Bounded to Poverty Documentary

Beijing was changing at a speed nobody could imagine, and with its economic successes, brought the house prices through the roof. Soaring house rental prices poses a security problem to the citizens of China, especially to those living under the clutches of the Hukou system. Since the Hukou system separates citizens into two groups; rural and urban, people from the rural areas do not have the legal right to become an urban citizen once they arrive in urban society as well as not having access to the same social insurances. Rural migrants are always at an unfair advantage, and with their lack of money, have no way that they can afford the housing in megacities like Beijing. Without people making enough money to support their wellbeing and rights, our country will forever be in a state of decline. Without quality education, decent health care or even opportunities to step out of the dual categorical pit, it decreases what an individual can do with their life, and thus limiting to what he or she can contribute to the world. As a superpower of the world, we need the advancements and the production rates to be as high as possible. If we’re using the Hukou system and the housing prices to limit that, is doing neither side justice. China’s own citizens are unhappy, and the fundamental reason is the unreasonably high housing prices and the unfair Hukou System that will only be detrimental to China’s economy and social wellbeing in the long run.

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CER science polymer project

Prototype Stretch test Slowpoke test Fast poke test Resistance Durability Stickiness
1 Very stretchy Pokes through Cannot poke through Medium Texture improves over time Low
2 stretchy Cannot poke through Cannot poke through Strong Liquid leaks over time Medium
3 Very stretchy Pokes through Pokes through Weak Turns into piqued overtime Sticky
4 Low stretch Cannot poke through Cannot poke through Very strong Stays in its state Low
5 Very stretchy Cannot poke through Cannot poke through Strong Stays in its state Low

Our 5th prototype was by far the best working prototype. This is because it not only met all of our goal for the final polymer but it was even better since it turned out to be biodegradable. Prototype 5’s texture is soft and smooth, also it’s very stretchy so it doesn’t snap too quickly. While doing the slime test, we found out that the 5th prototype’s resistance was very strong however once we stretch it slowly, then it can be very stretchy. Also, it’s biodegradable. This came as a surprise, however, it only made our final prototype even better. Once the polymer starts to grow mold, this means that the mold growing on the polymer breaks down dead substances and deposits it to the ecosystem. Mold also plays a massive role in material bio gradation. Enabling decay and rot necessary in all ecosystems. The enzymes and mycotoxins can also inhibit the growth of other molds and microorganisms. Molds do not use photosynthesis to receive energy. Prototype 5’s texture plays a bug role in stress relief. It can come as a given, but people like things that look pleasing. For example, a yellow round shaped ball is more pleasing than a deformed brownish purple ball. This proves that our polymer’s smooth and well-shaped form is pleasing to the eyes which makes it easier to play with. The polymer not being sticky is also important. Research from our own sticky test shows that students WILL get bothers when things get stuck to their hands and they are unable to get it off. Therefore, by using corn starch, the polymer became well-composed to each other and does not stick with anything except itself. This relates to how we put the polymer into a glass jar. The polymer had to be kept in an airtight space however, it also has to be in an eco-friendly environment. We found out that it molds either way so the glass jar is where we decided to keep it. Our polymer is not only strong but its texture and feeling is soothing to the mind and body. In conclusion, prototype 5 was our best working polymer.

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Design Reflection

My most significant success was making the bunny work as we wanted to work. At first, Luisa and I tried to make the bunny move its ears around when someone touches the sensor. However, we thought of something better and replaced the touch sensor with a light sensor, and whenever a child pulls on the carrot, the sensor would touch the white surface of the table then move its ears.

Skills that a developed during the design process was learning how to code. I remember coding as something only very skilled people can do, and it’s challenging to a beginner like myself. But with Arduino, the process became much more comfortable, and I think I can code by myself now.

If I were to do the project again, one thing I would change is the size of the bunny. This was also a comment I got from one of my classmates. This is because when the children come into the classroom, most of the other animals were huge, therefore, noticing them more. Our bunny was too small and was barely noticed until they walk to where it was standing. It would be great if the rabbit were resized to match the other animal’s size.

