从芝加哥连夜开车回lansing，11号在hall of justice的一间法庭领了个证，几位朋友专门从加拿大过来，好多同事也来了。头一天和后一天都大雪，难得领证那天天气温暖，穿单裙在外面也不冷。老板晚上也去露了个面。之后和大家去了芝加哥过周末，把维生素送到机场。
The urge of talking about this has been itchy for at least a week. Finally, I decided to find a way to organize my thoughts and express the anger and anxiety in me, in a more rational mood.
This summer I was harassed by my former professor in graduate school.
When I was in Beijing I went to visit him. The last time we met was three years ago, and people need to show respect to professors/teachers in China, as a cultural tradition. He invited me to this dinner party that his phd student celebrating the graduation with fellows from his lab. The dinner went like any other Chinese official banquet, there is one person who has most of the power and sits in the center of the table while everyone else (12+ students) has to kiss his ass. I was never a fan of this kind of thing, but I also understand if I want to go back to china with a good job offer, it is obligate to attend.
Everything was fine until we switched venue to a karaoke bar after dinner. My former advisor was slightly drunk, in a pretty damn good mood, since this phd student landed a damn good job offer. Things started going down at the bar. At first I just feel he came too close. He sat next to me, skin to skin. Then he forced me to sing a love duet with him and staring at me and trying to hold my hand as an act for the duet. I didn’t finish the song and moved to sit to the other corner of the room because I already raised suspicion. What confirmed my suspicion is when he walked across the room and sat next to me, again, skin to skin. What made me feel worse is when he started to touch my back and waist, acting like he was too drunk to support himself of accidently touched my skin. The last straw is that he slided his hand from my knee down to my shin. I stood up and told the host, the phd student, that I need to leave because I’m still suffering from jetlag.
I was so angry that I was trembling on the taxi back to my hotel. I wasn’t sure if I was angrier at myself or at the professor, a married man, a teacher of mine, who did this to me. I am still not sure about the object of my rage even today. I called my good friend in Beijing and told him what just happened. I remember telling my friend in the phone that, (1) I told the prof I have a boyfriend, (2) I wasn’t dressed inappropriate, i was wearing a cardigan, and my dress goes down to my knees, (3) I didn’t flirt with him at all. (4) did he do this to me because he thought i am easy since my boyfriend is a foreigner? You see, Immediately I started to check if it’s me did something wrong, which may misguide him that I am interested to sleep with him.
It is not a solo instance. Now look back at my time in that institute as his student, he was trying to flirt with me from time to time. The most obvious one is that he offered to take me to some resort hotel outside of Beijing during weekend, which I said no thank you. But he didn’t dare to touch me physically back then. However, I did see him as a model or admired him as a student, and I didn’t tell anyone I had a boyfriend back then. And I am more open minded than any other fellow students in the lab. So maybe, perhaps, he is not the only one to blame? That is why I had the checklist going when I was in the taxi?
Every detail is still crystal clear. Every time I look back at this harassment and my time there as a student, I blame myself for not standing up against him at the scene and giving him a slap on the face. There were at least eight other female students at dinner, who are much younger, naïve, and innocent than me. I want to ask them if this monster being harassing them as well, and I want to tell them it is ok to fight back. But how could I? First of all, I do not know them and they know little about me. I have graduated from the lab five years ago and they only heard my name. I don’t know if he ever harassed anyone else. Secondly, which is more important, I didn’t stand up against him myself. How can they expect me as a role model? Lastly, the most important reason, is that, I have no idea where I can report him to? I am only an alumni of the institute, there is no liability issue from the school on me anymore. Moreover, I’m pretty sure even a registered student may have no place to file a complaint. People in charge may just let them shut up, or worse, give them a hard time to graduate for speaking ill of the professor who is in power. Students who report these kinds of things often end up with a slutty reputation as well (particularly if i was the only victim and my boyfriend is foreigner). So no one really wants to disclose those monsters. I’m also worried about the consequences apparently. Do I have any evidence that he harassed me? Students there in the same bar may see nothing. Since he only touched me and it’s not something worse, like many other victims suffering from penetration, people may just say, oh shut up, stop pretending to be a victim here. It is also that once I speak up, there is no possible network for me in this institute, it’ll be a bridge well burned. All these fears, these worries, stopped me from doing anything further. After that night, he texted me a few times while my time in Beijing, inviting me to dinner in private. I turned them down, politely. That’s the keyword, politely. I’m still so afraid to even confront with him.
