Businessmen and businesswomen confidently striding down the Mid-Level Escalators in Hong Kong. A sunny sandy beach, and men dedicating themselves to the glorious local food scene in Spain. A page from history that remains a divisive force between people decades after the event has occurred… These images, and many more, sum up my three-month summer. These three places will now forever be linked together in my mind – despite their obvious differences and distance from each other.
During my internship in Hong Kong, I analysed the dynamics behind the Legislative Council (Legco) election earlier this month. I really liked designing and developing my own syllabus, and giving myself deadlines while noting down the directions that I would choose to take. This was a valuable learning process for me. I fully embraced the role of professor, and roughed out general directions and required readings for each day. Nothing is ever set in stone though, and I had to be flexible with what I planned.
The next project I did during my summer was very different. When my friends and I talk about our summer adventures, what I tell them about this project really amazes them.
Funded by Pomona College’s Iberian Grant, I went on a grand food tour in Spain. I didn’t just eat my way across the country of course, although experiencing Spanish cuisine firsthand was certainly a significant part of my time there. I was there to explore the evolution of Spanish gastronomy in relation to the country’s shifting regional and national identities, as well as examining how external forces like globalisation affected it.
The final part of my summer was a five-week politics research project focusing on Sino-Japanese relations, especially Chinese responses to apologies by the Japanese in regards to the atrocities committed by Japan during the Second world war.
I found myself fascinated with how the politics of apologies has been used as strategies by people across different historical periods – not just during the Second world war – as well as the specific strategies each state would choose to adopt.
Summer 2016 felt like it was very long. I got to enjoy quality time with my friends and family members, I read Murakami novels during long, lazy afternoons and I had time to learn new songs.
At the same time, the summer wasn’t long enough. It feels as if I have barely scratched the surface of all the topics I explored.