View profile

🥝 Chiwi Journal #12: Self-Authoring, Ukraine Holodomor, Amusing Ourselves to Death and Fernando Pessoa

Camellia Yang
Camellia Yang
I spend 140+ hours digging insights from Chinese and English books, articles, and podcasts each month and sharing them in a 6-min easy-to-read email.

Quick update from me
Greeting from England!
I was house-sitting for a friend and living in England’s countryside during the past month. Every day, I woke up to the chorus of birdsong and practised Yoga with squirrels as a company. Then I walked for about two hours alongside rivers and hills. During the day, I write and read. In the nighttime, I watch movies/shows.
As an extrovert, I never thought I could live a simple and solitary lifestyle. But COVID trained me to accommodate myself to any circumstances. I can be a party animal and live like a rock star; I can also live in solitude without any social activities. I’m still too young to figure out which career path and lifestyle suits me better. Only through experiment shall I know my preference.
Tomorrow, I’m going to make my way to Barcelona and fulfil my childhood dream to watch a game at Camp Nou! When I was in high school, I wished someone would propose to me in Camp Nou during El Clásico, where Barcelona FC beat Real Madrid😂. I almost forgot those silly teenage-year dreams, but I could revisit them and see through my growth journey thanks to my diary-keeping habit. There are so many good reasons to keep a diary, and my favourite one is to leave something to look back on to see how I have developed as a person and even show future generations what I used to be like!
Now, let’s get into this month’s content.
👩🏻‍🎓 Course of the Month
Halfway through the Self-Authoring Suite program, I’ve already written 40,000+ words to understand my past, plan my ideal future and discover my true self.
“People who spend time writing carefully about themselves become happier, less anxious and depressed and physically healthier. They become more productive, persistent and engaged in life. This is because thinking about where you came from, who you are and where you are going helps you chart a simpler and more rewarding path through life.”
Self-Authoring is designed by a group of clinical and research psychologists from the University of Toronto and McGill University, aiming to help people understand the trajectory of their lives.
I’ve never encountered any learning program like this one that brought me joy, tears, frustration, fear and anger at the same time. The Past Authoring was the most challenging part of accomplishing but the most important one.
It isn’t easy to know who you are, where you should go, or how you should get there unless you know where you came from. By revisiting those haunting memories that still evoke negative emotions, I guided my brain to face unresolved threats that generated stress and chronic pains in my subconscious. As Jordan B. Peterson mentioned in his book Beyond Order, Rule 9: If old memories still upset you, write them down carefully and completely.
I also did the twin product Personality Assessment Understand Myself. Based on the Big Five Aspects Scale, my result shocked me but was also a good reminder to check out some parts I never noticed in my personality.
Here is the comprehensive document that recorded my self-exploration journey. Feel free to take a reference and create your own one in private or in public :)
🎬 Movie of the Month
Ukraine, Stalin, journalism, media manipulation, disinformation…
If you are interested in those keywords, Mr Jones is a good starting point for learning about a hidden Ukraine Holodomor from 1932 to 1933.
This historical thriller film tells the incredible story of a welsh journalist Gareth Jones risking his career and life to reveal the truth when Western reports turn their blind eyes to Stalin’s notorious totalitarian crime in the twenties century. 
While Jones was attacked and criticised by his peers and influential political figures for his ‘misleading’ reports, the New York Times reporter Walter Duranty won the Pulitzer Prize for glorifying Stalin’s new regime in his Soviet Five Year Plan reporting.
It was so sad to witness a young talent in journalism die for pursuing truth. However, the truth may arrive late, but it never will be absent. Despite the Holodomor being officially denied by the Kremlin for more than half a century, Ukrainians are still fighting for its recognition and understanding of this dark chapter. In recent years, the Ukrainian government opened National Holodomor Memorial in Kyiv and many Holodomor monuments worldwide to commemorate the estimated 3.3 to 5 million deaths during this tragic event. 
