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My very first experience with Dungeons and Dragons

I had always wanted to play Dungeons and Dragons(D&D). It seemed interesting. Appearing multiple times in pop culture and some gaming channels I follow. I just thought I could never come across other people who played D&D or even had a remote interest in it. That was until a friend of mine asked me if he wanted to join his D&D sessions.

I have recently completed my first campaign of D&D. Well, a one-shot to be more accurate: a short adventure usually created for one session to help players get familiarized with the game mechanics. A veteran dungeon master(DM) made it to help me get familiar with how the game works. The name of the one-shot was: “Something’s Rotten in Ingland…” Where I played as a goliath fighter, together with an aarakocran monk and a half-elf warlock.

So how I learnt D&D was by my fellow party members and DM teaching me how the game works along the way. The DM also hosted zoom meetings before the actual gameplay to help me create a character and explain the different features of D&D. I also did some personal readings of D&D. And let me tell you this. The lore of D&D is incredibly vast! There are multiple resources online for us to learn. They have their websites and books for players to learn more about how the game works. D&D is incredibly detailed with the stats, abilities, classes, races, monsters, and many more details that can affect our experience. All the minor details affected everything into a culmination of our characters and how our adventure played out.

The frustration with the rolls and how the DM and the players could not see eye-to-eye with what we could or could not do, the multiple times each of our party members died only to come back alive with our death rolls, and the good rolls we finally had after suffering the onslaught of giant rats. All the blood, sweat, and tears we excreted with the demanding task of rolling dice made the whole experience worthwhile.

Dungeons and Dragons is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game introduced back in 1974. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson were the designers. Its current publisher is Wizards of the Coast.

https://www.dndbeyond.com/ – This site is a must for all D&D players. You can access your character sheet and campaigns, as well as read about the lore and happenings of the Dungeons and Dragons world.

Reference:

Haeck, J. (2019). D&D Beyond. [online] D&D Beyond. Available at: https://www.dndbeyond.com/.

Tribality. (n.d.). D&D 5th Edition Resources. [online] Available at: https://www.tribality.com/dd-5th-edition-resources/

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The future of VR gaming

There are a multitude of games available in the market. But I want to talk about an idea that may end up becoming the go-to way of experiencing gaming within the next 10 years. Virtual reality (VR) gaming.

Imagine coming home after a long day of work. You take off your shoes, let your feet breathe, and plop down onto your sofa and put on your headset. Then boom! You are in another world flying with dragons and diving down huge waterfalls. VR gaming hasn’t been utilised to its full potential yet as can be seen from consoles still taking precedence in the gaming community. But VR has been making leaps in its development since it has first been introduced to us.

Teslasuit - A Wearable Smart Suit With Applications Beyond Imagination

Looking at VR as a form of escapism, its potential is endless. You are able to immerse yourself completely in a world dealing with magic, monsters, space and the usual gaming stuff. Moreover with the current and future tech being developed, more senses are being implemented into technology. One example is the Haptic suits and gloves to allow players to feel the sense of touch when getting shot or receiving a hug from someone in VRChat. 

Global Digital Scent Technology Market: Industry Size, Status And Forecast  2017 – 2022 - Haptic
Digital device serves up a taste of virtual food

VR gaming introduces a whole new world for multiplayer games and interactions with other people. Gustatory senses and digital scent technology is out there in the market. Maybe in the future, these technologies can be implemented in VR gaming in order to be more immersive.

2019 Omni Directional Treadmill Virtual Reality Equipment Games,Kat Walk Vr  Treadmill Simulator For Sale - Buy Vr Simulator,Vr Treadmill For Sale,Kat  Walk Vr Product on Alibaba.com

Currently a lot of its technology is too expensive or too big to be sold for regular consumers. One example is the VR treadmill. Most of their tech is only available for business and commercial use such as VR centers. However in order to truly revolutionise gaming and be closer to something akin to “Ready Player One”. VR technology must be developed to be easily accessible to the normal user like you and me.

Reference:

Aperture (2019). Virtual Reality: Our Digital Escape. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjrL6kZKgP4

Explore Biotech. (2018). Teslasuit – A Wearable Smart Suit With Applications Beyond Imagination. [online] Available at: https://explorebiotech.com/teslasuit-a-wearable-smart-suit-with-applications-beyond-imagination/

Giphy.com. (2021). [online] Available at: https://media.giphy.com/media/26AHxbQMIf0CzRdTO/giphy.gif.

