dal niente

Month: October, 2013

The Calculus of Mortality

The last time I did any sort of competitive martial arts was about a year and a half ago.  In a kickboxing tournament against the university’s Kickboxing Society’s vice-president, I forfeited after the third round because my nose wouldn’t stop bleeding.  Not that would normally stop me.

The thing is, I am actually fairly certain that I could have won that round, and that I could actually have survived the entire fight overal and win  on points. Even though I defaulted, I had taken much less damage than my opponent.  He also was bleeding from his face from where an axe kick in round one had landed, full on, in the middle of his face.  From round two and on he was breathing heavy through his mouthguard. He also had pretty substantial bruising on his forearms; and his shins and one of his ankles were swelling by round three. My kicks had a connection rate of about 50%, and I was throwing about 4 kicks for everyone one of his.

We were in different weight classes though, so his core was really like a tank.  He had energy all the way until the end, and to give him credit, despite the psychological damage that I tried to inflict, he stayed in that fight with a strong spirit and pushed down the substantial physical damage.  It was also hard to really push him back because we were wearing body armor, and as a principle, I don’t try to win by KO because in a uni setting like this, I think that one of my high roundhouse kicks is more than enough to knock someone out– but without medical staff on hand, that’s just not a nice thing to do.

So if I was winning, why did I forfeit?

Somewhere during round three, I took a huge superman punch in the face.  It wasn’t enough to knock me down, but it substantially staggered me and had me backing up.  BEcause this tournament had chest armor on, I didn’t have enough stopping power to keep him from charging me– and though I think we were technically pertty evenly matched as far as punching goes, I realised at some point that I was being pushed back.  Because he was more willing to hurt me than I was willing to hurt him.  I stress that I was not incapable of hurting him– but I am generally very unwilling to do serious damage to the head.

After the round finished, I was slowing down my nosebleed and thining– but something else just  wasn’t right.  While the referee was checking his face out, I realised what it was: I just didn’t want this anymore.  Here I was: I loved kickboxing.  And I wasn’t badly hurt.  But the sight of blood, some of it mine and some of it his, all over my gi made me think of [CM] and how upset she would be when she saw it, even if it was cosmetic.  I was a bit dizzy from the superman.  Not the worst that I’d ever taken, but still bad enough.  And my opponent was a headhunter– he was trying to knock me out.  With the body armor, headshots were the only things that were really having an impact.

I think in my head, I weighed it all up.  I could win– but it would cost me.  There was the risk that in order to get this win, it would get me hurt in some other way.

Ultimately, I decided that I didn’t want it enough, so I forfeited while I was ahead.


That was a turning point in my martial arts “career.”  It was the first time where I really chose long term considerations of prolonging my health beyond the time limits of a round.  Up until that day, I had always gone through training and competition as if getting through that one day was all that I wanted.

Something changed on that day– I was no longer willing to sacrifice everything “for the day.”

Perhaps the significance of having CM in my life is much greater than I had originally thought.  Martial arts were always a world of my own, one where I relied on nobody.  Even my closest friends, who come from our history in martial arts, are outsiders to the particulars of what motivate me.


Physio has changed the equation a bit.  Originally, my world view saw hit points as a finite number that I could build up through training and levelling up– but that at a certain age, there’d be no more levelling up, and then all my stats would start dropping gradually.

I’m not actually that old yet, but the localised damage in a lot of my joints was such that I thought I had advanced problems in those areas.

Physio changed the situation because it has actually given me the ability to start restoring degrees of function to damaged joints.  I suppose all it really took was the right physio (I’ve been through enough bad ones to almost have given up on them altogether).  My knees have been getting better, and my shoulder is slowly regaining a lot of the function after my rotator cuff tear.

As I am now, I’m not even in condition to throw a right cross– that’s how bad my shoulder is.

But now that I’m finding ways to rebuild my stats…?


I was in a judo championship yesterday.  I hurt my ankle– rolled it while dodging a tai otoshi attempt.  I’m probably going to be out of commission for a couple of weeks.

But it feels good– it feels good to be working towards something with my body, and to be able to exercise my fighting spirit again.

At the tournament, I was supposed to fight 6 rounds.  I only managed to complete 4– during the fourth round is when i hurt my ankle, so I had to forfeit the remaining two rounds. I would have fought [Kobain] and [3B].

