Zen Zen Zo Workshop

It might just be because that week I was feeling kind of down, but it was hard for me to get into the proper mood for the “white line” exercise thing. I spent most of the week feeling dull and in a neutral state of mind, so it was hard to get into an excited mood. I didn’t really “solve” the problem; I just gave it the best I could. I think that as long as I was willing to work hard for the workshop, it was fine not being so happy and excited.

It was also hard keeping multiple tasks in mind. When we were stomping around the stage, it was difficult for me to make sure I was stomping down hard enough, if I was keeping my stance correct, if I was keeping a good enough tempo or whether I was on beat with the music or not (there is a reason why I failed at band in my old school), at the same time as keeping in mind where my classmates were, the gaps created on the stage, and being aware of the audience. At one point, I found myself kind of just zoning out instead of focusing. I think. I don’t really remember much of how I got through this exercise. If I ever had a moment when I just disconnected from my body, this is the moment. I think given enough time, I would have eventually got it; but since we had limited time, I didn’t really solve that problem too.

I think I did well on the energy level exercise, at level one, when we had no energy. It’s me every day and every weekend.

Most of the things we did during the workshop was hard. Making the stance was also hard because since I have flat feet, it’s hard to keep my feet together and my toes touching. My feet kind of want to stay in a pidgeon-foot formation.

I find it difficult to keep track of multiple things at once, and the workshop helped me be aware of how much more I need to keep in mind while acting. Before I thought it was just my lines, other people’s lines, what other people were doing, what I was doing and going to do, and what my posture was. Now I know there is so much more. And that is terrifying.

Probably write down the things to keep in mind on my notes, think more of how to implement the Suzuki stance into my acting, remember to keep my energy at a level six.

1984 Notes- Rachel Jung

One of the themes portrayed in the play was the constant surveillance from “Big Brother” on the general populace, and Winston’s paranoia of his lack of privacy. When Winston found the “hidden” room, the audience sees Winston and Julia’s interactions within the room through a screen. I found it interesting to how the play leads the audience into thinking that the screen is only there for the audience’s benefit, only to turn out that it was just “Big Brother” spying on them.

Also, from the early parts of the play, when Winston is admonished for not participating in the the morning workout by the telescreen, the audience finds out that the telescreen is large, based on how much space the light from the screen covers. From that moment, the audience thinks that telescreens are large and obvious, so it leads us further into the false idea that the “hidden” room is safe because neither Winston nor Julia noticed a big screen.

 

It was also interesting how the play kept on switching from time period to time period. It starts off in the beginning of Winston’s story, moves to the future, then back to Winston, and etc. And there is a repetition in each different time period. For example, the rhyme “Oranges and Lemons” is repeated, as well as the child’s demand for chocolate and the mother’s declination. Both are phrases and echoes from Winston’s past that haunt him.

I kind of interpreted the constant shift in time as flashbacks or musings that Winston has, either as he becomes more aware of how oppressed his environment is or during his “reeducation”. The voice, that we discover to be O’Brien’s, keep on asking him where he is or how Winston will meet him in a place with no darkness. Winston would have discovered that O’Brien is not an ally, and there is no interaction between Winston and O’Brien until just before Winston’s capture, so Winston couldn’t have heard these words from O’Brien before his torture. Winston relies heavily on the past, and I feel like going through Winston’s past and then changing it would be a method O’Brien, or rather the government, would feel inclined to use. If you control the past, you can control the present and future.

Likewise, it might also be the government’s way of mocking Winston’s dependence on the past. Especially when the shopkeeper/government agent finished the rhyme that Winston had been chasing, just for old time’s sake. Because, whether or not Winston had been broken at this point, Winston knows that there is simply nothing he can do to stop “Big Brother”, whether he holds onto his memories or not.

 

A motif that repeats a lot, especially during transitions between scenes, is that the lights flash really bright and then off, accompanied by a loud sound. It could be meant to keep the audience on their toes, as Winston is constantly looking over his shoulder during the play, always worrying about being caught or being seen. It could also be a way to get the audience to feel Winston’s fear whenever he feels fear. For example, the torture scene.