Haptic (2017). Global Digital Scent Technology Market: Industry Size, Status And Forecast 2017 – 2022. [online] Haptic. Available at: https://www.haptic.ro/global-digital-scent-technology-market-industry-size-status-forecast-2017-2022/

Heim, M. (1994). The metaphysics of virtual reality. New York ; Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Nathie (2020). This VR Treadmill Brings Us Closer To Making Ready Player One A Reality (First Look: Kat Walk C). YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jABB85ZTcF8

Science Time (2020). The Evolution of Virtual Reality by 2025. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_d-hMZaU5Po

techxplore.com. (n.d.). Digital device serves up a taste of virtual food. [online] Available at: https://techxplore.com/news/2020-05-digital-device-virtual-food.html

The Gadget Show (2019). The Future of VR Games. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PxI7LHU_mA&list=PLnRGS-ZphN4RVEXHffWW4mWVuD-8qih35&index=24

Virtual Insider (2020). The Future Tech Of Virtual Reality. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cgZ6J5oE0g&list=PLnRGS-ZphN4RVEXHffWW4mWVuD-8qih35&index=23

Virtual Reality Technology. (2011). New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

http://www.alibaba.com. (n.d.). Buy 2019 Omni Directional Treadmill Virtual Reality in China on Alibaba.com. [online] Available at: https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/2019-Omni-Directional-Treadmill-Virtual-Reality_60786495915.html.

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My views on masculinity

I first followed the channels relating to masculinity because they were helpful to me. They taught me how to have a better attitude with life. The importance of perseverance and working hard. How to appreciate the people around me and myself. Furthermore, it is a place for men to bond, just like with sports. Usually the YouTube channels I am subscribed to talk about subjects their followers sent them to review or talk about. This way the subscribers can interact with the channels and share their life story or about some conflicting source they found on the Internet. Outside of these channels, a lot of men do not have a way to share or learn about the experiences they face because men’s issues are disregarded by most platforms. Even talking about the issues faced by men are ridiculed. A civil rights movement: father’s rights movement is seen as a joke because women are traditionally the caregivers and they think men obviously could not have a strong bond towards their own children. The law and society undermine the value of fathers, even fathers themselves underrate their own value they bring to their children. (York, 2020)

I watch these channels frequently. Almost all of their videos if they are talking about a topic that is new to me. They help me understand how society views men, as well as how men and women think. I have seen people ridiculing these “garbage men” for trying to voice their opinions online. The public shaming comes from both women and men so this is where I garner that it is a normal phenomenon to think men should not voice their opinions because of the “privileges” they have. It makes us believe that only men have privileges, which is far from the truth . Any problems men have should be ignored because surely, we are living our best lives with no worries at all? Chivalry has existed from a long time and it is hammered down to every boy ever since they could first process their thoughts that they had to protect the fairer sex.

There is also a popular saying online you see from time to time: “All men are trash”. I’m sure you have heard it somewhere before. I do not know who hurt those women ;D but I hope they are doing alright now. The impression we get from this saying is that “men are trash/toxic”, that they treat women poorly. But even if they were just saying it as a joke, this shows that it is okay to complain to the whole world about the filth that are men. However, if it was a man complaining about the toxic women in their lives, suddenly he would be branded a loser and less of a man.

There is a recent scandal consisting of Johnny Depp and ex-wife Amber Heard. The situation is so suspicious on Heard’s part that everything she has been saying is being disproved. A phone recording has come out suggesting that Amber Heard was in fact unstable and the one enacting  the violence. As well as reports and pictures of Depp’s finger being cut by Heard(like someone would cut his own finger), Heard wearing makeup to show evidence of domestic violence to strengthen her case of receiving spousal support after their divorce. Even with all this evidence, the Sun(a tabloid from the UK where the trials are taking place) are strongly in favour of Heard because “they have always fought for justice against women in domestic violence.” Even though there is no clear evidence backing it. Moreover, it all seems like they are just doing it for their image and to blindly stand on the side of women. Depp has since been asked to let go of his role in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 3 to protect their image of being linked with a supposed “wife beater.” Heard on the other hand, has not received any backlash with her acting roles like Aquaman 2, even with her instability and violence against her ex-husband being revealed on the Internet. I now know clearly which two movies I will be boycotting. The link to this case will be provided in the reference list down below. You can also check out multiple videos on YouTube tackling this subject if you are interested.

