just a ramble. and lessons learnt.

Oops oops oops well hello again and yes I’m alive. x) I haven’t been writing here much :( and I don’t like that too. But oh trust me I have been writing. Just that those blocks of text aren’t destined to be here and get sucked away somewhere and by the time I come back the flashing line awaiting my paragraph at the start of the page just seems (to me, at least) (and no, I’m not mad) to go mua…ha…ha…ha…ha… Not cool.

I’ve been doing an internship at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs! Can’t say much here but it’s been an interesting experience to say the least, even if my insights are not the most conventional or expected from an internship such as this. Hm.

Moving on to something I can actually talk about- I had my Stanford interview last Tuesday! My interviewer was a pretty coolass lady ahaha, and perhaps an embodiment (or at least a reflection) of US culture. I’m not going to overgeneralise; I’ll leave the stories to speak for themselves.

“In Stanford there’s really a very liberal mindset, and your notions of what is acceptable and not, or what is considered within societal norms, is completely thrown outta the window. Your world goes from this *hands a feet apart* to this! *hands so far apart an ocean could fit in-between two feet apart*. Once, I was studying in the 24 hour library shielding from 2 degrees weather outdoors. Suddenly I saw 5 guys running in the nude around the campus. They trooped into the library and started talking to all the girls, including one with her boyfriend. When he got mad they laughed and went away… to the next library. Oh and it was 2am, 3am then.”

But… it’s not a typical experience! Is that what you’re thinking? Mmm fair enough!! We may never experience it, but there’ll be equally oddball (I mean it nicely) things going on and that snapshot is just a reflection of the attitudes that people there hold dear, which establishes a potential for anything – just anything – to happen. Maybe that’s why Stanford has such a strong culture of entrepreneurship ahaha. You may not agree, but I personally feel that you can’t exactly separate behaviours and ideas. Repression of behaviours inevitably leads to repression of ideas. “Think in the box and regurgitate memorised info when doing exams; when living your life, fit within social norms. But ooh right, please don’t do that when it comes to innovation! Be creative when it comes to THAT (implicitly= only that)!” I’m not sure how well it works. But for what it’s worth, Singapore and China, which both have rather similar education systems, haven’t seem to be able to produce very many ground-breaking entrepreneurs… Conversely, the US (especially Stanford) is quite the hotbed of innovation and wonderful ideas.

By embracing rather than rejecting quirkiness, and constantly testing, wildly exceeding the boundaries of norm, tolerance is fostered, and evergreen logic of John Stuart Mill’s ‘Harm Principle’ is reinforced. Students learn that offence (which you can choose to ignore) does not constitute harm (which is done to you forcefully).

And that you can never react to Offence with Harm. Because you chose to be offended, when you could have simply chosen not to. Free will and its responsibilities. Charlie Hebdo, anyone? :(

More people can really benefit from this kind of education, unorthodox and un-university-ish as it seems. Who ever thought that a parallel can be drawn between naked men years ago and scratches on a paper now? But it can.


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