Friday, 4 May 2012

Bible Study 9 Summary

Technical Terms
Tyre, Sidon – port cities of Syrophoenicia – a Gentile (non-Jewish) territory.
Decapolis – Gentile territory south-east Sea of Galilee
Dalmanutha – a district not now known, but presumably Jewish as there were Pharisees there
Pharisees – a holiness party concerned for separation of Jews from other peoples by keeping the details of Jewish law.
Leaven – a substance, usually yeast, that makes dough rise
Herod/Herodians – supporters of the Herod dynasty – the partly Jewish, Roman puppet rulers.

  1. We, the readers know that Jesus is the Christ
  2. Jesus knows he is the Christ and the suffering servant
  3. Jesus has started proclaiming His kingdom – calling disciples, teaching, healing and exorcising in Galilee – though His work of proclamation is being sidetracked by His healings.
  4. Jesus astonishes people by His radical attitude to the forgiveness of sin and acceptance of sinners bringing in a completely new order and conflict with the scribes and Pharisees
  5. Jesus growing popularity and appointment of apostles is matched by the growing enmity of His opponents who whish to destroy Him and this He is mad or demon possessed.
  6. When teaching, Jesus was like Isaiah bringing the judgment of God upon the nation and so divided his audience by speaking in riddles or parables, which challenged people to side with Him or against Him. Only to those already following Him as disciples did He teach them plainly what He meant.
  7. The kingdom Jesus brings is a direct assault on the destructive forces of evil. So he liberates the captives of the devil, disorder, disease, destruction and death by His miracles.
  8. Jesus fame spread because of his (and his disciples) miracles though the crowds and even the disciples did not see the symbolic meaning of feeding the multitudes in the wilderness or leading his people across the sea by walking on water.
  9. Jesus’ challenge was to the reality of spiritual defilement that comes from our sinfulness, not just ritual defilement that the religious leaders and their rules were concerned about.

Mark 7:24-8:21
Old Testament reading: Isaiah 35

Jesus fame could not be hidden, even outside of Israel.
What was the Syriphonecian woman’s request and argument?
Her request to Jesus was to cast out the demon out of her daughter (verse 26). Jesus refused to do so because the woman was not Jewish. Jesus referred to the Jewish as ‘children’ and the gentiles (non-Jewish) as ‘dogs’ (verse 27). However, the woman argued that ‘even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs’ (verse 28).

What did her argument reveal?
Her humility and Jesus’ mission coverage.

What does Jesus response to this woman reveal?
Jesus was believed to be the Christ or the anointed one; that is the king-to-be for the Jews only. However, in this passage, it is revealed that His coming is not only to save the Jews, but also the gentiles (that’s us!).

How does this incident cast light on the earlier argument from chapter 7:1-23?
Faith is more important than physical rituals and traditions and even heritage (being Jewish doesn’t mean saved, but even a gentile could be saved if he has faith in Jesus Christ).

Healing of the man in the Decapolis, who was deaf and with a speech impediment.
Why would Jesus touch this man’s ears and tongue?
To heal him and to emphasize the teaching about ‘defilement’ from the previous passage in Mark 7:1-23. The gentiles were considered unclean by the Jews and thus it is seen as defiling for a Jew to touch a gentile. However, Jesus often heals the gentiles by touching. Also, previously, a woman with blood discharge (also considered unclean) touched Him and was healed and Jesus praises her faith instead of condemning her for touching His garment (Mark 5: 25-34).

What was the result of this healing?
The prophecy in Isaiah 35:5-6 fulfilled.

What was the (presumably unconscious) testimony to Jesus?
The gentiles testify that “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak” (verse 37).

In chapter 6 there is a great feeding.
What is the parallel between that feeding and the one in chapter 8?
Both happened in desolate places. This is again, a reference to the manna feeding in the Old Testaments, a call to trust in God’s word.
The disciples’ disbelief or hardened hearts, again (Mark 6: 37, 8: 4 & 21).

What were the differences between the two feeding?
In the first feeding, there were 5000 men and 12 baskets of left over and it was in a Jewish area.
In the second feeding, there were 4000 men and 7 baskets of left over and it was in a gentile area.

