Some people reading this are probably already thinking,” This guy spelled ‘change’ wrong.” To make things clear, it’s not spelled wrong. It is in fact “Chang.” Chang happens to be my family name. Besides the obvious, so what is “Chang the world?” There is quite an interesting backstory to this. One late night in college, a couple friends and I were just loitering in the dorm, engaged in our deep, meaningful dialogues. The topic of words came up during our intense sober philosophical exchange. We were just amazed at how certain words carry such powerful feelings…or just plain catchy in general…like typical one-syllable Chinese last names: Chang, Lee, Chen, Wong, Ho, Liu, Zhu, etc. Then we thought,” Hey. Chang the world. That’s pretty catchy.” And thus, “Chang the World” was conceived. It just became a catchphrase of mine for the remainder of my college years. If anything, it probably replaced the word “change.” Hmm…If that is the case, then I guess you can accuse me of spelling “change” wrong. But I prefer “conquer” more. Yes…conquer the world. At some point in life, we all wanted to conquer the world, right? Once you conquer the world, you can bend and change it to your heart’s full desire. Veni, vidi, vici.
Anyways, college ended and after a series of tumultuous events, I found myself working in the real world. Such a harsh environment it is. It made college look like a utopia, which is not true after all those petty drama, drunken debauchery and countless hours spent studying at the library. The clash of these two worlds had a profound impact on my new life. It made me question many things: the purpose of education, purpose in life, what life is, etc. “Chang the World” never escaped my mind. It was always lingering there, harassing my mind. One day, I told my friends that I will “Chang the World” in the future. One of my dear friends responded, ”Dude, you’re Chang-ing the world every day.” That’s when I came to the revelation:
It’s not just a catchphrase. It’s a way of life.
By living, I am Chang-ing the world. Anybody can Chang the world. Perhaps this is all existential. Over the years, I have done my own fair share of traveling and it has opened my eyes beyond the horizon. My liberal arts background empowered me with the critical thinking skills to be constantly aware of my surroundings, raising critical questions if deemed necessary. It also allowed me to learn and absorb a variety of fields: philosophy, history, international relations, science, mathematics, political science, etc. These experiences, compounded with the invaluable interactions of people of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds, have equipped me with the necessary skills and tools to Chang the world.
When I quit my corporate job and became a teacher, I decided to continue to use the phrase as cheesy as it sounded. I expected to see eyeballs rolling. And I'll be honest, there were some. Later, I found it was surprisingly receptive among my students. A few of them started to write "Chang" in place of "change," which I found absolutely hysterical. Chang the world has become a central theme in my classroom.