Different Language, Different Personality

In this post, I’m going to reach out to all those bilinguals and polyglots out there about a topic that is kind of unique.

Have you ever noticed a shift in personality when you change languages? Or have you ever noticed a friend or family member of yours act differently when they speak in different languages?

This topic was brought up by a former classmate (the guy who took me to the anime festival) who can speak both Indonesian and English fluently. During 7th and 8th grade, I noticed that when he spoke English with me or a few others, he came off as easygoing and mature. However, as soon as he switched to Indonesian, he became more outgoing and came off as less mature.

I then noticed that I was also affected by this strange phenomenon. In Indonesian, I’m dry, serious, and to the point. In English, I’m more easygoing and human-like. In Sundanese, I’m rash and kinda edgy.

I’m also different when blogging! My English when I’m blogging may tend to be a lot more outgoing than in real life, probably because my fingers are doing all the talking.

And it turns out, it’s not just us.

In a survey conducted by a few linguists between 2001 and 2003, over two-thirds of all multilinguals said that they felt a shift in personality when they changed languages.

Many more experiments were conducted involving different perspectives that people had depending on the language that they were using, and it turns out, most data concludes that people do indeed have a shift in personalities when they change their language.

Now isn’t that interesting? You can change the way you look at things just by changing your language, and this is mostly unconscious. It’s not like some guy would force himself to be extremely caring in German and the complete opposite in Russian. It’s an instinctive sort of shift that’s really hard to explain.

But why?

That leads us to the big question. Why does this happen? Why do people have different ways of thinking in different languages?

That remains unknown.

The strongest contender as of the current moment is that people go through different scenarios involving the language that they use.

For example, let’s say we have a guy named Bob who can speak English, Spanish, and Japanese fluently.

Example time:

Bob is natively from Mexico, where he has loads of family all around, and he knows them all very well. He has a job in America as a trend analyst for a footwear company and has had the job since he moved to America after finishing high school in Mexico. He knows Japanese because of his activeness in various events and weeaboo clubs.

Bob has never asked for a raise in Spanish. Nothing job-related involves him using Spanish.

Bob has never said “I love you.” in English. Nothing social life-related involves him using English.

Bob has never talked about his job or family in Japanese. Nothing life-related involves him using Japanese.

So, we can conclude that in Bob is more natural and fun in Spanish. He is more down to Earth and businesslike in English. Him in Japanese is a completely different story.

These alter-ego Bobs are just him shifting a teeny little bit to match the setting. Again, this is an example of a theory, so it probably won’t be that close to real life. That’s pretty much the gist of that theory.

What do you guys think?

Magic Tricks: The Beauty of Deception

Let’s all be honest to ourselves, we all like magic. Humans tend to be interested in things they can’t understand. That’s why we see lots of people investigating strange supernatural phenomena (which I personally don’t believe in).

The thing is, we are still entertained by people fooling us with their ‘magic’ when there’s bound to be some sort of trick somewhere.

All magic tricks aren’t real ‘magic’. That’s why they’re called tricks. Magicians trick people to believe that it’s real. And the thing is, they want to believe. Whether it be misdirection, sleight of hand, or special props, there’s always something behind a trick.

Just in case you don’t get what I’m saying, here’s one of my all time favorite quotes from one of my all time favorite movies, The Prestige.

“Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called “The Pledge”. The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course… it probably isn’t. The second act is called “The Turn”. The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn’t clap yet. Because making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back. That’s why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call “The Prestige”.”

Now, all of that seems like some sort of magic theory that you probably didn’t read anyway, but there’s this one really deep part that I want you guys to check out.

Now you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know. You want to be fooled.

Think about that for a while, reread it. I’ll give you a sec. Now think about it again.

I can’t express how perfectly that quote explains the beauty of magic. We continue to enjoy magic because every time we watch a performance, we expect something we can’t comprehend, and that’s exactly what we want. That explains why the beauty of the trick all disappears when we find out how it’s done.

When we watch people doing magic, we want to be deceived. We want to be fooled. And that’s exactly what magicians give us.

I find that beautiful. Don’t you?

The Circle Constant War

So I was romping around the internet as usual, and I found this:


I won’t talk much about the article itself so you guys can check it out, but dang, I’ll just say that it was somewhat enlightening.

