The Return of Kakistocracy: The Results of Last Night

 

This morning, I woke up in a country ruled by kakistocracy. Yesterday, we were a democratic republic and we exercised that right by voting for our presidential candidates. We, the people, had the power to vote and I am so disappointed to say that this will probably go down as one of the poorest decisions the U.S. citizens have ever made. The extent of the damage we will incur doesn’t just stop at Donald Trump. In case you forget, Mike Pence will be elected into office too. This isn’t just limited to our nation. This affects the world. Look at how South Korea’s stock market just crashed in light of last night’s events. People have been trying to justify their support for Trump but in the end, I just pity them for their lack of information, ignorance, and blindness. Just because he promises to ‘make America great again’ doesn’t mean he will go through with it. However, we already have proof of his bigotry, racism, sexism, and classism. He is corrupt in the truest sense of the word and yet people continue to praise him higher than Clinton. Clinton has her own pitfalls but they are not powered by hate. We see proof of the aforementioned aggressions and white privilege, and yet we continue to allow it to fester. Today, hate prevailed. Where underlying tensions and oppressions were subtle to say the least, they are now fully exposed. We, America, are truly a divided country.

I truly hope those who voted for Trump understand the full ramifications upon the lives of people of different backgrounds, ethnicities, and orientations. I can only speak this as a second-generation Chinese-American female millennial and future educator, someone who will be deeply impacted by his values and future actions. My parents and grandparents did not immigrate here with the expectation of institutionalized hate crimes, racism, sexism, and bigotry hurled at them. We thought this country was progressive. We thought we changed but instead, we traveled back in time. This is the result but I ardently hope this will encourage political discussions with peers, families, and friends because it is relevant. The history we learn in class is necessary, and it is all the more reason for civics to be deeply integrated into the educational curriculum. For the next 4 years and on, please educate each other and stay informed, so that rather than a precedent, this election will serve as a cautionary tale for young generations as they emerge into their own respective beings.

 

Unexpected Hiatus

Hello everyone!!

So I have been neglecting the blog ever since the end of finals in May (AGH IT’S ALREADY NOVEMBER) and it doesn’t seem like I will return anytime soon. I can’t believe it has been half a year since my last entry! I’ll be lurking around but this semester is super hectic as I am taking four STEM courses. In addition, leading a life group (some people call it a bible study group), heavy involvement with the dance team, cultural club, tutoring, and part-time job has all but exhausted me. This semester has marked new changes in my life as I read less and less, and spent more time glued to my textbooks. In short, education has truly taken over my life and it is quite overwhelming to say the least.On a side note, the biology and math courses are different from the typical pedagogy classes I took in previous semesters, but they are highly engaging and interesting. Biology presents a different sort of challenge as I discover how to apply concepts, write lab reports, and create examples to supplement graphs and equations. The enjoyment of learning and participating in these classes has surprisingly reassured me that I am in the right major. For those who do not know, I am first and foremost an elementary educator major, and I recently picked a specialization in biology for my second major in STEM. The course workload is difficult but I enjoy how profound and complex life systems can be. The enjoyment of learning itself is such a blessing which almost invalidates the grade I receive for it.

I hope to return to reading and writing routinely but chances are slim for now. Since I am so preoccupied with my academic studies, I will attempt to pen anecdotes and ruminations about my current life in lieu of the book reviews. To be honest, I don’t remember the last time I actually sat down and journalled. I have a strong feeling that I will most likely ‘word vomit’ and say whatever comes into my mind. Already, I feel like this post is a train wreck…I admit, I am so out of practice that my writing skills has downgraded to the level of a high schooler. Which is all the more reason that I should start writing again!

P.S. Here, have a picture of me by the lake! (I am the one on the left.)

Dragon’s Loyalty Award

dragon

Hello!~ It’s actually been a while since I got nominated for an award so it’s going to be fun fun fun! Thank you, Summer from xingsings for nominating me for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award. I saw that she used a customized thumbnail for the award so I googled the original picture for the award. Erm…yes, so I’m going to also use a different picture because the original tag is not that appealing.

1. I am part of a traditional Chinese dance team that goes by a name with ‘Dragon’ in it.

2. I used to be a psychology and elementary ed major but I switched my psych major to iSTEM with a bio specialization so I will be graduating a semester late.

