Blog

Losing the learning: knowledge from mothers

What my mother learned and how she acquired the knowledge from her mother has lost its place in me. I learn from the internet and books and I try to satisfy the social role that’s different from the one she was supposed to satisfy. The knowledge that I didn’t learn, is it considered as loss or substituted by different knowledge for newly emerging demand?

I google constantly. Things that enlighten me and things that help me survive, from how to cook eggs to what are the prerequisites for comprehension of new information. As I’m spending more time with my mother now, I realised I didn’t inherit a lot of her knowledge in a natural way. As I’m watching her preparing meals, I began asking questions why she decided to take certain steps. I ask “why are you drying it first before cooking it?” Then she responds with reasonable answers.

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How I wish I’d been taught about kindness

How do we teach children about kindness? Unrealistic and overly idealistic models may discourage children to embrace the act of kindness.

After very satisfying swim laps, I stopped by at a store to buy a couple of mini containers to put my post-swimming moisturiser in. There were several kinds on display on bottom shelves so I squatted down and examined one by one to see which one fits the best for the texture. A woman next to me asked me to confirm whether the product she was holding was mascara. I said it was, thinking the Korean text description might be too small for some people to read, as my mum often asks me to read things written on products. Then I heard noises from the cashier counter. Something that always bothered me; open-mouth eating noise. The more I tried to focus on my product choosing, the more I got obsessed with the worst pet peeve of mine. A guy was having a trivial conversation with either his wife or mum with his mouth open stuffed with food. I couldn’t stand it any longer so I picked one and took it to the cashier. My eyes automatically turned to the origin of the noise and there I saw him! Familiar face from my middle school days back in 2000s. I didn’t look twice as I feared he might recognise me. I greeted kindly to the cashier and got out.

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In defence of my face

I’m okay with my face. But are others okay with it? Assumption that we all pursue physical appeal for anything is the by-product of our highly competitive, low self-esteemed society.

A few weeks ago, I had to have my picture taken by a professional in order to renew my passport. I had some thought, as the photo will follow me for 10 years from now, that I should not take it so lightly in choosing the place as I did when I had my long hair chopped half in a local hair shop, which made me look 13 year old. So I took the chance of being in Seoul one day and found the photo shop on the main street of Gangnam which often considered to be the show window of mainstream culture.

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On virality and dichotomy: mansplaining and more

We live in dichotomised society with fast and instant thinking process backed by internet. In the middle of virality, are we making right judgments? Words on mansplaining and discrimination.

Mansplain |manˈspleɪn|

verb [with object] informal
(of a man) explain (something) to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.

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What made her do the right thing?

Which development interventions worked and which didn’t? Sometimes it’s hard to know when the intervention wasn’t intended. I’m puzzled by what’s behind the behaviour. The attitude, social pressure, and control.

I walk to my office every morning. I pass walls of maize and waves of legume farms. After the primary school, if I walk slow, I get to my office after 7 minutes after leaving my place. I can almost listen to 2 songs while I’m walking. It’s refreshing and effective at the same time for blocking children’s enthusiastic calls for attention that’s repeated every morning.

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Do we need empathy in politics: the power of motivation

Does empathy go with politics? Empathy is not necessarily what makes good policies. Yet, it’s what determines the motivation for making good policies. On the value of empathy.

More than any time in recent decades, it seems like we are now experiencing the point where empathy and logic are needed most in politics and not only in the US considering the newly elected president. The issues of refugees, gay marriage, immigrants, and the poor are only getting intense from both ends. This past week so many were affected by the tips of Trump’s well-fed hand which later probably was used to hold his Champaign glass to celebrate his great achievement on signing executive order on halting nationals from 7 countries, in which Muslim consists the majority, from entering US territory. Some say evil, some say idiot, others say “the greatest man ever elected who legally opened my closet doors to the true ‘merica!” Are we angry because he has no heart or because he’s being unreasonable? He says “America first.” It means he will see things from the American’s perspective. Then why are so many Americans still angry? According to the news pieces and his personal twitter account, I believe Trump’s America represents something different and exclusive from other Americans’ America. His perspective didn’t seem to go as deeper as diversity and equality. Perhaps he is not capable to interpret others’ lives through his life experience. Perhaps he disagrees with the first amendment. While I’m watching his footprints, I started thinking about morality and the desirable leader figure. To be moral, one has to know what’s right or wrong to simply put. To know what’s right or wrong one must acquire education and experience. Then without proper absorption of the education and experience, one does not have any idea what they are doing. So yes the leader doesn’t have to be a warm-hearted person but morality should be the one of the prime qualities of the desirable leader. Then what does empathy have to do with politics?

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Sudden flashback when the revelation was subtle

How we perceive information influences how one views others’ social status. How much does it influence on women’s social status specifically?

A few days after I arrived in Malawi, my temporary boss told us new-comers that we need to meet this Korean lady who can be a great help if we got acquainted. His description of her went something like this in this order.

“Her name is C. She’s married to a German-South African man. She knows a lot of people and she will help you if you have any struggles in dealing with processes including legal matters.”

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Let’s be clear about ownership in development

We left the last construction process for the community to finish.” Someone told me when I asked why the construction for a hand pump was not completed. That was a year ago. The pump itself was working but the gutter was left undone. So if someone uses the pump, the water was to roam about and make a huge pool where mosquitos can thrive and fly. There was a lock which kept people from using the pump without contributing their share. I asked, “so does the community have any plan to finish anytime soon?” “No, they said they don’t have money to buy cements and pebbles,” he answered. “Then what’s our plan?” I asked. He said, “we wait until they show their ownership.” I was new and was still learning from my successor’s work without my successor present, so I didn’t say more.

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Locked out: the nationality and border

Trump administration banned the entry of people with certain nationalities. It’s discriminatory. But what did I do when it happened in front of my own eyes?

This particular time when people with proper visa were reported to be stuck in the airport due to the travel ban, I wanted to write about the story that I find equally silly.

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Aren’t we appropriating music?

You can’t believe how much I love looking appropriate. Especially when it comes to listening to music. I appropriate to impress.

While I was working on office party planning ahead of Christmas day, I decided to buy a set of speaker so that we music lovers can listen to music as loud as our sing-along noise. A few days later, I set up the new speaker on my desk for a test run. Even for a test run, my music selection process isn’t usually quite simple. I consider several factors like emotion, audience, occasion, and so on. This time I chose from my playlists songs that involve bouncy beats such as dancehall and reggaeton that give African-y vibes.

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