During the phone call in the taxi, my friend tried to calm me. He is a salesman in a company. He said, yeah, it is really common that women in the workplace are often taken advantage. He has several female colleagues who have to deal with customers at dinner table from time to time. And because they need to sell products, there’s no other way but accept and suffer in silence. It’s a rule of thumb. There are other stories I heard from friends who work in China this summer. It is also true in academia, female faculty members will be invited to resort venues for meetings to “balance the gender”, which usually it’s the male professors are in charge of the meetings, and female profs are just there as dancing/dinner partners. Basically, escort. I’m sure same stories lying around and are easy to find. This makes me sad, how pathetic is the working environment for Chinese women. They already suffer significant prejudice from maternity leave and household responsibilities, which is worsen because of the second children policy. Now they are still being treated like a sex tool even they are as capable as their male colleagues?
I didn’t speak out when the #metoo went viral on facebook and twitter, because my case is cultural specific. Because of my background, I guess I’ll never be able to just blame the professor who gave me these endless self-doubt, or ever collect the courage to confront him or warn his students. Even this essay I’ll only post it on my personal website instead of share it on facebook like I usually do. But I do want to have some answers or clear thoughts on my other rage, to one of my friends’ reaction to this.
There are not many people aware of this assault. People I told are all my close friends that I trust. They are all very supportive and warm, offering me lots of assurance. However, there is this one friend, after I told him, asked me, are you sure he touched you not because he is just too awkward to show his affection to you?—The arguments with him is actually a trigger for my anger and willingness to write down these words.
To his question, I said no, it is not him being awkward, it is because this is not appropriate for him to do so. First of all, he is married, secondly, he was my professor and is still at a more powerful position than me. Then my friend raised an assumption, which is, would you still feel uncomfortable or unacceptable if he is young, attractive, unmarried? I told him that I may very likely to grow affection to this person, but I still think it’s not acceptable for him doing this. Especially you need approval before you can touch anyone! But I feel very offended by his assumption, it makes me judge myself that I only rejected him or feel disgusted because my professor who touched me against my own will is married and not attractive.
Not long ago we had a second argument, when the Hollywood harassment thing is going viral. This time this friend initiated the discussion. He said he doesn’t understand why people only feel powerless, to him, the predators’ behaviors are weird, which is not a power dynamic. This made me jump off my chair. I know this friend means no harm and we often argue about things. However, once again, I am extremely angry at what he just wondered. This sounds like the harassment victims are in a power equal position with those predators, and it is their fault to feel powerless and not fight back at the scene. You see, this is exactly what I have been blaming myself for. So, this time, instead of arguing with him, I just tell him to shut up. I told him, being a friend means you need to be supportive if anyone is going through a sexual harassment, not being judgmental.
I know this friend, as a victim himself once, has no intention to criticize me or blame me for not standing up. I still feel extremely angry at his tone. But later when I am less furious, I started to think if his argument has some merits. Maybe we do need to feel less powerless but analyze the predators’ behaviors so that we can find a solution? However, I can’t seem to be able to convince myself. Emotionally, I kind of still suffering the fact that I didn’t do anything to stop him, and this is why I am angry at my friend’s tone, because it is true that I did feel powerless and it is the reason I didn’t stand up, for myself and for others. However, that monster professor is the person who started it, it is not my fault not to feel his behavior weird, but rather disgusting, offensive, assaulting, and destructing. It is the society’s fault that women are often victims to these types of situation. Why they did it? Because they are sick. Because society gives them power to assault women at no cost. Is it weird? Should we think their behaviors as weird? I don’t care. It is WRONG for them to do so. WRONG, not weird.
Anyway, I’m still angry at myself today. For both not standing up, and for not winning the argument with my friend. This essay definitely helps to clear my thoughts and makes me less upset. I wish in the future, I can find peace with myself, and, the worst case scenario, if this type of thing ever happened again, I will pull myself together and stand up against it.
I tried ArcGIS story map with our trip to California, here’s the link:
This April, Victor and I had a road trip along the coast of California. We visited Yosemite (of course, highlight of California), santa barbara (a grad school friend of mine, Dr. Shaohua Wang is a visiting scholar at UCSB), LA (after we saw La La Land), Joshua Tree, and San Diego (my ABM conference was there).
We enjoyed our time a lot at the two national parks, also enjoyed food in LA (but not the city), and beer at San Diego.
腰果的坚果（cashew nut）是长在果实(cashew fruit)上的，一个巨大的腰果果只结一个小小的坚果粒。当地人将腰果的坚果从腰果果实部分采摘之后，坚果拿去烘干、封装，果实部分则被用来做酿酒。
Here is a true story of mine: I was hanging out with several friends, who are all grad students of course, on a Saturday evening at a pub. It was Halloween, so everyone else was dressed up in funny costumes except us. A guy wearing a yellow chicken costume came over to our table and started talking to me. He was good-looking and good mannered, which carried the conversation quite smoothly. After telling me he is an undergrad student in Accounting, he asked “what’s your major?” I answered without thinking “oh, I’m a PhD student in Geography.” All of a sudden, our conversation froze, so did his facial expression. He was so shocked that he could not say a single word. “What?!” he found his tongue after ten seconds, “you’re a PhD student! No wonder you look smart.” Not surprisingly, he vanished soon.
