what if we put children in zoos?

On Sunday I went to the children’s zoo in Battersea Park with my close friend. She suggested the idea and so naturally we went together. The park was quite small compared to the usual zoo, nevertheless it was a fun experience perfect for children. There were mostly farm / domesticated animals there with some small wild animals like monkeys to meerkats. And there were a lot of children.

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As a child I used to love going to the zoo, as I believe 99% of children like to do. The animals are fun and fascinating to look at. However, the question of the ‘rightness’ of how fun it is to look at animals in a zoo occurred to me when I went vegan (for 3 months) when I was fourteen (I am still fake vegetarian now – as I eat fish). It is a conversation I like to have with people – and in this post I write my scattered thoughts on the debate as I have not yet reached a definite conclusion.

Firstly, to put it simply, it is MEAN to put animals behind a cage – so why does it seem acceptable and as we say, fun to cage so many animals in a zoo? Some argue for the educational purpose; children get to see wildlife up close. Others say it is for entertainment. And if we were to put it straightforwardly, I think it is for human entertainment. We go to the zoo with our family and friends to be entertained for the day. And like many other areas in the entertainment industry, it is a business to profit off.

When I was speaking to my friend about this, we came across the idea that maybe it is okay to keep the domesticated animals (rabbits, guinea pigs, donkeys…) in zoos because they are already domesticated and don’t need that much space. But then again, why it is okay to keep some animals caged and not others (as why is it okay that we eat one animal but not the other)?

My friend and I agreed that we wouldn’t want to be kept in a zoo – then she remarked, unless she was an old and retired animal, then it would be nice to have a zookeeper take care of her. I thought it was a fair point. Maybe it does come down to the type of animal (as some zoos help in the preservation of them etc.).

So I suppose again we come back to the idea that it depends on the animal. Like people, maybe some don’t mind being the centre of attention and having cameras being pointed at them while some need more privacy and space to roam. As I say, I have not come to a definite solution – I say if the animals are well taken care of then I am happy to enjoy these animals as is so widely and socially accepted.

Bonus: here are a few photos I took on the trip (it is still sad to see these colourful creatures behind bars – especially the birds).

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Are you confused like me about the rightness of zoos or do you have a strong sense of right/wrong on this issue? Help clear my confusion in the comments!

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old (phone) pics

I feel this post is an updated version of a post I did back in October last year. In that post I wrote about how the trend of ‘retro’ photos have made a comeback in the form of phone apps that copy the concept of old cameras.

The app I am writing about today is called HUJI (not sponsored!) and unlike the previous app, it is free to download and does not require you to wait a few days for photos to ‘develop’. Nor do you have to use up a ‘film roll’ to start processing your photos. This one works like a normal iPhone camera, which automatically adds a retro filter. It then saves it to its personal album in the app where you can select the photos you want to download to your camera roll.

I must say I think I prefer this app, as it is a lot faster but also the photos are prettier (I find the other app too dark and this ruins some shots at times). This app adds an orange tone in daylight and a purple/blue tone in places with less light. It also adds the occasional light-leak. Here are some of my favourite shots I’ve taken so far:

These two shots I took when I was taking a walk with an old friend from school along Southbank. It was a rainy afternoon and I believe the purple tone of the filter captures the cold and wind of that day perfectly.

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The following shot is taken near my flat on my walk home. You can see the London Eye right ahead. Living near these ironic locations have kind of made me take them for granted, and this photo reminds me of the iconic beauty of the London Eye.

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The next shot is also taken on my walk home across Waterloo Bridge. I had just seen my friend in a play at our university, and again this photo helps remind me of how iconic and beautiful my ‘neighbourhood’ is. When I still had classes, I would walk across the bridge everyday and forget to acknowledge its view.

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Up next is a shot of our library, the Maughan Library (which one of my classmates has labelled: ‘my prison’ on Instagram before). The filter certainly adds a gloomy feel to the place, making it look like some Gothic castle (or prison). I’ve seen a few university libraries – and I’m proud to say that Maughan is my library.

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The next one was taken out of boredom whilst my friend and I were waiting for our lunch at a restaurant near the Tate Modern. We were a bit annoyed that the only items they were able to make that day from the menu were fish n’ chips or salad. Although the photo is ‘boring’, I still think it has a story and memory to tell.

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Now, this shot is a selfie of me. I suppose it is an ironic shot because it combines the retro camera look with the modern day selfie. Again I was bored and took this one night before bed. It makes me look like I was wearing mascara (but also emphasises the dark circles under my eyes!)

