Friday, June 13, 2014


*This incident happened in March or April of 2014, but I've only decided to write about this now.  I did write a poem about the incident and recorded myself reading it at the time though.

I remember during the first few weeks of school, I suffered severe culture shock.  This was surprising to me because I had always considered myself as someone who would have no problem assimilating into the US.  I spent 10 summers in SF and was quite up to date with US culture.  However, what shocked me was the people, how I realized that I was used to the homogeneous population of Taipei American School and was surprised that I was not used to people of different color, race, financial background.  It took me quite a long time before the reality finally set in.  Despite this, I became friends with a variety of people at Oxy and loved them because they were so different.  Oxy, just felt like a place where people were different, but you were never called out for it.  It was very inviting, at least that's what I felt like until something happened.

Occidental was going through Student Elections for Student Government and I was called on by one of the candidates to affirm my minority status and to support their diversity plans.  They feared that an article in our school paper portrayed the candidate unfairly and wanted support from minority students at Occidental.  My first thought, was like "What?! I need to be reminded that I'm a minority?  Oxy is like so white!!! What is this!!"  I thought their phrasing was very rude and the fact that they messaged me through Facebook was just as surprising.  The candidate lived in my resident hall, so they could have came to my room and talked to me about it, but the fact that the candidate messaged me through Facebook, a place where I am considered an equal and not different, really made me frustrated.  In the end, I didn't comment, but I did write a poem and recorded it which I will copy and link below.

In all honesty, I really could care less, but the message the candidate wrote made me remember that despite the fact that I indeed was a minority, it shouldn't diminish the fact that I should be just as respected as any other person.  Slapping labels onto people indicates that there is a difference in position, in status, when in reality that shouldn't be the case.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

In the past month or so, there has been a noticeable spree of violent crimes all across the world, whether it be a stabbing attack in Taiwan, airport assault in Pakistan, or school shootings in the US. While I am deeply shocked by all these events, I've also realized that these events were already happening in the past. With the integration of trending news in social media and vice-versa, information is spread at a higher rate than before. Trees are now falling down and people are there to listen. More people are finding out about more things faster, which means more people are maybe beginning to think about solutions. As a result of this prospect, I am hopeful. I am hopeful because people are now everywhere, and have the means and the ability to help those who suffer, not only those who are victims of unspeakable attacks, but also those who are victims of unspoken acts. People believe that removing the means of committing violent crimes is a solution, whereas I believe that if one means is taken away, then more will be invented. The only solution, is to remain open-minded, to protect and treat those who are in pain. We must come up with ways to see signs, to read maps, but in a way that does not inhibit the way of life of everyday people. While this may seem to be an oxymoron, it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. Just because it’s easier doesn’t mean it’s the right way. Trees are now being heard when they fall. Now is the time to take the seedlings, and plant them so other trees can grow and survive.