Monday, December 21, 2015

Confessions of a Percussionist - Part 2

Okay. Time for the much un-awaited second part. In the last post, I talked about the social aspect of being in a percussion ensemble, a concept that was not-so-familiar to me. This time, I'll talk about the not-so-pretty stuff of culture shock, namely the second stage: Disintegration.

Disintegration happens when you stop seeing things with rose-coloured glasses, when you stop being excited with being in and apart of something new. Alternatively, it could also occur when you're forced to participate in the new environment - you no longer have the neutrality of the outsider. You participate, rather than simply observe. Or for me, it was more of a sense of inadequacy. The feeling that you didn't belong in this new environment; you don't blend in. 

This began as early as our second rehearsal. Our instructor, Louise, would split us up into smaller groups to come up with some original djembe rhythms. Rather than contribute, I was just sitting there receiving instructions. Being passive in the group made me feel useless. The issue resurfaced again in a later week, when we were split into smaller groups again to help compose a form for our marimba piece. I stood there...again, and watched... again. But I described things with more details this time. "This was supposed to be our chance to... improvise and construct a form for our piece. And yet, I found myself unable to contribute to the conversation, to etch a part of myself into our performance". I went on to relate this experience to basically all the group assignments I've ever done. "This always happens. In every single task that requires group work. Why am I so passive? I feel ignorant for not contributing, yet dying inside for not being able to say or think of anything useful". Given that this happened on our seventh rehearsal, I wasn't really expecting much of how this would change in the remaining rehearsals. 

I believe my introverted personality did not make interacting any easier. Coupled with a mild case of anxiety, everyone in the room looked incredibly unapproachable to me. There were also few opportunities for us to interact. Most people cite ensemble activities as the perfect circumstances to interact with other people and develop a unified identity, which will confer that sense of belonging to them. However, I believe our sessions to be a little 'different' from your standard ensembles. A good number of us are beginners at music, that meant we needed more time to practice. And unfortunately, having two hours a week to learn and practice gives a group of novices very little time to catch up and prepare for an official public performance in ten weeks' time. My take on it would be, the situation just wasn't ideal for a bunch of strangers to come together and become the band of misfits they were destined to be. 

Digging a little deeper into things, I started noting distinctive patterns in my journal entries. Usually, I'd just stay quiet in my first class and be that way for the rest of semester. But this time, there was a sense of positivity in the air during the first few classes (during the honeymoon phase). What set being in this class apart from the ones from previous semester is interest. A great deal of early excitement had actually stemmed from my personal interest in the content itself, which is percussion music. It's very subtle, but my journal entries documented great joy, but also sombreness every week. The joyous parts were usually directed at the music; while the sombre parts dealt with the social interactions (or lack thereof) happening in the class. And even then, repeating the same pieces week after week got boring really quick. In the end, there really wasn't much to look forward to anymore. Of course, that does not mean the music was always perfect for me, which I'll delve into a little later. The main point here, is that a great proportion of the semester was not a very fun time for me. I'd go in feeling 'motivated', and come out feeling...not-so-motivated. At one point, I described Monday afternoon rehearsals as 'fun, surreal and (slightly) depressing'.

These episodes continued on until my seventh rehearsal. With only two more weeks until showtime, it wasn't hard to think that my perception of Monday afternoon change much. However, I was slowly moving out of the disintegration stage and into reintegration. The key trait that denotes this phase is taking the self-loathing that you felt during disintegration and redirecting it towards those around you (a.k.a the host culture, or in this case, my ensemble classmates). It's incredibly difficult to reach out to someone in this stage because they are hostile and antagonistic to you. While I have not experienced this very much, I highlighted two key events that contained elements of this stage.

Figure 1. Monday afternoon percussion rehearsals with other nonmusic majors. Photo taken at seventh rehearsal (week 8 or semester). Description: fun, surreal and (slightly) depressing.