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This multimedia is an Instagram post that Melinda; an assault victim and main character from the book Speak.  The background I used for this Instagram is Ganzai Roses. They represent beauty and grace through hard times. Ganzai roses are found in harsh environments. They have to break through the dry ground and the blazing hot sun. These flowers are rare because not a lot of them can survive through these climates. However, once they are full grown, they turn into the most beautiful things ever known to people. This represents well with Melinda’s life as a victim of an assault. Once it felt like everything was lost and no one wanted to be around her, she fought through everyone’s hate, and understatements then proved to herself and others what she had gone through. Just like Ganzai roses’, Melinda bloomed to be true to herself, which is something many people fail to do.


Original photo

Canva: Canva is a graphic-design tool website, founded in 2012. It uses a drag-and-drop format and provides access to over a million photographs, graphics, and fonts. It is used by non-designers as well as professionals. The tools can be used for both web and print media design and graphics.

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Symbolism in Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

There are many valuable aspects of life that may mean a lot to a person. In this case, friendship is one of the most important relationships a person can have. Human interaction is something necessary to survive, having a friend is essential to the well-being of everyone. However, not all relationships with people can be considered a friendship because some may take advantage of others to gain something for themselves. Whereas other friendships may last years and remain strong between the two people, but if there is no trust then there is a possibility of losing a friend. On the other hand, positive friendships still exist and are the ones to cherish and appreciate the most. The novel Speak written by Laurie Halse Anderson is based on a fourteen-year-old girl named Melinda, who was sexually assaulted at a summer party. She called the police for help but since none of her friends knew what occurred, they assumed she called to get them all in trouble. This made her an outcast and she spent her ninth-grade year by herself. The theme of friendship is evident in the novel Speak as it impacts the protagonist Melinda. This is seen through Melinda ‘s friendship with Rachel, Mr Freeman, and Heather. Rachel and Melinda have been friends for many years however, the incident that happened at the party drastically changed their friendship. They were very close but after the “incident”, she eventually wasn’t able to even look into her eyes. Laurie Halse Anderson symbolises many of the items in her book, including trees, lips and mouth, mirrors, closets. Each representing an important state of mind of the main character.

One of the most difficult things assault victims deal with is coming to terms with the fact that the assault actually occurred; often, they construct within themselves in a thick darkness (similar to a closet) to provide shelter from the memories of their trauma. At the beginning of the novel, Anderson builds on this idea of hiding in a dark place inside oneself:  “I get out of bed and take down the mirror. I put it in the back of my closet, facing the wall” (17).  Melinda is afraid that seeing herself will trigger memories of her assault, so she hides the mirror in a completely dark place, symbolising the beginning of her plunge into the inner darkness of keeping a heavy secret. To express the fact that inside of them is a closet filled with dark secrets, many assault victims turn to the arts (music, painting, drawing, sculpting, poetry, etc.), all of which allow one to free their mind and show what they’re feeling in a non-destructive way. Although Melinda does eventually learn to use the arts as a coping method, at the beginning of the novel, as she creates a comfortable place for herself in an abandoned janitor’s closet at school, she literally uses the arts to escape from herself: “The first thing to go is the mirror. It is screwed to the wall, so I cover it with a poster of Maya Angelou” (Anderson, 50). The fact that the mirror is screwed to the wall symbolises that Melinda cannot escape from herself and all that darkness welling up inside of her. More specially, the tree. Trees are one of the most prevalent symbols in the novel, appearing in almost every chapter of the book. Trees represent life and growth for Melinda. In the beginning of the novel, Melinda is assigned to draw trees for a yearlong art project. She struggles to draw realistic trees, frustrated that she “can’t bring it to life.” This represents her depression and struggle. Later, a scene where men cut away a dead branch from a tree in order to save the rest of the tree symbolises the danger Melinda’s faces in letting her pain overtake every aspect of her life. As Melinda begins to heal, her tree drawings become richer and more detailed, symbolising her own growth. She can cover it up, though, and the fact that it is covered by Maya Angelou, one of the greatest American writers, symbolises all the potential that Melinda has. It is showing what she could become, even though she does not realise it, instead of who she is. It is also a symbol of how she will, in the future, use her art to help her talk about what she went through.

