Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Taiwan photos

Shilin Night Market

A street full of Pet stores near my apartment in Daan district

Random roads

Xinyi District 

Inside Taipei 101

Cafe near university

More to come...

Monday, 8 December 2014

#Facebook #universitystudents #FWP

Scrolling down on your Facebook feed as a litany of curse words escape your lips like a ringing alarm bell.

Fuck fuck fuck fuck shit fuck.

Your brows furrow. Your eyes narrow. You ask yourself.


You scroll down even more.

This girl's just won some international consultancy competition.
That guy's just written his first piece for Foreign Policy.
This person just got accepted to Cambridge for a MBA.
That person just got hired as a part-time sub-editor for Bloomberg News.

You slam your five month old Windows Surface tablet down and heave, simultaneously stressed as fuck, kind of depressed and yet miraculously motivated. You walk to the sink and pour yourself a glass of water, which you down as you return to the sedentary position, your butt adjusting to the moulded contours of the seat.

Fuaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaark You can't help swearing. You think about the baby-faced nineteen year old, with his smarmy smile and expensive suit, one hand conspicuously holding a  champagne glass - a glittering harbinger of this dude's totally premature corporate success - something that you feel has hitherto eluded you. WHY DOES HE HAVE TO BE YOUNGER THAN ME. GODDAMIT. You slam your glass down with slightly excessive force and heave for the millionth time.

Oh my god, I need to step up my game.
I need to get clerkships.
If I don't get clerkships... I'll... I'll apply for one of the Big 4 companies.

You open your tablet up, and without better forethought, search up the name of a younger colleague. She comes up as the first result. What the... You click. You click her profile picture. When did she get so freaking hot? THAT. is .such a nice dress are you kidding me jesus effing christ I need that dress arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhahdfwyuiasesfghaoi;wefhawioefh.

Next photo. She's at some sort of hipster club, a generic Mimco clutch in hand, laughing and dancing with friends as luscious locks of blonde hair flail against an ethereal backdrop of drunk teens.
Borderline brain-damaging comments ensue:
Oh my gosh looking that good shouldn't be legal!!! #gorgeous #slaya xoxo
Dayum girl. You can be my bae anyday.
Goddess! *emoticon* *emoticon* *emoticon*
Dat ass

Scroll down. Next photo. She's at some sort of Tanzanian safari park, hugging a tiger cub, her broad smile telling you how much more '#awesome' and '#amazing' (and #parentallysubsidised) her life is compared to yours. You stare into her three hundred dollar Ray Ban shades with uber intensity, but not thinking anything in particular. Just staring.

The next photo is even worse. You thought she was there on vacation. No. She's in Tanzania building schools for needy Tanzanian children, and there she is embraced and surrounded by hundreds of thankful, smiling kids. Oh so compelling, you scoff, third world volunteering opportunities bought by first-world privilege.

You decide you've had enough and log off Facebook, feeling weight on your shoulders.

At that same moment, someone else logs on. A fellow student - a mere acquaintance, perhaps a friend of a friend. He curiously searches up your name and shifts in his seat as he scrolls down your wall, seeing the latest photos of you at a recent government sponsored business forum, you shaking hands with the Minister of Multicultural Affairs, and an ever so smug smile on your face.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Movie: Empire of the Sun

I really hate studying in my room. I curse the architect of this house for leaving me and my brother's bedrooms utterly deprived of vitamin D. Even when it's midday, and the sun is lovely and bright, our rooms still look like an emo's galore because the sun never gets a direct hit into our windows. BLEH.

Yesterday night, I watched Empire of the Sun, the 1987 Spielberg movie starring 13 year old Christian Bale in his first feature film debut. He plays a loquacious rich English boy caught up in the Japanese invasion of Shanghai during WWII. His gets separated from his parents during a coursing 人山人海 situation on Shanghai's streets, who were then literally swept away by the waves of stinky looking Chinese peasants, all clamouring for an escape out of the city. I couldn't help but laugh my ass off as his horrified and disgusted mother became engulfed by the hordes of dirty, lower class 'Chinks' - her arms flailing madly as everybody else pushed and shoved in their desperation. What a juxtaposition. Her with the fancy hat and impeccable button down blazer and skirt ensemble - next to a bunch of icky dudes carrying bloodied chickens and cages and all sorts of other weird thingamabobs. Hah.

