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Art Matters: The Benefits of the Arts

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The arts have been around for ages now. The arts have been a source of entertainment for audiences as well as the performers/visual artists themselves. The arts have been something that makes people laugh or cry, or feel inspired and ultimately, make them feel something when they walk out of that room. Aside from what it brings to the audience that attends, it brings that much more to the artist. These artists get to do what they have poured their heart and souls into. The blood, sweat, and/or literal tears that performers and artists go through to get to where they are, is incredible. The arts are so important to many, and have benefits outside of the element of performing and creating itself.

header-dance
Photo credit by Goucher Magazine

     All art has the same thing in common: It is an outlet for individuals to explore themselves, their minds and bodies, and see what they are capable of and what works for them. It also helps people build their self-esteem. Not only is it beneficial to their confidence and happiness, it also allows them to have better skills in both academic and real world settings. 

     There are many articles and studies that state the importance of the arts, especially an arts education. In an article by the University of Sydney, they state that “students who are involved in the arts have higher school motivation, engagement in class, self-esteem, and life satisfaction, researchers discovered.” When your self-esteem is boosted, you feel more motivated to be engaged in what you’re doing and want to do well. This can ultimately bring you satisfaction in your life. The University of Sydney’s Faculty of Education and Social Work collaborated with the Australian Council for the Arts in a study where they that exposure to an arts education provides individuals with more motivation in their life in all aspects, especially in school where individuals in the study had more confidence and participate more in their classes. Having this confidence boosts their self-esteem and allows them to be excited and want to participate in what they are doing. Research by Daniel H. Bowen and Brian Kisida has found that increasing students’ arts education throughout the Houston Independent School District “reduce[d] the proportion of students receiving disciplinary infractions…increase[d] writing achievement…and bolster[ed] students’ compassion for others.” 

     Being a performer myself, I of course find the arts and an arts education important. However, there are many who do not. For those who feel the arts aren’t “important,” I hear you. I understand that some may find the lovers of the art to be “preachy” and pushing the importance onto them when it just really something that interests them. Everyone finds interest in something. Some people will like things that others don’t, and that’s okay, but there is a difference between not liking something but appreciating what it does for others, and not liking it and diminishing its meaning or worth as a craft, which leaves those who feel the importance of the arts trying to defend their craft. 

     In my senior year of high school, I had my own experience of the arts being looked down upon. A video from a rehearsal of my last high school show got around to members of the football team at our school. Messages were sent around talking about how “stupid” the show was and asking “why would anyone put so much time and effort into something so meaningless?” This, of course, enraged members of our show. Not often is it even questioned as to why athletes put so much time and effort into what they do. Athletics are important to them as the arts are to me and my peers involved in it—it is not meaningless to us. Even a time as recent as deciding what major I want to pursue in college, there is still judgment and disapproval from those who don’t understand the importance of the arts. When I tell people that my intended major is in dance education, there is a tone of confusion or degradation. I have even had someone say to me “wow, that’s a useful major” in a sarcastic tone, implying that what I love and want to pursue was meaningless or useless.

     When I receive feedback that is negative toward the arts, and especially what I want to do with the arts, it makes me want to push even harder to get to where I want to be in my career. A huge reason for me continuing my major in dance education is so I can give back to others what the arts have given me. The arts have given me a judgement-free outlet to explore myself as an artist. Being involved in the arts has also given me a newfound confidence. I went from being a very shy little girl who would’ve never been caught onstage to someone who couldn’t imagine her life without performing, and has confidence in her performance and in leading her own dance rehearsals for shows she’s choreographed. Without the arts and being in the environment of the arts, I don’t think this confidence would’ve been built up or found at all. I want nothing more than to be able to help see through other people who have the same passion I do.

     Here at Goucher, it is not even a question of whether what you’re doing is important or not. If it is what you want, it is what the faculty and staff here are going to help you achieve. They provide this confidence boost and ability to truly know that this is what I should be doing, and that what I’m doing does matter. As I have started my first year here at Goucher, pursuing a degree in Dance Education, there has been nothing but positivity and encouragement from all involved in helping me achieve what I want. At Goucher, we have been blessed enough to have so many departments in the arts that allow individuals to find this confidence and importance in what they are doing, which I have especially found true in the Department of Dance.

     The arts have been an outlet, a boost in self-esteem and self-discipline, and, most importantly, something that has given me satisfaction in my life. The arts have done this for many others—I’ve seen it with my own eyes. All the elements that the arts can bring to a person can only challenge, inspire, and better those involved and dedicated to the thing that is important to them.

BY RACHEL MILLER

Work Cited

University of Sydney. “Research shows that involvement in the arts has wide-ranging benefits for young people.” Phys.org. 27 Spetember 2013. https://phys.org/news/2013-09-involvement-arts-wide-ranging-benefits-young.html

Daniel H. Bowen & Brian Kisida. “Investigating Casual Effects of Arts Education Experiences: Experimental Evidence from Houston’s Arts Access Initiative.” Houston Education Research Consortium. 11 February 2019. https://kinder.rice.edu/sites/g/files/bxs1676/f/downloads/Brief%20-%20Investigating%20Causal%20Effects%20of%20Arts%20Education%20Experiences.pdf

Babelwright. “Theatre Isn’t Important.” Babelwright. 24 September 2012. https://babelwright.wordpress.com/2012/09/24/on-the-death-of-theatre-companies/

 

And Why Should I Trust Vaccines?

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Congratulations! You are an evolutionary miracle! Your body is specialized to fend off foes using a complicated system you may have heard about before: your immune system. Yes, the system that fends off the flu, gives you allergies, and makes your knee swell up when you fall down the stairs in Van Meter trying to get back to your dorm after your night class. Your immune system can be broken into two parts: your innate and adaptive immune responses. Your innate immune response is the first line of defense, causing responses like sneezing, itching, inflammation—all that fun stuff. Innate immunity works with brute force, attacking in the same manner and without discrimination against anything foreign.

Your adaptive immune response picks up when brute force no longer does the trick. This response relies on specificity, diversity, and memory, as two immune cells called T cells and B cells take over. These two cell types are capable of remembering viruses and bacteria they have seen in the past. After your body wins its battle with a pathogen, special T cells sit around like your best friend after your break-up: picturing your ex (the pathogen) in their head, waiting until the moment they show their face again so they can beat the crap out of them. When and if that ex/pathogen reappears, T cells also alert B cells, so they can work together to eliminate that threat.

