I’d like to start by thanking you for coming tonight. Each of you has provided friendship, love, support and comfort to Jasmine during her journey. Your presence demonstrates the breadth of Jasmine’s influence as well as your compassion. Jasmine’s passing is the catalyst which brings us together. But we would like to spend a few moments sharing a few highlights of Jasmine’s passionate, intense, creative and happy life.


Jasmine was born at 11:46 am on November 18, 2004 at Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City. She had a surprising head of wavy black hair. Perhaps we should not have been surprised - both of her grandmothers have curly hair too.

Antai and I had long agreed that Jasmine would be her first name. Her Chinese middle name, however, was often debated. My only requirements were that it not start with a ‘c’, ‘z’, ‘x’, or ‘q’. When the nurse came to fill out the birth certificate, we simultaneously said two different middle names. The nurse excused herself - clearly nervous about getting entangled in a potentially explosive disagreement. In the end, Jasmine’s Chinese relatives helped pick her middle name ‘Linghui’.

At three months old Jasmine began attending House of Little People Too day care on 90th street and Lexington. According to her first report card, her favorite song was ‘Oowee Goowee Chicken Pie’ by Kimmy Schwimmy. It was tough dropping her off at such a young age, but this seemed to be the ‘norm’ for two working parents in New York City.

Hong Kong

We moved to Hong Kong before Jasmine turned two, and learned that there were no day cares in Hong Kong that accepted children so young. The ‘norm’ in Hong Kong turned out to be hiring a live-in helper. Jasmine grew up at home with organized play dates until she was old enough to attend Parkview International Preschool (PIPS). Lucky for her, this was within walking distance from our apartment. Jasmine enjoyed PIPS and enrolled in the bilingual - English and Mandarin - class.

Jasmine always enjoyed story time before bed. We started the Elephant and Piggie series and progressed to Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and the Knuffle Bunny trilogy. We credit Mo Willems with teaching Jasmine how to read.


As Jasmine matured, we soon realized that disciplining her was going to be tough. No matter the threat, if Jasmine didn’t want to do something, there was no way to get her to do it - neither carrot nor stick. One Halloween night, while her brother prepared to leave for trick-or-treating, we wanted the slow-eating Jasmine to finish her shrimp. We threatened that she would not be able to go trick-or-treating until after she finished one more bite. Jasmine decided the trade-off was not worth it, and refused to eat anything more. Antai and I gave in, and were prepared to take her trick-or-treating. But Jasmine refused to go because she did not eat the shrimp. There was no trick-or-treating that year.

Jasmine’s fighting spirit was formed at a young age. She was the only girl in her bilingual nursery school class. According to her teachers, she learned to handle a class of rowdy boys. She began taking Taekwondo at 5 years old and, here too, was often the only girl in class.


Jasmine joined Hong Kong International School (HKIS) when she turned 6 years old. As the only girl in her PIPS class, no one stopped her from walking away from activities. But this would not fly in kindergarten. The teacher soon informed us that circle time was for everyone.

Jasmine enjoyed school - especially Math, Art, Recess and Physical Education. She spent her time at recess hanging from monkey bars. We were so proud to show off her calloused hands. Though she did not attend gymnastics class, she even learned how to do a back walkover at recess.

Jasmine started swim classes on Saturdays. She had trouble taking direction from the female instructor so we took a break for a year and tried again. Upon her return, she seemed to have matured and enjoyed swimming - or was it the male swim instructor?

Piano lessons soon followed and she enjoyed learning popular tunes such as Mickey Mouse March, Rockin Robin, My Heat Will Go On and Heart and Soul.

The years flew by as we accompanied her to swim meets, school field trips and piano and Taekwondo exams. In second grade, Jasmine earned the ‘Safety Patrol’, followed by ‘Great Bus Manners’ and ‘Outstanding Printing’ awards. In third grade, she became a ‘Mathlete’.


Jasmine spent her summers traveling between America and China, visiting grandparents and taking classes. She improved her Mandarin cultural knowledge attending the YK Pao School in Shanghai. Days were filled with singing, calligraphy, paper cuttings and musical instruments.

The summer after 3rd grade was extra special, as Jasmine traveled with a school program to Hanghzhou, China by herself. She was given the opportunity to bargain for items either wanted for herself or for presents. Upon returning, we were given gifts of a hand-powered fan, a Chinese calligraphy bamboo scroll and this purple silk tie - by far my favorite.

Like all summer trips back to America, 2014 included a visit to ‘Camel Beach’ water park in the Poconos. Jasmine was fearless. She insisted on going down rides that even her older brother wouldn’t dare ride. She was always proud to be one of the youngest riders on those slides.

When we returned to Hong Kong, however, she complained that her leg hurt and was diagnosed with bone cancer. Throughout treatment, Jasmine continued to practice piano, study math, Skype with her Chinese and English teacher and loved to read mysteries. She studied the mystery novels and identified the features that made them irresistible. Jasmine enjoyed coming up with hilarious plot twists and ‘hooks’ to keep a reader’s interest. We suggested she write a few of these down, and the result was ‘Cally and Bean: Middle School Mysteries’. Jasmine was not only the author but also the illustrator. By April the next year, she was back in school, happily reunited with her friends, and ready for the level 3 ABRSM piano exam. To mark the occasion, we visited the Hong Kong SPCA and adopted her cat Trixie.