Anyway, cute little Christian Bale, officially appellated Jamie Graham in this movie, is really annoying. I guess you could say annoying in a 'sweet' way, but I found him annoying in a you-could-have-fucking-died-oh-my-god-stop way. I mean, for a guy who has received such consummate schooling and upbringing, you'd think he had more common sense than to run up to a marching cavalcade of armed Japanese soldiers and be all like "I SURRENDER! HELP ME! HELP ME! I'M BRITISH!" - then continue to weave in and out of said formation with the impetuousness of a lab rat.


Anyway, it's just a movie. lol. I still couldn't refrain from slapping the table multiple times. Also, it really pissed me off when his mum was holding his hand being all like "DON'T LET GO! DON'T LET GO!" during what was clearly a dangerous and urgent situation where lots of people around them were crying and yelling in distress. And then his toy plane falls out of his pocket or something and he LET'S GO to get his plane. Turns around afterwards and of course, his mum is long gone.


And that's the start of how he ends up at a Japanese POW camp.

Apart from Jamie's initial stupidity (I'm sorry J.G. Ballard, person whom this movie is based on), I really liked the movie. It had a lot of touching and suspenseful moments, and it is definitely the sort of movie I would watch with my young kids one day - snuggled up on the sofa with a bowl of pop corn. Firstly, it's historical, it's based on a true story and it's not dumbed down. Secondly, there are a lot of important lessons or values to be gleaned. Bravery, loyalty, friendship. Even I got teary at some bits. With a young protagonist, it's also slightly more relatable for children. Erm, I'm probably getting a bit ahead of myself here.

Great movie. Would recommend.

Friday, 3 October 2014

How it felt to feel worthless as a child (another catharsis)

One time when I was around nine years old, my dad was teaching me maths at the ungodly hour of 11.00pm. Seated at my desk, I stared blankly at the question, my heart racing like Phar Lap on steroids. I could feel my dad's eyes boring into my brain, probably accompanied by an inner monologue like this:
Why the fuck is my child so stupid.
Wow. How did she NOT inherit my intelligence. 
This is ridiculous. 
Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I'm tireddddd.

Meanwhile, I could hear the clock ticking. I knew that if I didn't answer this question soon, and correctly, my dad will be extremely disappointed. And when he's disappointed at me, he's not just disappointed. It's anger. It's disbelief. It's him heaving at me, asking me why I couldn't answer one of the most basic questions ever. Then comes the belittling. You're absolutely useless. Are you even listening? Is there anything happening in your brain? How many hours did we spend on this concept already??? How can you still not understand this?? WHY? What the hell are you doing? 

And it was truly unwarranted. I wasn't a recalcitrant child, and not the least bit impetuous. Before my revolutionary rebellion at the end of grade 6, I was still that timid kid that always listened to their parents i.e. took their parents' shit. Never did I speak up for more than one time in an argument. I just bowed my head and absorbed the psychological battering. And worst of all, I had always genuinely tried my best at whatever they had wanted me to do.

So that night, doing that maths question with my dad next to me, I was really scared. In fact, if I weren't physically trembling, I was definitely mentally trembling. The thing my dad never understood is when all your kid(s) can think about is not getting yelled at or hit, there is no way they can fully focus on learning. It took me hours to learn really easy things because the whole time, I was just drowning in fear.

Then I said these suicidal words. "I don't know..." I whispered, feeling more and more pathetic. There was a long moment of silence after the words left my mouth, and I thought I was being sucked into a black hole. But at least in a black hole, I wouldn't have to deal with my dad's wrath. I continued to stare at the paper, not daring to look at my dad's face. I heard my dad sigh. And then he sighed again. And then, something absolutely extraordinary happened.

