Final Learning Portfolio Entry: Two Years of IB English

What have I learned…

I have learnt how to structure my thoughts, and moreover how to analyse texts in a formal, sophisticated fasion.

What will I miss…

I will miss our classroom discussions, conversations, and the fun we had with literature.

What will I always remember…

The friends I’ve made in English and how our relationships have grown.

What text, literary or non-literary collection of works, stood out the most, and why…

The most standout text was ABC, as it both related to me and was an interesting comic.

Onion Article: “CAS is the Key to a Balanced Lifestyle” says the IB While Promoting their Programme

Onion Article: “CAS is the Key to a Balanced Lifestyle” says the IB While Promoting their Programme

[An IB student who is upset about missing out on her fifth hour of backstage work for the high school play]
Every *IB Diploma Programme* student is highly familiar with their savior from a boring and unbalanced lifestyle— CAS, also known as creativity, activity, and service. Described as “devious” and “scarily ingenious” by various students, CAS effectively promotes and fosters a healthy, balanced lifestyle among students, providing a refreshing break from the mountain of assignments and daily tests. In fact, recent survey results show that a whopping 90% of students believe that CAS has greatly improved their lives by motivating them to stay up until 4am studying as they now spend their time productively instead of sleeping.

CAS also replaces the typical mundane hobbies like sleeping and having a social life with much more meaningful activities. When asked how they spent their Friday night, one student said: “I did five hours of community service, 7 hours of working out in the gym, and all my homework. I even managed to get half an hour of sleep!” This student proceeded to suffer from a lack of caffeine and had to be rushed to the ER after collapsing in the middle of the crowded hallway.

Another student discusses his love of fantasy novels, and the numerous book clubs that he belonged to prior to beginning the IB Diploma Programme: “Yes, I loved reading whatever newest novel that Brandon Sanderson came out with, and I even had a really close club that I would meet with every week to discuss it with. But I’m way more balanced now; I attend HFH, MUN, the student newspaper, the tutoring centre, the soccer team, and the rugby team for an hour every day after school! After which I complete my numerous IB assignments, of course…I don’t even have time to think about the way I used to spend my spare time!”

The IB promotes CAS as the counterpart to the rigorous aspects of their course. However, some parents have become concerned about the way their kids are expected to spend their free time, especially during COVID: “Pre-COVID, my son barely had any time at home. I saw him early in the morning before school, but never at night. I used to have to leave food out for him before I went to bed…why does that have to change because he’s quarantining at home?” The IBO alerted schools following this complaint that they are currently working on a viable alternative for parents globally.

Listicle from “The Book of Life”

Love, a tangible, yet confusing subject for most. The self help articles found on the “Book of Life” website may help us grasp a deeper understanding of romantic relationships.

  1. Why Do I Feel So Lonely? – A provocative exploration of historical evolution in communities. This article provides an interpretation of how religion, culture, and society may contribute to our feelings of isolation, loneliness. It is very relevant to my life and the lives of this generation.
  2. What is Love? –  This article uses greek philosophical literature to support its analysis. The article is very applicable, using many stories, concepts, emotions that common individuals can relate to. For me writing is very thought provoking, compelling me to relate to my own experience with love.
  3. A Short History of Love – The article explores love decades, centuries, even millennia ago. It was very interesting to read how love developed from love, to crush, infatuation. It is as if love was evolving, where the passage of time reveals the complexity, and nuanced elements of romance.
  4. How We Choose a Partner – This is a short article, but very intelligent, insightful. The article creates a new perspective towards love. It was very interesting for me how the author related elements of psychoanalysis, juxtaposing the reality and theoretical understandings of love.
  5. Why Flirting Matters – This article appealed to me in its use of images. The attached pictures were authentic. They reflect snapshots of characters in candid, spontaneous moments of time. The characters are vivid, with their individuality reflected through the variety of color, background, context.
  6. Reasons to Remain Single – This article’s author employs a cold, logical persona, which was interesting to me. The author explores love from a rational perspective, weighing love from multiple standpoints with reasoning and judgement.
  7. Being Honest on a Date – This article connects to my personal experiences with dating. The author explores the duality between our instinct to please, appeal to others and the goal of revealing our true selves to the potential partner.
  8. How to Seduce with Confidence – This is a short article, but it’s call to action is clear, affirmative. I especially liked this article as it encourages readers towards self love, reliance on our own charisma and confidence.
  9. A Guide to Breaking Up – This article appealed to me in a visual way. The various use of italics, paragraph breaks, and images strengthen the exploration of Break Ups. It was an interesting read for sure.

 

Mandarin Oriental – Morgan Freeman “I’m a Fan”

Mandarin Oriental payed many famous actors, celebrities to film commercials for Mandarin Oriental Hotel, where Morgan Freeman was one of them. Famous actor, renowned narrator, Freeman’s charisma attracts potential customers of Mandarin Oriental.