 

When O’Brien allowed Winston to share his ideas with the “future” and the camera turn on, and Winston and O’Brien face the audience, it is obvious that we– the audience– are the future. The play is implying that the events in 1984 have already come to pass, and we are the ones who should learn from Winston. The fourth wall is broken. And when Winston is tortured again after his fruitless speech to the audience, he pleads for us (again, the audience) for help, saying that we can stop him from being hurt. I feel that this is a moment that really plays on the guilt of the audience.

Frantic Assembly Notes- Rachel Jung

One lesson is how the speed and music can completely change the interpretation of the scene and the relationships between the characters presented in the scene. Slow movement and music can create a more intimate atmosphere, while a more fast-paced setting could create a tension-filled scenario.

The amount of eye contact made and the target of said eye contact also impacts the scene’s interpretation. Eye contact indicates who the character is focusing on, and where the audience should also focus on. If Person A is looking at Person B, and B is also looking at A; this hints at some kind of intimate relationship, positive or negative. However, if A is looking at B, but B is not looking at A; the audience could come to multiple conclusions, but ultimately it will be of one in which A is trying to establish a connection by B is indifferent. Likewise, if eye contact is made, it tells the audience who or what is at the focus for the scene because when making eye contact, it is usually of importance to the scene.

The last one I can remember is the lift techniques. I learned that, if done correctly, size and weight are inconsequential for lifts. It’s mainly meant for transportation from one place to another, because if the person being lifted isn’t moved from Point A to Point B, then there would be no point to doing the lift. However, lifts can’t just be used just for the sake of using a lift; the transition also needs to have some kind of purpose. Maybe to show a metaphorical symbol of a relationship between two characters (i.e. Character A relies on Character B as emotional support, Character A is always being forced to do Character C’s will, Character A is glorified by Character D, etc), or maybe to make a transition from one scene to the next as clear as possible.

Human Rights Violation- Rachel Jung

For every grade, I’ve been taught the same lesson in a variety of ways: if you hurt someone, you do irreparable damage onto them. A lesson that is hammered into children repeatedly is bound to leave a mark, and it did for me. Hurting people is wrong, and I should empathise with people who are less fortunate than me. A lack of food and shelter is violence towards people with no such access; it’s just a type of violence that’s less direct than the kind we’re used to seeing. And considering that billionaires have enough money “to end extreme poverty seven times over” (Hagan), it’s hard to see people who have the power to help but not take action as sympathetic; the philosophy that these people have that keeps them from eradicating poverty goes against every bit of my philosophy that I have built with lessons I’ve absorbed from school and gained from personal experiences.

 

Hagan, Shelly. “Study: Billionaires Could End Extreme Poverty 7 Times Over | Money.” Time, Time, 22 Jan. 2018, time.com/money/5112462/billionaires-made-so-much-money-last-year-they-could-end-extreme-poverty-seven-times/.

Carry On: A Story of the Perseverance of the Ordinary

Carry On

A Story of the Perseverance of the Ordinary

To the average member of society, every success story sounds so simple and straightforward. Yes, these people face obstacles, but it seems inevitable that they will reach the top. And it is that unstoppable obstinacy that makes their lifestyle appear so impossible. They seem to possess an insane amount of determination and are willing to exert effort to reach their goals. When students and adult employees rarely want to get out of their beds in the morning, how can they ever reach that level of productivity and resolve? The sheer magnitude of the obstacles modern heroes face look too difficult to overcome for the people living at the lower echelons of life.

Maybe the world of fame and the “normal” is just divided by pure destiny; either one is born with a mission and the opportunities to climb to the top or one is just fated for a mundane life.

But life is more unpredictable than that.

Danny Raven Tan and Christina Lau Lay Lian are two examples that giving up, despite how hard a situation seems, is not an option. Both of artists began their life as ordinary humans, indistinguishable individuals within the crowd, just trying to fight their way up the rungs of the social status ladder.