I think my dad started tearing up.

For THAT was how fucking annoyed he was at my incompetence. I heard sniffs. I saw red eyes. I didn't want to believe that I had pissed him off enough to make him cry. I've seen his face go red like a baboon's ass when he yelled at me - frustration written into the wrinkles of his physiognomy. But I've never ever seen my dad tear up. He let out a long woebegone groan, and put his face in his hands. It was as if he had just received news of a loved one's death, or maybe that he had just lost his home to the bank. After a few terrifying seconds, he raised his head and...laughed. Are you serious? He asked me. It would have been something along those lines.

I immediately broke down. Tears streamed down my cheeks like the Nile. I sobbed into my balled up fists and contemplated why I was still living. Why are you crying??? My dad asked insensitively. Through sobs, snot and tears, my nine year old self replied:  B-because...I-I'm s-s-s-stupid... 
Until then, I had never felt so pathetic and unloved in my life. And I thought that maybe, I deserved to feel that way because I really thought I was stupid. I was so stupid, I had made my dad cry. And I didn't want to cause him to feel that way for both of our sakes. I know y-you don't l-love me... I said.

I don't remember the particulars of what happened after - me walking out of the room to escape the unfolding Greek tragedy - dad following me down the hall and actually laughing as I explained why they (my parents) didn't love me - my mum a passive witness... All I remembered was how shit it felt. And that was only one of many similar incidents to come.

Over the next few years, I kept diaries. Whenever I read them, I always feel sorry for myself as a child. Notable phrases that kept popping up in my entries were things like: "I feel useless", "I feel pathetic", "I wish I were dead". And a litany of swear words - FUCK, SHIT, FUCK, I FUCKING HATE YOU - were common graffiti.

I wrote in my diary every time I was angry, and because of this, I had a record of every single time my dad made me feel like shit. When I started talking back to my dad, I would always remind him...

Remember that time you yelled at me because I lost that tennis match? 

Remember when I told you other kids weren't being nice to me at squad training and you just told me to 'ignore them'? 

Remember when you hit me in front of other students from my primary school over an argument about basketball rules?

His reply was always: stop thinking about the past and move on! I don't remember it! Stop bringing little things up to attack me. And get rid of that stupid diary. That's the reason why you're still bringing up stupid things from the past.

I couldn't believe how he couldn't see that these weren't 'little things' at all. Obviously, these were things that really impacted my self-esteem. I remember those things so well, so clearly - how searing his words were... It also changed the way I thought about my dad forever. And if we had the same debate today, I'm sure he would just say the same thing.

After all the shit I put up with, I'd say I turned out pretty well. I'm social, outgoing, and I now have extremely high self-esteem and self-confidence. It was because one day, I realised I wasn't worthless or pathetic or useless. It truly was an overnight epiphany - I was 10 years old, lying in bed thinking about killing myself, and suddenly I started to think about people that had it harder than me. The homeless, the kids in Africa (...yep), the physically disabled, the people lying in hospital beds waiting for a new organ... And I realised that even if I didn't get a high ATAR or whatever my parents use to measure my worth - I was not useless because I am fortunate enough to be in a position to be able to change someone else's life. I've read enough Chicken Soup for the Soul stories to know that it's possible for just one person to make an impact... and I told myself that was what I was going to live for.

Today, I've learnt a lot of new things about parenting, especially Chinese parenting, and its effects on children. Everyone experiences it differently. Who knows? Maybe some children don't really mind it - they've truly put it behind them now that they're acing life. Maybe they're even grateful. But I know that when I was being verbally abused day in day out, there was no way I could stand it. And I do know other people who can't wait to move out and have come to despise their parents.

I still feel bitter about my childhood and I don't think I can ever forgive my dad for how he made me feel when I was young - unless he apologises. But fat chance of that ever happening. He still asks me things like: "Why don't we get along??? I feel like we should, we have so many similar opinions on things!" <-- which is also completelyyyyyyyyy inaccurate.