3. I think Zootopia is better than Frozen.

4. I don’t really watch any TV shows (believe me, I’ve tried) and I don’t have Netflix.

5. I love orange juice (not from concentrate). And 2% milk. Skim milk is so sickly-looking.

6. I rarely wear makeup. I’m just honestly lazy and even if I do, I just wear eyeliner.

7. I’m afraid of heights but I still go on roller coasters and ropes courses for the thrill of it.


 

~THE RULES~

Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and a link back.
You must share seven things other bloggers may not know about you.
Nominate up to fifteen bloggers for Dragon’s Loyalty Award, provide a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.
Copy and paste the award somewhere on your blog.


 

Blogger Nominations:

I’m nominating my new followers because I hope to converse with you more and get to know you better through this!

thebookllama at thebookllama.wordpress.com

Lola @ Hit or Miss Books

thebookishfae

jamnesreen at Heartscent Reads

Anna at https://spacecatsandbooks.wordpress.com

 

EXOPLANET #2: Exo’luXion in NY

Hello fellow bloggers!

I wanted to talk about my other hobbies aside from books because they’re just as much a part of my life as reading is.

I have been listening to Kpop since junior year in high school but I wasn’t really into until college began. And at that time, I still am not as invested as I am now. Because there’s deeper holes to fall into than just simply listening to the music. In fact, Kpop consists of boy groups and girl groups and each of them have their very own fandom. This is just a little bit of information on it but I just wanted to say that I attended Exo’s concert a couple weeks ago!

This is Exo:

Yes, that’s nine members that you’re looking at. I wouldn’t say that I’m part of the Exo-L fandom (EXO-L is the name of their fandom) but I am indeed a huge fan of their music. I loved 90% of all the songs they sang in the concert. (I was really sad they didn’t sing El Dorado 😦 But I was happy they didn’t sing Wolf. LOL)


Highlights:

  1. I was 100% sure by the middle of the concert that my bias is Xiumin. YES, IT’S OFFICIAL YA’LL.

    Okay, my fangirling is over.
  2. Their choreography wasn’t as on point as I expected it to be. Sadly, it wasn’t that synchronized but their voices were magical! It’s like straight out of the CD.
  3. The view was pretty good for $160.
    20160221_212724.jpg
  4. It was LIT. Teeming with screams and shouts, the entire section was standing up and waving their lightsticks.
  5. They sang some of my all-time favorites: Run, Peter Pan, Lucky, 3.6.5., My Answer, Playboy, etc.
  6. Xiumin and Chanyeol were super lively and so extra during their performances. They really brought up the energy in the crowd.
  7. The Lucky performance is a huge fan service. I remember watching their Manila performance because the screen ripped while they were changing behind it LOL.
  8. Their English was terrible but they tried. The translator had a heavy accent but she tried. It’s okay, music transcends barriers.
  9. The stage was extended but relatively simple. The only prop that they really brought out was a huge cube that Chanyeol stood on.
  10. D.O.’s vocals gave me life.
  11. I redeemed my Chipotle (Raincheck coupon) before I attended the concert hehe so I got a free dinner.
  12. The pit definitely got a lot of interaction. Would I go in the pit? On strictly 2 conditions: It’d be for BTS and if the package included a hi-touch/autograph session.

Here is my favorite video clip they played during an interlude: https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/4fB8fjR2CbAcX7TmEpDxTtMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=directlink

Liked what you saw? Here are a couple music videos:


In case you were curious of what fandom I am actually part of, you can check out BTS’s music!

 

Junior Year: Starting Fall Semester

I have a couple weeks of summer left before school starts and it’s terrifying and anxiety-inducing simply to imagine the hassles of moving into my off-campus housing, buying books, and paying for other amenities. I’m very worried about what I’m going to do this semester because I’m past the halfway point which means I’m pressured to find an internship, look for student teaching opportunities, and get involved with the community and campus organizations. These are all things that I thought of fleetingly and now that fall semester is starting, pushing it to the back of my mind is now no longer an option.

I truly believe that attending college in America is expensive and not even a luxury. The job market is frankly too competitive for the average college student and we have to do too much to simply apply for an entry-level position. Graduates clamor to snatch an unpaid internship. UNPAID, do you hear me? I talk to people who go to top national universities and they tell me that they’re worried about not getting a job after graduation. Which is ridiculous because they’re literally paying to go to a brand name college since it will most likely guarantee them a job. However, the fact that they think about this shows just how bad the economy is right now. This correlates to the presidential election because America really needs someone who can help millennials right now. Forget about the corporations and middle-aged adults; we need a president who can help the youths and that means directly addressing education, testing, healthcare system, and the welfare of college students. Why is it that college graduates are unemployed?

