Thoughts

Sunset over the ocean

Young white male asks me for money. Thoughts on #whiteprivilege from a tropical island

I feel like I almost got scammed. I was waiting to get on the ferry off of the island in Thailand to make my way back to Bangkok to catch a flight.

While sitting on a bench, a young white male comes up to me and starts talking to me. At first I don’t understand what he saying, partly because he has an accent and partly maybe because he was speaking quickly. He repeated himself, “Could you give me 100 baht for the ferry…”

My gut immediately refused him. I said I’m sorry but I don’t have any change. Sure, 100 Thai baht is little more than 3 US dollars, but I didn’t feel compelled to give this young white guy my money. Why should I when this person, just by luck of birth, has all the advantages in the world. Why should I, a young, poor, female, minority (in my country) student, give him, a young, seemingly healthy, white, man, my money?
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Sure I’m a little racist, but am I THAT racist?

Everyone’s a little bit racist, it’s just the way things happen to turn out in this world. But how little is that bit of me that is racist? Is it bigger than I like to think it is? Am I kidding myself that it is as small as I want others to think it is?

This came up when a few weeks ago I saw a childhood friend in New York City post something about her boyfriend who had passed away a year ago. My first thought was maybe he was shot.

Nope. It was cancer and an infection.

This thought came up so quickly and naturally, that it caught me by surprise. I felt ashamed that my immediate and uncensored thought was that he was involved with gangs or crime somehow and was shot. Am I really that racist? It’s a weird and scary realization to come to. What if I’m not as open minded as I think I am? What if I’m really not as good a person as I want to be?
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Hug deprived in Singapore

Me and my roomie hugging at our '60s party

Me and my roomie hugging at our ’60s party

Hugs are great! Give me hugs!!

More hugs please!

One thing I wish was different about Singapore is that friends hugged each other more often. This is just part of Singapore culture. When I went back to the USA for 3 months earlier this year, I really liked hugging friends again, either when we first saw each other or when we’re parting ways. It isn’t a big deal, but no one does that in Singapore.
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Ultimate is my passion

Disc with cactus shot glass

A disc and a shot glass. Just another normal day at a tournament.

Ultimate (frisbee) is my passion. It’s the ultimate sport in my mind, and many will agree. It is the one thing that I know I will be passionate about for the rest of my life. It is how I’ve met many of my closest friends, and how I’ve met every guy that I’ve ever dated. Why am I so passionate? Let me explain!
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“The Walking Dead” perspective on life

I was down with a sickness last week, so I stayed home a few days and watched the first three seasons of The Walking Dead. This is how I think the Walking Dead perspective on life would go.

It’s a TV show adapted from a graphic novel about a group of people during a zombie apocalypse. Although I know it is gory and not real, it has been an interesting experience to watch it while my own head is feeling a little foggy. But coming out of the fog, I thought about how the show really gets down to the point and distills some interesting philosophical ideas and perspectives on life.
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Sunset in Port Barton, Palawan, The Philippines

How to travel to a place that just had a natural disaster?

Last Wednesday night before I left for the Philippines, I had a think about if I should really be going. Considering that they were just hit 6 days before by Typhoon Haiyan aka Yolanda, I got on my flight with mixed feelings.

It may come as a surprise that our ultimate tournament in Manila scheduled for the weekend right after the typhoon didn’t get cancelled, but I’m glad that I at least was able to bring clothes and money to donate to people who are recovering. The tournament organizers rallied all tournament goers to bring donations of food, clothes, supplies, and of course money. There were teams and players coming from different parts of the Philippines, Singapore, China, USA, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, Japan, and probably other countries that I’ve missed. One Singaporean team gathered about 450 kg of donations to bring over! I’m not sure how much was donated in total in the end, but will update here if/when I find out. Continue Reading

Leaving Sakaerat today…and some thoughts on meeting Americans abroad

Chewy in Sakaerat

I’m leaving Sakaerat today! I’m a bit sad to go, definitely because the people here have been great and the nature and wildlife have been amazing. I wish I could come back, and I’m glad that I came. The colleague I came to visit has some really impressive research going on here, and I’m glad that I got to go out and search for her study species (Chiromantis hansenae) with her field team.
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Are Asian girls too easily embarrassed?

Maybe that is unfair to generalize and say just Asian girls are too easily embarrassed. It might be context dependent, and situational embarrassment. There are also cultural forces at work here that are complicated and difficult to understand, but I think it is interesting to think about.

Last week, I attended a safety orientation session that was required for new staff and students at the university. The first session was on basic safety, first aid, and CPR. The second session was on fire safety. A few instances stuck out in my mind as interesting examples to consider. One girl wouldn’t give an answer when called on by the instructor. Granted, she was put on the spot to try to answer his question, but she couldn’t come up with anything and just shook her head, looked uncomfortable, and nervously touched her hair. Another girl looked completely mortified during the head bandage demonstration where the instructor showed the audience how to wrap a cloth bandage on her head. It also didn’t help that her “friend” in the audience was taking photos with her mobile phone (with the flash on!). Continue Reading

Rethinking worldliness

What would you do if a gang of monkeys threw coins at you? How would you escape out of a bus if it fell on its side during a rainstorm? I thought about these on my trip to India. In mid-2012, I was lucky enough to be sent off to India for work purposes, and was able to take vacation days to stay around after the meetings and see more than just the inside of a hotel.

At the airport, the hotel had sent 2 people to pick me up. We arrived in the perfectly luxurious hotel, tucked away from the center of Delhi. Meetings are what they are, but it was interesting to experience the biggest blackout in Indian history that took out most of Northern India but also be minimally affected by it. It is easy to complain. The elevators were not working. The lights flickered. The A/C turned off in the middle of the night. But in the bigger picture of things, many more people suffered much more devastating results. Continue Reading