Round one, I fought against [TheSlav].  I’m not sure if he’s actually a Slav or not, but in any case. He’s a blue belt who is about my height, but has a fair amount more muscle weight on him than me. He was more flexible, powerful, and agile than me– but I went up against him with a gameplan of playing a sweeping game, since my own sweep evasion agaility is probably one of my strongest points.  I managed to keep the attacks on for the length of the round, but it was clear that I didn’t have enough to take him down. On the plus side, his sweeps weren’t working on me either.  What he eventually got me with was a combination into an o soto gari, which is  “Major outer reap.”  THe move slammed me backwards, and I actually hit my head on the ground.  TheSlav is known for being ultra aggressive in randori— to fight him in a competition setting was completely something else.  It was an incredible feeling to face someone who had so much killing intent.

Of course, willpower isn’t enough to win a fight– after I bounced off the ground, I was pretty annoyed because it was a moment of inattention that had lead to it happening.  When I tried to get up, I stumbled: I was dizzy.  I wasn’t able to stand up for a few moments until I cleared my head.

It was a good throw.

Second round was against [Kipps], who is the club ace.  He’s by far the strongest judoka of the club, able to beat everyone, including those taller and larger than him.  I don’t have much to say about this fight– he’s a brown belt who could long ago have qualified for his black belt.  It’s always a pleasure to fight with him, because I always learn a lot from the experience.  Whenever I fight him, he’s always a step ahead and seems to calculate how much of a chance he’s willing to give me.  Within a minute, he had me on the ground with a kesa gatame, but he gave up the hold to give me the chance to continue the fight.  I eventually was taken down by a perfectly timed sweep.

Third round: I went against  [Theophys].  He’s a nice enough guy in general, but even since I started judo, he’s been one of midlevel belts (green) who has never taken any responsibility to his juniors.  I remember training with him one night where, unlike other partners, he wasn’t really doing anything to help me out.  No advice. No guidance.  And his throws weren’t gentle.

In general, I try not to use shoulder or hip throws because my entry is too slow.  My only realistic methods of scoring are with sweeps and reaps, or groundwork after a positive scramble.  In this case, [Theyophys] attempted some sort of throw which ended up in a scramble on the ground– I came out on top, and managed to get him in kesa gatame.  I was pretty worried, because he’s pretty big compared to me– but somehow, I managed to hang on to him for 30 seconds, and scored the ippon by hold-down.  I held on to him so tight that my bicep is bruised where I was cradling his head.

During the fourth round, I foughth [Xiao]. We’re almost the same, physically speaking.  But he’s got about two more years of experience than I do, and I think his feet are faster.  I opened up with a tomoe nage, which failed.  We ended up on the ground with him in my guard.  I couldn’t get anywhere in time though so the referee stood us both back up.  WHile I was dodging one of his techniques, I rolled my ankle– and then it went downhill from there.  Without the confidence to use agility, I fell prey to one of his throws, I don’t even remember which type.

The remaining two matches, I forfeited due to injury.

Despite all the losses, I’m really happy about the one win I did get.  It wasn’t luck.  If our situations were reversed, and I was his size and he were mine instead, and he’d gotten this hold down on me, I’m 99% certain that I would have been able to reverse it.  However, for whatever reason, I guess I must have been doing something right– I kept him down for the 30 seconds.  Trying to pin down someone who is significantly bigger and stronger than you is pretty tough, if I do say so myself.


I’m sitting on the couch now, injured– keeping my ankle elevated. I’m going to head out to the stores later to see if I can pick up one of those lace-up ankle stabilizers.

It feels good to have my competitive spirit back.

It’s not that I like getting hurt.  But I’ve somehow managed to rekindle a want of this.

Striking arts mostly scare me nowadays because I’m afraid of brain damage.  But judo is, all things considered, pretty gentle.  I’m starting to enjoy judo more and more– it has given me an outlet for all the rage, minus the risk of becoming punch drunk, and for the most part, getting around all the broken bones.




I remember, that as I was holding down Theophys, some people in the crowd were actually rooting for me by name– “[Jinryu]!  JUST HOLD ON!” I would only need to hold on for a little bit more and it would be mine.  I could do it.  He was flopping like a crocodile under me and I felt him straining against me– my only chance was to keep the technical advantage of my leverage over him. I needed to stay focused.  I only needed to do it for half a minute.  It felt like an hour.


I think it was someone in the crowd; but in retrospect, maybe it was all in my head.

“Don’t let go!”