We all know that pi is a constant you magically get by dividing an arbitrary circle’s circumference by its diameter, but isn’t it odd that we don’t really use the diameter that much? Instead, it’s radius this and radius that. The unit of turning is even called the radian.

Then why don’t we use 2π as the constant, because the radius is so much more important? Thus, 2π was given a name, Tau.

τ = 6.283185307179586… = Circumference/Radius

To all you #TeamPi guys out there, don’t worry, I’m not trying to spread Tau propaganda or whatever you call it (not really). I still respect Pi Day and the effort behind pi, but I think that intuitively, Tau is a lot more correct. I still have more digits of pi memorized than tau, and I consider myself slightly neutral in the war between constants. (Slightly leaning towards tau though)

I never knew it would come to the point where math would have strange politics that lead to so many debates and arguments, but there we have it. We now have a civil war of tau versus pi, in which pi is still in the lead. But you never know, maybe one day, people will accept tau as the one true circle constant.

What team are you on?

High School

As a continuation of the previous post, I’ll talk a bit about my high school. Make sure you’ve read that post before this one, or you’ll be confused.

In the beginning of the 2016 – 2017 school year, for some reason I absolutely didn’t care where I went to high school. I didn’t think it was important seeing as I was this proud douchebag who thought the world was his oyster. I don’t even remember how I had planned my life back then, I don’t even think I had a plan for it.

But it all changed when this guy took me to an anime festival called INORI in Bandung’s State High School 3 (SMAN 3).

Getting accepted into a State High School requires you to be ranked among other potential students based on your Middle School National Exam (4 subjects, total score of 400) score. If the number of applicants exceeds the quota, the lowest get kicked out. So it really is a top cut.

You see, SMAN 3 is this elite school of the smartest youth of Bandung. Out of all of the other State High Schools, SMAN 3 almost always tops the charts with their high passing grades and high average test scores. And it’s relatively simpler to continue to a better university the better your school is here in Indonesia (not necessarily).

While the two of us were shopping for anime posters (I bought a sweet Kirisaki Chitoge calender) and playing odd boardgames, my pal was also somewhat advertising the school to me. His sister went to the school, as did his mother, and his grandmother, and the rest of his family with the exception of one uncle, so they had the same expectations for him.

I was instantly hooked with the overall studious aura of the place, the aesthetic garden, the classes, the smart people (and ghosts because it’s apparently haunted, so that’s a plus) roaming around the halls, the tables (I don’t like standard Indonesian wooden tables) and there my motivation kicked in. I wanted to go there.

Image result for sman 3 bandung

Over the year, I studied and prepared by myself (my own school’s help was disappointingly minimal) and there it was, the exam.

The first subject was Bahasa Indonesian, or the Indonesian Language. The exam tryouts were usually a grueling 50 questions where most of the questions required some abstract form of inferring to extract the correct answer from four answers which were basically identical. And the actual exam was exactly that.

Second was Math. Don’t need to go into detail with that. It wasn’t much of a problem.

The third was English. I’m great at English! Right? According to this exam, nope. The exam was shitty, riddled with grammatical errors, tons of things copy-pasted from Wikipedia, and the questions made no sense.

One of the questions had some sort of sweet Father’s Day card detailing appreciation to the father receiving it. Normal stuff. The punctuation was bad though. Then came the answers.

What can we tell from the text?

a. The writer of the text is going to be a father.
b. The writer of the text is informing the reader how to be a good father.
c. A father wrote the text for his kids.
d. The writer of the text is inviting the reader to a Father’s Day party.

What kind of abstract inferring do I need to use? The text had absolutely nothing about anything above.

And that was only one of the 50 bad questions.

Finally was Science. The physics problems were okay, the biology was a tad bit more trivial than usual. Other than that, no complaints.

A month later, the scores came out. I got an 88 in Indonesian, a 97.5 in Math, an 86 (wtf) in English, and a 92.5 in Science. That totaled up to 364/400. Last time, the lowest score to get into SMAN 3 was 373. Welp.

My friend was more skillful than I was, and probably had a lot more hours of after school practice. He got a 371.

But he was like, “Naw man, what the heck, just try signing up for it. This year, the average scores went down by 40 points.”

