃連福) took up the subject of “Economics and Politics.”  Lien-Fu has a Ph.D. degree in economics and has taught the subject for many decades.  He started with the view that economists have very little influence on political decisions.  In most cases, they can only offer options for politicians to choose from, and there are great politicians and there are many crooks.  He discussed Barack Obama's health insurance policy, Ma Ying-Jeou's health insurance policy, and the economical and political issues between Taiwan and China.  He illustrated with some cases in which he was personally involved in Lee Teng-Hui and Chen Shui-Bian's  administrations.  Wen-Haur Huang, Rong-Chin Fang, Charles Ou, Edward Lee, and Liu-Hsiung Chuang commented or argued from their perspectives or experiences.  Sie-Ling also raised the question of national deficit in the US and in Taiwan. There was discussion about the role of love or compassion for making economic and political decisions.  We were very concerned about the influences and manipulations of powerful corporations or individuals who were preoccupied with making money, without any or much concern about the welfare of the people.  We shared the hope that we can preserve and improve the democratic system that has been hard-won in Taiwan.


“Economics and Politics”: Lien-Fu Huang


The last meeting for 2011-2012 was held on April 26 on “Introduction to Human Brain: Nervous System,” led by Henry Yu (游宏仁), a well-known doctor in otolaryngology, with a Ph. D. degree and post-doctoral researches in neurophysiology.  He used the example of Temple Grandin, who suffered autism from childhood but gradually controlled it and became a famous professor, to emphasize the plasticity of our brain.   The more we exercise it, the healthier it will be, and the more we can delay dementia.  After going through the major parts of the brain and their primary functions with slides, Henry dealt with neurons, dendrites (inputs), and axons (outputs).   Human brain has about 100 billion neurons, possibly 100 trillion synapses, and likely 40 quadrillion ways of connection.  It is an extremely complicated network.   There is no easy way to explain any brain function.  Henry’s Ph. D. dissertation was about neurophysiological intra-cellular events of a neuron.  His mentor is a student of a Nobel Prize winner, and the Nobel Prize winner actually read his dissertation before his defense.  Henry went on to explain how neurons work to provide pain pathway, visual pathway, auditory pathway, etc.  It is fortunate for us to have Henry giving us a very informative presentation in an entertaining and easy-to-understand way.  Many of us express the wish that he will give us another talk on related topics, such as perception and consciousness.  It is the start of another adventure for the Life Enrichment Club.


“Introduction to Human Brain: Nervous System": Henry Yu

© Sung-Peng Hsu 2011