IA Campus Event: Buckeye Mela

On February 1, an event called Buckeye Mela was hosted at the Wexner Center for the Arts. Buckeye Mela is essentially a Bollywood/Bhangra dance competition that I attended with my dance team and friends. It was a lot of fun being able to see the performances, and to especially observe the differences in the two varied dance forms. It is wonderful attending this event as an IA member, because one is really able to perceive the diversity that exists in the world. I mean this because though both dance forms originate from India, they are both different in style, costumes, music, and much more. This portrayed to me that one cannot stereotype a region to a single, particular view, but rather understand that there are many aspects of these regions that work to make them whole. Personally, it was exciting to observe the competition since I am on a classical dance team myself, for which I am captain, and we want to go competitive next year. So it is nice being able to observe and understand the competitive/choreographic techniques that they used, which can aid my team in succeeding next year. As such, I believe Buckeye Mela is an event that should be attended more often as it can help people understand the diversity that exists in our world, as well as enjoy spending time with friends and fellow students.

IA Social Event: Lunar New Year Lantern Making

On January 23, IA hosted a lantern making social in the Smith side basement, which I attended with my friends. When we arrived, the hosts of the event showed us how to craft the lanterns, and it was really a lot of fun being able to relax and craft for a while. However, as an IA student, I was disappointed that the event missed out on an opportunity to inform us about the actual history/heritage that is tied to the celebration. Personally, I was curious about how the tradition originated, what special foods are made, what artistic performances are conducted, and etc. Though it was fun to make the lanterns, I was disheartened that I was not able to learn more about the Lunar New Year tradition as I had initially intended. As IA scholars, our goal is to be able to expand our knowledge of world cultures in order to gain a holistic view of our world. For this to happen, I believe that it is essential we work to broaden our own knowledge of cultural heritages so we can spread this knowledge to those around us. The event was a lot of fun, but I sincerely wish that for next year, there is an emphasis placed on developing the knowledge of IA students so that they can be more understanding of the world around them.

Parasite Movie

Campus Event

On the 25th of November, a couple of friends and I went out to see the Korean movie Parasite. The movie revolved around a poor family in Korea. Though the Kim family had jobs, they were not bringing in enough money to make ends meet. Their luck turns around when the son’s (Ki-woo) friend, Min-hyuk, offers him a job to tutor the daughter of the rich Park family. Once he gets to this location, Ki-woo finds a way to manipulate Mrs. Park into firing her staff and hiring his family members in those same positions instead. However, the Park family does not realize that the Kim family is related because they think they are all strangers. Though the Kim’s lives initially seem to improve, the story takes a turn when the Park’s old housekeeper comes back in order to feed and care for her husband who lives in a secret bunker beneath the Park’s home. During this part of the story, the truth starts to come out, and the once harmless characters show the audience their dark side as they manipulate and hurt each other in an effort to survive. The events that happen in this sequence influence the lives of the characters towards the end of the movie and depict how class struggles and the drive to survive can bring out the bestial side of human beings.

The movie made an impact on me as an audience member because I was not able to distinguish the protagonists from the antagonists. In reality, I do not even think that these two categories existed in the movie. Each family, whether they were rich or poor, undertook the actions they did in order to better their families. Though it was easy to blame either the Kims or the Parks in various scenes, coming out of the movie made one think if one family was truly at fault because their different experiences with the class system influenced the way the acted throughout their lives. The fact that the situation that befell the Kims or the Parks could happen to anyone at anytime, made the movie as chilling and as authentic as it was.

The movie relates to us as International Affairs Scholars because it depicts the harsh reality of poverty and its impact on not only the poor, but on a community as a whole. Not only this, but it also shows that in real life, there is no one person that is right or wrong. The experiences of many people influence their actions, and in order to better understand the situations that occur in our world, it is essential that we understand all sides of a conflict in order to find a way to solve it.

Festival of Lights

Social Event

Hindu Y.U.V.A. and Hillel hosted an event called the Festival of Lights at the Curl Market on November 16th. The festival worked to bring together the Indian and Jewish communities in an effort to celebrate the holidays of Diwali and Hanukkah. The beautiful event consisted of various cultural performances, food, games, and even fireworks. The most amazing part of the festival though, was the fact that so many people outside the Indian and Jewish communities attended the event, portraying the strong sense of community that exists on the OSU campus. This event had a huge impact on me as I observed all the people communicating, laughing, singing, and dancing in harmony. I was able to see how so many diverse groups of people exist on campus, and how it was so easy to come together to celebrate and enjoy our time together. The Festival of Lights displayed how though there are so many differences in the world, humans can still come together in order to celebrate the differences and each other, rather than let these distinctions break us apart.

Attending this event made me realize how beautiful the diverse cultures of our world are, and as a person who has always been interested in religions, arts, and cuisines, I understood that in order to truly understand those around me, I should go out and travel and explore more. Attending this event helped me realize that I want to travel the world, and not for pleasure, but as a way to gain global awareness.