Like most young adults nowadays, Tan first started his path to the future studying a subject that would grant him a stable income but not a subject to his enthusiasm; in his case, he studied property development despite his interest in art. But he decided to take the initiative and push forward to make a future where his passion in art could thrive, overcoming the seemingly necessary need for a steady yet mundane occupation that society demands from its civilians.

During his journey to become a full-time artist, he faced numerous obstacles. He wrangled with cancer, mourned his father’s death, and discovered his mother’s dementia. Despite all the curveballs Life threw at him, Tan persevered. He could’ve just gave up on his dream and stayed down with the rest of the crowd, drifting from ordinary day to ordinary day, with no spark to light up his future. But he didn’t.

Through his determination, he has reached the life he wanted to create. He paints and sells his work in his flat in Ang Mo Kio; his subjects range from superheroes to a despairing comment on society’s lack of empathy to others. He even uses his own painful experiences as an opportunity to grow as both a human being and an artist, such as when he shot a photoshoot positioned around showing off the scar he received from his cancer treatment, announcing a statement that all scars tell a story; in this respect, of victory.

“In life, we will face many challenges,” Tan says, “Just take the lessons and become stronger.”

Christina Lau originally started out as a prison officer. Her only ambitions then were about climbing to the top, like most others do. However, her entire life flipped around when she and her husband experienced a car accident in April 2005 that left Lau paralyzed; she suffers from a C-6 spinal injury, basically meaning movement below her chest is difficult. Once she heard that she may be unable to move properly or walk again, she fell into deep depression.

Similarly to Tan, she could’ve gave up at this distressing point in her life. And like Tan, she didn’t. She realised, with the help of the support and love given to her by family and friends, that she can’t let this accident force her down forever.

“Even if I fall down over and over again, I have to get up for the sake of my family,” Lau says.

In 2009, she joined a tetra activity in which she met others with similar disabilities as her. It was there that she learned mouth-painting. From there, she honed her skills and became a recognised student member of the MFPA (Mouth, Foot Painting Artists) in 2012. She eventually started to become as active like her previous self, albeit in a different method. She plays table tennis to exercise and keep herself healthy, and also for enjoyment.

“If you never try, you’ll never know how far you may go,” Lau says. “Life can be easy; Life can be difficult, but it all depends on how you look at it.”

Tan and Lau started ordinary enough, ambitious but not famous or immensely successful. Yet they managed to get to a place in their life where they are content and positive for what the future may bring, a small sweet taste of success. If they could rise despite the obstacles presented, then why can’t the rest of us? What most people seem to forget is that all celebrities, all the stars originally began somewhere with the rest of the public.

And no one knows what will happen, a fact Tan and Lau figure out from their experiences with cancer and physical disability, respectively. Today you may be safe, but tomorrow may bring something completely unexpected. Everyone has the power to reach their goals and dreams, and now is the time.

“If you don’t pursue your dream now,” Tan says, “then when? What do we leave when we die?”

 

Bibliography:

“CHRISTINA LAU LAY LIAN.” ActiveSG, Team Singapore, www.myactivesg.com/team-singapore/athletes/l/christina-lau-lay-lian.

“Christina Lau Lay Lian.” MFPA, MFPA, mfpa.com.sg/artists/christina-lau-lay-lian/.

“Danny Raven Tan.” The Artling, The Artling, theartling.com/en/artists/danny-raven-tan/.

Fang, Joy. “S’pore Artist Danny Raven Tan Showcases His Works in Flat.” TODAYonline, TODAYonline, 10 Feb. 2016, www.todayonline.com/entertainment/arts/spore-artist-danny-raven-tan-showcases-his-works-flat.

Miyano, Sakura. “Why Christina Lau Paints.” Site Title, 8 Feb. 2017, priorities.school.blog/2017/02/08/why-christina-lau-paints/.

Faith, Ethics, Political Ideologies’ Summative Essay

This is my FEI Summative Assessment, and I’m so proud of it that I’m sharing it with the world! \(*^*)/

 

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently approved the end of Net Neutrality in a 3-2 vote (Kastrenakes). The time leading up to this decision has been filled with a lot of support on both sides. But the ethics influencing both arguments seem to be similar to each other regardless of the perspective. From the perspective of advocates of Net Neutrality, they support utilitarianism, virtue ethics, and deontology. However, their opponents who are against Net Neutrality, think they actually support self-interest and egoism. And vice versa. On the other hand, the political ideologies displayed by the two positions are contrastingly different, maybe even polar opposites. Supporters of Net Neutrality tend to be leftist liberals that support some aspects of communism while adversaries tend to be conservative rightists that encourage capitalism.