I don’t want to end up like that so that means I need to struggle and work harder than my parents. My parents did not immigrate to America to pass on this burden to me; they came to achieve the American dream themselves. I worked hard as an adolescent alongside my parents at the restaurant but the point of me going to college is to never work at a restaurant again. But I find that I’m forced to work in the restaurant again during the summer because no one wants to pay when they can simply get volunteers, and oftentimes people require a connection to get a foot in the door.

Growing up poor is sadly a reality: I have no connections since I did not have the privilege to make them in my piss-poor environment. This leads to my current situation: I cannot afford to volunteer or have an unpaid internship. Who thought it a good idea to force labor on college students when they have to take out loans to pay for tuition?

So as a junior, I shake my head at all these expectations. The chips are stacked against me. I’m also Asian and although people say it’s a positive stereotype to be the model minority, I beg to differ. We are expected to be smart and very efficient so that means we need to work harder to meet those expectations. That sets the bar way higher for us than any other ethnicity. I need to be smarter than the average Asian to even join the workforce because there’s always another Asian available to replace me.

If you have the time, money, and means to attend cram school, get tutored, and take SAT/ACT (or whatever test your nation forces you to take) classes, please do it now. It only gets harder from hereon out.

Teaching in Taiwan

I recently just landed back in the U.S.!! This is such a bittersweet feeling; from my first venture outside of the States, boarding my first airplane (solo), coming back to JFK airport, to experiencing jet lag. The program has its faults when it comes to catering to different ages and rules but it was still a pleasure to be part of it. As a college rising junior, it was exceedingly difficult for me to follow some pointless rules such as “the two buttons on your issued polo shirt must never be open”. However, I might not have chafed at the tyrannous authority if I was two years younger. This program was fit for high schoolers, not for adults who are past the age of 18.

Aside from my two cents of criticism, I can say that a great deal of my experience was encompassed by excellent food, interesting cultural differences, and fascinating stores that are nowhere to be found outside of the country. One of the best stores I’ve discovered upon arrival was the 7-11 which is a mediocre franchise in America. However, Taiwan stocks each of its 7-11 with a wide variety of tasty foods such as onigiri, pudding (PUDDING is huge in Taiwan!), tea eggs, soups, and lots of other healthy options. Basically, I fell in love and it would feel sacrilegious for me to even step foot into an American 7-11.

Night Markets

Those are dotted in nearly every city and it’s a shame that I only visited a handful during my stay. The best ones I went to were Tonghua and Rao He Street Night Market both of which were situated in Taipei. I spent money so fast and so recklessly on clothes and food that it astonished me when I walked home with multiple bags. No regrets. The pros to night markets are the cheap foods, clothes, and other trinkets available from vendors. Whereas items like power banks are spared a passing glance in the U.S., there were so many choices to choose from and so many booths I passed before I finally bought one. ($6 for a 5600mAh power bank with a built-in flashlight component)

I ended up buying shoes that a women rendered beautiful paintings on. Night markets is a splendid experience and although I may not have bought anything at each one, it was still worth a walk around. Speaking of walking, the lanes are often crowded and the air is ridden with pungent smells that waft from a mixture of food stalls. Expect to smell the occasional stinky tofu stall; personally, the scent doesn’t bother me but friends have steered a wide berth around it. I also haven’t tried it yet so I’ll put that on my list for my return to Taiwan. I’d recommend it though because I’ve heard that it’s delicious once you get past the smell.

Final Verdict: GO TO THE NIGHT MARKETS. AS MANY AS YOU CAN. And try to bargain because these people often jack up their prices when their items have no price tags or fixed price.
P.S. And even if they do have price tag, still try to bargain!!! Ask for a discount if you promise to buy more than one item or wish to combine with a friend.

Stores and Food

I wish I had known earlier to hit the 7-11, cosmetic stores, and go to as many restaurants and food courts as possible. I wished I could’ve known that all brands based outside of Taiwan is bound to be appallingly expensive. I walked into the Body Shop and found a small lotion selling for $24 when I bought it for $7 back home. And there I was wandering around the high-end mall wasting away my time since I couldn’t afford anything. The only perk that came out of the visit was that the mall revolved around Taipei 101. Anddd, that was it.

I was never a picky eater but I came to realize that I did not even need to think hard about food because everything tasted good. I could waddle into any restaurant and come out full and having spent less than $6. I ended up trying many kinds of delicacies: duck blood was one of the best foods I tried along with oyster omelet, frog egg drink, and black sugar white gourd juice.I drank bubble tea wherever I can get it because it all tasted unique and delicious no matter where it’s from.

