Old Memories: Joys and Tears – Forgotten, Not?

Long gone memories surged like a shot of adrenaline after scrounging through some old stuff that I left behind at my brother’s guest room before I moved to Hong Kong after College.  Joys and tears surfaced.  There were:

Just to name a few, my textbooks (kept the books that I though might be useful when the time comes): Economics, Hotel Development, Human Resources Management, Accounting/Finance (which I almost failed miserably, but still have some basic knowledge…)

Two books that I read and loved: Tim O’Brian’s ‘In the Lake of the Woods’ and Buchi Emecheta’s ‘The Joys of Motherhood’

Don’t know why I kept all the school handbooks…

Reference materials (Yes, I lived in the era where dictionaries are not online or with the operating system):  Oxford Pocket English Dictionary – the best dictionary that I’ve used thru Junior High School to College.  Collins Gem Pocket English Dictionary – great one.  I used for quick reference through elementary-grade school.  Roget’s Thesaurus – kind of helped a bit more than a dictionary to learn some of my vocabulary.  Collins Gem French Verbs Dictionary, which it’s all out the window even after French 4, probably some listening is still ok?!?

For those who grew up in the same era and loves gadgets and technology, you’ll get a kicker from these:

Saw the Intel Pentium I “Intel Inside” sticker on my desktop computer, think it runs on Windows 95 – probably with all my papers and essays, including college essays are there.  Ewww, would be embarrassing to read them!

My first ever laptop computer: only the manual though, The COMPAQ Contura series. Have no idea where the hell the actual hardware is… Laugh out loud.

My Texas Instrument TI-82 graphing calculator – yeah, those parabolas and quadratic equations.  And I’ll admit it, I did try punching in the alphabets to try to cheat on tests – but of course, it never happened coz it takes too much time to enter everything; or it’s a class that doesn’t allow calculators – DUH!

The amazing Cathode Ray Tube monitor: SONY’s Multiscan 15-SF II.  I looked at the box – it was able to produce a whopping 1024 x 1280 resolution at 60Hz with color temperature adjustment.  Not to mention the ultra-flat screen (at the time…)!

Oh, and the keyboard from dinosaur ages to kids these days: IBM original PS/2 keyboard.  It’s built like a fortress, it’s great for self-defence or when you’re pissed off with your boss… “Whack!” – and then I just sat there and picked out a random passage from one of the books – started typing.  The clicking was soothing.  Because I learned typing skills from that keyboard, everything was so familiar, I raced through with approximately 65-70 words per minute or so?!?

Then, I found the SPECIAL SOUVENIR EDITION, titled ‘5-days in History: Hong Kong Handover in Pictures and Words’ (6 July, 1997) from  SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST (Hong Kong’s only English newspaper that is not free).  I still remember the actual ceremony that was held in the evening, it was summer break and I was the bus boy picking up all the glassware out on the streets while everyone was celebrating in Lan Kwai Fong – for Oscar’s Restaurant and Bar.

Great photos and a few quotes that I think those who lived and still living in Hong Kong should remember:

“I have relinquished administration of this government”

Mr. Chris Patten (Last Governor of Hong Kong prior to the handover)

“The Basic Law protects, in full, the rights and freedoms of residents”

Jiang Zemen (Former President of The People’s Republic of China)

“We need to make sure our interests are looked after”

Tung Chee Hwa (First Chief Executive of Hong Kong)

“China couldn’t allow it to be said Hong Kong did better under Britain”

Mrs. Margaret Thatcher (Former Prime Minister of United Kingdom)

Hong Kong: being a place that I grew up in, whether it may be a British Colony or a Special Administrative Region, I don’t think it matters much to me now after seeing so much for the past decade before I returned to the United States.  The above words have said enough and needless to say, the future of Hong Kong lies on the people of Hong Kong.  As much as I would love to still have Hong Kong be a second home to me, I’ve lived the times of Hong Kong from 80’s through 00’s and I treasured the time being there.  I miss my school, I miss my teachers that taught me – I miss the apartment complex that I grew up in and a few other iconic landmarks – I worry about my Mother and Grandma and I think of some friends that I made.  Other than that – there’s nothing left for me to stay in Hong Kong, but I do have the status for the “Right of Abode”…

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How Many Mr. Wendal’s Are There?

