Now that I have graduated, apart from feeling scared of being potentially unemployed, I feel a strong sense of nostalgia.
I can’t really remember what I was doing four years ago today but I know what kind of person I was. Shy girl that never dare to speak what was inside my mind, who was scared of strangers that I felt like crying if I need to ask for information in a theme park. A girl who just know how to study and do my homework, who strive for perfect score in each and every exam (except Indonesian class definitely). Never really speak English outside English speaking exam and kitchen was a different planet my mom live in. As I think about me that time, I can’t help to smile to myself, I was young ~
Now, here is the older me. Beside still stubbornly ambitious, I think I have changed remarkably. Four years of independent living in different countries really transformed me, in the way I live, I think and how I behave. A lot of stories were created and experiences shared with numerous people I met. In my first year, I made a biggest step in my life; on my way to the dorm I said hello to a random European looking girl who I saw sat alone in a seat in front of me in the orientation session. That was how I got my first friend who was apparently also my neighbor (what a nice coincidence!). I never dream of sharing a room with a Mexican, I mean I don’t even know they speak Spanish there (I thought they speak Mexican. Duh, pardon my stupidity). I took a course on fashion design which count two credits but have ridiculous amount of work. In the second semester, I went through my first roll of interview-ever- to be an executive committee of a society which I fail miserably. Second interview similarly failed, third so on and so forth. The sad truth was in the end, I failed all but one which is to be an ex-co of my school’s committee, simply speaking responsible for freshmen activities.
My first year was the only year where I have a lot of time to play. My success in making my first friend helped me in making more friend (actually also because this girl is a natural friend makers since she is SO NICE, I just tagged along). I stayed up late at night to watch movies with my hallmates, attend various functions and forced to have speed dating style ice breaking session, etc. In summary, my first year was when my time was invested in making friends and connections, adapting in the new life style. I had my first winter, got to know what was heater looked like, first spring with 101% humidity and introduced to humidifier. Looking back, I feel so dumb for not knowing those simple things but that was the reality.
One biggest decision in my university life also happened in my first year; which is choosing my major. I always known that I want to have a bachelor of science degree so I only have two choices in my plate. I remembered that time I was desperately wanting to get into quantitative finance major because I thought I like finance (I was in Science major so I never took a finance course ever, but I like counting money). Another reason was also because of my arrogance, it was one of the top major thus my pride told me to strive for it. I passed the screening but upon interview, I told you earlier, everything failed except one so yes, I was rejected. Honestly, I never encountered this many failures up until that time, so it was really discouraging. I spent nights thinking to myself what did I do wrong? Why my smooth life got so bumpy and harsh. Anyway, I made a lot of friends but I was also mentally hurt, and unknowingly my first year went by.
To follow up from the post of SHSS course I posted late last week, I would like to share some thoughts about one of my favorite topic; namely, wealth inequality.
In 2014 after the English version of Capital in 21st Century by Thomas Piketty was published, wealth inequality once again became a popular topics among economists (Ted, 2014). While the focal point is nothing new – I believe everyone knows that the world is very unequal – but this book shows further comparison and the cruel realities of the current society in regard of wealth distribution. Piketty also stated some possible causes of increasing inequality, one key reason is r>g. Since I am here to share my opinion and not his thus I will not go too deep of the explanation of those variables. If you are interested but has low or no economic background, I recommend you to read this Ted summary or watch this khan academy video before actually attempt to read the book.
So is having wealth inequality (from here on: inequality) MUST be bad?
Being a little philosophical, nothing in the world is absolute thus the easy answer is no. But if you surf the net, consult the expert, ask people around you or just think about it deeper, inequality does sound really bad. This statement assumed that you are not from the upper class or you are a reasonable billionaire that could put yourself in the other’s shoes. Before judging me to be contradictory, let’s see why inequality is bad to the society based on T.M. Scanlon (2014);
1. Economic inequality can give wealthier people an unacceptable degree of control over the lives of others — I say power exploitation
2. Economic inequality can undermine the fairness of political institutions — I say money play in politics
3. Economic inequality undermines the fairness of the economic system itself — I saw social mobility being impede due to dirty politics
4. Workers, as participants in a scheme of cooperation that produces national income, have a claim to a fair share of what they have helped to produce. — A bit complex to me, but seems like equal profit sharing is the workers’ rights. Looking from just these four very reasonable concerns, once again inequality really does cause damaged. But when I looked at them deeper, all of the points above were the result of the rich exploitation and people’s greediness/unwillingness to share. To get a better understanding, I read some papers of this issue and there is this research where it argued that “some level of inequality is necessary in a modern economy” (OECD, 2014), and another history book argued being strictly equal could impede economic growth for example China in 1930s to 1940s. Summing up all the research results and analysis, I believe that this negativity of inequality originated from society that on the top of having high level of inequality also allowed money talk. Conclusion first, just like almost everything in the world, inequality in good up to some degree and when it passed beyond this level – and become too unequal – problem arise. The unfavorable outcomes especially amplified in the society that favor money.
