minute thoughts 10.19.16

Thoughts while planning my post-retirement internship

1. If you have a fragile ego, never go to a skincare counter in Asia, because they will zero in on your flaws in two seconds flat, and then point out some you weren't even aware you had.

2. My friend and I were talking about applying to med school (her, not me), and discussing the role of ethics in medicine (you can find my thoughts on it here). And she was saying that the process of being accepted into medical school is so intensely competitive that it actually has an adverse effect on the candidate pool. Ethics and care are two crucial parts of being a doctor; you want the person treating you to genuinely care about your well-being, not necessarily to be someone who was at the top of their class at any cost. Physicians have to be compassionate. You have a moral responsibility to really be invested in the lives you're saving, to be willing to treat people out of a real desire to be helpful, to not hang up your white coat at the end of the day just because your shift is over. You should be willing to help people because they need help, not only because they can pay you. The truth is that the world doesn't need more doctors; the world needs kinder doctors.

3. This little trick called amplification as used by White House staffers is an excellent example of how feminism should work. It's a subtle yet assertive way of supporting other women and making their voices heard. But I don't agree with the term "manterrupting" (I absolutely don't deny that it exists, but I feel like words like that focus more on gender differentiation than female empowerment).

4. I just started (and am already 2/3 finished with) Penny Dreadful, and it's brilliant. I really only started watching it because I've been in love with Eva Green since I watched Perfect Sense, but it really is a fantastic show. The premise is...interesting. It's very "supernatural-Gothic-horror," which I didn't know I liked, but I think it's a much more well-crafted show than American Horror Story, whose storylines were too ridiculous for me. Eva Green's portrayal of the beautiful but tormented Vanessa Ives is spectacular; there's something deeply tragic yet intensely relatable about such a complex character torn between God and her inner demons. Also, her eyes, voice, and cheekbones absolutely kill me. And because I watch a good amount of British TV, I actually recognize half the cast (Timothy Dalton from Chuck, Billie Piper and Helen McCrory from Doctor Who, Rory Kinnear from Black Mirror). I just found out it was canceled after three seasons, so I'm very upset, but I'm already too invested in it to stop now.

5. My friend recommended this thesis on medical humor, which was very interesting (and full of awful jokes). And it's unlike me to voluntarily read essays. But I actually really enjoy academic discourse of frivolous things, because it reveals a lot of insights hidden in plain view, and makes you think critically about why we do so many things unconsciously and unquestioningly. Humor is such a natural and universal thing that we don't really think to analyze it, but one of the points in the thesis is that jokes themselves "are neither good nor evil. They are simply reflections of the fears of people or of individuals at a given instant in time." And I think that's so fascinating, that something like humor is in fact a manifestation of some of the ugliest, most frightening, or most grotesque aspects of life.

6. WHY IS THIS SO FUNNY I DON'T UNDERSTAND. My friend Michelle tweeted it a while ago, and I haven't stopped laughing at it since. I think the original account was deleted, but there are a bunch of copycats now because it's just that amazingly stupid. But my favorite part was that the entire Twitter feed was literally just the same video set to different songs.

7. My litto sent me this post on upper-middle class Asians and blackness a while ago, and it perfectly articulates my problem with a lot of Asians, and why I think they're some of the worst cultural appropriators. Particularly this sentence: “They want the exoticism of being Asian, the social mobility of whiteness, and the ‘street cred’ of Blackness.” It makes me sick and ashamed to hear Asians casually using the n-word, because they really have zero idea what it's like to be marginalized so consistently and systematically in a way that actually endangers them. They have the luxury of saying it while being the "model minority" and not having to worry about things like police violence or racial profiling. Marc Lamont Hill was quoted in this rather cutting HuffPost blog post“I might see Trinidad James on the street and call him ‘my nigga.’ You know why? Because he is my nigga. And the difference between Trinidad James and you, is that Trinidad James has to deal with the same oppressive situations. He was born into a world where anti-black racism prevails. He lives in a world where police might shoot him on the street no matter how much money he has. We share a collective condition known as ‘nigga.’ White people don’t." In my post on visibility, I wrote about the struggles Asians face in the workplace, which is both an understated and significant problem, but let us not forget that there are much more prominent minority issues out there, ones that unlike the bamboo ceiling have life-or-death consequences.

8. I like to write about serious things like racial tension and sociopolitical problems, but also my most-liked tweet is about me being way too emotionally involved in a cooking show, so let's think about that for a moment.

9. I think this is absolutely the cutest thing. And it's quite a brilliant idea, too. It reiterates the fact that not only are you never, ever too old to learn, but it's also a great example of willingness to close the generational gap, socially and technologically, which I think is something very valuable but mostly untapped. There are so many stereotypes that exist regarding both ends of the spectrum, and they inhibit so many learning opportunities, ones that (like Paul's 9/11 story) can offer greater perspective and deeper empathy and interpersonal understanding.

10. There was this businesswoman on the MRT wearing blue eyeshadow and she was killing it. I wanted to copy her but I got rid of all of my blue eyeshadow around the time I stopped wearing butterfly hair clips. It's funny that trends always come back around...it makes you wonder if anything in fashion is actually original. I have the same Clubmasters as my mom wore in the '80s, and I'm still wearing the same tattoo choker I had as a kid.