i went to another harvard lecture at 12:30pm, career development for ethnic minority employees: a case study in the tibetan autonomous region by fanmei wang. the topic was pretty esoteric and less than a dozen people attended. i've been to enough of these lectures that i'm beginning to see the same people. i was finally outed when a chinese professor said that somebody said they knew me and asked what school i was from. i told him i have no affiliation with harvard university, just interested in tibetan culture. he was pleasantly surprised that somebody who wasn't in academia would be interested in this topic. i was also outed again when he asked where i was from, instantly perking up when i told him originally from taiwan. we got to chatting some more, he's originally from shanghai. he asked if i've been to tibet before, i said no, as a foreigner i can't get the necessary visa, but i have been to western sichuan multiple times.
the host was mark elliott, who didn't arrive until 12:45pm, which ended up being when the lecture began. his presence actually saved me from having to hear the lecture entirely in chinese, as the speaker was ready to forgo english after seeing an all chinese audience. fanmei wang did her survey in lhasa tibet. after getting the authorization from companies to interview workers, she talked with different people, from factory workers, to middle managers, to upper managers. language seems to be the overriding factor on how far a tibetan can advance in a han chinese company. those who can speak tibetan and chinese can rise to the ranks of middle managers, but upper management is still elusive without the necessary education. many workers themselves speak only tibetan. there are also cultural issues, like tibetan religious holidays that han chinese don't share. it's an interesting and complicated subject. tibetans who do end up receiving higher education are then poached by the state for better government jobs instead of entering the private sector. also, those educated tibetans are probably more likely to stay in the bigger cities where there are more job opportunities then return home to tibet.
after the lecture, elliott brought up a point that the tibetan language itself might become extinct over time as chinese becomes the language you need to learn in order to get good jobs later in life, his example being how the french language was in danger of being replaced by english in quebec, until canada made french the official language of that region. also from listening to the conversation of others, i sense there's a certain tibetan prejudice. the speaker spoke only chinese while doing her survey, which limited her ability to interview tibetan-only speaking workers without using a translator.
while i was unlocking my bike from the signpost, another professor who was at the lecture came up to me to talk. "i heard you're from taiwan. what school are you with?" he asked.
saturday is a mandatory work day at the community garden, so i decided to pay a visit for the first time this year. so early in the season, with the weather just now warming up, the entire community garden was pretty drab, save for some bulbs like daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths. the community garden has also undergone some reconfigurations, with thin plots along the eastern side of the garden along the new fence to the playground (which won't be usable until next year even though it as construction last year).
my own garden plot was dotted with patches of perennials. i need to dig up the bamboo grass at some point, they're somewhat invasive, and they take up valuable real estate that can be used for other plants. the monkshood has returned fairly well, but the leaves are so similar to some other plants, i'm very much worried that it would be accidentally be picked, not realizing that all parts of the monkshood is deadly poisonous. only a single clump of lupine has survived. i also didn't see any larkspurs, even though there were some seedlings the end of last season. likewise, all the striped mallow seedlings from last season have disappeared, to be replaced with fresh new seedlings (apparently they can't survive the winter).
i went to the cafe to check out the new upright freezer in the basement. my father had already defrosted the 2-door industrial freezer upstairs, and moved everything into the new freezer. at 21.3 cubic feet it's incredibly spacious, with a height of almost 77 inches. it's also super quiet, and comes with a lock. there's also an old chest freezer that needs to be defrosted, but first we have to wait until the industrial freezer is fully defrosted or buy another backup chest freezer.
my mother packed me some leftovers for dinner before i left. my original plan was to visit the mt.auburn cemetery to take some spring flower photos, but it was already 3:40pm and getting late, so i decided to skip it. instead, i went down huron avenue by fresh pond to take photos of the baby great horned owl.
ever since the owlet was spotted weeks ago, people have been crowding around that area of fresh pond. today was no exception, a few folks with binoculars, a few folks with cameras armed with serious lens cannons. i don't think baby owls are particularly photogenic; i was rather hoping to see an adult great horned owl, which i've never seen before in the wild. i followed where everyone was looking and saw the adult right away, sleeping high up in a tree. the baby owl was further down on a different tree. must of its fluff was gone, it was starting to look more like a regular owl, so will probably fledge soon.
i opened a few windows to let the warm air inside the house when i got home. my kenda tube finally arrived. originally i planned on giving the seller a bad rating, but decided against it; it might not have been their fault anyway, problem with the shipping perhaps. i made a fruit smoothie, trying to use up my extra bananas. for dinner i heated up the leftover my mother packed me earlier.