Men are vilified more than women when they commit the same mistakes. Even when there is no evidence backing up claims, men still get the short end of the stick. The current social dynamic is one where we support women no matter what. It is more acceptable and encouraged by others, so we turn a blind eye to the voices of men. This is what our “progressive society” is developing into.

Now, my goal is not to vilify women and become the one thing I swore not to be. Obviously this is the way society thinks(both women AND men). It is right that we should have equal opportunities, however, this should also be true when we are judging them(especially in lawful affairs). Society is too in favour of women to the point that some women are using it to benefit themselves unlawfully. They can get away with most things, so they will continue to exploit that system.

I have always considered myself to be a feminist and will continue to fight for the equality of women. But in a lot of places in the world, women are equal to men. I believe people who really care about this subject should go to the places with visible inequality between men and women and actually do something about it rather than complain about facing it in a society that does not have those problems. The gender wage gap is non-existent between men and women in the same position. You only see it if you look at the whole picture because there are more men working in stem fields compared to women. You cannot blame a gender solely because they choose to study and work in certain professions more than the other. Higher education is also seeing a trend of more women than men in all fields besides STEM. The level of education of women is by far surpassing that of men in developed countries. I feel for women who are actually suffering from unfair treatment, the ones that do not have access to education, the ones who are targeted by cartels to become prostitutes for them, the ones who are forced into marriage at a young age. Instead of the 119th tweet about someone claiming she is being oppressed by the patriarchy for stubbing her toe on her desk. I will let go of my identity as a feminist because I believe it is just a label now. It has lost its meaning. I will always believe in the equal opportunity of both genders, feminism now just does not seem to be working like that.

Like feminism, I have stopped giving myself labels and am taking a more holistic approach on life. Why can’t I be interested in more than one thing? Why must I follow a political party blindly instead of looking at their values and what they have done for the group I am represented by? There are more sides to the coin than what appears to be the case. Masculinity is not bad, we should appreciate the good sides of masculinity instead of downplaying it and ignoring the problems men face to support the women’s issues. We should be fair to both sexes if we truly want gender equality.

Reference:

Godwin, R. (2018). Men after #MeToo: ‘There’s a narrative that masculinity is fundamentally toxic’’.’ [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/09/men-after-metoo-masculinity-fundamentally-toxic.

Sarkisian, J. (n.d.). A complete timeline of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s tumultuous relationship. [online] Insider. Available at: https://www.insider.com/johnny-depp-amber-heard-relationship-timeline-2020-7.

TEDx Talks (2020). What Representing Men in Divorce Taught Me About Fatherhood | Marilyn York | TEDxUniversityofNevada. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlSwsE22nX0 [Accessed 16 Jun. 2020].

Thompson, R. (n.d.). How to talk to the men in your life about toxic masculinity. [online] Mashable. Available at: https://mashable.com/article/liz-plank-toxic-masculinity-conversation/ [Accessed 20 Nov. 2020].

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Sound of a dying star (ch.2)

When I opened my eyes, I seemed to be transferred to heaven or something similar, because all I could see was rainbow coloured clouds drifting through my feet. And then as I started to get a hold of myself, I felt some pressure being applied on my biceps. I looked up to find the exact green crystal bird that had swooped down on me. Where was it taking me? Maybe to its giant crystal nest to feed its crystal chicks? I did not want to imagine that.

Another thing I noticed about the environment around me was that it did not seem like Earth. Wherever I was, it was a place with purple skies and visible stars shining in the distance. Also, something caught my attention, three of them to be exact. This place had three moons in the sky. When I looked down, I noticed this great expanse of buildings. The unusual thing is that they were not on land, rather they were floating in the ocean of whichever planet I was in. Taking a closer look at the spectacle underneath, it was a bright and noisy place. Genres of music I had never heard before and fragrances I have never come across.

We finally landed on a large landing area resembling a helipad, only it was the size of a football pitch. As soon as we landed, a group of humanoid creatures came to greet me, their skin made of crystals like the bird that had carried me here.

I was suspicious of everything at this point. Waking up to find myself being the only one on Earth, walking down the familiar streets of Manhattan, to find a gigantic crystal bird which somehow managed to bring me to this strange planet while I was unconscious. This had to be a dream. I pinched myself hard, only to reel back at the pain. “Oh, my god!” The entourage of crystal men and women looked at me in confusion: “Is this normal behaviour on your planet?” one of them asked me.

No.. This couldn’t be. This was real.