Disclaimer: This is my own argument with no proof or data (yet!), just following my logic and limited readings.
So up until here, I put a lot of other people’s arguments but from here on I am going philosophical.
All humans were born unique, meaning we have different physical attributes, different personality and interest and different family situation. Everyone has their own problems and ways to solve them. Our talent different to one another and even our life time ticking in different speed on the different clock. There is always sky above a sky but all of them are sky: you always find couple people above you and above them and above them but in the end you can be anywhere because by nature you are the same. A group of people are luckier than another, another handful have more opportunities than the rest. But the rest might strive on their one and only chance by hard work and persistence. You might think that you work more than the others but the others might also think the same way. So in the end, the society is never equal and fair because the one who initiate the change will create their own fate while the left-over people will stuck in a place where they could only moan on their unfortunate live.
Moving on, Piketty’s argument of capital as the driver of inequality is so logical. If your parents are rich then you might be better off and maybe become richer. However, this does not mean that it is totally unfair. Their parents work very hard to save all the wealth they have to pass it on to their children, it is not like they actually had a gold tree from God thus they became rich. Discarding those who attained their wealth with dishonesty, I believe that the rich also had worked hard to save more. If they happened to buy and sell property right before the market burst, etc then it is their luck. Also, not every rich people give their fortune to their kids (though rare) and not every kids could maintain the wealth and social status the received (more common), so it is just part of how the world work. For those who pile their wealth dishonestly which correlate with the second point from Piketty where CEOs pushed their salary way beyond the bar and piled up property that later might be handed down to their offspring, frankly nothing can be said from this, it’s just there are evil and greed, balance of the world. Yin and Yang.
In conclusion, inequality is part of the nature, good or bad, one should just embrace it and do our best to strive despite the initial situation. Then their attitude will be tested once their succeeded, if they are willing to share, utilize the power they have for good, then the society will improve together and have a healthy level of inequality. But if they are corrupt, then it is up to those who want to change the situation to take actions.
Lastly, despite everything I mentioned, I must admit that the inequality level in the current society has way passed beyond the bar and it is bad. However, here I want to relay that inequality itself is not better or worse than being equal but how the society; especially the rich and powerful group, cope with the situation is the key.
Warning: VERY LONG POST and it is a REVIEW on the mentioned course (more info).
Hi readers, this post might be associated with a kind of advertisement but here is my full review on this course called Understanding China 1700-2000: Data Analytics Approach by Prof. James Z. Lee of HKUST that was offered as part of HKUST Summer Global Seminar (code: SHSS 3001) as well as in coursera. I took the on-site course in HKUST this summer. In fact today marked the last day of class so enjoy the pizza while fresh 🙂
They called it flipped classroom; Intensive three weeks course with total 9 face to face classes, 8 team assignments and several lecture videos accompanied with long supplement reading list; some English and a couple in Chinese. It was not a crowded class with around 30 students, Prof. Lee as lead professor and couple shadow teachers; could be a bit too large for thorough discussion but acceptable. The dynamic of the students is also one thing to mention, maybe 1/4 HKUST students, 5/12 students from Mainland universities and the rest 1/3 are Hong Kong high school students, so the age ranged from maybe 15-22. This is important because the team members were picked by the instructor such that there is a good mix of each categories, or in other words we were obliged to work with people from different background. This work includes five 15 minutes presentations and three 1000 words essay and we have to submit each every other days, i.e. Monday’s assignment shall be submitted on Tuesday, Wednesday’s assignment’s deadline is Thursday, Friday assignments due on Saturday. Each presenting/writing group worked on different but correlated topics thus allowed wide range of discussion. But since in a way we have less than 48 hours to work on the assignments (but you will see that this was not necessarily true), sometimes the scope is arguably narrow.