Net Neutrality means that, as long as the data from the Internet is not illegal according to the government, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should treat all data the same regardless of its content, source, or destination (“Net Neutrality”). An ISP serves only as a middleman between the Internet and the consumer and should not reinforce any agenda of its own onto the consumer by tampering with the speed of the Internet content. What all this means is that consumers have the right to have access to any legal content they wish to view and ISPs cannot and should not interfere with the speed of the content for any reason (Bane). So what is the controversy?

A staunch supporter of the repeal of Net Neutrality is the new Chairman of FCC, Ajit Pai. Pai says that the strict rules of Net Neutrality “[micromanages] business models and preemptively [prohibits] services and applications and products that could be pro-competitive” (White). Ending Net Neutrality would create more competition between ISPs, and competition breeds innovation because the consumers will be deciding what will win in this field, so companies must cater to the consumer’s needs and think of creative methods to get ahead of their rivals. ISPs would gain more freedom and possibly more wealth, while the competition created by the freedom will allow “greater investment in digital infrastructure, which will create jobs, increase competition, and lead to better, faster, and cheaper internet access” (White). From his perspective, both providers and consumers will benefit from the end of Net Neutrality. He seems to support this decision in order to create the maximum amount of happiness and effectivity for the maximum amount of people; in other words, utilitarianism seems to be the main ethical reasoning for his argument. However, there is more to his line of reasoning than utilitarianism. From his argument, he believes that Net Neutrality was simply the government interfering with the virtual market and economy through harsh regulations. Pai believes that the method in which marketing is done should be trusted to private responsibility. Basically, he believes in capitalism, and this is a normal position to take especially since America’s economic system is a capitalist one. Growing up and being surrounded in a nation that fully encourages the continuance of capitalism may be why he also believes in capitalist values. But, as a politician, he has the duty to make sure that his plan won’t backfire on the people he serves. What will stop the ISPs from slowing down all internet content in order to receive more money? Pai “wants internet providers to voluntarily agree to not obstruct or slow consumer access to web content… in their terms of service” (Shepardson). However, terms of service are under the company’s jurisdiction, meaning that even if they first choose to agree to Pai’s wants, they’ll still have the option to completely change their mind and go against this wish with or without the user’s notice (Koepke). So, with the repealment of Net Neutrality, Pai is relying on ISPs to act virtuously and morally. He’s relying on virtue ethics to bind ISPs to a field in which ISPs won’t be able to cheat their consumers.

The second perspective on this issue is from a different nation, Canada. In December of 2017, the largest telecommunications company in Canada is leading a group of broadcasters, movie studios, cinema operators, and other major companies to “put an end to net neutrality, in the name of blocking piracy” (Hiltz). In fact, Bell has started send in proposals that promote “censorship to start blocking content that they don’t want people to have access to” (“Q&A”). In an interview, Laura Tribe, the executive director of Open Media, states that the repealment of Net Neutrality will most likely have an effect in Canada. Not only does it encourage Canadian companies like Bell to start taking a stance against Net Neutrality, sites like Youtube or Spotify that are based in the U.S will be affected by the lack of regulations American ISPs are subjected to, and Canadians will also be targeted for profit alongside American consumers. Lastly, Canadian businesses will not be able to compete on the same playing field as American businesses as companies have to pay to surpass their opponents. According to Tribe, the end of Net Neutrality only benefits “a very small handful of the telecom companies”. The big businesses are only trying to protect their own interests and to try making money off the Internet instead of being contained to just cable. In fact, anyone who aren’t part of the most privileged positions of society will suffer from the end of Net Neutrality because the the impact of this decision will hit every consumer because the content that is available to use will be controlled and that manipulation will affect the discourse communities will have with one another (“Q&A”). From Tribe’s perspective, ISPs and rich CEOs are supporting the end of Net Neutrality to aid their own self-interest.