Anyway. This has been a really good cathartic exercise. Even now, as a 20 year old 'adult', I still think back to the years that made me who I am now. All that fucking pain. I hope one day my dad will realise why our relationship is the way it is now - kind of shit and dysfunctional.

I can imagine him sitting in an armchair, old and shrunken, cheeks freckled and saggy, his wrinkled hands gesturing towards me in the air:

What the heck did I ever do to you???

If you ever feel lost, hopeless, lonely and anxious - find someone to talk to. It helps immensely. Don't keep it bottled up inside, especially if the only reason is that you don't want to be a 'burden' to your family or friends. In addition, there are always counselors at high school or university.

Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800
To support Mental Health Week, ABC is going Mental As... Join us, show your support and donate to mental health research today.

Occupy Central in Hong Kong

It's been a tumultuous few weeks in Hong Kong. One of my best friends is currently on exchange at Hong Kong University, and she tells me that every day there are students skipping class to take part in their own Occupy Central protest on university grounds. Classes have diminished in size, while public spaces, mostly centred around Admiralty, have ballooned with impassioned truants.

Here's a photo she sent me:

Who knows what will happen a week from now - whether it's going to escalate or die down - but it has been fascinating watching the responses of my peers to Occupy Central. Over this past weekend, a number of my mother's colleagues staged a peaceful demonstration outside the Victorian State Library, holding placards emblazoned with democratic slogans and draped with yellow ribbon. A man whom I personally know was said to have orchestrated the event, and later on in the day, I saw a Facebook video of him making a rousing speech to at least a hundred others about how overseas Hong Kongers must show their support and pride for those at 'home'.

"Later, if someone comes up to make a speech - film it, put it online and let everyone know that the Hong Kong people of Melbourne are not just sitting here doing nothing, but that we also have a voice. We will let the world know, the people in Hong Kong know, that we are actively supporting democratic Hong Kong!" 

Video accessible here:

Saturday, 13 September 2014

I went to see Kanye West and other random things

How the hell am I still getting page views on this thing?
In a way, it's kind of validating to know that people still stalk my Facebook profile so meticulously. I mean -  it's really the only way to get to my blog these days. Unless one of you creeps have linked my blog on your own AKB48 fanpage.

So it's the end of week seven of semester two and I just spend the past two hours re-watching The Best of Ari Gold on YouTube, as well as reminiscing all the times I used to imitate Ari's greatest lines from Entourage and try them out on random people at high school. The best Ari-moment of my life was probably that time in year eight or nine, when a campy guy in the year below me wished me happy birthday at the canteen line and I immediately responded with a gratuitously loud 'SHUT THE FUCK UP.' Heads turned. Jaws dropped. I blushed. And one boy's social life was scarred forever by 2.712 seconds of utter public humiliation. I stood around 5'2'' and still wore bows in my hair. My fashion sense did not match the things that came out of my mouth. Anyway, I'm also pretty sure that that was way before I had discovered Entourage - so I must have been born suave.

Also, I've told this story a billion times. I love this story. If you've heard me personally regale it to you, then you must know me relatively well.

I went to see Kanye West at Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday night and I've got to say - I am sooooo disappointed. I paid, what, 150 dollars to watch a guy rap on stage for two hours and nothing more. I could have watched better Kanye performances on YouTube. Apart from the epilepsy inducing, flashing triangular protrusion on centre stage (and I'm not talking about Kanye West), there were no other noteworthy special effects. There were no back up dancers. No other significant props. No Kanye swinging around on a ceiling-mounted Illuminati symbol/Kim Kardashian. I mean COME ON. It's Kanye at a bloody concert. If I wanted to just see a guy perform on stage, I'd have gone to fucking Ed Sheeran at Festival Hall to swoon at the amazing acoustic atmosphere while totally yelling out RON WEASLEY! mid-song and holding up a giant poster of Ron Weasley.