Arrested Development – Mr. Wendal
“Here have a dollar
In fact now brotherman, here have two
Two dollars means a snack for me
But it means a big deal to you
Be strong, serve God only
Know that if you do, beautiful Heaven awaits
That’s the poem I wrote for the first time
I saw a man with no clothes, no money, no plate
Mr. Wendal, that’s his name
No one ever knew his name ‘cuz he’s a no one
Never thought twice about spending on an old bum
Until I had the chance to really get to know one
Now that I know ’em, to give him money isn’t charity
He gives me some knowledge, I buy him some shoes
And to think blacks spend all their money on big colleges
Still most of you come out confused
Go ahead Mr. Wendal
Go ahead Mr. Wendal
Mr. Wendal has freedom
A free that you and I think he’s dumb
Free to be without the worries of a quick to diss society
For Mr. Wendal’s a bum
His only worries are sickness and occasional harassment
By the police and their chase
Uncivilized we call him but I just saw him
Eat off the food we waste
Civilization, are we really civilized?
Yes or no, who are we to judge
When thousands of innocent man could be brutally enslaved
And killed over a racist grudge
Mr. Wendal has tried to warn us about our ways
But we don’t hear him talk
It’s not his fault when we’re goin’ too far and we got too far
‘Cuz on him we walk
Mr. Wendal, a man, a human in flesh but not by law
I feed you dignity to stand with pride
Realize now that all in all we stand tall
Go ahead Mr. Wendal
Mr. Wendal
Mr. Wendal
Mr. Wendal”

This song was released in 1992.

That was 21-years ago.

It equates to a child to become fully responsible for himself/herself.  The age you can legally purchase alcohol.  It may seem it’s a lot of years, but if you see it in eyes of a father or a mother; 21-years are like a blink of an eye.  Time flies and times have gone by, yet how many of the things the song mentioned have we eased or just added to a list of more serious problems and issues that the Congress are bickering about?

 

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This brings me to think of a documentary that I mentioned in previous posts:

The One Percent

(Directed by Jamie Johnson)

Those who are able to gain wealth,

will continue to gain more –

But how much more is enough.

It’s never enough until you realize –

money does not equate to wealth.

A life in a full spectrum of colors is wealth.

‘Motions’ in the Speed of Light

It’s been a while that I’ve sat in the movie theatre with a bunch of kids.  Today, I did at Warner Theatre in Ridgewood, New Jersey – watching ‘The Croods’.  Normally, I would find it annoying to have kids making all the noise while I put my brain to rest to be mesmerized by the computer graphics (CG).  However, I’ve quite enjoyed it to get a glimpse on the reaction of kids on the latest animation in motion picture.

I was floored myself by the CG.  I was amazed by the colors.  I liked the subtleties of themes and messages being communicated.  I saw accents of Disney’s characters with the Tarzan crouching pose and the tiger/bobcat with features from the Sultan of Aladdin.  It’s all good – I grew up in the 90’s, so it’s only normal that I can draw similarities to some of Disney’s classics.  Everything evolves – model years in cars, seasons in fashion and so does animation.  I’m just happy for kids these days to be able to experience such detail in animation.

It then struck me to notice a few things at the beginning of the film:

  • Young kids’ learning curve is extremely fast.  The curiosity and restlessness of kids with the constant inquisitive question ‘Why?’ – completely muted after 10-minutes of the film.  I think the reason kids asks ‘Why?’ is because they are a clean slate, a blank piece of paper – that has nothing to connect the dots, draw the references to and memory to recall.  It’s a good thing that they do ask ‘Why?’ – I think it just means that they are hungry for knowledge, to learn.
  • This also makes me think that how parents ‘Answer’ the ‘Why’ is quite important.  I don’t think a “Because I say so…” or “Just do what I tell you to…” or make a huge elephant drawn out of your buttocks…  There should be an explanation, some reasoning behind it to guide the child toward a process and structured type of thinking, to slowly introduce them to critical thinking and analytical skills that’s important in science and mathematics.
  • For sensitive questions, I do think that parents should be humble enough to say “You know what? Good question. I don’t know the answer.  Let me ask dad/mom and I’ll get back to you.  Remember the question though – ask me again at bedtime.”  Of course, parents can quickly consult with each other or simply Google or Wikipedia the subject and give an appropriate answer.
  • Young kids are able to adapt to new environments at a fairly comfortable pace when the basics and background is set forth to them – provided that it is an environment that triggers their fascination and amazement.
  • Therefore, introductions are very important.  Whether it may be something that they like or not.  Especially when it’s something they do not fancy.  Slowly ease kids into it with explanation and reasoning – while at it, parents may slip in a few house rules for kids to learn discipline.

