Hello dear reader, HAPPY HOLIDAYS! ✨ I was drafting my annual Year-in-Review post but became spoilt for choice when trying to narrow down my favorite read of 2020 to one. So a happy sidetrack: I pick my top read for each month of the year. What better way is there to sum up 2020 than … Continue reading 12 Top Reads in 2020
In 1997, two decades after the end of the Cultural Revolution, Wang Xiaobo died prematurely of a heart attack. This was five years after his debut novella The Golden Age made him one of the most widely read and discussed authors among disillusioned youth in China. While initially met with hostility from the literary establishment, … Continue reading Book Review: The Golden Age 黄金时代 by Wang Xiaobo 王小波
on my desk is a regular feature on the blog where I jot down brief thoughts on the books I'm reading, either for class or leisure. In light of the protests against racial injustice in the U.S. and around the world, I revisit a few formative works that have shaped how I think about race. … Continue reading on my desk: thinking about race
on my desk is a new feature on the blog where I jot down brief thoughts on the books I read, usually for class (and now also for leisure). Here are some of the books I've read since returning home from campus, during my hermit, 100-step count days inside the house. What's in your library? … Continue reading on my desk: the pandemic stay-home edition
The first time I heard the word ‘coronavirus’ was at our last dinner in Istanbul. (note: COVID-19 is the newest strain from the coronavirus family, but forgive my then-ignorance of epidemiology.) "What virus?" I asked. "It’s happening to a few people in China, but no one knows what it is," J said. "How do you … Continue reading Life in The Time of Coronavirus
on my desk is a new feature on the blog where I jot down brief thoughts on the books I've read for the week, usually for class. This first installment covers some of the books I've read from week 2 to week 4 of Junior Spring. Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys An immediate classic. So … Continue reading on my desk: 1984, The Bluest Eye & more!
MY FAVORITE SEMESTER INTELLECTUALLY! ❤️ Before I gush, a few things: I'm back to four classes (and also auditing a fifth). This has been the best schedule I've had so far, with no classes on Thursdays AND Fridays. But in terms of sheer reading, I have to average three books per week (not including some … Continue reading My Junior Spring Harvard Classes ≧◡≦
Note: Thank you to Harvard's Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) and to our phenomenal trip leader Jesse for the chance to spend two weeks of my winter break in Turkey. Harvard kids, apply!!! Check out the program here. *** The cypress and plane trees, the rooftops, the heartache of dusk, the sounds coming from … Continue reading I, Istanbul
What's in your magnitude? What's in your library? What's in your details? Happy Thanksgiving!!! This break, I've been on campus: empty cobblestone streets, a handful of lit windows in the wintry night, closed restaurants and libraries, vacant laundry machines — solitary, quiet, and kind of really nice. I've been reading and reading and writing and … Continue reading Thanksgiving with Books and BBQ
We tend to romanticize the past. For a while, I complained to friends that I was feeling the belated onslaught of the Sophomore Slump — call it the Junior Jetlag. Every seven hours, I would reminisce about my idyllic, fulfilling sophomore fall. But then, I went to read what I wrote one year ago — my pillow … Continue reading Conversation Sparks: Life, you’re the dancing queen
I’m not sure that Morocco or France are my countries... No, my country is language. My country is a library. Have you ever felt utterly exhilarated just listening to someone talk? I was in a conference room somewhere in the basement of the Center for European Studies. Leila Slimani was in conversation with my Advanced Fiction … Continue reading Confession: “I Was Born A Writer”
Hello folks, we're entering week 4 of Junior Fall?! Summer feels like yesterday — banana shirt days in flip-flops, lounging in the shade reading novels, and smearing the ring of condensation on my fingers when sipping iced tea/milk green tea with golden bubbles/pineapple smoothies (happy sigh). My life has never been this routine and packed … Continue reading My Junior Fall Harvard Classes!
Working at CNN Fareed Zakaria GPS has been one of the most interesting internship experiences I’ve had. It has exposed me to the specifics of producing a show for air, what it’s like to work at a place like CNN, and the excitement of dealing with ideas, international news, and incisive analysis on a day-to-day basis. … Continue reading Interning at CNN Fareed Zakaria GPS
Thank you, New York. Many things you were, but boring you were not. I will miss you. x Finished typing this list as I was standing in line at JFK — it's surreal how fast these two months passed (although there were patches when the days felt meandering and Mondays when I could not get … Continue reading Overheard in New York
Public announcement on the blog!!! : ) There's now a blog tab apart from Chronicle and Contact called... Academic 💙🤖📘🧬🌏 ...where I've pooled together the A-grade papers/creative coursework I've written for my Harvard classes. In short, I present to you the intellectual arc of my college career. There are some that I wish I could've done better, … Continue reading Tada! All my Harvard papers in 1 place.