The first was during our sixth 'gathering'. I say gathering because there wasn't an actual rehearsal that day. Louise had fallen ill that day and was unable to make it to rehearsals. Class was cancelled but no one was informed in advance. We all showed up normally only to be greeted by a short message at the door. My immediate reaction to reading it was shock and disappointment. I was probably genuine in feeling sad about the week's rehearsal being cancelled. In hindsight, that moment was pivotal in realising what my true feelings on the matter were. Yes, I actually like Monday afternoon percussion classes. Unfortunately, some of the remarks I heard from my peers were not too similar to mine. They weren't too happy about making the unnecessary trek all the way to the music school, among other things. It made me think that they didn't really care about music-making or anything. I was probably a little too harsh to think of them that way, but that was how I felt back then. While the musical and social aspects of ensembles were very much a black and white thing for me, I always believed that music was a non-verbal way of communicating with others. Those subtle cues that we were forced to perfect in order to make an ensemble performance work; I would also consider them a form of interaction within a musical setting. We listen for the signal, we check for visual cues, and we take in the myriad sounds that fill the air. When we do music, interactions aren't limited to words.

But I digress. Our viewpoints were clearly different, I thought. This was brought up again in our penultimate rehearsal. With only one week remaining, Louise briefed us through the schedule for the day - what to wear, what to bring, when to arrive. One question which hit me pretty hard was 'has anyone not seen the performance venue yet?'. Disappointed by the number of hands raised, I felt that my peers were simply not taking this seriously, or they just didn't have the interest to attend the weekly free concerts at the venue. 'How much are they actually interested in music-making? Were they just in it for the easy marks? What were their motivations for joining?', I asked myself. It looked like I was the only lunatic there who was actually finding percussion classes rewarding. Does everyone else see the marimba as just a piece of wood that makes sounds? Through these two events, I found myself growing antagonistic towards the other ensemble members, because it seemed like our interests and motivations differed.

Of course, with the power of hindsight, it looks a little silly to think that way. However, back then, these were my raw feelings. People fall into these situations all the time. They can't help it. That's why almost everyone suffers some degree of culture shock, no matter how hard they try. But I believe being honest and recording one's experiences in a journal can eventually help elicit these feelings and emotions. Stay tuned for the next part, finishing off the whole culture shock cycle with the autonomy and interdependence stage.

Listening to Kirifuda - cinema staff

An Amateur Percussionist,
Read More

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Confessions of an Amateur Percussionist - Part 1

"Music has always been a big part of my life".

A very common phrase, and one that's starting to sound a bit corny if you think about it. There are so many flaws to this generalised statement, and yet some of us just can't stop ourselves from saying it. Because such a broad and overarching statement is the only way we can express our love for this 'music', even if 'music' might just be the latest Taylor Swift track or a CD you got for your 15th birthday (Hah! Who still does this?). It just happens. So, what am I trying to get at? Well, this semester, I made a bold choice to take a music unit which involved actual music playing rather than theory (gasp!). The experience, while full of ups and downs, was both enriching and transformative for me. I found it thoroughly enjoyable (though finding out my actual marks was less-than-pleasant) and would recommend it to anyone interested in doing a 'easy' unit at UWA. Students kept a journal each week and used it as data to write up an essay about their experience as a final assessment. In this (and several upcoming) blogpost, I will share my experience as an amateur percussionist.

A major reason I am writing about this is because of the nature of the assessment; it intrigued me. Unlike writing a scientific essay, I got the opportunity to explore and write about myself, using 'data' I generated myself. In the following blog posts, I will discuss some of my 'findings'. 

One of the most prominent themes that emerged over the semester was how I interacted with my ensemble members. The biggest difference between ensemble and solo playing is people! You work with people, instead of alone. This provided a social dimension to my music-making experience, something I was not completely familiar with. I've worked with other people on duets but now we're talking about a group of twenty-ish students that I didn't know very well. While the incorporation of social aspects in ensemble groups have enabled participants to reap additional benefits such as garnering a sense of belonging, it's still rather unclear how and in what way this sense of belonging arises. Do people just blend in from day 1? Or do they have to 'earn' this belonging somehow? It is not unheard of that certain nonmusic students to find ensemble participation to be challenging, sometimes to the point of dropping out. My experience has served to elicit this process of obtaining a sense of belonging. In this scenario, I would brand myself as an 'introvert' with a mild case of social anxiety and this really shows in my weekly journal entries. A sizeable portion of my semester and journal was spent worrying about the social aspects of my ensemble.