What could account for the two feedings and their differences?
The left over of the first feeding were 12 baskets and the number 12 represents the number of the tribes in Israel. Also, the feeding happened in the Jewish area.
The second feeding had 7 baskets of left over and the number 7 represents perfection or completeness and the feeding happened in the gentile area.
This implies that the coming of Jesus is not exclusively for Jewish people only, but also for the gentiles. This is a parallel revelation to the previous passage in Mark 7:24-30 about the Syrophoenician woman.

The disciples misunderstood Jesus warning about the Pharisees.
What did the Pharisees want and why was it wrong?
The Pharisees wanted a sign from heaven (Mark 8: 11). It implies that they think that the signs that Jesus has performed all this time don’t come from heaven. Previously in Mark 3: 22-30, the scribes have accused Jesus for being possessed by the demon.
The reason the Pharisees asked for a sign is to test Jesus. The testing itself is justified because in the Old Testament, God has commanded Israel to test a prophet to find out whether the prophet comes from God or not (Deuteronomy 18:15-22, especially verses 21-22). However, the way to test a prophet is to see whether his words come true. The Pharisees did not test Jesus by finding out whether His words came true or not, but by asking for another sign ‘from heaven’.
If the Pharisees had tested Jesus the way it is commanded in the Old Testaments, they would have seen that Jesus’ words did come true. When He spoke to heal people, they became well immediately, and Jesus also spoke many times of His death and resurrection and it did come true.

Why was the disciples’ concern about not having bread silly (Mark 8: 14-21)?
Because in the previous passages, Jesus fed thousands of people with only a few breads and fish, TWICE (Mark 8: 17-21).

How does the disciples’ discussion concerning not bringing bread, demonstrate their failure to understand Jesus (Mark 8: 16)?
Again, Jesus has fed thousands of people with only a few breads and fish. Not only this means they should be trusting in God’s Word, but also, Jesus was talking about the Pharisees and Herod’s disbelief in Mark 8: 15. He uses the ‘leaven’ parable to show the danger of the Pharisees and Herod’s disbelief. A little leaven put on bread mix would entirely affect the form of the bread. Similarly, a little disbelief would ruin a person’s heart entirely.

How serious is Jesus accusation in Mark 8:18?
The reason for their lack of understanding is because of their rebellious nature (Ezekiel 12: 2). Jesus pointed out that their sin or rebellion has hardened their heart.

What significance do the numbers of loaves and baskets have?
5 loaves – 5000 men – 12 baskets left over
7 loaves – 4000 men – 7 baskets left over
As mentioned in the earlier question, the coming of Jesus is not exclusively for Jewish people only, but also for the gentiles. This is a parallel revelation to the previous passage in Mark 7:24-30 about the Syrophoenician woman.
The number 7 also used to represent completeness, for example, in Genesis, God finished creating the world and rest in the 7th day.

What does this passage teach us about
Who Jesus is?
The saviour of Jews and gentiles.

Why Jesus came?
To save Jews and gentiles.

What he expects of us?
To have faith in Him.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Mark 7: 1-30 Bible Study summary

Mark 7: 1-30

Technical terms

Pharisees – a holiness party concerned for separation of Jews from other peoples by keeping the details of Jewish law.

Jerusalem – the capital city of Judaism in both government and religion; the site of the Temple.

Traditions of the elders – oral laws/rules/regulations in addition to the Old Testament law that were handed down from previous generations. 200 years later these were written down in a collection called the Mishnah.

Scribes – learned experts in the Law of Moses, usually of the Pharisee party.

Corban – ‘a gift devoted to God’ – though it could be preserved by the giver for his own use and not necessarily given in the temple.

Defile – to corrupt, spoil, ruin, desecrate.

Clean/unclean – distinction between pure/defiled; or God/opposed to God; living/dying.

Coveting – longing desire to possess something – especially belonging to somebody else.

Parables – illustrations, stories, proverbs, maxims that confront and challenge the listeners.

Recap from last week
Jesus fame spread because of his (and his disciples) miracles though the crowds and even the disciples did not see the symbolic meaning of feeding the multitudes in the wilderness or leading his people across the sea by walking on water.
The Scribes from Jerusalem (Mark 3:22) were the religious authorities of their day, coming down from the capital to challenge the country preacher/miracle worker. Their teaching was quoting earlier scribes’ ruling about life drawn from principles of the law. To them, these rulings handed down from one generation to the next became as binding as the law itself.

