Sunday, February 13, 2011

Movie Review of 'Tootsie'

  Michael Dorsey, a male chauvinist, may be a fine actor. However, the fact is, as his agency boss friend shouts to him, ‘No one in New York wants to hire you!’The drama producers think he is ‘too tall’ or ‘too short’ or’ too pushy’, or in a word, ‘too difficult’. He always insists on the way he wants to act the role while refuses to listen to the director’s orders. 

  Michael decides to try the role of Dorothy, Nurse Kimberly when his actress friend, Sandy is turned down for this role in one TV opera show. Dressed in curly wig, high heels and waist skirt, and with heavy makeup, Michael surprisingly wins the favor of the show producer. His unique performance -- showing some masculine behaviors while speaking in a soft and wired woman’s voice, immediately captures the audience’s interest, which lets him become a TV comedy star overnight whom men and women both love. However, the life of being a man woman at the same time is not easy for Michael. He finds himself being madly in love with his partner actress, Julie, while still making the promises to Sandy, who loves him. Even worse, Julie’s father and Dorothy’s partner actor both love Dorothy, which gets Michael into a lot of troubles. 

  I find Michael’s experience very amusing because all the things happen to him seem very random.  Michael is a failure as an actor yet is a success as an actress. He has all the masculine characters, such as stubborn and self-important. He considers his own values more before he takes the role of Dorothy. Thus, in order to be the best Dorothy, Michael tries his best to fit in the character of an aged nurse, dressed in her way and behaving in her way. And, Julie, the girl Michael loves, is another reason for him to be more feminine, being a good listener and considering more about others’ feelings. That’s why Michael says that ‘I’m a better man when I am a woman.’ 

  Nevertheless, Dorothy is still a man. No matter how hard Michael tries, it’s impossible for him to hide his strong side. When Ron, the doctor, tries to kiss Dorothy in the show, ‘she’ jumps up and hits Ron. Dorothy also resists Ron’s orders if ‘she’ doesn't want to do the thing. Dorothy’s power against men makes her very popular among female audiences because women see Dorothy as their hero who dares to struggle with men’s power and be independent. On the other hand, the strong side of Dorothy, a woman, is especially attractive to men, who assume that women are always weak and soft. When men find someone like Dorothy challenges 
 their ideas, they become excited and chase after her who seems very hard to get.  
  During the process of playing Dorothy’s role, Michael learns to be considerate and independent. In fact, Dorothy has become a part of Michael, even after he finishes the show. This shows that even Michael, such a male chauvinist, finds his own way to become more approachable and understand women better. Any man is able to do that. Men and women may not be fundamentally different. But if they are treated differently and never try to understand each other’s way of speaking and interpreting, there may be greater gender gap occurring.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Japanese men and women in Singapore

  When people talk about the unequal social status of men and women, it’s not difficult to come up with a group of people such as Thai and Japanese. In fact, I haven’t realized that Japanese are that traditional till I read some chapters of Japan and Singapore – A multidisciplinary approach, which is the textbook of SSA2205 (Japan and Singapore). When I talk about traditional, I am referring to the long-term developed social norms that most Asians share, such as respecting old people and difference between man and women. 

  It’s very interesting to find out that male expatriates take up a great percentage of the people who come from Japan to Singapore. Most of them are sent by the main companies to be in charge of the ‘daughter companies’ (kogaisha). As dealing with managerial work, these men are strongly encouraged to marry early in their careers as a sign of maturity and responsibility. Hence, when they come overseas, many of them will bring their wives and children to Singapore. Their wives, however, who may be active career women in Japan, give up their jobs and come to Singapore to support their husbands and bring up their children. Although this phenomenon is related with the strict migration policy of the Singapore government, which makes it hard for other types of migrants to find work here, we can still learn about the different power that Japanese men and women have due to their traditional norms or social structure. 

  Another point I would like to raise here and I think it’s very debatable. It’s known that Japanese pay very much attention to the nature. For example, Japanese kindergarten in Singapore follows the exact system and schedule as those in Japan. Although Singapore has only one season, those kids are still taught to remember the seasons and their corresponding festivals in Singapore.  Also, though Singapore is famous for delicious food, that doesn’t seem attractive enough to hook Japanese people. Many prefer their own food; simply because Japanese food is so bland that they can easily taste the food itself. This reminds me of the huge power gap between men and women in Japan. Do Japanese structure their society in this unequal way just because they respect nature? Or could we say men are naturally more powerful than women?  I don’t deny that there are few excellent women who become the top leaders of the world. But could I make an assumption that even if we, women try our whole best become the dominate group, we still cannot reverse the situation because we are born to be powerless?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Post 1