So we signed up for SMAN 3 another month later. I got a +7 point incentive for my house distance (the closer your house is, the bigger the incentive) and he got a +6. So I was 371, and he was 377. If you got kicked out of the list for your first choice, you would be put into the list for your second choice unless you got kicked out of there too. Then, you would have to go to a private school.

I picked SMAN 5 as my second choice. SMAN 3 and SMAN 5 are literally right next to each other. They share the same address and building. Once upon a time in the Dutch days, they were together as one school known as the Hogere Burgerschool te Bandoeng which was already elite in the past. Then for some reason, they split into two schools. SMAN 5 is also one of Bandung’s best, hovering around the 2nd and 3rd place usually.

Unfortunately, I was kicked out of the list three days after I had signed up. My friend wasn’t though. He got accepted into the school of his dreams and subsequently became my school neighbor, because I got accepted into SMAN 5, right next to SMAN 3.

It’s not exactly what I had expected, but I’m not too surprised either. Actually, now, I honestly think that 5 might actually be more ‘me’. But I’ll leave my stories about my first days in 5 for later on. Rock on, guys!

Image result for sman 3 bandung

Congrats, you survived this post. Thanks for reading!

Indonesian Schools

Hi guys. In future posts, I may talk about school and stuff, so maybe it’d be best if I explained a bit about how schools work in Indonesian.

First and most importantly, elementary school is 6 years and not 5. Hence, middle school is from 7th to 9th grade and high school is from 9th to 12th grade (thus destroying the term ‘sophomore’).

Between elementary school (SD) and middle school (SMP), you have to take a mandatory national exam, which has three subjects; Indonesian, Math, and Science. The next school you go to is very much effected by these three things.

In middle school, things are still very much like elementary school. The natural sciences haven’t split and become their own subjects yet, and remain together simply as ‘Science’. Also, there isn’t really a structured credit system, and everything just follows the curriculum.

Now in high school, things change. There are paths you can go along. You can either be a Math & Natural Science student or a Social Studies & Humanities student. In other schools, there are Literature or Art categories, but in my school, there aren’t.

Indonesia is very biased and people often get pressed into Science when they don’t really belong there, because ‘if you’re a science student, you can go wherever you want. If you’re a social studies student, you’re limited’.

Things also vary depending on the school and curriculum.

Oh, and some teachers don’t give their full effort teaching you. Tardiness and stuff doesn’t matter, because they’re teachers! So if you go to school in Indonesia and this stuff happens, don’t fret. It’s just Indonesian nature.

Here’s another thing. Here in Indonesia there are state schools that are operated by the government, which are usually named by a simple number. I go to SMAN 5 Bandung or State High School 5 of Bandung. There are also private schools, which vary in quality, and there is an undeniable correlation between quality and price (remember that).

The extracurricular activities are also pretty cool, I guess. Scouts (pramuka), PMR (Red Cross), and Paskibra (the guys in charge of ceremonies and raising the flag) are standards. My school is famous (I mean it) for its extracurricular activities, and I’ll elaborate on future posts.

That should suffice as a short guide.

Sohcahtoa Variations

We all know Sohcahtoa. It’s that one handy mnemonic universally used to remember that the sine is the opposite over the hypotenuse, the cosine is the adjacent over the hypotenuse, and the tangent is the opposite over the adjacent.

I was looking around for Sohcahtoa variations to see if there was anything better to use to teach kids rather than some arbitrary mnemonic that sounds slightly Native American.

After extensive research, I have found the absolute best mnemonic. It’s a bit inappropriate, but that’s exactly the reason why high schoolers will remember it.

Are you ready?

Some old hippie caught another hippie tripping oacid.

Hahah! Isn’t that just perfect?

How did you remember the basic trig ratios in high school?

Mindf*ck Movies

Have you ever watched a movie that was so confusing you had to read its Wikipedia article 3 times? Have you ever searched up [INSERT MOVIE TITLE] Explained on YouTube?

I sure have. Some movies are really confusing. But they make you think, and I love that. Now I have a checklist!

Once upon a time, I was browsing on 9gag, and I found a collection of recommended movies that will blow your mind and make you extremely confused.

Apparently, the people of internet categorize this sort of movie as a ‘Mindfuck Movie’, and they’re really popular to everybody intellectual.

To the person who wants to watch mindf**k movies

Out of these 21 movies, I have only watched 6. I guess I better go pump up those rookie numbers. You should too.