Tuesday, 28 September 2010


I am going to try my best to not sound like a broken record, but I am sure we have all heard about the dangers of living life through the internet.

You never realise how real it is until it happens to you.

On Sunday someone decided to act like a 12-year-old and create a fake Facebook profile of my novia. On said profile they stole pictures, (some that I took and were in) put up nasty captions, and wrote an "About me" composed almost entirely of slanderous lyrics from rap songs. (I think this calls for a really long moment of silence.)


Really? Until this incident I was completely unaware that college students would have the time or desire to take part in such petty and childish events. Who makes fake profiles anymore? That was so Myspace.

On a more serious note, however, it got me to thinking--seriously thinking about the repercussions of this newly adopted cyber lifestyle. If you are not careful about who you accept as your friend on Facebook, or who you make enemies with, your face could end up on the wrong web page with the wrong connotation. Even if the pictures on your Facebook are completely appropriate, who's to say that someone won't get on your page, save them, and use them for something that is not so appropriate. Next thing you know you're at a job interview and your potential boss brings out a print screen image of the website that says you're a liar and a thief and what can you say, pictures are worth a thousand words.

Remember, maturity is a choice. No matter how old we get, there will always be someone who is conniving and tasteless and you just never know what can trigger someone to turn on you. One minute you are good and the next minute you hear that they are tweeting about you on Twitter. It may not seem like much of an issue, but students aren't the only ones on Facebook and Twitter and you can't be too sure that your information is really as private as you think it is.

It is a crazy world we live in. Face-to-face confrontations may be a thing of the past when reputations can be much more damaged through the computer. And once it goes on the internet it doesn't go away.

Be careful.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010


Yesterday I turned 20.

I foresee it taking me quite some time to adjust to no longer being 19 since I always seem to forget my age. Nonetheless, I am now no longer a teenager. (Yes! That means teenage statistics no longer apply.)

I figured I could take some time to write about what I've learned in this past year, and then I thought about my blog. (The one titled Life Lessons.) I realize that I have expressed myself quite appropriately through this blog and I am grateful to Trinidad for being the driving force behind its creation. Granted, I thought I would have had more to say each month, but I am not discrediting the fact that at least I have been able to maintain it for a year, and hopefully many more to come.

There are many things I have chosen not to write about, and others that I should but haven't gotten around to doing. Like the fact that I spent my weekend in Gatorland with Brother unlucky, my cousin and some friends to "celebrate my birthday." It always takes Brother unlucky to give me a good story.

Here goes.

As you know from my sentiments, any weekend I get away from Borelando is a good weekend.

On Thursday I sent my friend Tal a happy birthday message, to which she responded, "I wish you could be here to celebrate." Light bulb. So I made it happen. By Friday afternoon, my cousin and I were off to the Ville. That night, as part of her birthday celebrations we went to a party at a Hookah Bar thrown by the one and only Fingaz, brother unlucky's roommate and partner in crime. I know, I know, my new year's resolution. Remember, I gave myself room for special occasions. I still hate partying. But what can I say, peer pressure!

Saturday was a better day. It was more "Meisha." We all went to a spring just outside of the Ville and had an amazing time. A carefree local retiree named Bob decided to turn his acres of property into a fun-filled park--free of charge. He set up picnic tables, slides, a zip-line, a volleyball court and some ropes, most of them leading to the wide river in his backyard.

The ropes were by far the craziest part. (That's crazy in a good way.) There were some large trees right on the bank of the river from which about 5 ropes were hanging--some higher up and more insane than others. The ropes were tied in a huge knot at the bottom and a series of smaller knots where your hands would go if you're sitting on the big one. Bob also set up some wood planks in the tree to stand on and ultimately swing from after grabbing the rope and holding tightly.

If you know me at all you know I was a mermaid in my past life. I absolutely love the water and anything that has to do with it. However, I have to admit that upon first glance, I was extremely terrified of swinging from the rope into the water. Perhaps it was from all the "warnings" I received just before I went that made me feel like maybe I should give it a second thought. Eventually, though, I snapped back into tomboy mode and let go of all my fears. And can I tell you, it was amazing! The free-fall after letting go of the rope was definitely the best part.

As for the slides, they were okay. I only went on one of them, one time, considering the fact that after emulating Tarzan with the ropes, the thrill of a slide was just not as exciting. Brother unlucky and everyone else did the slide a few more times than I did and some of them came back with battle scars from hitting the water in all the wrong ways.

Other than this random nature adventure, there wasn't much more to the weekend. When it was time to go, I was quite distraught to see the gas needle in my car below E, aside from already not wanting to leave. How could that be when I did not drive Fabian all weekend and I left him with a little over a 3/4 tank. Did someone steal my gas? Did I have a leak?

I had no idea.

All I knew was that it was about to ruin my weekend. As if gas prices are not high enough already, who wants to know that the money spent on gas--premium at that--was in vain.

Fortunately, it wasn't. Turns out my gas needle was just being retarded at the moment.

What a relief.

As for my actual birthday, I got a pretty self-made cake from an unexpected friend and a spur of the moment dinner reservation from my novia at an Asian restaurant nearby. ( Asian is only my favourite kind of food!)

That on top of the millions of messages, facebook posts, status dedications and phone calls were all I needed to feel loved and appreciated.

I am forever grateful.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Closer to My Dreams

My first college article was published last week Sunday in my University's Newspaper.

Prior to seeing my name underneath the headline "Chindia Rising" I was extremely anxious. I even insisted on keeping the prospect of getting my article published to myself, just to avoid possible negativity from people who wish me bad things behind closed doors.

