Collective Memory

First.

I JUST FINISHED MY LAST EXAM (HOPEFULLY) OF MY UNDERGRAD ACADEMIC CAREER!

(i’m just waiting for all the credits to transfer and receive my diploma.  I pray there are no more problems about this.)

Anyway,  I’ve been wanting to write about this topic for awhile, because I found it quite interesting in my class.

“Memory is not authentic or natural, rather, derived from our engagement with mass mediated representations.  Mass media has become central to the mediation of memory in modern cultural life.”–From the class PPT

Maurice Halbwachs(1992), On Collective Memory.
“the past is not preserved but is reconstructed on the basis of the present.”

We spent some time discussing how current portrayals of historic incidents shape how Korean people think about Korea.  Speaking broadly for example, pop culture representations of North Korean people tended to be highly caricaturized and representations of Japanese people villainized.  The string of tragic conflicts in East Asia in the latter half of the 20th century are recurring themes in Korean films and television shows.  And Korean people have a very strong national pride.  I think these two ideas feed off of each other, and I think that is maybe why Korea has done a better job of preserving its cultural history–firstly, the desire to remember the history is there, secondly, because the memories of these time periods have probably been romanticized at least a little bit, and in the process of romanticizing, there has been calibrated emphasis placed on certain values. (i.e. loyalty, family ties, etc., etc.,)

As for China’s desire to play the soft power game, they do it by imitating successful soft power examples from Korea, Europe, and the USA.  It really doesn’t seem to be working that well…and some Chinese people aren’t too crazy about the phenomenon either.  Soft power can only come when the security in cultural identity is solid, and as China continues to re-invent who it wants to be, there is an already realized danger that the things that make China what it is are going to become extinct.  I had a conversation with a Chinese classmate who mourned the increasing demolition of Confucian tradition and values in China after visiting Korea.

Which makes me wonder, what are some of the other collective memories in China that the mass media should try to highlight in the hope of solidifying the new “Chinese Cultural Identity?” I think the kung fu movies and the food and holiday celebration documentaries are not enough.  But China is so big–huge–gargantuan–that I think it would be very difficult to construct national collective memories from the media.

Anyway, those were just a few thoughts. WeChat Image_20180622014618

(the face you make when you’re DONE!) (with one thing.)

 

 

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Waiting.

 

I think I’ve found my dream job, related to my major, incorporating a lot of separate interests, with a company that has a solid foundation but is agile enough to change and take risks, with enormous potential.  And I have been AGGRESSIVELY chasing them for pretty much since the last time you heard from me, and I am now playing skype date tag.  We cancelled twice, then he made me wait a week while he went on vacation or whatever, and now he’s FINALLY back in the office, and says he’s free early next week.  (Meanwhile, I might add, I made a spreadsheet of user data for a handful of their competitors, interacted with the UX learning and social platforms of said competitors, and added a couple sheets to the portfolio sample and suggestion file.)

Anyway, when he said, Monday or Tuesday next week, I immediately thought, “there goes another week of sleep.”  Then another person told me, “it’s your dream job, what difference does three or four days make?”

Well.

I have several things to say about this.

First.  I am hunting for a job.  Therefore, I am a little bit bent on practical side.

I am quite angry about how the society sees us almost postgrads, that we are less valuable than actual “members of the society.” That our time is less valuable, that the experience and education, while still limited, isn’t counted as “real”, that hiring us, no matter what kind of portfolio we present, is a liability.

*”Real World”这生词我觉得,就不该用,也许是创造这种糟糕的思考方式。中文,日语内的 “初社” 至少表达工作以前,还是做人的痛苦。

Anyway, I know I won’t think about anything else until I have a signed contract (or something to that end) in front of me. If I didn’t need to worry about housing, food, transportation cost, visa extension, et. cetera i could take all the time in the world. But I can’t, people are already asking when I’m coming back, and when I go back it will be, what are you doing now? Where are you going next?

Let’s be clear here.  I want to work for this company and GET PAID.  Sorry corporate, the unpaid intern thing only lasts so long.  (Comany main competitor) has the model you can develop stuff in remote teams FOR FREE.  For free.  FOR FREE???? yeah right.  I mean, sure, I’m sure I could be better at (this desired job) but is that difference really that much different? Like I heard the comparison between a 97% accurate surgeon and a 99% accurate surgeon, but I don’t think this example holds for this industry.

(I know I’m being pretty vague here, but a. I doubt you will have any idea what I’m talking about anyway, because no one seems to understand the specifics when I do explain, and b. if another future employer ever reads this, he won’t find any real dirt or people’s names.)

