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by Yi Nok Ryan on September 9, 2013

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CAS: CAS Project LO7 Reflection

by Yi Nok Ryan on January 31, 2018

LO7 states that the student recognizes ethical issues, is able to explain the social influences on one’s ethical identity, takes into account cultural context when making a plan or ethical decision, identifies what is needed to know in order to make an ethical decision, articulates ethical principles and approaches to ethical decisions, shows accountability for choices and actions, is aware of the consequences of choices and actions regarding self, others involved and the community, integrates the process of reflection when facing an ethical decision and shows awareness of the potential and varied consequences of choices and actions in planning and carrying out CAS experiences.

The CAS Project I participated in allowed me to reflect on our ethical values, especially within its context. Are we ethically obliged to assist those in poverty? If so, why is it that there is such a huge disparity in economic status in Hong Kong (i.e. some of the wealthiest and poorest people live in Hong Kong)? Even if we were ethically obliged to do so, it would not be realistic to continually support these people financially (after all, we have our own finances to worry about and thus there is a limit to what we can reasonably do for them). Therefore, I concluded that, just like my Project, we should be ethically responsible for providing those in poverty with the means – opportunities – to get themselves out of the poverty line instead of leaving them stranded with no means to escape.

Within our Project, I would say that there were no ethical conflicts of decision: after all, we are trying to assist those in need. How could ethical problems possibly exist there? However, I thought about it and it seems that an ethical issue arises in terms of the scope of our program. We only went around Sheung Wan and Central, and could made 20 boxes worth of meals every week. This would help 20 people with their lives, but what about the rest of those in poverty? Are we ethically responsible for those in poverty outside of these two areas/districts? Where does our “boundaries” for serving start and end? I refer back to my previous point (in LO6 Reflection), where one of the purposes of the program was to inspire those to do the same. Thus, we are ethically responsible for doing as MUCH a we can, but beyond that the community should be doing the same, and that together it is possible to assist those in poverty at a national level.

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CAS: CAS Project LO6 Reflection

by Yi Nok Ryan on January 31, 2018

LO6 states that the student recognizes the global implications of local issues, is able to identify global issues in the local or national community, shows awareness of issues of global importance and takes concrete and appropriate actions in response to them either locally, nationally or internationally, gets involved in CAS projects addressing global issues in a local, national or international context, develops awareness and responsibility towards a shared humanity.

My CAS Project is focused on the local issue of poverty in Hong Kong, specifically within Sheung Wan and Central. There aren’t really global implications to this issue, but rather that this issue (i.e. poverty) is seen everywhere around the world – it would be hard (impossible, perhaps?) to find a country that does not have people living under the poverty line. This is no doubt an issue of global importance as the first goal within the United Nation’s 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.

My CAS Project is predominantly within a local context, as well as within a national context. One of the main purposes of the program I participated in was to inspire others who “tried” the program to become more personally aware, sensitive and responsible to those in need and to perhaps create a similar program in other parts of Hong Kong.

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CAS: CAS Project LO5 Reflection

by Yi Nok Ryan on January 30, 2018

LO5 states that the student shares skills and knowledge, listens respectfully to proposals from peers, is willing to take on different roles within a team, shows respect for different points of view and ideas, makes valuable contributions, is responsible for participating in the group, readily assists others and is able to identify, demonstrate and discuss critically the benefits and challenges of collaboration gained through CAS experiences.

Between Roger, Jonathan and I, we almost had to constantly “share” our language skills, specifically Cantonese. As all of our “targeted audience” spoke Cantonese, it was important that we had to be able to communicate with them in Cantonese at a sufficient level. However, none of us are particularly good at that level of Cantonese (except maybe Jonathan). As such, we had to constantly help each other out with vocabulary when we were stuck in expressing something.

We were participating in a group, which is the program that we participated in. We also took initiative in executing the roles and functions of being a member of that program. We spoke to those in need, and we offered them meal boxes. We prayed for them when they asked for it.

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CAS: CAS Project LO4 Reflection

by Yi Nok Ryan on January 30, 2018

LO4 states that the student demonstrates regular involvement and active engagement with the CAS project, is able to foresee potential challenges to the initial plan and consider valid alternatives and contingencies, demonstrates adaptability to uncertainties and changes and gets involved in long-term CAS experiences and CAS project.

Roger, Jonathan and I have demonstrated regular involvement and active engagement with the CAS Project by participating in the program whenever possible, meaning we were actively engaged in our CAS Project almost every week. And instead of just meeting the minimum requirements of a CAS Project (one month) we continued participating in the program for a total of at least 2-3 months. We also joined that group again a while later for a one-time free haircut (with refreshments) event that they host annually. This also means that I have participated in a long-term Project.

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CAS: CAS Project LO3 Reflection

by Yi Nok Ryan on November 7, 2017

LO3 states that the student demonstrates knowledge and awareness by building on a previous CAS experience, shows initiative by launching a new idea or process, suggests creative ideas, proposals or solutions, integrates reflective thoughts in planning or taking initiative, is aware of roles and responsibilities when designing an individual or collective CAS experience, shows responsible attitude to CAS project planning and is able to develop a coherent action plan taking into account the aim or purpose, activities and resources.