HI everyone, I’m Yu Xian and you can call me Cosine. (That’s always the way I introduce myself.) Am I kidding? Of course… not, the Chinese translation of cosine is exactly my name. (My dad is a Math professor) It sounds a bit weird right? Just like someone tell you that her name is Calculus or Integration. At first, my English name is not Cosine. But since everyone likes calling me that, well, okay, I think maybe Cosine is the perfect name for me and of course, it is easy to remember. :D

Maybe I talk too much about my name. I am year one, from Mechanical Engineering. Many people ask me why I choose this course because everyone thinks that a girl like me would prefer learning Math and find a job in a bank in the future. But I think I should do something I enjoy such as physics and hands-on activities, although I may not be that good at them. If I don’t choose ME, I will never have a chance to choose it again in the future. As far for now, I am not regretful for my decision.

I really like the saying: ‘It is the decisions that make us who we are.’ That’s why I choose this course. I’m interested in this topic and I want to learn more about writing. Unlike most of my classmates, English is not my first language so most of the times; I hesitate to speak out my ideas. But I know I must change my attitudes and be more involved in class discussion. I will try harder and learn from you guys. :)

This video is a cut from Friends. It’s quite interesting because we can see that the Rachael and Ross use totally different ways to describe the same thing. Rachael remembers every single detail of the kiss clearly. For Rachael and her friends, the kiss can be their word of the day and they are apparently overwhelmed: they celebrate with wine and unplug the phone. However, Ross talks to his friends about the kiss calmly as if he tells his friends that he likes swimming. For Ross, a kiss is just a kiss; it’s a thing, not a world. 

Women are good at catching tiny details of men. Once they gather these details and their friends’ analysis of these details, they may easily draw conclusion like, ‘He definitely has crush on me.’ While for men, they have a goal in mind and they don’t usually pay attention to the details. Men cannot understand why women’s world is so complex yet women cannot understand why men’s world is so simple.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Final Reflection

The learning journey through ES2007S has been so enjoyable that I didn’t even feel time passing by. As a freshie, I really learned something which can benefit me in the following university life.
Something new
The most important skill I learned in this course is presentation skill. What I used to do is to present all the methodology, primary and secondary research. However, I learned from this course that we need to “sell” our ideas to the audience instead of talking too much on the work we do.

Also, I used to present things like I am reading a report. What I learned from this course is that presenting is more about the presenter than the slides. I should use more vivid examples or stories to engage the audience instead of delivering a lecture.

Suffering but happy
Blogging is a new and interesting topic for me. Actually, I felt a bit disappointed when I heard that we had to write our posts in a very formal way. To be honest, I do not like writing but I know that blogging will benefit me so I try my best to do it.

Afterwards I realized that the most suffering part is not writing the post but the commenting part. I had to comment meeting a certain standard. Sometimes, I really had to get all my brain cells to work but I really learned a lot during the process. I learned how to point out one’s weakness and strength. I felt very happy when I finished them.

I really hope that this course can last for longer time so that I can learn more and meet my friends more. I want to say a big thank you to Brad and everyone in this class. Your encouragement and our friendship have made this course an unforgettable experience for me!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Oral Presentation Reflection

Firstly, I want to thank my group members: Nan, Hau and Edmund for their contribution to this project. They really helped me a lot and I also have learnt a lot from them. In fact, I used to work on the slides a lot. I often try to put a lot of information on the slides and I haven’t realized that the presentation is about the presenters until I take this course. Also, for the same slide, different ways of delivering can cause different impact. For example, I talked about one slide about the estimated cost of the second solution. In my preparation, I just said that “the cost is… and we only need to recruit 5 more students per year…”. However, Edmund told me it would be better if we say “the cost is… ” and then ask the audience “is it a large sum of money? Nope, actually we can make up from…” I was very impressed by that point.

Anyway, I have to talk about my oral presentation today. In our discussion, we agree to make our slides as few as possible and use more pictures to emphasize our points. So I use many pictures without many words, like the old schedule, the changed schedule and busy YIH canteen. However, I feel that the transition of my slides is not well done. I also think the link between my slides and my speech is not highly connected. (Maybe it is because of my mistake during the presentation).

For the delivery part, I think the mistake during my presentation really affected me a lot. I was supposed to answer Hau’s question and walked to the stage slowly and confidently. However, it turned out to be that I walked to the stage frightenedly. I prepared a lot but it still happened, out of my expectation of course. In fact, I didn’t know what my gestures were because I was very nervous. However, I tried to keep eye contact with the audience after I remembered everything. I didn’t know whether it was effective or not because maybe I looked really stressed and my eye contact were no longer there.

I hope my mistake didn’t affect my group’s presentation too much. I wanted to say that I should have remembered the main points instead of the script and I will try my best to do it next time.