Category Archives: Poems, Essays, and Things

Because I like to write and I like to share.

Parasite and The White Tiger: Parallel film review

I recently watched Ramin Bahrani’s film adaption of The White Tiger, based on a novel by Aravind Adiga about an ambitious young taxi driver in India fighting to escape the poverty that he grew up in. And I realized that it reminded me of a similarly eerily offbeat and dark comedy film, Parasite, the 2019 Academy Award winner for Best Picture directed by Bong Joon-ho, about two Korean families on different ends of wealth and security and their interactions with one another. In both films, we see the wealthier families view the main characters as lesser-than employees, while the main characters try to redefine their potential for success. And both stories illustrated how large socioeconomic differences that create vastly contrasting life circumstances led to inevitable classism from some characters and desperate acts for survival and justice by others.

There are those who are thriving, those who are surviving, and those who are striving. The White Tiger‘s main character, Balram, and Parasite‘s main characters, the Kim family, are those striving for a better life. Their main counterparts, Balram’s boss and his family and the Park family that employs the Kims, are thriving by societal standards of wealth and success. Balram’s family living in rural India and the Park’s previous housekeeper and husband (spoiler alert!) secretly living in a secret basement bunker fall under those barely surviving. Unlike this third set of characters who have accepted their fate to live in poor living conditions and no freedom, our main protagonists in both films strive to emulate, be accepted by, and take advantage of their thriving counterparts when possible. They try to rid themselves of the mentality and habits associated with being poor while pleasing their bosses, engaging in a grapple between their identities of who they are and who they want to be or be seen as.

The main characters try to stay in the good graces of their bosses due to the power imbalance that can determine major aspects of their life; however, this breeds spite and anger when the boundaries of classism seem impossible to break. In The White Tiger, Ashok and his wife Pinky are portrayed as relatively kind and forward-thinking bosses to Balram, while the rest of the family blatantly abuse him verbally and physically. That being said, although they say they don’t care about castes, the young couple who Balram drives around still carry a sense of superiority and entitlement over him, showing unintentional classism from patronizing language or sheer ignorance of where Balram comes from and how he sees the world. Similarly, in Parasite, although the Park family are portrayed as an arguably nice and normal family, there are hints of behaviours throughout the film that show they ultimately do not see the Kims as their equals, from multiple mentions of the stench of the ‘poor’ to the unquestionable entitlement they feel they have to their employees’ time and energy even in the situation of (another spoiler!) losing their home or facing death. The life experiences between the wealthy and poor portrayed in these films are so different that they inevitably fail to relate to one another and are unable to coexist without the acknowledgement of inequality that causes either classism or resentment.

In the beginning of the films, we are introduced to our main “striving” protagonists, Balram and the four members of the Kim family. Their “thriving” counterparts, Ashok and his family in The White Tiger, and the Parks in Parasite, ultimately reflect the rigidity of the socioeconomic system in their classism whether it is displayed blatantly or subconsciously. The rigid boundary between their social circumstances seem unbreakable to the protagonists, who are treated with degradation by their employers despite their best efforts to be kind and agreeable. The humiliation and frustration that our main characters endure push them to desperation as they try to hang on to their dignity and dreams. In both films, this desperation leads to (spoilers again!) murder, one out of rage and the other out of strategy. In Parasite, Mr. Kim stabs Mr. Park due to his dismissal of Mr. Kim’s situation as he holds his dying daughter, as all the spite and injustice that has built up over the course of his employment becomes too much to handle. In The White Tiger, realizing that he would not be able to advance in his career without any capital and that his employers ultimately did not care about him, Balram resorts to murdering his boss in order to have a chance at fulfilling his potential. In either case, these characters are pushed to a breaking point to defy the system in some way, and end up committing these heinous crimes.

While we can sympathize with the motivations of these characters’ actions, either driven by defending honour or pursuing ambition, it is a scary thought to think about what people can be capable of when they feel like they have nothing to lose. Sadly, in the case of the Kims, their family ends up in worse conditions, with the father trapped in hiding, the mother taking care of a disabled child, and one child dead. Even in the case of Balram, who uses the stolen money to start his own successful business, he must cut ties with his roots as he sacrifices the fate of his family for his new future. Both Parasite and The White Tiger present a story of escape from poverty and the effects of socioeconomic status on how people interact with one another, reminding us about the harsh reality of competition and unfairness that still exist in modern societies.