I watched Byzantium a few hours ago. Gemma Arteton is actually not a bad actress - at least in that movie. I enjoyed her acting for once. But Saoirse (pronounced Ser-sha apparently) Ronan is the bomb. I love her. She is so beautiful and talented and her voice is so seraphic and smooth and SHE IS THE SAME AGE AS ME <3

I really like her eyes.

I would stare into them all day long.

* this blog is such a fail. I don't think I can ever update this frequently if I don't write like I sound like an asshole.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Book: The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (+ my rants on Chinese parenting)

If you are a parent, you should read this book and then read my blog post. If you are an Asian kid with tiger parents, let's totally empathise about how miserable our childhoods were.

"Unjustified as Mrs. Kazinczy may have been, she was still a teacher, an authority figure, and one of the first things Chinese people learn is that you must respect authority. No matter what, you don't talk back to your parents, teachers, elders." - Amy Chua in The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother


That is one of the most disgusting things I have ever read.  And if Amy Chua could see me right now, I would vomit the bok choy and mi goreng I had for lunch all over her book in a furious display of disapproval. 

For a Yale law professor who is married to another Yale law professor, this woman can be ridiculously atavistic. One of the overwhelming themes in this 'satirical' auto-biography about raising her daughters is that all ADULTS ARE GODS and even when they're manifestly wrong, children must treat them like they're right i.e. smile and take their shit.



I despise this sort of Chinese style parenting and I disagree with the idea of 'respecting' your elders so much that you aren't allowed to speak up and reason with them. If I ever became a mother, I would treat my children like mini-adults, training them to think for themselves and encouraging them to try their hand at winning an argument with cogent reasoning (even if it's on the topic of 'why we should watch TV first and do homework second').  

To derogate your kids and oppress their thoughts is just tyrannical - I mean, hasn't anyone read Ender's Game already? Children are never 'stupid' - they're inexperienced, and their thought processes are much more sophisticated than some adults would ever imagine. To think that it's okay to win arguments by yelling (anything tantamount to:) "BECAUSE I'm your mother" or "I'm the one who puts a roof over your head and food on your table" is therefore, ridiculously fascist and in a way will actually indoctrinate your children with the idea that it is okay to ignore other people's opinions and to impose arbitrary rules upon others if you are their superior. 

This is also something my dad firmly believes in. He used to be an Eagle Dad (dad version of tiger mum) and during our countless screaming matches, I would protest about the inevitability that I would lose the argument because, DUH, I was the 'child' and had no real power in the relationship. For example:

"This is so unfair! So many people have told me that I'm good at drawing!"




- my dad, in those exact bloody words.

And no doubt, it's not just my dad. I know a lot of my peers who believe that it is also a 'way of life' that powerful people get to treat others like shiet - and accepts it. It's a traditional way of thinking and unless we're living in Japan, South Korea or some other heavily Confucian-infused culture where it would be impossible to speak back to a superior without getting abused/fired, I think it's bullshit. 


And that's exactly what Louisa, Amy's younger daughter, thought of it. She turned out a bit like me. After suffering under dictatorial rule for years and years, she started to rebel at every opportunity. 

Yelling back. Throwing things across the room. Banging on walls. Crying and screaming unabashedly in classy restaurants and threatening to throw glass cups onto the floor/table/wall. Dobbing on the parents to teachers. Telling our friends.

It was war. 

And in the end, Louisa won. That's really what the whole book is about in the first place. Amy Chua wrote this book because she is the world's biggest humble-brag.

By the time she admitted that Chinese parenting was tearing them apart and had apologised to her daughter, she had already vaunted for 300 pages about how both her daughters had become academic geniuses and musical virtuosos, with Louisa, still a preteen, being invited to play the violin at concerts and stuff. 

SO IN CONCLUSION, Amy Chua still believes that despite all the pain and suffering they both went through, it was definitely worth it.  At least for her, she says.