In China, female PhD students are called the “third” category of human beings, beside “male” and “female”. When I told my family and relatives my decision of pursuing a doctoral degree, they tried to persuade me to give up by all kinds of methods. Before I came to Canada, I thought highly-educated females are only discriminated against in China. However, I was very wrong: female doctoral students have to suffer prejudices, not only in China, but all over the world.
Personally, I hate being labeled as female PhD student, because this label always comes along with the descriptions of nerd, bossy, unfashionable, emotionless, etc.; actually, I like this group of people very much (not because I myself am part of this group). They are highly intelligent, they are passionate for their own research, they can handle stressful situations, they are powerful in fieldwork, and they are attractive from the inside out. Basically, they should be called “Super Woman” instead of “neither man nor woman”. Trying to understand why they’re under unfair prejudice, I did an informal survey on Facebook and Chinese version Facebook, and I have more than 50 responses. However, the answers may not be representative due to the majority of my friends/respondents being all grad students.
The most popular answer is that highly-educated women are threatening to men’s domination. Such threatening can be found in every respect of daily life, which makes the male gender not as satisfied as they used to be. Without doubt, men have long been in dominating positions among genders. They are unwilling to accept the fact that women can perform equally well as long as both of them have equal access to proper education. The second popular answer is that women’s natural duty is to raise children and support their family, which female PhDs can’t devote enough time and energy to. One can simply imagine how hard it is to balance trivial housework and tens and hundreds of proposals, experiments, and papers. Besides, most of the female PhDs are above the average age of marriage and giving birth—“retarded” in their personal life, which is a general social issue nowadays. The third answer is that the unfair judgement is just sour grapes. People (either men or women) who can’t pursue a PhD degree are jealous of those who can, especially those who are female; men who can’t have a partner with a PhD degree will defend themselves as “we don’t want to because they’re monsters”.
To my huge relief, excepting the above answers, most of my respondents said that they are not scared of female PhDs at all; on the contrary, they admire this group of people as “heroines with both beauty and wisdom”. However, I am not 100 percent satisfied with these answers, because none of them can explain why people only have prejudice for female PhDs instead of powerful women in other regimes (for example, female CEOs). Moreover, the survey should have covered people with different degrees to represent diversity. Anyhow, at least I have learned my lesson: never tell strangers that I’m a PhD student when we are at pub on a Saturday night.
Having seen Avatar twice already, I was still very excited when I received the email from Galaxy, the largest entertainment company in Canada, saying that I have the chance to see it for the third time. I also broadcast this news to my friends and invited them to see this thought-provoking movie with me.
People’s first impression of Avatar is its pioneering effects: huge screen, excellent sound, three-dimensional image, magical creatures, and bold imagination. Avatar won three Oscar awards: best achievement in art direction, in cinematography, and in visual effects—all related to visual arts. From this point of view, Avatar is an extraordinary “must see” movie. It is a milestone of movie art.
However, the storyline of Avatar is quite simple, compared to its mind blowing visual effect. A paraplegic retired marine is sent to Pandora to collect local information for a greedy human company. After spending a few days with Navi, the native people on Pandora, he falls in love with this planet and the people. Thus he betrays his original mission and helps Navi to fight for their rights and protect their beautiful planet. A lone hero saves the entire world, very typical Hollywood storyline. This is why some people argue that this movie is not a “great” movie, only its visual effects are great.
Although this storyline is naive and utopian, I enjoyed the movie very much. Not only its visual effects, but the story inspired me profoundly. As a geography PhD student, I can find some similarities between the situation in Pandora and my study area, the Brazilian Amazon: these areas are full of resources and their own spirits and values, but native society and economics are less developed (according to outsiders’ standards), which bring them the danger of exploitation from outside capital. When facing this danger, there are only two results for native people in history and in movies: colonization or temporary victory. Unfortunately, the latter one happens only in movies. When it comes to reality, the results can be unbelievably severe. For instance, the population of Native Americans dropped from 40 million to 3 million after the colonist massacre. Even in the end of Avatar, I call the victory a “temporary” victory, because there will be a second, a third battle since the capital is always chasing for profit. Navi people won’t be safe forever.