Freeman’s most narration is most gripping because of the way he delivers language. Firstly, Freeman always speaks slowly. “I like St Judes Children Hospital…” He ensures every word is clearly heard, emphasising key words, stressing “children”, “like”. Freeman’s voice resembles the archetypal old mentor figure, where he speaks in a pensive, slow voice. He’s words are meaningful, inspiring, which attracts the audience’s sense of trust, gripping their attention and anticipating his each and every word. Secondly, Freeman’s uses facial expressions to strengthen his “old mentor” character. Freeman always smiles deeply after each line. His smile is understanding, almost sneaky, as if he’s implying something, where the audience understands the deep meaning behind Freeman’s words. Freeman grips the readers in his words, where he creates tension, inspires thought with every expression and shift in tone. Lastly, Freeman’s voice is known for his deep, distinctive voice. Freeman’s tone is reassuring and authoritative. Furthermore, his voice is iconic, audience listening to his voice directly connect his voice to other popular films and media. Freeman’s voice directly evokes ethos from the audience, attracting attention and engagement.

The video’s are also shot to enhance in a beautiful, stylistic way that attracts snobbish appeal towards the Mandarin Oriental. The camera is framed in a way that enhances the cleanliness of the hotel. Every scene depicts perfect couches, beds, counters. The hotel is portrayed as elitist quality, with every aspect of service, furniture, food as flawless. Additionally, the color scheme is consistently, blue, clear, with many shots of the city, sky. This is enhanced by the saturation of natural lighting. Together, the urban palette of colors and light create an atmosphere of perfection, conveying the elite nature of the Mandarin Oriental. Audiences understand that hotel is top tier and quality, which engages potential wealthier hotel customers. At the same time, minimalistic, light music is played in the background. The instruments are very subtle, with prudent, ostinatos of piano music filling in gaps between dialogue. This use of sound retains the coherent style of this film. Where the clean, elite atmosphere of the hotel persists throughout the entire film. The sound is cinematic, adhering to the cinematic style of the film. Audience are further convinced of the elitist snobbish appeal of the Mandarin Oriental.

 

 

Reddit Hates China

I found many comments on Reddit with hate or racism towards China

Regardless, keep in mind that this is the minority of Reddit. Most people on Reddit are not racists. I’ve seen many pro-china comments and people rebutting this minority.

I think the main reason for the sudden outburst in hate towards China is from the Coronavirus outbreak. As number of cases exponentially increase in Western countries, it’s easy for people to find somebody to hate, and it is so easy to blame China because on banned social platforms such as Reddit, there are no Chinese people who are willing to rebut.

Undoubtedly, there is a significant cultural difference between China and Western cultures, but this cultural gap cannot be properly bridged if there is a lack in communication. Most Chinese people cannot access many social media sites such as twitter, instagram, facebook… So it is highly difficult to establish a proper representation of Chinese people in the Western World.

They fear what they don’t understand” – Batman Begins

I believe all racism can be absolved through proper communication and exposure. Hopefully the Coronavirus pandemic will end soon and the world will be filled with peace and love. <3

My Jinji

I recently came across the song “My Jinji” by Sunset Rollercoaster.

This is a song released in 2016 by Sunset Rollercoaster, an indie alt rock band from Taiwan.

In my opinion, this is one of the best songs ever written.

It is the perfect retro song.

It’s production style mirrors that of Asian 80s alt rock bands such as Beyond, Grasshopper… The way the main vocals are dimmed really accentuates the colourful instruments. The harmony is very dissonant, giving the music a kind of pensiveness, a sense of lost, which strengthens the existing nostalgia.

The lyrics are highly romantic.

“My jinji don’t you cry

This world is out of time

of time out of mind”

The ambiguous lyrics leave the listeners to form their personal interpretations.

In the modern world we are often out of time, constantly rushing from place to place with no time for love. This beautiful chorus from “My Jinji” perfectly encapsulates this inevitable sadness that accompanies love in the modern world.

 

The Problem with Apu – Purpose and Techniques

“The Problem with Apu” is a documentary by Indian comedian/filmmaker Hari Kondabolu published in 2017. This documentary focuses on social issues such as racism towards Indians in American popular culture and media. Kondabolu’s major purpose of this documentary is to expose the prominence of this issue and convince the audience that “Apu” is “bad”, and he does this through a variety of film techniques such as animation, editing, humour and more.

Kondabolu’s frequent use of animation is used to thoroughly emphasize a point. A good example is 48:21, where Kondabolu declares that although you love your racist grandpa, it is time for him to die and shows Simpson’s grandpa turned into a coffin. The obvious death symbolism of the coffin strengthens the creator’s statement as it shows he’s declaration both verbally and visually. He’s frequent animation enhances statements, but also lightens the tone and engages the audience. Bright colours, vibrant shapes and symbols are good ways to keep the viewer’s attention.

The creator “The problem with Apu” uses several editing techniques such as background music/sound effects, transitions, setting changes, camera angles to add emphasis to his arguments or transition between points. At 48:33, when Kondabolu fights the people responsible for Apu, the background is changed, intense music is played and he is shown heroically fighting those white men. This use of editing mostly engages the audience. At the same time, expresses the “frustration” Kondabolu has with those white men who propagated racism by inventing Apu.

Kondabolu constantly uses “humour” to spice up his documentary. At 48:28, Kondabolu says that the Simpson’s were only funny during season 1-10. He’s many “funny jokes” throughout the commentary engages the audience, lightening the mood so that people don’t think the documentary is too “preachy” or serious. He’s “humour” allows his points to be more memorable and enjoyable.