Ultimately, it was published and at first glance I was very excited. Imagine my surprise when I found that my little article was able to get a full page, accompanied by a cute little picture of Mr. China and Mr. India at the bottom shaking hands. It was on the second page of the paper and there was even a little teaser at the top of the front page.

Granted, it is only the school paper but we all have to start somewhere.

After reading the article--about China and India becoming the future world powers--I was overwhelmed with mixed feelings. Part of me still had that initial excitement, and part of me was disappointed. The first thing I noted was a typo at the end that was not there in my original article. It wasn't until after I left school that I had the time to actually compare the other information in the published version with mine. That is when it all went downhill.

I have to say that I am in no way proud of my article. (And my News writing class the following day that talked about what not to do was no help.) Oddly enough, my high school articles were much better. Perhaps it was the rigid and no-nonsense demeanor of my Journalism teacher, perhaps it was the fact that my grade was on the line, or perhaps I was just extremely nervous and anxious, but my high school articles were much more "me."

That class was like our newsroom, and because of how quickly I caught on, I became an editor by the second semester. I was so used to editing my own article and the articles of others that I assumed I was going to get a chance to do it again. I submitted it long before deadline and waited patiently for the editor to tell me "this is what u need to change."

That never happened. Instead, things were changed and I was never notified.

I was just as shocked to see the final article as anyone else. It wasn't until this incident, though, that I truly realised the path I want to take, and the influence others can have on my article. (No one likes to be misquoted right?) I blame no one but myself.--I should have mastered the first draft before sending it in. And now whenever someone googles my name, the article is one of the first things to show.

In the end, I just know that simply being a reporter is not my ultimate dream--though I still enjoy it and will probably continue writing for the school paper. But the idea that someone else will get that last look, and last say, in my article with my byline is not for me. Editing is definitely where my heart is at.

But we live and we learn, right?

Friday, 3 September 2010

Multi-tasking in Digi-Nation

I wrote an "essay" for my Intro to Mass Media class after watching a show on Frontline called "Digital Nation." I don't want to exhaust the topic of technology, but I thought I would share it nonetheless.


The concept of multi-tasking has become more and more important as technologies have become more and more advanced. It used to be that we had no choice but to sit in class and listen—or at least pretend to listen—to the teacher as he or she lectured. We never had to choose between going on Facebook or going on Webcourses; and as the book notes, phone mobility has given us the opportunity to communicate anywhere and anytime in a more “spur-of-the-moment” fashion. The technological convergence that has created digital media and social networking websites has successfully managed to distract much of today’s students, who seemingly erroneously believe that they have become skilful multi-taskers.

Chances are we probably all fall into the category of being digitally charged, as I like to call it. Many of us are so dependent on technology, simply because it has become a part of the mundane, that we could not function without our cell phones, computers, and High-Definition televisions. With so many mediums to choose from, and so many opportunities for distraction, I have never had a problem admitting that I have a short attention span and am a terrible multi-tasker; and I do not believe that doing it more often will make me any better at it. I think the Stanford research is a good starting point for proving that we are not as positively adapted as we think we are, and I agree. It has to be detrimental to our mental capacity to be doing so many different things at once. I, for one, have a terrible memory, and am glad I finally have a reasonable explanation for it.

Still, I believe that a few years from now humans will evolve and multi-tasking will become the norm. In a sense, I view it as a form of “survival of the fittest” as humans are continuously changing and have little problems adjusting to the new and exciting—as  USC professor Henry Jenkins says, we have already adapted to and survived the information overload. The changes we have made in the past three decades have been tremendous, and it is no wonder MIT teachers who are 25 years into their profession have to revamp the entire structure of their courses in order to feed the thirsty minds of their easily distracted students. If I were a teacher, I don’t think I would allow cellular phones or computers in my classroom, as barbaric as that may sound. From the eyes of a student, I can confidently say that everyone with a computer in class has at least two windows, or tabs, open in addition to Microsoft Word where they take down notes they do not comprehend. It’s no doubt that we now type faster than we write, but that’s nothing a little practice couldn’t fix. It may prove an arduous task, but I’d hope to refresh the memory of my students who probably by then have completely forgotten how to write. Furthermore, the more a student uses a computer the shorter their attention spans get; and who wants to teach someone who can’t pay attention for longer than two minutes.

I have often written and discussed the influence of digital media with many of my peers. It is dually noted that some readily accept the new technologies meanwhile others—who probably were not as exposed to the latest toys as children—hesitate a little. The video stated that technology is “changing what it means to be human” and I cannot say I completely disagree. What makes a human is the ability to physically interact and verbally communicate with other humans; it’s what separates us from the rest of the earth’s species. Granted, we have not severed the lines of communication over the years, however our real life conversational skills have been compromised at the expense of social networking and instant messaging.

In the midst of all the madness, I managed to catch myself as I unknowingly and unwillingly slipped into the worlds of Blackberry Messenger and Facebook and decided that enough was enough. I wanted to stick to using them only when necessary—or when I have no other obligations. I cannot stand the thought of having 600 Facebook friends and three in real life, or attending a social event where everyone’s nose is in their smart phone. For what it is worth, we can all just stay home and text. I am all about interpersonal communication that does not take place through a medium. I spent the better half of my childhood in a country where most of my free time was spent running around outside with neighbourhood friends, although I had the luxury of owning a Sega Genesis. I’ve seen both extremes—too much technology and too little—and because of it I feel like I am quite grounded. I have a little of what my parents experienced growing up and a little of what is now the “digital era.” This inevitably makes me vastly different and much more exposed than my parents’ generation, although I am not an enthusiastic adapter of the next best thing.

Still, had it not been for the place I call home, I think I would have been sucked into the cyber world just as badly and as quickly as the next guy.