Ni hao at me?
When I was almost walking past him, he looked at me and said ni hao with his hands politely folded. His smile and polite gesture pleased me, and yet I said “Oh I’m not Chinese.” After a moment, I started thinking why I had to say that. I could have greeted him nicely because I kind of felt pleasant with his gesture somehow.
Curious case of studying culture
I study culture. I am enthusiastic to know how we all live differently or similarly in different frames of understanding our surroundings we are connected. Now that I officially study culture at university, I keep questioning to myself what is the reason to study people and their way of understanding the world. My own purpose was always clear; I work in development and I can only do my work by understanding how people understand their surroundings. But perhaps often inevitably, I face the conflict between my pleasure and the justification for the pleasure.
What men and what women?
What’s going on in the world? When I browse through my twitter feed, I see so many angry women about men. I see the world is collapsing and all men are bad. If I can simplify this wave of overwhelming amount of testimonies against men, it’s either that so many women were victimised by men or gender sensitivity has become the mainstream all over the place. And I wondered, why I am not angry enough.
Dealing with compassion
Lately, I’ve been thinking about how I’m doing. How I’m contributing to my relationship and the health of my boyfriend. I finally would like to write about it since this is the only way I know how to really know what I’m thinking, and how I’m doing. The most difficult thing is the balance. There are moments when I have to scale the level of being compassionate and being a girlfriend. I feel like being straightforward compassionate actually risks how I feel about our relationship. It’s an extremely delicate line and also sensitive to raise as an issue.
Why write about the "wrong"?
Why do I always write about something “wrong”? Such stressful thoughts? The topics I choose are by nature “something wrong” that I need to somehow unweave in order to feel okay. Writing about “annoying things,” for me has a therapeutic effect. There are many annoying things that touch my nerves on daily basis. But the process of writing itself often gives me the answer. Of if not, the activity of writing becomes my company and that’s good enough.
I’ve always felt awkward for splitting bills with close friends. When I walk to the counter waiting for the cashier to tell us how much we need to pay, I suddenly feel the whip of socio-cultural obligation-like urge during the 5 second interval between the announcement of the addition and reaching for my wallet, I claim “I’ll get it.” I thought I was simply too used to this kind of culture until I couldn’t just take it anymore. It turns out, this isn’t a choice for me to like or hate splitting bills.
Those women were chosen by their looks
The arrival of the “army of beauties,” North Korean cheering squad, has become the centre of the attention in the 2018 winter olympic games opening ceremony. The fact that the country is authoritarian regime highlights the injustice towards women driven by look-oriented “employment”. But the demeaning of women and their rights by emphasising their looks lies not too far from democratic societies and as close as our own television. This is my review of one of DJ Khaled music videos.
Giving an advice
“What do you think?” he asked. That usually means someone wants my opinion. I told him how I think of his work as carefully as I could. He said, instead of taking my advice, “let’s see how the professor thinks about my work.” Giving an advice is tricky. But I found that by asking what they think is worried about first, sharing ideas may be more pleasant.
No such thing as everyday rebel
I struggle against social validation. Some says that’s how it is, some says my standard is too high. Shouldn’t anyone’s standard be higher than just “fitting in” to the society? Or is it the wisdom we need to nurture to be able to live in symbiosis?
The art of being available
It’s surprising to know that my expectation controls what I see and hear. When I expected to know no one in my town, I saw no one around me.
What I fear, what I hate, what I become
We stand up for what we value. I stood up for what I value and resisted against doing what I detested. But I realised I was standing on the thawed ice. Instagram photos, German diner, woman with a hair-roll taught me a lesson how to look inside my fragile ego. I look back why I came to hate modern day photo-taking and how it’s connected to my fear and fragile ego.
Fantasising foreign culture
It’s not easy to be correct about unknown things. That’s why we support education to minimise destruction out of ignorance. But what if because of information we are incorrect? I’ve been watching entertainment TV shows and realised a great deal of multiculturalism has been brought in but with potentially problematic impact.
Being a millennial and watching my mum cook
What my mother learned and how she acquired the knowledge from her mother has lost its place in me. I learn from the internet and books and I try to satisfy the social role that’s different from the one she was supposed to satisfy. The knowledge that I didn’t learn, is it considered as loss or substituted by different knowledge for newly emerging demand?
How I wish I’d been taught about kindness
What does it mean to be kind to someone? I remember having learned to be kind but I don’t remember being taught what kindness is. Instead, my elementary school teacher told me to hold hand of someone who’s handicapped. She never told me why it’s a good thing or how it helps him feel better. 20 years later, I learned that kindness isn’t about holding hands and that it only discouraged me from showing the act of kindness.