What traditions of the law did Jesus and his disciples ignore?

The washing of the hands before meals.

What matters did these traditions deal with?

Foods and cleanliness (verses 2-5).

From the Scribes’ point of view, what was the result of ignoring the traditions of the elders?

Defilement and uncleanliness. In the Old Testament, God made Israel the holy people, clean and separated from the other nations. The washings were symbolic to this meaning, but the Scribes had taken the ritual too literally to the understanding that those who don’t follow these traditions will become defiled or unclean.

Jesus makes a serious accusation against the Scribes.

What does Jesus call the Scribes – was that accusation justified?

Hypocrites (verse 6-7). Jesus cited Isaiah 29:13 and similar warning can also be found in Ezekiel 33:31.

How does the quote from Isaiah 29:13 help his case?

It shows that the warning and prophecy about such people has been made in the Old Testaments. Also, the Jewish, especially Scribes and Pharisees, are experts of the Old Testaments. However, knowing what God has said in the Old Testaments, they still don’t obey His commandments.

What is the heart of Jesus’ accusation?

That the Scribes were putting men’s commandments over God’s commandments.

What is the point of Jesus’ illustration concerning ‘corban’?

That the Scribes had twisted God’s commandment into vain rituals. In verse 9, it is said that they have rejected the commandment of God to establish their own traditions.

Jesus provides a positive argument against the Pharisees’ defilement.

What does not defile a person and why not?

According to Jesus, things outside a person, such as foods don’t defile a person because a person will eat it one day and go to the toilet the next day (verse 15 and 18-19).

What does defile a person and why?

In verses 20-23, Jesus said that evil things within a person that come out from a person is what defiles a person.

What does Jesus argument say about sin?

Its nature and source

It is the problem with the heart from within a human (verse 21 and 23).

Its spread

From inside a person to throughout the person’s life and actions.

Its content or character

Verses 21-22.

Mark notes that Jesus incidentally declares all food clean (v. 19). What is the significance of this for Christians?

Many Christians didn’t come from Jewish background. Thus, it is a relief for us because Jesus didn’t see us as ‘unclean’ because we’ve eaten pork without washing our hands (just an example). Also, it is not our heritage or background or rituals that we do that make us holy. What defiles us the sin within us. We can only be cleansed by the blood of Jesus.

Jesus calls his statement of verse 15 a parable (verse 17). We have seen how parables confront and challenge people. How does this parable confront us?

Similar with above, what defiles us is the sin within us. In this sinful flesh and nature, it is impossible to live up to God’s commandment. Thus, trusting in Jesus alone can safe us because Jesus’ death has cleansed us.

What does the chapter 7 teaches us about

Who Jesus is?

The One who is able to cleanse and safe humanity from its sinfulness.

Why Jesus came?

To fulfil God’ commandment that we could never fulfil and cleanse us from our sin.

What He expects of people?

To trust in Him and to live for God with our hearts, not just giving empty worship with our lips and rituals.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Jesus: The Who Why and What

Study 7: The Miracles of Jesus (Mark 6: 7 -56)

Technical terms
Bethsaida – town on the northern shore of where River Jordan enters the Sea of Galilee.
Blessing – to give thanks and praise
Fourth watch – Roman system of dividing the time at night. The fourth watch is between 3 – 6 AM
Herod – there are seven Herods in the New Testament period. This is Antipas, the son of Herod the Great. He ruled over Galilee at the time of Jesus.
Tunic – long garment worn under the coat.

Recap on last studies:
We, the readers know that Jesus is the Christ
Jesus knows he is the Christ and the suffering servant
Jesus has started proclaiming His kingdom – calling disciples, teaching, healing and exorcising in Galilee – though His work of proclamation is being sidetracked by His healings.
Jesus astonishes people by His radical attitude to the forgiveness of sin and acceptance of sinners bringing in a completely new order and conflict with the scribes and Pharisees
Jesus growing popularity and appointment of apostles is matched by the growing enmity of His opponents who whish to destroy Him and this He is mad or demon possessed.
When teaching, Jesus was like Isaiah bringing the judgment of God upon the nation and so divided his audience by speaking in riddles or parables, which challenged people to side with Him or against Him. Only to those already following Him as disciples did He teach them plainly what He meant.
The kingdom Jesus brings is a direct assault on the destructive forces of evil. So he liberates the captives of the devil, disorder, disease, destruction and death by His miracles.

