All posts filed under: Society

Short Post: The Issues – Educate and Compromise

Recently, I have had several conversations with my friends back in Taiwan. A common thread of discussion is how hopeless they feel about social conditions getting better. Since the recent presidential election that resulted in the first female president in the country’s history, there have been a wave of euphoria. A large majority of the population, especially millennials, felt that the fall of the KMT was key to social change in Taiwan. Yet the problems that face Taiwan, especially those of my generation, are complex and difficult to untangle and dissect. One thing that we all agreed on is the fact that many people are unable to think for themselves. Many young people comment and criticize based on misinformation or a lack of independent thought. Part of the issue is how the media presents information and part of the issue is how people consume media in Taiwan. Though media consumption is not a unique problem to Taiwan, the culture of Taiwan tend to cause people to disregard and dismiss opposing opinions and voices. I feel …

Compassion is Light

After being reminded of some personal philosophies earlier this morning, I want to take the time to explain it. I wrote this poem 7 years ago after a conversation at dinner with my buddies about relationships with people: A Conversation at Dinner An act in progress is the star within you. Simplified to four stages: Red dwarf Blue giant Supernova Black hole Bring out the light in those around you or engulf them with your own. What is it that you want – a harmony or an overwhelming shell. Self-confidence comes with the brightness you emit and cause others to emit. Centered on yourself you drain all around you as a black hole pulls in even light. Drowning in the ever amassing matter accumulated throughout years of darkness. None can save you but yourself. So you, I am talking to pick yourself up and act in the manner you believe to be best. I will expand on what I wrote in poetry form. If we imagine each of us as a star (which I believe …

I Forgot Hope, Is What Makes the World Beautiful

*very very rough hahaha kind of rusty. I believe that we are born pure Clean without evil But why do these things happen So I descended into the darkness In my search for the meaning Of why Fog and mist crept in Covered every path Colored everything gray Trapped within the shadows Trapped within my cave Within my own head So I saw nothing Save for darkness And I accepted it as fact   I came out tainted Forgotten my belief With no reminders of what came first But back into the light The sun shines Cleared away the shades Then I remembered Hope is what makes the world beautiful Because without hope there is no love.

Coming Together, Falling Apart

In reality, equilibrium is only an observation over a large scale of time, but at any specific time period, things are more like a pendulum, swinging from one end of the spectrum to the next. Looking at the world today, and the violent conflicts that seem to escalate in scale, it would appear that the world has forgotten the horrors of war – the incredible devastation of the two World Wars that obliterated most of Europe – and the resulting need for international unity and harmony. As the old Chinese saying goes “after a long time together, it ought to separate, after a long time divided, it ought to come together”. In many ways, if we look at the history of the world, that is exactly how things play out. The world gets smaller, then it divides and feels farther apart. The Macedonian Empire disintegrated into separate polities, only to reunite again under the Romans. The Mongolian tribes were brought together into the largest empire ever seen only to fall apart. In some ways, faced with …

Bombing Oil Fields and Fighting Islamic State

Has anyone given thought to the political, economic, and environmental consequences of such destruction? Has anyone thought about the devastating environmental impact of bombing oil fields? For the most part, the majority of the people under IS control are innocent. Yet, this sort of destruction and retaliation by the West, is exactly what drives the youth to join in the extremist movement. How can anyone be alright with the destruction of their livelihood and of their environment?

The Mental Acrobatics of Space

Space has always fascinated me. It is something we experience constantly, but few would pause to give thought about. As a child, I built castles and moats out of rocks and mud. I drew imaginary and fantastic maps. I created cities out of Lego and origami. Yet, I never truly understood the spatial arrangements and relationships between objects. To be honest, despite going to graduate school I still do not completely understand them. In my humble opinion, I believe the interactions between psychology, design, and planning have been quite weak. Why do we prefer smooth edges and straight lines? Why do we have preferences for certain spatial arrangements? Why are certain places more attractive than others, even if they are designed similarly? Why do we prefer to be in the middle of spaces as opposed to the edges? How do we use the space around us and why are some spaces more utilized than others? Certainly, part of the answers to these questions depend on not only personal preferences but also historical and cultural background – …

Really, Jeremy Lin is American

This article was originally seen on the Taiwanese website of the magazine Business Weekly, written by Joey Chung. I thought it was a good take on Taiwanese society, our politicians and media, so I translated the article into English and decided to share it here. Last week, my editors at Business Weekly invited me to write a piece about Jeremy Lin. Their reasoning was that he went to Harvard and so did I, and technically we were both attending the school at the same time. As such I should have some unique viewpoints to share. I really don’t. Personally, I really dislike this attitude of the Taiwanese media: whenever someone or something becomes trendy or a hot topic, everyone needs to have an opinion on it. No matter where you happen to go, everyone wants to talk about the topic, every radio and television station has to discuss it. Do I have anything unique to say about Linsanity? No. Honestly, I wasn’t in a rush to write this piece. I am just like anyone else, I …

MC HotDog Sings…About Society

MC HotDog is back with a new single called “離開”, which translates to “Depart” or “Leave”. In a departure from his last collaboration with A-yue about Taiwanese chicks, one night stands, and bras, this song is about the spread of social media and online connectivity and how it has affected our interactions with each other and ourselves. Many of us become trapped in our online identities and become disengaged from reality. A particularly poignant verse in the song goes, “在 Real world 我用真名說假的話 Another world 我用假名說真的話 有點疑惑 我也開始變得有點掙扎 在我的兩個世界裡 分不清真假” which points out how we seem to live different lives in reality and in the virtual world. Translated, it says, “In the real world I speak falsely while using my real name, another world I speak the truth using an alias, it is a little confusing, I am starting to struggle a little in both my world, it difficult to tell what’s real and what’s not”. This brings me to my point – what is media really doing to us? Are we using it for our own advantages or …

Curious Prometheus

This is my first, ever blog site. Finally, after all these years, I decided to open my mind up to the wild world of the World Wide Web. To start off, I will be writing about the new movie, Prometheus. Warning: there will be some spoilers, so don’t read it if knowing will ruin your enjoyment of the movie. Prometheus, what a movie: incredible mythology, motifs, and imagery. However subtle, it has numerous philosophical views and references to other media cultures such as religious symbolism and self-sacrifice and human conceit. I would like to introduce another thread of thought. The movie is about the human inclination to be irresistibly drawn to the unknown – that unfettered curiosity that consumes all of us, at one point or another. Humans seem to instinctively thirst for knowledge. Prometheus is a movie about the dangers of unbridled curiosity and the power of knowledge, much like the story of its namesake. When the first scene opens, you are immediately  drawn to the clear references of Prometheus, the Greek god, self-sacrifice …