Just to keep track of the things I’ve been reading, watching, learning:
- Feminism/ Self-Love
It’s been quite some time ago, but I bull-dozed through 百家讲坛‘s series on 武则天. Amidst 萌曼’s dramatic and entertaining analysis of her life (What did you expect from 32 hours of history lessons? Boring? Nope.), I learnt a great deal about her career. Considering that those costume dramas usually portray woman as attempting to gain the favour of emperors (even if the woman in question is 武则天) – 百家讲坛‘s series actually tried to explain her meteoric rise by examining the historic background of the time, her personality, the other characters and factors. Considering that I feel that there’s a general lack of inspirational Asian females in popular media or even in feminist literature for me to identify with, understanding more about 武则天 was quite enlightening. Okay, identifying with a woman from more than a thousand years ago sounds a little crazy, but at least she showed the possibilities for a society with Asian values, okay. I also binged on shorter, 30-1hr episodes on other notable historical women in China’s harem, such as 萬貞兒, 上官婉儿 etc. I’ve always had an obsession with the imperial system of China, soooo.
I’ve been also listening to the History Chicks – specifically podcasts on Elle Fitzgerald, Agatha Christie etc. All really fun ways to figure out how woman can succeed, in their own way, given their different circumstances and personalities!
Reading XOJane is also an easy way to light-hearted way to read articles about different woman’s experiences (of course, there mainly from a US-centric perspective).
I’ve always thought of philosophy as cool but impenetrable. Sophie’s World was the perfect key that helped me unlock the wonderful world of Philosophy. By explaining philosophy through chronological history, I felt like I was understanding philosophy from the basics. And the basics is not easy/ dry as I thought it would be – the description is engaging and one of the highlights for me was understanding religion from a historical and geographical perspective. And I’m currently taking a course by Coursera, which takes a dialectic approach to tackling core issues for Philosophy. I wish I did it after reading Sophie’s World, not before – I felt quite lost at the beginning. Nonetheless it was very engaging.
- Cantonese and Capitalism
Actually, I’m just watching 点金胜手. I am trying to understand why people would work in Finance, and how can the world continue to get on with everything that is happening when the very concept of profits tilts the world towards inequity every day. Nope, still not understanding it.
And I’m reading Catch 22 – which not only includes Milo’s capitalist tendencies but also pits patriotism against the self, which is something I’m also thinking about.
- The Olympics and Successful People
Duhhh. Reading up on how Phelps’ wondrous body is practically built for the sport, while Bolt’s seemingly different physique actually gives him an edge in his sport was all very fun and interesting. What inspired me most was not just their determination, grit (you know, the usual), but their attitudes. Schooling, now our national hero, used to come across as cocky to me. In reality, his willingness to put himself out there by proclaiming that he’s in it to win it is what sets him apart from the ordinary person. Someone who doesn’t have the achievements to back it up is of course cocky, but someone who is willing to put in the effort and focus on achieving a particular goal? That’s a successful person.
And swimmer Fu Yuan Huijust broke all stereotypes of sportsman as boring people who can put their head down and train and be disciplined. She’s so funny.