Background passages to Mark 6
Exodus 14
Numbers 27:12-20
Deuteronomy 8:1-6; 18:9-18

Throughout Jesus’ time in Galilee, He performed many extraordinary miracles. With the appointment of his disciple, His fame spread even further across the nation. However, the miracles have, or other occasions, seemed to get in the way of His mission. We have seen that the parables were not quite what most people assume. So, what was the point of the miracles? Why did he do them?

Why were the disciples astounded by Jesus’ actions on the sea (Mark 6:45 onwards)? What is there to understand about the loaves (Mark 6:30-44, 51-52)?
The reference is to Deuteronomy 8:1-6 when God fed Israel people in the wilderness. Jesus too, fed people in the desolate place. It is a sign that He is God.
Understanding that He is God should allow them to understand that He is able to do miracles. However, their hearts were hardened (verse 52) and so they didn’t understand. Similarly in Exodus 14, when Israel people walk across the sea (similar miracle with Jesus’ miracle), Pharaoh and the Egyptians’ hearts were also hardened.

Jesus’ mission was expanded by the 12 disciples. Why do you think they were to travel so light and quickly (Mark 6:7-12)?
Verse 7. Going in pairs. Having more than one person allows accountability and credibility in their teaching.
Verses 8-9. They were to take only a staff. A staff is a tool that the shepherds use when guiding the sheep. It is used to hook back the sheep when it goes astray. This implies the repentance message that Jesus and the disciples are teaching (verse 12). That is to turn back to God. Thus their role as God’s messengers is like a shepherd guiding back the sheep.
They have to travel light and quick to reach as many people as possible. It is because the Gospel is very urgent. It is also a sign of reliance on God (not bringing food and money) instead of on worldly possessions.
Verses 10-11. They are to expect rejection, but despite the rejection to keep on going with the Gospel. In verse 11, they are to “shake off the dust of their feet” as a warning and a sign of disassociation with the person who rejects God. (This doesn’t mean that the person in doomed forever. They still have the chance to repent as long as they live, but for the moment they reject the disciples, the disciples have to give them a warning and leave them to move on to the next person.)

Herod heard of Jesus because of the disciples work, but ascribed it to John the Baptist. (Mark 6:14-29)
What alternative theories were around (verses 15-16)?
Some said He was John the Baptist, some said He was Elijah, and some said He was a prophet (He is a prophet, but He is more than just a prophet).
The reason why there were theories about Him despite the fact that He has done miracles to fulfil the prophesies in Old Testament about Him, was because people didn’t like the truth and thus tried to “reshape” Him into their ideas.
Up until today, this is still happening. We often find alternative views about God because the real truth will demand our life and we’re not willing to submit our life to God despite what Jesus has done for us. Some say that all the religions teach the same thing, while Jesus said He is the ONLY way to the Father (John 14:6). Some say that He is just one of the prophets, while the Bible says He is Christ, the Son of God, our saviour, our King, and He is God. There will always be new alternative theories coming out to lead astray from God’s word. There’s a warning against it in 2 Timothy 4:2-4.

Why was Herod so adamant that it was John the Baptist?
It could be because he felt guilty and haunted by John the Baptist’s death. Also, because Jesus’ disciples and John the Baptist and his disciples teach the same thing: repentance and forgiveness (Mark 1:4).

What comparison or contrast could be made between Herod and Jesus?
First, the both are kings or in a position of authority. However, Herod's kingdom is earthy, but God's kingdom is in heaven. They also use their authority differently. Herod seems to be very extravagant and glamorous, while Jesus was all about humility.
Adding to it, earthly kingdom is always inclusive. It is about recruiting as many people as possible and covering as much area as possible. In contrary, Jesus’ kingdom is very divisive. Although we are to spread the Gospel to as many people as possible, there are always two responses to the Gospel: to believe, trust and follow Jesus, or to deny it.
Second, the both have feasts. The differences are Herod's feast is to celebrate his birthday, it was all glamorous, and he invited top classes people like noblemen, political leaders, etc. Jesus' feast is although great, but not for boasting. Instead of the powerful, Jesus invited the weak, poor, and needy. It reminds us that we have done nothing to gain our salvation. It was all by God’s grace by sending His Son Jesus to die for us.