🌟 07/10/2019 🦄 Just want to mark this date on the blog: July 10, 2019 (even as the minutes slowly tumble into July 11, 2019). If there's one day I want to carve into my memory from this entire summer thus far, it's July 10. It's the most exhilarating and stimulating day I've had in a … Continue reading A day ft. Jeff Zucker, Fareed Zakaria & Amanda Lee Koe
Hellooo May! My favorite month of the year. (Because it's my birthday at the end of it. Jk.) 😇 Since I'm flying from Boston Logan this Friday, the summer calendar is on the verge of starting. 120 days stretch out before me till September 3 when the Fall 2019 term starts. It's so surreal that … Continue reading (120) Days of Summer/Internship
Easter Egg: Screenplay at the end of the post. 🥚✨ ♪(๑ᴖ◡ᴖ๑)♪ 🌏 Harvard China Forum 💡 April 12th to 14th, Harvard College China Forum happened. Remember last year when I was the Programming Associate in charge of the Culture Panel (ft. Fang Wenshan 💕)? As the Programming Chair this year, I oversaw how my amazing team … Continue reading April is tough. And brilliant. ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ
Returning from Cairo, Egypt is like waking up from some hot, hazy dream. These first few days after spring break I fall asleep each night as though I'm drugged. My skin feels like papyrus, my eyes are always heavy. There is a residual kiss of the city on my forearm — dark brown tendrils, an … Continue reading Oh, Cairo
Brevity features short posts on the interesting, incisive, or inexplicably moving ideas I encounter at Harvard. It’s a record of the detail in those intellectual and creative moments, as well as an exploration of the curious questions that keep me up at the midnight hour. Here’s an honest snapshot of my mind. Sometimes, I realize how much more I have … Continue reading Brevity: Renaissance Woman
Belatedly, wishing all of you: Happy Year of the Pig!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ First things first, things that have served as brilliant reminders when life works weirdly: 1. Turn your FOMO into JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) — I would like to interpret it as loving yourself and realizing that doing nothing or doing less … Continue reading My Sophomore Spring Harvard Classes + Some Little Things
Inspired by Sei Shōnagon's diary-lists in The Pillow Book. Things That I Will Remember Shivering as we tread the familiar path to Annenberg in the canopy of night. Everyone holding signs celebrating the declaration of their concentrations. Shimmery silver streaks, Trophy Wife and Sugar Daddy signboards, bare cookies, beaming faces, flashing lights, postcards sent into … Continue reading my pillow book: the pathos of November
BLACK SCREEN. FADE IN. INT. DORM ROOM - NIGHT Selina (20, Singaporean-Chinese) has both hands on the Mac keyboard. She is leaning forward expectantly before a desk piled high with dog-eared books, loose sheets of paper and thin notebooks with mythical, cartoonish covers. Cue music: something whimsical like Hisaishi's Nausicaä Requiem! something dramatically perching on … Continue reading I declared my concentration!
The number of papers I've written this semester: 7. Words that appeared in my first 10-page screenplay*: Wong Kar-wai. Temple. Claypot. Kant. Fortune-teller. White peach tart. Mahjong. Wikipedia. Red Mansion Dream. The Gods are real. *If you are intrigued and would like to read it in exchange for giving me your genuine critique and constructive … Continue reading After the Darkness, A Meadow of Books
I realized I'm almost through with September and have not talked about the biggest chunk in my sophomore life thus far—my classes! There's a reason why I've literally had no time to write about this. Life has been an absolute whirlwind. Here's a snapshot of the residential problems plaguing our suite of four: I discovered … Continue reading My Sophomore Fall Harvard Classes! (ft. Life)
At some point in your life, this statement will be true: Tomorrow you will lose everything forever. How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, by Charles Yu At the most random of moments, I consider my own mortality. One such instance was as I was seated in the cozy office of Professor Racha … Continue reading Confronting My Worldly Fears
TAKE ONE Here's how it happens: eyelids fluttering, an image rising, and a sudden plunge into the hot, wet mouth of memory. I'm walking on a boulevard and then this hutong catches my eye and before I know it I'm wandering down networks of neurons, lost. Or I'm talking to someone, laughing, and there's a … Continue reading Two Takes on My Harvard Freshman Year (My Year in Review?)