Jasmine spent all of fifth grade reintegrating into a typical childhood routine. Her curly hair returned. She regained control of her right foot and recovered her status as a star ‘four square’ player at recess. She returned to Taekwondo and passed her red/black belt exam. She returned to the swim team and enjoyed competing in two swim meets. She continued to study piano and took the level 4 ABRSM exam. Jasmine started the year in band playing the clarinet and transitioned to the oboe - earning the best double reed player award. Jasmine continued to enjoy math and participated in Math Olympiad competitions. She wrote an essay for class about how integrating Minecraft into class would help students learn. This essay combined with publication of ‘Cally and Bean’ earned her the ‘Future Games Journalist’ prize ‘for her love of video games and writing’.

The highlight of fifth grade was Jasmine’s new best friend - Summer - who became her dedicated Egyptian Ratscrew (card game) partner. Jasmine graduated Lower Primary School on Jun 15th 2016.

The summer of 2016 was spent building robots at Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth program in Hong Kong. Jasmine loves computers and with guidance from her brother, Jasmine probably became Hong Kong’s best female Monster Hunter player. She also played Minecraft with a passion. With trepidation we paid for an online Minecraft account so she could play on popular servers. The purchase was some of the best money ever spent. We never saw Jasmine so animated and alive as when she was logged into the Minecraft server while simultaneously chatting with her friends and watching Dan TDM on YouTube.

New York

Jasmine’s transition to middle school was exciting - lockers with padlocks, homeroom, a new campus and friends. But just as preparations were being made for the sixth grade trip to Beijing and the Great Wall, scans revealed the cancer had returned and we moved back to New York for treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Jasmine looked forward to seeing her best friend Summer who had moved back to America at the end of 5th grade. On the day after landing in New York, we rented a car and drove five hours to visit Summer and carve pumpkins in Virginia. A few weeks later, Trixie braved 16 hours in a plane’s cargo hold to be re-united with Jasmine.

Between regular visits to MSK, Jasmine enjoyed life as a New Yorker. Trips to museums and parks, riding buses and subways, and enjoying the wide variety of American television: cooking competitions such as Chopped and Baker vs Faker, American Ninja Warrior, Myth Busters, Shark Tank and Dancing with the Stars. We spent New Years in Times Square and she stayed up through midnight - witnessing Mariah Carey’s disaster unfold in real-time. Her passion for Minecraft continued and she kept in touch with her Hong Kong friends by scheduling online meetups during the brief hours when their schedules overlapped.

Upon returning to New York, Jasmine was automatically enrolled in Home Instruction and was assigned the best teacher she ever had. Jasmine adopted Susan as another member of the family and eagerly worked through the 6th grade curriculum. Including science with dad and math with mom, Jasmine created a portfolio of work that easily qualified her to begin seventh grade the next year. She was even awarded an ‘Above and Beyond’ award from Home Instruction ‘ for recognition of dedication, perseverance and hard work’. Jasmine spent the summer completing an on-line Scratch programming class and earned an A+ for her consistent perfect scores on homework and the final project.


We filled her time with trips to the movies, visits to and from friends, a trip to a haunted house, and many arts and crafts projects. She used a glue gun to build a coin sorter from cardboard pieces. Mystery novels and bedtime stories returned as a time of peace and meditation. She baked cakes and rice crispy treats just to decorate them with icing - giving them away to doormen and friends.

Where we once thought Jasmine was a math star - we soon learned that she had an artistic bent as well. Yes, we knew her Pictionary skills were amazing, and collected her art projects over the years, but it wasn’t until the Make-A-Wish Foundation representatives saw her artwork that we considered her skills more than average. We were touched when Make-A-Wish offered to make a book of Jasmine’s artwork and poetry. Many of Jasmine’s drawings have been laminated and are hanging on our walls. The book represents her skills as of a few years ago. Over the past year she also drew pictures of the Blue Mosque in Turkey, the Lighthouse of Alexandria and the cover for the October Home Instruction magazine.

She visited Yankee Stadium, met the manager Joe Girardi and got her Yankees cap signed by Brett Gardner. She celebrated her 13th birthday and the exciting transition to being a teenager. Jasmine understood her time was limited and organized all the important things in her life into different labeled zip-lock bags. She created a box to hold all of her treasures. She was prepared for what was coming but luckily never knew it when it arrived.

Jasmine’s life was filled with unacknowledged challenges. She pushed through each hurdle as it appeared. She knew she was going to die, but never once asked what that would be like, or what happens after death. She spent her time focused on living. She kept a notebook to record everything she wanted to accomplish and challenged herself each day to check them off - one by one.

Jasmine gave life everything she had. We’re so proud to be her parents. Just thinking of her, and looking at her cat Trixie remind us how Jasmine’s love improved the lives of many others. Through her, we’ve learned how to appreciate life ourselves. Her strength, fearlessness, and resiliency inspire us daily. We enjoyed her jokes, her laugh, and her ability to beat us in every strategy game we played. We enjoyed her artwork, handcrafts and video game knowledge and skills. Just being with Jasmine made us the happiest people on earth.

We Remember Them

At the rising of the sun and its going down,
we remember them.

At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter,
we remember them.

At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring,
we remember them.

At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer,
we remember them.

At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn,
we remember them.

At the beginning of the year and when it ends,
we remember them.

As long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us,
as we remember them.

When we are weary and in need of strength,
we remember them.

When we are lost and sick at heart,
we remember them.

When we have joy we crave to share,
we remember them.

When we have decisions that are difficult to make,
we remember them.

When we have achievements that are based on theirs,
we remember them.

As long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us,
as we remember them.

– by Sylvan Kamens and Rabbi Jack Riemer from The Union Prayer Book