Why did Jesus go to a “desolate place” or “wilderness” (Mark 6:30-31)?
It is a sign of reliance on God. In Deuteronomy 8:3, the Israel people were in the wilderness for 40 years and they live depending on God’s grace because there was no food in the wilderness, but God provided manna for them every single day. Later on in the verse, it says that man doesn’t live by bread alone but by God’s word, which is also cited by Jesus in his temptation in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-4 *notice that he was there for 40 days).
Later on when Jesus fed people there, it was a sign that He is God. The same reference to Deuteronomy 8:3, God was the one who fed the people with manna (discussed in the first question above).

What provoked Jesus’ compassion?
Mark 6: 34. They were like sheep without shepherd. The reference is to Number 27:12-20. This implies that Jesus is the Shepherd that God has sent to guide His people.

What did Jesus’ compassion lead him to do?
Mark 6:34-42, He taught them many things and fed them.

What was God’s purpose in Deuteronomy 8:3-4?
Discipline and humble His people and teach them that they shall live by trusting in God’s word.

How could understanding about the loaves help the disciples? What does this tell us about the miracles of Jesus?
That He is God.

What difference should be there between the disciples and the crowd?
The disciples should know better about Jesus and should know that Jesus is God because they have been following Jesus for a while.

What does chapter 6 teach us about:
Who Jesus is?
He is God (Deuteronomy 8:3-4)
He is God’s prophet (and more) because He’s teaching God’s message
He is our Shepherd (Number 27:12-20)

Why Jesus came?
To teach and lead His people.

What He expects of people?
Share the Gospel despite the rejection and guide people back to God (Mark 5:7-9, 12)
Not relying on anything else but God and His word (Mark 5:8 and Deuteronomy 8:3)
Repent (Mark 5:12)

Saturday, 10 March 2012

John Carter (movie - 2012)

At first, I thought it would be another cool-effect-shallow-story movie. I went to see it just because I don’t like missing out. However, it turned out very well.

The movie John Carter was based on a book written by Edgar Rice Burroughs (the writer of Tarzan). The first series of the book was publish in 1912, called “A Princess of Mars”. Edgar wrote the story from the point of view of John Carter’s nephew, Net.

The story began with John Carter’s sudden death. He inherited all his wealth and his personal journal to his nephew, Net. From there, Net discovered his uncle’s journey to Mars.

Although Edgar didn’t go to the tiny details of Mars civilization – what do they eat, how do they cook, and all their daily habits, the whole cities, races, fighting equipment, and politics of Mars were very well thought and constructed. Having this ideas executed in a massive cinema screen in 3D, it was just overwhelming.

It was also interesting (in a good way) that Edgar didn’t portray women as the “weak ones” in the story even though it was written 100 years ago, whether he did it in purpose or not. Also, Mars seemed to be free from racism. Unfortunately, the story only allowed one human being to be the representative of the whole earth, and he was a white man – he didn’t represent the whole human races on earth and he wasn’t even in the dominating race (based on number). It also had the classic arrogance of being “the only one who can save the world” – in this case, Mars.

Overall, it was a very interesting story, full of great imaginative ideas, and it was very well put and well thought. Go see it and judge for yourself. J

Much love

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Babi Buta Yang Ingin Terbang

Babi Buta Yang InginTerbang, in English, The Blind Pig Who Wants to Fly (2008). A very interesting movie, that I have to write a review.

The movie focused on the life of the Chinese Indonesians in Indonesia. A dentist who wants to fit in so bad, he cut his own eye lids to make his eyes bigger like the indigenous and he converted into Islam. A tennis player, who played internationally for Indonesia. There’s this one scene where she was playing against China and a boy in the audience asked his Mom “Which is the Chinese one, which is the Indonesian one?”. She had a mental breakdown ever since. A boy who’s from Manado, a place where the Chinese and the indigenous go along well because they all look the same – like Chinese. He’s got teased at school because people think he is a Chinese and he has a Chinese friend, the girl who eat the firecrackers. She believes that the firecrackers could chase away the evil spirits.