My Approach To give you a better understanding before judging, these are some things that were available to me before/right after the intensive weeks started.
1. Syllabus — consisted of detailed lecture topics, assignments’ topics for each class
2. Lecture videos — all of them are available simultaneously
3. Assigned/suggested readings
And later on the team members. Lastly, I am also working in the later half of the day every weekdays thus time is scarce.
My approach was to do weekend lecture marathon or (if you prefer) weekend binge watching, just substitute the C-drama with lecture videos…. I have better listening memory than reading memory, so I just need to listen to the lecture videos (rewind when needed) while I need to take notes/highlight the reading material. Confession time, skimming academic work was time costly, so I normally just google the keywords fist and copy pasted interesting information to my google drive with the link thus I can refer back to it whenever; academic works come second. This is one way to stretch that assignment time constraint, since we knew the questions beforehand, it is possible to pile up materials and even make the whole assignments in one weekend, of course it is also subject to team mates. But anyway, I found this is an ideal learning style for me because I can freely pursue things that I find interesting, using the assigned question as a stepping zone. I did everything in the weekend, organized it so that I could retrieved these information in an instant through the weekdays.
Overall Impressions As might have been implied, in general I really fancy this class. I love the classroom model and I learnt new knowledge about China and general social science issues, and undeniably trained my soft skills. To be fair, my initial reasons of taking this course was partly because the only other option was this course called China in Film: Modern Chinese Culture and Identities, no judging but I had a feeling that I’m not lovin’ it and partly because the class time aligned beautifully above my work shifts; a little part is because of the word ‘data’ in the title — I just love data. Anyway, since I never have been fond of anything related to humanities and with that mountain of reading materials, I was ready to have to worst and harshest three weeks in my summer. Harsh yes (not harshest) but worst? Nah, it was a very fruitful three weeks where I deepened my understanding towards the future outlook of social science research in China. Though I am still unconvinced with some proposed theories which therefor make me confused but I will safe this to the later part of this post.
About Flipped Classroom (try to Google it if you are not sure of this teaching model)
It was my second flipped classroom experience and I had always liked it. No more dozing off in 9am lecture, instead an efficient weekend lecture marathon when I am most alert. I can also fast forward and rewind the video as necessary but most importantly, I can refer back to first class lecture even now when I had finished the course. Frankly, I didn’t watch ALL videos thoroughly, some really did not trigger any of my interest while others I might go back and forth couple times just make sure I saved the right information or to check the new understanding/idea that dawned to me after watching the later part of the videos. Overall, positive feeling about this model, efficient and applicable to independent students.
About the Intensiveness People often say: Time is money; and I am one of the firm believer of this saying. Having tight deadline and being chased by time energized me with thrill. This might sound a bit exaggerated but I am not. Hard to explain, generally it was like when we started to run, the first tens of seconds was rather painful but once the adrenaline pumps in you became so excited. This course was so short; it started off a bit messy due to team arrangement problem but after things settled down the excitement crashed in. Before I knew it, it was over. So maybe if this is a semester long course it will not be as stimulating but the fact that everything is packed in just three weeks really change the whole picture. Another positive feeling here.
About the Assigned Team My group was consisted of me (final year business student), two female Mainland’s students, a person from HKUST and one high school girl. From the previous sentence only, can be seen that I am not familiar with them at all, even after working together for eight assignments. OK, so I believe that the core of teamwork is discussion. Disagreements are bound to happen thus it is critical to state one’s opinion and convinced others to agree on the presented arguments; no wrong, no right, just who are more persuasive. So my team mates, not sure if it is due to the unfamiliarity or just nature, they did not talk much and easily convinced. When the idea they brought up was challenged, they waver too soon. To them I might not be a good team mate either because I demand a lot and challenged almost everything that did not align to my understanding (sorry team mates, I am just sincerely curious and I don’t want to explain what I don’t believe). We did not really do topic division because the greedy me wants to know everything but they did not have the initiatives either. Additionally, our working pace are very different, my “time is money” is not theirs, so frankly it was VERY FRUSTRATING.