6 fights scheduled. Lost to a blue belt and a brown belt, but beat a green. Lost to an orange who I should have beat, but rolled my ankle, lost that one a little later, and then forfeited the last 3 due to injury.

More details later for my underdog win. I have conveniently decided that the other 5 matches don’t count!

Make no Apologies

A couple of weeks ago, I was sparring with a new guy at judo.  He’s pretty big– as in, I think that he’s almost twice my weight.

We were sparring lightly for about a minute until at some point, I caught him with a de ashii harai, which is one of the basic foot sweep techniques.  Somehow, he tangled with me on the way down and hurt his left ankle and knee.  The knee was nothing serious, but his ankle started swelling up afterwards.

I felt rather bad.  [SenseiK] came over to see what the fuss was about, and after the explanation, he told the new guy to basically just suck it up– it was part of taking up a combat sport.  SenseiK didn’t say anything to me, but I think that my reputation with him in general is pretty low, unfortunately.  SenseiK oftentimes seems to misinterpret what I’m doing or catch me when I’m doing my worse.  I don’t say anything, because that just means I have to do better– but he does hold me to a very high standard.  I know this for a fact because other people around me get away with some pretty shit technique at times– for example, he’s way easier on the girls in the class, including girls who are actually stronger and more experienced than me.  But hey, whatevs.

SenseiK is a beast– I have a great deal of respect for him because despite him being a real hardass at times, his criticisms are technical and spot on.

[SenseiR] told me later on that I should never be apologetic about accidents in class, so as long as they’re accidents.  “We can’t protect people from themselves,” he explained.  “I didn’t feel at all sorry that time I broke that guy’s arm,” he went on, explaining about a time where it came up.  Between SenseiR and SenseiK, SenseiR is the one who is a lot more openly philosophical about judo, but that probably has to do with language limitations that SenseiK faces (english isn’t his primary language).

In any case, although I know that bad things happen in combative sports, and that I would no more hold a grudge against someone who hurt me in an accident, I feel bad when I hurt a beginner.


To come into a new sport and not know anything and to trust in others is difficult enough– a martial art is different because the basis of it is not to score or put a ball here or there– it is a controlled violence.  And while I don’t think I did anything wrong, I feel that bad experiences at the begining of one’s martial arts career can be especially bad for morale.


I mean, what incentive does anyone have for going back to a place where you are not good at anything and all that happens is you get hurt?


I guess I don’t know if I feel bad for the individual guy who got hurt, so much as I feel embarassed for the club for potentially scaring off a new member.


It’s quite likely that he’ll come back, but I would feel bad if he didn’t.  The bigger they are the harder they fall right? 

7 oh 8

It’s 7:08 AM, and thus far, I have:

  • filled out an apartment tenancy application form (5 pages to fill out, plus 23 pages of supplementary documentation about myself that I had to attach… pretty nuts in Sydney)
  • done laundries
  • done physio rehab routines


… time to go back to sleep

66% relevant

… is a pretty low score.


I love the fact that, compared to ten years, ago, you can find a video about just about anything on the internet now.  This makes a lot of Do-It-Yourself projects and education in general much more accessible.  Video is just a great medium for a lot of these things.


I remember however being at a historic library tour (yes, I’ve been on library tours) and the curator was explaining some of the significance of changes in information media.  For instance– the jump from clay tablets to scrolls was huge.  You could suddenly keep incredibly more information in one place– and you didn’t have to worry about dropping and breaking your document!  Similarly, the jump from scrolls to books was a huge jump– for one thing, you didn’t have to painstakingly rewind a book every time you were done with it.  You cold leaf through it quickly to get to where you wanted if you knew it was in a certain order, and that was a huge advantage over having to twist your way through a scroll.


Online videos though?  GOD they annoy me so much.  Perfect example– I want to watch a 1.5 minute video, and the first 30 seconds is just the trailer for the company who made the video.  Internet in my apartment is shared with 3 other people and it’s not lightning fast to begin with, so the ridiculousness of having to watch 30 seconds of epic music, slow motion montages and buzz words is just infuriating.


Yes, you could fast forward– but how would you know how much?  Overshoot, and you’ll be buffering for another 30 seconds before realizing, and having to estimate something in reverse.