When I analysed my weekly entries, I found a shift in feelings and perceptions. Thanks to studying this topic in Year 12, I managed to relate it to culture shock - the process of feeling belonged in a new environment, usually a culture. While many other shock-processes exist, such as role shock, which would fit my situation better, the literature hardly focuses on university and unit transitions, except within the context of international students studying abroad. I used Peter Pederson's "The Five Stages of Culture Shock: Critical Incidents Around the World" as a source material to complement my findings. The book was a similar record of a bunch of American students travelling around the world and writing critical incidents that can relate to culture shock. What I liked about the book was how it was qualitative, rather than quantitative, with majority being excerpts from these student journals. 

While many have debated over the 'correct' process of culture shock, the common one involves a five phases shaped in a U-shaped curve. You start off high, hit rock bottom but eventually get back up a high point again. Interestingly, a person is not guaranteed to be able to reach the final stage and exit this process, nor would the process progress in a straightfoward trajectory. Sometimes people rotate between phases back and forth and may revert to a precessing stage. These grey areas are the reason why many find it challenging to create a 'correct' model for culture shock. After all, human thinking and feelings are such enigmatic things.

Figure 1. The five phases of culture shock: honeymoon, disintegration, reintegration, autonomy and interdependence, along with associated emotions and feelings. 

Honeymoon Stage
The very first sentence in my journal had me describing my first rehearsal as 'giddy'. I was excited about participating in an ensemble, both musically and socially. While I was uncertain about many things, I tried to stay optimistic and happy. "This class would be different. It won't even be a 'class'. It'll be fun", is what I thought to myself. Interacting with my classmates was never my strong point. At university, what is a classmate, really? You sit in the same room for an hour each week for a semester and never see each other again. Anyway, knowing that we would have to rely on each other more than in an average classroom encouraged me to interact and think that interactions would be much simpler.

The first rehearsal went on well enough. I had not noted much about my interactions yet, probably because they were very limited. But I was still at a high. This was reinforced in our second week, where we had to play an ice-breaker game in order to get to know our peers better. I tried my best at remembering everyone's names, really. For the following weeks, I continued to stay optimistic with things. I tried my best to get to know my peers slowly, either by paying attention when their names are called or simply trying to have small talk with them. This was me in my honeymoon phase, full of excitement, fascination and adventure. I supposed everyone looked friendly enough.

I fully acknowledged that we would require some next level teamwork in order to pull our performance off. But more than once, my introversion made it difficult to really engage with them. My mind over-thinks and I usually end up missing opportunities to talk to them. My ability to engage was also limited geographically, based on where I was sitting and the time I had to work with. Coupled with our tight deadline, most of our time would be spent practicing and following our instructor's commands. Consequently, there were very few chances to start up a conversation with the person next to me, much less the person on the other end of the room. I would talk to Amy a little before we start the rehearsal and end up completely apart during rehearsals. 

This essentially sums up my honeymoon phase and sets things nicely (or poorly, depending on how you view this situation) for the next phase: Disintegration; which I will get into in my next update (trying to keep things as concise and short as possible).

Listening to Kirifuda - cinema staff

An Amateur Percussionist,

Read More

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My Life as an Imposter

I work in a lab. Let me change that sentence a bit. I 'work' in a lab. But I guess a better way of putting it would be 'volunteer'. I volunteer in a lab. Yes, that sounds better.

In the winter break, I was fortunate enough to earn a golden opportunity to help out in the Whiteley lab at UWA. The head, Winthop Professor Andy Whiteley, was the same guy chap who started the MicroBlitz project. I guess there were certain perks to working on the outreach team for this long. My efforts were rewarded, is how I see it. Anyway, I seized this opportunity without giving much thought: I get to work in a professional lab! A lab accessible only to postgrads and other faculty members. Hell yeah, I want this. They call this a pilot internship program, I think. 

Throughout my internship, I was working under the supervision of a PhD student, Ben. In a way, you could imagine this Ben-Theo interaction as those daunting supervisor-PhD student relationships. Ben's great though. I'll do a future post detailing the things I 'work' on in the lab. For this post, I'd like to talk about a problem obstacle I've faced in the past weeks: imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome is usually known as a self-diagnosed psychological phenomenon, where the person suffering from it thinks they don't deserve to be where they are today and don't deserve to enjoy their successes. Their current status is usually dismissed as luck; being lucky to have made it this far, lucky to be in the right place at the right time. Several studies have been conducted to understand where the syndrome is prevalent. I'm not sure if there's a proper academic paper to back this claim up but I believe this problem is also apparent in the scientific community, particularly people who've just started their research careers (e.g. postgrads and early career researchers).

