Cambridge Admissions Essay

817 Words 4 Pages
Cambridge Admissions Essay

As a child growing up in Communist China, I woke up every morning to the blasting of People's Central Broadcasting Station from a large radio on the dresser and fell asleep every evening in the surreptitious murmuring of Voices from America from a small radio by Grandpa's pillow. By fourth grade, I figured out that the two stations often reported the same events from opposite standpoints, using different words and tones, and thus projected contradictory interpretations onto the same events. Eager to share this revelation with my grandparents, I pointed out the differences between the two stations by singing their respective theme songs and by imitating the voices of their newscasters. To my disappointment,
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This past summer, I conducted thesis research on communal and private spaces in Shanghai, where, through video interviews with former residents, I traced the external and internal, concrete and abstract changes in three houses from their inceptions to the present. Each house may be thought of as a palimpsest of memories, of which every wall has markings from different decades, and every altar held a succession of gods and idols. In excavating these private histories, I was particularly struck by the ambivalent and ironic moments, where it was impossible to draw a clear line between good and evil, between innocence and guilt, where the humanity of the situation was stripped of the cloak of abstract principles and became uniquely touching.

Driven by the wish to rescue common people's stories from sweeping historical master-narratives and by the impulse to help different cultures understand one another on a profound, human level, I want to be a writer and documentary filmmaker, so that I can pay intimate attention to individuals while dealing with larger issues. Film, in particular, can immerse its audience in the world it recreates, allowing them to recognize themselves in others and thereby bridging the distance between the two.

My own immersion in a foreign culture, however, has been limited to the U.S.. Many other parts of the globe remain images and concepts to me, even Europe, a continent that has so deeply influenced and
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