However, later on with adaptability and stress management, we managed to survive. I told them why I am such a pushover and finally everyone opened up (after the second assignments or so). Then we started to organized ourselves better, normally I do the structure, outline and everything that considered as first step then they do the content, then I questioned everything that I don’t understand and when our understanding coincide we move on to writing/presentation. So, here is the downside of having team working in a super intensive course, while it is possible to adapt very quickly but due to the time tension, some people might just ended-up left out (happened to my group). We also did not get to know each other well enough to further take the discussions outside the assigned questions. So short timing could do a good favor in terms of excitement while on the other hand might kill the essence of having teamwork (because we just do our part and no discussion encouraged in process). Overall, negative experience.
About the Topics The topic list could be seen from coursera (link above) but to summarize, the course mainly talked about the history of China, gender, marriage, culture, new findings from the recent quantitative data sets, rich and poor, inequality, so on and so forth. Since I am majoring in economics, I am most interested in the wealth inequality part. Here is where we talked about Piketty’s book (2014) that took a new approach toward wealth inequality. Reach out to me please if we share the same interest. My least favorite is the analysis of data from one province in China, Shuangcheng. It is certainly a breakthrough since it utilized data to tell the story of the past and I can tell the scholar really did a great job on it. The thing I doubt is the data itself how representative is the data and how true is it? I read a lot about data manipulation in China, especially in the communist era thus it just make me skeptical about mostly everything. Addressing this concern in class was not much help because I know the answer is we hold on to the data we have at the moment and let the future scholar proved/disproved things when additional data is retrieved. So, while I am not convinced with some of the topics but what certain is I learnt a lot of Chinese history, even beyond the assigned questions because everything just seems to be correlated one another, and it is. Besides, with the presence of shadow teachers, the class discussion on the topic rose one level higher and generate interesting perspective and new knowledge. Overall, positive again~
That was way beyond 1000 words and I know I should stop now. Just want to recite that this is really a good class, and I sincerely recommend it. One thing that I don’t know yet is the grading, which I know is important, but I just hope for the best.
I will start by concluding my post: Indonesia is getting worse day by day.
It is not that I have any grudge against the country but this just too ridiculous and shameful. First of all, I think the world know pretty well about the Indonesian governor, Ahok, who was accused for blasphemy and got two years period of imprisonment. While I read everything from the news so I cannot be 100% sure but here is how I see it. I believe that as soon as his unfavorable comment was said, he was accused for blasphemy right away. The case went to the court and he was called for trial, a lot of march against him and Christian in general. The case was rather lengthy due to time clash with the capital governor’s election. Anyway, the funny thing was, right after he lost the election, he was announced guilty and sentenced for two years in jail. I don’t know him, I am not his supporter or whatsoever, so I kind of in a neutral position but even from this perspective, I can see rotten play in this case as described by the New York Times. I am no lawyer but since I am pretty familiar with money power in Indonesia, I am pretty confident to say there is something more than just blasphemy behind the conviction of this governor. This first issue, you might think, Indonesia is ok, this happened everywhere because this is just how politics role. I agree so lets proceed.