Neither colonization nor temporary victory is what we want. First of all, one can’tstop capital coming into these virgin areas. Secondly, there will be a “war” (even a war without bloodshed) inevitably; when that real war happens, no supernatural “forest creatures” can be called to fight for justice as in Avatar. Last, for the native people themselves, advancing with the times seems a more practical solution than dying in a massacre and ending with their culture disappearance altogether. Some people may say that they would choose to fight until the last person and last minute. This is the least responsible method to me: you let the people die for no return, you let the land be exploited with no respect, and you let the unique culture disappear from the world. Moreover, in the movie itself, Navi killed tens and hundreds of human beings during the war. One may argue there should be no mercy in a war, but those human soldiers are not cold-blooded killers, they are just soldiers who perform their duties. However, the ultimate goal is that we have to find the balance of life and nature via avoiding loss of any side.
Thus comes the question: how can we find a win-win solution for both native people and the capital market. For the capital market, chasing more profit is the only purpose, no matter what paths must be taken: war, colonization, destructive exploitation, or more gentle and sustainable development. The first three are faster but not durable approaches, while only the last approach is sustainable and can earn public credibility as well. For the native people, cooperation is their last and only chance, so trying to win over a better contract or business mechanism at the very beginning is recommended. Impacts from outside are inevitable, of course, but the undesirable impacts can be reduced to their lowest. If we calculate the loss and profit from both sides, cooperation is the optimum solution.
The real world is much crueller than the fairy tale of Avatar. Although the story ends “happily” in the movie, one must not forget the tremendous loss of Navi as well as earth people. Trying to avoid bleeding, learning experiences from history, and finding an optimum solution are what we should be inspired by Avatar beyond its magical visual effects.
二月份的时候老板就说让我参加CAG，the annual meeting of Canadian association of Geographers。因为committee member 德哥刚来我们系任教，受命主持其中一个ABM的session。不然之前Ray告诫过我说在CAG上讲ABM底下的人都听不懂的，AAG还差不多（AAG有关ABM的section持续了两天）。老板当时问我做个poster怎么样，我考虑了一下，脑残的说，要不还是做个presentation吧。后来发现当时自告奋勇的我是有多“无知者无畏”和“不自量力”。
bella在我家的时候正好过了她的一岁生日，由于是拉布拉多和德国牧羊犬的混血，加上还是个puppy，格外活泼好动，运动量巨大，用同学和我老板的话说是“that dog is crazy, full of energy”。早上傍晚半夜各遛一次，早上和半夜不少于半个小时，傍晚那次因为草坪上经常有很多狗狗，所以就放她玩至少一个小时。饶是如此，bella同学回家之后还是不安分，会叼着球跑到你面前让你丢球跟她玩。有时在草坪上跟别的狗狗追逐一两个小时，累到回家就整个趴在地上大喘气，我和室友以为可以轻松一下了，没一会儿她就又活蹦乱跳的往你身上扑了。
有段时间室友不在，我还要准备一周之后的报告，每天被程序折磨的痛苦不堪，还有一个人照顾她的重任。有一天晚上骑车回去，遛bella一个小时，做饭，11点左右又冒雨骑车往学校赶，继续调程序，到半夜两点再骑车回去。这边大农村跟北京不一样，天一黑，路上没人没车，只有松鼠和星光。后来骑那些个大上坡的时候也不知道脸上是雨水还是泪。第二天早上九点跟导师有会，遛完bella准备出门，傻姑同学不知道发什么疯，追着我跑出来，拉都拉不回去。多亏有邻居joel帮忙，才hold住她，关进了屋。因为这一闹，就特别急的骑车往学校赶，在ring road上拐弯时没减速整个人从车上摔了出去。坐在地上傻了30秒，爬不起来。有司机停下了问我“are you okay?”，除了回答”i’m alright, thanks”，还能说什么，您能帮我带狗吗，您能帮我写程序吗？爬起来继续往办公室骑，还不能哭，因为马上要开会。
我问了好多朋友，说，我觉得我对bella的照顾，是责任多于爱，那种发自内心的爱。我会担心她是否吃好睡好开心了，但是是基于父母的义务，而不是主动自发的那种感情。如果她乖乖的，我会非常高兴；如果她不听话，我会很严厉的训斥她。那万一我以后对自己的小孩儿也是责任多于爱怎么办？要是他们表现的不好，我就不爱他们了怎么办？墨西哥大姐说，有时候责任和爱是连在一起的，你没法真正分开他们；况且你知道bella只在你们家待一个月，潜意识里知道不能放太多感情进去。巴基斯坦大姐说，哦，怀孕的时候荷尔蒙一分泌，你就明白所有的事情都不一样了。三哥也说，for sure you’ll love your own children.
之前跟同学聊天的时候说到“文商指数”——人们接受、适应不同文化的能力，加拿大国民的文商指数全球排名第一，这当然和加拿大是移民国家的背景分不开。作为在加拿大生活了七个月的我，也渐渐开始学会平心静气的接受不少cultural shock甚至academic shock了。