I guess it’s not a huge problem, and the fact that it takes me like 5 minutes to watch one minute of content is ridiculous.  But this issue is two fold– home internet in Sydney is ridiculously slow in my area, and secondly, content makers need to stop engaging in what is essentially video masturbation by inserting 30 second trailers of themselves doing other things when I just want them to teach me one specific thing.


The internet speed thing, I can actually live with that.


It’s the cultural part of that second point that really bothers me.  Trust me– make some good content? I’ll find out who you are and follow you.  The trailer really doesn’t add anything.

Today in the Papers

… as in, paperwork I have to do:

  • Fill out apartment application form.  Unlike the relative ease of finding places back home from my experience, every time you want to rent something in Sydney, you need to go through this huge formal process that involves references from employers, personal friends, mutiple proofs of ID to add up to a certain amount of points– they even require bank statements and payment slips for the last month.
  • Fill out VISA forms.  Hong Kong needs to give the green light for me working there.
  • Finish writing a paper due in a few days.  This has been tricky,  because my teacher has been slow about aprooving my essay topic.

Because I lost my HTC Desire HD a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been in the dark about… well, everything.  My life being as busy as it is, I really need to stay organised, and one of the main ways I’ve always done that has been through extensive scheduling and cloud computing.  But having lost my smartphone, it’s been a bit of a struggle.  As nice as the flagship Samsung phone is, I ordered a Nexus 4 because I’m on a budget, and the reviews seemed pretty positive in general.  Hopefully it gets here sooner than later.

Asia 2.0: The Fragrant Harbour

Round One

A few weeks ago, when I got the last rejection email for clerkships from Sydney law firms, in defiance of the idea that the year of applications was over for me, I started looking at other alternatives.  One of them that came up, because [CM] has family in Hong Kong, was applying to firms there.

Of the two firms that I applied to in HK, I got a first round interview with one of them.  I had indicated on my CV that I could speak English, French, Korean and Cantonese, and was intending to take up Mandarin in 2014.  In reality, my Korean nowadays is almost non-existent, and my Cantonese is pretty awful since I have barely used it in the last 3 years, and even so, that was Toisanese dialect mostly, not pure Cantonese.  It also helped that the company did a lot of work in technology and medical related law, which tied in nicely to my own background pre-law.

As I was saying, I got the first interview, which was advertised as 30 minutes by phone.  It was completely different from all previous interviews I’d done, which probably says something about the different work cultures.  While all the Sydney firms were asking a range of questions meant to fish at my problem solving ability (in mostly non-law relted situations), leadership skills, and general personality, the HK firm didn’t care at all: they gave me a problem scenario, and asked me to solve it using what I knew of Contracts and Torts law.

In short, they sprung a final exam on me for which I hadn’t prepared.

Yes, I am doing some contracts electives right now, but the bare meat of the fundamentals that I needed to really nail the answers were from Conctracts 1, which I took in first semester: almost 3 years ago.  Ditto for Torts: I’ve only ever done one torts related class before, and that was Torts 1 in first semester.  The problem scenario asked me to deal with the client situation and advise them in terms of suing through torts and contracts; why I should use one or the other, or both; and what did I think our prospects of success were.

An interview to get a training position at a firm has never before asked me to pretend to be a lawyer to this extent.

The other questions were things like, “do you keep up to date with current affairs?”

My only real possible answer was “I try.  Anything in particular that you’d like to talk about?”

In my head, I’m thinking: oh shit oh shit I never even watch the news because Australian election politics have been on for the last 3 months… if they ask me about the German financial problems or Syria, I’m fucking screwed!

Their question: “You’re Canadian, right?  Well, doesn’t matter, it’s still world news.  What is the reason for the government shutdown in the United States of America?”

Second question: “In light of the slowdowns in peripheral markets, especially financials, where do you see the business strategy of our Hong Kong branch being in 5 or ten years from now?

I came up with the best answers I could based on what I had been reading in legal affairs papers, counting myself pretty lucky that, it just so happened, I’d read some opinion blog on Obammacare here on wordpress just a few days ago.  I’d also been following some technology newsfeeds, specifically about Asia-Pacific emerging markets and changes to Australia’s privacy laws that will affect data protection regulations.

They asked for dinner, but all I had were some random fruits, so I made them a fruit salad.

But I think it worked– maybe everyone gave them steak and mash, but my specific angles to the answers made it, apparently, a really goddamn good fruit salad, because the lady interviewing me told me on the spot– normally there’s a bit of a delay, but they were going to advance me to the second round.  We’ll be in touch, k?