Having this ability to remember is what allows for the success of vaccines. Getting vaccinated is like handing over the picture of your ex (the unique exterior of the pathogen) to your T cells without having to go through any of the emotional trauma of the relationship (the interior of the pathogen that makes you sick). Pretty great, right? If you get too deep into the science, you will soon realize that immunology is immensely complicated and confusing, but the point is: vaccines work because your immune system remembers. Now that you understand why you would want to inject a little bit of dead pathogen into your body: what the heck is in that flu shot that isn’t dead pathogen?

PC: ncnewsonline.com

The Center for Disease Control lists the main ingredients in vaccines as preservatives, adjuvants, stabilizers, residual cell culture materials, and residual inactivating ingredients. If you can get past the absurd vocabulary and really take a look at the five parts of the vaccine, you will find surprisingly familiar ingredients. Preservatives are necessary in preventing contamination of the vaccine, but in day-to-day life you often ingest the same preservatives by eating certain foods, such as fish. Adjuvants function in the vaccine to boost your body’s response, but are more commonly found in drinking water, infant formula, antacids, and aspirin. Stabilizers are necessary to keep the vaccine effective post-manufacturing but are also quite delicious! Common stabilizers are sugar and gelatin, or, ingredients you would ingest by eating a cup of Jell-O. Residual cell culture materials and residual inactivating ingredients are miniscule portions of the entire vaccine concoction left over from manufacturing, the former being produced as the virus or bacteria is grown in the lab, and the latter used to kill the virus or inactivate toxins. Formaldehyde is typically used as an inactivating ingredient, which sounds scary, but formaldehyde actually exists naturally in your body at a far higher level than the level present in the vaccine!

Really, it comes down to this: your beautiful and sophisticated immune system uses vaccines to remember what pathogens look like, so later on when you’re infected with the real deal, your body knows it is time to destroy and can quickly produce pathogen-attacking cells to do so. And all those nasty ingredients they are injecting into your arm? They aren’t so nasty after all! They can be found in fish, eggs, water, Jell-O, baby formula, and even just floating around your body as is. Vaccines are nothing to fear, but rather are an amazing feat of modern medicine that helps us avoid not-so-fun things, like, you know, The Plague.

By: Isabella Davis

Changes to Student Government

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I am a Senator elected by the Class of 2021 to serve as a representative in Goucher Student Government (GSG) Senate. I recently sat down with with Sam Anderson ‘21 to talk about his resignation as Co-President of GSG on September 15. The goal of this article is to update the community on structural changes GSG has undergone in the past few weeks, why these changes occurred, and give some clarity as to what Goucher can expect from GSG moving forwards. 

My tenure in GSG began in November of 2018. Before then, I read my email to stay updated on GSG goings-on, but was otherwise uninvolved with the organization. I don’t know if I even voted during elections my first year. I began to know more about GSG when I heard my friends in Senate talk about some of the issues present in the structure of the organization. I was asked to run for Senate by Noah Block in November 2018. I decided to run in the uncontested race, and was elected by my peers. From then on, I have been extremely engaged with Student Government. I have worked alongside my fellow representatives and was just as surprised as others when Sam Anderson resigned as Co-President of GSG.

On September 24 I asked Sam some questions about his time in GSG, as a Senator, President, and Co-President. I started the conversation by asking him to tell me why he wanted to be in GSG and why he wanted to lead. His response was at once enlightening and familiar to me. His early misconceptions of GSG and how that was so different from the reality were extremely similar to what I felt when I ran and began my time in GSG:

“As soon as I got into GSG I had a wake up call as to really what the group was doing or what we were going to be able to accomplish because I really didn’t know what GSG was,” Sam began. “Or what it was about.”

The reality of GSG has changed over my time as a Senator, and this was true for Sam possibly more than anyone else in the Senate. This changed the way Sam experienced his role in Senate and contributed to his departure from GSG. Later in our conversation, Sam told me why he decided to step back from Student Government while maintaining his other advocacy roles within the Goucher community:

 “I’ve dealt with periods of stress and the burden of a ton of work coming at me because of student government in the past but what was different…from what happened in this past semester it… was really exciting work and it was fun and then at this point it has just been the negative stress and negative work and so I decided to not force myself to keep doing that and to instead shift to organizing work and definitely not step back at all from the things I’m passionate about but do it on my own terms.”

Sam recently organized The Exchange, on Wednesday, September 25 during Common Hour (1:15-2:30pm) on Van Meter Highway. It was an opportunity for organizations on campus to exchange ideas and information with the Goucher community.

When I asked him what he wanted other students to know about GSG or other organizing efforts on campus, Sam wanted his peers to know their importance. 

“Students, and my friends and my peers should really recognize the importance of students and being a student on a college campus…we don’t have to just let things happen, if we disagree with something, we really have power to make a change, but it takes collective action and it takes talking to each other and working together to make that change.” 

Sam ended by saying,

“Students know the most about what it means to be a student right now…We can best speak to that notion of what it means to be here right now.” 

I cannot overstate the importance of collaboration and collective action. One way members of the Goucher community have been trying to make change using collective action is through Goucher Student Government.

There have been some recent structural changes in the way GSG functions. With Sam Anderson resigning from his position as Co-President, Noah Block has become the sole occupant of the GSG Presidential Office. As President, Noah has made a shift in the direction of reintroducing an Executive Board to assist the Presidential Office in the management of GSG. This shift aims to create a more horizontal distribution of power, as opposed to a traditional vertical hierarchy of power. Equitable distribution of power through this change to an Executive Board mean some of the responsibilities of the Presidential Office are shared among multiple members of GSG and not everything will be the President’s responsibility. This change will most likely go into effect by the next meeting of GSG, on Tuesday, October 1st 2019. To hear more about this change, come to the meeting at 7 PM in ATH 125, also known as Old OSE, between Alice’s Patio and the Student Store. Another way to keep updated regarding these changes is to read your emails from GSG, follow @goucherstugov on Instagram and Facebook and check out our website: https://blogs.goucher.edu/gsg/

Note: My experiences and opinions are my own and do not represent Goucher Student Government as a whole. I believe it is important to have a framing of my individuality within the context of a larger organization. I cannot speak to other Senators’ or community members’ personal experiences. I can only speak to my own and what I have gathered in my role as a student and representative. 

By: Em Lassen

GSG Group Photo PC: GSG Website

A Collection of Study Abroad Experiences in Europe

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The Quindecim’s Study Abroad section is a section for students both preparing for and returning from their study abroad experiences. This article features interviews from Paige Beverly (‘20), Olivia Robertson (’20) and Esther Tulchinsky (‘20) who spent the Spring 2019 semester in different Francophone cities through the Institute Field Exchange (IFE) programs in Brussels, Paris, and Strasbourg, respectively. Here, they talk about what it was like to live and intern in a new place for five months. 