I think you know where this post is going. I feel that I have a 'mild' case of imposter syndrome. I don't feel like I truly belong in that lab. And why should I? The lab is a place where real academics do real research. It's really not a place for an undergrad, let alone someone like myself. Due to the nature of my (informal) internship, Ben doesn't get additional payment or anything for supervising me. It's a completely voluntary task. In other words, he has his own work to get through, on top of looking after me. He's got his experiments to think about, papers to read, reports to write up and everything else a postgrad has to worry about. Needless to say, he can't be in the lab all the time to watch my every move. So that means, I'm working solo in the lab. To be honest, I'm totally okay with working in the lab alone. But it isn't that great if your experiments don't turn out the way you want, time and time again. That's the real issue here: I haven't been able to pull off anything successful lately.

And why would they work anyway? I'm a crummy undergrad. I've only ever held a pipette three times before I started this. I don't have any background in the stuff I do in the lab. Oh, did I mention I'm an undergrad? Personally, I feel worse-off than other postgrads. I'm sure they'd be able to pull themselves out of the imposter trap by telling themselves 'Oh wait, I can do this. I graduated with first class honours!'. But what do I have to save myself?  In a way, I literally got this internship opportunity because I was helping out in the office when the idea was brought up. 'Maybe they got the wrong guy', is all that's circling in my head.

I feel guilty. Guilty that I'm eating up all of Ben's time. Guilty that my failed experiments end up wasting lab resources. Guilty that I'm wasting value samples sent in by our valuable citizen scientists (who probably think someone with an actual degree was handling their samples). Is this how it feels like to have imposter syndrome? A whole bunch of negatives stacked against you? 

Heading into the lab used to be an exciting time. Ben would be there to teach me something. I'd work all day and watch how my gels fluoresced brightly when I shined UV light on it. Things are different now. I (dare I be ungrateful and say?) dread going in, knowing that my experiments probably won't turn out well. My samples would look crap, and then I'd have to go tell Ben I failed the experiment. He'd have a mixed expression on his face. And then he'll tell me to take a break and pack up for the day. I go home feeling like I've accomplished nothing. Rinse and repeat. 

Don't get me wrong. This is a rare opportunity and I would definitely keep it selfishly to myself, despite doing a sh*t job. But every time (literally, every single time) something goes wrong, I question myself. 'Do you really deserve to be here?' 'Why can't you do anything right?' 'Why can't my experiment work just this once?' 'Umm...yeah I should probably call Ben for help...'

I don't really know where this entry is going. Definitely not with a surprise 'Oh but I found a way to fix it' heading! I'm just glad I managed to get this off my chest. I want to start afresh. But what if the same mistakes come back again and again. The day I tell them I ran out of samples to reuse will be the day they know how much of a fraud I am.

I want to end this by asking: Does it sound like I have a bit of a imposter syndrome dilemma going on?


Figure 1. The results from a recent experiment I conducted. As you can see, it's a mess. What you want is for all the columns to have a single band forming a straight line across the row. What I got were not-so-bright bands, missing bands, double bands and a bit of smearing here and there. Also, if you look at the 8th column on the bottom row, you'll see a very faint band. That wasn't supposed to be there... Looks like I contaminated something! Yay.

Listening to It's Not Right For You - The Script

Read More

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Day 7: At Week's End

Here it is! The final entry to my second OVA: Sieban Chronicles.
I've already mentioned the name of this little OVA series. And if you've read the spoilers, it meant "seven" in German.
Sieben doesn't look very cool, but I can assure you, it sounds cooler.
For those of you who've never taken basic German before (e.g. me), it's pronounced as ZEE-bin.
I didn't really know what to call this when I first started.
'Chronicles' sounded cool so I thought I'd use that.
But what Chronicles?
I aimed for something simple and used the 'everything is more sexy in a foreign language' strategy.
I also recall the word being muttered by characters from an anime I was watching called Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works.
In the anime, magic and spells are cast and called out in German, not English nor Japanese.
"ZEE-bin," the main heroine would chant to activate the power of her jewels.
Maybe it just sounded cooler when pronounced with a Japanese accent with epic strings in the background.