 

Hands down, ‘The Croods’ has used the most number of color palettes and all the different color combinations possible in animation, since (probably) the Madagascar trilogy?  It made me think of ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and ‘Alice in Wonderland’ – in animation and CG.

As mentioned, being floored by the CG.  It’s simply an eye-opener for me to experience from the first ever CG created background of the ballroom on Disney’s Classics ‘Beauty and the Beast’, which was 22-years ago; to the eyes of Buzzlight Year and the fur of Sulley of Pixar; to the depth of – everything – in Croods of Dreamworks.  (Since I’ve dropped out of the computer games world since Super Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros – that’s all I can reference to…)

The advancement in CG and animation in these 22-years just tells me that the power of computing and processors has leaped tremendously.  A standing ovation to Intel, HP and everything in between that makes it possible!

In the process of doing so, one thing that made me slightly worried.

I wasn’t even aware of it until the heavy action sequence was over and the kids gave the most wow’s and whoa’s – and all excited and restless again; hoping that there’s more to come.  Unfortunately, kids – that’s not in store.  The focus shifted to be on action sequences and I think some kids just lost focus on the themes that the film are trying to convey.

 

What worries me is:

  • When the perception of motion got the most reaction and wow factor during the film.

 

The questions to me are:

  • Are we feeding too much ‘motion’ to younger kids?  It seems to me that the ‘motion’ acts as a stimulant to kids and they are so used to it now that even the most dramatic and scenic backgrounds with amazing colors doesn’t get the same wow factor.
  • To be honest, I thought that Disney’s Tarzan was fast enough, but compared to The Croods – I guess it’s nothing to kids these days, or am I stuck in the 90-00’s?
  • How much faster in motion can a child’s brain process?  It seems to me that if motion, the speed of moving characters, from foreground to background can drive so much wow’s and whoa’s – while the rest becomes irrelevant; is this a sign that kids visual stimulants are pushing the boundaries that may drive future learned behavioral problems?  Like addiction and already being covered by NBC News recently that the rise of ADHD diagnosis in children has risen quite a few percent in the past decade or so?

 

Below are some thoughts that maybe helpful in further research and studies:

(DISCLAIMER: these are strictly personal thoughts and opinion.  It has no documented research data to prove its effectiveness.)

  • At infant to toddler stage of child development, parents may expose children to colors.  To start off with, a ceiling of blue sky and white clouds in a baby’s room?  Start with primary colors, then secondary – then complementary, then different shades and tones?  Once they are familiar with colors, expose children to scenery of nature that adds complexity to single color/tone/shade?  I do think it helps in jump starting our innate sense of creativity?  When in this day of age everything is highly competitive, should we think about the importance of creativity that enables us to think out of the box to solve problems? To be the next Steve Jobs? To be the next United States President?
  • Ask pre-school and kindergarten teachers.  Kids who uses all their colors in the box of Crayola crayons tends to dream in color?  They fill the paper with everything they can dream of?  And those who are depressed and stressed; those who have gone through dramas in their living environment uses only a single color?
  • In addition, instead of ever fast moving ‘motion’ – maybe we should turn back time a little bit with the old-school flash cards and Sesame Street?  It’s a simple yet effective way of introducing ‘motion’ and adding memory skills to children.  I’m not against the use of your apps on iPad or tablet – but in small doses and the suitable apps at different age?  Or maybe again, I’m stuck in even further back the 80’s…?
  • As children get into grade school, the introduction to ‘motion’ gradually increases, so does how ‘fast’ or the frames per second increases.  I think might train the brain to process information faster as children grow up.  The rate that we process information takes practice.  I do not believe the ability to grasp all the data being sent from all our senses at the rate of 60 miles an hour is something we’re born with.  It’s just like the first day on behind the wheel driver’s education.  Only a handful that can floor the gas pedal that ends up smashed up against the garage door!  Again, the question is: does sensory overload at a young age may induce risks of behavioral problems?
  • This probably applies to music that kids listen to.  I’m not going to get into what’s appropriate or not.  But the number of beats per minute in any song should be gradual. Again, trains the brain to process sound.
  • With the above in mind – by the time in junior high and high school, young adults are well equipped to have both the creativity and the brain power to excel in more challenging subjects and courses?

Last word of this post: I love Duplo, LEGO City and Technic… it has colors, it gives instructions to learn in a step by step diagram and when it’s all boring – it’s taken down and I built whatever it is… LOL 😀