Why did you choose the city that you did?

Paige Beverly (Brussels): “I had honestly heard a lot of great things about Brussels…and it was recommended to me by my advisor. At first, I wasn’t sure…but after weighing my options, I saw that Brussels had a lot to offer in a small city…I felt like Brussels offered me the best of both worlds – a place where I would feel comfortable, but also have an enormous amount of opportunities.”

Strasbourg Cathedral. PC: Esther Tulchinsky

Olivia (Paris): “So, as an art history major, I chose to go to Paris because I thought that that would have the most resources for both French and art history…because they put you in an internship…I thought that they would probably have better art history internships in Paris, because they have a strong museum culture, and because I’m more interested in specializing in French art.”

Esther (Strasbourg): “I didn’t want to go to Paris because it was way too big, and I felt like everyone there spoke English, and I wouldn’t have the same kind of experience in French. Brussels seemed very…architecturally frigid. I’m very happy with how small and nice Strasbourg was.”

What were your goals for the semester?

Paige: “So, going in, my goals were honestly to gather research…I do plan to pursue a career in education, so it was really important to me to see how different education systems worked in comparison to the United States, and I felt like that could give me some more perspective on the education system that I was used to…Another thing was just to gain…more of a sense of independence, and truly experiencing something outside of my comfort zone.”

Olivia: “I wanted to get better at French … [and] hopefully make friends, but all my friends ended up being Americans, just because they were the other IFE people. I definitely thought I was going to hopefully make some French friends, but it didn’t really happen; I kind of had a French friend that I made after [the study abroad] at an Italian camp later in the summer, but not while I was in Paris.”

Esther: “To learn French, to get some experience, because I got lucky with an internship that actually had to do with what I wanted to do in my actual career, so speaking French in a workplace environment was what I wanted.”

What was a routine that you enjoyed there?

Paige: “I had an internship in a primary and secondary school, so, of course I was following a routine schedule, Monday through Friday … I really did enjoy that because it gave me insight on what my life is going to look like after graduation if I decide to go into teaching, and the dedication it’s going to take. Also, I lived fairly close to shops and things in Brussels, so I just enjoyed taking time for myself, taking walks on Sundays, just enjoying the nice and quiet because nothing’s open.”

Olivia: “During the first half of IFE, at the Paris office, there’s this nice little bakery that’s kind of behind it…I would go to for lunch and stuff. It was a lot cheaper than all of the other ones [and] it had really good sandwiches for less than four euros, which is pretty sexy. When I was at my internship … I listened to podcasts and stuff on the bus.”

Esther: “Since Strasbourg was pretty small, it was easy to walk from one place to another, and from where I lived, you could see the cathedral…Walking to work, and walking past Petite France, is just a very nice experience – to see all the architecture and be a part of all of that.”

What was the most difficult aspect of the experience for you?

Paige: “I think it was difficult to get comfortable enough to make friends there; a lot of my coworkers were a lot older than me, and it was hard to branch out and meet people outside the IFE. They encourage you to do it, but it’s easier said than done, so it was a lot of me time, …so that was a hard thing for me, not having the people around me that I was used to but also branching out to meet new people – eventually it became easier with time.”

Olivia: “I feel like getting used to the language and culture is a very obvious thing. I think European men are a lot more aggressive, so if you go out…or even just walking on the street, you’re a lot more likely (in my experience) to get catcalled. For me, adjusting to the internship [was difficult]; … some of my friends had internships that were a few days a week but because the French laws say that if you have someone full time for a certain length of time, you have to pay them, a lot of places didn’t want to have full time interns…I was one of the few people who was 9:30 AM to 6 PM every day, and then … adjusting to that and being in that kind of work environment was hard.”

Esther: “In the beginning, it was definitely the language, because Strasbourg – part of the reason I chose it is because not as many people spoke English – but, in Strasbourg, there are a lot of people that don’t speak any English at all. So just navigating at first was a little difficult, … but you figure it out.”

What would be some recommendations for students preparing to go abroad?

Paige: “Do your visa on time, that’s so important…Also, go in with as much information as possible, no matter what program you’re interested in or what you’re doing so that you kind of know what to expect. Also, don’t be so afraid to go outside of your bubble.”

Olivia: “Something that I did when applying to IFE is that I tried to start doing all of my IFE application stuff as early as possible. So just trying to get stuff moving kind of early if you can and not waiting until the end to get everything done. Travelling when you’re there, trying to hang with people, I wish that I had done a foyer with meals and that I’d made more French friends and that didn’t happen, but that’s my recommendation. 

Esther: “Be yourself out there…people in Strasbourg are like the people around here, except they speak French. So don’t be afraid to hang out with them because they’re actually really nice.”

By: Emmanuelle Peterson

How Did I Lose My Bed Sheet? A Model UN Story

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In Model UN, we had a toga party for our first simulation. I had a dark blue polyester bedsheet. Luckily, it was my extra sheet, so I still have one. Our first simulation was that of the Roman era when the king had just been overthrown so at that point, we had to deal with forming a government. I was the slaver which, in my opinion, was the best role to have because I knew a lot more about the topic whereas I knew little to nothing about the other characters. 

 In the simulation, we had a slave rebellion. Now, that I think back to it, I am not sure what ended up happening in that regard. We wound up electing our chief executive as a military dictator for a rule of one year. I voiced that that would be too short. At the end, she was ruler for 40 years and it became a hereditary rule meaning that her children would become the next rulers. 

 Another interesting aspect was that we had two pretend crucifications at the end because some of the members were political enemies. We might have had three had one of them not left early for another meeting. I overheard someone saying, “that is what the gavel is actually for.”  

 Our second simulation was a simulation of the Trump 2020 reelection campaign. In that case, I was the Health Care Advisor. I found that I didn’t speak up as much because I knew little about that area. What made this simulation so much fun was that other delegates were using accents to play into character plus we had a graph up front to measure our progress. We wound up promising that we would declare war on Iran which dropped our ratings. However, eventually we regained our poll numbers and were successful in our goal of reelection but this came after we had a crisis update where we had a breach in the US-Mexico border wall. Our solution, as part of our final resolution, was to give guns to everyone who was, I believe, in a 50-mile radius of the border. If we had more time, a few of us planned on dissolving Congress and making him eternal dictator. I recognize that this can be a serious topic in real life, but we were having fun with the topic in our mock simulationWhen the SI tutor walked in a few minutes before the end of the session, she was laughing when she saw what was going on. 