I was also in awe of Watsons and stationery stores. I did not know I wanted stationery until I visited 101 Stationery or Eslite; then I went all out and bought so many supplies. It was like a dream come true when I got an Oxi-gel mechanical pencil (UGH $5 only!) Watsons sold amazing cosmetics and other body products for cheap prices. When I was in the city, I saw Watsons everywhere so I reckon anyone else who comes to Taiwan will have little trouble seeking one. Unless you live in the countryside, of course. Then nearly everything’s hard to find.

Final Verdict: Try more food when I come back. Eat and buy everything. BUY LOTS OF PINEAPPLE CAKES AND SUN CAKES OR ELSE YOU’LL REGRET IT. Because I didn’t and I regret it deeply.

Country Life

And the thing is, I did stay in the countryside for 2 weeks which wasn’t bad at all. Although Taiwan is considered a newly rising first-world country, most of it is made up of natural landscapes, gorgeous green mountains, lots of vegetation and farms. On the plane, Taiwan was a patchwork of pretty farmland. Very picturesque…Oh, I forgot to mention, every family usually owns a mo-ped and/or a bike. Cars are a thing but parking lots are usually not so it’s common to see cars parked on the roadside. Bike racks are not a thing either. Can you believe that they don’t have bike locks? This level of trust is hard to find in America!! People just park their mo-peds and bicycles anywhere because no one steals them.

Weather was hot. Humid. And public bathrooms which included the school bathrooms were all standing lavatories. I easily adjusted to peeing into the ground during school hours. Toilets are provided for those who are handicapped and I found out it was also the case in urban cities.

The mosquitoes initially worried me but it did not pose a serious threat to me. Some of my other teachers got bitten badly and numerously that the several bites that I had were rendered trivial.

Final Verdict: Don’t worry about bug bites (?) On second thought, always spray yourself and make sure to put on sunscreen. Or better yet, bring an umbrella for shade wherever you go. The countryside is the best because fruit is abundant, ridiculously sweet, and cheap.

Teaching

As a recently declared elementary education major, I can hardly boast of many experiences in dealing with young children and even less with rising freshmen. I was startled to find myself walking into a class of ninth-graders whose English skills are impeccable in terms of writing and reading. It was honestly hard because the achievement gap between the paper and through speech was as wide as the Red Sea. They are smart, yes, but they are frighteningly shy which makes a terrible combination especially when two strangers from America walk in to the classroom to give them a pre-test. Teaching is not hard but encouraging students and giving them patience to break out of their shell is one of the most difficult tasks anyone will face on the first day. It is a constant battle that I discovered I had to fight every day from then on because my co-teacher and I lied to the students THAT WE COULD NOT SPEAK OR UNDERSTAND ENGLISH. There were only two options for the students: they can either give up hope of ever communicating with us (which one student groaned out loud as his response) or make do with what they have.

Classroom management was by far the least of our problems since these students were barely willing to talk or answer our questions. They were intelligent, and we as teachers also eventually learned to gauge their reactions through their subtle facial expressions and body language. They were eager to learn, fully attentive, and they showcased their excitement by leaning towards us instead of giving verbal responses. Their full-on English talking only came gradually in the days to come; it was like a trickle of water that persisted exponentially through time. Teaching was very fun because we always wanted their feedback on what they liked and disliked. They joked around and our laid-back attitude towards it fostered a friendly non-judgmental atmosphere.

English camp is only two weeks and they already know so much from cram school so what we focus on instead is their speech. Book reports, reader’s theater, playing Sparkle, I Love My Neighbor, Numbers/Animal games…these are all forms of icebreakers and speaking activities that combine to create fun memories. They are great kids who are able to fool around and still be able to be productively working in the meantime. I also want to thank my host family who were very accommodating and kind. I worried more about the heat since I was accustomed to the teaching lifestyle. Their snacks, encouragements, and excellent meals all motivated me to try my best. They took care of me better than my real family did. So it is bittersweet to leave them so soon and I wish them well.

Final VerdictI got lucky with these kids, with my host family, and with my co-partner. Thank goodness because this is going to be my career and it’s kind of too late to change my college major right now.

Tour

There was a tour at the end of the month and I was able to visit temples, aboriginal parks, and nature reserves. It’s hard to explain all the beauty so I’ll try to upload pictures when I get the time to. Taiwan is truly the heart of Asia and there’s so much indescribable beauty that no camera can capture properly.

Final verdict: This month was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had and I’m so glad that Taiwan was the first country I visited. I’m afraid many other countries may pale in comparison but let’s hope not. I’ll surely return and hopefully it’s soon.