The timeline goes back and forth between the present, the past and the pig. Showing the difficulties of living in Indonesia as Chinese descendants and how much these characters crave to be REAL Indonesians. Stevie Wonder’s I Just Called to Say I love You is sung throughout the movie and strangely combined by the teenage boy and girl to a video of the May 1998 riot. The movie ended with the little boy and girl sitting outdoor in front of a bonfire, chatting. The boy thought the place was haunted and the girl threw the firecrackers into the bonfire.

I personally could not relate to this movie. Indeed, I am a Chinese Indonesian, I did get teased at school though nothing really serious had ever happened. I lived passed the May 1998 when many Chinese people were persecuted and murdered, but apart from the news, I did not notice anything unusual around me, perhaps because I was too young to. I’ve been through the days when I was scared of the indigenous, later when I hated them, later when I could tolerate them, later when I was so proud of being an Indonesian – though I was a Chinese descendant, and now when I'm learning to love them and see the race and nationality as something that is given by God and to be used for His glory.

How come then, that I could not relate to the story? First of all, throughout my life, I was taught to be proud of being a Chinese and most Chinese around me (except for maybe those who are intensely exposed to interactions with the indigenous people) were proud of being Chinese. We kept our language (except for those who live in Jakarta) and cultural practises very well. There never once occurred to me that I wanted to be an indigenous Indonesian – that thought is just impossible. In fact, we might had seen the indigenous quite inferior, that the only reason for this social injustice is that they outnumber the Chinese people. Secondly, this Chinese family speaks Indonesian at home instead of Chinese and they speak Indonesian very well – all of them. My generation and my parents’ generation would speak Indonesian well, especially if we live in Jakarta (my cousins from the other cities have accents in their Indonesian, but their Chinese is a lot more fluent), but my grandparents’ generation, not many of them speak Chinese. If they do, of course not fluent, with strong Chinese accent and funny sentence structure and use of words. Except for my Grandpa because he’s always been working and he has Indonesians around the work place whom he has to communicate with. He even speaks Javanese, one of the most popular Indonesian dialects.

Also, in the movie, the indigenous Indonesians (the “pribumi”) are described as ignorant and arrogant people. Some of them might be, in every race and nationality there is such people, but not all of them. They might tease you, but if you respond well with humour, they will let it go and you will get along with them. They wouldn’t attack you unless you do something very offensive. You don’t have to be an indigenous Indonesian to have such a reaction towards people who offend you – it is quite normal. In fact, many indigenous Indonesians (or at least the ones that I know) are kind and educated enough to hate racism. Also, the racism is not something that is done by the indigenous to the Chinese. The Chinese are racist too. It's just that the Chinese is the minority, thus we become the victim of racial discrimination.

So, overall, I’ll give the movie 6 out of 10. It addresses a real issue in the society in an interesting and artistic way, but fails to represent it accurately. It is bias, antagonising one party instead of representing the perspectives of both sides. I would not recommend this movie, especially for those who don’t really understand the issue because that could lead to misunderstandings. However, it could be watched critically, just to get the sense of the racial tension. Well, that’s it.

*and yes, I downloaded the movie for free. It is a piracy. The reason is because I’ve been looking for quite a while, but I couldn’t find it. If you find the original legal DVD, let me know. I’d like to buy one.

Friday, 23 September 2011

I'm too sad to tell you.

I found out about this performance by Bas Jan Ader in 1971 when I was researching for my arts essay. It was from the book The Artist's Body by Warr and Jones. I ended up using Joseph Beuys' I Like America and America Likes me. However, the work I'm too sad to tell you got my interest. I thought, the next time I cry, I'll document it. A few days later, I did cry and I took photos of it.

When I just saw the work in the book, I might have reacted just like any normal person towards a postmodern art work - What the heck? How is recording your crying an art work? I always thought postmodern art works as something fun, but it could only be meaningful if you study carefully what's behind it. Otherwise, it's just some fun.

