Summer Reading

Brave New World ( 1932), Aldous Huxley. Amazon

Brave New World Revisited (1958), Aldous Huxley. Amazon

Animal Farm: A Fairy Story (1946), George Orwell. Amazon

Nineteen Eighty-four (1949), George Orwell. Amazon

In Hitler’s Bunker: A Boy Soldier’s Eyewitness Acount of the Fuhrer’s Last Days (2005), Armin D. Lehmann & Tim Carroll. Amazon

Globalization and Its Discontents (2002), Joseph Stiglitz. Amazon

Strength in What Remains (2009), Tracy Kidder. Amazon

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures (1997), Anne Fadiman. Amazon

I’m glad college has exposed me to types of books I haven’t tried to before. Turns out I like them a lot! This has been quite a thought-provoking summer. “Brave New World” and “Nineteen Eighty-four” are two readings for my first class at Stanford, “Technological Visions of Utopia” – two books that lead me to read other titles from the same author. The only ‘holiday task’ from Stanford is reading one short story and two books, namely “Strength in What Remains” and “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down“. We will have discussion with the authors at Orientation.

It occurred to me that Indonesian school system has been terribly undervaluing the benefits of assigned reading. It’s rare in the first place. When we did have a reading, tasks will be on language (synopsis, etc) , largely ignoring the topics and contents it brought forward. Books are perceived merely as a matter of language and not as a provoker of new ideas and thoughts. Somehow we are educated to read for the sake of the story itself, and not for the meaning behind it.

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Human – Robots

Of all application essay topics, Stanford’s intellectual vitality essay was by far the hardest topics to write for me. I wrote many drafts on three themes, that, despite the effort, still resulted in what I thought as my worst essay. Well, this piece was the first theme I wrote on this topic. A friend commented that this would look very shallow compared to US students’ similarly-themed essays, as unlike here in Indonesia, they read heavy philosophical book (Nietszche and the like). Hence I scrapped this.

The questions in last paragraph still intrigued me, though. What do you think?

*On a side note, I’m wondering why Indonesian schools don’t assign more required readings – mind-provoking ones, not The Lord of the Rings. Heh.


“Stanford students are widely known to possess a sense of intellectual vitality. Tell us about an idea or an experience you have had that you find intellectually engaging. “

“What makes computers or robots different from human? Will the advancement of technology overcome that difference someday?” asked my religion teacher.

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Socks Essay

whoa, i stumbled across this document when looking for my missing early source codes for my programming tutorial page… and this really brings back memory! 😛

this narrative writing was written with Edward and Ivan, just before the National Olympiad 2007. the instruction was to make ‘any narrative that’s involving changing socks‘.  when we were quarantined for training, our classmates told us that Mr. Stephen Taylor, our native teacher, accused us of plagiarizing this piece, as he didn’t believe that we could write this.  (of course, we didn’t plagiarize) reading this again, I think this story is very stupid :))

enjoy, and tell me what you think 😛

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