Second highlighter point is; muslimisation of the country. As a country with the biggest muslim population, it has always been a goal for some interest group to make the country an islam country but after the blasphemy case, it just got worse. More than a few groups expressed their desire to change Indonesia to an Islam country, the most recent was this university group (the article is in Indonesian but Google translation pretty much capture the right meaning). Once again, since I am not living there nor do I want to stay there in the future (if possible) thus once again, I am trying to look at things from a neutral perspective. There was a viral response to the previous video of university oath which showed the reactions from the veteran who fought for the independence of Indonesia, their responses were heart-breaking to me, as you know, I am sensitive. But knowing their history and their current condition and their disappointed faces, it just a little too much…
Moving on, still about muslimisation, the biggest interest group to this rally in Indonesia is Front Pembela Islam (FPI). They are the people who claimed to represent the islam in the country, not that I ever believe in representation but anyway, I ain’t muslim so I don’t really understand their practice but the attitude of people in this group were terrible. The most recent issue including the head of FPI charged to pornography crime, and FPI asked children to accompany a march against Ahok while shouting ‘Kill him, kill him’, read through BBC. Is this how religious people should act like? Oh BTW, FPI head reported fled to Saudi Arabia and claimed to never come back…
Moreover, analyzing their actions through Google, nothing nice ever came up as far as I concern; actually more like criminal record, clashes with other group, a lot of political march, etc (source: Wikipedia, again it’s in Indonesian but since the sentences are short, Google translate is enough). Last point in this topic, as long as I could remember, the crime rate in Indonesia has always reported increase in the period near Ramadhan. Again, not sure about the practice but do you think you can do bad things and get forgiven after Ramadhan? I think that is too much to ask. I should highlight that I don’t despise islam, I believe that it is a good religion, not better or worse than other religions. It’s more of the people, they are persuasive but their way of doing is not correct to my standard, though looking at the trend, it’s leaning there. Indonesian, do you really want to be led there, that kind of Islam country? Doooomm…
Point three, about attitude. Earlier this week, the Indonesia Open 2017 was held in the capital. It is more like an international badminton match and has been a respectable event, well at least until couple days ago. Since badminton is one of the country’s best sport, it was no wonder that most of Indonesian teams reached top stage, including the male double. Last Saturday, they played Denmark’s pair Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen and lost fair and square. Nothing scandalous, except for the foul comments by the spectators which was disrespectful to the Denmark players, to be fair actually threatening remarks. When I saw it, I felt so shameful. Even though it was a home play but I felt sport world should be at least respectful. If you want all Indonesia’s opponent to just ‘GO HOME’, then just don’t bother to invite them at all, this is stupid.
While I am not saying Indonesian have bad attitude, but they are just too easily get provoked by their surroundings. Around the world of course there are people like this, but there are just too much in this country. You can prove it by following Indonesian social media, most often in Twitter, whenever something came up then it will soon be a trending hashtag. Seldom people care of the truthfulness of the news and share it anyway just to show that they are up-to-date. I once read a report that Indonesia is one of the country in which social media user was the most gullible in the net, not sure where and honestly, I cannot find the page now, but I personally agree so I mentioned it here; apparently, some people also agree.
Okay, this seems like a pretty long post but with one conclusion: Indonesia is getting worse day by day. Though informally, everyone have to change, but this change needed a push, hard push. Let people understand what is Bhinneka Tunggal Ika and what is Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia should be. With all respect, do you think that this push could be initiate from the top, @Jokowi?
This morning when I swiped through my Instagram account, one of my friend posted a video on One Love Manchester concert. As has been announced, not only Ariana Grande but several other big names also performed as a tribute to the terror victims. I am not a kind of person who is interested with music concert or any of the artist’s fan, but I don’t know why I got the urge to watch it so I YouTube “tribute concert Manchester 2017” and just click on the first video with Ariana on the profile. It is actually the tribute speech by Ariana and I got this bitter feeling while listening to her, in which my tears actually fell. Then I try to find “Where is the Love” – Black Eyed Peas just because I know the lyrics pretty well, but hands up for them, they adjusted some fractions in the rap part to fit in the current world condition: terrorism. Moving on, “Don’t Look Back in Anger” and “Fix You” – Coldplay were also moved me to tears. I don’t know if I was just being too sentimental about everything but I am just feeling extremely sad. The concert I think lasted pretty long, at least from noon to night, and even though I have no relative of friends who are directly related to the incident, I really appreciate the tribute concert. There has been three attacks happened in the United Kingdom in the past three months, two in London, one in Manchester, so it must be hard for them to have calm and stable emotion, but STAY STRONG !
Then maybe because of the melancholic feeling, I decided to play one of my favorite song by Daughtry – “What About Now”. The song is 11 years old (I think) but this is the first time when I really want to pay attention to the video. Well, I found myself crying again because of this (It is a video of world’s condition with What About Now in the background music).
Anyway peeps, I am not good with sad things neither with my words. But I just want to share the burden of this heavy feeling with whoever I reading (or maybe just with
the internet world). Here is a random word scribbles about how I feel this morning:
“Sometimes, even when nothing happened, without any cause, I just feel sad. No explanation thus no remedy, I want to cry, but I don’t know why. Might be the sadness accumulated inside, might be just a spur moment of agony, But the heavy feeling inside is exhausting”
Recently I have been indulging myself into Chinese drama. Now I know some of you have this impression like
I never watch any Korean or Japanese or other dramas, so I cannot make any comparison but I honestly enjoying these series. The genre I watch is comedy romance Chinese drama and in the end of this post I will give some recommendations.