 I started my Model UN experience in my junior year of high school. I joined my school club which led to two years going to the John Hopkins Model UN conference also known as JHUMUNC, two weeks of the Best Delegate summer Model UN program at Georgetown University, and a semester long course on Model UN. Throughout, all of these experiences I realized that crisis committees were my favorite as you could do secret behind-the-scenes actions. You also got to see the consequences of what happened with the directives and had to deal with it. Another aspect I enjoyed was the midnight crisis which I thought I would hate at first, but I loved! The midnight crisis entails getting woken up late at night and having to go down to do a special committee session.

My first crisis committee, in my second year of JHUMUNC, was a joint crisis committee on India-Pakistan in 1999. Our crisis was that of the Indian side when our newly-elected fictional prime minister was assassinated during a cricket match. The Pakistanis had a few people assassinated as well. We wound up going to war with Pakistan that night. Despite it being rather late, others were being quite descriptive about the weapons being used. I wonder if war would have broken out had it not been the midnight crisis. Nevertheless, war makes the crisis more fun even if it isn’t the most logical step. 

 I have found that high school and college Model UN aren’t that different. Goucher Model UN is going to four conferences this year. They are Georgetown, Norfolk, Harvard, and Gettysburg. Crisis here at Goucher is different than my previous experiences because we do not have back room crisis notes. I fully recognize that this is impossible as we wouldn’t have enough people. I’m hoping that I will be lucky enough to make it into a crisis committee at one of the conferences. To be honest, it would be fun to be behind a delegate assassination. Depending on the simulation, it is likely that an assassination will occur in most crisis committees. 

 As I can still remember my JHUMUNC experience from last year, it is proof that it is a memorable experience. One thing I find ironic is that I tend to remember character names better than actual names. If I do remember their name, I will always think of them as that name and then their previous character or country names for a long time too come. I have no idea if that is the case for other participants.       

 Model UN is great for both those with or without previous experience. I would recommend giving it a try so that you don’t miss out on the fun. 

By: Meredith Schulhof 

Goucher Fit

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Before I got to Goucher, I was really excited that I would be able to take part in these wonderful exercise classes. So far, I have been to yoga, Zumba with Moe, and kickboxing.  

I find myself constantly returning to kickboxing because there is something about it that makes it my favorite class. First, I like that each session varies depending on the amount of people who attend. We usually start with light exercises such as jogging and sprinting. Some days, we will pair up or group up. If there are pairs of two, one will be punching the pads the other person is holding them. If we have groups of three, one person will be punching and/or kicking the bag, one will be using weights or other related activities, and one will do some running and other exercises. Second, although I have been the only female student in past exercise classes, I like that these tend to be more female dominated. It gives me the sense that we are as capable as others of doing what we can. Third, I appreciate that it is a do what you can, no judgement atmosphere because I’ve found myself being slower or not being able to do the same intensity as others. In the end, kickboxing has offered me the best workouts I have ever done, making me want to come back for more.  

 Another potential factor that I would enjoy kickboxing was that I had never taken a kickboxing class before I arrived at Goucher, whereas I had many previous yoga and Zumba experiences. For Zumba on Mondays, I wasn’t able to go back after the demo week because of my first-year experience, but hopefully will be able to attend once that’s over. 

For yoga, I preferred the stretch-based yoga to the other forms as it fit my style more partially because it didn’t require me to hold any poses too long. 

GoucherFit offers classes every day of the week, including weekends, except for Fridays. The classes offered are Abs with Adele, Athletics Yoga, GopherShred, GoucherPUMP, HIT, Kickboxing, Pilates, Spiritual Yoga, Yoga, Yoga Express, Zumba and Zumba with Moe. Look on the IMLeagues website or app for a full schedule of these wonderful classes. Don’t miss out! Come try it out and find your best fit!

By Meredith Schulhof

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is Quentin Tarantino’s Late-career Masterpiece

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How do you solve a problem like Tarantino?

Quentin Tarantino burst onto the scene almost thirty years ago with Reservoir Dogs, a crime movie so influential – so fucking good – that it single-handedly revolutionized the way indie films were made and looked at. It genuinely stands alongside Duel and Blood Simple in terms of being a debut feature (well, I say “debut”; technically, he’d made a film beforehand, the reels of which burnt up in a fire) that was pretty close to perfect. He followed that up with Pulp Fiction, and again with Jackie Brown, two films as close to flawless as they come.

Then something happened, and Tarantino…regressed, I guess is the right word. Look, I still love Kill Bill; for my money, it’s the last capital G-Great movie he’s made. But that love is tinged with some pretty serious reservation, since Kill Bill pioneered some of Tarantino’s worst tendencies as a director, quirks that have haunted him ever since: an utter lack of discipline, ostentatious hyper-violence that doesn’t even pretend to take place in reality, and obscene running lengths. Some of those I can live with – it is pretty fun to watch people explode in the most over-the-top way imaginable – but it’s his late-career aversion to editing that I really take issue with.

Kill Bill is the last film Tarantino made that felt focused in its excesses, if that makes sense. The bizarre digressions into Western iconography and anime-land worked for that story. The same cannot be said of Death Proof, which did its level best to make Tarantino-speak seem unbearably boring. Inglourious Basterds worked fine enough on a chapter-to-chapter basis, but completely failed to tie itself together in its closing moments the way Pulp Fiction had done. Django Unchained managed to scuttle every ounce of goodwill it had built up over its two-hour running time near the beginning of its last act, with one of the most annoying, movie-ruining director cameos ever put to film (complete with Austrailian accent!) And The Hateful Eight is at least 45 minutes too long; and that’s in its SHORTEST form.

On the basis of his first few films alone, Quentin Tarantino deserves his status as pop-culture icon. But as a result of his fame, he’s completely abandoned any of the restraint and focus that made his earlier work so special. His latest films have been too long, too unfocused, and too in need of some serious editing to really compare.

So I had been tepid in my hype for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. While I’ve never outright hated one of his films (even Death Proof, which came close, at least had the good sense to give Zoë Bell a leading role), I was still conscious of the fact that I was about to see a two hour and forty minute movie. That’s only a few minutes shorter than Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight, two movies I thought would never fucking end.