No matter what methods one tries to cope with their trauma, though, none of them will help unless they have followed through with the most important recovery step of all: telling someone. It is often easy for one to get trapped in a “closet” within themselves: a dark, comfortable place where they can keep their secret and suffer in silence. Melinda frequently hides in the supply closet at her school. This symbolizes her need to hide from the world so she doesn’t have to speak to anyone. It also represents her isolation, not just how she isolates herself but also that she feels her friends have isolated her. The closet is a secret place, reflecting the secret of the rape. Later, when her rapist has been exposed, she stops hiding in the closet, showing that she doesn’t need to hide the rape anymore. While this place may soothe them temporarily, one cannot hide a secret forever. When Melinda does end up telling someone, though, she is called a liar and disregarded. Then, she comes face to face with her assailant and, through an unusual set of events, the truth is finally revealed and Melinda’s healing process can finally begin:  “Somebody slams into my chest and knocks me back into my closet. The light flicks on and the door closes. I am trapped with Andy Evans … Someone peels off and runs for help” (193-195). The fact that the light flicks on means that Melinda is finally ready to conquer her darkness. And she does just that. Using force, and eventually a broken piece of glass, she fights off her attacker’s attempts to attack her again. Anderson’s use of the closet is an excellent choice to symbolize Melinda’s personal, mental turmoil. Closets are so often associated with darkness and monsters which is what Melinda’s inner self became: a dark abyss, filled with monsters. The burden of carrying this inside of her really changed her. And Melinda’s story is far from unique: 10.5% of all high school girls in the United States have been sexually assaulted. It is not just some crazy scenario made up for a dramatic story; it is something that could happen anytime, anywhere, to anyone, which is what makes Speak such an important novel for young people to read. It offers an extremely valuable lesson to any assault victim: The only way to cope with it… is to speak. She wins. The fact that she fights him off in the closet, her personal hiding place not only physically but mentally (from the secret itself), emphasizes the fact that she is running head on into that personal darkness and tackling those inner demons.

In many cases, victims of assault have a very hard time dealing with what has happened. Some even tries to forget completely. Though, for the people who do want to forget what has happened makes it mentally and physically hard for themselves of realise how. Every second they keep quite to themselves is an immense pain for them. “I look for shapes in my face. Could I put a face in my tree, like a dryad from Greek mythology? Two muddy-circle eyes under black-dash eyebrows, piggy-nose nostrils, and a chewed-up horror of a mouth. Definitely not a dryad face. I can’t stop biting my lips. It looks like my mouth belongs to someone else, someone I don’t even know. I get out of bed and take down the mirror. I put it in the back of my closet, facing the wall.” (6) This was a brief description of Melinda in her perspective. At the beginning of Speak, Melinda despises mirrors. She thinks her reflection looks ugly in her bedroom mirror, and covers up the mirror in her closet with a poster of Maya Angelou. In fact, whenever Melinda sees her reflection in the novel, she notices her flaws and is disgusted by herself. This hatred of her own image symbolizes Melinda’s deeper self-loathing. She believes, on some level, that it was her fault that IT (Andy Evans) assaulted her, and until she comes to understand that the assault was not her fault, she will always hate herself for what she perceives as her own weakness and stupidity. In the end, however, Melinda uses a mirror as a weapon, shattering the one in her closet in order to threaten Andy as he attempts to rape her. She has, metaphorically at least, regained control over her own image.

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Bounded to Poverty

The concept of poverty can grasp onto many of the different styles of life in China. Poverty is the main factor of the ginormous gap between the rich and the poor. China makes it excruciatingly challenging for people who were born into a poor family to climb up the steep latter to the other side. The Hukou system has separated the quality of life for Chinese citizens. Since the Hukou system separated citizens from where they live into two groups; the rural and urban, people from the rural areas do not have the legal right to become an urban citizen once they arrive that urban land as well as social insurances. There will be opposing citizens who are against this belief, such as the government or the urban citizens who have a high status would most likely oppose to this proposal because the present Hukou system is working in their favour.