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These last two are taken on the day after I’d submitted my dissertation. It was taken in the park just outside Embankment station (I still don’t know the name of the park). These shots reminds me of a (Lana Del Rey) melancholic summer, as they hold a delicate and retro touch to them. It reminds me of poets and nature.

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Have you used any modern apps to recreate retro photographs? Let me know which is your go-to retro app! 

Watercolours

I am the sort of person to get ‘anxious’ when I have things to do – but ironically, I also get the same feeling, or even worse, when I have nothing to do. Having just finished the end of university with my multiple essays and final exam, plus a 10,000 word dissertation being done, I found myself with nothing to do. Therefore, I found myself doing a lot of painting.

I loved drawing and all things arts-and-crafts as a kid. I still do enjoy these things as an ‘adult’ but I don’t do them as much anymore, which is why I decided to start painting again at the beginning of this year. I usually dedicate Sunday afternoons to painting. I find it very relaxing and I like the sense that I am ‘creating’ something in my spare time. I enjoy the process of art and also the end product of seeing how it turns out.

My current favourite medium is watercolour, mainly because I am lazy. Other forms of paint require too much washing, opening tubes, mixing etc. but with watercolour, it is just an open palette of colours, a brush, and some water.

I don’t plan what to paint, I kind of just paint what I feel like painting. Here are some of my paintings and thoughts to go with them:

The first one is of some flowers that look like a cross between sunflowers and daisies to me. When I see this one, I think of the stereotypical watercolour painting of some flowers in a vase.

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The second one is also a stereotypical watercolour painting of some fruits in a bowl. I know my IGCSE Art teacher would not approve of them, as all the proportions and shapes are wrong.

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This third one is a copy of another watercolour painting I found on Instagram. Ironically, it also reminds me of Instagram models with their big eyes and wavy hair.

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This next one I painted in mind with wanting to explore some different hair styles. I like how the colours turned out and how they remind me of dolls. My friend says they look like they’re frowning.

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This one is inspired my some tomatoes I saw on a Sainsbury’s spaghetti sauce pot. Hopefully, people can tell it’s of some tomatoes from a birds-eye-view.

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The final one I’d like to share creeps me out a little. It reminds me of an orphan girl from some horror film. When I started painting this one, I intended to paint a boy but it turned out as a girl, which I suppose gives it an interesting twist.

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I’ve painted many more but these are some of my favourites.

Let me know in the comments which is your favourite one. Also, I’d love to see some of your paintings in a blog post! 

 

 

 

Your iPhone is now a disposable camera!

I have neglected this blog for a long time. I want to write more, so I plan to write even about the small, less ‘significant’ things in life. After all, you shouldn’t need an ‘occasion’ to write.

With today’s latest technology, our maths teachers have been proven wrong: we will have a calculator with us everywhere we go. Perhaps now you can prove your photography professor wrong too because there is an app on your phone that is a disposable camera. When I tell people of this app, they either think it’s genius or they just don’t get it, “but that’s just a longer way of taking photos!”

The app is called Gudak Cam and was first introduced to me a few week ago by a close friend who loves to take photos. The app basically looks like a disposable camera (with its very own view finder!):

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It acts like one too. In one ‘film’ you get 24 shots. Once you’ve used up the 24 shots, you ‘process’ the film and it takes 3 days before they are ‘developed’ (a.k.a show up on the app and you can save them to your photo library). There is no preview.

The three days wait is meant to imitate the real life process of having to develop film: going to the store, waiting time, and collecting. However I have read the app review section and some complain that you can get film developed in 24hrs these days. My friend also told me a trick, where if you fast-forward the date on your phone by three days, the photos become instantly available.

I said to her I wouldn’t cheat the system but when reality struck and I’d used up my 24 shots, I couldn’t resist the urge to do so. Although I do save my 24 shots and only take photos of ‘significant’ things – unlike some people who end up taking photos of the floor just to see what they’ve taken instantly (I mean, no judgement! that is pretty smart.)

Perhaps this app is testing our patience. Maybe it does put more value into the photos we take and the moments we’ve taken them in. Or testing our human capability (caused from impatience) to outsmart a pretty smart app. Or it could also just simply be a silly marketing scheme (only £0.99) for hipsters that aren’t really… Either way, I think it’s a lot of fun and I love it.

I am currently on my second roll of film. These are some favourites from the first set I’ve ‘developed’. I love the random light leaks, it almost makes the photos look magical:

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Tell me what you think. It is genius or you just-don’t-get-it?

P.S. #not-sponsored!

How to eat.

Seems simple right? So simple almost to the point that it seems silly to be told how to eat. However in today’s society, media is constantly telling us how to eat: what foods to not eat, how much to eat, how many calories, carbs, protein, macros… It’s easy to get carried away with the latest trends and become obsessed with how to eat, when in fact, it should be the simplest thing – a no-brainer – you do in life.