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Sound of a dying star (ch.1)

My name is Edison Ramirez. 39 years old and living by myself. I work as an audio engineer. When I woke up today, there seemed to be something amiss. The streets were quiet and I could not hear the birds singing their usual songs. The cars on the street had come to a standstill. The streets were also void of people.

I put my deathstrider 78X1 on and listen to the latest hits with its booming-bass system. I take a step out on the streets of Manhattan and go for a jog. As I pass by the cars, I notice that there were no one inside them. That was weird, was the whole city playing a prank on me?

I was supposed to do some checks on the sound system of a huge club downtown. But no one would be complaining if I didn’t show up tonight right? After all, I seem to be the only one in this city. That was when I heard it, a beautiful harp-like melody coming from somewhere close. With a sudden burst of speed, I ran as fast as I could directly at the sound. Maybe I wasn’t alone after all. That was when I saw it, soaring past the tall skyscrapers gracefully with its shimmering green feathers that seemed to radiate alongside the sun. It appeared to be a large birdlike creature about the size of a human.

As I continue to stare at its beauty, it notices me. It makes that beautiful sound again, lulling me to sleep and proceeds to swoop down at me. I then realize that it wasn’t as big as a human but two or even three times bigger than a fully grown man. I stand still in fear, unable to move a muscle or perhaps it was a spell cast by the bird.

And then, everything turns black.

Being in-between

As a third-generation Nepali in Hong Kong. (The first generation of my family to move to Hong Kong was my grandfather, a British Gurkha stationed there), I was never really able to fit in with both my Nepali and Hongkonger identities.

I do speak Nepali at home. But since I never learnt my native tongue, I don’t understand the more complicated words.

And all my life, I have been studying in EMI(English as the medium of instruction) schools. So I would say English is my first language as I am most comfortable with it.

Because of this, I have never learnt Chinese(Cantonese) very well. Most of my Cantonese knowledge comes from:

  1. Watching local TV channels when smartphones did not exist.
  2. Playing in the playground when I was younger.
  3. Being forced to speak it in a working atmosphere where I had to work with people who did not understand English.

I am also forced to speak Cantonese when I go out because I have East Asian features. Therefore, HK locals talk to me in Cantonese instead of English since they think I am a local. I am grateful for this as this pushes me outside my comfort zone to speak more Cantonese.

Even then, I feel like I do not fit in both cultures properly. Not being Chinese, it is difficult to relate with the locals when it comes to traditions. The locals and minorities grow up in different backgrounds from culture, to schooling, to media exposure. When there are public holidays, we spend them differently. It means more to the locals because it relates to their culture. For us minorities, it is just an extra holiday. We are also exposed to stuff from our own countries in the forms of movies, TV, songs, religions. Although we may get along well, there is still something that differentiates us.

This is also true for my Nepali side. I am not familiar with the language. It is enough to get by in Nepal. But I do not understand anything when watching a news report there with the advanced use of language. I still remember needing to sign my name in Nepali when I went there for some official work where they were sardonic when I did not know how to write it. “How can you call yourself Nepali when you can’t even write your own name?” Those were the words the officer said to me. I realized then that most people live in a bubble where they are ignorant of people outside it. It was also a great way to make me question my identity.

I don’t feel “local” anywhere. In Hong Kong, you are “local” if you are Chinese and your family has been in Hong Kong for generations. I was also asked by my local friends when I was “going back” to visit Nepal. I understand that they did not mean any ill will. Since I am not Chinese, they must have thought I am not originally from here. But Hong Kong is my home. If you sent me to Nepal right now, I would be lost. I would be like a tourist there.

Back in 2019, when the HK protests were still going on, one of my friends at work told me that the locals were protesting because they had no other place to go. Most of them simply couldn’t. He told me that if HK became an undesirable place to live, I could go to Nepal and even other countries because I understood English. But the locals were indeed living in a bubble that was entirely their own. Being a Special Administrative Region that had an autonomy of itself. As well as being apart from the mainland for a century and a half. Obviously, this caused the people in Hong Kong to have their own identities.

I believe there are a lot of people like me who are in-between. Not only in Hong Kong but everywhere in the world. We manage to find our own smaller group of people with who we can relate. And even introduce the “locals” into our lives. Because although this is an identity crisis, not everyone may encounter it. The present is what binds us all together. Spending time together, getting to know one another. There is a beauty in learning more about each other that I have experienced both in Nepal and Hong Kong. Even though cultures and traditions may be different. In the end, we are all the same. We are human. So we should find comfort in our differences because that is what makes us unique. Our shared experiences allow us to connect with different parts of ourselves.