In my own opinion, I support Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality allows people to gain access to the entirety of the Internet, not just the parts ISPs want us to see. Like Tribe said, the information available to us affects what we discuss in our community. If ISPs don’t want their consumers to see or listen to certain information, they have the power to block access to that information. The restrainment of information is the first step towards fascism. ISPs would have the ability to strangle free speech and influence public perception on a topic. While having the ability to do so may not directly that ISPs will, but there is nothing to stop them and the fact that they will have that authority is frightening, especially since the CEOs of internet providers are most likely rich, white men who mainly get their money from the labor of poor people. Secondly, around 70% of teachers in America assign homework that requires the Internet, yet more than 50 million students have no access to the virtual resource (Branam). If we take away Net Neutrality now, imagine what would happen to the children who need access to a website but do not have the money to obtain the information on that site. Thirdly, there’s nothing that legally binds ISPs to not slow down Internet speed for higher monetary gains. This relates to my first point, but it still matters regardless. While ending Net Neutrality may lead to competition, ISPs can ignore the prospect of competition and continue to maintain and increase the amount of power they hold over the Internet. That would mean that competition would, in fact, not breed and U.S would fall behind in economic growth and technological development on the world stage. The larger corporations will also decrease the chances of success for small independent companies that want to get onto the economic playing field. So, if Pai’s plans were to go into action, ISPs would have full control over the Internet and be able to manipulate U.S perception on all issues.

Citations:

Bane, John, director. Net Neutrality Explained and Why It Matters. YouTube, YouTube, 11 July 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=K88BU3kjZ-c.

Branam, John. “OPINION: Online Homework Is a Problem for 5 Million Families without Internet at Home.” The Hechinger Report, 27 Oct. 2017, hechingerreport.org/opinion-more-and-more-homework-requires-web-access-but-what-about-kids-without-internet-at-home/.

Chung, Alex, and Chi Xing. Ethics of Net Neutrality. UC Davis, 2011, pp. 211–218, Ethics of Net Neutrality.

Denisenko, Sergey. “The Implications of the End of Net Neutrality.” TechCrunch, TechCrunch, 20 Feb. 2017, techcrunch.com/2017/02/20/the-implications-of-the-end-of-net-neutrality/.

Finley, Klint. “The FCC Just Killed Net Neutrality. Now What?” Wired, Conde Nast, 14 Dec. 2017, www.wired.com/story/after-fcc-vote-net-neutrality-fight-moves-to-courts-congress/.

Hiltz, Robert. “Inside Bell’s Push To End Net Neutrality In Canada.” CANADALAND, CANADALAND, 4 Dec. 2017, www.canadalandshow.com/bell-pushing-end-to-net-neutrality-in-canada/.

Kastrenakes, Jacob. “The FCC Just Killed Net Neutrality.” The Verge, The Verge, 14 Dec. 2017, www.theverge.com/2017/12/14/16776154/fcc-net-neutrality-vote-results-rules-repealed.

Koepke, Logan. “‘We Can Change These Terms at Anytime’: The Detritus of Terms of Service Agreements.” Medium, Medium, 18 Jan. 2015, medium.com/@jlkoepke/we-can-change-these-terms-at-anytime-the-detritus-of-terms-of-service-agreements-712409e2d0f1.

McCartney, Steve, and Rick Parent. “Ethics in Law Enforcement.” 2.1 Major Ethical Systems | Ethics in Law Enforcement, opentextbc.ca/ethicsinlawenforcement/chapter/2-1-major-ethical-systems/.

“Net Neutrality II: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO).” Performance by John Oliver, YouTube, YouTube, 7 May 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=92vuuZt7wak.

“Net Neutrality” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, 2018. Thurs. 18 January 2018.

“POLITICS AND LAW.” Political Ideologies, www.quick-facts.co.uk/politics/ideologies.html.

