In brief...

I'm a Nature-lover, aspiring conservationist, and wannabe traveller in search of outdoor adventure.
My interests vary from conservation to education to heritage to Nature (biodiversity & wildlife) to outdoor activities to life in general.
They occupy most of my waking moment.
Do read my blogs, follow me on Twitter (@jocelynesze) and friend me on Facebook (subject to my discretion). Visit my Nature blog, Nature Rambles, at http://natureramble.wordpress.com.

UPDATE 2 Apr 2017 - This site is no longer maintained, please visit jocelynesze.wordpress.com if you're interested in more recent writing.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Affirmations and aspirations.

Just a quick post, cos it's business as usual here again, and there's never enough time to finish the things I need to do.

Anyway, so last night I was at the award ceremony for this Young Person of the Year award thing that they have in the UK. I worked with Cambridge Hub last year for the Climate and Sustainability Forum, and through them was inspired to start the Nature Society as well, so the coordinator for Cam Hub nominated me and two others who're in Cam Hub for this award and we actually made the finals. I don't think any of us made much fuss about it cos I guess we're all past the stage where we need that kind of public affirmation for what we're doing. I do think the concept and idea of trying to improve the image of youths and acknowledging positive role models for youths is good and the winners were all deserving of their award/prize money. But personally, having a friend (or anyone, really) come up and tell me that I've inspired them in some way, or I've made them think more about how environmentally friendly they are etc, gives me more satisfaction and motivation than any award could.

Anyway, so during the event, we had to go up on stage and answer a question, and mine was "so I understand that you want to be a conservationist. I'm gonna be controversial, and ask - why?" And I gave a feeble answer, something about the beauty of the natural world and wanting future generations to be able to experience it too.

Which is all well and good, but what I wish I had said was this: "How's that controversial? I guess many people don't realise or know it, but we as humans are actually highly reliant on the natural world and ecosystem services that they provide, and without all that, we wouldn't survive. At least, that's what we say to world leaders and policy-makers. But I guess why I want to be a conservationist boils down to a more fundamental and intangible reason, in that I find an innate beauty in Nature and the biodiversity on this Earth is just mind-blowing, and all that is disappearing at an astonishing rate. It would be tragic if future generations never got to experience all that. And more than just wanting to be a conservationist, I also want to educate, and let everyone, especially kids, know more about the other creatures sharing the planet with them."


Which is why I guess I'll never really be a politician or Someone Important. I don't like media attention and I can't answer questions on the spot. I can't think of a single instance when I actually managed to answer a question on stage without regretting what I said and/or wishing I said something else instead. It's much easier to write, when you've got more time to think about how to craft your sentences to mean what you really mean, and you can think through all that you want to say. Though at the same time, it means that you can't quite so easily go back on your words, cos it's saved somewhere in the exact words that you typed.



Anyway, it's time for me to actually start some of my work, instead of being wholly unproductive in academic terms.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Human rights - modern slavery.

Today (16 October 2013) is Blog Action Day, but I didn't participate cos I haven't really had the time to write a proper blogpost (I'm still stuck on another blogpost for my Nature blog).  The theme is Human Rights, and one of my friends posted an article on Facebook that reminded me of human rights/Blog Action Day.

My friend is amazing (she's in a society called Hot Choc Soc that aims to extend a helping hand to the homeless in central London), and through her I learnt so much more about modern day slavery as in human trafficking (of both women, children and men), into the sex trade and other manual labour industries.

"The injustices women and girls have suffered due to trafficking is indeed of concern; however, there is a need for a shift in the conversation. Human trafficking, and sex trafficking in particular, is not just a “women and girls” issue: it is a human issue." 
 http://www.fairobserver.com/article/boys-too-forgotten-stories-human-trafficking 

This article just brought to mind that there's so much that goes on unseen by the average person on the street, yet if we knew about it, surely it wouldn't be brushed aside.

"The way each shirt was sewn, at least in that factory, was astounding for the number of steps each takes, the details and the tasks, the repetition and the relentlessness. Like most people, I had never thought of it before." 
http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2013/10/11/i_got_hired_at_a_bangladesh_sweatshop_meet_my_9yearold_boss.html 

This article was particularly gut-wrenching, since it involved kids, girls of an age when they should be going to school and playing hopscotch and generally enjoying their childhood. Not working in a factory.

While I feel like personally I can't really do anything about the sex trade (I sure hope I don't indirectly contribute to the demand in any way), it particularly frustrates me that we all need to wear clothes, and so much of what we wear/own are made cheaply by these people who aren't even paid a decent living wage, and it's terribly difficult to find ethically sourced clothes – even harder than finding organic, free-range, vegan food.

In any case, I find it very jarring that in some places, people discuss the right to own arms as a human right issue, while in other areas, people don't even have control over their lives. Yet more media attention seem to be given to the former, while issues covering the latter aren't adequately mentioned in mainstream media. We may not be able to do much, personally, but if we can perhaps bear them in mind, and pray for them, that would at least be a start?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

And we descend back into depths.

I kinda feel like Cambridge terms are like the depths of the oceans. Summer has been a lovely long break, where we surface, breach and generally enjoy the joys of the rest of the world. I've been back in Cambridge for a few days now, and that feels like I'm swimming at the surface, slowly descending to the depths. Now that lectures are starting (on a Friday for me, yay!), we've been plunged back into the deep dark abyss.

So it's my second year here, and I'm no less excited. If anything, I'm even more so, knowing that I'm committed to a bunch of societies and that there are all these things that I wanna do this year. Unsurprisingly, I have quite a bit on my plate this year, and academically speaking, I'm hoping that my strong interest in the subjects (ecology, animal biology and geological sciences A) and various miscellaneous activities will help augment and complement the academic work I have to do and tide me over. I.e. I hope I won't be struggling to keep up with academic work.

It looks to be a brilliant year ahead though, on top of the subjects I'm doing, I'm taking basic Spanish which will hopefully be useful in the future. If I manage to get the hang of it. Apart from the Nature Society, I also have the Cambridge Climate and Sustainability Forum again, as well as the Southeast Asian Forum which I'm on the committee for. And with Saturday lectures out of the way (cos I've got an awesome combination of subjects!), I'm really hoping to be able to climb more, go on some hillwalking trips and pick up caving and dancing. And as usual, there are tonnes of really interesting talks going on in town that I would love to go for.

All that said though, term's barely started and I'm already sleep deprived - not looking good for the rest of term.

In any case, I'm glad to be back, and I'm also looking forward to Christmas vacation (in 8 weeks).