January to June 14th, 2008
Confirmation in Rejection
2007 ended on an upswing - My directed research proposal had received a favourable first review and I had been invited to give a short talk to explain what I hoped to do. I had reasonable expectation that my application for promotion and tenure at my current university would be granted this year. (Although having met all the written requirements for promotion, the two previous years my application had been rejected at the department level. This is important as you must be approved by your 6th year.) My wife was expecting our 2nd son and 3rd child, Lien (Leon). The university had given me an administrative position: Director of Admissions, Academic Affairs Division. After a very busy and tiring semester (my teaching was overloaded (11 teaching hours / week) as I did not expect to be appointed to this position), I was looking forward to making progress in research and in foreign student recruitment.
At the end of last year God has gave me a verse: Come unto me all you who are troubled and weighted down with care and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11#28) At the time I wondered as I was feeling very confident of the coming semester but it also seemed suitable as the ending semester had been very busy.
- In January, after my short talk, a couple of the reviewers criticized by research proposal (not completely correct). My proposal was rejected.
- The birth of my son added to tiredness . My wife found him very difficult to care for as he does not sleep through the night like our previous children. Thus I spent little time at work from the end of February to the end of March but much time to care for family. As our appartment became infected with fleas, considerable time was spent to clean and get rid of fleas. As a result, I was unable to attend an international conference in which I had a paper accepted.
- As Director of Admissions, I spent considerable time developing a recruitment strategy. One central action item was to establish a unified International Student office to integrate the school's positions to outsiders. Whether as a result of my proposal or more likely that of others, the school has decided to do this starting next year, although I am not involved. All other aspects were either rejected outright or with the comment, my position will end after a very short half-life of only 3 months.. A proposal for collaborative international graduate program was rejected by one of the 3 departments involved after I gave a presentation a couple of weeks ago ®C also depressing.
- Application for participation in Gorden research conference in my area of expertise. After waiting for a few months for the decision, my application was rejected.
- Research Paper Rejected. This being a paper that we worked very hard on was quickly rejected.
- Application for promotion. In January, I received the good news°™the department had approved my application for promotion and tenure. My CV would be now sent outside the university to get expert opinions. A few weeks ago, I was very happy when they came back: 3 experts rated me as excellent, 1 expert as good, and 1 as average. Two days ago on June 12, 2008 I receive the news (informally): that the college has rejected my application. The professor suggested that I should consider my future as it really doesn't matter what I do: I will not be approved.
- Other issues: For the last month, I have not seem my friend and collaborator Prof Fann. His health is not well.
Amidst rejection, I have also found God's confirmation. Today I remember the verse that he gave me as a theme ®C I had pretty much forgot about the verse. In these situations the call of Jesus becomes a comfort. I am also thankful for glimpses of God's love for me in this situations.
- The week before I my promotion request was rejected, I attended the IEEE World Congress on Computational Intelligence. It was gratifying to meet some famous people (Xin Yao (TEC editor) and Simon Lucas heading Games Competition) and find that they know and respect my work.
- During the time in HK, met with a friend who told me about a depressing time in his life in which his tendors for jobs were rejected one after another. Finally one was accepted--although initially a small contract--it eventially became a large contract. The message: we need to rely on God as it is he who works and not us.
- Late Thursday evening (June 12, 2008) I received a call that my wallet had been found at TICC in Taipei. At first I didn't realize as I had forgotten all about the fact that last year I had lost my wallet during a conference in that location. But thank God for the timing°™I had not been to that part of Taipei since the conference but I needed to go to the building beside TICC on June 13th (the next morning). Is this coincidence or God's timing?
- Over the past few years I have told my wife that I believed God wanted us in Taiwan until 2011. I think that the promotion committee decision has helped confirm this in my opinion and has helped confirm to Xiuman that we are only temporarily here ®C we are pilgrims and travellers.
So that is this year to date. Appreciate your prayers, concern and friendship,
Please find attached a Picture of the 3 lovely children God has given us to take care of. It was taken on March 24, 2008