Tag Archives: controversies

Quote of the Day

“I don’t want to see us descend into a nation of bloggers…I think we need editorial oversight now more than ever.” – Steve Jobs, June 2010

To put this into context, Jobs said this in regards to hoping that the new iPad will be a content delivery tool. He adds, “Anything we can do to help newspapers find new ways of expression that will help them get paid, I am all for.”

I would lean more towards agreeing than not. My first life, my first “career” was in news and magazine publishing. Now, nearly a decade later I still think that content is king, even when the dollars mean nothing to me anymore. Why? Well, a blog is short for a ‘web log,’ a public diary if you will. Since blogging became easy to do and free in some cases, to boot, scores of blogs on all sorts of topics have cropped up. Of course, everyone says this is wonderful, since the media is biased, and now journalism is accessible to everyone, not just journalists. To some extent, yes. But in the generation of “if it’s on the internet, it must be true,” this can be dangerous. It’s getting exhausting seeing all these blogs that crop up posing as an online magazine. Sorry, you’re just… not.

I do think that blogs should stick to personal things – interests, experiences, etc. But it’s a big, wide open internet so the iPad probably won’t change the trend of blogging, and what is blogged.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose

Growing up Asian means that not wasting (and by proxy, saving) is just second nature. Whether it is food, water, electricity, clothing or money, it was just drilled into me, waste not, want not. How convenient that when I was in high school, not only did being environmentally friendly become the right thing to do, it was also quite trendy. Of course I joined environmental activist clubs in school. Sorting your recyclable materials became the norm in the 90s, as was giving up aerosol cans (imagine that, right after the 80s big hair!) Back then, it was our way of showing we cared about the environment. Maybe a witty button on your backpack or something too. People said things like “save a tree” instead of using a piece of paper and inappropriately used the term “ozone layer.”

Years went by, and we learned there was a lot more to preserving our earth than just recycling. There was also reducing our consumption and reusing products. Then we learned about “carbon footprint” the cause to replace the ozone layer. With people still using the term wrong. It seems like it is getting harder and harder to care for the environment – maybe like being the parent of a teenager?

What I’ve started to take on as my new personal goal is: re-purposing. My reasoning behind this is that some of my actions have small benefits. I don’t know how much energy and manual labor it takes to sanitize bottles and jars for recycling, to recycle paper, or to manufacture new products. One could even loop in the carbon footprint idea here.

It has not been as easy as I thought it would be. There are lots of great ideas out there in books, blogs, and magazines. Some ideas are outright unattractive (who wants a scarf made out of an old t-shirt?) while some are functional and aesthetic. I can easily spot which items can be washed and saved but I don’t necessarily have the creativity to turn it into something useful. In my effort to try this, I’ve become more of a pack-rat than I’ve been able to help the landfills. The best I have done this year is re-use paper which had something printed wrong on the other side.

My new home resolution is to create a bin in the corner (there’s a huge junk room/closet) off the kitchen which I will use to save…. junk. I’ll need to keep up to date on web sites with re-purposing ideas and then go back to my bin o’ junk. Hopefully it will also satiate my craving to do crafts. Lastly, this re-purposing junk is a skill I should get better at, if I want to be a better early childhood teacher. I just admired some good ideas right here.

My question to you is, do you have any ideas for me? Any that you have heard about or have tried at home?

Avatar: the movie

One of the things that I like about living in China is that I’m, for the most part, sheltered from media opinions about entertainment. I don’t know who the Golden Globe nominations and winners are until I’ve looked it up online. I don’t know who the latest “It” girls and guys are or what “Must See TV” is anymore. I guess this means my information is opt-in, rather than in-your-face-all-the-time.” Back home, it was impossible to *not* know these things, it was on the newsstands when you were grocery shopping, heard about while you were in line or on the subway, in every commercial break during your favorite shows.

So going into Avatar, I knew only a few things: it was a James Cameron creation, it used CGI, it cost a lot of money, but was also making a lot of money back home. I read not a single review. This is not to say that this information already came with a lot of baggage. Now, James Cameron has some excellent work (The Abyss) and he has what I might refer to as “in-between” work, such as Rambo, Terminator, and Aliens. They are “good” as an entity but when you stop and think about it, I don’t think anyone would say they have particularly good dialogue, character or plot development. Last but not least, there was that behemoth film Titanic. It was beautiful to look at, but in the end, really just a waste of three hours.

Well, going back to Avatar. It was somewhere in the middle of all these films. Beautiful, and dazzling special effects like Titanic. A bit more plot, but not as much as The Abyss. There were some thinly veiled allegories to political situations, but nonetheless appreciated. But similar to all the other blockbusters, a clear villain and a clear good guy. Like always, the villain is unrelentingly bad, with no positive traits. Meanwhile, the good are without fault and you cry on the inside when they get hurt.

In these cases, I have learned to suspend my perception of reality. It’s the only way to enjoy these characters and movies. When you think too much about the plot and the characters, then you’ll find flaws and weaknesses. So my advice? Sit back, relax, put on the 3D glasses, and enjoy!

Jab Day

It was recently decided by the CDC that the H1N1 vaccination, which is in limited supply, would be made available to graduating students at local and private schools. In our school, it was also made available to local staff and teachers on an optional basis.

We were only informed of this with a few days to decide. I was really on the fence about making this decision. I have never once had the regular flu shot, and have not ever gotten the flu. Not even in the past several years of working in an elementary school. One winter, when I was the most ill I have ever gotten, my doctor said that it was some kind of virus going around that season which the recent flu shot didn’t even include.

I asked around for opinions, which ran the whole gamut. Most people didn’t want disease in their body, several people didn’t want anything Chinese-developed, and other swore that they just never get sick. The doctor here told me that it is safe and she herself had taken it.

In the end, I decided to have it. So one deep breath and in went the needle. I feel fine so far, even though we were asked to be observed for 40 minutes. More importantly, I feel quite lucky to be receiving it, especially when I hear about people waiting in line for hours to get the vaccination.

How did I end up deciding? First off, on Saturday I went into to see my doctor for a bit of the regular cold. She told me the vaccination has been known to be safe so far, and that all the doctors and staff at the clinic have had it. There’s been a lot of talk about social responsibility – getting vaccinated so that you can’t pass the germ on to someone else. Well, I’m not sure how socially responsible I am being if I am taking the vaccination away from someone else who might need it more, since it is in limited supply. But considering the above reasons NOT to – I realized several things. I can still get the germ without exhibiting symptoms, the vaccination was developed by the same people who developed a vaccination for SARS, it is being exported to other countries, and lastly, I am not invincible. No matter how much I want to be.