Follow my Existential Exile. . .

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Romans 12:2

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

I think the challenge of any educator is not to simply share information with your students but to convince them that with this knowledge and God given talent they can do great things. I had my senior level students fill out a survey during the first week of classes for the October term. "What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What do you enjoy about design? Why are you excited to graduate?" These were a few of the questions I asked. "I don't think I'm good at anything, I need improvement in all areas. I don't think my work is that great. I'm not." –was a response I received. Clearly this student needs to be empowered. It's interesting how their personalities show through their work. Just like the somber responses to the survey, this young girl's work made use of various colors of blue. Almost every piece was blue. Along with her colored contacts. Must be her favorite hue. Well, what about yellow, aquamarine, aubergine, or hot pink? If you can not venture out and use different colors to create a harmonious design for your client, then my dear, you will not last as a graphic designer. Hopefully, with some coaching, by the end of the term no hue will go unused in her portfolio and she will boldly express to her interviewers how talented she is.

Who told this student she was not good? Is she overly self critical, or is their a disapproving voice in her ear at home? (Or as Pastor Moss would say, "Stop listening to the Crows in your life".) How has the communist society brainwashed this young girl? her family and friends? As I spend more time in Vietnam I am asking more questions, getting to know various opinions about the way of life in Saigon.

I had an interesting conversation today with a young man, Vietnamese ethnicity, but raised in France. I am not sure how we got on the topic of superiority/inferiority among different ethnic groups in a society but he made an interesting statement, "Some French men, they come here to Saigon because they miss the colonialism," How so? I asked, "They know that as an older French white male with money they will STILL be treated with more respect from most Vietnamese especially in restaurants and bars. So after spending several months here, even the nicest man will turn into an asshole because he is used to the "special" treatment her receives." Hmmmm, so after several years of being colonized by the French, Vietnamese still have a colonial way of thinking, they see French culture as something to be revered.  Sounds similar to the "slave mentality" still lingering in Black America.

My student made a comment about living/working in Vietnam. "I would not work in Vietnam, at least not right out school." Why? "It's just not good there's no film industry here, I don't like living here." So if something about your society is not good, how do you make it better? "Man, only God knows that answer!" I'm starting to feel a trend of hopelessness coming from these students. Can't say that I blame them. How do you transform your way of thinking, your friends thinking, your parents thinking, your neighbors thinking when everyone in your society lives in fear of your government?  What makes Ho Chi Minh City more progressive than ol' Saigon?

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