Women hold up half the sky. – Chinese proverb
I had quite a liberal upbringing, thanks to parents who were more spiritual than religious, who weren’t very interested in politics, and who were less tiger parents and more “as long as you don’t get into trouble, you can do whatever you want.” Yet, as I grow older and know more about the world, there was a huge rift between them and I. They want me to aspire to marriage. Sure, a successful career and financial security are nice too, but they want me to find a nice man to take care of me.
For the longest time, I could not fathom how my well-educated, liberal parents could have such a backward view of women and their potentials. I could be anything, an engineer, a doctor, a writer, a politician, a Fortune 500 CEO, a Nobel Peace Prize winner. But I also had to be a wife and a mother. It wasn’t that I could have it all; it was that I must.
This is it.
My Biology Internal Assessment and the final draft of my Extended Essay were due within 2 days of each other.
I had four hours of sleep in those 2 days.
My viva voce, a reflective conversation with my supervisor, was done via Skype today. The Extended Essay is finally over, and I now know a thing or two about APA (American Psychological Association) citation.
I’ve also discovered that I enjoyed science writing immensely. I was particularly inspired by an award-winning essay on the nocebo effect by Penny Sarchet, who has written for New Scientist, Nature, and Cosmos, amongst other.
I’ve just pulled my very first all-nighter.
Yesterday was the due date of the first draft of my Extended Essay.
I’ve stayed up til midnight, til 1am, til 2am before. There isn’t anything special about these times. Everyone is asleep and everything is quiet. The part of Hanoi that I live in isn’t the part of town that is bustling and “never sleeps.” There was the occasional sound of a motorcycle or a car passing by outside, but it was barely audible from my third-floor bedroom. Mostly I could hear myself think. And the constant sounds of key strokes.
I had the chance to meet Witi Ihimaera, author of The Whale Rider, in Auckland in October 2014, and also attended a writing workshop led by him. In the workshop, Ihimaera talked about reshaping myths for a contemporary audience, and how that can be used to draw parallels and tell powerful stories like The Whale Rider. The fact that I met the author of one of the pieces I would probably be writing about in my final IB Language & Literature exam is simply mind-blowing, and provided so much more context and insights on this wonderful book.
The video below is based on Chapter One of the novel, about the ancient story of the origin of the Māori people. The text of The Whale Rider is quite rich visually, and I chose specific elements from the chapter that highlight this.
Original art by Chau Pham.
Original text by Witi Ihimaera.
Music recorded during a walk through the Waipoua Forest, Northland, New Zealand. Many thanks to our amazing tour guides who led us through the magnificent giant kāuri trees and shared many aspects of Māori culture with us.
As mentioned in a previous lament, I was walking through the valley of the shadow of the dreaded Extended Essay, chased by the impending deadline, along with every other IB assessments that need to be completed. And I was stuck in a rut about a viable topic to even begin researching and writing my EE on.
But no more! There is a light at the end of the tunnel! I’ve finally finalized my research question, and emailed my online Psychology teacher to ask him to be my supervisor. Yes, I am writing a Psychology Extended Essay.
What is an Extended Essay? How do I write one? When is it due again?
An Extended Essay is a 4000-word research paper that every student has to complete if they wish to obtain their IB diploma. It is a chance to flex some academic research and writing muscles, and also for most students to curse the high heavens and have a glimpse into their future as college students plowing away late at night writing papers.
Finding yourself in the beginning of your second year of the IB diploma and not having a research question for your Extended Essay yet is a probably a bad situation. I am in that bad situation.
I walked through the crooked corners, rubber soles padded on the cobbled stone street, sat down on an uneven wooden bench with three fourth legs to look at dying light over the old oak tree and cry.
My grandfather came on a rusted red bicycle, and sat beside me, with his old French pipe and his worn suit jacket and the smell of smoke, oranges and regrets.
We were companions, sharing our souls and tired sighs and bleak gazes into the endless stretch of the night sky, surrounded by the low squeaking of the bicycle, with its nuts and bolts and chains sliding together, falling apart, trying to keep itself going.
A guide through the journeys of Allen Ginsberg.
Artwork by Julia
Narration by Chau & Joseph
Words on the streets are, THINK Global School is REALLY into place-based learning. So much so I think they might need professional intervention. But for now, here’s a daily fix of the juiciest stories on the block.
(Actual explanation: As part of Part 2 of our IB Language and Literature course, Mass Communication, and since we were located in Hiroshima, we were tasked with finding a news story on Japan and then turn it into a tabloid story, complete with a tabloid cover and silly sounding name. As you can see below, I might have had a little too much fun with that.
Disclaimer: None of these stories should be taken seriously, especially not the main article. Macklemore, however, is really rumoured to lead a double life as an IB History and Theory of Knowledge teacher.)