Levan Wee is the lead vocalist of rock group Astroninja and social media strategist at WHABBY Music. Recently, he wrote a letter to his secondary teacher – “I remember you, ‘sir’.”
The reason we are sharing this on AAN is that while we may not be in the shoes of Levan, it is not uncommon to hear snide comments when people hear that you are in the insurance industry as an agent or adviser.
“Aiyo, why? Cannot find a job that’s why become an insurance agent?”
“You?! You sure cannot make it.”
“Don’t meet her. She’s now an insurance agent.”
We’re sure you’ve heard the likes. But instead of being crushed by these remarks, we hope that you let it light a fire in you and prove the detractors wrong. Or prove yourself right!
The letter reproduced in full below goes:
“Dear Mr. *edited out*
You will not remember me. But I remember you.
Many years ago, you taught me English at Victoria School.
You were a great teacher, one of my favourites ever!
not for the reason you might think.
You see, there’s one memory of your teaching that really stuck to my mind, all these years later.
It was in the afternoon. The class was rowdy. And I was talking to my friend next to me, too. Admittedly, I wasn’t paying much attention, just like the others.
But that’s when you singled me out.
I remember your words clearly, till today.
You looked at me, pointed, and said:
“Ler Ping (my Chinese name),
You’ll be lucky to achieve what the rest of the class will achieve.”
I asked what you meant
To which you said,
“You know what I’m talking about. You’ll be lucky to get half of what
You then rubbed your forearm flesh for a moment. Then added
“You’re not like other people”.
I got what you were saying, judging from your smirk.
You were of course making a subtle – but no less pointed – remark on my albinism. In addition to the fact that you never really thought highly of me to begin with. You made it very clear that you saw me as an albino imbecile.
That short remark, which you have already forgotten, stayed with me for a long time. In fact, it shaped who I am today.
I want to thank you personally for being the best ‘teacher’ I ever had.
You see, if not for your remark, I might not have had the determination to go far and beyond what “people like you” expected me to achieve.
Your condescending, bigoted, judgmental remark lit a fire under my a**. (AAN’s edit)
I won’t share my life story with you. But, to keep it short, you gave me the determination to go against the grain, to fight instead of give up – and most of all, to believe in myself, even when other (i.e. “people like you”) would deem me ‘lucky’ to have what others have.
I’ve lived a very fun and fulfilling life thus far.
I’ve lived the life of a musician, making a living doing what I love. (Yes, albinos can be successful artists). I’ve sold albums, played stadiums, and had a great time in my early adulthood.
I used some of the money I made to further my studies in Australia, to which I graduated the top of my cohort. I also taught at a University I love.
I guess that’s not too bad… for “someone like me”, as you said. I’m so ‘lucky’, as you implied. Viva la albinos.
I’ve come back to Singapore, and am now a professional Social Media Strategist, loving my work and helping other artists to live their dreams.
I couldn’t be happier.
And along the way, I always remembered what you said to me:
“You’ll be luck to achieve what the rest of the class will achieve.”
I am lucky…
… I’m lucky I had a god-awful teacher like you to inspire me to work harder.
But, above all else, I fought for many years not to prove “people like you” wrong, sir. I did it to prove myself right, in knowing that I can live the life I choose, if I put in the effort. I proved myself right in know that fools like you thrive on belittling others, to make yourself feel better.
Thank you, sir. For everything, really. Your accidental inspiration and venomous comments changed my life.
Oh, and by the way, sir –
you can call me Dr. Wee.
You are a lucky man.
The Albino Imbecile
Dr. Levan Wee”
Pics from Levan Wee's facebook.
You may read Levan’s full post here. You may also read his follow-up post here for more context.
In an effort to encourage young adults to read as a form of strengthening their thought processes (be it non-fictional motivational reads or even fiction), Levan and a friend started a non-profit blog that runs lists of fun and interesting reads.
If you're looking out for a good recommendation of books or authors to explore, give Levan's blog a go at https://suggestedreads.com.
For more inspiration, you should check out:
Former duck farmer became a doctor after 20 years of trying. What's our excuse?
How to stay motivated every day
Training and motivation on the go. Asia Advisers Network podcast http://bit.ly/AANpodcast