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Another haiku

Blossoms announce the season
With joy and achoos


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In and out

In and out
The waves go in and out
Licking the shore and reshuffling shells and stones
Rolling and crashing against one another
Doubts and a wrenched gut
Paranoia and sweat
A wave that comes in
But does not go out
A battle of rationality and emotion in the mind
Rolling and crashing against one another
In and out
You try to breathe in and out
Create the waves that move in rhythm
Waves that bring in the new
Waves that take away the old
In and out
In and out

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In between – a haiku

Sunny but wind chill,
Who knows how to dress in this
In between weather?


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Toes – a haiku

Dance! Freedom in space
Go wild but careful not to
Step on someone’s toes

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Cartwheel – a cinquain

When he smiles my
Insides do a cartwheel
Tumbling off the edge into skin

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Bones – a haiku

Don’t dig up old bones
They can become skeletons
You don’t want to see

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Shakespeare Quote: Short Response


Credit and link at end of article.

Heaven doth with us as we with torches do,

Not light for themselves; for if our virtues

Did not go forth of us, ‘twere all alike

As if we had them not.

This quote states a purpose of man’s life through a religious metaphor and explains the importance of sharing the ‘light’ with others instead of keeping it to oneself. Just as a torch’s purpose is to shed light on other objects, humans are called to be God’s instruments to spread goodness around the world. It is important to not limit one’s virtues to thoughts and ideas, but to show them in one’s actions in life. To continue with the theme of light, having a match in a dark cave and leaving it unlit would produce the same result of not having a potential light source at all. A person with virtues left unshared might as well be a person with no virtues at all.

Republished from English class 2012. Photo courtesy of J. Devaun.

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Jack Diamond: A Brief Biography of a Canadian Artist

Source of photograph:

Canadian Jack Diamond is an internationally acclaimed architect known for his simple and artistic designs. He was born November 1932 in South Africa and immigrated to Canada in 1964. He studied at various universities and received several degrees: Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Cape Town in 1956; Master of Arts degree in politics, economy, and philosophy from Oxford in 1958; and Master of Architecture degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1962. He founded his own company now Diamond and Schmitt Architects in 1975.

From then on he has created many structures around the world including the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton; the Jerusalem City Hall in Israel; the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto; the Harman Centre for the Arts in Washington, D.C.; and the Southbrook Vineyards Winery in Niagara Falls. His works in progress include an addition to the famous Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg Russia (now completed). He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1995 and given the Order of Ontario two years later.

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto, Canada

Jack Diamond believes in creating buildings that are not for flashy display; but that are useful for the people using them. He thinks not only appearance, but functionality. “We were just interviewing for a project at a university in the United States,” he said. “The president asked us, ‘Have you ever designed a building that causes a car crash? Because I’m looking for an architect who’s going to design a building that causes a car crash.’ There’s a kind of group who is looking for a building that will snap your head, literally grabbing attention. But does it have any deeper ability to contribute to the life of the university, to the life of the faculty, to the experience of students, to its connection to the grain of the community? Do any of those matter at all? Diamond + Schmitt does not do car crash.” Whether people agree to his designs or not, there is no doubt that Jack Diamond is a master of his art form.

New Mariinsky Theatre

New Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia

Republished from a Geography research assignment in 2010. Being a dancer, I chose to display two performing arts theatres, but Mr. Diamond does a very wide range of work.

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Pencil Update: Poem

Funny and very true. Source: 9Gag

With my green pencil as a lucky charm,

Scribbling through papers in calm alarm,

Arthropods, hemoglobin, and evolution,

Ranting about post Of Mice and Men depression

The clock ticks faster when things get tricky,

Got dizzy from the little thing called stoichiometry.

Tomorrow after math will feel like I’m in heaven,

Finished (and hopefully graduated) from grade eleven!


I haven’t written much because my mental pencil has been used up making review notes and writing exams this past week. I cannot wait to start reading the pile of books on my to-read list, and of course, to write! Just a few more days until summer!

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