This blog was inspired by personal experience and talking with friends who relate. As well as the 2017 Wong Fu Productions short film: “In Between”.

covid vaccination, yay or nay?

I am about to get my 2nd dose of vaccination for the coronavirus in the coming week. I was a bit sceptical at first. With the sociopolitical environment of Hong Kong and the population’s mistrust of the government. I also had doubts regarding the vaccines and about all the conspiracies I have heard about the implantation of microchips and whatnot. Honestly, I understand what the vaccine sceptics are saying. After all, I was also one before.

When people say how we can find a vaccine for covid so fast when the outbreak occurred just over a year ago. Well, we had always been researching the SARS virus. The coronavirus is quite similar to it. And when the whole world is affected by the pandemic, obviously more funding will be put into it to come up with a cure as soon as possible.

Right now, I would say the more developed countries of the world are more equipped to deal with the pandemic. Recently in India, their Prime Minister: Narendra Modi gave a green light for Hindus to celebrate the Kumbh Mela which is celebrated every 12 years. The last one was held back in 2010 so the upcoming event should have happened in 2022. But due to some astrological signs being favourable, it was allowed to be held a year earlier.

From this, India has seen the biggest surge of corona cases. This has also spread to neighbouring countries in South Asia and further. Caused people to flee from India back to their home countries. Unfortunately, the messages from the stars and higher powers could not do enough to save the lives of thousands, if not millions of people. This all happened because a certain individual could not afford to upset his main supporting group. But at what cost?

From this event, all the people becoming desperate for oxygen supplies in their hospitals and vaccine doses. I could see that I was in a privileged position. Where I was living, I could get vaccinated for free. We were used to a viral outbreak because of SARS back in 2003, so hygiene is always at the forefront in Hong Kong. Public toilets have their soap replenished frequently. You will find rubbing alcohol wherever you go. Signs telling citizens to always wash their hands even before the corona outbreak. Masks are also pretty accessible now with stores specializing in them opening up in every block.

I understand the distrust for the government, and rightfully so. However, we cannot consider every governmental thing to be bad. Getting a vaccine will not only protect ourselves, but the people around us. And reaching 70% of the population vaccinated should be the primary goal for us as citizens. This will provide us with herd immunity and help us get rid of the virus. After this, things will be back to how it was before. Being able to resume our lives before the pandemic. Going out without masks, taking part in social functions, and even traveling out of the city if the countries we want to go to are safe.

Getting a vaccine should not be a matter of if, but a matter of when. The trials of vaccinations available to us have already completed phase 3 of the efficacy trials, so it should be safe to take them now because the side-effects are clearer. I really wish you would try and see the position of privilege you are in, and look at the countries suffering because they don’t have enough resources. And if you can’t do that, then at least see how you can help normalize your situation to the way it was before the pandemic.

Now I want to know whether the opinions of people have changed regarding vaccines. This issue is important because we all need to work together to fight the virus. To resume our life to how it was before the pandemic as soon as possible. And to prevent future covid cases and deaths.

Reference:

Bailey, D. (2020). Who would get the coronavirus vaccine and how? BBC News. [online] 11 Sep. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-54027269.

CBC. (2020). COVID-19 vaccine a matter of “when not if,” but must be produced safely: Fauci. [online] Available at: https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/dc-house-coronavirus-briefing-1.5623382

Corum, J., Zimmer, C. and Wee, S.-L. (2020). Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker. The New York Times. [online] 16 Oct. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/science/coronavirus-vaccine-tracker.html.

Gamio, L. and Glanz, J. (2021). Just How Big Could India’s True Covid Toll Be? The New York Times. [online] 25 May. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/05/25/world/asia/india-covid-death-estimates.html

Singh, V. (n.d.). BJP supporters say “won’t forgive” Modi for COVID “indifference.” [online] http://www.aljazeera.com. Available at: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/5/27/bjp-supporters-say-wont-forgive-modi-for-covid-indifference

Sky News. (n.d.). COVID-19: Is India’s coronavirus crisis spilling into neighbouring countries? [online] Available at: https://news.sky.com/story/is-indias-covid-crisis-spilling-into-neighbouring-countries-12291385

The Indian Express. (2021). A look at Covid surge in India’s neighbouring countries. [online] Available at: https://indianexpress.com/article/world/covid-19-vaccine-nepal-pakistan-bangladesh-sri-lanka-india-7304585/