I used to be obsessed with calories. I would count all of them. When I was fourteen, I was so silly to the point that I would not eat a sweet (which was probably just 4cals) because I  was scared it was going to make me fat. However, I had my times of ups and downs (in weight and relationship with food) and I can say that to a large extent, despite weighing 10kgs more than I did when I was counting, I am more comfortable in my body than I ever have been. Confidence is really not a number but a feeling. More importantly, after over nine years, my relationship with food is starting to become somewhat normal again.

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I’m sure many dieters have come across the term: intuitive eating. With its fancy name, it sounds like another trend. However in my opinion, intuitive eating is just the fancy term for how we ate as children – or even how we were born to eat.

When I was a kid, I couldn’t care less whether I finished the food on my plate. I just wanted to go play the moment I felt my food didn’t taste as good anymore because I wasn’t hungry anymore. As a twenty year old, I get a sick satisfaction out of knowing I am able to finish everything on my plate despite my body saying its had enough. I believe this satisfaction is partly due to my restrictive past, where I would weigh out and calculate food and eat it even if it wasn’t what I wanted to eat at the time – let alone, if you body was hungry for it. I was completely out of touch with my body and myself.

Despite not being at my dream weight (although I am by no means overweight), I am claiming to be no expert on being ‘lean’, I believe I have come across the secret on how to have your cake and eat it too aka. how to eat and BE thin or at least a healthy weight natural to your body. That secret is: intuitive eating (eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full).

But I understand that for people who have gone through diet after fad diet, it’s natural to have lost touch with our intuitive appetite. What I’ve come across that helps to get back to eating naturally is a japanese teaching: hara hachi bu. This means to eat until you’re 80% full. It takes a bit of experimenting and practice to get the hang of but if you practice it enough, you’ll slowly start to hear your body again, and you’ll become your natural lean self again.

This teaching is beautiful because it allows you complete freedom. No more forbidden foods or overeating in calories. Nothing is black/white. You learn that if you want something you can have it, and funnily, you don’t go crazy when you have it.

Again, I am no expert in eating this way. I seem to love/hate overeating. I find that when I focus too much on my eating/diet then that’s when I tend to start gaining weight and find it most difficult to practice. When I am busy with my actual life (not revolving around food) then I start slimming down. Therefore, I find the secret is not to obsess over what you eat or trying to get this natural way of eating right. Listen to your body and it will happen naturally.

Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind that eating this way is not just for your waistline. What I find most liberating, is that it gives me the free to eat whatever I what and whenever I want – so long as my body (not my mind) is hungry. With this freedom comes time to focus on other things that are more important in life: my studies, friends, family, future career… which I believe is beautifully summarised in this quote:

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If you get one thing out of this post: remember that there are more important things than losing a kg in life. I’ve been there and I understand how fulfilling seeing the scale go down can be – but I find true fulfilment comes in leading a truly happy life, one where your time of day isn’t confined to and defined by counting numbers.

Trust me, I’ve never felt so full as when I’m fully living my life.

I want to be a housewife.

I am nearing the end of my time at university (I am over halfway at least) and the worry of getting a job looms. The last few weeks at university we have had some guest speakers come in to talk about our future career and opportunities. There were a few inspirational speakers and others who were quite dull and discouraging, yet all of them seem to say the same thing: it is a competitive world.

The other evening, I was talking to a classmate and her friend who was in third year (we are in second year). We ended up talking about our future plans and she asked me what I wanted to be. I said I used to be so sure that I wanted to be a writer but now I’m not so sure. The truth is, I am a person who hates competition – you’d rather let you win if that’d make you happy. And I am frightened by how competitive the field (world) is. She asked me again, ‘so what do you want to be?’ So I half-serious, half-jokingly said: ‘I want to be a housewife’.

Let me describe the look on her face and my friend’s face when I said these words. They were of shock and almost, pity. Ashamed, I hurriedly said: ‘I was joking’ but they knew I wasn’t really.

Fortunately I had to go and meet another friend. So I was saved by that.

I feel feminism is at its highest point – in the sense that, it is celebrated and praised in mainstream media. Yet if feminism is really for people being whatever and whoever they want, if it is for equality and the freedom to choose, then why should I feel ashamed when I say: ‘I want to be a housewife’? It is because being a housewife is considered less ambitious than having a ‘proper’ career? Or is it because being a housewife somehow fits into the “stereotype” of what a woman should be and therefore it is un-feminist?

