A girl living in my house wasn’t very nice to me and my friend. She wanted to talk later to explain herself, but I just walked out on her mid-conversation. I wasn’t even that mad at her. I didn’t like people who aren’t nice to my friends so I decided to be not nice to her in retaliation.
There’s that one American English teacher in Vietnam whose story has been upsetting me for a long time. First, he made a condescending video showing how his parents react to the way Vietnamese people speaking English to prove that Vietnamese English teachers can’t teach English, together with another video instructing Vietnamese people on how to dine with westerners. Dude, if you make your living in Vietnam, you’d better learn to dine with us, not the other way around. Second, he made a joke about American soldiers bombing and raping Vietnamese daughters – he must have meant it to be satire, but it wasn’t funny. Third, he made another joke, comparing the head of a deceased Vietnamese war hero to a testicle. What upsets me isn’t him — you can find assholes everywhere — but the fact that many Vietnamese people idolize him. A long history of being dominated power has taught us to look up to foreigners, no matter how offensive they are.
I think I’ve either had a pretty good year, or repeated life misadventures have really lowered my standards. I ended 2017 on a happy note, watching fireworks by the river, eating street food, and screaming at random strangers while Dani was silently judging. I found myself working hard, building stronger relationships with people I care about, and having a lot of fun. Here are some of the things I was happy about in 2017:
I have a friend, Akash, who’s obsessed with Taco Bell. I mean, obsessed. At dinner, he would talk on and on about his plan to catch Taco Bell’s attention. “Should I do a pushup-handstand while eating a taco? How about doing a backflip with a taco in my mouth?”
The first time I learnt about from Stanford’s Honor Code, I thought it was something too good to be true. “You mean to tell me professors let students alone during exams? How’s it possible that the students don’t cheat?” Honor code is bilateral. If students sign the code to commit to not cheating, professors must show that they trust students by not watching students during exams. It gives students abundant opportunities to cheat, while keeping the probability of being caught low.
I have taken two writing courses with Professor Elizabeth Tallent and during both courses, the same question came up: “Do men and women have discernible writing voices?” In another word, when you read an unidentified paragraph or two, can you guess the sex of the writer?
When I did the research about the value of attention for my rhetoric class, several people asked me to share the result. Here it is. I’d really appreciate it if you have any feedback for me.
If you speak the English language—I sure hope you do, because this article is written in English—you have probably come across the phrase “It’s not worth your attention”. We nonchalantly point at things and decide their value using the worth of our attention as the benchmark. We affix the verb “pay” in front of “attention” as if it is a currency we can use in a transaction. But what exactly is the worth of our attention? Say, if you have to put a price tag on it, what number would it be?
Earlier last year the New York Times published that article claiming that two people can fall in love after asking each other 36 certain questions, and I have always wondered if it really works. I tried doing it with my ex when the quiz came out but we soon realized that we already knew too much about each other–he yawned after four questions: “What do you say we watch another episode of The Office?” Doing it with friends would be like giving them something to make fun of me for the rest of my life. “Remember that time you tried to make me fall in love with you but naaah?” Hitting up random strangers at a bar and convincing them to go over 36 questions with me sounds great in theory, except that I’m as charming as a rock and have the flirting skills of a drunken frat boy.
Then Michelle gave me this brilliant idea: “How about a Tinder guy?” Tinder has always been fun and games for me, but I never thought I’d meet the love of my life on Tinder. This is exactly why it’s perfect. I have nothing to lose.