Friday, January 29, 2010

Good on you guys!

Choose Life Reappears on Campus

Suspended club sidesteps prohibitions on tabling

Conservative McGill helped Choose Life defy their suspended club status today through a display marking the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that struck down abortion laws in Canada.

SSMU Council voted to suspend the club’s status on November 12. Since the suspension entailed the loss of Choose Life’s tabling privileges, Conservative McGill booked a table for the pro-life group to feature their display at the Y-intersection. [...]

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Okashi and Kokoro.

Yesterday, I received a package from my mom in the mail. She didn't tell me that she was going to send me anything, so I was surprised both when I received the package and when I opened it. A lovely box of snacks, all packaged nicely, and not to mention it's pink (one of my favourite colours). 'Twas a pleasant surprise!

On the same day, I attended my third class of Image, Text, Performance: The Emperor in Modern Japan, and we had read Soseki Natsume's Kokoro for yesterday's class. The novel was first serialized in 1914, just a few years after the death of the Meiji Emperor and, soon after, General Nogi. The word used as the title for the novel, kokoro (心), is a hard word to explain- it can be translated into so many different words, yet the meanings are, in a way, connected all the same. Heart, core, center, mind, spirit... rather than it being a word, perhaps one can say that it's a concept.

In any case, I highly enjoyed the book. It was a calm read, but many things passed through my mind as I read each section- things related to history, academia, personal experiences. Yesterday's class was long- but it was intriguing and many interesting things were said.

One side comment that my instructor for the course said really stuck to me, and I think it's true: it's incredibly scary to learn something, because once you learn it, you can't unlearn. If something you had learned is wrong, it's difficult to "deprogram" it from yourself because what you've learned has already become a part of you.

Which led me to remember a part in the book that I had bookmarked while reading, when Sensei, the teacher, writes his testament down for the younger, main character. On page 110 of the Dover edition:

... I can never think of those days without cursing myself for being so trusting and honest. I find myself asking, "Why was I born so good-natured?" But, I must admit, I sometimes wish that I had never lost my old innocence, and that once more I could be the person that I was. Please remember that you met me after I had become soiled. If one respects one's elders because they have lived longer and have become more soiled than oneself, then certainly I deserve your respect.

I, too, feel this way a lot of the time- that the longer I'm alive and the older I grow, the more corrupt I become. Sure I can get a good education and learn many worthwhile things; but at the same time, I feel as if I'm rapidly losing my innocence and that, compared to the process of learning which can be done at anytime, is something that cannot be reversed and seems so much more valuable.

I don't know what other people think about learning and growing up, or if it's normal to just be indifferent about it since "it happens to everyone", but I'm always frightened at the thought of it. But it's not like it's something that can be helped; you can't prevent yourself from learning, and even if you could, with time, that "innocence" would eventually become just plain ignorance.

But I do believe that whatever age one is at, there is always a suitable responsibility that one should fulfill. When one is young, maybe that responsibility is to learn. When one grows a little older and can be called what is considered an "adult", maybe that responsibility becomes the need to adapt and be independent. And maybe, if one is lucky enough to grow a little wiser through time, providing a bit of guidance to other people can be seen to become their responsibility too. After all, if everyone is bound to eventually lose their naivety and "learn", then they might as well learn the good and not so much the bad. Of course, one can choose for themselves what they believe to be "good" or "bad", but some good-intentioned help can never go wrong, I think. If they're going to learn anyway, they might as well take in as much as possible from people who want to help and decide for themselves.

Wow, I totally did not plan this to be a philosophical post of any sort. When did it become so long?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Education should be like this.

When was the last time you had show-and-tell? Elementary school?
Well, I had one today, in my third year of university for a 500 level class.

A friend of mine had a Japanese presentation today and brought in his nyckelharpa- an old, Swedish instrument similar to the hurdy gurdy- to talk about it and play a few tunes for us. I was especially delighted when he played part of the Lord of the Rings soundtrack, Lord of the Rings (all three parts of it) being one of my all-time favourite film series. The sound of the nyckelharpa is quite nice, reminding me very much of Celtic music, and maybe a cross between the violin and the bagpipes.

In the end, everyone went up to sneak a closer look at the instrument and I have to say, I haven't seen university students excited about something like this, and all together too, in a long while.

It was cute.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

It's time to share with the world.

You've stumbled across the newly opened blog of Vinci Ting, a 20 year old university student living in the heart of Montréal, studying English literature and East Asian Studies. As anybody fresh out of their teens may be, I am intrigued by many things and quickly lose interest in other things at the same time. But this also means that if something sticks for me, it's sticking for a long time. So rest assured, it is perfectly possible to at least grasp the concept of my character, although I can't guarantee that you will always be able to follow along.

I've been an avid blogger for years now, regularly posting detailed writings on my thoughts and daily life; however, I had kept my blog private so I could write without restraint and on any subject. But lately I've been thinking: there are so many passing thoughts that I come across on a daily basis, ones I wouldn't mind sharing with other people, and on things that maybe someone else other than myself might like to take a moment to muse at, too. So why not share them? Not everything has to be private; I can write about what I like as I usually do, and others can view it at their discretion.

I get the same two comments from anybody who visits my apartment: "Your apartment is so cute and cozy!" and "You have so many books!" Often, I like to take certain books out, read a bit of it, and put them back on the shelf- or maybe just on the table, since my dining table has basically been turned into a second book storage place. One of my friends recently reorganized my bookshelf for me so it looks more presentable. I've read most of the books on my bookshelf already, of course, and had put them there after I finished with each one of them, pulling random ones out again occasionally. It's not like the books I read are restricted only for personal viewing either, so I'm always glad to lend out books to other people who may also want to read them.

So I guess, like my bookshelf, a blog can be a place to store thoughts that I had bothered to write down, and pull them out again when I'm feeling nostalgic; but I also wouldn't mind if some of them were accessible to other people too. Just as the books on my shelf are meant to be read by many other people, maybe others would also be interested in the same things that intrigue me from day to day.

Mind you, I am a quirky sort of person. And quirky things interest a quirky person.

So to those of you who have asked me, "Why don't you do any public writing?", well, here you are. And to any readers new to the world in which my thoughts thrive, welcome.