The world I came from

I was born at the crossroad of destiny. When I was one year old, my family gathered around the television to watch, in silent anxious anticipation, the dissolution of the Soviet Union. They held back their collective breath of relief, uncertain of the awaiting future. In the years that came, my house was caught between the country’s frantic race toward modernization and residuals of an ancient past. Mini skyscrapers extruded from the ground, like mushrooms, without any regard, dwarfing temples and shrines in their metallic shadows. Some people have became rich, perhaps by unscrupulous means; many remain in destitution.

Image from Kaa Illustration

While I spent many afternoons studying at the front yard, I watched distant children from a nearby slum salvaging electrical parts from the dumping ground. They danced around the ground under the blazing sun with a large bag, screaming and smashing the CRT monitors to collect the gold-plated circuits, with no hope of the future; their children, too, will be smashing CRT monitors into the ground. The thought of me joining them in this perpetual cycle scared me every night. I was motivated to work hard, to help my family to escape from this reality of poverty and uncertainty.

Image from Kaa Illustration

I want to be a great scientist, a great technologist. I am not very smart, or disciplined, or talented, but I have worked long and hard to earn an awesome privilege, and I shall use that privilege to great effects. By making technologies more affordable and improve the education system, I will be able to help these many wrinkled faces under the blazing sun, whose efforts have helped to weave my dream and my success.

The images are from The First Journey by Kaa Illustration, which tells the story of An, a boy who has to travel to his first day of school during the flooding season in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. Many children in Vietnam actually travel to schools under such adverse conditions because they believe in the transformative power of education.
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