For my CAS Project, there was less initiative by means of creating new plans and/or ideas since our activity was for the most part was already structurally set based on the organisation we were integrated with. However, we were able to take existing ideas and use creative ways to improve them, or propose ideas to better carry out our task. For example, Roger, Jonathan and I noticed how the route seemed to overlap quite a lot and so we suggested to remove the overlaps to maximise our probability to meet more poor and homeless people and deepen our impact to the community.

For our group (i.e. Roger, Jonathan and I), we did to a certain extent assign responsibilities. Roger made the group chat for which we used to communicate ideas and/or to figure out the days on which we participated in the activity. I was the photographer, taking some photos for proof as well as just documenting our journey as a whole.

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CAS: CAS Project LO2 Reflection

by Yi Nok Ryan on November 3, 2017

LO2 states that the student participates in an experience that demands an appropriate personal challenge (this could be with new or familiar experiences), is willing to become involved in unfamiliar environments and situations, acquires new skills and abilities, increases expertise in an established area and shows newly acquired or developed skills or increased expertise in an established area.

My CAS Project revolves around unfamiliar environments and situations – after all, conversing and serving the poor is not something that occurs daily for me. By doing this, I am more knowledgeable about the poorer areas of Hong Kong and the people who reside in such areas. I am also now better at communicating with those people and know more about their lives.

The personal challenge from this experience was the activity itself. The serving of the poor is a relatively new activity for me and so the personal challenge was to get good at it, be familiar with it, and to obtain better social skills when conversing with the poor.

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CAS: CAS Project LO1 Reflection

by Yi Nok Ryan on November 3, 2017

LO1 states that the student is aware of own strengths and weaknesses, is open to improvement and growth opportunities, is willing to participate in different activities, is able to undertake a thoughtful self-evaluation and is able to see themselves as individuals with various abilities and skills, some more developed than others.

Through my CAS Project, I have demonstrated that I am willing to partake in an activity that is not available in school or in extra-cirriculars. As I expressed during the duration of the CAS Project with Roger and Jonathan, this activity is a very unique experience and is not readily available for the most part.

My strengths lie in my attentiveness, care (in terms of accomplishing tasks) and reflective abilities. When we are preparing all the food and materials for our service Project, I complete those tasks (e.g. preparing the food into food boxes) with heart, not simply as another random chore. I make sure that those food boxes are packed properly and cleanly. When we go out and ask the poor how they are doing (the group I am integrated with has a strong relationship between themselves and the poor), I listen very well and I learn more about them and their lifestyle. I am able to reflect greatly upon what we did after each time in terms of what I was able to learn from our conversations and other visual observations.

However, my weaknesses lie mostly in terms of initiative. Whilst I am very good at stepping back and passively learning more by means of attentiveness and listening, I am less active in terms of engaging with those we service. That is, I tend to speak less to them and listen more to what they say. Furthermore, my lack of confidence in my Cantonese-speaking abilities is probably why I decide to listen more than I do talk. Roger tends to talk more to them than either me or Jonathan.

Thus, my stronger skills lie in listening, awareness, and reflection whilst my weaker skills lie in social skills, Cantonese-speaking skills and initiative.

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CAS: Global Issue Engagement/CAS Project

by Yi Nok Ryan on November 3, 2017

The global issue I will engage with is poverty, wealth and power globalisation; specifically, I will be looking at community-based projects on poverty. I am currently at the planning stage out of the 5 stages (investigation, planning, action, reflection, demonstration and celebration).

This is the service project which I plan on joining:

Screen Shot 2017-04-26 at 9.30.27 am

In English (some of it may be “directly translated”), it says:
Caring for the Poor Small Group – Sending Warmth/Love
The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor. (Proverbs 22:9)
Targeted people to serve: People in need within the district/area, including street sleepers (i.e. the homeless) and scavenging elders (i.e. elders which earn a living by collecting scraps of material to sell)
Content/Activities: Share/distribute food, materials (ex. heat packs in winter) and individual care/love, etc.
February to March Plan of Action: Make food boxes at 7:45 every Friday night, then go out to the surrounding area at 8:15.
We ask our brothers and sisters to regularly participate at least once a month, (personally volunteer?), and ask for other brothers and sisters to join.

After identifying the (CAS) project, which meets the CAS criteria (i.e. relevance to global issue), I moved on to the next step: planning. First, I identified the purpose and goal of this project. The purpose of this project is to help those in need (i.e. those categorised as in poverty); the end goal be more aware of poverty in Hong Kong by gaining a deeper, first-hand understanding of it.

Secondly, I had to identify the presence of collaboration and teamwork. The collaboration will be between the members of the project group, and to a lesser extent the other two CDNIS students who will participate in the same project (Roger and Jonathan L.). This teamwork will most likely be in the form of communication, for example perhaps the identification of the current strengths and weaknesses of the project, thus identifying possible improvements to the project.