Elisabeth McDougall once said “people are never satisfied with what they have, and try to make themselves look better by making others miserable.” This quote paints a picture of what the Hukou system is for the government. The Hukou system separates citizens into two groups depending on where in China they are situated. Since urban citizens consist of people with a higher place in society, they have an easier way of getting a quality education because it is provided by the government. However, in the rural areas, there are a lot of things that the government doesn’t provide to them, one of them being education. In an interview (Choi, Choi) with a Chinese local citizen, she was born in the rural areas of Chinese but studies vigorously to get into a quality school in Beijing. That put her in a place where she could get temporal urban citizenship. This was a chance for her to get a job in Beijing which can possibly get her a permanent Chinese passport and change her Hukou reregistration to urban. Changing her citizenship was harder than she thought it would be. She said that it was harder than becoming a citizen of another country. It was clear that China has a serious problem with people who want to change citizenships (Economist, 2012) It’s obvious why the Hukou system exists, however, it too biased for people to just ignore. “Rural migrants’ earnings disadvantages are largely attributable to occupational segregation based on workers’ Hukou status, and the pattern of occupational segregation varies by employment sector.” (HKUST, 2018) People from rural areas do not have the legal right to become an urban citizen once they arrive that urban land. It’s quite ironic to think that there are Migrant workers can be granted an urban Hukou as long as they fulfil certain criteria. This includes the level of educational qualification, technical expertise, and entrepreneurship. The process is more complicated in larger cities where the labour market is highly competitive. Hukou reforms such as these ultimately aim to reduce the inequities between different types of Hukou holders and improve labour mobility in the economy. If the Hukou system is reformed, then many of the people who were living in rural areas can have more freedom in choosing where they want to be relocated. They would also have given the same privileges that urban citizens do. At the moment, what the Chinese government is doing is making the rural citizens second class citizens depending on where they live and not what they do. If that law is reformed, then there will be a decrease in the poverty gap as well as the economic reforms are going to get better.

For the improvement of the social insurance system to play a greater role in poverty prevention, there will have to be a lot of time and attention given to this topic. People from rural areas don’t receive the same social insurances as urban people. From an interview (Choi, 2019) with my ayi; she told me that she and her husband (both works in Beijing, but they are from rural areas) don’t get the social welfare as Beijing people did. She once told me that her husband got a broken wrist while working at a construction site, however, once they got to the hospital, the attendance immediately asked them if they are holding a non-agricultural Hukou status. Once the hospital found out they did not have their name registered on the Hukou system, they turned a blind eye on them, and they had to pay for the treatment, full pay which made from months in debt. “Welfare in China is linked to the Hukou system. Those holding non-agricultural Hukou status have access to a number of programs provided by the government, such as healthcare, employment, retirement pensions, housing, and education. Meanwhile, rural residents are generally expected to provide for themselves.” (Wikipedia, 2018) Rural and urban people do not have the same privileged medical insurance. For the social insurance to play a greater role, the government has to change the hospital’s policies so that there will be ease to the burden that causes a patient or family. If the Hukou system is reformed, then many of the people who were living in rural areas can have more freedom in choosing where they want to be relocated. They would also have given the same privileges that urban citizens do. At the moment, what the Chinese government is doing is making the rural citizens second class citizens depending on where they live and not what they do. these implementation errors partly result from the discretionary nature of the Dibao application process- receiving subsidies is often contingent on knowledge of the program and consulting with its providers, who in turn must also be willing and proactive in seeking out impoverished prospective applicants and assisting them in the application process. Such behaviour on the state’s part has led to speculation that the Dibao and “other forms of discretionary government attention” have been employed to mitigate dissent and any public threat to the local government which could lead to unrest. These threats may include negative performance evaluations of local officials or state agents implementing the Dibao program, lowering their chances of promotion and possibly leading to reprimands. There is a high level of government discretion in implementing the Dibao. If that law is reformed, then there will be a decrease in the poverty gap as well as the economic reforms are only going to get better.

