Last weekend, a formerly-unknown jazz musician became a worldwide Twitter trend: Esperanza Spalding. … I know. I had never heard of her either prior to the Grammys. It was only after I'd caught up with all my celebrity gossip (university life can delay certain priorities) that I realized Justin Bieber, for once, actually got overthrown in the Twitterverse post-red carpet. Of course, there are quite a few 'Beliebers' running around saying some nasty things about Esperanza. Which makes me think: do underdogs ever truly win?
Just last weekend, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens had seemed very much still the ideal couple of three years to their admiring fans, since reports told of how "Zanessa" went Christmas shopping together. Now, they face the very same problem encountered by many ('regular') couples right before the jingle bells kick in: the pre-holiday breakup blues. But wouldn't you rather spend a special occasion feeling together than apart? Wouldn't everyone?
In the first year of university, everyone thinks differently. Some are more inclined to meet new people and focus on improving their social lives. Some are more determined to do their best in academics. Others are left feeling incredibly anxious about how the next three to four years of their lives will go. Then all of a sudden, graduation is almost here and everyone can only think on the same line: what am I going to do with my life next?
To many of my peers, September means only one thing: back-to-school season. In just five (and a half, to be fair) days, I will be jetting back to England for yet another year of university—my last one, actually. But all I can think of is how much life is going to, for lack of a better word, suck again being away from home.
Remember the days of “Leo-mania,” when all the girls (myself excluded) lined up at the cinemas to watch Titanic for the fifth time, just to see their idol Leonardo “King of the World” DiCaprio romance Kate Winslet on the silver screen? Remember how females of all ages wanted their very own Lloyd Dobbler after a young John Cusack stole hearts with his infamous boombox scene in Say Anything? Remember when Alec Baldwin was hailed as a sex symbol rather than the world’s worst father? (Never mind. Let’s not go there.)
I assume most people have watched The Lion King. Without spoiling anything for those who haven't (although hopefully that wouldn't be anyone), there is a common Swahili phrase used throughout the movie (usually in song), hakuna matata, which means "no worries". Simba and Co. seem to be able to live their lives happily because of this philosophy, and to young children, this appears possible. But what about the youth transitioning into young adults? How do they deal with life stresses? What ARE these stresses?
Yesterday morning, on my way to work, I saw an old, homeless beggar, probably in his 70s. It wasn't even eight o'clock in the morning and already, he was standing outside my usual subway station exit in the rain and holding out a Styrofoam container, hoping someone would offer spare change. Immediately, I went and did the most charitable thing I have ever (physically) done in all 19 years of my life: I bought the man some breakfast from the Starbucks just around the corner. Perhaps this is a slightly more common scenario in the Western or European societies. However, I live in Hong Kong; a city that is rather famous for its busy, chaotic nature. Locals barely have time to tend to themselves because of work, let alone others. Simply put, nobody pays attention to those in need. Which was perhaps why in the current case, upon receiving the meal, the beggar remained silent and speechless. I left without hearing or saying another word, but I knew I had touched him.
In kindergarten, I was closest with a guy named Daniel. Or David … I can't remember. That's how much our friendship has been forgotten. Clearly, we are no longer in touch. In Grade 3, I played street hockey (or something resembling the game) with someone, who proceeded to ignore me for no apparent reason in the following year despite having previously called me "the best friend in the whole wide world". Sad, but true. Another beloved pal gone. Like every other youth, I continue to encounter friendship issues as I approach adulthood. I have seemingly lost touch with many of my formerly good friends over the past few years without ever really knowing the real reason. Which makes me wonder: How on Earth did we come up with the "friends forever" concept in the first place anyway?
Dobrý deň! Excuse the Czech (which simply means "good day")—I'm currently posting this entry from my hotel room in beautiful Prague, and I couldn't help but showcase my new language skills. You see, I have been here for a summer program on Crime, Law and Psychology since Saturday morning. The city is absolutely breathtaking and everyone on the course seems very energetic and friendly. However, despite having made several new friends already, I noticed something rather concerning from the very first day. You might have already guessed from the title of this entry what I'm on about: the existence of cliques. About 95% of the people on the program are postgraduate students, meaning they range from about 21 years of age to 40. I am at least two years younger than everyone (in other words, I'm literally the baby of the bunch), so my first expectation upon arriving at the summer school venue was to meet dynamic individuals willing to mingle with anyone. My view was that given their age and experience, surely my fellow classmates should be mature, open and accepting. Wrong.
What do you think of when you see the words "student life"? All-nighters, coffee overdoses, last-minute cramming sessions … We've all been there. And what is usually the product of all those factors? Why, stress, of course. For many people, summer started quite a while ago. I, on the other hand, just finished writing my summer exams this past Saturday. No, you didn't read wrong—I had not one, but two Saturday exams over the course of my eight-day examination period. Perhaps I should feel grateful there were no Sunday exams? I currently study in England, where students are usually tested only once, at the end of the academic year, on what they remember learning. Coming from a North American background, I am still not used to this unfamiliar system, two years into my three-year degree program.