 What if you tried the same method with your children (pushing them really hard at school and music etc.), produced a mean maths machine who won every single gold medal at Maths Olympiad, only to lose their love? And what if, due to your constant subjugation, your son turns into a guy with no self-confidence? 

Wellity well well, here comes the turning point. Apparently, Louisa and her mum made up and now they love each other very much. But every child and family is different. In my household, my dad and I are pretty much still at loggerheads every second. We're totally dysfunctional and I can't remember any time we've ever said "I love you" (compared to Amy and Louisa, who apparently have always had a habit of writing little notes of love to each other). And Amy has to understand that not every Chinese parent is a Yale Law school professor with perfect English and connections to the best academic resources in the world (there was one night where she invited a whole bunch of Supreme Court Judges to a family dinner). The fact that her daughters are still grateful for what their mum has given them despite her fascist tutelage really fucking depends on these sort of things.

The only thing I will respect Amy Chua for is her dedication to her children. That's it. Things like her unhesitating willingness to make hour long driving trips at 6am so that her children can attend music lessons, or to spend her pensioner's savings on their tuition. 

I mean, my parents yell at me for still being on my L plates, and yet 90% of the time when I ask them to sit beside me while I drive somewhere, they will say they're "way too exhausted" = can't be fkd. Seriously mum?!?!

Anyway. Chinese parenting is a bet of a lifetime.

If you succeed to win back your children's love after making their lives miserable, then it's worth it. Really worth it. 

If you don't, your children will hate you forever and never want to speak to you again. 

The only certain thing in both situations - they will have no childhood.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Weekly News Dump 16/2/14 to 22/2/14

Note: Some of these articles were published back in Jan.


A few weeks ago, my friends and I watched Robocop at the cinema. Despite what people have said about it being 'dour' (compared to the original 1987 Robocop) - well, I still really enjoyed the film. I just love seeing predictions of future technology being played out on a big screen. The social ramifications. The romantic ramifications. The testing of humanity ('Is it worth fighting for? Is it worth dying for?' - Morpheus from Matrix Reloaded, it was on TV last night hehe). I love this stuff.

When we came out of the cinema, my friend told me that he didn't think anything like Robocop would ever become reality. Something about it looking too ridiculous and being a far-fetched idea. I was like 'Hmmm...'  But in my mind, I was like '....WHAAAAAAT?'  If anything, Robocop is our impending future. America already has drones in Syria and South Korea has Samsung robots (Samsung Techwin SGR-A1) guarding the Korean DMZ. Android models are already in the making at universities like Princeton and MIT. So dude, what are you even on about.

To give you a better idea of what's being developed and how far 'killer robots' or 'military robots' have come, here are two really awesome articles:

Should A Robot Decide When To Kill?: The Ethics of War Machines - The Verge
(includes an informative video worth watching)

As Military Robots Increase, So Does the Complexity of Their Relationship with Soldiers - Newsweek


In what may be slightly unrelated to the article...
Medical students are ultimately trained to help each other out, to work towards a common goal of helping and caring for people in need. Law students, on the other hand, are ultimately encouraged to be legendary assholes - to be uber competitive, emotionally detached and sometimes, grossly entitled. I say this because almost every medical student I have met so far has been talkative, engaging, extremely friendly and very mature. But I've met more than a handful of law students who have spent entire conversations rattling on about themselves or just being super fake-friendly. I don't feel like they're actually interested in you, rather they come off very condescending, and it's not uncommon to meet one with a serious superiority complex. Of course, I've met wonderful people in law - but it's also the law faculty that has the most horribly immature, loud-mouthed, super entitled, egocentric, smart people - it's scary. As one of my friends said, it's like the law faculty made a point of enrolling all the smart jocks (he was referring to the male student population).

