Mind HK Ambassador

Vishal’s poem

Dear past self,

With the help of a time machine,

I am sending you a letter,

Where I am supposed to give you advice, reflect,

Describe, commiserate, forgive.



I have decided instead,

To make us rich.


Invest in Microsoft, Apple, and Google, ignore the banks,

The geeks win baby,

Look, just borrow the money,

Leverage up, everyone did,

And when your parents ask you what you want for Christmas,

Tell them you want to trade stocks,

But in 2007, remember to sell.


Also, Michelle had a thing for you too, you doofus.


You don’t care about this stuff?



That wasn’t the priority back then.


Okay, fine,

Look, past self, let me level: this is hard,

If the laws of time travel exist,

Messing with events might make me extinct.


And we don’t want that.

Because where we end up…

Spoiler alert.

It’s better than where you are.


But we could lay the paradoxes aside

And I could try.



Where to start?


How about:


Dear past self,





How about early:

Dear baby,

Stop eating batteries, it’s embarrassing, seriously,

Or a bit further ahead:

Dear kid,

Keep the Pokémon cards,

For god sake don’t trade away the shiny Charizard,


Dear teenager,

You aren’t actually fat, I promise,

They are wrong,

You are beautiful and worthy

According to several future girlfriends,

But…I know you don’t believe me.

Because of some kind of voice inside your head.


So how about:

Floss, instead.


And despite the mental doomsday seers,

I promise,

The future is something you can’t predict.


Dear past self,

It’s nuts,

Video games are cool, dungeons and dragons too,

The US elected Donald Trump,

Online dating has become more popular than real life,

(So work on your text game, learn to write)

Encyclopedias are accessed on your phone,

But are mostly used for the near-limitless supply of porn,

A global pandemic will shut down society, just like, yes, in that movie,

There are no flying cars, unfortunately,

They have re-branded global warming, euphemistically, as ‘climate change’

By the way,

You will, against all odds, get laid.

And you’ll never have to memorise a phone number ever again.


So dear past self,

Stop calling things gay…






Let’s try again.


Dear past self,

I know it’s tough.

See you’re undiagnosed

You’re unmedicated

You just don’t know

So you blame yourself.


But more importantly, we meet others that know as well.


So you want advice?

You want the solution?

You want the answer to all your problems?


Dear past self,



Like, every day.


I know you want me to say:

Write more, read more, learn Cantonese,

Take up a yoga class (then quit?)

Play video games less,


But instead, I’m afraid,

All I can do,

Is tell you to floss.


Because the truth is

I actually just want to thank you,


So dear past self,

Thank you.


A lot of shit is easier now,

You waded through the thick of it,

In the midst of a tour of duty;

You were conscripted.


And no, I won’t tell you her name.

But she’s from Scotland by the way. That’s a hint.


Or maybe you want some cliches:

Dear past self,

It gets easier but it’s not always easy,

And there’s always a way out you see,


Well, it was your idea!

It’s what you taught me,

So it’s what I try to teach.

We learn a few things.

Things you probably already know.

So this is more of a reminder.


An echo.


So dear past self,

You have been dealt

A not-so-great hand of cards.

But what I can say is you are not the only one.

You aren’t going to be as healthy as everyone else,

You are going to have to climb,

And bite your tongue because they will mean well,

And thus you will learn what not to do to someone else.


But my dear past self,

There will be nights filled with shooting stars,

And days where you will know who you are,

And glory untold, moments where you will hold your head up high,

You will hold people you will never want to let go of.

Make entire worlds for others to play in,

Bring so much laughter into the world,

And I know,

You don’t always know if you’re walking a path,

Standing still, or getting lost on purpose,

We’re still working on this.

But what I can promise,

Is that every step, every sentence, every inch counts,

They become miles uphill,


You look down from the mountain,

Appreciate the view.


Because I do.


Some bruises may be hidden inside a skull,

But wear your scars like medals,


And remember to floss.


But don’t just take future time-travelling you’s word for it,

Get a psychiatrist,

Who diagnoses you as bipolar and start your meds early!


Or just do nothing differently,

Except floss maybe,

Because despite it all,

I don’t want to mess with what turns out to be us,

Because you make it and you will be loved,

And you have always been loved.

So love like hell right back.

You owe all the future people that ever help that much.

Love like there’s no tomorrow.

Because although there is for you,

It’s not guaranteed for us.

And if you do,

Maybe I’ll remember to do so too.

Time travel’s weird like that.



Every time you hit the ground,

Pick the dirt out from between your teeth,



Every time you wake up,

With breath stinking from all the mistakes you made the night before,

Forgive yourself,

You’ll make more mistakes anyway.


Do the tiniest, tiniest acts of self-care.

Because one day you’ll breathe the free air.


In other words:




And don’t write letters just to yourself.

It’s weird.

Write them instead to everyone else.


Don’t address them as Dear Past Self,


Address them as Dear Past Selves.

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