Earlier today I learned of the passing of my favourite Uncle, Jo. This isn’t going to be a sad post, I’ll skip on the negativity. However I will write about my uncle Jo as he played a major role in the upbringing of my life. My uncle lived with my family when I was aged seven to twelve. The man loved boozing, smoking, and gambling. He loved watching movies, television, reading comics, and he loved everyone. In a way like most people on my father’s side of the family – he was incredibly charismatic and charming. When Jo was in the room you could usually see him telling some story that had people clamoring to hear what’s next. He was quite irresponsible as an adult and his passing might have been due to his appetite for fun. But even so, he was my uncle.
When I was a kid, he was one of the first and only people to see me for more than just a chubby and clumsy kid. He thought that I was bright and he loved me for the heart that he believed that I had. He didn’t have a wife or kids, so I guess to him, I was the closest thing. At the time, my parents never really showed me that kind of attention. They loved me but they weren’t the type to compliment me. My uncle Jo would always encourage me.
I remember as a kid, I would often cry about him eating all the sweets in the house and I remember that I would also loan him money from my red pocket money for him to gamble. When I look back, I do chuckle a bit. The idea of a man in his forties asking an eight year old for pony money. But he always paid me back, even with the winnings sometimes. He was an asshole every now and then but he had integrity and he loved his friends. Back in the day, when he lived with us in Canada, he would go out to the bars with his friends. Some of those friends were in Canada illegally, so if they got in trouble, they would have been deported. One night, him and a bunch of his friends got into a squabble at the bar with some of the locals and the cops were called. Instead of running with his friends – he put himself in front of the cops so that his friends could get away. The only problem was that Jo, although here legally, was not a citizen. So because he got in trouble with the law – he ended up getting deported back to Hong Kong. Hearing this story made me proud of my uncle.
Sure he was a drunkard but he cared deeply for his friends, which is something that is seared into my personality. Sure he was an idiot for getting himself in that situation but he had the integrity and love for his friends to put himself in danger in the stead of his friends. You can call my uncle anything you want. A drunk, chain smoking, gambling addict – but you can never in my life tell me that he wasn’t a good person. He was incredibly flawed and showed me that he was incredibly human. Even in my 20’s when I would travel back to Hong Kong, it was like nothing changed. He’d still ask me for money to gamble, he still drank and smoked, even though the doctors told him not to, and he still was a loose cannon. But he still bought me food when I was hungry. He would still watch tv with me when I was by myself and he was still my uncle who loved me very much.
I remember telling him when I was 13 that even if I were to get married and he became homeless that he could live with me. He always remembered this and would bring it up years later. I recently thought of this before he passed and was wondering how that conversation would go with my future wife, if I decide to get married. There would be a little convincing but I’m sure that old Leung charm would rub off on future Mrs. Baron Leung.
They say that in life you die twice. Once when you physically leave the world, and twice when you’re forgotten. The latter death has not come true yet. Me writing this, is me sharing his legacy to you – my readers. If you’re like him and you don’t have a partner or children, don’t have money, or property – you can still make a legacy. Invest in people, just like he did with me. The only problem was that he never invested in himself and his health. And just like I have said countlessly in my blog, to my friends, in my videos – please love yourself. My uncle Jo loved everyone but himself and because of that, everyone he loved is thinking about him today. My uncle Jo didn’t have much, but for me, he had more than enough.