Good to be Back

It has been around two months, since I finished my summer Civic Engagement Internship and postponed posting the blogs. These two months of hiatus have been plain: school work is still picking up, and I am still adapting to my new identity as a college sophomore. Now when I actually restart writing and sharing my inner world with y’all, I begin to realize how enjoyable this activity actually is.

Back in time, when I had nothing to do, I usually immersed myself in the world of games, particular the ones with enough puzzle-solving and actions. But much like drinking soda, playing games still does not fulfill my “mental void” after moments of excitement fading away. During these two months, I have been searching for “things” that I can do to let myself regain the consciousness about my own lives, but indeed, nothing is more powerful than writing, because it is mine. In my world of writing, I do not have to conform to either the sugar level or the shape of the game controllers; I choose the kinds of landscapes that I want, and ways the landscapes to be painted. My thoughts are getting solidified into words, and then they will not be blown away by winds.

But do not be mistaken, I am not saying that writing blogs are an easy task. Besides the trivial, but rather real pain from sitting and typing for hours and minutes, I need to constantly challenge myself mentally. I will need to challenge my thoughts, my actions, my sense of humor…… I will need to ask myself, “can my mind go just a little further?” I used to fear that will such grinding can make me more rounded and smooth out some of the “edges”; but through these processes, I persevered and became someone better each time, when I finished writing.

So, after this long digression, what I try to say is that it is necessarily a bad thing, when we keep getting challenged by the reality. Because of the development of technology and social norms, everything right now can seem to be good; but not actually good. For example, during my VietLEAD leadership development event last week, we were talking about how foreign aids, which were created supposedly to alleviate the pain experienced by the people there, but ended up destroyed local manufacturing. As a college student now, I should not simply ascribe the reasons of the failures of those generous international agencies to simply their possible lack of intelligence, since Penn students can still be proud of working for World Bank or IMF as interns, and no doubt they are smart. But their wisdom and cleverness do not stand the challenge from the real world; they have good brains, but they are blind, actually blind.

My experience as an intern working for a community-outreaching nonprofits actually helps me see things more clear. People in Philadelphia, under constant negative media portrayal, have become the synonym for “poors”, “criminals”, “thieves”, etc. But when I actually interact with the people living in this city, I learn something very different indeed. They actually smile, and they actually like to breathe and live. “There is nothing new under the sun”, and they are working hard every day just as we are. It is true that there are serious problems in neighborhoods of Philly, but how can we assume that we, as outside observers who stands watching a house burning down, know better than all the ordinary people living there and deal with those problems every day.

So, I decide to work with VietLEAD through the school year, and become a student to learn from them again.



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