More than that, when I first heard that Tarantino was making a “Manson movie”, my heart sank. Movies based around the horrific crimes of Charles Manson and his “family” are already turning into one of the worst subgenres of film ever to exist; while Bad Times at the El Royale was pretty good, and smart about how it incorporated a Manson-like murderer, it must be said that abysmal dreck like The Haunting of Sharon Tate and Wolves at the Door have been the Manson movie norm.

This isn’t the first time Tarantino’s tackled tricky subjects, obviously. I’ve long admired how deftly he’s walked the tightrope of going juuuust far enough, without ever falling into outright exploitation. But Manson is different from the Nazis, or even slavery. He’s more specific, if that makes any sense. This seemed like a bad idea from the jump, and the originally intended release date – meant to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Tate–LaBianca murders – only made things worse.

So it gives me great pleasure to say that, for my money, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is Quentin Tarantino’s late-day masterpiece. It’s a film that feels focused. It feels like it has an honest-to-goodness point. It feels, for all the world, like an anti-late-day Tarantino movie. For the first time since Kill Bill, the overall experience grew on me the more I sat with it, rather than buckling under its ungainly, aussie-accented seams.

To be clear; this is a long movie, one perfectly content with taking its time. Described as a “hangout movie” not unlike Pulp Fiction or Jackie Brown, the film mainly focuses on the declining star of Rick Dalton, a famous TV actor whose stab at moviestardom has fizzled out, and his loyal stuntman Cliff Booth. The two of them are very emblematic of the “Old Hollywood” that Tarantino so lovingly remembers; some of the most joyous passages of the film are the fully immersive recreations of Rick’s old Cowboy show, and the painstaking processes that define new auditions.

This has been described as a mid-life crisis movie, which is understandable. It is at times nostalgic to a fault, frequently getting lost in its own period trappings (when Cliff goes to feed his dog, we see every single label in his cabinet). But I think it’s smarter than mere hokey sentimentality. For as idyllic as Tinseltown may seem, we’re keenly aware at all times that it’s a paradise built on a shaky foundation.

That’s where Sharon Tate comes in. Now, I’ve seen reports from other people who felt that she was unnecessary to the film; worse, that she was “boring,” or “one dimensional”. Not so; she is the very heart and soul of this movie. To me, the very best scene in the film concerns Sharon Tate taking an afternoon for herself, and going to see The Wrecking Crew, which she stars in. She slips in unannounced (after sweetly introducing herself to the teller), and spends the next hour or so drinking in the audience’s reaction; an audience that doesn’t know she’s there.

Sharon Tate becomes real again through this movie. We’re reminded that this was a living, breathing person, with hopes and dreams of the future, who loved her friends and her husband (the shadow of Roman Polanski hangs over this movie, as a nonspecific – but very deliberate – reminder of the ugliness beneath the sheen). The same can’t be said of the Manson “family”, who are remembered as they deserve to be; cartoon loonies, high on their own false sense of self-importance and enlightenment.

There are many ways to read what Tarantino’s trying to say with this movie. There’s a lot of subtext going on, some of it clear – there’s a highly effective sequence where Rick’s fake audition for a Western TV show begins to mirror Cliff’s real-life escapade at the Manson compound – and some of it less so. There’s a lot that can be read, for instance, in the scene where Cliff refuses a blowjob from an underage girl, especially in our post-Weinstein world.

For myself, though, I’m just glad we finally have a Tarantino film that invites thought, seems to actually contain layers, and doesn’t vastly overstay its welcome. It’s been a while, old friend. Thanks for ditching the Aussie accent.

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How Vietnamese Became More Universal/ Tiếng việt đã trở nên phổ cập hơn như thế nào?

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Photo Source: alotrip.com

English Version:

Throughout the history of Vietnam, the Vietnamese language has been through many transformations and adaptations from different cultures. Nations like China and France’s past presence in Vietnam all played their roles in shaping the language. Those cultures helped to add many features to the original Vietnamese and made it evolve over time, and from that process, it became such a unique language. As a Vietnamese speaker, I think the language has also become more universal and more colloquial to the Vietnamese people.

Vietnamese is the official language of almost 100 million people living in Vietnam, connected to more than 160 spoken languages (Alves 104), Vietnamese is a branch of the Austroasiatic language family, which is mostly found in Southeast Asia. The language is diverse across the span of the S-shaped country with different local accents and dialects. Vietnamese has a cultural and transformative history. In a way, the modern language that we use nowadays is the product of different cultures, but it is still very much Vietnamese.

The history of the Vietnamese language started a long time ago and it has gone through many transformations to become a modern language. Since the beginning of the history of Vietnam, right after the foundation of the first government, the vulnerably young nation became an intriguing target for China and its expansion scheme. The Chinese’s effort to colonize Vietnam casted an imposing presence over the country; this started the two thousand years of Chinese domination (Alves 109). Vietnamese land became a battleground throughout this long era. During this period, all documents were written in chữ Nho (classical Chinese script), while Vietnamese was the spoken language. Since the two forms are not the same language, people from lower classes did not feel the need to know the written language; and even if they did, they could not afford the education, whereas the higher classes could afford it. Moreover, the written language was considered more intricate and more exclusive to the higher classes, while at the time, the living standard was low, and poverty was very common among the people. The implication of only wealthy people affording education shows the inefficiency of having different written and spoken languages at the same time.

Education was still a luxury for the Vietnamese during the time when the Chinese government enforced an assimilation policy (chính sách đồng hoá) on Vietnamese people. At this time, China put in an extra effort to try to convert the Vietnamese to Chinese both culturally and biologically by letting Chinese into Vietnam. They wanted to turn Vietnam into a part of China (Hays). Although the lack of education was an issue, in order to keep the traditions and culture alive and to resist the Chinese influence, Vietnamese people added characters to the Chinese characters and used Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary (Vietnamese words that have Chinese origin) to create a different script called chữ Nôm. This was to prevent Chinese domination and the Chinese understanding of Vietnamese. This script was strongly enforced by Quang Trung, an emperor of the Lê dynasty. He enhanced the importance of chữ Nôm by using the script officially for royal documents and national examinations. He viewed the script as a symbol of the independence of Vietnam as a separate nation, free from Chinese domination (Huu).

One of the most influential figures that popularized chữ Nôm to the people was Nguyễn Du, a great poet from the 18th century. His epic 3,254-verse poem called The Tale of Kieu (Truyện Kiều) is considered the most significant work of the Vietnamese literature and one of the most famous works using chữ Nôm script. Despite the popularity of chữ Nôm, the two scripts coexisted at the same time until the early 20st century. Only people who knew how to read and write, usually teachers, scholars, or ones that had to associate with the Royals, were placed higher in the scale of societal standards. Over the course of history, there were other figures other than Nguyễn Du that made an impact on the Vietnamese written language.