The Wire. (n.d.). Kumbh 2021: Astrology, Mortality and the Indifference to Life of Leaders and Stars. [online] Available at: https://thewire.in/government/kumbh-2021-astrology-mortality-and-the-indifference-to-life-of-leaders-and-stars

Assessment 1 – Blog Post : Narrative Reflection

The coronavirus affected us all. Those whose life spiraled down in a big way felt this impact the most. I was here working my kitchen job full-time, contributing to my family with studies pushed aside somewhere in my mind. I was eventually planning on returning but I just didn’t know when I would. Things were not looking well for universities at that time with what was going around in Hong Kong.

And then boom! Out of nowhere, we got news that our restaurant and a few more from the same company were shutting down. The situation in Hong Kong was looking pretty dire. This was just bad for not only me, but also my colleagues who were suddenly out of jobs. I had no job, I was not studying at that time, my life felt so out of control. I applied for jobs here and there but it seemed like I would never find one again. The small light at the end of the tunnel seemed to get smaller and smaller. Never mind I thought, these things happen. I will just pull up my trousers and go on with life.

And then the next big thing hit us. The dreadful pandemic we all have grown accustomed to. All the negative energy seemed to just manifest around me. The clouds seem darker in the sky, it just felt like everyone lacked common courtesy and compassion for one another. Seeing the ugliness of people come out like when supermarkets were empty from hoarders, people leaving their masks everywhere. All these just ticked me the wrong way and my faith in humanity kept plummeting deeper and deeper.

I think the thing I hated the most was myself in these times. Normally you would expect someone to try to make life better for themselves by being able to find a stable and well-paying job. But I just grew apathetic to life because I could not see myself do better. I lost interest in everything. I was only eating for sustenance, I could not find enjoyment in music and I only browsed the Internet to pass time. I felt like my life was meaningless and that I was a complete disappointment to my family.

I was glad I had people in my life I could always talk to. We would meet up and just chill. Maybe eat together and watch something, or go outside and walk along the seaside and grab a beer. When life seemed to spiral out of control, I had friends I could rely on. I could see them grabbing onto a sturdy branch and reaching out their hand for me to grab. Life seemed to slow down, and I felt calmer around them. I could enjoy food and music around them. Just being able to laugh and fool around with no care in the world in each other’s companies. I think that was the thing I missed the most in these dark and turbulent times.

One thing I realized was that things were shit for all of us. We could all relate to one another and find comfort in talking about what was going on with ourselves. By talking things out, we were able to help each other stand and come into realization that life goes on. It also helped us face reality and helped us normalize what was going on. In a few years(hopefully!) We would be done with the coronavirus and be able to walk in the streets without masks. We would be able to travel outside again and life would be back to normal.

Trying to look at my own standpoint like Arthur Frank said, I think of myself as an honest person, but I also admit I find it hard to open up to people so if I have done so. That’s why I have tried to not omit anything from my experience while I write this. But if I have done so, it’s probably something I feel is too personal or something that would serve no purpose from other people knowing. I know we are always going on about how this year is always worse than the previous. But I do not like that mentality. I want every year to be better than the year before so we are constantly improving ourselves. I hope 2020 has broken the cycle of thinking that way. I guess in a way I have 2020 to thank. If you are rock-bottom, the only way to go is up.

I have noticed that when humans face situations of danger or uncertainness. They are prone to being emotional and the ugly side inside of them may show up. As in the case, with the outbreaks of corona. First with China from not containing the virus. I agree China should have done a better job of containing the virus, but I do not condone the negative treatment of mainlanders. I have noticed this mostly from young Hongkongers.

The same with the incident of some posts I have seen on social media about whose fault it is for the recent spikes of the virus in Hong Kong. I have always believed in the case that one bad tree does not make a forest. There are bad apples on both sides, but that is not the point. If we search hard for bad stuff, we will find it because that’s what we want to see. Things should not be a competition between “us” and “them”.

If we are expected to have to be seen as a region with autonomy and a shared sense of identity. Shouldn’t we learn to respect one another and treat each other like we’re part of the same family? Whenever something like this happens, it is always better to show empathy and understanding to someone. To educate them, instead of insulting or arguing with them. Because only by seeing their own wrongdoings will a person truly change, not by forcing them into a defensive stance.