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One criteria that I have when picking a career is that it must be something that I enjoy and find fulfilling. I believe that being a housewife is something that I can enjoy and is highly fulfilling, and therefore why should I not consider it as a future possibility? I believe I will enjoy cleaning the house, waking up to make breakfast, making packed lunches, cooking dinner, walking the dog, knitting in front of the fire, vacuuming the carpet, ironing my husband’s shirts enjoyable. And yes, I’d say I even enjoy doing the dishes. It is not the activity itself that is ‘fulfilling’ but the idea of getting to take care of those I love, which is. I consider that as honourable and respectable as any office job. And if I can be a housewife and write alongside that, then I’d be a very happy and fulfilled woman indeed.

Perhaps my idea of what I find an enjoyable and fulfilling career will change someday. But at least, today this is what I believe. I just wish people, girls like me, wouldn’t look at me as though I’ve just committed murder when I say those words. And that they’ll someday realise: I am no less woman for wanting to be a housewife.

 

Let me know in the comments what dream(s) you have that you are afraid of telling others of because it may be considered ‘anti’ feminist.

On being 5’0

So I’m not a very tall person (as you can see from the title). In fact, I’m short. Like, really short. My height isn’t something I’m insecure about (I suppose it used to bother me a little when I was younger but  I’ve (ironically) grown into it). The tallness of other people does not bother me. In fact the only time I’m made aware and feel uncomfortable about my height is when I find someone shorter than me (apart from children of course, but did I mention, I’m the height of the average 12 year old?). I am 152cm (although I usually just tell people I’m 150cm because sometimes the doctor tells me differently, so I just round it down).

There are times I wish I had long, super model limbs but there are also perks to being short like wearing a long shirt as a dress, a jacket as a coat, sneaking into tiny spaces, and not having to bend my neck when I stand near the door on the tube. But of course, there are downsides to being short (like not being able to hold onto the overhead railing during rush hour).

I thought it would be fun to do an ‘imagined’ Q&A on questions I think people would want to ask a super-short person but might think its too mean to ask. (I am by no means answering for all short people, the answers are specific to me).

Ask a Short Girl

What’s the weather like down there?

Honestly, I think it’s the same as up there, unless it’s on the tube at 8.30am during rush hour! Then sometimes I find my head burrowed in someone’s armpit.

How do you reach the top shelf?

I have tall friends for that. Or I just ask someone for help. Or I get a stool (if I’m at home).

How do you talk to tall people?

Ironically, my close friends have been pretty tall people. My best friend back in middle school was over 15cm taller than me. She was built like a model. One time another friend made a remark on how I’m making my friend slouch when talking to me! But that’s not true. You can talk to me standing normally.

Why do you like tall guys so much?

Okay, ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you I’m crazy about tall guys (by tall I mean over 6’0). I don’t have a direct answer to this question because there are so many. I just like how tall they are and their long legs! Or maybe, I can say it’s the whole feeling ‘protected’ thing.

What do you do with all that height difference? 

Get picked up!

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How do you find clothes?

I fit into normal clothes. If it’s jeans then I sometimes fold the legs up but they are fine down too. Sometimes, I shop from the petite section but it is not necessary.

You must wear heels all the time.

I actually am not a big fan of heels. Simply because even when I wear them, I am still short so I don’t see much point in it.

How much do you eat?

Despite my size, I can eat A LOT but I really shouldn’t. Being smaller means that I can’t eat as much as someone who is 5’9 and not face the consequences… a couple of kg’s shows a lot on me.

You must’ve been a tiny kid.

Funnily, up until about year 5 I was average height. In fact in year 5 I was on the taller side. I don’t know what happened but this changed when I reached the height I am now in year 8. I basically just stopped growing.

How tall are your parents?

They’re not short surprisingly. My Dad is almost 180cm and my Mum is 163cm. So I can’t blame my parents for short genes.

Can you walk faster?

I try! This is probably the only time I get annoyed about my height – especially when I’m rushing somewhere. Longer strides do no work for short people, we have to take quicker and shorter ones.

Something you dislike about your height?

I feel that sometimes being short means people take you less seriously, or you feel inferior. I once read an article somewhere which said that study has shown that taller women have better careers and shorter women make better wives, which is completely ridiculous (at least, I hope!).

Favourite thing about being short? 

Getting picked up! But seriously: cliché as it is, it’s something that makes me, me. I would not feel the same person if I were any other height.

Grown ups have told me, sorrow is caused by wishing we had the things we don’t have and wishing we didn’t have the things we do. In other words, we think the grass is greener on the other side. As a short girl, I can imagine some short girls wishing they were taller and I presume the same applies to some tall girls. Therefore, we should just embrace the height we are as it is what makes us our quirky and unique selves.