Reflections & Productivity.

Now that school is over, thought I write down some things to prioritize in life.

  • Traveling: I really want to focus on spending more time in East Asia. Travelling really teaches me a lot about myself, and is so important in terms of growth, personal development, and being exposed to different perspectives in ideas.
  • Art as a tool in bridging communities and ideas: Note that I didn’t specifically say design (I believe design is a form of art). I believe in the power of art in connecting people, articulating and communicating, inspiring ideas, creating imagination, and getting people a chance to relax. This can take on ANY medium (illustration, watercolors, design, cooking, city planning, music, etc.)
  • Language learning: I want to continue improving my spoken Mandarin so that I can make friends and very strong relationships throughout my life that we can both be inspired by. 

On moving abroad and representing my own home

There’s something that’s hard for me to realize, as I am figuring out my future directions abroad.

There’s a lot to be proud of, being from the San Francisco Bay Area.

The very open, liberal feeling you get, in terms of ideas and innovation. Silicon Valley. Multiculturalism. UC Berkeley (I still plan to be connected to my college and my major after college, albeit still trying to figure this out) & Stanford. The amount of start-up culture that’s growing here and technology. The food. The weather. The air quality. The amount of activities that take place here!

It’s going to hit me once I’m abroad, where what was what I was really used to and familiar with, and took for granted in the Bay Area, won’t be with me when I’m abroad.

When people abroad ask me where I’m from, and I tell them the San Francisco Bay Area, they immediately get excited.

In some ways, being abroad makes me realize how much I should value my home, which has so many resources and amenities.

I won’t go too in detail about why I want to go to Taiwan after graduation (it would be a very lengthy post I’ll save for later), but one big reason for me is to really experience a different culture, learn a language, and make friends to really get a different perspective of the world. We tend to forget this alot as a lot of us have this American-centric perspective.

Too many times, from experience (and this is true when I talk to close friends about Taiwan), it is too easy to make assumptions about foreign countries without actually visiting them.

In some ways, when people really admire where I am from and the values/innovative ideas that come out of the Bay Area, I smile. I realize: wow, there is so much at home I’ve taken for granted.

And when I tell others in Taiwan about how much I love the country, they also smile too.

This is what true cultural bridges, cultural exchange should be about.

I want to bring a piece of Taiwan back to the United States the same way many around the world want to experience the innovative culture of The Bay Area.

In some ways, the unpredictability of my life is beautiful. How long will I be in Taiwan? How long will I be in the US? How often will I be between the two countries? etc. etc.

Building a New China Dream

April 29, 2013 — Today China has over 300 million middle class consumers – but that number is expected to grow to more than 800 million by 2025. These changes will put unprecedented pressure on our Earth’s limited natural resources. In this thought-provoking presentation, Peggy Liu, co-founder of the Shanghai-based nonprofit organization JUCCCE and a Time magazine Hero for the Environment, explores efforts she’s leading to re-imagine prosperity and reshape consumerism in China by building a new “China Dream” that preserves resources such as energy, food, land and water for future generations. She also discusses how myth-creation, mass media and collaboration will be keys to transforming lifestyles in China, and around the world.

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Peggy Liu is one of my biggest role models in the world, and is doing so much in the environment, in sustainability, in trying to create a vision for the China Dream.

The key thing she uses is that language, how we communicate, tell the story about sustainability is sooo important. You can’t expect to change sustainability own your own: you need to leverage the skillsets, the personalities, and motivations of every person in order to change the way we live our lives.

I’ll edit this post to write a review of some key points she said later in this week.

TEDxTaipei 2013: City of Heartbeats

The TEDxTaipei page recently created a page on a TEDxTaipei event in Daodecheng: City of Heartbeats. A lot of talks are in English, and explicitly tackle with issues related to urban development, environmental sustainability, and design issues. Here’s a bio of the speakers.

Never heard a TEDxTalk that summarized my interests in city planning in Chinese so detailed.

But at the same time, I believe a lot of city planning is still backwards in terms of thinking about cities like this. They are too wrapped in policy, regulation, and property development and profits (as the first video shows) that we forget how to spark imagination about how to make our lives better.

My rationale to go to Taiwan is simple: I want to get a different perspective of the world, meeting other people. In other words, can traveling give me an opportunity, some reflection time, on how to approach city planning in an alternative way?