As for the project, I had a lot of fun doing it: recording, editing and uploading.
Actually, that was a joke.
Editing took forever and uploading was just plain impossible!
But the recording part was definitely fun! It's a really great way to experiment around with different things.
And it might even help expand your Johari window!
I know it has helped me immensely: I say 'interesting' a lot of times when I'm nervous or at a lost for words, or maybe just all the time.
It would be a shame to stop vlogging altogether, so I think I would save this for my next holiday to see if this vlog project would be feasible.
I might even do one when I head back to Malaysia, as suggested by my friend Audrey (superb idea!).

Lastly, I'd like to thank everyone who took part in this vlog.
Having people other than myself appear (and sometimes, even speak) can add variety and dimension to a boring vlog.
I'm sure if you watched it, you'd be glad you're not staring at my face 24/7.
I'll see you in my next blog post. Hope you enjoy reading and watching my content.

Figure 1. A picture I took from my trip up to Wongan Hills. I really liked the shade of blue and the blue-white contrast of the sky. I decided to add some 'inspirational' short quotes to it but I turned into music names and lyrics. This probably shows how much I enjoy music.

Listening to Kings & Queens - Brooke Fraser

Read More

Monday, July 6, 2015

Day 6: To Go Your Way

*WARNING: I am not an expert in what I will be talking about. Do not take this as gospel (unintentional pun).

Coming to Australia has made me realise that Christianity can be seen as a dying religion.
Back in Malaysia, the spread of the gospel is becoming stronger, which is always a good thing to see.
But over here, in Western countries, most people are starting to remove religious aspects from their lives.
As a result, what I imagine would be a shift in the Christian demography, away from the West and more towards the East.
Although it is disheartening to see people lose their faiths and all, I feel that sometimes stereotypes and other social misunderstandings and misinterpretations tend to blow things completely out of proportion.

Take same-sex marriage as an example.
The whole incident caused a massive uproar in the States, and to Christians worldwide.
But let's look at things on a more local level, some Christians take things way too extremely (coughWestborocough).  And as result, Christians all over get a bad rep.
Now, people stereotype and put all Christians in the same box.
When people attempt to preach the gospel on the streets, they might receive verbal abuse for all their good intentions (I haven't seen one yet but I'm sure it's very possible).
The very people who preached non-discrimination are now the discriminators.
So now we have Christian extremists going cray cray over same-sex marriage, and we have the converse as well.
Both these things act to polarise society from Christianity, vice versa. Positive feedback loop, anyone?
We have people voicing their disapproval over marriage equality; and people voicing their disapproval over religious dictations.

Now, this is just what I think, my opinion. For all I know, things could be wrong and I'm just spouting an impossible story. But this is what I've concluded from making my own observations.
I have 'identified' a problem, but not a solution. Simply because I don't know what the solution is.
There isn't a special cheat code I can give to fix things, but I think it's important to look at the situation from both sides.
This is only one of many challenges Christians face in reaching out in a modern world.
To fellow Christians out there, remember what's most important: Love the Lord and love your neighbour.

Figure 1. Something interesting and cute I found at Go-Fest. It was at a corner of the foyer where they sold clothes and faith-related books. It looks like a frame with polaroid pictures hanging from yarn strings. I assume this frame was not for sale. But if it was, I would totally buy it! Aesthetically-pleasing and I love how they shined a light at it from behind. Very classy indeed.

Listening to Brighter Days - Taylor Henderson

Read More

Day 5: Bye Bye Wongan Hills

Going up to Wongan Hills wasn't just a complete break for me.
We still had to work, y'know. More specifically, we were showing kids how great science is.
We had them extract DNA from simple strawberries, which were visible and touchable.
In the end, I even gave a couple of presentations to the school.
It was a really fun experience working with children, one I think all people should be exposed to (just to see whether they'll love/hate it).
Although running the same mundane tasks school-after-school left everyone pretty tired, I actually felt invigorated and excited.
And I was doing what I loved: science.
Plus, some of the kids were quite into science. Some of them asked about forensics and SPOILERS splicing (I don't even know what that is!).