The influencers were not only from Vietnam but also were from out of the country. In the 17th century, some of the first Frenchmen came to Vietnam wanting to spread evangelism. One of them was Alexandre de Rhodes, a Catholic preacher, who wrote the first Vietnamese Catechism. He learned Vietnamese in order to serve his evangelical work. Later, he introduced the Latin alphabet as a replacement for the two scripts chữ Nho and chữ Nôm, but still expressed the sounds based on the spoken language (Pham). Thus, through the dramatic transformation of the written language, he developed the contemporary Vietnamese language. Personally, I think this change of using the Latin alphabet made the language less complicated to write, and therefore, much more efficient.

At the beginning of the 18th century, the French started expanding in Southeast Asia and Vietnam became a colonized country by the mid-century. The French language came into the picture. It did not alter the existing Vietnamese, but the frequency of French usage around Vietnamese people did make a change. A good amount of French words was added into the informal spoken language (Love 5). Gradually, they became borrowed words and ended up a part of the Vietnamese vocabulary. A lot of people do not even know that some of the most common Vietnamese words are from French words. For example, the word (butter) is from the word beurre, ga (station) is from gare, or vang (wine) is from vin. Before becoming a French learner, I did not know all of that. Therefore, I would say the more I learn French the more Vietnamese makes sense to me.

After French colonization, from the second half of the 20th century, the Vietnamese language kept evolving. In the 21st century, you can clearly see the differences between how the young generations of Vietnamese people speak the language and how the generations from previous centuries spoke it. The young generations are using a more modernized, and universalized version of Vietnamese with more casual words, phrases and slangs, even. There is a huge difference if you compared the contemporary version of Vietnamese to the intricate and scholarly version from the past. It is not as advanced and scholarly like it used to be. English speakers could understand what I mean by comparing the English that they are using right now to the English that the great Shakespeare used.

The Vietnamese language has a great number of speakers from all over the world, especially in Cambodia, the U.S., Australia, and Czech Republic. Therefore, there are various reasons why a lot of non-native speakers would like to learn the language. For example, they may have a relative who is a native speaker, or they may want to connect better to the Vietnamese community around them. However, most people find it hard to learn Vietnamese because they think the pronunciation is difficult. Those who are from western nations struggle especially because they do not have some sounds that Vietnamese does. In my experience, I have never heard any foreigner who could pronounce Vietnamese words perfectly, and I do think Vietnamese has unique sounds and tones that only native speakers can make. However, I do not think imperfections in pronunciation should be discouraging or be the only barrier that prevents foreigners from learning Vietnamese. It might not be the most practical language to know, nor should people feel required to be fluent in it. On the other hand, I think every language is worth a try. As a language learner, I would say learning a language is a very effective way to expand your mind. It also helps you have a different perspective to look at the world, based on the culture of the language you are speaking. This is especially true for a language that has a rich background like Vietnamese. Knowing it is the best way for anyone to get closer to the Vietnamese culture and people. The world is more connected than it has ever been before, so the resources that could help people learn Vietnamese are highly accessible. This is also the case for Vietnamese cultural products such as music, movies, and documentaries.

The colorful culture of the Vietnamese language was not achieved overnight. It took a lot of changes for it to become so unique. Personally, I think those changes were for a better future of this language. It is a good thing that Vietnamese has become not just more accessible, but also more colloquial for the people.

Vietnamese Translation:

7th Paragraph:

Vào đầu thế kỉ thứ 18, thực dân Pháp bắt đầu xâm chiếm các nước ở khu vực Đông Nam Á, Việt Nam đã sớm trở thành thuộc địa của họ từ trước khi nửa thế kỉ đã trôi qua. Ngôn ngữ Pháp đã bắt đầu có ảnh hưởng lên tiếng Việt, nó không hoàn toàn thay đổi ngôn ngữ Việt vốn có, nhưng cường độ tiếng Pháp được sử dụng trong khoảng thời gian đó cũng đã gây nên những tác động nhất định. Một lượng nhiều những từ ngữ Pháp đã được sử dụng vào trong văn nói Việt. Qua thời gian, những từ mượn này đã chính thức trở thành một phần của ngôn ngữ Việt. Rất nhiều người Việt không biết rằng những từ phổ biến và thông dụng nhất trong tiếng Việt lại là những từ mượn được từ tiếng Pháp, ví dụ, chữ “bơ” (bơ sữa) có nguồn gốc từ chữ beurre, chữ “ga” (nhà ga) là từ chữ gare mà ra, hoặc rượu vang có nguồn gốc từ chữ vin. Bản thân tôi trước khi học tiếng Pháp cũng không biết điều này. Vậy nên, sau khi bắt đầu học tiếng Pháp, tôi lại có thêm một góc nhìn khác biệt hơn về tiếng mẹ đẻ của mình.

Final Two Paragraphs:

Số lượng người nói tiếng Việt trên khắp năm châu là rất nhiều, đặc biệt là ở Campuchia, Hoa Kỳ, Úc và Cộng hoà Séc. Vì vậy, có rất nhiều người nước ngoài mong muốn được học tiếng Việt vì nhiều nguyên nhân khác nhau: có thể vì họ có họ hàng là người Việt, hoặc có thể họ muốn được kết nối tốt hơn với cộng đồng người Việt sống xung quanh họ. Tuy nhiên, đa số người ngoại quốc cảm thấy tiếng Việt là một ngôn ngữ rất khó để học vì cách phát âm phức tạp của nó. Đặc biệt là đối với những người từ các nước phương Tây, đa số ngôn ngữ của họ có hệ thống phát âm hoàn toàn khác biệt, không giống như của tiếng Việt. Chưa một người ngoại quốc nào có thể phát âm tiếng Việt chuẩn theo quan sát của tôi, và tôi cũng công nhận tiếng Việt có những âm sắc và những cách phát âm đặc biệt mà chỉ có người bản xứ có thể nói được. Mặc dù vậy, tôi không nghĩ những khuyết điểm trong cách phát âm của người ngoại quốc nên trở thành một rào cản khiến họ nản lòng khi học tiếng Việt. Nó có thể không phải là một ngôn ngữ có tính ứng dụng cao hay ai cũng nên thành thạo. Mặt khác, tôi nghĩ tất cả các ngôn ngữ đều đáng được thử qua ít nhất một lần. Là một người học ngoại ngữ, tôi nghĩ việc học bất cứ ngôn ngữ nào đều có thể giúp người học mở mang đầu óc. Nó giúp họ có một góc nhìn khác về thế giới và xã hội, dựa vào văn hoá tập quán của đất nước mà họ đang học tiếng. Đặc biệt, đối với một ngôn ngữ có bề dày văn hoá và lịch sử như tiếng Việt, hiểu biết được nó là cách tốt nhất để giúp bất cứ ai đến gần hơn với văn hoá và con người Việt Nam. Ngày nay, thế giới đã trở nên hiện đại hơn bao giờ hết, vì vậy những tài liệu tham khảo giúp mọi người học tiếng Việt cũng đã trở nên dễ dàng để tiếp cận hơn. Tương tự, những văn hoá phẩm về Việt Nam như âm nhạc, phim hoặc các nguồn tham khảo khác cũng vậy.

