My holiday in Norway is now nearing an end. Mum, Morgan and I have a week of holiday together before Morgan and I head off to the UK for about five weeks. Although I started the holiday rather well with regards to schoolwork (self-taught a chapter of Chemistry in the first two weeks – yay!), I have been waking up later and later, and doing less and less schoolwork. While I think I can finally say I’ve caught up with all the sleep I lost during the first year of the IB, I have realized I need a kick up the ass to actually continue working and do something productive. Not to say that I’ve wasted my time – I’ve definitely done some productive things:
- My first-year, Emma (check out her blog here), came to visit for a weekend. We visited Fløyen, walked along Bryggen and saw some of the sights Bergen has to offer.
- I went to Oslo for a long weekend – it was the weekend of the UWC Norway intro-weekend and their parents’ meeting. Gustav and I saw the firstyears off to the intro-weekend before heading to the parents’ meeting, where, in addition to meeting the parents, we met some co-years as well as my fourth-year, Oda. Sidenote: I have now met my first-years, second-years, third-years AND one of my fourth-years.
- The rest of the long weekend in Oslo was spent with my uncle and cousin, where we went to an outdoors concert on Saturday and wandered around the harbourside of Oslo on the Sunday!
- Many many many barbeques/18th birthday parties. Many many. I think I’ve been to four parties in the last week. Phew.
- And then, of course, reacquainting myself with my beloved guitar and keyboard. While we have access to pianos in Hong Kong, they aren’t always tuned (the horror), and I didn’t bring my guitar to Hong Kong. I have spent a lot of time over the last few weeks learning new songs.
- Finally, I have been getting back to my ever-political roots – I went to am island youth council meeting to talk about UWC and slavery, and went to a local secondary school to give two presentations on UWC, democracy in Hong Kong and slavery in South-East Asia.
Continuing for just a moment longer on the political/social activism side of things, here are a couple of links with descriptions:
- In first term, Maisha (Bangladesh) and I gave a presentation on labour migration from Bangladesh to Qatar. Most people will know Qatar because they will be hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2022. FIFA has come under a lot of scrutiny for this decision, with many people claiming corruption has led to this choice being made. Maisha and I know Qatar for its “Kafala” system, which ties laborers to their employers in Qatar. Laborers cannot leave, buy property or cars or quit their jobs without their employer’s permission. This is bad enough in itself, but, as it turns out, many men from Nepal, Bangladesh, India and other countries are tricked into going to Qatar to work as construction workers in preparation for the World Cup. With harsh conditions, unfair wages (or none at all) and long working hours, these workers are effectively slaves. Last year, one Nepalese worker died every two days in Qatar. After the earthquake in Nepal earlier this year, many workers were stopped from traveling back to Nepal to attend funerals. In order to protest the labour abuses in Qatar, some people have re-designed the logos of the World Cup’s biggest sponsors – Coca Cola and Adidas, among others. Here you can see the new and improved logos.
- Sarah Jones is an extremely talented monologist. She has written an extended monolog, set in the future and looking back through BERT (Bio-Empathetic Resonant Technology) to 2016, where different people have been interviewed for their perspectives on feminism, prostitution/sex work and women’s rights. It’s a long video (about 25 minutes), but of excellent quality and offering many different ((real)) perspectives on the legality of prostitution, as well as whether prostitution can at all be said to be empowering. Here is the video, shown as a TED talk, which is a preview of the full-length play.
But now, I fear, I must actually get some work done. I’ve pledged to myself to finish Acids and Bases before the IB exam results come out (which is the 6th of July). The topic is proving to be a little tricky so far (maybe that’s why I keep putting it off?), so cross your fingers and wish me luck!