I suppose this is another form of science communication.
I've tried doing this by talking to the general public at events with our MicroBlitz stalls, but I think I prefer school-trips much more. Especially if they're in middle/high school.
Education has always been something of a last resort for me, in terms of career directions.
It might've been low on my list, but it was always there.
People keep telling me "We need more STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) teachers".
Of course, I've also learnt to take everything with a grain of salt because "every sector is growing and prospects are looking quite good", according to every career guide I've read.

People also fear that they'll be sent to teach in rural schools, which isn't very exciting.
I'm not sure how 'rural' Wongan Hills is, compared to some of the other schools. But if I'm assigned to that kinda town, sure accessing the Internet might be a little slow, but I think I can live with that.
And lucky me, there's a graduate program that fits all these criteria: Teach for Australia.
The basic gist of it is that you take an intensive course in teaching. After that, your study load is reduced but they assign you to a educationally-disadvantaged school to teach for (at least) two years.
Your teaching load is also reduced so you can juggle teaching and learning at the same time (but mostly teaching).
You can the full benefits (including salary) of a secondary teacher while working those two years. And at the end of it, you 'graduate' with a Masters of Education (Secondary). That's pree' sweet!
You literally get paid to get a degree.
Of course, I'm well aware that, like any other program which eats up funding, people criticise it for many flaws, including sending 'amateurs' into an already disadvantaged school.
But hey, I'm gonna take this opportunity if it comes along.
When I say 'if', I mean only a small portion of people actually get in (>10%?).
But I can still dream, can't I?
Might start volunteering for some uni organisations such as Teach Learn Grow and maybe some pedagogical research with ULTRIS next year to get a better picture of how these things actually work.

Figure 1. Blurry Photo Warning. Ex-chief scientist of Wa, Lyn Beazley speaking to middle school children at the Wheatbelt Science Forum (organised by the Inland Lighthouse Network) at Wongan Hills. After acting as chief scientist, Lyn still does research and is highly involved in communicating science to people of all sorts. She attends events, seminars and even gives lectures on how great science is and why WA is a great place to do science.

Listening to Telephone - James Blunt

Read More

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Day 4: Of Digging and Extracting

MicroBlitz is a citizen-science project.
I'm not sure if I've said this before (but I'll say it again anyway), but citizen science is where ordinary people (even those without a degree, such as kids) help collect information for scientists.
This can be a cost-effective method of acquiring data; at the same time, it acts as an engaging and educating experience of citizen scientists. It's a win-win situation.
MicroBlitz enlists citizens to collect soil samples from all over Western Australia.
Volunteers (or better known as MicroBlitzers) are given a sample kit and simple instructions they can follow.
After grabbing a sample from wherever they want, they send it back to us for analysis.
And all this is done at no cost to MicroBlitzers. We pay for it all.
Eventually, by using PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and fancy bioinformatics, we can identify the microorganisms (microbes) in the soil.
The end result will be a base map of the different microbes available throughout the state, which will improve decision-making processes.
Click here for the MicroBlitz website.

More information on MicroBlitz:

Figure 1. Citizen science in progress! An image of me taking a soil sample for MicroBlitz. Notice the unique red soils, which is fairly characteristic of drier Australian soils. The top part is a little crusty, but after that, everything becomes sandy and easy to dig. Just think creme brulee! Both soil sample and spatial data (GPS coordinates) are important for constructing the microbial map back at the lab.

Another project happening at UWA is the Kwongan Foundation.
I'm not too familiar with this, but the general idea is that they're aiming to conserve the unique species of flora and fauna in WA.
Surprisingly, WA is one of the world's few biodiversity hotspot. This means we've got a lot of species that are not found anywhere else in the world.
The Foundation is garnering support to have the biologically-rich locations turned into UNESCO World Heritage List. Doing so will boost tourism and conservation efforts.
Aside from that, they are also geared towards science communication. On their Facebook page, Winthrop Professor Hans Lambers frequently shares images and news about our local biodiversity.
They also host workshops and presentations (which are too expensive for me to attend!).
Click here for the Kwongan Foundation website.

More information on the Kwongan Foundation:

Figure 2. It is also characteristic of Australian vegetation to be shrubby and short. Although it doesn't look that impressive, the species richness found in these arid landscapes are able to rival those found in the Amazon rainforest. Due to the tough environmental conditions, the local flora have developed several unique strategies to adapt, which explains why there are more species around: there is no one clear way to survive in these environments.

Listening to Bloodstream - Ed Sheeran

Read More