WARNING: Before watching a random Chinese drama, make sure to check it’s rating and warning on explicit content and age restriction.
If you are not convinced, I would give some good reasons to give a try on these titles;
– Practice listening and reading (automatic Chinese subtitle) Chinese;
– Learn the culture in China.
Of course, the stories are exaggerated but to some degree there is enough truth that I can extract from them. I know it is a standard because most of the titles I watched have the same implicit behavior. Ok, so here are what I realized:
Heavy inequality problem, large living standard gap in the society. It is amazing to see the high class restaurants and hotels choice available in the region, it is very luxurious and might be even better than any settings in the Hollywood movies. Not only that, the rich could also do whatever they want, little thing but the most apparent is to receive or to make a call during working hours, normal workers have to whisper all the time (though apparently they still able to pick them up which mostly unlikely). But anyway, that is what I called privilege of the rich.
Next, harassment issue. Again, nearly every movies I found (in the genre) contained harassment, for it light such as verbal harassment to heavy one. To me this indicates that in Chinese culture, harassment issue have a quite deep root. But since it is never easy to spot harassment, I am not the one to judge.
Lastly on this post, business culture. Before this I have heard a phrase called “guan xi” which in English have similar meaning to “connection”. A lot of stories incorporate usual usage of connection and also black money. Of course in general business is related heavily to connection but through watching these movies, I just got a feeling that it might play more important role in China than how I thought before.
Note that while typing this post, my half soul is focusing on another drama, so my opinion might be biased. But anyway, if you have too much time on hands, you might want to check this list out;
[currently watching] Ode to Joy (歡樂頌)
Talking about life of five working girls of different background. Family, love and work issues are included.
Could be quite heavy for people who have the same experiences but I like it because there are no too much explicit sexuality. For viewer without much knowledge on Chinese culture, through this series you could see more Chinese older culture such as parents arranged dates, age to marry, work success, stereotypes, etc. Quite long series I should say: 42 episodes in season 1 and 22 more in season 2. While I skipped some episodes due to predictability but this serial is good since they speak pretty slowly.
My Sunshine (何以笙簫默)
Mainly about a couple that met in college but separated afterwards due to misunderstanding. They met again couple years after with their own circumstances.
This is my number one, I really love this series due to it’s sweet romance and so many unrevealed stories in the beginning that started to make sense after. Honestly, for some people it might be boring due to it being predictable and repetitive flashbacks but the best thing about this c-drama is you can taste the drama by watching the director’s cut version (4 episodes vs original 36 episodes). Oh explicit content.
Love 020 ~ A Smile is Beautiful (微微一笑很傾城)
Story of a couple that get connected to each other through online game.
While the story only focused heavily on a couple but there was no real male or female perspective. They are equally proportioned so it felt like watching from third person’s perspective. I like it due to its simplicity and seemingly pretty real, so smooth and pretty good laugh for 30 episodes.
Far Away Love (遠得要命的愛情)
Friendship between three women and one man sharing their life and love worries and laughter. One main couple that forced upon each other while another looking for their other half apple.
I will attach tragedy tag to this title as I cried pretty much while I watched this and I like it for it. It is one of the funniest and stupidest but if I remember correctly, I did not skip any of its 36 episodes~
One and a Half Summer (一又二分之一的夏天)
A group of college students’ hardship to make a good band. One of them came just to try to find his love but romance is never simple. Conflicts started to happen between them and things just got more complicated until the end, there was no end.
That is the most annoying thing of this series, no clear ending. But the music is nice and the main characters are so energetic and it has only 27 episodes.
There are some other titles I found such as Best Time (最美的時光, 40 episodes), My Amazing Boyfriend (我的奇妙男友, 28 episodes) and Diamond Lover (克拉戀人, 68 episodes with director’s cut version). I found these because I like the acting skill of some actors or the director. Chinese drama in general have more than one perspective and boring beginning, so sometimes I skip some scenes (haha). Knowing this, one thing you need to prepare before watching Chinese drama is patience, if you have it then you are good to go~ Have fun watching!
