The twitter sphere (and much of the figure skating world) has been ablaze with fiery comments over South Korean figure skater Yuna Kim, who despite giving a flawless performance at this year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, fell short of winning the gold to 17-year-old Adelina Sotnikova from Russia.
Four years ago in Vancouver, a 19-year-old Yuna Kim won the gold medal by shattering records and giving arguably one of the greatest figure skating performances of all time. And even after sitting out the entire 2011-2012 season, Yuna Kim defied all odds and returned from her hiatus better than ever, medaling in every competition and eventually claiming her second World Championship title in 2013. So, “disappointment” over the judges’ scoring in Sochi is an understatement. “Outrage” is probably more like it, and I don’t think claims of a judging scandal (and here) are unfounded either.
But nothing I can say will add to the facts there are already there, and as scandalous as it is, I didn’t really want to talk about that today.
No, I think somewhere in here is a valuable life lesson. Among other things, it was a sobering reminder that you can be the best at something, but still not win all the time. We are outraged because the judges’ score didn’t validate something the rest of us already knew to be true: that Yuna Kim was the best even before she stepped on the ice in Sochi. Maybe she’s the best because she is already a gold medal winner, a record breaker, and a two-time World Champion. Or maybe she is the best because she captured hearts with her grace and elegance on the ice, because of her love of country and the opportunities she opened up for Olympians in Korea and the figure skaters she inspired around the world, because of her relentless sportsmanship and class, or because of the performances she gave her entire career despite the enormity of the burden she carried. She poured out her heart, body, and soul into her craft, and I really don’t think a second gold medal (as gratifying as that would have been) could have adequately motivated the performance she gave. What makes her a true legend is not the number of medals around her neck, but her devotion to things that matter — and it really showed in the way she skated.
The reminder for me is this. Some of us devote ourselves to fleeting, worldly things like money, recognition, or fame, while some of us are still “saving ourselves” until we find that most worthwhile thing worthy of our devotion. But when you find that one thing which is truly worthwhile, the one thing you are convinced is everlasting — which I think I have — how much joy and fulfillment awaits for those who devote their body, heart, and soul to it?
The other day someone at work asked if I could lead a staff training on “diversity in design.” When using photographs of people in design, you have to be very purposeful about the diversity of your subjects. To many of us it seems like no big deal, but as an Asian-American I can tell you that it does not go unnoticed when your photos lack diversity. But that much I could tell you right off the bat, and I wasn’t really sure how to fill an entire training on that subject.
So I did a quick google search of “diversity in design.” Interestingly enough, what I found was that most of the results pointed to a different issue that intrigued me more: the racial diversity of designers themselves.
A quick survey of some of the country’s top design agencies, schools, and design communities will show you that the field is predominantly white. It is also not hard to find Asian designers, especially in schools, but the number of black and hispanic designers is very very low (a top ad agency in New York, Pentagram, recently added one black designer named Eddie Opara to their staff)
To me, that says something about the overall stigma of the “designer” and the opportunities available to black and hispanic youth. I know that there are some programs out there, like Youth Design in Boston, dedicated to this issue specifically, by providing design resources and education to urban youth. I also know that certain chapters of AIGA also have active diversity initiatives that seek to promote diversity in the field, and I think this is great.
I am inspired to explore this opportunity for diversity in design. I think I would be interested in joining a design mentorship program of some sort, or in the distant future heading up a collaborative program that connects design students with young urban designers in the community.
I’ve been reminded recently that I really don’t have enough of the Word of God in my heart. So last week I committed to memory 5 verses, and I wanted to write them down somewhere so I wouldn’t forget what I worked on.
“Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to Him — this is your spiritual act of worship.”
“그러므로 형제들아, 내가 하나님의 모든 자비하심으로 권하노니, 너희 몸을 하나님이 기뻐하시는 거룩한 산 제사로드리라. 이는 너희 드릴 영적 예배니라.”
– Romans 12:1
“Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.”
“자기가 시험 받아 고난을 당하셨은즉, 시험받는 자들을 능히 도우시느니라”
“For Christ died for sins, once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God. He was put to death in the flesh but made alive in the Spirit.”
“그리스도께서도 한 번 죄를 위하여 죽으사, 의인으로서 불의한 자를 대신하셨으니, 이는 우리를 하나님 앞으로 인도하려 하심이라. 육체로는 죽임을 당하시고, 영으로는 살리심을 받으셨으니.”
1 Peter 3:18
“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
“그러므로 내 사랑하는 형제들아, 견고하며 흔들리지 말며 항상 주의 일에 더욱 힘쓰는 자들이 되라, 이는 너휘 수고가 주 안에서 헛되지 않을 줄 앎이니라.”
1 Corinthians 15:58
“I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”
“내가 복음을 부끄러워하지 아니하노니, 이 복음은 모든 믿는 자에게 구원을 주시는 하나님의 능력이 됨이라. 첫째는 유대인에게요 또한 헬라인에게로다.”
For my typography class, our assignment was to storyboard an animated promo video for an NGO. I chose Chicago Cares, an organization that mobilizes volunteers to build a stronger community. Below is a video I created, which stitched together the keyframes of the storyboard with sample music in the background. I’d like to get this fully animated someday!
Hello. I'm an editor and writer living in New York. I'm a graduate of Brown University and hold a Master’s Degree in Writing from the University of Southern California. I've freelanced for Architectural Digest and Bon Appetit, among others. I currently work at Vogue where I edit our Digital Edition.