some thoughts on music

I’ve heard people say that music is the universal language. I think the appeal to music is really that anyone can listen and appreciate it, regardless of their ethnicity, age, beliefs, or any part of their identity. There’s that instant surge of emotion that it gives you, whether you’re a performer or part of the audience, and that emotion can unite and inspire many different people. To be part of something that has the ability to touch anyone, and to be touched myself, is what always draws me back to music.

 

I left home and said hello and goodbye

I left home and said hello and goodbye.
My parents sent me off to better me;
I grew up like a bird found wings to fly.

New friends–now family–took me up high;
they opened up my eyes at last to see.
I left home and said hello and goodbye.

So many friendly souls to call out hi,
make memories of truly being free.
I grew up like a bird found wings to fly.

On many days, I lay under the sky;
at camp, all of it seems meant to be.
I left home and said hello and goodbye.

In class, I learned to ask and learn and pry,
and learned not just to listen but decree.
I grew up like a bird found wings to fly.

At night, I danced and sung ‘Merican Pie,
the days of youth became life’s gateway key.
I left home and said hello and goodbye.
I grew up like a bird found wings to fly.
*Writer’s note: This poem is inspired/dedicated to CTY, a summer camp organization that I’ve attended many times. Each time has been a completely new and irreplaceable experience, so here’s my way of reminiscing those weeks. (:

The rain falls thickly through the windowpane- Poem

The rain falls thickly through the windowpane,
the forecast true to word, we rushed outside;
We start to sink knee deep in puddles’ chains.

We tried to wait it out in hopeless vain,
but young and free, it was too long to bide.
The rain falls thickly through the windowpane.

A muttered curse drops down the rusty drain
and drowns, one voice against the rising tide.
We start to sink knee deep in puddles’ chains.

We tried to brace the storm with cape and cane,
but Nature’s will is old and firm and wide.
The rain falls thickly through the windowpane.
Cold children with red noses and cheeks stained,
sit still in silence, watching the riptide.
We start to sink knee deep in puddles’ chains.

Drop, drop goes raindrops, driving us insane;
off one beat and our lives are turned like tides.
The rain falls thickly through the windowpane.
We start to sink knee deep in puddles’ chains.

Up on the mountain- Poem

We stood in the wind and watched the waves,
crashing below in tune with the clouds.
I wonder if under the water’s green,
a school of silver fish flashes in the sun,
and a lucky snorkeller found a sand-dollar.
We wondered these things on the mountain.

Everything moved slowly on the mountain,
while the tides kept crashing below into waves,
and the snorkeller ran up the shore with his sand-dollar.
Up above, all there is and ever will be is clouds
and the glowing face of the sun,
the rays giving life to the trees’ green.

We felt so small compared to the green,
tiny beings in the world of the mountain.
All we felt was the glare of the sun
while the fish glimmered and shone under the waves.
We kept walking up the path to the clouds,
while the man showed off his sand-dollar.

Why was it so important to him: the sand-dollar?
Maybe his life had been gray now turned green;
the idea of luck drew the sun out of the clouds.
We wished him a good life up on the mountain,
and the moon seemed to agree by lifting the waves,
turning day into night and gone is the sun.

We hiked down the red dirt in the fading sun,
hoping secretly to find our own sand-dollar
down at the shore in the waves.
We brushed past flowers and leaves green,
green brushes like a goodbye from the mountain.
Watching from above were the clouds.

We laid back and watched the clouds,
the shapes now dark without the sun.
I laid back facing the mountain,
its round hills like a sand-dollar.
The birds flew over the green,
while always moving, were the waves.

We watched the clouds and swam through the waves.
On the mountain we found our sand-dollar;
fading was the sun over the green.

Downtown Los Angeles- Poem

As the sun fell, we headed to the light
that is Downtown. We see the city’s strings,
the cars lined up on the road,
little ants under the Queen, the tower.
Red are the ants’ eyes, cooled by the tower’s blues,
while the whites and blacks are brought by the people.