Anyway, I actually would probably have a lot of fun doing that, but on principle I’m refusing to go that way, also, for free=I have to find another job.   So. Absolutely not. (Side rant concluded.)

Anyway, what I think I intend to express here, is that I want this particular job so badly that the prospect of even having this really strong shot at it has already drained all my adrenaline and become a soul sucking, sleep stealing, sanity shredding monster.  I was eating lunch with my friend.  We always talk about job hunting, (because work=life) so we’re pretty up to date with each other’s progress.  And there was just this long, depressed lull in our conversation, where I had nothing to say and no energy to say anything anyway, because I’m still waiting for this guy to talk to me, and it was terrible.

Come on, person. If you’re gonna kill me, kill me all at once.

 

 

 

 

The Massage and the Meme

Recently, I started interning for a tech company.  It’s an office job, which means you’re sitting down for long stretches of time. I think my brain knew that but my body didn’t. The fibers and tissues and ligaments haven’t taken the news well, neither have my organs–or maybe that’s the excess of Chinese New Year food I’ve been eating–anyway, my back and shoulders have been hurting lately, so I thought I’d go and get a massage.  (I was also swayed by peer pressure.  Most of my friends have gotten some sort of massage in the last couple months, so I thought, why not?  It sounds nice.)

I forgot something important though.

I’m way too ticklish to have a massage.

The poor lady.  I squirmed around and tensed up as soon as she started to knead my arm. “Relax, relax.” *tenses more, face contorts in agony trying to refrain from a) laughing manically and b) forcefully retracting my arm.  It kind of works, in this case, I move the rest of my body and take the arm with me as I turn.

“Okay, so your arm isn’t a great place to start, let’s do your legs.”

I almost fell out of the bed and kicked her.  I literally couldn’t even finish this section, she kneaded for five ish seconds and I pulled away.  She forced me to at least accept massaging of the calf muscles.  My legs are not the problem, I don’t care and can’t feel any difference but okay.

She finally let me sit up and did the neck and trapezoids, which quieted me a bit, then I had to lay down again while she did the back. All the while I thought, never again.  Literally.  Please.

“It’s quite nice when you get used to it,” she kept repeating.

Well. No thank you. I’M STILL SORE, JUST IN A DIFFERENT WAY NOW! also, it could be the bad sleep quality I had last night, but I was kind of woozy when I came out of that place.

Anyway, this meme sums it up.

no

On a completely different note,

Praying that everything goes smoothly and according the plan,

TOMORROW BEGINS THE LAST SEMESTER OF MY UNDERGRADUATE COLLEGE CAREER.

 

 

粗浅的深度

反正,这个可能比较短。 有很多错字,我知道,请原谅!希望我能表达我的思考方式。给评论了也行 !!

“大脑讲主意,平均脑讲最近发生了什么,小脑会讲人的坏话。“ (这句子用英语比较训口。)我是一个喜欢比较深刻地聊天,但我觉得深刻的话题说不定是光光的“主意“。另一个人说过,”可讲感情的,那也是很深度的话题。“ 但是还是觉得,说不定,我曾经跟一些 “还不算很受的朋友们” 一起吃饭时,他们都提到他们谈恋爱的故事。这又不是我真想知道的以大堆惨惨惨的故事。所以。感情也不是很深刻的话题。 工作行业深都的秘密吗? 我者几个月都很认真的找盖关系的机会,我认识很多人,有机会问他们的工作是什么,他们目前的计划是怎么样。因为我很想听比较深的答案,我会认真想深的问题。可是我最近感到,我越来越深密的问题,就是讲行业内的秘密,不仅是我听不懂,而且,我感觉我们就谈这个话题而已,没有任何感情,此对话结束之后,我们也不会算朋友。另外的流行聊天题目就是你人生过得如何。这个叫 “小话”。  应该不需要解释。

所以,我最近一直在考虑,什么话题是最深的? 会不会真正按照 “大脑讲主意,平均脑讲最近发生了什么,小脑会讲人的坏话。“ (这句子用英语比较训口。)

那,我们每一天讲讲话的循序呢?我觉得这是最粗浅的,打招呼跟告别,谢谢,不会,这种。

不过,你朋友们是不是因此这种讲话方式而成为朋友吗? 这是我常常考虑的一点。。。

也许,粗浅的话题可能是最深度的。。。

The Depth of Shallows

“Great minds discuss ideas.  Average minds discuss events.  Small minds discuss people.”

Maybe it’s because the essence of my studies centered on the art of conversation, or maybe because my father taught me to be a long-suffering listener, I like to think I have above-average conversation skills.  Along with that, I like interviewing people, so let’s add a few points there, and BANG! Conversation level: Genius.

