Monday, 23 April 2012

Photo Diary: A day at the botanic gardens

Hey everyone!

I haven't done one of these in AGES, so I hope you are just as excited as I am. But first, I want to share this little story.

Song of the day: Super Star by Supernova (<3)

This afternoon in the department, we got an announcement system from the PA telling everyone in the basement to evacuate. Then a minute later, another announcement was made: everyone in the Unilever building evacuate. Puzzled, we returned back to what we were doing but then one final announcement was made: EVERYONE evacuate the building. Everyone in my office burst out laughing before filing outside. Later I found out that someone had dropped a bottle of a chemical which is put in the natural gas system so that if any gas leaks, then you'll be able to smell it. The person who dropped it didn't know what to do, so the chemical began to leak into the air and thus, the basement had to evacuate. People then disposed of the chemical by putting it outside. Unfortunately, they left it by the Unilever building, which had an air vent that sucked the fumes back into the department and circulated it everywhere, forcing all of us to leave.

That made me laugh.

Anyway, during this evacuation, S, Y and I got bored so decided to go to the Botanical Gardens for a little wander.

We went for lunch at a pub with some guys from our rival group.
It was a bit rainy so the sky isn't very blue.

There were too many male ducks and only one female.

Since it was a little chilly, we headed for the greenhouses.

It was like a jungle in here. And so warm!

There were lots of pretty flowers, but I saw no sign of the carnivorous plants that were promised.

When I was young, my parents would take me out to visit lots of gardens and botanical places like this.

Can you see the little fishies? ^_^


We didn't really know what this was, or if it was real or not.

And then we saw lots more of them.

I find desert foliage pretty weird but fascinating.

Always wanted a cactus for my room!

Bees <3

As you can see, it was a very productive day indeed... T_T

Although I did get my dissertation finished, and had a quick chat with Unrequited Love.

Hope you guys had a good day too! :)

Yishi x

Friday, 20 April 2012

My Thoughts on Dakota Rose a.k.a Kotakoti

Hey guys,

Hope you're well and enjoying this Friday evening! (✿◠‿◠)

Song of the day: Labyrinth of Dreams by Nox Arcana (I love atmospheric music like this!)

Today I want to talk to you about Dakota Rose, a.k.a Kotakoti, a girl who has recently become famous on the Internet for looking like a doll. I've been following the rise of Dakota Rose for a few weeks now, ever since I came across a post about her from Cindy Tang's blog. In the post, people were arguing about whether or not she Photoshopped her images, and I found myself morbidly fascinated by the hype/love/hate around this Internet sensation, so I decided to research her a bit.

You can read more about her here:

When I first started reading about her and her family, I was completely shocked at the amount of drama that she and her family have gone through. I saw some of their old Youtube videos where they were making fun of others, saw how they acted on camera and what they thought was acceptable to post on the Internet. After comparing it to how Dakota wants to be portrayed now: a cute, sweet, innocent girl, I found my jaw dropping in disbelief at just how blatant this girl is with her unashamed intentions of capitalising on the Asian market... ๏_๏

She found a niche where she could play her looks and styling to her advantage and decided to not so subtly capitalise on it. Her tags on Youtube videos are all in Japanese, Korean or Chinese, and she lists her keywords as: barbie doll, blow up doll etc. How much more obvious can you get?

If she was a genuinely sweet person then I wouldn't have felt so meh about it, but at the time, I found it pretty offensive that she was trying to take advantage of half a continent of girls where the cultural ideals of beauty are already beyond anything achievable without a certain level of high maintenance: hair dye, curls, circle lens, nails etc. i.e. styling beyond recognition.

On a side note, personally, I think the gyaru style is pretty cute, but prefer the ulzzang one as it's far more natural and achievable by an everyday Asian girl. Maybe I'm coming at this from a Western angle, having never actually lived in Asia, but as I've been infused with a healthy dose of British cynicism, I just find it depressing that so many girls feel like they have to go through all of this to look acceptable, and that there are entire shows all about makeovers, with it being completely acceptable to make fun of the girls before they have their makeover!

Anyway, going back to Dakota. What made me raise an eyebrow and then some was the fact that she denies Photoshopping any of her images, claiming that every image is her natural self. She denies using Aftereffects to edit her videos, thus to everyone who believes her, she has created a perfect image and a new 'level' of beauty that people are either worshipping or turning anorexic for.

On tumblr, there are whole blogs dedicated to outing her, even a forum: Pretty Ugly Little Liars.

I think the images she has created for her new online persona are beautiful, and her outfits are beautiful too, but by lying to thousands of people, by pretending to be sixteen and half Japanese to land a contract with Bravo Models, she is only setting herself up for a fall.

There are people who have done bad things in their past, (hey, I'm definitely no angel myself!), but by acknowledging the past and their mistakes, they can grow and heal. But all the lies that Dakota has created only serve as a cage, trapping the ugliness on the inside. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out, since by becoming an Internet celebrity, there will be so many people watching her every move, both fans and haters alike.

Anyway, that's just my two cents.

And this is a photo of the ducks at my college:

Peace out!

