Author Archives: Clara Lai

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! This is my first time celebrating the Thanksgiving since it is not popular in the place I am from, Hong Kong. It is always something American to me and I didn’t know Canadians equally care a lot about the festival. It is a time to gather the family and friends and enjoy a good meal together.

I chose to spend my Thanksgiving with the church, going on a retreat in Hope! In the natural and peaceful environment, I regain strength and recognize the blessings in my life.


A Remix of Hong Kong and Vancouver

The Coal Harbour reminds me of the Victoria Harbour. Why not mix them in a sketch? These two places have so much in common and I love these two lovely harbors! The Star Ferry and SeaBus are equally iconic. Personally, I prefer riding on the Star Ferry as it is not air-conditioned and you can enjoy the sea breeze!

My Imagined Readers

I dedicate this blog to readers who love film. I would share the film that I recently watched and comment on the quality of the film.

I do not think my readers are imagined. They actually exist. There are many Facebook, Instagram pages online and they usually have thousands of follower. I think my readers exit. The problem is how to draw them to read my blog. I probably have to create more content and connect with other bloggers on film! In doing so, I am joining the blogging family!

Community Guidelines

Hi readers, welcome to my blogs. For happy reading and blogging, please check out the guidelines which applied to every visitor of my blog:

  1. No hate and offensive words. Any would be removed when violating this rule.
  2. Sharing of my content is allowed but please reference me in the post and put the link of my blog.
  3. Readers are always welcome to leave negative yet constructive comments on my blog.
  4. Respect one another. Engage in the discussion through comments!


Monetizing my blog?

I do not think that I would monetizing my blog in the near future. I consider this blog as my hobby. Turning it into a business could stress me out when you have to be responsive to sponsors and clients advertisement request. Who would love to be controlled, but not fully controlling the personal blog!

Personally, I do not appreciate the ads column. They turn the page layout less visually-pleasant. In addition, everyone is using adsblock now. The effectiveness of the advertisement is questionable.

Even if I want to monetize my blog. I would prefer writing sponsored posts for the company and therefore would not have unpleasant advertisement column on my blog. I would also make sure my readers know that this is a sponsored post. I won’t eliminate the possibility and opportunity of monetizing my blog.

Sharing parts of myself through the blogging journey

This journey is about self-expression, publicizing yourself. It has been a difficult journey for me. I realized the difficulty of self-expression and acquiring a different voice online when you have you can be identified by the reader. If I retained anonymous, the journey could be less stress. I truly admire those who can achieve

I truly appreciate those who can achieve self-promotion and self-expression in the digital, mentioned in van Dijck’s article. Using Facebook and LinkedIn as examples, van Dijck suggests the function of social media for connectivity and narrating a persona, be it professional or playful implies the existence of an online identity, which could be different from the private self and the ‘true’ self. In the blogging process, I experienced difficulty in self-promotion and self-expression. I think the reason is, I let myself out on the internet without being anonymous. 

It is tricky. On one hand, you want people to know your name so that you are recognized for your work. On the other hand, you fear how people see the ‘you’ you portrayed. Originally, I intended to blog about my personal journey in Vancouver, letting the readers know the pieces of my adventures. However, I found that it is difficult to share my personal life online. I am not comfortable enough to share my personal life with my imagined readers, who in some sense, are really strangers (back to week one)! What if they use my photos and use my identity for a scam? (My roomate became a victim of a scam which involves stealing identity recently.)When people misuse the social media, that is when problems emerge. This is why online scam, fake news, fake identity emerge. Where is trust? When people only think about their self-interest? I can hardly engage with a stranger, unlike James Hamblin. While I can see the strangers on the street, the hidden viewers are more alienate to me 

I am not ready to open up myself without anonymity and engage with ‘strangers’. This is why I have been struggling to post posts about my personal life throughout the semester. I, with my picture in my right-hand column, can be recognized and judged based on my posts. I have no room to hide! What if they use my photos and use my identity for a scam? (My housemate became a victim of a scam which involves stealing of identity recently.) Therefore, Suler’s view on the fact that anonymity and invisibility encourage users to express themselves is real. I could feel less stressed if I had hidden my name. My readers can focus on the content, but not on me. They can hence give a fair review of my work while I can distance from the threats of exposing too much.