Reference:

Ahmad, A. (2020). Why You Should Ignore All That Coronavirus-Inspired Productivity Pressure. [online] . Available at: https://www.bu.edu/fsao/files/2020/04/Words-of-wisdom-for-faculty-The-Chronicle-of-Higher-Education.pdf

Hynes, W., Trump, B., Love, P. and Linkov, I. (2020). Bouncing forward: a resilience approach to dealing with COVID-19 and future systemic shocks. Environment Systems and Decisions, [online] 40(2), pp.174–184. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7247742/pdf/10669_2020_Article_9776.pdf

Philippot, P. (2013). The regulation of emotion. New York, Ny: Psychology Press.

Week 11: The internet of things: from networked objects to anticipatory spaces

Blogjects are incredible! Pigeons equipped with specific machinery used to record the level of toxins and pollutants in the air. Us, going to different restaurants in our districts and rating them in OpenRice or on Google. We are getting more connected to the Internet and leaving our footprints along the way. We can travel everywhere and experience what other people have felt before from the reviews and blogs online. Not to mention adding on that experience for people in the future.

Inanimate objects are given souls to help us now. With A.I. home technology has advanced so far. We can ask our home assistant to play music for us, notify us if there was an important event we saved on our calendar, turn the blinds off, notify us if there are people lurking at our doorsteps. Objects feel as if they’re alive. Siri and Google assistant are with us the whole day as our companions, smartwatches help us monitor our heart rate and also acts as a pedometer. In the near future, I believe A.I. will be even more integrated in our life. I can already see this in the advancement of robotics.

But this also brings out questions, how far will our objects know about us? Who will have the information recorded by our objects? On one hand, this makes life more convenient. On the other, we do have to think at what price we will enjoy these benefits.

Presentation- Research Project Pitch

My media niche is something that’s not talked about often because it is for the most part an ignored community or one that is considered “privileged enough not to care about”. But I am confident there are countless men on the internet who think about their masculinity and how they can become a better man.

There are certain prejudices against men in different fields. Men are often looked at as violent, dangerous sexual predators. Society often times seem to neglect the importance of a father figure in the family. Even when multiple research has been done about this:

  1. The way a father treats his child will influence what he or she looks for in other people. Friends and lovers will be chosen based on how the child perceived the meaning of the relationship their father. The patterns a father sets in the relationships with his children will dictate how his children behave towards other people.
  2. Women will look for men with positive qualities their fathers displayed when dating. A daughter learns from her father what a good relationship with a man is like.
  3. Boys on the other hand, mimic their father’s behaviors. If a father figure is absent in a boy’s life, he will learn from other strong male figures.
  4. Fathers set strong values their children will keep for the rest of their lives growing up. They play an important role in building a character of a person, play fighting with fathers also help children learn to set boundaries and control their emotions better.

Men face a lot of injustices when it comes to violence against them: stigma towards male caregivers, incarceration, homelessness, mental health. But often these issues are put aside or simply glanced over.

Today’s society downplay traditional masculine values as can be seen from the American Psychology Association’s guidelines for therapists dealing with boys and men.

My research was aided by online journals, videos and news articles which there are a lot of on the Internet. I realized that the content I view mainly shape my way of thinking. I think we should not push down masculinity for the sake of empowering women as both genders are important to society. We can learn from each other and support one another.

People may not be open to hear something that goes against what they believe in and think my media niche is “toxic” and ignore it completely like what we are experiencing online right now with our PC culture. However, I think we should hear from all sides and discuss about our opinions so that we can understand each other.

Reference list:

Motherly. (2020). Relax, mama: Dad’s roughhousing with your kids is good for them—really. [online] Available at: https://www.mother.ly/child/the-science-benefits-of-roughhousing-with-your-kids-that-will-make-you-less-anxious [Accessed 25 Sep. 2020].

Pediatric Associates of Franklin. (2018). The Importance of a Father in a Child’s Life | Pediatric Associates of Franklin. [online] Available at: https://www.pediatricsoffranklin.com/resources-and-education/pediatric-care/the-importance-of-a-father-in-a-childs-life/.

Week 1: The telegraph in warfare

The telegraph made communication easy. Messages could be sent faster than ever with the cables allowing electricity to pass from state to state. It gave the Union a ridiculous advantage in the Civil War. When the Confederate discussed strategy with their generals all in the same tent, the President at that time, Abraham Lincoln had been camping in his office, reading letters sent through the telegram. From that position, he could get regular updates about the changes in the battlefield and change strategies to fit their needs and counter their enemies. They could be sent back at a blistering pace.