It’s almost six o’clock, and the restaurants fill with people.
All the young couples laughing under small light,
while soft jazz plays its blues.
A man leans over to fix a woman’s dress strings,
while she gazes out at the tower.
A plastic bag floats onto the road.

The white walking-man let us cross the road,
stepping out into the milling people,
taking in the buildings that tower
over us in the growing light.
One by one, the eyes of the building blink on and the strings
of the lamps are cast in black-blues.

We enter the Hall, and the sound of brassy blues
awakens our minds and leaves our bodies on the road.
The trumpets and cymbals sing with the strings,
while the man with the baton holds the people
in awe, making them think they have found the light,
that they are soaring above the heavenly tower.

Some have tried to paint this tower
in the next building over, with vibrant blues
on a canvas that hangs in the light
of the Modern Art display. The road
crunches and screeches, and the people
file in and out–but never once have moved the canvas strings.

We climb to the top of the building, with the strings
of my hair blown back and the tower,
above us, watching over the people.
Memories drifted by in the wind and bittersweet blues
sunk into my heart and down to the road,
a city sprawled below and aglow with light.

The bow leaves the strings and the sun brings back light.
Warm are the people, relieved of their blues.
We look up one last time at the tower, and drive down the road.

#OscarsSoWhite is NOT over

Following the release of this year’s Oscar nominations, news outlets are declaring that the protest, known on twitter as #OscarsSoWhite, over underrepresentation of non-white races is over.

It’s not.

This year may have the largest number of black candidates ever, but it’s important to realize that non-white races include Hispanics, Asians, and many more minorities that received at most one nomination. The amazing black actors and actresses in “Moonlight,” “Fences,” and “Hidden Figures” have rightfully been acknowledged by the academy, but only two non-black minority have been nominated, which are Dev Patel and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Why are other minorities not being nominated? Well, the main reason is that there aren’t enough minorities that have lead roles. Hollywood has become infamous for “white-washing,” or casting white actors for asian roles, and because of this and simple harsh exclusivity, asian actors only play 1% (!) of Hollywood’s leading roles. (Check out this article for more: http://www.teenvogue.com/story/asian-representation-in-hollywood)

That is really frustrating.

Two years ago, coincidentally, my mom’s friend’s son, Ian Chen, was cast in the now-popular TV series Fresh Off the Boat. (by the way I highly-recommend watching it) FOTB is known for being one of the few TV shows with asians in the leading roles, and the actress who plays the strict but lovable mom, Constance Wu, has bravely spoken up about the lack of asians in the industry. In an NY Mag interview, she points out that the rarity of such a show like FOTB “shines a light on how invisible Asians were previously in the industry.”

She and other minority actors and actresses are stepping forward to the issue. But, real change will only happen if the people at the top of the industry realize, admit, and face head on the #SoWhite problem instead of a dismissive “sorry.” The nominations may be more diverse this year, but the issue is still real and raw, and hopefully, with more discussion and more attention, the nominations next year will be more inclusive.

I don’t know what I’m doing…

Around this time, high-schoolers (including me) are starting to think about what they’re going to do over the summer. Summer camp apps are almost due, and as always, I’m just starting to fill them out. Most of the summer camps that my parents deem “useful” are ones held at prestigious colleges, so of course, there’s a higher level of competition to get in. For the past week, I’ve been writing essays for one of these competitive camps and, while faced with the prompts about my “hopes and dreams” and a resume that I need to submit, I realized… wow, I don’t know what I’m doing.

Whenever I’m asked what my interests are and what I want to do in the future, I say that I want to write; doesn’t matter about what, I just want to write. As a kid, I learned how to write an essay faster than I memorized the multiplication table, which is kind of sad now that I think about it. Anyway, English is my preference, and when I looked at what I’ve been doing for the past few years in terms of writing, I felt like I wasn’t doing enough to expand that interest. So, that’s basically why I’m starting this blog: to put my thoughts out there and hope someone reads it. (and also out of guilt from reading other all-around perfect applications haha)