This is also why I have shifted to write more about film, which seems more objective and informative than personal. I love film and I know people love films. The director of the film takes up a role similar to a blogger– being a storyteller through pictures and sound. This blog is a platform for me to tell my story. It doesn’t have to be me, but only part of the ‘true’ self shines. I can sense the agency of a writer, to narrate in your own style, as long as they are ‘true’ to yourself.

My imagined readers are now those who have seen the same film as me and are looking for casual discussion on the film. I infused my emotion and watching experience in the reviews and in doing so, I let my readers sense my personality, let them know that I am an emotional and real human being. This is a middle ground –to expose myself to a comfortable extent.

This is just a beginning I would like to continue blogging. Yet, I definitely have to tune my writing direction and find a balance between personal and impersonal, private and public. Writing on the film is what I feel like I can continue to develop and I enjoy sharing films I like and gain insights from them. I should consider including more images and videos on my blog. In addition, I have to create more content.

Hamblin, James. 2016 “How to Talk to Strangers”

Suler, John. 2004. “The Online Disinhibition Effect.” Available from: Cyberpsychology & behavior 7.3 (2004): 321-326.

van Dijck, José. 2013. ‘You have one identity’: performing the self on Facebook and LinkedIn.” Media, Culture, & Society

Window Horses (2016)

This is a film about family, culture and family. Life is full of unexpected encounters. While representing for Canada in an international poetry festival in Iran, Rosie Ming lands on her father’s homeland, Iran and discovers the intricate family history that was dictated by the political circumstances and one’s moral and beliefs.

Window Horses is an animation with thoughtful and heart-warming insights. As an audience, I went through an emotional journey of discovery with Rosie.  The flashback of her childhood, which is largely directed by the traumatic sorrow of the death of her mum, the disappearance of her dad and the drifting life from cities to cities with her grandparents. The character comes to a life-changing moment in her life, where she embarks her own life and searches for her own voice. Who knows she could reunify with her dad and gets to know the difficult story of her own dad. When the mystery is uncovered, you just can’t help feeling sorry for Rosie’s dad, who has been jailed in Iran for withstanding his political view against the government. This is why this film is also political. I didn’t expect the picture of the Tank Man and poet living on exile would be referenced in the film and I didn’t know the deep poetic tradition of Iran. The images and stories collected from around the world show Fleming’s global awareness.

The film brings the audience through a cross-cultural journey, narrating how people from different parts of the world are connected by an international poetry festival. The fact that characters are of different races and backgrounds and the mixed-race background of Rosie (Chinese-Iranian Canadian) conveys the fact that people can be connected with love and peace and can appreciate one another cultures. We are not that different from one another.

In the film, Rosie’s grandmother, Gloria, is from Hong Kong and settles in Vancouver. I found her personal history resonates with myself and probably many immigrants from all parts of the world to Canada. Considering the diversifying culture that Canada has, I am not surprised that the Canadian filmmaker would produce a film about staying open, being curious and building bridges between cultures and generations through the magic of poetry.

The animation is beautiful and artistic. The composition of scene and character are of distinctive styles. You will never get bored by the changing and dazzling background when Rosie suspends in the air with flowing strokes. The portrait of Rosie Ming is as simple as a stick person, contrast to other fully-drawn figures. The simple and bold figure of Rosie makes her stands out of other animation. It suggests a fact that well-produced animation does not necessarily require fully-drawn characters– the plot and message conveyed shape the film.

