On the Right Foot

I am starting 2019 on the right foot, and to whoever is reading this, I hope you are, too. Happy New Year, and I wish you all the best.

My birthday’s in January, so naturally, every turn of a new year to me marks another year of age. I am turning twenty-two soon, and most of those twenty-two years, I have rarely ever missed a single moment of transition from one year to another, always stayed up past midnight. Last year and the year before, I was even among the crowd, counting down, bursting with joy when the Habour Bridge was lit up by fiery flowers in front of our very eyes.

This year, I’m sitting quietly in my bedroom, in a quiet house, in a quiet neighbourhood far from the excitement in the city centre. Continue reading “On the Right Foot”

Mirrors and Prisms

This session at university, I took a class that not only opened my eyes to the actual way uni and the work future are connected but gave me rich insights into what a beautifully tangled web each of us is in, in work and in life.

1. Webs

This session at university, I took a class that not only opened my eyes to the actual way uni and the work future are connected but gave me rich insights into what a beautifully tangled web each of us is in, in work and in life.

Continue reading “Mirrors and Prisms”

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.

1.

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”

A reflection on writing reflections

Dedicated to the celebration of—finally, finally—handing in my last assignment of the semester.

Dedicated to the celebration of—finally, finally—handing in my last assignment of the semester.

Also, this post has not been through my usual religious routine of proofreading and editing, so everything is everywhere. But since it reflects (no pun intended) my current post-final-assignments state of mind, I’ll be this unruly version of me for a while.


For one of our subjects this session, the final task is to write a (compared to the usual 300-level word limits, very) short reflection that is worth 20% of our final mark—no scholarly sources were required, the only criteria were honesty and insightfulness.

That, to me, was the hardest assignment to write in this first half of my third year. It is not the academic rigour that challenges me anymore; it’s original thinking that does. Continue reading “A reflection on writing reflections”

Me, Myself, and I (and a Movie)

How I enjoy going to the cinema alone – and how that has to to with time geography

Since I’ve been in Australia a year and a half ago, I haven’t set foot in a single movie theatre (Well I actually have, but just to see the price and had to ‘casually’ walk out – those prices were ridiculously high, compared to what I had been so used to in Vietnam (about AUD3.00-4.00 per ticket).

I absolutely, utterly, extremely love going to the movie theatre on my own, Continue reading “Me, Myself, and I (and a Movie)”

Better Late Than Never – a Story of Grandpa and the Telly

The telly came to Vietnam a little later than most parts of the world – but my 70-year-old Grandpa made the best out of it.

That was what Grandpa emphasised more than twice during our Viber call last night – we couldn’t video-call because the Internet connection was just appalling – when I asked him to tell me about his TV memories. Continue reading “Better Late Than Never – a Story of Grandpa and the Telly”