Sự phong phú trong văn hoá của tiếng Việt không trở nên thành hình chỉ qua một đêm. Rất nhiều thay đổi và ảnh hưởng đã góp phần cho tiếng Việt trở thành một ngôn ngữ độc đáo và đặc sắc như bây giờ. Theo quan điểm của tôi, những thay đổi đó đã giúp phát triển tiếng Việt theo những chiều hướng tốt hơn.

BY TIÊN LÊ

Works Cited:

Alves, Mark. “Linguistic Research on the Origins of the Vietnamese Language: An Overview.” Journal of Vietnamese Studies, vol. 1, no. 1-2, 2006, pp. 104–130. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/vs.2006.1.1-2.104.

Hays, Jeffrey. “EARLY CHINESE RULE OF VIETNAM (111 B.C. TO A.D. 938).” Facts and Details, factsanddetails.com/southeast-asia/Vietnam/sub5_9a/entry-3332.html.

Huu, Vinh. “Vóc Lại u Nu Giống Trái Tràm.” Vua Quang Trung Với Việc Dùng Chữ Nôm, www.baobinhdinh.com.vn/568/2003/6/4663/.

Love, Susan. “French and Tây Bồi in Vietnam: A study of language policy, practice and perceptions.” Adelaide Research & Scholarship, Aug. 2000, https://digital.library.adelaide.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/2440/101230/1/02whole.pdf.

Pham, Khoi. “Street Cred: Alexandre De Rhodes and the Birth of Chữ Quốc Ngữ.”Saigoneer, https://saigoneer.com/saigon-people/9498-street-cred-alexandre-de-rhodes-and-the-birth-of-ch%E1%BB%AF-qu%E1%BB%91c-ng%E1%BB%AF.

Letter to the Editor

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In December of 2015, I wrote an opinion article for the Quindecim entitled “In the wake of the Paris attacks, Islam must be held accountable.” In the aftermath of the tragedy, I leaned into the narrative that these terrorist attacks were fundamentally linked with religious doctrine. I was willfully ignorant by citing false information and statistics cherry-picked in order to support my argument. In doing so, I helped spread a hateful, racist ideology that has caused pain and destruction to so many people. This ideology can be summed up as a Western superiority complex. It reasons that our (white) ideas are the best and the others (people of color) must assimilate. This distinction between “us” and “them” is a critical component to the plague of white nationalism. Looking back on the words I wrote, I’m filled with deep shame and profound regret. I wish that instead of reading alt-right thinkpieces, I had listened to the words of Muslim students and faculty in our community. I want to offer my most sincere apologies to anyone who read that article or was affected by it in any way. I promise to use my privilege and voice to help support people whose faiths and cultural backgrounds are persecuted in our white supremacist society.

 

By Cameron Yudelson

Dying to Revive, Journey Just Starts. 走过涅槃重生,人生才始启程。

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Zhang performs her first solo recital, “Dying to Revive”, accompanied by pianist Andrew Stuart. Picture Credit: Julian Fernandez

English Version:

On the night of April 3, 2019, with endless applause and cheers, I closed my first solo recital ever in my life with great success. “Dying to Revive.” It was an unforgettable night.

This is a recital about “death and life.” I died over and over again in the songs, and I sang my own eulogy. After my dance in this dark hell, I started a journey of revival. As I finished singing the last lyrics from Night of the Sixth Magnitude Star, “After being reborn, I’ll shine on tomorrow,” I finally reached new life. Just as shown on the poster, the first row of black and white photos means “death,” and in the second row there’s a movement from holding nothing to receiving life.

After the concert, when I saw my friends all waiting so long in line to hug me and send me good wishes, I experienced a happiness and sense of achievement that I’d never felt before. I appreciate my voice teacher Jennifer Blades, piano accompanist Andrew Stewart, and my friend Elysia Hempel for helping me make this recital possible, and I’m also so thankful for all of my friends who came to support me. The time you spend on roses is what makes roses so special.

I also want to appreciate all of my hard work behind the stage. I couldn’t believe I learned three new pieces in this half semester, sang them all, and gave a great performance. I think I deserve that night and all of the wishes and applause. But I know there’s still a long way to go.

One of my friends told me, “You are shining when chasing your dream step by step.”

Being prepared and not nervous is the key to everything, and I felt this so strongly on that night. It felt so good for everything to be under control and turn out better than expected. After the performance, a friend said that I have magic, that my songs have a serene power which draws people into their aura. I heard that one of my friends cried halfway through the concert, and many other people told me that my songs made them want to cry at some point. Another friend said that he sank into real darkness, but saw a shimmering light. I never knew that my voice could be that powerful. Aside from all of my surprise, I was very glad that the audience could feel my emotions from my songs.

As a performer, honestly I could not feel the aura and enjoy myself during the performance because I need to think about how to deal with the next place in which I often make mistakes and how to pronounce the lyrics better and control my breath. But when I watched the video the day after, surprisingly, I felt like I was watching another person’s performance, and I became a member of the audience, and I was moved by that singer’s songs. That was the best feeling that from the audience’s perspective; I could feel what I wanted to show, and I felt so moved.

From my conversations with my audience members afterward, surprisingly, all of them said that their favorite song was the Chinese song, Da Yu (Big Fish). Something I wondered about was that most of them didn’t understand the lyrics, but still loved it. Then I asked my professor and she said, “Because this language and this song is part of you.” Suddenly, a conversation that I had with a musician came to my mind. I asked him which was more important: melody or lyrics. I used to think melody was more important, but he said that it’s lyrics. Although the audience may not understand the lyrics, as performers, the goal is to show what we’ve understood. Melody is a tool to help present the lyrics. When I first heard his words, I was surprised but I didn’t understand much. Finally I proved what he said exactly in my own performance.