Although there is no hard evidence, the hypotheses from Nigel Colley, researcher and grandnephew of Gareth Jones, stated that George Orwell’s renowned fable Animal Farm was inspired by Jones’ works. Gareth Jones’ name may not have been recognised in his time, but it never will be forgotten. 
📚 Book of the Month
Speaking of George Orwell, his chilling prophecy novella 1984 immediately popped up in my mind. Although we didn’t fully enslaved by Big Brothers’ stringent totalitarianism and oppression in the current western world, the majority of people indulged themselves in the digital world with endless entertainment that voluntarily giving up the ability to think. Exactly as what Aldous Huxley predicted in his book Brave New World.
“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.”
We are facing two enemies in today’s digital age:
  • A malicious Orwellian news industry where mainstream media haven’t given up their agenda to serve political and economic interests by controlling the public narrative, restricting information flow, and contributing to extreme speeches and behaviours;
  • A Huxleyism culture full of low-quality entertainment and pleasure-seeking games causes people to immerse themselves in a comfortable dream statue and never want to wake up.
Papermaking technology preserved classic works like Shakespeare. In our age, what shall we do to keep people who still read Shakespeare survive?
p.s. If you are into LSD and psychedelics, Aldous Huxley’s other book, The Doors of Perception & Heaven and Hellis a good read on how those plant medicines help writers and artists to rethink reality. I wrote an article to describe my experience with Grandfather Plant San Pedro and had the most profound enlightenment throughout my 30 years of life on earth. 
✍🏻 Writer of the Month
When people ask me who I want to be, besides the cliche answer I want to be myself, Fernando Pessoa would be my choice.
Pessoa is a trilingual writer, poet, translator, publisher, and philosopher. If he had Twitter, he would have the most followers in total with his 80 heteronyms sharing his 25,000+ manuscripts of poetry, prose, philosophy, criticism, political writings, horoscopes and various other English, French and Portuguese non-stop.
He didn’t travel much in his short life but created many characters that explore the whole universe on his behalf. His famous heteronyms included Alberto Caeiro, a self-claimed the greatest poet in the world; Alvaro de Campos, a bisexual writer who has a similar style and substance to the work of Walt Whitman; Ricardo Reis, a classicist and physician whose works focus on fate and destiny.
Most of his heteronyms interactions with each other, exchanging letters and literature critics. Rarely has anyone known those identities are not real until the public discovered this fact after Pessoa’s death. So Pessoa wasn’t gain much burden from the fame and had the freedom to create and live comfortably.
Pessoa constantly examined human existence through observation and reflection, ignored the limitations of time and space, and freed himself from the prison of physical form to create something from nothingness. He never tied himself with one identity and would rather be nobody and live a life of obscurity.
People in his generation probably had zero clue about his motivation for creating numerous identities. However, our generation has a better understanding of his pioneered pseudonymous identities. And his thought and behaviours couldn’t be more applicable to today’s censorship and cancel culture. 
🖼️ NFTs of the Month
Camellia Yang 翊瑄
What a great way to support your favourite writers on web3! Own a quote and get access to a private community!
Artists, photographers and musician have had their pies, and now it's writers' turn😁
@IAmMarkManson @bookcoinHQ #bookNFTs
Recap of my English content
🗣️ AMA
Question from 1729 writers group:
How to build an audience?
I was honoured to share my journey as a creator with a bunch of 1729ers this month.
Thanks to David Perell and Robbie Crabtree who mentored me during my participation in Write of Passage Cohort 7 and contributed your insights to this presentation.
Signing out this newsletter with a pic of watching Manchester Derby this month!
Signing out this newsletter with a pic of watching Manchester Derby this month!
Did you enjoy this issue? Yes No
Camellia Yang
Camellia Yang @camelliayang

Get your monthly cross-cultural knowledge to diversify your perspective

In order to unsubscribe, click here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Created with Revue by Twitter.
Lisbon | London | Jinan | Auckland