Yishi x

Friday, 13 April 2012

Ta-Dah! It's B.A.P!

Hey there sweethearts!

Happy Friday the Thirteenth! Did anything bad happen to you?

I hope not!

Song of the day: Friday by Rebecca Black (hehehe)

The only bad thing that happened to me, besides getting stuck on an exam practice question was that I started watching this show. And now I can't stop... ◔_◔

*goes back to watching the show*

Keep an eye out for this~ the premise sounds awesome! (✿◠‿◠)

Yishi x

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Why I Love Music (◕‿◕✿)

Hello there lovelies! :)

Following on from my other small posts of randomness, today I want to talk to you about a small snippet of my life: my experiences with music.

Song of the day: L'Orage by Burgmuller (this is me playing it badly ahahahahaha :|)

I don't know about you guys, but in my community, back in the day, Asian parents tended to copy each other. A lot. You send your kid to this school, I'll send mine there too. Etc. So when mine heard that a close family friend's six year old son was taking up the violin, they asked me if I wanted to learn too. I remember saying that I wanted to learn the flute, but somehow I ended up with a violin in my hands in a violin class.

It was incredibly frustrating at first. I was never amazingly talented like my younger brother was, but I worked hard (shed many tears along the way) and reaped the benefits. Later on, I started the piano, and then the gu zheng:


I tried to learn the guitar at uni but I could never stretch the bar chords so gave up... :(

Now I wish I'd kept up with these instruments because music is such a wonderful way to be creative. Music meant a lot to me when I was growing up ~ it was a way of expressing myself and a way to take a break from studying. But since I started uni, I began to let it slide, and I realised that I'm forgetting things, skills that I worked so hard for as a kid.

In fact, I became so wrapped up in other things that I was only reminded about all of this when a friend who is learning musical theory told me the other day that he wished he had the advantage of having a musical background. When you're pretty much bottom of your academic year group, it's quite hard to remember that there are things that you are or once were good at. In fact, it's been so long that someone was envious of me that this was a kind of a wake up call for me! :|

So tonight, I turned up to an orchestra rehearsal for a concert on Saturday, took my violin out, and played for two and a half hours. At first, it felt a bit strange but I found that I still had some remnants of muscle memory, and then it all came flooding back, as if I'd rediscovered a long lost friend!

The point I wanted to make is that tonight, I learned that you shouldn't neglect the things you are good at, or things that were once very important to you as your talents are part of who you are, so neglecting them means neglecting a part of yourself~ (✿◠‿◠)

Ah, life lessons. Don't we just love them?

Out of interest, do you sing or play any instruments? :D

Yishi x

Monday, 9 April 2012

The Oxbridge Boat Race

Hey guys!

Hope you are having a lovely Easter. Thought I'd share with you one of the things I got up to this weekend: watching the Oxbridge Boat Race! Although I couldn't be there in person this year, I watched it on TV and let me just say that this year has to be the most dramatic one that has happened in recent history~

Song of the day: Mama by EXO-M (eeeeee!!)

But first, a little background information about this event. For those of you that don't know about it, the Boat Race is a rowing race between the varsity teams of Oxford and Cambridge University. It occurs once a year on the river Thames in London, on the last Saturday of March or the first Saturday of April and has been going on since 1829 (wowww!).

Source here!

Members of the teams are known as 'blues', with Oxford being the dark blues and Cambridge sporting light blues. You can also earn a 'blue' by being on the varsity team of other sports at either unis. Oh, what I'd give to earn a blue!

Have a look on the Wikipedia page or the official page for bits of trivia and lore about the race, such as how it first started, accounts of mutinies and incidences of when the boats sank. One of the recent mutinies got made into a movie, but I hear from a friend that it's not very good. However, if it's like the Lifetime movie adaptation of the Royal Wedding, then it'll be so bad that it's fantastic... :D

This is a map of the race:

Credit here for the image!

Now, this year, Cambridge's boat were heavier than Oxford's by about 8 stone, so they were relying on brute power whilst Oxford were going for co-ordination and speed. The bookies placed Oxford as the favourites to win, and it really looked like they were going to pull ahead seven minutes in when all of a sudden, the boats stopped:

Because there was a guy swimming in the river... :|

It gets worse. Turns out he was intentionally there to block the boats ~ here is his manifesto. As someone from Facebook says, "I like the part where he implies the boat race causes genocide and transatlantic slavery" ... :|

This made me quite upset and angry because in his manifesto, Trenton Oldfield makes a sweeping statement about elitism and denounces Cambridge, Oxford, St. Paul's and a whole other number of institutions for being 'elitist'. After reading up his background, I found that he was privately educated, a graduate of LSE, and a member of the RSA (which, whilst open to everyone, would not be accessible to members of society who cannot afford the membership fees) ...he seems to embody the very thing he is "fighting" against, making him a complete hypocrite. Someone pointed out to me that I myself was being hypocritical to make judgments about him, but there is enough evidence out there for my judgment to be justified whilst he makes the assumption that everyone who attends what he classes as elitist institutions comes from an elitist background and is therefore elitist. To me, this is just blind sighted and utterly prejudiced.