When I first saw the work, I only saw it as poetic and again, fun. However, doing it myself is another story. Crying, unless you're a drama queen or a crybaby or an actual baby, is not something that you do in public, unless something really really sad happens. Only the closest people see you cry. If someone who's not so close to you cry in front of you, I'm sure it will feel a bit awkward. They just expose you with their private part of life, their private face, with you, without asking your permission.

This is how it felt like, crying in front of a camera. I treat my camera as a daughter. Her name is Nikyla. Nevertheless, knowing that what she recorded would be published, I felt like crying in front of an audience. It didn't happen at the first try because my survival instinct told me not to cry in front of other people. I finally started crying when I could finally see the audience as people whom I could share with. I let you invade my privacy.

Uploading the photos to the internet is another story. Letting the images of me in such vulnerable state being accessible to such a large number of people, I felt like my weakness was exposed to everyone. I wasn't worried about the strangers. I worried about my friends and family; people who know me, but don't know me enough to see me crying. They must have some images or impression in their heads about an Areta. Now that would change after seeing those photos. What would they think? It was also embarrassing, like when your teacher asks you to come to the front of the class to do something and you just stupidly fail and everyone's laughing at you and harshly judging you.

Then, having lack of response despite the exposure - in simpler words, the photos got quite many views, but not many comments. Back to the closeness of the people to me. For my friends who are not that close to me, it might be awkward for them to see me crying, although it's just in photographs. Also, isn't it weird to put up such photos publicly? Everyone wants to be seen happy and cool in their photographic representation in social media, right? Even if in the real life, they're just... Ordinary. They might be thinking, this girl is nice, but weird and a little dumb. I don't wanna be involved in this - something along that line.

So, what's the point of all this? I was just having fun, but I think it's good to challenge your social expectations. The fact that we were taught to "behave" and thus we expect others to "behave" too. Adults don't cry in public unless they have a very good reason to. If anyone doesn't follow this rule, it makes you feel uncomfortable. Not that I'm pro-crying-in-public or anti-social-norms, I do "behave" (or I think I do), but I'm just poking around your comfort. If you feel annoyed, just tell me to piss off.

Anyway, a week holiday is coming. The next privacy invasion project is Tracy Emin's bed. If you have that common people reaction - what the heck? and so on, try doing it yourself. Take a photo of your bed BEFORE you try to make it look nice to impress your parents who are visiting this weekend. Just after you wake up. With all the mess and dirt. Then, post in online. Then report back to me, how do you feel about it?

Click here to see the complete collections.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Marketing and my sanity

I haven't been updating this blog for ages. I have tons of university assignments and I thought I didn't have time for this, but really, writing is one thing that keep me calm and sane. So, this time, my assingment is on Marketing subject. Basically, I will be reflecting on my lectures for the last 7 weeks and relate it to a company. The company I chose is McCafe from McDonald's. I work there as a barista and I'm in love with it. The deadline is tomorrow 9AM, which is less than 12 hours. I don't know if I can survive this. If I don't make it, that's normal. If I make it, I'm a genius - I just started a few hours ago and it should be approximately 5000 words.

Anyway, at the moment, I am trying to write a reflection on the second week's lecture. It was on Strategic Planning. Some companies take it for granted, maybe because it sounds very ideologic and not really applicable, but really, without it, you're just lost.

Basically, it's something that defines and directs a company. It has three levels - top, middle, and bottom. The higher it is, the longer it lasts and the broarder it is. The lower it is, the shorter it lasts and more specific it is. The top one is what we call top level management. It's responsible for the mission and vision of the company and long term strategic planning that would last for at least 5 years. The middle level management plans detailed functional planning that supports the top level planning. While the botton one is the most specific, detailed, and practical planning. In terms of McDonald's, I would say that the top level is something like the McDonald's Australia. The middle one is the head office of each state in Australia. The bottom one someone like is Ben, the owner of the Maccas store I work in (and some other stores). Unfortunately, I don't have enough time to check with my lecturer if I get it right or not. My fault, my bad time management - at least I'm better than last semester.

Anyway, can't really write more. Have to get back to the paper. Hope to write more later, cuz knowledge is really to be shared.