Sometimes – unfortunately – being an asshole is the way to get ahead -  The Guardian
From Tom Perkins to Tim Armstrong, high-profile obnoxiousness is everywhere. And with good reason, sadly: there’s evidence that acting dislikeably can boost your status

Sochi 2014: Controversy as Russian Adelina Sotnikova upsets Korean favourite Kim Yu-Na to snatch figure skating gold medal

Read more:

Rumours of corruption from the judging panel.  Everyone saying Kim Yu-Na was robbed of a gold model.  Sotnikova's performance vastly inferior, says, everyone. A petition on to give the gold medal to the rightful winner (not Sotnikova) gaining something like 700,000 signatures in 7 hours. Well, don't take my word on the stats. But it currently (7.30pm EST) has:
Almost 2 million votes.

And how cool is this? Earlier this afternoon, if you Google searched Yuna Kim, Google would return with 'Yuna Queen'.  

A must watch video brought to you by The Representation Project, if not to lol when 'Miley Cyrus' comes up

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Weekly News Dump 15/2/2014

Happy Valentine's!

Caption: “Recently, a detachment of officers and men from the People’s Armed Police in Liangshan, Sichuan held roses to depict ‘thousand-armed Guanyin,’ celebrate Valentine’s Day’s arrival, and use this opportunity to express sincerest wishes to their sweethearts a world away.”

Ugly side of beauty business
Global Times | 2014-2-13 18:38:07 
By Lin Meilian

"At 5'9 ('short'), in my mid-20s ('old') and a curvier-than-average frame ('fat'), I probably wouldn't have worked as a model in Paris or Milan, but I was embraced by Istanbul and China," she wrote. 

...  dem bracketed explanations.

The Chinese traditional greeting "Have you eaten?" sounds very annoying to Western models as they are constantly hungry, Maria Makarenko, 21, a Russian model and actress in Beijing, told the Global Times.


"Sex will always quietly surround those who make a career selling their image," she wrote. "But in Asia, it's pervasive: model life, if one so chooses, becomes a hypersexual nightscape of drugs and promiscuity." 

One of her friends, a Canadian model named Rebecca, was once asked by the manager of one of Beijing's most popular nightclubs to stay for one such after-party. She was told she could earn 10,000 yuan in one night for "entertaining" a Chinese businessman. 

"After refusing, she returned home in tears," she wrote.

Full article via Global Times

Norway Mass Murderer Demands Better Video Games in Prison

Anders Behring Brevik killed 77 people in Norway in 2011. Since he said that he usedCall of Duty to practice his aiming andWorld of Warcraft to hide his plans, video games have been became part of the story of his horrific crime. Now, 18 months into a 21-year prison sentence, he's demanding that his PS2 be upgraded to a PS3.

Via Kotaku

Former Japanese Prime Minister Meets Comfort Women

via The Diplomat , Feb 15, 2014
Considering that in the past few weeks, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, his LDP cronies and the NHK media have made amazingly stupid and provocative comments/actions that completely deny Japan's wartime aggression, this comes as a nice interregnum in the whole 'LET'S STIR SHIT UP' mentality of the Japanese government.

Viral Drinking Game Kills 4 

Video via CNN, Feb 14, 2014
The Neknominate dares have caught on in Britain and now the Brits are going absolutely crazy, with politicians getting in on the safety debate and outraged dads being pulled in for interviews.

A Vintage Commercial for Contraceptive Pills in Korea

via .  Click link for detailed analysis.

How a Math Genius Hacked OkCupid to Find True Love

An uber cool read: via Wired

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Book: The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Oh my gad. Dem feelz.

Why did I read this?

To help my COD and LOL/DOTA addicted brother get through the throes of VCE English.

Did I like the book? 

Yes. I loved it.

As I closed the woebegone cover of a library copy, I took a deep breath and leaned back in my chair, letting the crepuscular shards of sunlight hit my closed eyes through the window's laced curtains. I stared up at the ceiling and heaved, a single tear rolling down my cheek. I could almost hear Norah Jones' come away with me play in the background - the perfect soundtrack to a cliffhanger ending that was both sudden and utterly compelling.

What. A. Story.

Why did I crai?

