This I Believe

KUHF-Houston Public Radio’s “This I Believe” with Michael Wen

Michael was born in Taiwan and in 1984 he, along with his parents and siblings, immigrated to New York City. That’s where he went to high school and college. After graduating from Columbia University with an engineering degree, he moved to Houston for work. Among Michael’s many interests is reading. Not just casual browsing…but serious, heavy-duty consumption of information. Put simply, Michael says he enjoys,”old-fashioned book learning” as he explains in his essay for KUHF’s This I Believe.

Michael is the oldest of three children. He has a brother and sister…both still live in New York. He says they both went to Cornell and he attended Columbia, so they have a bit of a rivalry. Michael’s parents followed him to the Houston area and live in Katy. He says it’s nice to have them close enough to visit regularly. Michael says one of the many things he likes about Houston is being able to drive around…unlike his old home in New York…where he had to rely on the subway. He also says the cost of living in Houston is much more desirable.

Michael says…”sometimes I feel like I’m part of a dying breed…someone who reads for fun.” He adds that his essay for This I Believe explains his passion for the written word.

Here’s Michael Wen and his essay for KUHF’s This I Believe.
“As an incurable bibliophile from as far back as I can remember books have been an integral part of my life. I was probably the only second grader in my class to spend all of his allowance on books. Even now, when I have more responsibilities than grades and chores, I try to read Newsweek cover to cover every week and finish at least two books a month in addition to the blogs and news sites that I follow religiously.

I’ve always viewed reading as a way of staying connected. Every book is a window that gives me a front row seat to peek into a world that does not overlap with my own. In addition to broadening my horizons, reading helps me organize my experiences and thoughts. When a writer sat down to tell a story about a place, a culture, or a person, he or she is forced to bring structure and order to a seemingly haphazard collection of events. That’s why sometimes I get more insight from reading about something than experiencing it first hand.

Ten years ago I took a trip to New Mexico to visit the famous Anasazi ruins. I had long been mesmerized by accounts of grand palaces carved into the side of sandstone cliffs and large towns built of stone that seemed to rise out of nowhere in the middle of the desert. The actual experience turned out to be a little underwhelming. The masonry that had looked so perfectly symmetrical in pictures seemed jagged when viewed close up, and I had to stoop to fit into the doorway of most buildings, even the Great Kiva in Pueblo Bonito. While the ruins in Chaco Canyon are undeniably beautiful, if I had passed by them today without having read about their history I would never have guessed that over a thousand years ago, they were part of a great ceremonial center.

I am fully aware that one cannot attain true wisdom by reading alone…however, the tens of thousands of hours that I have spent with my eyes glued to a book or a monitor have told me this: that every place, every culture, every group, and every human being has a story to tell, and if it’s worth writing about, then it’s worth reading.

This I believe.”


Paul Pendergraft

Content Producer, UH Moment, Engines of Our Ingenuity

Paul Pendergraft is Houston Public Media’s Senior Producer for News & Public Affairs. Paul came to KUHF in the spring of 1996 as a general assignments news reporter. In time Paul was promoted to Assistant News Director, News Director and then to his current position.While at KUHF, Paul has been...

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