* Contains Spoilers *

I recently finished [binge] watching the entire second season of 13 Reasons Why and it was just as emotional, disturbing, and utterly shocking as the first season. But there's more to these new episodes than just bullying and suicide; it also features gun violence and more sexual assault and these issues have become very important, especially around this time in the wake of the #MeToo movement and the recent school shootings. So I'm here to talk about them.

In season one, the narrative is based around the tapes left behind by Hannah Baker after she takes her own life but in the newest season, the story unravels through a series of polaroid pictures - ones that have been discovered in Clay Jensen's locker. The polaroids leads us to a secret 'truth' of the popular jocks of the baseball team.

Despite the unravelling of the plot through these polaroids, the narrative is primarily based around the trial of Bakers v. school district, where each person mentioned on the tapes testify and tell their side of the story to see whether Hannah's suicide is the parent's fault or the school's.

As fantastic the cinematography and directing is (some of the episodes were directed by a legend, Gregg Araki), the story line of season two bemused me and somewhat angered to some measure.

Creating two opposing sides as a result of Hannah's suicide is unrealistic and slightly over-dramatic, and the fight between two - the fight to see who was at blame for her death - made Hannah's suicide mean nothing more than criminal rather than a tragedy, devaluing her death to some extent. They represented her suicide as a murder when it's not; suicide is a choice. Further, the fact that they're questioning her claims throughout the series creates an unreliability in the story: should we believe the victim's claims, is it really her fault she was bullied, and what would she have lied for if she wasn't exactly being honest?

Not to mention the graphic nature of Tyler's brutal assault in the last episode. It left me haunted because the terror and the screams as well as the violence all seem so genuine. To me, I felt it was unnecessary to finish off the season with something as painful to watch as Hannah's suicide. I personally found it a bit over-the-top, something the writer's wrote in for shock-value. Despite the constant warnings before the episode started, it is way too sensitive for viewers - especially since the show already consists of extremely sensitive content. So, if you're planning to watch it then mentally prepare yourself or watch with a guardian/friend. If you've been a victim of sexual assault or bullying, then I highly recommend not watching this scene at all.

In all's honesty, the contents of this show is too heavy and should be handled like broken glass - which is why I would not honestly recommend this show unless you think you can handle a few sharp edges. The heavy load which the show carries will overwhelm you with a burden of thoughts about the issues and themes it displays; leaving a long-term impact. It left a huge one for me.

Although this show is controversial and dark, it's a way for young people to become aware of important issues - such as rape, suicide and depression, bullying, and violence. Tyler's scene created an awareness of male rape, which is something that not many people know about. It's a great way to challenge young people to think and discuss these issues which isn't commonly discussed, and it's especially important that we start talking, considering the recent events of #MeToo, March for our Lives, and the recent cases of Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby - where victims stood up and spoke their truths. To add more, one of my favourite things they did on this show was the way they depicted teenagers in this day and age: image-conscious, hormonal, secretive, and rebellious.

Overall, 13 Reasons why wasn't too bad. I was expecting different results for the second season - like after Hannah's death, the people involved would try to figure out a way to move on in a constructive way, rather than through a court trial; and Jessica would finally speak up about her non-consensual encounter with Bryce. Even though it wasn't what I expected, the show had great surprises, heart-wrenching moments, and a touch of trauma.

Do you agree? Would you recommend 13 Reasons Why to anyone or would you not watch it ever?


In honor of Asian/Pacific American Heritage month, I've written several poems about my Filipino culture. Through metaphors and imagery of nature, these poems I've written explores the issues of south east asian cultures (as well as south asian, west asian, etc.) being subjugated by east asian expectations and standards; therefore looking into racism as well as unfair stereotypes amongst the asian community. Here are a few I've written, and that are also featured in my Poetry blog. I hope you enjoy 

To further delve you deeper into this literary and artsy celebration of APAHM, I suggest you go check out Tiger Balm Project; a beautiful zine that provides a platform for the unheard voices of South East Asians, featuring many crazy talented artists, poets and writers of south east asian descent! You can find more work similar to these literary pieces I've written, so check it out!! Link is here.

I am also writing a column over at adolescent.net about biculturalism. Through the lens that is my personal experiences from growing up in a bicultural family, I explore this uncommon topic of discussion and shedding light to the potential benefits it may have to society. I use examples of my life, as a Filipino young woman growing up in a British culture. More can be found under "Cross-Cultured" through this link

Do you have other ways to celebrate Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month? Let me know in the comments below :D


For this year's reading challenge on GoodReads, I pledged to read 80 books this year. One of my goals I've set in the beginning of 2018 was to continue improving my writing and expand my ideas and vocabulary - and no better way to help me achieve this than to enrich myself with books!

Over the past couple of months, I've been collecting new books and reaching out for old ones I haven't touched in years. I've found - and re-discovered - insightful and interesting books that I'd like to share with you all! Here are the list of books I've been loving and reading recently - most of which I aim to finish by the end of this month...

1. A Little Book of Language David Crystal - I've had this book for a while but only managed to read one of its chapters. But when I was organizing my bookshelf, I picked this up and started reading it from page one and I've been hooked. Crystal thoroughly explores the concept of language, giving insight into things I didn't know about - such as how the first thing babies pick up in languages is intonation and rhythm.

2. The Guest Cat Takashi Hiraide - I am in love with this book and it is, by far, one of my favorite books! With its sweet and detailed descriptions and insightful references to philosophical concepts, it's a book that warms my heart every time I read it.

3. The Moon and Sixpence Somerset Maugham - This books is particularly an interesting one. I don't often come across 20th century books that aren't classics, but I bought this one time from a secondhand bookshop. The story was interesting to me; it was about a middle-aged man who, after living a very average life, runs away to pursue his desire of painting. What drew me to this book was the title: it apparently came from a review of another book by Maugham "Of Human Bondage" where its protagonist was described as "so busy yearning for the moon that he never saw the sixpence at his feet".

These are just a few books that I've been reading recently and aim to finish by the end of this month. I am open ears for new books to read, so let me know of any new titles you'd recommend!


Now that it's the beginning of May, before starting off the month I would like to share a little poem I wrote. Since April was the National Month of Poetry, I wanted to honor one of the oldest and the most inspiring literary arts. Due to the Spring semester's Final Exams, I hadn't had the time to write anything but here I am, on summer break, and here's a little sonnet I wrote!

My sampaguita flower is lost in the wind,
with clouds blurring the sun she cannot see,
eternally running in an endless field,
confused and flightless like a broken, blind, bee.

Like the heedless cat, blue butterflies and yellow
dahlias are monotone to her eye,
she patiently watches the sunflower grow
striving for heaven's clouds in the sky.

But subdued by nature's raincloud,
she falls torpidly in an empty abyss,
trapped in the Labyrinth, unable to get out;
desperate as desiccated lilies, the sun's hand she seeks. 

A kiss by the watchful sun, she feels relief;
but wounded by confusion, her petals begin to sink. 
- n.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed! You can look at more of my poetic works over at my portfolio: nicolespoetry.tumblr.com


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