If he really wanted to, he could have googled the facts and figures and seen the stats himself. It's just plain offensive to everyone who actually worked hard to get to where they are ~ I for one don't come from a privileged background and worked hard to get my grades. And if he felt so strongly about a political issue, he really should have taken it to a political platform...rather than cause a national disturbance and put himself and twenty other people in danger...hardly a peaceful protest. I will be very surprised if he gets taken seriously in the future.

Finally, he just comes across as a bit of a <insert profanity of choice>  in that manifesto.

</end rant>

After this disturbance, the boats restarted the race, but Oxford got too close to Cambridge and there was a collision:

Oxford lost an oar, and that was effectively the race over since without an oar, they were one man down. Cambridge cruised to their victory, but you had to give Oxford credit for finishing the race. In fact, their bowman overworked himself in order to try to make up for their loss that he collapsed at the end of the race and was unnoticed for about four or five minutes before he was attended to and taken to hospital... :|

It was pretty upsetting to see, and even though I supported the light blues, I felt really hollow about the victory. All in all, a dramatic day, and something of a distraction from revision~

Hope you guys had a good weekend! :)

Yishi xxx

Friday, 6 April 2012

The Hunger Games

Hey guys!

So I went off the radar for the last few weeks, on account of revision stress, but I have made myself a promise to come back and stop neglecting my lovelies here.

Anyhow, I guess I left you hanging with my last post...which ended on me asking you whether or not I should go to the UK Premiere of the Hunger Games. Well, when I woke up at 8am and logged onto Facebook to check the Premiere page, the updates from that page said that sadly there were definitely way more than 200 people already there. So that was my decision made... :(

Song of the day: Horn of Plenty ~ Hunger Games Soundtrack (this gave me chills when I first heard it)

I'm a bit gutted as now that THG is a worldwide franchise, the UK premiere for the next movie won't be as low key. I watched the premieres for both world and UK online, and they were both pretty exciting ~ the world one more so. Now that had a buzz that the UK one definitely lacked!

Anyway, I went to watch the movie on the 23rd with a large group of fangirls. I only knew one of them but it didn't matter since we all had lots to talk about. The cinema was absolutely packed, and it was such a good feeling to be surrounded by so many fans (or potential fans)!

I guess I should post my thoughts on the movie ~ semi review style. Note, there won't be any major spoilers here, just general plot outlines. Here we go!

I found the opening of the movie to be a bit jarring ~ not gonna lie but I'm not a huge proponent of the shaky cam technique. For me, the story telling here seemed a bit disjointed, like, scenes jumped too much and the dialogue didn't flow very smoothly (Effie Trinket's intro was definitely lacking!). I think they could have done the world building a bit better too e.g. show us more of the world that the characters live in, and show more interactions between the characters. I really wanted to see more starving people, dammit! But it got better after that.

I think the first time I felt a tear slipping down my face was during the reaping scene, and from then onwards, it was just a leaky tap for the rest of the movie. Drip drip drip. So glad the theatre was dark and no one could see me cry at the most random scenes.

The stadium!
 The Capitol was absolutely breathtaking. You know the sense of wonder you get when something really epic and cinematic is presented before your eyes? Well, it was like that. The costumes, the stadium, oh, the stadium of the chariot parade ~ it was beyond anything my imagination could have come up with. Seeing the beauty of that scene was definitely a teary moment.

There was something inherently creepy about the training centre ~ forcing all the kids to train together when they know full well that they will all have to try to kill each other at some point. The scene with Foxface doing the edible plants test at lightning speed reminded me of a Doctor Who episode where kids have their brains enhanced to become superfast to solve a computer code. Random, but yeah.

And then we get onto the meat of the movie: the arena! After seeing so many awesome fan-made renditions:

The Careers, kids who team up to eliminate the
rest of the competition before turning on each other

I was expecting a hell of a lot of gruesome action and violence on the level of Battle Royale, but sadly, this was not to be. Instead, we get a watered down 12A classification version, which, whilst tasteful, really lessens the impact the movie should have had. Despite this being a book recommended for children from ages 12+, there are subtle levels of complexity in here that is definitely more young adult material, which wasn't explored well enough in the movie in my opinion.

Grargh, the cave scene...needed more tender love and time, as did Rue. I'm disappointed that she was only on screen for what felt like five minutes, and that there wasn't enough convincing in the movie to show that they had spent more than one night together as allies. Same with the Katniss and Peeta scenes in the cave. And don't get me started on the mutts...

At the end of the day, I think that a movie will never be able to match up to a book, and as I went into the cinema with the first one so so fresh in my mind, I was able to pick up on every deviation from the story. My end verdict was that the movie felt too rushed and superficial, that it skimmed over everything but never really explored them deeply enough, but ultimately was incredibly enjoyable to watch. All of the actors did their characters justice, and I was totally engrossed by the world that Lionsgate had created.

Watching it the second time round was much better because by then, I wasn't as overwhelmed as I was the first time and had loosened up enough to just sit back, relax, and enjoy the show! :)

If you haven't seen it yet, then you definitely should. After all, it's not the number one movie in the world for no reason at all? ;)

Yishi xxx