life

Here, I reflect on the real world and dive deeper into topics that fascinate me.

young nights

young nights by julie wan Rolled down windows feeding hair between our teeth Bass pulsating through our veins an anthem to the young night We run this velvet blue kingdom bathe in the saccharine stain of streetlights and stumble across the fast lane leading us nowhere Anything to outrun the void within… We wilt onto…

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art and emotions

I scrutinized my recent drawing studies of fruits, wine glasses, or flower vases. I had arranged these inert objects on top of a table cloth, the styled fabric folds as artificial as the fluorescent lamp I positioned over the locale. Still life drawings required calculated compositions and precise strokes, which meant I could already picture…

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body acceptance week

I’ve witnessed my peers and girls at school scrutinize the fat on their bodies, criticize themselves for not being “disciplined” enough when it comes to their diet and exercise regime, and express guilt for indulging in what they and society deem as “unhealthy” foods. Diet culture, as defined by a University of San Diego article,…

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moldy cantaloupe and moldy mary

I never liked eating cantaloupe. It’s akin to a filler TV episode within the main plot of fruit salads. Something about the taste of this orange-fleshed melon I find inexplicably repulsive.  Yet, cantaloupe is my favorite word. Although its flavor is leagues below muscat grapes or golden kiwis, can any other fruit be accredited for…

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what is social impact in business?

What are social impact companies? In essence, they are organizations that seek to make significant positive changes in communities and solve social challenges through conscious, systemic, and sustainable business methods. These companies attempt to create deep, structural shifts in the status quo, helping underserved populations and often those lacking essential resources or services.  Social impact is systemic in the sense that…

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the california sun

On trips back to China, locals would rhapsodize my bilingualism. But I didn’t feel worthy of envy.  The Sichuan dialect I grew up speaking  was an old photograph fading in the California sun,  its diphthongs sitting wrong on my tongue  and its syllables spilling out awkwardly in terse phrases.  As the language became more distant, …

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are we all living in a male fantasy?

For him she is sex—absolute sex, no less. She is defined and differentiated with reference to man and not he with reference to her; she is the incidental, the inessential as opposed to the essential. He is the Subject, he is the Absolute—she is the Other.” Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex The “male gaze”…

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the medium is the message: AOC’s met gala dress

I’m sure you’ve heard about AOC’s 2021 Met Gala Dress. US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez donned a white gown with “Tax the Rich” cascading down her back in big, blood-red lettering.  The medium is the message she posted on her Instagram. Communication theorist Marshall McLuhan first coined this phrase in the sixties, essentially prophesying the proliferation…

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coffee shops and strangers

Hissing milk cuts through the humdrum buzz of a freezer. Syncopated footsteps tap to the crisp sound of grinding coffee. The baristas perform their number while I, sketchbook in hand, quietly spectate. Like an antiphony, I respond to this music with soft, graphite strokes.  Soon, more performers file through the stage door, their clinking wallets…

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rotini hair

A friend sends me a video of him spiking a volleyball and I tell him he’s so cool. His response of the smug emoticon with sunglasses is a testament to how uncool he actually is. In the lovely, casual manner all teenage tête-à-têtes have, our conversation contingently shifts to his hair. Curious, I ask what…

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beatnik writers

Exam seasons are rounding the corner and you can say my hours of sleep and stress levels have been not enough and a little too much, respectively. While feverishly reviewing for my AP US History exam, I came across the 1950s “Beat Generation” literary artists. In an era of McCarthyism, televisions, advertisements, and credit-backed consumerism,…

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