8 minutes reading time (1597 words)

Under Oath: Jason Chong


Q. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A. "I was actually thinking about this one as I was driving here! I had to be prepared," he joked. "But, I guess I don't set the standard too high. Just being alive with no major worries about finances, health, family. That's happiness. I look at people around the world in much worse situations and it's hard to wish for more than I have. I have enough."

Q. What is your greatest fear?

A. "My greatest fear?" He sat back and pondered a little while. "I guess it would be, maybe losing credibility and all of sudden people didn't believe me. I believe I am truthful, but if for some reason my friends stopped believing in me and lost that trust, that would be horrible."

Q. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

A. "I don't know if I really 'deplore' anything about myself. I am who I am. I am pretty hard on myself. I am not sure I deplore that, but I do beat myself up in my mind a lot."

Q. What is the trait you most deplore in others?

A. "Flakiness?" he stated with uncertainty, still tossing the question around in his mind. "I guess if others are counting on you, you need to follow through, or at least tell them if you can't beforehand."

Taking a sip, his eyes shot wide open. "Wait!" he ordered. "Can I change my answer?"

Since I wasn't chiseling his responses in stone, I acquiesced. "I can really respect a person when they admit they made a mistake and apologize. So it really annoys me when people do not acknowledge their mistakes and do not apologize for them."

Q. What is your greatest extravagance?

A. "Oh! I do know this one," he exclaimed. "I was thinking about this question, because I knew it would come up. I collect sports cards, mostly football, some baseball and other sports. They are modern cards; probably not worth much. It's a good way to waste money."

Q. What is your favorite journey?

A. "I guess I would say law school. I actually had a lot of fun in law school. I did my first year at GoldenGate and then I transferred to Santa Clara. I would go back to law school if I could and sit in a bunch of classes. I love learning."

Q. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

A. "I don't know. I think I would have to say 'professional success.' Not to down play it, but even if you don't have extraordinary professional accomplishments in life you can still live a full, good life where you contribute to society. I just think there is too much emphasis on professional accomplishments, when we are so much more than what we do. There is more to life than being really good at your job. I am not saying you shouldn't try to do your best, but there's more. Your life shouldn't be defined by your job, there is more to you than that."

Q. What do you dislike most about your appearance?

A. "Well," he ran his hand over the top of his head, "I started to lose some hair." He tried not to smile, but one escaped from the corner of his mouth. "I kind of wish I got a nice professional photo shoot while I had more hair so I could use it for things like this."

When I mentioned the possibility of going for the bald look, he shook his head and said, "I think I have a lumpy head! I don't think I'd look good bald."

Q. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

A. "Like," he responded. "I talk like a sixteen year old valley girl. It's true! I say 'like' too much."

Q. What is your greatest regret?

A. "I wish I spent more time in college with my friends. I say that because I am not as close to them as I'd like and lost touch with a lot of them. I didn't spend the time in college, instead I dated which took away from strengthening those relationships with friends. Not that I regret that dating relationship, but it could have been more balanced."

Q. What or who is the greatest love of your life?

A. "Well, I am not married. So, yeah, probably chocolate. I have a pretty big sweet tooth. At Halloween, I buy two big bags, one for the kids and one for me, and I am not talking about the cheap candy, I mean the goodstuff. But other than that, my parents."

Q. When and where were you happiest?

A. "I don't know because that question suggests that I was happier before than I am now. I am pretty happy," he offered.

"Well, a few years ago I did a solo road trip through Arizona. It was nice because when it's just you, you do what you want, when you want; there is no waiting around on anyone. I went through Monument Valley, Sedona, Page, and the Grand Canyon. It was a good time."

Q. Which talent would you most like to have?

A. "I wish I was fluently bilingual. But this is a very achievable talent. It just takes time and effort. I also wish I had the musical talent to hear something and be able play it on the piano. Again, it's probably very achievable, I just need to put in the time and effort."

Q. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing what would you like to be?

A. "Probably some kind of bird so I could fly. I would want to be a predatory bird of course, on the top of the food chain. That way I wouldn't have to worry about the other birds eating me."

Q. What is your most treasured possession?

A. "I can think of two things. Can I have two?" he requested. I obliged. "First would be a sporting shotgun my father gave me for Christmas. We shoot clay targets. It was a hobby he picked up before I was born, but when I came along he stopped. He recently started back up and now we go together. So that gun has sentimental value I guess you could say. Then, I would say my home. A large portion of the down payment was paid with Apple stock my father purchased for me when it was about $10 a share. My parents helped me paint and remodel the house; I have a lot of good memories there. I am just really grateful."

Q. What is your favorite occupation?

A. "Aside from being an attorney?" he asked,"because I really like being an attorney. But also, a little known fact, I was a waterboy for the Cal football team in college. Oh, but we weren't called waterboys. I quote, we were 'hydration technicians'. I had so much fun. I would just stand around on the field and watch the teampractice. I also went to all the home footballs games, it was a lot of fun."

Q. What is your most marked characteristic?

A. "After the last Inn of Court I think people will know me as the 'Piano man'!" he laughed. "And you know, people always comment on how young I look. They either think I'm in high school or college, which I don't get because how many high school or college kids do you see with a receding hairline?"

Q. What do you most value in your friends?

A. "Trustworthiness, accountability, honesty, and reliability."

Q. Who are your favorite writers?

A. "Ok, this is going to sound terrible," he admitted, putting his cup down. "I don't have a favorite. It is one of my goals to do more recreational reading. I have not read a book for fun in a long time."

Q. Who are your heroes in real life?

A. "I would say my paternal grandfather. He servedin WWII, flew a B-17 bomber and then went on to open his own optometry practice here in Stockton. He was well-liked and respected in this community. Also, I would have to say my mom because she took a big risk in leaving her corporate job to open a jewelry store here in Stockton. It was her dream. And I can't leave my Dad out. My dad supported my mother's dream and wasn't offended when she became the bread-winner of the family. Instead he supported her and gave a lot of his time to help her with her business."

Q. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

A. "Probably Luke Skywalker," he suggested. After discussing Luke's flightiness in the most recent story line, he offered additional characters but stayed true to the Star Wars theme. "Chewbacca, he is so loyal. Jyn Erso from Rogue One."

Q. What is your greatest accomplishment?

A. "Well, I feel the easy answer is being an attorney! Being an attorney is hard work. But I feel like that is a boring answer though. I was a writer/contributor for Cal sports blog which got picked up by SB Nation (Sports Blog Nation) and now it is an actual website. Although I am no longer a writer, a lot of fans say that my articles were why they started reading the blog."

Q. How would you like to die?

A. He laughed, "Quick and painless! I was thinking, death by meteorite. I mean, that's like a cool and interesting way to go! I have never heard of recorded case of death by meteorite, so I could become famous. And, it would be quick and painless. I'd never see it coming!"

Q. What is your motto?

A. Very matter-of-factly, he stated, "Don't be a d***!"

I confess his answer caught me off-guard, but after we finished laughing, he continued, "I don't see a need for people to be mean. I try to be nice, it's not always easy, but there is no need to be mean without cause. So please, people, don't be a d***."

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