Third, I had to evidence that there was a genuine need for this project. And indeed, there is. Those living in poverty do not make enough money to eat healthy (i.e. proper food, or having 3 meals every day), and thus the project was created to help these people.

Fourth, I had to identify that the level of participation in the project was suitable for that of a CAS Project. Ultimately, I believe that the level of participation is sufficient for us: we are participating in the project (which is one of the several ways of evidencing Action in the CAS Stages), and there is an opportunity to collaborate and modify the structure of the project (ex. expansion of the project’s reach), which would be a higher level of Action.

Fifth, I had to identify the potential risk to students. In the end, I concluded that the project itself contained no risks. However, there are some risks based on the timing of the project; the project itself usually ends at 11, which means there is a possible risk of encountering dangerous individuals on the way home. However, Hong Kong is a relatively safe city, so I still believe the risk is not large enough to “call off” the planned Project.

Lastly, I had to thoroughly identify the benefits for all those involved in the project. For the targeted members of the community the project was trying to help, they will receive aid from the church and the project members. For the project group itself, the addition of three (student) members will greatly aid them in their efficiency and reach. And most important of all, the students will benefit by gaining a deeper understanding of poverty in Hong Kong.

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Edit (Written Post-Project):

I have already undergone the CAS Project, which shows Stage 3: Action. I implemented the plan I had along with two other students: Roger and Jonathan. Here are some pictures from our Project (we were not allowed to take photos during the actual service to respect the privacy of the poor and homeless):

The reflection stage will be distributed across seven different posts (for each learning outcome), and will not be included here.

The last stage, demonstration and celebration, is essentially the sharing of our CAS Project. This post exemplifies this stage – the creation of an iFolio post to document what I did.

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Critical Response to Article on GOST

by Yi Nok Ryan on October 18, 2017

Critical Response to Joe Holroyd’s Article on God Of Small Things

After reading Joe Holroyd’s “Dialectical Reading, Ideological Writing and Political Realism in Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things”, I believe that I agree, to a large extent, with Holroyd’s thesis. In particular, Holroyd writes that Estha and Rahel’s use of language are constantly varying and often allowing the reader to openly interpret the use of wordplay in various instances. For example, using the example of “Orangedrink Lemondrink”, Holroyd questions whether the use of this instance of wordplay is similar to a coping mechanism for the trauma inflicted on them (a conscious decision to use such wordplay), or if it is merely a symptom of childhood psychological trauma (a sub-/unconscious decision). I agree that many of these examples show up throughout the novel, (however) my belief on this aspect is that the children’s wordplay is purely of a sub-/unconscious nature. To raise another example, certain words are capitalised throughout the children’s narrative: I believe this is because those words (usually nouns) represent an object or idea which the children values strongly, however they themselves are not aware of such values, thus the capitalisation of such words (whilst technically the author’s choice) can be explained as a sub-/unconscious phenomenon.

Another concept I fiddled with after reading Holroyd’s article is whether GOST is a bildungsroman. Here, I define a bildungsroman as “a novel dealing with one person’s formative years or spiritual education, focusing specifically on psychological and moral growth which results in character change”. As Holroyd mentions, the novel can be considered as a piece of political criticism on India’s division of social class, as well as its communist system (which could be representative of universal phenomena). However, he also writes that the novel cannot be identified as Marxist or “institutionalised” because of the focus on Estha and Rahel’s language-use as a privilege – that is, their perspective is “true-seeing” and not corrupted by “big things” like structure, order and complete monopoly. Thus, I believe GOST can be viewed as a bildungsroman, where the focus lies within Estha and Rahel’s growth from childhood to adulthood. They begin as innocent, true-seeing children, and as the plot progresses they encounter a traumatic event (Orangedrink Lemondrink Man) that causes a psychological and moral shift in behaviour – a majority of these changes can be seen in their wordplay. Throughout the plot, we see the introduction of “big things” like India’s political situation, the Love Laws, and the Caste system. However, these only aid in evaluating the children’s psychological and moral responses to such issues which can be described as (previously mentioned) innocent and true-seeing. The last section of the novel is categorised as Estha/Rahel’s return home, where they have been psychologically separated as a result of physical separation from each other. Their wordplay no longer occurs as frequently, a suggestion of “growing up” or character change. Furthermore, the culmination of the entire novel’s events cause them to reconnect via incest, which is the most important “character change” to be noted. Thus, I conclude that it is possible to view GOST as a traumatic bildungsroman. The concentric narrative is perhaps the hardest to justify for this hypothesis (GOST is a bildungsroman).

In conclusion, I agree to a large extent Holroyd’s points made in the article, and the reading allowed me to develop my own ideas regarding the interpretation of GOST from various ideological, dialectical, and political perspectives.

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TOK: Certainty in History

April 25, 2017

What are some of the “problems” that may be a threat to “knowledge”? What kinds of characteristics might historical knowledge have? How can historians neutralise these threats to knowledge? Are there different kinds of knowledge claims in History?

Read the full article →
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