China’s government has announced a lofty goal of expanding urban Hukou or residency permits to 100 million migrant workers by 2020 as part of its plan to rebalance its economy. (Macdonald, 2018) However, the government needs to deliver a whole range of supporting policies to achieve this goal and it may not have the financing to provide them. Therefore, no one is really against the reformation of the Hukou system, however, there are hundreds of barriers and challenging aftermaths to follow if this plan goes through. But as I already pointed out in previous arguments; migrant workers living and working away from their hometown face discrimination in Labour Markets, are cut off from home loans, and face challenges in getting a good education for their children. With the migrant worker population numbering an estimated 277 million, according to China Labor Bulletin, China is facing a huge task to both quell potential unrest and to provide social services to this huge demographic group. But the Chinese government has lofty goals to remedy this situation, with the State Council, China’s most senior policymaking department, recently committing to the goal laid out by Premier Li Keqiang of giving urban residency to 100 million migrant workers by 2020. This is where the problem kicks in seriously “The central government’s efforts to contain migration has been a major factor in the rapid development of the Chinese economy. Their tight check on migration into urban areas has helped prevent the emergence of a number of problems faced by many other developing countries.” (Wikipedia, 2018) This is true; China had jumped through many hurdles that other country couldn’t with some changes made in their migration progress. However, this tight check on the migration is completely unnecessary if there still are people who are passing through the urban borders without even a passport! This is quite common and it is estimated that most of the slums that are created along the city are created by rural citizens that couldn’t go back home without a passport or something to prove where they are from. In conclusion, if the Hukou migration process was easier to go through and the government won’t have to worry about economic disadvantages later on in the future. However, this does not mean that it shouldn’t go without a background check and the bases of migration. Without the bases of a background check and other leisure, there will be further challenges the Chinese government will have to confront.


We all know that we are not living in a perfect world and plans don’t always go as they are planned. However, at least with some challenges out of the way. The Chinese government can rest assured that they had strengthened a weakness that other countries are still struggling to do. With the Hukou system renewed and reformed, poverty in China will decrease dramatically and offer many opportunities for rural citizens. With the help of the government, rural citizens can be assured that they will not live below the urban people. They will not be treated as second class citizens.

Work Cited

Lu, Rachel (31 July 2014). “China Is Ending Its ‘Apartheid.’ Here’s Why No One Is Happy About It”Foreign Policy. Retrieved 14 August 2018.

Hasmath, Reza; MacDonald, Andrew (2018). “Beyond Special Privileges: The Discretionary Treatment of Ethnic Minorities in China’s Welfare System”Journal of Social Policy.

The economist (Aug 11th 2012) “Social security with Chinese characteristics”. Pensions.

Zachary, Keck (June 3, 2013) “Poverty and Old Age in China”

Zhuang, PingHui (April 22, 2017) “In China, Rural Rich get richer, poor get poorer”

Pierre Pradier (June 22, 2018) “The Chinese Hukou System Explained”

Chong Koh Ping (December 7, 2018) “China’s Hukou System Creating Barriers to Real Urbanization”

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The Pingyao Experience

I learnt a lot of things about my friends and we played two player games, such as Pokemon and Mario Cart. I also realised that once outside of Beijing. Nothing really feels like China. I did’t see a single city or a building that looked as tall and well developed like the buildings in Beijing. However, there was a lot of farms and orchards. It was cool to see that everything outside of Beijing seemed so different. there was also a large field of solar panels and on top of each small house, there was a solar panel. I learnt that even people out of Beijing use solar panels to use electricity. By the end of the trip, I learnt that other places have their own history, completely different than Beijing. They have their own culture and beliefs. During the PingYao challenge, our team got tired in the middle and asked a driver on the electric buses to take us to all the places on the map. It was very easy and adventurous. The driver also offered to give up a tour around PingYao and we found out that outside the wall, there are cracks on the wall. Those cracks are made because of canons that were shot at the wall during a war. The funniest moment of the trip was when Emily got creeped out because of the dancing shirtless men during the play. It was hilarious because I was enjoying it. The most challenging aspects of the trip was getting lost ALL the time. I was born with the worst sense of direction. Even though we walked to the meeting point at least 3 times during the trip, I still got lost. I wasn’t able to deal with that challenge since I always followed the guild in front of me. The most memorable moment was the food tour, because all the street food in PingYao was unique in their own way and a lot of them were delicious. For the next trip, I would recommend to never try the fruits in the fruit stand. They are NOT worth the money.

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Polymer Project Journal 4

All original pictures

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Polymer Project Journal Entry 3

Work Cited:

Canva: Canva is a graphic-design tool website, founded in 2012. It uses a drag-and-drop format and provides access to over a million photographs, graphics, and fonts. It is used by non-designers as well as professionals. The tools can be used for both web and print media design and graphics.

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The Polymer Project Journal Entry 2

Samuel Liew “Skeptic” August 1, 2018

Christian Nordqvist “Medical News Today” 28 November 2017

Unknown “Oxford Learning” May 28 2018

Unknown “American Psychology Association” June 25 2018


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