Showing posts from June, 2013


Working with the kids at CereCare has been such a unique experience. I was sitting at KFC waiting to meet up with Joyce for our trip to Huangshan, which was amazing and will hopefully show up in the next post. A mom and her two young sons settle in to a table near me. The two boys are wild, running, playing, shouting. The mom is frantically running after them, spanking them and asking them to stop running/playing carelessly. I think about how lucky they are that they have functional limbs to play and run at such speeds and ease. They get the luxury to move so much they sweat a ton. I also think about the irony behind all of this. When babies are born, we can’t wait for them to utter their first words. We can’t wait for them to start crawling and walking, feeling our hearts ripped a little every time they fall and cry. Then after a while, we can’t wait for them to shut up, stop running, and go to sleep. For a split second, I think about how nice it is to see the kids running. One of th…

What Corporate Social Responsibility Looked Like

On Friday, I ventured to Changfeng Park for a day of activities with the kids from the center. Upon arriving, I realized that the day's function was organized and sponsored by L'Oreal. That's right, the world's biggest cosmetics and beauty company had its social responsibility initiative in a day that they called "Citizen Day." On second thought, maybe I shouldn't have named the company? It's not particularly relevant to the post, it could have been any company. But oh well, I'm a student with no penny to my name, what do I care.

Every child from the center had a staff person attending to him/her, as well as two people from L'Oreal, throughout the day. It's really hot out, and the staff fussed over me not having a parasol or a hat or sunscreen lotion, roughing it in my dress and sunglasses. I repeatedly told them not to worry about me. They also dressed some of the kids in one or two (TWO!) layers of long sleeve clothes - because they did …

Week 3 Response

Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn use storytelling to bear witness to indignities and oppression of gender discrimination. This week describe an experience during your internship that has increased your understanding of broader issues regarding gender discrimination or poverty. Discuss the way these issues compare to those presented in Half the Sky.
In general, almost everywhere in Shanghai I go, women of all ages are mostly dressed up. Most of them are wearing chiffon dresses, tights, flashy high heels/wedges, accompanied by a nice purse, as well as armed with the latest cell phone/tablet. It was very surprising to me to see how they seemed to dress up everywhere they go, particularly seeing the short dresses/skirts on women of all ages, and even work attire was rather short in length. Apparently Shanghai are held as some of the most fashionable people in China. I wonder why the women feel the need to dress this way. Is it to appeal to others? To find a job? Because it's too h…

A Hairy Situation

Pun intended.

First, I have to confess that while doing my translation work I went on to procrastinate and add humor to my life, and it has proved worthy. Here's why. One recent post is that of an unknown pair of human legs supposedly wearing a pair of "anti-pervert" hairy leggings. Here it is, be warned (even though there should be no cause for alarm, but I know some of you will find hair disgusting, so whatever)

Various sources of sensational journalism has titled it the latest trend in China. This annoys me because it's not a trend, because if it was, the ever so fashionable people of Shanghai would be all up in it, and they're not. The real story is that one Chinese microblogger (on the Chinese version of Twitter) posted this picture and captioned it, "Super sexy, summertime anti-pervert full-leg-of-hair stockings, essential for all young girls going out." As a joke. But of course, everyone freaks out because of course! That mu…

Public Accessibility

An update on the boy who is being arranged to be available for adoption: I talked with one of the teachers in our class and she revealed that he really wants to be adopted. Why, I ask? Apparently he used to be really good friends with another boy here, who was "cuter, more functional, and ended up being adopted by some Americans." So now he really wants to be adopted, too. What do you guys make of this? 

Week 2 Response

Recount a scene from your encounters with individuals from the community you are serving. What details speak to the differences and connections you perceive between yourself and those individuals? Is there a specific image or memory that will remain etched in your mind? How have you explained your home environment to your coworkers? Is it an accurate reflection of your culture? What have you withheld? Why?