Zhang and Hempel perform their duet, accompanied by pianist Andrew Stuart, during Zang’s recital. Picture Credit: Julian Fernandez

I die over and over again in the songs, but in real life, my journey has just started.

Coincidently, last Friday was the Tomb Sweeping Festival in China. Showing “death and life” in this concert gave me more thoughts about my own life. Because I’m still alive, I can do the things I love, and make everything possible.

Soon, I’ll start to volunteer at a hospice. At first, I was kind of afraid of this work, but gradually I realized that since I’m so into “life” and “death”, by doing this special job, I might grow and have a deeper understanding of life and death, though the job will be heavy.

Recently, I read a quote from people who work in this field: “You matter because you are you. You matter to the last moment of your life, and we will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully, but to live until you die.” Till the last breath, life is always an important existence. And this job gives people strength to live. I recalled a sentence, “We should not spend too much time mourning the death. Instead, we should spend more strength to confront our lives. As long as we exist, Death has not arrived; when Death arrives, we are not existing anymore.” As long as there’s still breath, it is the biggest affront to death. Although we are all going to compromise in the end.

I remember that after my grandfather passed away, in front of the crematory’s fire door. My mother said to me that no matter how hard life is and how much you feel that you can’t continue, you can come to see the real farewell. Then you will feel that all the things you thought you cannot endure are not a big deal anymore. It’s everyone’s last station, a little box.

A few days ago I read a sentence: “People die three times in their lives. The first time is biological death; the second time is one’s funeral, which is the sociological death; the third time is being forgotten by the last person who remembered them, and that is the real death.” Thinking this way, my grandfather has still not left me, and people who I’m going to serve will also not disappear, because of being remembered by their loved ones.

After the journey from death to life, I’m just starting on my road.

BY YUWAN ZHANG

TRANSLATED WITH THE HELP OF JULIAN FERNANDEZ

Chinese Version:

Poster for Zhang’s recital created by herself.

 

2019年4月3日晚,伴随着掌声四起,我成功地谢幕了人生中第一场个人演唱会。“涅槃重生”,如此难忘的一个夜晚。

这是一场关于“生与死”的演唱会。我在歌曲中一次又一次地死去,唱着给自己的悼词。随着在地狱黑暗里的舞蹈,我开启了重生之旅。在唱完六等星之夜里的“重新转生后,相信明天一定会熠熠生辉”,我终于走向新生。正如海报上,第一排的黑白代表着死亡,第二排从一无所有,到获得生命。

演唱会后,看着大家排着队来拥抱我时,感受到了前所未有的欣喜。感恩我的老师Jennifer Blades,钢琴家Andrew Stewart和我的朋友Elysia Hempel的帮助让这场演出变成可能,也感谢所有到场支持的朋友们。正是你们花在玫瑰身上的时间,让玫瑰如此珍贵。

也很感谢一直努力的自己。这学期新接触三首曲目,依旧成功地呈现了这一晚精彩的汇演。我的努力和付出值得所有的掌声和祝福,但明白还有很长的路要走。

朋友对我说,“一步一步追寻梦想的你,是闪闪发光的”。

胸有成竹,在舞台上的胜券在握,以及结果的超乎预期。整场演出最强烈的感受是,“准备充分和保持冷静是成功的关键”。演出后有朋友说,我的歌能有让人安静,并且沉浸在我营造的意境里的力量,那是我的魔法。听说一名朋友在演唱会不到一半时就已泪流满面,也有很多人说,我的歌让他们有时候特别想哭。有人也告诉我,他在我的歌里能沉浸在真正的黑暗里,以及看到黑暗里的光芒。从未曾想象过自己的歌声能有这样的力量;惊讶之余,也很开心听众能从歌里感受到我的情感。

作为歌者,在演出时其实无法完全投入享受意境,因为需要思考下一个易错点该如何渡过,以及歌词该如何更好地发音等等。但第二天当我看自己的录像时,竟奇迹般感觉像在看另一个人的表演;而自己变成了一个观众,被那位歌者的歌曲感动着。能从观众的角度感受到我想传达的,并且打动自己,是最好的结果。

在观众们的反馈中发现,所有的人都千篇一律最喜欢我的中文歌《大鱼》。出乎意料般,因为他们都并不理解歌词,却依旧喜欢这首歌。之后问老师,她说,“Because this language and this song is part of you.”想起之前和一位音乐家的谈话。我问他,曲调和歌词,哪一个更重要。我曾经认为曲调更加重要,但他的回答是歌词更重要。即使听众无法理解歌词,但若表演者能够通过自己的理解和表演来将歌词的情感传达给听众,这就是目标;而曲调是一种辅助表达歌词的方法。当时对他的这番言论挺新奇,这次终于在自己的歌里得到印证。

我在歌曲中一次又一次地死去,但在真正的人生里,我才始启程。

巧合一般,上周五正值中国清明节,这场演唱会通过“生与死”的主题,也让我对自己的生命也有了更多的思考。因为我还活着,才可以做喜欢的事,让一切变成可能。

不久后会在一家临终服务中心进行志愿者服务。最开始对这项服务有些畏惧,但是慢慢想开后,觉得既然对“生”和“死”很感兴趣,通过这份特殊的工作,也许能让我成长,对生死有更深的理解,即使如此沉重。

最近读到一段关于这个职业的从业者的自白。“You matter because you are you. You matter to the last moment of your life, and we will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully, but to live until you die.  ” 即使在生命的最后一刻,也是重要的存在。而这份职业就是给予人们活着的勇气。想起一段话,“不应用太多的时间去凭吊死神,而应用更多的勇气去直面人生。因为我们存在时死神不会降临,等到死神光临时,我们又不复存在了。” 只要一息尚存,就是对死亡最大的蔑视,即使我们终将走向妥协.

想起爷爷去世后,火葬场的炉门前。妈妈对我说,当你觉得生活多么困难,无法继续走下去时,就来火葬场看一看生离死别吧。你就会觉得一切放得下的,放不下的,都不是事了。这都是每个人最后的归属,一个小盒子。

前几天读过一段话,“人的一生有三次死亡:第一次是生物学死亡, 第二次是葬礼,被宣告社会性死亡,第三次便是被最后一个记得其存在的人遗忘,那时才是真正的死亡”。这样想着,爷爷也并没有离我远去;我即将服务的人们也因为被思念着,而不会消逝。

走过涅槃重生,人生才始启程。

BY YUWAN ZHANG

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