Seminar Tasks

Week One Task: Introducing yourself with a small video.

Week Four Task: Create and present a series of selfies.

A selfie of me and other girls in our house during the Chinese Spring Festival. I’m a member of this one-year ’family’.1

A selfie in the Boston Common Library, as a tourist.2

A selfie after making-up, modified with certain App, a little bit narcissistic…3

A selfie for the Student ID card, took with selfie stick. Kind of formal in posture and expression


Week Five Task: Tracking ourselves.

I used an App called Bohe (Chinese pinyin) to record my meals and exercises because its food list  suits more to Chinese people’s lifestyle. During these two days, I found myself tended to behave and live healthily, like eating less or even skipping the dinner and trying to do some basic exercises. Maybe I just did not want to feel embarrassed when showing the screenshots to others. But I believe that “recording calories”, to certain degree, will keep you being aware of what you intake and what exercise you have done today, thus generating the motive power to encourage you to live more healthy. However, I still doubt how many people will record in a persistent way…12

Week Six Task: Review the Circle.

As a new international student here, I have to admit that The Circle is the first English novel I read. But, I really cannot get into it because the world created by the author is absolutely not what I admire.

The premise of The Circle can be really attractive to those of us who are living in the digital age and social network: an IT giant, assumed to be a combination of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and maybe all the other IT companies you can come up with – is monopolising the world’s information and claiming ever-increasing ownership on people’s private lives. In this world, there seems to be no human rights or privacy, no doubting of the motives of a private company offering you free services in exchange for your independence. Everyone in this world seems to think it’s a grand old idea.

This plot has reminded me of a similar context in the British series, the Black Mirror, where a chip or a micro recorder is inserted behind the ear of every citizen to record their daily behavior. People can replay or even delete the content, but this will also make changes to their memories. In that story, the hero was driven mad because he found his wife and his friend betrayed him by replaying and slowing down the memories in their recorders and noticing some details that can be the proof of their love affair. In that context, their memories can be shared with others only when they are glad to or required to prove something, but this has already had the power to drive people mad. However, in the world created by the Circle, privacy can be shared and dig without permission, then it is not hard to imagine what a hell they are living in.

Even though I do not like the plot and the context, I try to keep on because, anyway, that is the coursework of our reading week. However, when I nearly finished, I have to say that apart from the freaky world, Mae, the protagonist, is also a freak! She blindly and unquestioningly accepts all the requests her company demands of her. Not once does she ever put up an ounce of resistance when she is being told to share even the most personal and private details of her life. I kept expecting her to, at least once, say “no” and storm out. While, she never does. All she does is apologising profusely and sacrificing more of her personal dignity. It made me want to grab her by the shoulders and scream at her. Towards the end of the book I even loathed her so much I was actively hoping for some suitably nasty end to her pathetic existence. I really cannot understand her over obedience and compliance to those unreasonable demands. And when I found this novel had been made into a movie with Emma Watson as the leading actress, I felt kind of pity for Emma because she has always been admired by fans for advocating the rise of feminism and gender equality.