Operation Translation

I finished my second week of volunteering. For full disclosure, the program at school calls it an internship and according to my mom, apparently my dad has been bragging about me doing an "internship" as well. But I always tell people I'm volunteering, because essentially that is what I'm doing. I'm very thankful to Rice for providing me the means to be on this trip, and I'm proud of the opportunity to spend time with the children and helping the center, so I don't feel the need to call it something it really isn't.

In many ways this post will be almost a response, an echo, to my friend Laurel's struggles over the week. She is teaching children music at Bolivia this summer, please check out her blog here. Laurel struggled with her purpose and contribution to the children she is working with in Bolivia. Her Spanish is good, but not as good as she had hoped, and the inconsistency at which students show up is disheartening. I really admire that at th…

Motion City Soundtrack

My roommate Alexia and I often burst into song, particular older songs from our past, anything from Ciara, Kelly Clarkson, to JoJo. A few nights ago, we started singing songs from Motion City Soundtrack, particularly songs from their album Even If It Kills Me.

So many songs from this album are great, with catchy melodies and poignant lyrics. It reminded me of middle school, when I loved this album and its rockin' lyrics. I know I haven't blogged in a while, and I promise many posts are coming soon, but before I forget I wanted to remember this trip down memory lane.

One of the songs that I like is Antonia. The song basically describes the many little details and quirks about this girl, and how much she means to the singer. It's a simple and beautiful song. It makes me wonder when I heard the last song sung by a female describing all the little quirks about a male/lover of any gender in general and saying how much he/whoever means to her. Obviously there's a lot of musi…

Experiencing Faith - Jing'an Temple

静安寺 literally means the temple of peace and tranquility (thanks Wikipedia!). I was especially excited to visit Buddhist temples because in my childhood in Hong Kong, I remember a lot of holidays that included visits to temples, and the smell of incense filled the air on various days of the year that required showing respect to either the dead, the ancestors, or religious statues. This past school year, I was a guest student (informally auditing, I guess) in a student-taught course titled Experiential Religions. One of the class trips was to a local Tibetan Buddhist Temple (well, center) in Houston. I was disappointed because it was just Houstonians practicing their faith in a normal building, not at what one would architecturally call "temple" though.

After paying 30 RMB (Yuan/Chinese dollar) to get in, I picked up a pack of incense and lit it up, eagerly inhaling the familiar smell. Incense is very soothing to me, especially in the context of temples, where the pace felt sl…

Another first day

Today's my first day settling in the flat I will stay at for the next 8 weeks. Athena, a woman from the third party service provider Xubo, picked me up at the hotel and we made our way here. I shared a lot about myself with her and I'm happy that my mandarin is getting me by quite well. For now. A few observations about Shanghai today

There are no pigeons in the streets. I saw a few small birds and they are very small.The people here are smaller, I knew that. I feel pretty average height.There's very little personal space, I found pedestrians and strangers walking dangerously close to me for no reason and it scared meAs soon as I speak, if not before that, people can probably tell I'm not exactly from hereSunglasses is not as popular as I hoped it would be, most people use umbrellas/parasols I got a haircut today, it is very long overdue, so another observation No matter where I go, whenever I get a haircut they always make me feel awful about my hair because I don't…

Operation Arrival:


Agent KC here, reporting from her Pudong International Airport hotel room. I'm really hungry already, what a shame. The flight from Toronto to Shanghai took a long 14 hours, but it was worth it. The aerial view showed that Shanghai and its surrounding areas were very gridded and organized, all structures and land were in perfect geometric shapes. Talk about development. Someone I had contacted via email who works at a law firm in Shanghai and used to work in Houston had told me that Shanghai is humid like Houston, except people use less AC here. Well he is right so far, the airport was so warm, and it smelled faintly of cigarettes. The line to go through customs for foreigners was very long, but they had two sections and many diligent and efficient officers working. I noticed that the foreign travelers were mostly men. I wondered why. They included probably businessmen, other Asian nationals, and I even saw the Kuwait Fencing Team representing themselves.

I had never done…