Kyoto is one-hour strolls along train tracks, washed-out pink carpets hanging on strings, bottles of sake behind second-storey windows, two scrawny girls trying to catch a pale yellow butterfly with a net, watery rice paddies beside a parking lot full of Toyotas & Hondas. Kyoto is that moment my hair almost rustles as my bones quiver … Continue reading When In Kyoto ≧◡≦
Part I Typed on May 5, Sunday in the Canaday basement while waiting for my laundry (surrounded by the humming of the washing machines and dryers). Freshman year is ending, it really is. I can feel it in my bones. I'm flying off in four days; I'm done with three out of four of my … Continue reading Before It Ends (Part I & II)
I guess there's an untold side to every story. He handed me a Whole Foods bag. I took a peek and saw a glass bottle of red wine vinaigrette resting against some other random-shaped items. "There're some salt, olive oil, and chili," he said, "and chocolates." "Okay, I don't cook, but thank you, Prof." I was … Continue reading Quirky Snippets of An Untold April
Harvard College China Forum happened! 🌻🌻🌻 感谢你，哈佛中国论坛。这一年过得忽快忽慢，有时磕磕碰碰，但终归时常能让我深夜里兴奋得睡不着。从一开始担心文化分论坛一个演讲嘉宾都请不到，到奇妙地看到一位位重量级嘉宾加入，再到最后在Seaport会展中心看着座无虚席的剧场和台前分享的方文山、李路、童之磊、杨晖、陈楸帆和刘林老师，也许那一刻感受到的是几百人思想上的碰撞和略微不可思议的欣喜。这是一个有魔力的平台，吸引着太平洋两岸、各行各业的人才一起前来贡献他们对于这个世界的想法。谁能想到一年前在香港红馆《地表最强》演唱会挥舞着荧光棒、亲眼看到台上的周杰伦时泪流满面的我，一年后能有幸邀请到方文山老师出席文化分论坛？反正我一年前跟全家一起追着看《人民的名义》时，完全想也想不到一年后我能亲自与李路导演交谈。 作为大一新生参加哈佛中国论坛的团队是我2017年做的最好的决定之一。感谢向我强烈推荐HCCF的Zara Zhang学姐（who happens to run an amazing blog; she was also last year's Co-President）、整个Organizing Team （尤其是我所属的Programming Committee），以及热心帮助和引导我的每一位学姐学长。团队的力量真的令人震撼。一年前的我很青涩，但这一年来我学会了如何待人处事。这些点点滴滴我会放进人生的行囊里。感激每一次成长的机会和与我一同成长的你们。 Now, time for some life updates! It has been a week since Harvard College China Forum concluded at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston. Time has been hurtling forward since Spring … Continue reading To Harvard China Forum • 致哈佛中国论坛
Recently, my dad sent me this photo which expressively demonstrates my aggressive territoriality over a french fry (or my incurable love for food since I was a kid). When my phone ding!-ed and the screen lit up with this incoming message, I was in the midst of a rough week built up from a lack … Continue reading When Reality Beckons: Confessions of a Drama Addict
Brevity features short posts on the interesting, incisive, or inexplicably moving ideas I encounter at Harvard. It's a record of the detail in those intellectual and creative moments, as well as an exploration of the curious questions that keep me up at the midnight hour. Here's an honest snapshot of my mind. *** In contemplating topics as disparate and … Continue reading Brevity: Why Literature?
A quick update on how the semester is swinging into action before I get back to my readings (I have to read around 70 pages of business case studies for SOCWORLD 49 by tomorrow, and both Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and Ulysses by James Joyce by this coming Tuesday). I have my class schedule for … Continue reading My Freshman Spring Harvard Classes
Dear You, what is art for? Last week, I was in Washington, D.C. with seven other Harvard students on a 10-day Wintersession at Dumbarton Oaks revolving around this topic: Culture and Power: Art, Philanthropy, and Diplomacy in America. In those 10 days, I've seen art like this: And this: Interestingly, this: But also this: Lastly, my … Continue reading Girl in D.C.
I haven't seen snow in three years. The last time I did was in December 2014 when it was barely snowing in London and the brownish-grey slush in the fairgrounds weirdly resembled the chocolate slurpee from 7-11. It was not pretty. I was sad. This morning, I was barely awake and on the phone with … Continue reading First Snow • 初雪
November is the great mystery of daylight saving time. It's the time when night comes early, days turn dark in mid-swallow, and the sense of time grows distorted. It also makes me freak out a bit when it’s 5pm but it feels like 9pm and I’ve not yet started on my paper. November is days … Continue reading November is…
Hi friends, I'm trying out a new feature on this blog (on top of regular posts). Let me know what you think. 🙂 Brevity features short weekly posts on the interesting, incisive, or inexplicably moving ideas inspired by my Harvard professors and classmates. It's a record of the detail in those intellectual and creative moments, as well … Continue reading Brevity: Can Fiction Save Felons?
1. Sundays on hammocks in hot Singaporean-like Cambridge weather. Hurrah! 2. Learning. The room is warm. My pulse is throbbing at an almost manic pace. In a hitched breath's moment of unconscious cerebration, it occurs to me that I am surrounded by knowledge coming to life -- in eager minds, raw stories, bustling thoughts, and this … Continue reading Things I Love
Dear Writing, It's an open secret that I love you but have never felt very sure about you. You're a complicated lover -- sometimes, you come so close I can breathe your scintillating effervescence and feel you intimately against the insides of my skin; other times, I'm reminded by your improbable capriciousness. You don't belong … Continue reading Embracing Rejection At Harvard (also unexpected surprises)
Amazingly, it has been 18 days since I came to the U.S., 15 days since I joined the incredible Freshman International Program (one of the five pre-orientation programs that Harvard offers), 11 days since I moved into my freshman dorm Canaday, four days since I officially became a Harvard alum during Convocation, and three days … Continue reading Harvard, It’s ? at First Sight