American Factory

Academic Event

The documentary opens with the closing of the GM factory, and the opening of Fuyao. Fuyao is a Chinese based company that opened up a glass factory in Dayton, Ohio. The company’s goal was to bring the Americans and Chinese together in order to create a functioning, American factory. During the initial opening of the factory, many of the workers were happy to be able to have a job to support themselves and their families. However, as time went by, it was obvious that the company had a difficult time functioning efficiently due to the cultural divide that existed. Language was initially a huge barrier as if any problems were encountered, or ideas shared, it took a while to translate between the languages to come to a conclusion. Another barrier that was encountered was the clash of cultures. The Chinese came from a country with strict working conditions (they worked 12 hours a shift, only had two days off per month, etc.), which contrasted with the American system with basic rights for workers (fair shifts, good pay, safety measures). As a result, the Chinese would work longer and harder than the Americans, which caused slight conflicts between the workers. This was especially seen in the conflict between the workers that were pro and anti-union. During the conflicts, many American managers and higher-ups were fired and replaced with Chinese employees, and many pro union workers were fired as well. Jobs became strenuous as more tasks were given to one or two people. Towards the end, many of the employees were replaced with machines. Still, no groups had the same opinion on the conflicts at hand. Though some people were angered by the unfairness of the company, others were grateful for the opportunities that were provided to them.

This documentary was very moving in my opinion. One thing that I appreciated was the way everyone’s perspective was shown, where no one was shown to be right or wrong. It was very unbiased in a way that allowed for the audience to understand the feelings of those involved. By getting to know the story behind each person, the audience was able to understand the motivations that led people to take the actions they did. One of the most interesting things about the documentary was the cultural divide. I enjoyed the fact that though the workers came from two totally different cultures, they still tried to work on their bonds and work for the betterment of the company. I truly thing the only problem to be found was that the two cultures have two different work ethics. Though both groups are hard working, they seem to have different thoughts when it comes to the functionality of the job. Whereas the Chinese strive for quantity and a structured work place (more focus on the group), the Americans focus more on safety and workers’ rights (focus on individual). However, the two cultures are still connected in that each person’s main goal is to be able to provide for themselves and their families in order to live better lives. This shows to me that no matter how different humans are around the world, we almost always have the same goal where we work together in order to survive. I personally do not like how Fuyao went about in terms of running their business. I really think they should have provided their workers with safer conditions, give them higher pay, and even more breaks… especially for their workers in China. Still, I think this is a great documentary to watch as an IA scholar as it depicts that there isn’t a single, right answer to any problem. It is important to understand everyone’s perspective in situations that involve so many people, because no story is the same for any one person.

Pop City: Korean Popular Culture and the Selling of Place

Campus Event

During this event, Assistant Professor Youjeong Oh, from the Department of Asian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, gave a presentation about how popular culture can create a misrepresented picture of a city and a culture. Using K-pop as an example, Professor Oh described how influential the movement was at bringing in a variety of different audiences from around the world. The government and many companies noticed this and used this popularity to advertise many items, ranging from candy to cities as a whole, as a means to garner a profit. The government and companies tend to view audiences as a renewable value, where benefit can be reaped over and over again. Understanding that audiences and tourists tend to enrich the values of a place through attachments to it, businesses worked to turn a physical place into an effective place, meaning that the place is associated with emotions, fantasies, and desires. For example, a famous Korean drama show, My Love From the Star, showed a scene where a main character stopped a car from getting into an accident. This scene was a big hit in China, and in order to profit from those audiences, the city from which the scene was shot, placed a similar car in the location as an effort to recreate the scene. This location is now a popular tourist destination for many Chinese audiences. Though this can seem harmless, it is problematic as the audiences get so caught up in the flamboyant spectacles, they tend to not realize there is actual history in the regions they are visiting. For example, many Korean movies were filmed in a small village in South America. These movies gave the audience the impressions that the village was romantic and nostalgic, when in fact, the village was suffering from poverty. Not knowing this, many tourists soon flooded the village, and the constant tours, noise, and shooting schedules, stressed and angered the citizens of the village. Professor Oh therefore made the points that Popular culture has the power to promote next to everything, but politicians and businesses misuse K-pop’s popularity in an effort to reap profits for their own benefits.

This event was very interesting for me as I have a passion for different art forms and their impacts on audiences. The presentation made me realize how much influence media and popular culture can truly have over the aspects of our lives. For example, earlier this year, the city of Kerala met with the heaviest flooding in its history. Many people were either injured or killed, and many businesses went bankrupt. The floods caused a decline in Kerala’s tourism, which was hard to increase as the media tends to represent India as a nation of poverty, rather than showcasing the bustling cities and the roaming fields, of which it really is (not to say there isn’t poverty, but the country is much more than that). This misrepresentation of India really hurt Kerala’s tourism as not many people came to visit after the floods, and the country worked hard to promote the beauty of the city in an effort to help build it up once more. This and many more examples in our world showcased to me that it is important that there is an accurate representation of places, because one small representation can have an impact on populations as a whole.

