May 8, 2008

Blog 8&9


I really liked Kelly Berry and Broc Blegen’s research presentation on increasing communication in Mogadishu, Somalia. It was well-presented – visually and textually. Some of the facts, such as 10% of Somalia currently using mobile technology, I found particularly surprising, almost hard to believe - after all, Somalia isn’t exactly known for being technology-savvy. However, the pictures really helped me to dispel skepticism. Intriguing photos such as the one with the cell phone truck and especially the one of the Masaai man holding a cell phone made the idea of Somalia embracing technology more concrete.


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May 5, 2008

Service-Learning: VOA

NOTE: I tutor adult students in math, mostly refugees from Somalia, on Tuesday nights. I was a little confused about how the blog prompts for the service-learning project was supposed to work, so I took notes on a side sheet, and did not actually write coherent journal entries . . . until now. I tried to piece together the notes I took during my three-month stay with VOA. Some of the events may be out of order, as I do not chronologically remember the unique events that occurred every week I was at Volunteers of America (VOA).

2/5 This is what I remember from my first day as a math tutor for adult Somali refugees:
That day, I tried to explain how to round numbers to a young Somali man and a cute old Somali grandpa with a dyed orange beard. Rounding comes automatically to me, but explaining this to Somali refugees with limited English skills was incredibly hard. I tried hand motions; I tried pictures; I tried learning some Somali numbers, none of which I remember now. I probably looked like I had no idea what I was doing because the grandpa chuckled and said, “You understand??, meaning he doubted my intelligence. Humbly, I admit that I am not smart, but I contend that I surely understand how to round numbers. In the end, it was unsuccessful, but I had a kick out of hanging out with this strange pair, trying to learn Somali numbers while they laughed at my attempts to do so.

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April 3, 2008

3 Title Pages

My computer being fairly new with few installed softwares, I was unable to make tech and savvy-looking title pages: I had to go the old-fashioned way and draw out possible title pages. Please excuse my humble drawings: I didn't have crayons or color pencils, only color pens.

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March 12, 2008

Patterns and Designs

I eye this blog prompt with a wary eye. For me, I have always noticed the danger of border-line plagiarism when it comes to “taking inspiration? for a project. The day a paper is due, I sometimes find my tired self squinting at a computer screen while the clock strikes 3:00 a.m., trying to squeeze out the very last words, or in some unfortunate occasions, the last half of my paper. Let me tell you, it is a horrible position to be in. At that very moment, after eating a bowl of sugared cereal, drinking tea and taking showers, the brain is on the verge of collapse, and you honestly don’t care why Samuel Coleridge wrote Kubla Kahn the way he did. So what about the stanzas or the meter of each line? He was high opium, for heaven sakes! At that moment of utter despair, it is easy to “take inspiration? from the very friendly SparkNotes, PinkMonkey and AntiEssays. Just snips and clips. Won’t do any harm. Yet, by the time you type the last paragraph, you wonder why the last half of your paper sounds uncannily like something you’ve read before. Damn.

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March 5, 2008

Chinerican: Lost in Translation?




I was beyond mortified: the awful question shocked me, and made my face flush despite the stifling heat and humidity. There I was in a city somewhere in the southern part of Taiwan, sitting in church next to my dad, when the intern pastor there, wanting to start a polite conversation, pointed to me and asked him, “So what is your wife’s name?? In my heart, I desperately wished that my mother had gotten up that morning to attend church with us. My father obviously found the situation funny, answering back that I was merely a daughter; it was probably a compliment that he should be mistaken for a younger age. But through my eyes, there could be very few things more embarrassing than being mistaken as my dad’s wife. Not to mention, I was fifteen at the time, and my dad happens to be thirty-seven years older than me. Yuck.

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Who Decides: You or Life?


My fifth grade teacher told me that everybody must give back to the world. She even made the whole class sign a purple contract, binding us to this responsibility. Her lesson inspired me to work hard.

Two years later, I remember being in the seventh grade and swearing to myself that I would give back to the world with the kind of intensity with which Mother Theresa dedicated herself; I mapped my future out. I would be a doctor, whose life would be dedicated to Doctors Without Borders. I would be a spinster forever, living in the middle of some African desert, caring for the neglected. It didn’t matter that I would probably only own three sets of clothes. After all, Mother Theresa probably only owned one garment in her life.


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Faith, Cows and Good Deeds

Back in elementary school, I remember that my grade would fundraise to promote causes such as cancer or poverty awareness. Selfishly I remember a time when I nonchalantly passed those booths and clung on to that one dollar bill, thinking that my donation would have no impact. In my mind, I pitied those who were trying to promote philanthropic deeds. At most, their success would translate to helping, say, twenty-five families at most – what good was that if the rest of the starving or ailing population in Africa was suffering? Their efforts were a mere, if not even tinier than mere, fraction of help.

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Advocating Homelessness


A distant acquaintance back at home in Honolulu, dubbed Tuxedo Man by sister and me, idly traverses the city during the day and makes the grungy #4/#16 bus stop bench his home at night. Coming home late at night, I have had plenty of chances to scrutnize this fascinating figure for the past twelve years, as he cuddles with his treasured baggage. A man in his late 50’s (maybe older now because it’s been over ten years now) he wears a dignified face that matches his amazingly well-kept suit, the only set of clothes I’ve ever seen him in. A red handkerchief peeks out of his breast pocket, and everytime a passerby sneezes, he whips out this handy piece of cloth to frantically scrub his face. His belongings consist of three plastic Safeway bags and no shopping carts. Hawaii has it’s share of homeless, despite being “paradise,? but Tuxedo Man is truly impeccable.This gentleman epitomizes the ideal homeless character: well-dressed, sanitary and neat.

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February 3, 2008


Smiling a Sunshine: Study of Energy, Flow & Transformation in the Environment
1) happy person A walks down the street
2) person A smiles at grouchy person B who walks by
3) conservation of energy: smile changes energy form. Person A emits smile, smile transported through air by wind currents, and the image of smile taken in by person B's retinas. Inside his head, person B transforms smile into a good mood enzyme - consequently, person B is in the Sunshine Mood today
4) optimistic person B, an architect of 3 yrs, finally pleases a client for the first time in his life because he's happy today. Gets a good deal. Architect happy; client happy.
5) in the end, the day is optimistic for all
bottom line: SMILE

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February 2, 2008

testing, 1,2,3 . . .

does this work? how do use a blog? help! whats the difference btw entry body, extended entry and excerpt? pooh.