Q&A: What Would a U.S. Repeal of Net Neutrality Mean for Canadians? CBC Radio, 8 Dec. 2017, www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-december-08-2017-the-current-1.4437902/q-a-what-would-a-u-s-repeal-of-net-neutrality-mean-for-canadians-1.4437993.

Savov, Vlad. “The US Net Neutrality Fight Affects the Whole World.” The Verge, The Verge, 23 Nov. 2017, www.theverge.com/2017/11/23/16693840/net-neutrality-us-fcc-global-effect.

Shepardson, David. “U.S. FCC Chairman Plans Fast-Track Repeal of Net Neutrality: Sources.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 7 Apr. 2017, www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-internet/u-s-fcc-chairman-plans-fast-track-repeal-of-net-neutrality-sources-idUSKBN1790AP.

White, Jeremy B. “Net Neutrality: Why Trump’s Top Internet Official Wants to Repeal the Internet Law, in His Own Words.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 21 Nov. 2017, www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/net-neutrality-repeal-reasons-ajit-pai-trump-official-article-explanation-a8068091.html.

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger- Christina Lau- Rachel Jung

When I walked into the conference room for the talk, I was expecting the focus to be more on how Lau gets inspiration and how her art process goes. Instead, she talks more about her accident and how it changed her and her perspective on life; not that this isn’t a bad thing, it was really interesting and mind-opening to hear her talk about the stigma and attitudes society has towards the disabled and the kind of mindset she keeps.

Most of the speakers that we’ve heard from for the past couple weeks have repeated a single piece of advice: to try before giving up, regardless of how others think or what you think. Lau also states this mindset almost throughout the entire presentation. I think it’s because the idea of trying things out before telling yourself that you can’t do it is the most important attitude for writers and artists (in fact, anyone) has to keep in order to reach their goals.

Another common aspect I noticed was that none of the speakers wanted to change their past, including Lau. Despite all the ruts they’ve tripped over and all the despair-inducing experiences they’ve gone through, they still wanted to keep everything the same. And I can understand because memories are what makes people who they are. If you erased a large chunk of your memories, you won’t be the same person you are now. You are not the same person you were three years ago, or any number of years ago. That’s amazing, isn’t it?

You are who you are because of everything you went through to get to the present.

Even if this has been a repeated advice, I still think that what I’ll remember from Lau’s talk is that I should never give up before trying, and attempting at something shows me how far I’ll make it and whether or not I can do it. Another might be the fact that we shouldn’t treat disabled people like they are incompetent and incapable children. They may not be able to do activities the same way as abled people, but they can still get along with their life without external help. If a disabled person needs assistance, they’ll ask for it.

Five Inquiries:

Lau mentioned that she searched for a job. Did she find one or is she still looking?

Before the accident, she used to be a prison officer. After her accident, did she get fired or did she decide to resign on her own free will? What happened?

Does she have children? If so, how did they react to her accident? How did they help? If not, does she ever want to have children?

Does her accident, in any way, influence what she paints in her art pieces? Does it influence any part of her art process?

How does her family help in her paint? Do they leave her alone, or do they help her set things up or point out things that she may feel inspired by?

Thrills, Chills, and Kills- Mukul Deva- Rachel Jung

To be honest, I didn’t do that much research on Deva. From the site provided on the Writers’ Fortnight Programme schedule, the “About Mukul” page talked more about his status and achievements as a businessman rather than as an author, so I thought that he would focus more on his life as an entrepreneur. So, I was surprised when he went through his writing process instead of his methods as a businessman. Though, since this is an English class, I should’ve realised that the presentation would be about storytelling rather than enterprise.

I’m not sure if this will relate to the physical process of writing, but if I ever choose to become an author as an official career, I should take Deva’s perspective on things and not care what other people think of my writing and how other people interpret it and care about the money. Something that does help with the actual process is his walkthrough of his own writing process. I think this helps a lot on organization and premeditation of a story, and it helps the writer not get flustered while writing. From my own experience when writing a story, if I hit stumble in the middle of writing, I tend to scrap the entire story and restart. I think if I took Deva’s advice and planned everything out and researched first, I wouldn’t hit so many roadblocks.