The interview ended up lasting almost an hour (instead of the annouced 30 minutes).  Of that time, 90% of the time was dealing with questions that I’d never dealt with in any of my previous interviews, law or otherwise.

The fact that I’d been on the spot advanced to round-two though made me feel good.  Really good.  So good that I felt guilty about feeling good.  It was the first time I’d been advanced to a round two, but at the same time, I knew I shouldn’t get my hopes up, because the dissapointment of coming close but not actually getting it could be bad.

But I liked that they asked me about things that I had studied 3 years ago.  Despite that I didn’t expect it, the fact of the matter is that 3 years ago, I worked my ass off in those classes.  While at least half the class wasn’t reading the cases and were just reading summaries or copying notes off the internet, I was reading these things and going toe to toe with cases that made no fucking sense.  Somewhere through that process, I’d internalised a lot of the theory and foundations behind contracts and torts.  Even if few of the Australian cases (if I could have remembered them) would be relevant to HK law, the fact that I had had principles upon principles hammered into my subconscious by just fighting with these cases all the time built my brain up to just understanding the essence of it all.

The truth is, I think I’m better than most of my classmates in Law School.  That’s not arrogance– I work harder than most of them.  It’s the ones who work harder than me that I really compare myself to– they make up the top 10% of the class lets say, but they know their shit on frightening levels.

But what bothers me about the way the Sydney firms have been recruiting is that they’ve often taken people who don’t know their stuff, who don’t work hard on the cases.  What bothers me is when those 10% upper crust students that I know try to apply for jobs and don’t get them– they often get passed up for someone who looks a particular way, or has a certain kind of personality.

I guess it speaks something of myself as a candidate– this interview didn’t ask about my personality, it only cared about my competence to do law.  If analysis of all my interviews to date can suggest anything, it seems to suggest that personality is my weakest point.


Round Two

I was scheduled a second round interview.  Second round came up.  The night before it, I was at judo, and unfortunately my cellphone disappeared.

That makes it rather difficult to conduct a telephone interview.

After wasting time trying to locate it and eventually giving up, the next morning I managed to get a new SIM card and plug it into my backup phone.  My backup phone is like something I’ve pulled out of a time warp– it’s got a monochrome LCD screen, a number pad, and a few other buttons.  Its battery lasts about 5 days on standby, but that’s because it can only do calls and texts– it can’t even manage any PUSH or email functions, nevermind apps.  It’s as if I opened up a time warp to the late 90s and stole this phone.

I used this phone for the interview.

If I thought round one was difficult, well, it was– but round two was even more difficult.

Again it was all about application of the law– another problem scenario.

And then, the big question, which I should have expected, but somehow didn’t.  The interviewer, a partner in the Finance division, could be heard to be flippingn pages in the background. “You have a history that goes all over the globe in all sorts of different industries.  That’s really interesting.”

“Sure, thanks.”

“So tell me– why should I give you a chance at my firm when my impression is that after a couple of years, you’re going to jump ship and move on somewhere else again?  Give me some assurance of your loyalty.  And don’t tell me how great this company is– I already know that, but there’s no way you do, because you’ve never worked here.  I want to know why you will stick to being a lawyer at this firm, and why you will stick to Hong Kong.”


A week later, I got the offer letter.

Looks like I’m going to Hong Kong!


It’s not a perfect solution, and actually, it doesn’t change very much.  The facts are that working is quite complicated– aside from the fact that Hong Kong has a reputation for working you to your bones, there’s the fact that I need to conversion courses, and an articling period of about a year in order to qualify for an actual job.  All I’ve gotten, really, is a winter training program invitation– yes, it’s my foot in the door to work at a huge international name in the legal areana, but in reality, it is akin to a round 3 interview.  Unlike Sydney clerkships, which boast a 99% clerkship to permanent job conversion rate, the Hong Kong firms make no such promises– the clerkship that I’ll be doing there is a final test to see if I’ve got what they want.  If I have what they want, they’ll offer me a job for 2016.  Yes, you read correctly– 2016, not even 2015, and hellllll no for 2014.  The time delay accounts for the articling period doing the PCLL exam.

That timing is difficult, because it means that CM and I would have to do long distance for about a year.  Which isn’t really an option.

But I’m going to take the clerkship anyway, and do my best with it.  I’m also going to try and get an offer, so that I can keep my options open.  I have to fight this one all the way through– and CM and I will figure something out along the way.


