Thoughts of a Non-American Citizen

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

My opinion doesn't matter but here it is anyway.

The US presidential debate took place yesterday and of course, now everyone's talking about it. I decided to write about this because I thought it'd be interesting to speak from my point of view. Yes, me. A non-American citizen living on the other side of the world. 

Okay, here's a disclaimer: I'm a high school student. I don't have a degree, I've never experienced living in the United States, therefore I don't have a crazy amount of knowledge on this. I've never actually cared too much about my own country's politics, let alone another's. But what's been happening in the US, I find, is unlike any other political affair I've seen. Topped off with the debate, I've chosen to share my perspective on both candidates. 

Why should you listen to me? Well, I'm not saying you should.

With this year's presidential run in the US, people from all over the world are pitching in, shouting opinions on what's best, all for the sake of one country. One. But of course, it's because America is a great nation. Despite its faults, it still holds a lot of power and influence. So when it comes to who's going to rule as President, I'm not surprised that things are blown way out of proportion. It's not because of the country or the government, or the voters or campaigns. No, I think the enormous attention this year's election is getting from the media is drew in by a candidate. A person. And that person is Donald Trump.


I'm not going to start describing him Regina George-style, but I gotta say, this man has made the presidential run feel very 2016. He's a controversy! When he announced he's running for President, people reacted to it as they would to a scandal. Many strongly disagree, but many also support him.

The most obvious thing is this: Millennials hate him. Perhaps not all, but I'd say most. As a generation rising in a time of diversity, we clearly don't like this man we saw on TV who was saying things about Mexicans and Muslims. Not to mention his commentaries on women. The truth is he's loud and reckless, and it's easy to not like him. (I heard that in the length of 26 minutes, he interrupted Hillary a total of 22 times. Yikes.) But Trump's troublesome behaviour have actually earned him something we hand to him unknowingly: Media attention.

His motto is to "Make America Great Again". And yes, Mr. Trump here obviously has some sets of "greatness" up his sleeve, with his empires and hotels and all things alike. But I just hope that in the midst of chasing greatness in a candidate, America doesn't lose sight of what's actually more important: goodness.

To me, it still blows my mind how this guy would have the audacity to run for President. I couldn't imagine how America would thrive if he were to win. All I could visualise is Trump meeting the Prime Minister of Japan someday and slightly offending them with subtle remarks on Asians. Perhaps not, but you get what I mean. He can be a host of a comedy show, it might even be hilarious, but the President of the United States? Maybe a bit of a stretch.


Alright, so Hillary Clinton is technically the only choice we have aside from the Miss Universe millionaire with a fake tan, yes? Of course, as a girl who regularly looks up to influential women in the world, Hillary would be the candidate I prefer. 

I feel what she has to say about the problems America's facing, knowing she's a mother who has a heart for the nation. Her experience in the White House also serves as a huge advantage, whereas Trump is more of just "ah yes I have a billion dollars, let's build a wall." She's gone to many countries, and worked alongside a number of former Presidents, even married to one. So yeah, this lady seems like the woman with the most knowledge on America.

Now before we go all #ImWithHer, there have been plenty of people disagreeing with what she has to say. Most seem to be calling her a "liar". I don't really know what facts stand behind their comments, so I don't have much say in this also. But hey, aren't all politicians liars? I thought all presidents lie at some point. 

However, I still think people need to look past the euphoria of having their "first female president". While I love and stand with the whole "girls run the world" movement that comes with the flow of Hilary's supporters, there comes a time where people should stop worshipping her just because her role in politics have become an answer to your prayers. Like a Messiah for feminists.

So the ~*girl power*~ thing is great, but you have to pay attention to what the candidate can really offer you, and how she's going to contribute for the wellbeing of your country.


All in all, I think history would be made if, and I obviously hope, Hillary wins. The votes are looking quite promising for her but there is still plenty of time left for Trump to catch up. Other than that, I simply pray that a country as powerful as America can fall into the right hands. Whoever wins the round, I hope they bring a good and lasting change for the nation. And still, all by the people, and for the people.

So what did you think of this post? Which candidate do you personally prefer?
Do share and leave a comment as I'd totally love to hear your thoughts!

I'll write again soon.

Living with Perfectionism

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

perfectionism (n.)
refusal to accept any standard short of perfection

The other day, my friends and I attended a local university's education expo. The university made a visit to my school a few days before, and yesterday, because my friends and I decided to try and apply, we submitted all our admission requirements and did an interview for them to determine whether or not we were qualified for receiving the scholarships we desired.

At one point in the interview, the lady asked,
"So Joanne, according to you, what do you think are your strengths and weaknesses?"
I kind of saw this coming, and had already set up an answer in the back of my head. I began answering and at one point I mentioned the one most noticeable personality trait I have, that other people already know about me as well.
"Well, I'm a perfectionist..."
The words tasted like vinegar as I uttered it a little quicker than I'd expected. The thing is that I've never actually admitted it so straightforwardly. But it's true, it's been a part of who I am perhaps since middle school. The title of this post might make it sound like a disease or personality disorder, but that's not the case. 