In the Q&A section, Fleming expresses her wish to celebrate humanity and care through her work. This was why my girlfriend ended up leaving the theatre in tears and I digesting the insightful quotes. Here I would like to share them with you:

You are looking for your story, so you would find it everywhere.

The more you learn about others, the more you deepen your understanding of yourself. This is a journey we are all on.

Incorporating transmedia

I am not a frequent poster on blogs and social media platforms and hence it is difficult for me to build up my social presence. After visiting Zoe’s blog, which is a great example of incorporating transmedia, I gain idea on how to raise your presence.

1. Link to my twitter account.
Your retweet signifies your active engagement on social media. Clicking a button means show your interest and concern on topics. When you have tweets of dogs on your wall, who can’t tell you are a dog lover!

2. Engage with other bloggers and influencers.
Comment on their posts! You will definitely get more visibility because of your comments. Visitors who love your comments is going to click into your profile and probably your blog!

3. Appear in various platforms
In the lecture, Lisa Manfield explained the power of reaching out on all possible platforms and gave tips on effective editorial. She showed us the fact that visual and video content attracts more readers eyeballs than texts. Make a video and picture for your posts could raise your online presence.

I am going to link my twitter with this blog! See you in Twitter!

Peer Review on Why am I like this

I was pretty impressed by the head image of Zoe’s blog. Her blog is a comprehensive one and I am have discovered various interesting topics, from her personal stories to media critics on film.

In terms of the menu, Zoe has a reasonable number of sections. She has Home, About, Personal, Posiel and Things I Don’t Mind in her blog. I think Personal and Things I Don’t Mind are two stunning sections and I am attracted by those at once. I clicked on ‘Things I Don’t Mind’ at once, where I found articles ‘Some Good Songs’. Zoe’s formatted the article with bolded song titles and a brief note on the songs. It is an article that readers can easily scan through. She used effective hashtags for the posts as well.

She has linked her blog to her Twitter which could direct her readers to find out more about herself. It is a good way raise her social presence on the internet. Linking to Twitter means she can update the online self without solely relying on writing a blog post.

I like how her blog is personal. It generates a sense that Zoe is approachable as she shares her everyday life with the audience. Her ‘Personal’ column consists of personal reflection on down-to-earth issues, such as friends and personal struggles.

In ‘Notes of Seasons Passed’, Zoe made a reflection based on random notes that she made. Each note has a story behind it and in concise sentences, Zoe has managed to share her angst and sadness effectively. I am like reading emotions and go through the ups and down as her. “They are my word but I am not theirs.” How sad it to feel like being an outside from a group. These shared feelings and thoughts made me as a reader, feel connected with Zoe.

To improve her blog, Zoe may fix the indent of her posts.  For example, the  ‘Peer Review #3’ is indented in on her home page.

The font size for the title is also larger than that of other posts. To make the layout more consistent, Zoe may fix the indent problem, making the post align to other posts. Similarly, in ‘Personal’, ‘Notes of Seasons Passed’ stands out from the rest of the posts because of inconsistent format.

All in all, Zoe’s online character is friendly and welcoming. I appreciate her ‘Personal’ column. With simple revision on the layout, her blog would be wonderful. I am sure Zoe’s blog will continue to flourish and I look forward to her new posts.


The Last Hour with the Internet

It is a scary idea to me.

My fear of losing Facebook, Youtube, news channels and other fun content that entertains me. This is when I know how the Internet has become an inseparable part of my life. But on a second thought, I think it is a good time to free myself from the overwhelming digital reality and put an effort into creating my real life.

It is easy for me to lose 3 hours online. It is almost an unconscious act. Imagine not picking up my phone once I wake up, won’t it bring me calm and peace? I will no longer be fed up with videos and news, pictures of friends, the urge of seeking attention.

All I wanted to do is to print out some of the beautiful pictures on my phone. Then, I will do nothing but wait for the second comes. I would like to feel how life would be without the Internet. Shall I start media fasting to get a taste of it? By then I will recognize the blessings of having the Internet.