So yeah– looks like I’m going to be living in Asia again!


I went to my second physiotherapy session in the area, and I’m pretty happy with the results.

My right shoulder has been doing much better.  That’s the physio’s evaluation, but I agree– I’ve regained a lot of the strength that I lost when I hurt it about a month ago.  The rotator cuff seems to gradually be sewing itself back together, and my strength is coming back.


I asked him about my knee (right knee– the left knee will be covered in a later session, since the right is the more painful one).  He figures it’s not actually a miniscus tear, but a bursitis somewhere behind my kneecap, and an overly tight IB.  To test his theory out, we did something to loosen up my IB– and impressively enough, I was able to use that knee with a fair amount of more confidence and with less pain than I did just before the exercise.


On the whole, I’m pretty happy with this phsiotherapist.  I’ve been to physio in the past, and they’ve all left me with a rather bad impression on two fronts.  First of all, I didn’t get any results, probably because I was misdiagnosed, but who knows.  This speaks of their basic competency or thoroughness.  Secondly, my previous physiotherapists didn’t involve me in the rehabilitation processes.  They basically told me to keep coming back, but I barely had any “homework,” time wasn’t taken to explain to me my homework, and they didn’t take the time to explain the underlying damaged structures.  Basically, they treated themselves as a pitstop for my body, without really taking up any sort of educational role towards my self-management of my problems.


Considering that physio costs upwards of 75$ per session, of which only about 40% is covered by my insurance, I want to get something out of my physio other than a massage and a “see you next week!” 

I want to be paying for education and empowerment, so that I can take charge and get my life back from my injuries.  And that’s what this physio, among other physios, is finally doing right.


Can’t post many political things on my FB yet..

Aloud and with Feeling

When I was in high school, the band director of the Royal West Academy used to say all the time that when you’re new to an instrument, you should play it loud and with confidence– not only can you hear your mistakes better, but by putting your head on the chopping block like that you learn to take responsibility for your mistakes.

One of my favourite teachers in the law school advocates the same method when it comes to learning about law– without attempting to articulate concepts in your own words, you never develop the sharpness of expression that you need to really discuss the topics with effectivness or convincingness.



Yesterday, I was interviewed over the phone for round one with a Hong Kong law firm.  It was, by far, the hardest interview I’ve ever had to do.  Frankly, I didn’t know the answer to some of the questions– but I think I managed to just bash my way through it by demonstrating, if not my complete knowledge to answer their questions, then to demonstrate fearlessness at moving forward.


This interview was particularly difficult because it didn’t ask me any questions at all about my personality or my achievements– instead, it asked extremely specific technical questions about contracts and torts.  Pretty much all of the stuff about torts, I haven’t touched it in 2.5 years!  My last torts class was in the first semester of my degree, so to have several of the questions going into an analysis of the strategic differences between suing in contract versus suing in tort was all quite frightening– especially, because even if I could remember the specifics from first semester, the questions still covered hypothetical  practical situations that I’ve never dealt with in class.

But I got a second interview.  She told me straight away, after about 40 minutes, that I was going on to the second round.


I was ecstatic.  It was a huge win, because the interview was on shaky ground at some points– it really felt more like formal oral subject exam than it did an interview, and I was constantly speaking with perhaps only one second of buffer between me coming up with a thought and saying it.

One of the questions, which also caught me off guard, was “what is the cause of the reason governmental shutdown in the United States?”


Considering that I’m in Australia, and that the firm is located in Hong Kong, that’s about as left field as it gets.  Luckily for me… I just happened to be reading up on Obamacare a couple of days ago, so I got away with it.


I feel that, aside from the first round interviews that I got during clerkships, making it to second round in this situation finally feels like I’ve gotten what I deserved.  I don’t think I could have done as well in this interview if I hadn’t read my textbooks where other people were reading internet summaries. I don’t think I could have articulated what I wanted to say if I hadn’t spent years stepping up to public speaking roles head on. I don’t think I could have been able to conceptualise the policy questions if I hadn’t always been trying to make myself a functional member of society, and not just a bystander.

Unlike other interviews, it didn’t feel just like they were trying to see if I was what they were looking for in terms of personality– this place was actually looking straight at my competency.  The directness was refreshing, but at the same time, a bit scary.


I have a second interview coming up in the next couple of weeks, so I can only hope that I do as well as I did on the first.  This is the first time I get to a second round.