Something that deepened my understanding of writing was his inspiration. He said that he would take a real life incident and then put a spin on it to make his stories. It reminded me of Marc Nair’s presentation; he also told us that real life is weirder than anything we can make up. When I was younger, maybe around kindergarten or first grade, my teacher would often praise “creative thinking” during writing time. “Creative thinking” and “imagination” basically boiled down to what was the most unrealistic story. Flying unicorns and frog princes and all that. So, I thought that making a great story meant that you couldn’t use the real world as a basis. Of course, I later learned about realistic fiction but even then, the people around me like fantasy more than that genre. So I took this thinking with me as I grew older. Deva’s presentation told me that I didn’t have to go create up a new world with new rules to get the audience hooked. Sometimes, blurring the line between reality and fiction can be just as unnerving and exciting.

Even if I do forget most of his talk, I think I’ll remember one important thing. Near the end, he answered a question. I forgot what the question asked, but I do remember his answer, which is more important. He said that 1) he liked writing, 2) it pays rent, and 3) he gets a kick out of creating something out of nothing. Why is this so significant? Because I want to be a writer, and his words kind of validate the future that I want. The message I got out of this was that I can pursue what I like to do and still get money out of it; I won’t starve to death on the streets because I wanted to pursue storytelling as a job.

Five Inquiries that I Still Have:

Deva said that he made sure he didn’t copy other author’s writing styles or ideas by not reading the same genres that he was writing. Which is great; good for him. But what if others don’t do that? What should they do? Should they just stop reading? Is there any other method for them to check without having to cut off an entire genre out of their reading plans/options?

Has he ever done the Yoga Murder Writing Exercise himself? What kind of stories did he make? Did he find it helpful?

Deva also said that there shouldn’t be more than three, a maximum of four, POV characters in a story. Is it still alright if there is more than four POV characters? If I remember correctly, Rick Riordan managed to do this for a series in his book. Should people only try to attempt more than four POV characters when they are more skilled?

Does he use beta readers? If so, how does he choose them?

What happens when he doesn’t agree with his editor? Does he still make the changes, or does he ignore it? What about for beta readers (if he has any)?

Is The Dog Still Alive?- Danny Raven Tan- Rachel Jung

I thought Tan’s journey as an artist was a straightforward and short road. Like, I thought that he dropped Building Estate Management when his father died and his mother got dementia, and then suddenly decided in a moment of epiphany that he should go pursue his dream and passions. But no, he actually went through multiple jobs and tasks and faced pancreatic cancer before he faced his father’s death and mother’s dementia.

To be an writer means to go pursue whatever idea you have because there might be someone else in the world who has the same idea and then it’s just a race of who polishes and establishes that idea into reality the fastest and the best. Also, artists of any type must be a “social whore”. Basically meaning that they must establish a connection with their consumers, fans, or sponsors because they are the source of money and work for the artist.

I did know about Tan’s cancer and his parents’ situation, but I didn’t realise how much of an impact it had on him and how he views the world, I guess. I think that because he faced cancer and has to deal with his mother’s dementia, he views life as fleeting and that people should do the things they want because chances are that the opportunity to do so may not arise again in the future.

Tan said, “Don’t care what other people think; just do it.” I think that is something important especially for young people who want to pursue an art but have no confidence. And I have no confidence. Like, at all. Thank you for these words, Mr Tan.

I think that not caring about what other people think can help in all situations. In class, if you stop worrying about what people might say about your work, you can go far, really show your true opinions, and be more free in your work.

Tan’s presentation was inspiring in the way that he tells us that every challenge we face, we will come out stronger than before. So, if we never try something, we’ll never fail or succeed. If we succeed, then great. If we fail, then we’ll learn something from the experience. So there’s no reason why we shouldn’t try our hand for something at least once.

I think that his presentation was detailed so I don’t have many questions to ask. And he told his life sort of like a novel, so it was very engaging and interesting. I feel that he answered everything during his presentation, and everyone else’s questions answered everything else. But there’s one question that I have because I didn’t hear this part correctly, or maybe I did and I refuse to believe: is the dog still alive?