I know for sure that if I had studied this book to death for VCE, I wouldn't have liked it as much, or even liked it at all. Firstly, I would have been way too caught up with the technicalities i.e. analysing the context, prose, themes, motifs, quotes. That would have stultified any sort of initial enthusiasm I had for the story. Secondly, I would have been too young and inexperienced to gage the significance of the protagonist, Changez's agonising self-discovery. 

But now, at 19.83 years of age, having lost the cock-sure attitude of first year uni and now grappling with issues concerning the uncertainty of my own future, I could actually empathise with Changez's problems. See, one of the main narratives in this story is about the 22 year old Princeton graduate's career at the exclusive valuation firm, Underwood Samson. After battling his way through a ridiculously competitive interview process, Changez wins a position at the firm and becomes its top new performer. Life seemed perfect. He got good money. He was dating a beautiful girl he had been smitten with for a very long time. He had won people's respect.  

But what does this all amount to in the bigger picture? 

Nothing, as Changez would discover.

His home country, Pakistan, is being invaded by American troops. His family lives in fear and danger. Pakistani cab drivers in New York are being racially abused after 9/11.
The love of his life spirals into depression.  
His company, Underwood Samson, gets rich by advising other companies where to lay off workers.

On the surface, his life seemed perfect. But behind the facade, things were pretty fucked up, and he was not in a position to change the status quo. To be honest, that's reality for most people. 

I related so much to Changez's story because like him, I once had a very clear image of my life's trajectory - I was so sure of where I was going to go. I was ambitious, passionate and idealistic. In fact, I wanted to change the world.

Suddenly, some shit things happened and I grew up a bit. Whether it be family or friends, academics or career prospects, some of my friends and I were becoming disillusioned, upset and a bit lost. We all felt the need to 'ace life', or at least show everyone else that we were. We were confronted with harsh realities and we had to make hard decisions. 

For Changez, 9/11 and its aftermath definitively changed the way he looked at America, but it was not until the girl he loved, Erica, committed suicide that he finally woke up to discover a robotic white-collar life at Underwood Samson did not amount to anything resembling true happiness or 'The American Dream'. He quit and went back to Lahore where his family lived. 

Of course, the book touches on a lot of other themes including American neo-Imperialism and cultural identity. These are pivotal catalysts for the story but for me, it was primarily Changez's harrowing love story with Erica and his disillusionment with his career that really hit me hard in the feelz. I guess my interpretation of where in the story lies its significance also says a lot about who I am and what I've been through.

I would recommend this book to everyone, especially people who are at least of university age. Not to be condescending, but I doubt most high schoolers, especially the happy-go-lucky ones would be able to truly empathise with Changez and understand the weight of his decisions.  

But... whatever. Good luck to my bro.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

I went to Shanghai on a study abroad program (Nov 2013 - Jan 2014) !!!

Also, I've told so many stories and written so many articles and posts about the neon-lit, drug-addled debauchery of Shanghai's nightlife wonderful teachers and students at my host university that I can no longer be screwed writing about it again. Almost as worse as studying Shakespeare and VCE Chinese, this automatic expectation that I relate 'all the juicy details' of my adventures in Shanghai is one of the most tedious things I've ever had to do.  I HATE IT. I HATE IT MORE THAN THE FINALE OF AMERICAN HORROR STORY SEASON 3. 


Therefore, I will be linking everyone to the politically correct (nontheless truthful) article I wrote for E-Magazine. It will also be distributed at Monash University during O-Week, so look out for it.  If you're looking for some of those juicier details, visit my other blog (which unfortunately, is only accessible by a limited no. of people because I have nightmares about potential employers finding it during a stalking sesh and proceeding to shit their pants at my puerile douchebaggery).   


Yeah.  Shanghai is why I haven't been blogging for the last three months.  If I had to give a laconic precis, it would be:

Studying abroad in Shanghai changed my life, not because it drastically improved my Chinese, but because I met amazing people and made great, and I hope, lifelong friendships with many of them.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, YAY I CAN NOW BLOG ABOUT THINGS I ACTUALLY LIKE TO BLOG ABOUT.