It was April of 2005 when Christina Lau, an officer in the Singapore Police Force, suffered a car accident on a rainy night and awoke in the hospital with serious damage to her spinal cord. She had lost movement of her legs and fingers, and was devastated to find that she, as an active individual, could not only no longer continue pursuing activities that had made her so happy previously (biking, jogging, etc.), but she also could no longer be an active officer in the police force. Emotionally devastated, Christina turned to her husband for help, and found herself in what she defined as a “very introverted, depressed state”. However, she found a way out of her shell of emotional decline when she discovered painting; more specifically, painting with her mouth. A great outlet for her to express herself in visual form, as well as to create fantastic artwork, despite her disability, Christina quickly became an expert painter, with many of her artworks showcased in various art galleries around Singapore. However, also didn’t let her disability keep her away from enjoying sport; she taught herself how to play Ping-Pong, and thoroughly enjoys the sport; even traveling overseas with her teammates to participate in tournaments.
Nukul Deva is a world-renonwed author, with many of his works having been adapted into full-length action films. His books have been translated into numerous languages, and thousands upon thousands of people have enjoyed his works across the globe. However, most interesting about him was not his very economically driven incentives to write (going so far to say that he does it “mostly for the money”), but his intriguing method of writing, which borders on science. The first step is to thoroughly research the topic the book will be written about. He called this that toughest step, and the longest (for example, in one of his books, where action occurs simultaneously around the world, he needed to research for 3+ months before starting to write). He then plans out the structure of the story thoroughly and begins to write. Surprisingly, he defined writing as the “easiest step of the creative process”, as, he believes that “once the research and structure are down on paper, it’s only a matter of putting what you already know into words”. This methodical method of writing is a radical departure from many other writers, as he regards it as more of a science than an art.
Daniel Raven Tan is, without a doubt, an exceedingly eccentric individual; part of which has been molded by his arduous and difficult personal life; his father passing away, his mother slowly giving into Dementia, and him only recently having defeated pancreatic cancer, which he hasn’t told his parents yet. Such a difficult life has been a towering influence over his art, which he exhibits in his own home, a rather unremarkable HDB. He was a stoic, yet straightforward view of life; telling everything as he sees it and wasting no time on what he deems frivolous sugar-coating of the inevitable. He spoke of self-promotion, which he himself deems shameless, and even paragons it to prostituting oneself; giving away one’s own dignity and humility to promote one’s own work.
Marc Nair spoke of multiple things in front of the grade; he talked about how he tries to use the environment around him (the city) to set mood and really give meaning to his poems. He discussed taking real-world problems and using humorous comedic poems to attract attention to true problems we face today (as can be seen in his environmental poem, “Plastic Nation”). He even talked about how his experiences as a traveler affected his poetic career (going so far as to publish a collection of poems he wrote during a trip in central Europe). However, what stuck with me the most was a poem he wrote that discussed cliches, taking the form of a song and rap. He not only critiqued the use of absurd phrases and metaphors that seem to not only have become commonplace, but an integral part of our life, but also the huge social impact trends have on society; things that everyone seems to be following, without truly knowing why.
One of the really interesting topics that was brought up in our post-Assessment discussion was the passing of a Cattle Slaughter Ban in India. It helped me realise just how much faith, ethics, and ideologies influence choices that are made around the world every day. It’s undeniable that religion played a very strong role in making the decision; India is, after all, a Hindu country and Hinduism, by definition, is strongly against the slaughter of cattle. While masking the decision under the facade of perserving animal rights laws, it’s abundantly obvious that religion played a massive role in it, due to the Indian government not taking action against other types of animal slaughter (chickens, pigs, etc.). The decision was also sharpy controversial by nature, as Bangladesh, a trade partner that acts as the principal exporter of beef to India, has expressed its dissaproval of the plan, as it would, inevitably, impact the trade relations between the two states. Another opposing issue, though a local one, comes from a region in South India, that has been vocally active against the passing of the bill, mostly due to it being among the most culturally rich regions of India, meaning that there exist a wide plethora of culinary traditions that all come together; the bill, however, would deny many of them, showing that it is more than simply a political or even an animal-rights decision, but a religiously-based and culturally impactful choice. It really shows that even seemingly small things (the slaughter of cattle) can have such a large impact on a nation.
My “About Me” Poster (Made about Taran):
Quote from the video:
“Now, white space isn’t a difficult technique to learn; it’s basically just allowing space around text and images to make everything feel more relaxed and loose.” I picked this quote because it reflects one of the things I failed to do in the project; include white space. This was because I focused too much, I felt, on the use of walls of text to “fill in” the reader, that I often forgot the importance that white space can have on the poster; because of this, I felt that I could’ve done significantly better on the task if I’d had this advice when I was just beginning to work on the project.
I felt I employed use of self-management really well in this task. I always struggled in graphic design and making infographics or, in this case, a poster, especially around a person, so I had to really organise myself to get the most out of it. I started off by gathering all the info I could about Taran (as can be found on his Unit Two Guidebook, linked above), then I began laying out the skeleton of my poster. This meant organising text and pasting a picture of him, before I started working with the text. I tried to contrast (red on blue in the title, then blue on red in the body of text) text to make it look more eye catching for the reader, as well as to emphasize the words the reader needed to focus on (STORY, ASPIRATIONS, etc.). Another skill I employed was Communication; I wanted to make it as legitimate to Taran as possible. While I did embellish some of his aspects, I still constantly referred back and forth to him, be it in person (a face-to-face conversation), or referring to his guideline slides. I wanted this to be a clear and honest reflection of Taran’s personality; a very strong and straightforward take on his personality and hobbies.
Today was our first day of Writer’s Fortnight, and the guest speaker was renowned ESPN speaker and presenter Steve Dawson. He ran over what he defined as the “5 Maxims for a Great Interview”; Ask open-ended questions, set the answer free (don’t add restrictions to what they can say), don’t interrupt, be a “single shooter” (ask one question at a time), and make sure to really listen to the answers. He brought up a lot of points that relate to his life story, one of the most notable ones talking about his relationship with his job. A long-time sports ultrafan, he described it as a “hobby become a job”, and said that, while his role as a sports presenter and commentator was tough, he enjoyed every second of it. Another very interesting point he brought up was the relationship he has between his passions and his work; though he loves the job, he explicitly stated that much of what he reports on and where he travels for work is decided by senior members of the ESPN team. An extra point he brings up, though not technically among the 5 Maxims, is “Don’t be a fanboy”. He strongly believes that to truly have a fruitful and meaningful interview, the interviewed individual and the interviewer must both be “at the same level”.