Welcome to the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada’s new podcast series about youth cultures in East Asia. Over the next several weeks, join co-hosts Justin Kwan and Linda Qian as they travel across five cities in East Asia: Shanghai, Taipei, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul, to listen to the voices of millennials and learn more about contemporary East Asia through their views and the stories of their own lives.
Ep 1: Young Beginnings: Nostalgia, Youth, and School
The first episode of The Youth Element is all about new beginnings: the beginning of this podcast series, the beginning of our personal journeys in creating this project, as well as the beginning of a brand new school year. So, in the first half of this episode, join us, Justin and Linda, as we break down what The Youth Element is all about, and as we offer our listeners a sneak preview of what’s to come throughout the series. Then, stay tuned as we dive straight into our first topic of the series: school.
On the surface, maybe an 18 year old in Vancouver and an 18 year old in Tokyo aren’t so different. Perhaps they share similar concerns over pressures to get their grades up in that final year of high school, or maybe they’re all looking to make some new friends, or join cool extra-curricular activities. But how do these seemingly similar things play out in different contexts? In our first episode, we explore school life across the cities we visited in Asia to show how different cultural and societal practices and norms play out in the lives of students. From the rosy nostalgia of youth cinema, to the grueling hours spent in class and in cram schools; and, from harsh familial expectations, to the rise and commodification of academic competition, we hash out how youth are navigating and coping with their everyday struggles in their own respective societies.
The Youth Element is now available on iTunes and Google Play Music!
- Nathaniel Mott, “Todai Robot Gives Up on Getting Into the University of Tokyo,” Inverse, November 15, 2016.
- Setsuko Kamiya, ‘Exam Hell’ Now Not so Hot, The Japan Times, January 20, 2009.
- Takamitsu Sawa, “Flawed Entrance Exam Reform,” The Japan Times, April 29, 2015.
- Anna Diamond, South Korea's Testing Fixation, The Atlantic, November 17, 2016.
- Elise Hu, Even The Planes Stop Flying For South Korea's National Exam Day, NPR, November 12, 2015.
- Jeyup S. Kwaak, South Korea’s $18 Billion Education Problem, The Wall Street Journal, August 28, 2016.
- Alec Ash, Is China’s Gaokao the World’s Toughest School Exam?, October 12, 2016.
- Celine Ge, Cashing in: Chinese Hotels ‘Almost Double’ Room Rates Over Student Demand to Stay Near Gaokao Venues, South China Morning Post, June 8, 2016.
- Pinghui Zhang, Gaokao: How One Exam Can Set the Course of a Student’s Life in China, South China Morning Post, June 8, 2017.
*Take the Gaokao for yourself!
- Shen Lu and James Griffiths, Gaokao: Can You Pass China's Gruelling College Entrance Exam?, CNN, June 7, 2016.
- Telegraph Video, “Hong Kong Children Under Three are Being Trained for Kindergarten Interviews,” The Telegraph, May 23, 2015.
- Peace Chiu, “Stress Levels of Hong Kong DSE Takers Reach Three-year High” South China Morning Post, April 2, 2017.
- Shirley Zhao, Rise of Exam-cramming System Will Widen Hong Kong’s Social Divide, Educators Warn, South China Morning Post, December 19, 2015.
- Associated Press, “Taiwanese Film Tries to Recapture Bittersweet Love of Youth,” Business Insider, August 13, 2015.
- Hao Chen and Hsin-Hsien Fan, “Education in Taiwan: The Vision and Goals of the 12-Year Curriculum,” Brookings, November 11, 2014.
- Jessie Yang, “Taiwan’s Education System is Failing Its Youth,” The News Lens, August 11, 2016.