But I’ve been thinking that lately, the more I seek in-depth discussions of ideas, the more I realize the law of diminishing marginal utility can still not be ignored.  An easy example is talking about work or hobbies. I always invite the person talking to talk more, which has put me in some un-enviable socially awkward positions more than once.  And somehow, these conversations feel very shallow, because I don’t necessarily have emotional connection before I jump and start asking questions about that industry. And sometimes it feels forced, and a forced conversation is always shallow.

Now, on the other hand, there’s small talk.

But isn’t small talk, over and over, (and over) the way that a relationship is cultivated? From which you have an emotional connection.  From which you can ask further questions about your new friend’s industry or hobbies and you’re ALWAYS genuinely interested because you’re interested in what’s important to them.  I really like doing informational interviews with people–see previous blog posts to know more–but I wouldn’t say I’m great, close friends with most of the people I interview. I can count on one hand the number of friends I have made by first discussing grandiose ideas before really going through the ritual of greetings.

This phenomenon of interaction will continue to amaze me, and I don’t really have any good conclusion.

 

 

Eggs on me

Aww crap.  I left the eggs on the bagging table.  I was almost out of the underground labyrinth of the Carrefour close to where I live, with a nice stockpile of food for Chinese New Year.  I also bought some drinks to accompany, so my bag was pretty heavy.

Is it worth going all the way back? I considered for a minute.  Yeah, I’m already all the way here, and the eggs would be nice with the broccoli, I decided, so I went back inside and through the store and all the way past the check-out gate to the bagging table, a dingy, old piece of plastic supported by four stainless-steel legs.  The eggs weren’t there.

Well, I’ve got the receipt.  I’ll see if I can take another one.  

“Excuse me,” I asked someone working there.  I’m 90% certain that’s an extra holiday hire.

He turns his head.  I’m holding the receipt up and start explaining myself, slowly, clearly, so I hopefully only do this once. I’m a sentence and a half in, and an older auntie interrupts me by dashing off a sharp, barely intelligible string of a complaint/request.  He waves her forward, then turns back to me.  “What?”

I’m still holding the receipt.  It occurs to me that I’ve technically lost or broken my purchase which is therefore not the responsibility of the retailer.  I also see a wave of aunties getting ready to burst out of the check out lanes and I don’t want to get trampled.  Chinese aunties are another breed of fierce sometimes, I pray I won’t become like that.  Then the thought hits me, how strange it sounds to ask, “Can I get another package of eggs?  My ones on the table disappeared.”

He’s waiting.  “Forget it,” I say instead.  “Happy New Year.”

And so, to the person who picked up my eggs, enjoy. 

Fangirling

I’ve fallen out of the habit of writing my thoughts, so in an effort to get back into it, I’ve been reading blogs by other people in a similar life stage.  Here are the ones I really like.

Not Another Foreigner: Notes from a 20’s and sexy expat in Asia.

We were in the same Chinese class in MCU.  We were never super close friends, but we ate together a couple times and exchanged Christmas presents.  So when she started a blog, I started reading.  I REALLY LOVE IT! IT’S SO INSPIRING, and I’m so thankful I’ve gotten to meet her in person.  https://notanotherforeigner.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/have-you-ever-heard-god-never-says-no/ This is my FAVORITE post of hers.  I’ve read it four or five times and I almost cry EVERY TIME.

Justinnonng: I like to run.

(And read. And write.)

I feel like I’m reading the to-be Ishiguro when I read his shorts.  I want to be THE FIRST PERSON IN LINE TO PURCHASE when he comes out with a memoir.  His pieces on running have inspired me to run more. I LOVE THIS GUY! He’s eloquent and sharp and reflective and expressive. I told my friend in Singapore that she can meet him in person and fangirl for me.  Check it out here: https://justinnonng.com/2016/06/25/reservist-diaries-18/ (This is just one post, I like everything.)

Thoughts on why these particular blogs:

I love the way these people think.  I love their honesty, I love the metaphors, I love that they end each post with room to imagine what’s next in their lives.  In E.M. Forester’s A Passage to India, he puts forth that ordinary life is extremely boring, and anyone who attempts to portray it as less than such is a liar.  Maybe it is, but Gabriela and Justin do a really good job of pointing out all that is beautiful within that existence.

Also, I like them because I feel like it’s kind of a roadmap/comparable experience to share.  I feel like they understand a unique set of problems really well, and their thoughts on life are more useful/encouraging than others.  Especially in this stage of “pre-postgrad”, these guys don’t take this uncertainty for granted, and that is very re-assuring.