Hello from the Rice Bubble

I've been meaning to write a blog post for a while since coming back to school for my junior year, but alas I've been busy with coursework and extracurricular activities. Forgive me blogosphere for leaving you hanging!

I'm really happy to continue studying Chinese this semester, which has significantly stepped up its difficulty. I woke up late this morning, did not finish my assignment or study for the quiz. Thankfully both were postponed upon request. I'm also continuing my studies in sociology and women, gender, and sexuality studies. What I really enjoy is that this semester my courses feature more multimedia - videos, clips, news articles, films, songs, etc. They make the conversation so much more relevant and interactive. I sometimes live tweet my classes because so many interesting things are happening one after another.

There are certainly overlaps and connections between my courses. For example, what I study in youth studies often interact with the same authors we read about in my deviance, justice, and popular culture course.

What I'm working really hard on lately is my study abroad application. I'm interested in this program, which concentrates on learning about human rights in 4 different countries over one semester. Go big or go home, right? Except the application has been out since April, which I should've checked, but I didn't, so now I'm rushing to get my reference letters, transcripts, and application in ASAP. Wish me luck!

To give you a taste of what I learn and discuss about in classes nowadays, take a look at this article. Basically, a Cuban artist's newest portrait collection features haunting pictures of children "crucified" onto the backs of different adults, each of which target a different controversial global issue, including sex trafficking, chemical weapons, and gun violence in schools. It is an intersection of global issues, the media, children as the center of our fears, and popular culture. Not to mention the choice of the crucifixion to showcase each of these issues, pointing to children as the ultimate sacrifice for all our issues that we cannot adequately handle.

It really interests me that the artist chose to crucify children as the victims of all these issues, because of all people, children are innocent and vulnerable, yet we as society have let them down. Speaking of which, one of the hot topics lately is the Syrian civil war. The artist mentioned also included a portrait of a presumably Middle Eastern girl crucified onto the back of an armed soldier. President Obama has addressed the issue of American intervention to the nation, and even Russian President Putin has given his two cents on it. I agreed with Putin on calling out this whole idea of American exceptionalism. Obviously, even though his op-ed piece spoke mostly about Syria, every major press's attention goes to Putin telling us we're not special.

But wait, guys, what about Syria? Maybe if we spend less time crying like a little kid over Putin telling us we're not special, which misconstrues his argument, and spend more time on working with other nations diplomatically, we can make it to see the end of a civil war that is tearing the world apart.


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