In psychology, perfectionism is defined as a trait characterised by a person's strive for flawlessness. We set immensely high standards and expectations, both upon ourselves and other people. I remember times where I would get a 99 on a test (a bloody 99, which in retrospect, is actually not too horrible) and I would cry. My friends would look at me and think God, is she really this hard on herself?

When you're a perfectionist, failures (or flaws, even) are strictly unacceptable. Many people validate the mistakes they make and simply call it "being human", but for perfectionists, this is almost never the case. When you fail, you think it's because the circumstances went against you, or it must be something you lack. You start questioning everything, and your mind turns to the familiar cycle of "I should've done that instead", "This is all wrong", or "It shouldn't have happened that way". You never feel truly satisfied.

But why?

Well hey, perfectionists, why are we like this? Why do we drown ourselves in phases of "not good enough"s and refuse to give ourselves room for imperfections? Why do we choose to give ourselves that pressure of getting it right

Perfectionism is a sprout that could come from many different seeds. The most common ones are low self-esteem and the toxic habit of overthinking. We don't feel like we are worth the chance of starting over or correcting flaws. 

Comparison also comes into play. We fall into the trap of comparing our level 2 to another person's level 15, failing to take into account that they must've had many trials and errors themselves before reaching their success. But we don't think like that. We grow obsessive, thinking "oh God why can't I do this one simple thing that that person seems to have easily mastered?"

Why do we continue? It's time to step out of that shell. We want absolute perfection, but we have to learn to acknowledge limitations. To live life as it is, not through what you expect out of it, or what you want to achieve. You try your best, and with whatever the outcome, you learn to think that yes, this is enough.

Now I use my perfectionism as fuel to drive me forward. It gives a good set of motivation, because high standards pull out more productivity. It's true that for perfectionists, working is easy. We work at our own pace, and are equipped with a lot of determination. So perhaps, perfectionism is a shrub that we don't need to cut down, but we just need to prune. Life isn't always perfect, and we will not (never) be perfect, but wouldn't it feel great to actually embrace it, instead of constantly trying otherwise?

I'll write again soon.

The Shrine of Remembrance | Melbourne, Australia

Monday, September 12, 2016

Oh I miss Melbourne.

Last June, I visited this gorgeous city with my mom and stayed for about 10 days there. We kind of had to soak up all the winter air but nonetheless, it was still a memorable trip. The thing about winter in Australia is not only does it happen midyear, but it's also not that cold compared to perhaps the US or the European countries. I loved feeling the light breeze while still enjoying a beautiful blue sky over my head. It was a gorgeous experience! I had a lovely time exploring Melbourne in many different ways, especially knowing that it was most likely going to be my home starting on next year until about the 4 years after. Heh. But anyway!

While I was there, I managed to take an afternoon to arrange a meet-up with my good friend Shannon. We only had about a couple of hours so we decided to go to the Shrine of Remembrance! And let me tell you about (no- let me show you) how stunning it was.

The hilarious part was after we took the tram from the city to the Shrine of Remembrance, we had to walk up the hill through the grass and past these beautiful beautiful trees. And we ended up taking countless photos there. By the trees. Before we even reached the landmark. Haha we couldn't help it, this area was so serene and gorgeous and it was so different from home that we loved every inch of it. So yes, we loved walking up the hill and in the distance, we finally saw it.

That's how majestic and big the Shrine was. Featuring my height for scale.
This stunning, iconic Shrine. Where do we begin? Once we walked up the steps, the scenery was stunning. You get a glimpse of the crowded area of the city of Melbourne in the distance, but also right above you, and all around you, just stunning blue skies. It was quite a sunny day, but still windy and just perfect.

I didn't wear any special outfit, I basically had a green coat on with a pair of black jeans, black boots, and my go-to tiny Kate Spade backpack. I didn't want to dress up that much because I wanted to let the day be more beautiful than I was. --> My new motto.

The Shrine of Remembrance was built to pay tribute to the lives lost during the First World War. There were about 19,000 Victorians killed during their time serving in the war, but their bodies didn't get to be buried near their homes. So the Shrine was built not only to preserve the memories of the men and women who served in the Great War (1914-1918), but to give the families a chance to grieve and the communities a chance to honour the sacrifices made. Hence, the Shrine was built as the "national war memorial of Victoria".

One of the chambers inside the Shrine. 

We climbed to the top of the Shrine before leaving and got the most stunning view of the Melbourne city skyline. It got a little more cloudy but once you witness it in person, it would literally take your breath away. Especially since the landmark was located quite outside of the city and away from the crowd, but the view from the top of the Shrine gives you a look past the Yarra river and into the busy CBD of Melbourne. (Fun fact: They also designed the city so that the Shrine would constantly be visible if you walk along Swanston Street, which is one of the main streets in the city, in order to pay tribute to the historical structure.)

I didn't take as many pictures when I was inside and seeing all the exhibits but I can tell you it was definitely fascinating. There were displays of old journals and pocket watches and uniforms that belonged to the soldiers, not to mention the wall that showed seemingly endless rows of medals. It was breathtaking. If you are ever in Melbourne, you totally have to visit. The entry is free of charge, and it's definitely something worth seeing.

Have you ever been to Melbourne? What places did you get to visit? Do leave a comment below and I'd love to hear from you guys :) Stay tuned for more.

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