To the civilians, communication also became more convenient. Letters traveled faster without the need to be physical. News arrived earlier and got updated frequently. Just through Morse code and the telegram, technology has made life much simpler and faster. News from the war was quick to fall under the ears of everyone. And loved ones back home could also communicate with the soldiers more regularly as letters could be processed faster.

The Internet is a place where you can get information about politics and the different parties in it. Social media allows you to hear different political views. It is a platform that can help convince other people (or dissuade them) from supporting your political party. People are allowed to be more vocal on their political opinions, memes have the power to sway the tide between political candidates, and other times, they are just funny.

It is also a place where people in high positions like the President of America: Donald J. Trump can interact and vocalize his opinions or thoughts directly to the masses (both in and out of the United States). That does not always go well with people, but it is what it is. Social media also has videos of international summits or conferences to count for history. And drives in further the point: what gets uploaded on the Internet, stays on the Internet.

Reference:

George, B. (2015). Telegraph & the Civil War. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMHgPa-QdR8 [Accessed 16 Sep. 2020].

News, M. (2016). Civil War History: The Telegraph (Electrical Telegraph). YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AiG1VPRGZo [Accessed 16 Sep. 2020].

Next stop for Giannis

The Milwaukee Bucks have not made it to the NBA finals since 1974 when they won a championship with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. 

Although they got close in 2019, making it to the Eastern Conference finals where they lost 4-2 in a seven-game series against the Raptors.

It seems like Giannis Antetokounmpo. The reigning MVP will have a lot to contemplate if he still cannot make it to the NBA finals, let alone win it.

Giannis is 25 now. He will be in a period where most NBA players hit their peak soon. And him still being in Milwaukee will only tarnish his legacy when looking at his skill and what he can accomplish in his career.

Frankly, no matter how great the “Greek Freak” is, all NBA greats need to have a great supporting cast to win a ring. Khris Middleton is the second-option for this Milwaukee team. And while he is a great player, I don’t think him and the rest share Giannis’s mentality to win a ring and be great.

It is impressive that this team has ended up with the best season record twice in 2019 (60-22) and 2020 (56-17). However, the thing that matters most is still an NBA championship. With all Giannis has done in the years he has been with the Bucks. Show-casing his greatness, putting the Bucks on the map. I feel like he has done all he can with the organization, and no one will hold anything against him if he decides to leave his current home. The young buck has now grown up.

There have been two teams that come to mind when people talk about which team Giannis should head for: the Miami Heat and the Golden State Warriors. I will talk about why both these teams are good options for Giannis to team up.

Miami Heat:

The Miami Heat are a strong team in the East with a lot of solid role-players like Bam Adebayo and Duncan Robinson as well as their focus on team play. Led by their lone star in Jimmy Butler, who is known for his tough mentality and giving a 100 per cent. Giannis would fit right in with the Heat culture in South Beach. The Heat would also get another star to pair-up with Jimmy Butler and give the rest of the NBA a good run for its money.

The Golden State Warriors:

The Warriors may not come into some people’s minds as they think Giannis will not act like Kevin Durant and go to the best team in the NBA. However, a lot of things have changed since then. The warriors are without vets like Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. Draymond Green is showing signs of decline. The new Warriors team has not truly been tested with all their star players out on the court after Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson’s injury in last year’s playoffs. So this team is relatively weaker than the great 2015-2019 Warriors Dynasty. However, this team still has the splash brothers, the best shooting backcourt of all-time. Even though they may age, their non-reliance on their athleticism allows for longevity and does not greatly affect their game. Not to mention the team’s average age is 25.5, which is a pretty young team to work with.

To conclude:

The best thing about joining the Miami Heat would be following the supposedly “tougher route” and having your legacy hold more meaning. Matching up with like-minded players who share the vision of being the best possible version of yourself and winning.

And the best thing about joining the Warriors would see all-star level spectacles week in and week out in San Francisco. The combination of Stephen Curry and Giannis Antetokounmpo will be awesome to witness. They will undoubtedly be one of the finest duos in NBA history. The gravity of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson pulling players away from him will allow Giannis to toy with his match-up and score more easily. The Warriors also know what it’s like to win while having fun, they have that champion mentality no other teams possess in the NBA due to them winning back to back and dominating the NBA in the previous decade.


No one knows what the future has in store, but if Giannis picks any of these two teams, you know it will be a good one. “The young buck will have grown.”