International Affairs Internship Panel

September 09, 2019, Smith-Steeb Hall Glass Classroom

Professional Development Event

During this meeting, we were introduced to a panel of IA guest speakers with internship experiences. Going into the meeting, I did not think I would learn about anything I did not already know, but I was wrong. During the panel, they gave us helpful information by discussing how they obtained the internships, what kind of jobs they did, how they paid for expenses, and the opportunities the internship provided. Some of the internships were provided through the college itself, and those were somewhat easier to obtain, but other internships that were independent of the college were a little harder to get accepted into. However, both kinds of internships provided the students with great opportunities professionally and personally. Professionally, the students were able to have a hands-on-experience, and got the chance to learn a little more about the careers they were interested in. Personally, they were able to make friends with various people around them, travel, and get immersed in the culture around them. Expenses wise, they informed us about programs like S.T.E.P., which would provide us with grants that could be used during research, internships, and travel abroad programs. Other ways in which money was provided was through scholarships and stipends, but sometimes they had to pay themselves. I was also curious about how much overlapping occurred between different subjects in these internships, and it appears to be often. An example of this can be observed in Jenna’s internship where she was able to renewable energy, which pertained to both science and international studies. This prospect excited me because I have many varied interests ranging from science to art, that I have a hard time picking and choosing one. So, the ability to be able to dip my toe in a variety of situations exhilarates me.

I think the internship panel was a great chance to help us understand how to get opportunities that would help us succeed in the work force. It was nice that they told us about the various different programs they applied to and how much it did or did not benefit them. Listening to their experiences helped me draw up a game plan of my own that will hopefully lead me to be as successful as they are.

Bioethics Society Meeting

September 03, 2019, Enarson Classroom Building 206

Campus Event Reflection

This event was hosted by the Bioethics Society, and was a discussion about the ethics of a human-chimpanzee hybrid. The discussion began with an introduction to the creation of this hybrid that took place April of this year. The experiment was conducted in China as America had strict rules about chimpanzee experimentation. The experiment consisted of implanting human DNA into the embryo of a chimpanzee, and the goal was to create a chimera that would be able to provide human organs that could later be harvested for transplants. During the meeting, we discussed the ethics of the creation of chimeras and the room was pretty split up about the decision. Some of the group members thought that the creation was wrong as we had no right to bring this creation into the world just to kill it and use the organs. To some, this chimera was considered to be human, or some kind of an organism, and as a result, we did not think it was ethical to take its life to preserve our own. The other part of the group believed that it was right to bring this creation into the world. This was because the goal of the experiment was to create a non-sentient being that would not feel pain or any emotions. In this case, they thought it would be okay since the chimera would not comprehend the pain. I personally believe that it is wrong to bring a life into this world, whether it is sentient or not, just to kill it and use it for our gain. However, I also understand the counter argument that was given. As of now, I am against the creation of a chimera, but I am not so sure that I could say the same thing if someone I cared about needed a transplant and a chimera was the only way to save his or her life. As much as I want the argument to be cut and dry, I understand that our opinions can evolve overtime, or due to unforeseen circumstances.

We discussed many more sides of the debate and it was one of the most astounding discussions in my life. It was interesting getting to hear and decipher everyone’s opinions on the matter because it helped me obtain a more holistic view about the issue at hand. Though this debate does not have a clear solution, it was a great experience in showing me that not everything in life is cut and dry. This is a good situation to experience not only for the IA program, but also for a future in the medical field. First off, it is important to realize that everyone grew up in various kinds of environments that influenced them and their opinions in a different way. In my case, the reason I believe the creation of a chimera is wrong is due to my religion. In Hinduism, it is wrong to harm any kind of life and that is something I took to heart as I grew up. Still, not everyone grew up in the same environment as I did. For example, one of the other kids in the debate was raised in a family that had a strong belief in science, and as a result, he only considered the hard facts that were given. This meeting helped me realize that in any situation, whether that be professional or personal, people will have views that can vary from my own. Though this is the case, it is important to understand everyone’s argument and give them a chance to express their views. By being able to consider the various arguments provided, we will have a more holistic view about the issue, and can use that knowledge to finish a task that might be provided in our careers or personal lives.

I hope to be able to attend more meeting of this club because I think the issues being discussed are very interesting and mind-boggling. Not to mention that these are issues I will encounter in my future career in the medical field, so I think it is important to get a deep understanding of the concepts at hand. I can later use this knowledge to make more educated decisions that can help my patients and their loved ones.

Year in Review

[ “Year in Review”  is where you should reflect on the past year and show how you have evolved as a person and as a student.  You may want to focus on your growth in a particular area (as a leader, scholar, researcher, etc.) or you may want to talk about your overall experience over the past year.  For more guidance on using your ePortfolio, including questions and prompts that will help you get started, please visit the Honors & Scholars ePortfolio course in Carmen. To get answers to specific questions, please email eportfolio@osu.edu. Delete these instructions and add your own post.]