It started because I need to go to Taipei to take a test but I have problem financially. I addressed my concern to friends in the hostel so they told me why not try hitchhike? I questioned the safety of it but I did my research anyway. I found a Facebook group of hitchhikers in Taiwan and thus I posted this on the wall and waited for response.
Two days before designated day, just when I was about to give up hoping, someone dropped me a message and offered to go hitchhike together. But on the day the day decided to cry hard and she decide to not go to Taipei anymore. I thought I got no choice but to go by bus but then she told me she could accompany me until I got a ride, even under the rain. I am so touched and so I decided to give it a try. Luckily, when we arrived on the spot, the rain has settled down and so we stood in front of the highway entrance. Holding this sign:
I know I know this is incorrect, should put the chinese upper and larger but anyway it is already better than my first try:
Anyway, we talked quite a lot about her travel experience and mine, half an hour passed and no car stopped, we were quite tired and thinking to change spot but then a car honked at us. Sadly he was not heading to taipei but halfway to miaoli, since I am stupid and has no money, I decided to not take the offer cause I might get lost in miaoli and ended up using more money. But this car gave me energy to keep waiting. Around minute 60, yes an hour, a car with couple inside honked on us and told us they can drop mw off in outskirt taipei since they are going to Taoyuan for Coldplay concert. YEAH finally!
The ride lasted for nearly two hours and we talked a lot about travel experience and a little bit of personal life, work and study also of course Coldplay songs. Well long story short I arrived in Yong Ning and I need to go to Sun Yat Shen memorial station = 45 TWD. I thought since I arrived early let me just walk station to station for sightseeing and maybe could reduce the cost. So I walked from there to Far Eastern Hospital. Though it was a long walk, I did not regret because I got to see these cherry trees and cherry blossoms, so pretty!
Then I took the MRT to Shandao temple and walk to my Couchsurfing host home. It was also my first Couchsurfing experience so I kind of nervous. My host turned out to be super nice and friendly. Her house also very cozy and spacious. I just realized how tired I was (oh yes I went to class in the morning before hitchhiking) so not long after I just collapsed. The next day she brought me to university and couple tourist spots while telling me some cultural and historical information with scooter! That was my first time riding one and I am lovin’ it~ The weather was not clear thus we cannot hike the mountain to see all Taipei but it is OK, maybe next time. After dinner in the night market we just go back and talk till midnight. Since I have to go back for class I can only stay those short period so the third day morning my host drop me off in front of the highway to let me find my hitchhike ride. This time I was alone so it is quite boring but since it is near a market some people come by and asked me stuff, gave me advice and even scolded me. First person – grandpa : “Miss, if you stand here with this sign, will anyone really stop by?”
Me: “Well I don’t know but I am trying.”
Second person – another grandpa : “Miss, if you just hold the sign like that the people who drive can’t see, you have to wave your hand like this” he waved his hand energetically
LOL, my response: “Oh yea? Should I do it like this” I waved too and laughed hard “quite embarrassing”
Then more serious one, taxi driver: “You crazy girl, it’s so dangerous to hitchhike, the bus ticket from Taipei to Taichung cost just around 100 (actually it is 290 to be precise), if you hitchhike, bad thing might happened to you and that will be the end for you, you might die!” a bit harshly and then he started to tell the people around me that I am out of my mind in Taiwanese. Well I decided to let it go and due to his shouting another person told me to change to another spot, maybe easier to get a good host. I took the advise and started walking. Then a car honked at me, a couple popped out from the car windows and ask if I am going to Taichung or not and ask if I need money, why don’t I take the bus or train, so on and so forth. I answered them honestly and then they offered to buy me a bus ticket and drive me to the bus station. Of course I didn’t take the offer initially because that would be like I am asking them money and I don’t think it is a good thing so I told them maybe I will just wait a little bit more. But they insisted that it is too dangerous for me to hitchhike and since they have reached out to me so they going to make sure I go to Taichung in the safest way. Long story short again, they bought me ticket and gave me pocket money for lunch and I arrived safely in Taichung.
I cannot believed that all these new experiences happened in just three days.
And yeah, my journey these days hasn’t been easy so internet access also limited. I would love it if I can write some more but these experience is not bad, not bad at all~
Now playing: Kiss the Rain – Yiruma, just because it is raining outside and it feels melancholic~