Young and Wild and (Never) Free

“‘What are you going to do with your life?’ In one way or another it seemed that people had been asking her this forever … Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you.” (David Nicholls, One Day)

Not long ago, in the middle of the night, a good friend from high school messaged me. They were exhausted from overworking. On top of that, they had just split up with their significant other, who—hurt from a lack of couple’s time and communication—immediately booked the earliest flight possible back to their city. My friend was shattered, to the point that they could not shed any tear. They were in dire need of someone to listen to their story, but they struggled to tell it. Continue reading “Young and Wild and (Never) Free”

Get the Balance Right (a.k.a. An Intervention for an Intervention)

Why are us consumers the (seemingly) only ones responsible for changing all of our habits to save the Earth?

 

Assuming online magazines like TrendHunter are truly trend hunters, we are all in a craze for all things “design-conscious, cost-effective, and low impact alternative[s]” (Pijak 2018); from eco-packagings to eco-vehicle and eco-house, the slope sure is slippery. That is by no means to say we are a blind herd of trend-chasers, but it sure puts some wondering in one’s head—why are us consumers the (seemingly) only ones responsible for changing all of our habits to save the Earth?

quote
(Lukacs 2017)

Continue reading “Get the Balance Right (a.k.a. An Intervention for an Intervention)”

An interview with my mentor

or, as subtly aggressively subtitled, ‘The treachery of elasticity’.

or, as subtly aggressively subtitled, ‘The treachery of elasticity’

“… the possibility of narrating the lived and passing to another person his/her life experience, makes the experience that is finite, infinite, and of fundamental importance for the construction of the collective notion.”

(Muylaert et al. 2014, p. 185)

***

My gratitude goes to Shooshi, for her time, her guidance, her kindnessfor the person she is.

 

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I have always been an overthinker, a perfectionist, someone always looking for approval—all of which had led to tangled ruminations over whom to choose when I was tasked with conducting a narrative interview with an individual in my dream profession. What do I want to take on upon graduation? Who do I want to become? Who can give me the most crucial advice?

Continue reading “An interview with my mentor”

Playfully Serious—on One Girl & the ‘Do It In A Dress’ Initiative

On a little playful (literal) dress-up for a serious cause, which even guys are doing.

“Size tip: If you’re doing something active, we recommend going up one size from your usual dress size.”

This tip, by the Australian non-profit organisation One Girl, applies to both female and male volunteers in Do It In A Dress (henceforth DIIAD), an annual initiative started in 2011 to battle educational inequality in Africa, aiming to provide at least one million girls with the proper education to which they are entitled. Fundraisers—in teams or individually—partake in (usually active) activites: dancing, surfing, even skydiving, all while donning school dresses issued by the NPO, to attract donors. Continue reading “Playfully Serious—on One Girl & the ‘Do It In A Dress’ Initiative”

Uncertainty, Ambiguity, and the ‘Human’ in ‘Humanities’

In my version of the future of work, STEM will not dominate over the humanities. For the “human” in “humanities” is what allows us to work with ambiguity and make sense of our complex narratives.

“Humanists ‘have known there is no right answer for hundreds of years,’ and they are comfortable with that.”

(David Blei, cited in Mackenzie 2013)

A few days ago, in my Future of Work seminar, all of us made a human bar chart which I titled in my notes ’30 Average Uni Students’ Level of Tolerance of Ambiguity’.

Later, I added a line about where I was among those 30—the highest end of the tolerance spectrum, along with another friend. I scored 30 (the median was about 55-60) on the Tolerance of Ambiguity Scale, a psychometric testing instrument of which the design alone seems to be another embedded test for a person’s patience towards confusing instructions. One is supposed to reverse the score they get for even-numbered questions, and the higher the final result, the less tolerant they are of uncertainty and change. Continue reading “Uncertainty, Ambiguity, and the ‘Human’ in ‘Humanities’”

Puff Pastries

It’s 10 p.m. on a Friday, and I am stress-baking.

It’s 10 p.m. on a Friday, I have a metre-long to-do list for the weekend, and I am typing away while waiting for my batch of puff pastries to rise nicely in the oven. Stress-baking, that’s what it might be.

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When I was around 11-12, my Mum, my very Vietnamese Mum, took up bakingat the time, to most households, a convection oven was treated as a luxury. French gâteaux. French pastries. She printed out stacks of recipes on A5 sheetswith ingredients put in bold, measurements underlined, important notes in italicall neatly laminated, hole-punched, and bound with a gold ribbon. Her proudest moment, one that I can recall vividly, was when she took a tray full of puffy croissants out of our tiny oven, joy dancing in her eyes; she had spent that entire Sunday folding and rolling out, from scratch, a batch of puff pastry.

For years, up until her career took a turn, Mum had kneaded and mixed and baked. These days, whenever they are flooding back, my teenage memories always fill me with the smell of dough and fresh cream and butter. Continue reading “Puff Pastries”

Delicately Blunt—on Laura Bates & the Everyday Sexism Project

On a project, a movement, a collection of blunt stories delicately handled.

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A recent entry on the website

Of the 60,000 stories contributed by visitors worldwide on the Everyday Sexism website (Kellaway 2014), such raw, uneasy stories occupy a significant portion. Blunt as they sound, they are handled delicately by the team behind the project. Founded in 2012 by Laura Bates—a British feminist writer frustrated with blatant harassment—it aims to counter societal denial towards existing sexism (Everyday Sexism Project n.d.) through an ever-growing collection of stories, small and large. Visitors are greeted by a textbox asking them to recount any sexist incidents in their daily lives, and they can do so anonymously. Currently, the website comes in 25 country-versions and roughly 20 languages, including Russian, Chinese, Portuguese, and many more. Continue reading “Delicately Blunt—on Laura Bates & the Everyday Sexism Project”