Lunafest was a bit different than I expected. I imagined it to be indoor like a science fair. However, setting it everywhere did allow me to talk to people in my group, which was quite fun. The first activity my group went to was designed for kids, so we had to skip that. We visited art exhibits after and saw the work of an artist from Hong Kong, which reminded me of the contemporary art I saw in China, unique and cute. Later, we visited the shadow puppet show about the story of the 12 Chinese zodiacs. I was surprised to see that most kids and parents there were not Asian. I was also quite happy that they seemed to be enjoying learning Chinese culture. However, the show to me was a bit too childish. The highlight of the entire day was a recital by a famous musician in China. Although I’ve never heard of his name, his title and performance showcased how professional he was. He performed through Chinese traditional instruments, which I hadn’t heard for years, not even when I went back to China. The music and his story were quite touching, as well. At last, my group had lunch/dinner together in a local Chinese restaurant, which was probably the best Chinese food I had in a restaurant in America.
In general, I think this activity is quite time consuming because we needed to go to different places. Also, depending on the specific workshops, some of them were not that intriguing (except for the musician; he was really good). I feel like this activity can be on next year’s list as long as students know what to expect. I think they should research the specific workshops beforehand to make sure they are worth it.
Although implicit biases exist everywhere and inside everyone, there are ways to reduce them, just like what Colleen said. I believe there are many occasions where my implicit biases are reduced.
The work I have in Global Studies has helped me a lot. Specifically, I am extremely happy that I learned about Hans Rosling’s method. He uses real statistics to analyze global tread, which I think is the most reliable way to judge a country. The charts make me realize that some countries that I assumed to be the poorest or are wasting the most energy actually are not. From his video, I found out that the world is in a better place than I previously thought. Dollar Street teaches me a straightforward idea that poverty or prosperity is not a country: because there are always the richest and the poorest anywhere in the world. It definitely changes my perspectives in looking at some countries that I thought would be poor.
I do not have that much involvement with my local community in the U.S., even though I wish to. However, my community in China does help me break down my bias. Because there is so much news in China about rude dog owners in the apartments who let their dogs run free in the buildings and hurt people, I was afraid of the dog owners in my apartment. However, they were extremely polite. While I was waiting for elevator, a woman with a big dog came and waited as well. When the elevator arrived, the dog owner did not follow me in the elevator but kept on waiting for the next elevator, and told me that she didn’t want her dog to scare me. From then on, I was no longer assuming that dog owners living in apartments are impolite.
Among my travel experiences, the Jordan trip had the most influence on me. Before traveling to Jordan, I had little knowledge about the country, or Arabic culture in general. Even when I first arrived at Amman, and saw street food, I assumed that it would not be clean to eat. However, after we actually purchased the food before leaving Amman, I realized how delicious it was and how ridiculous I was. I learned that I should not judge things radically before I really understand or try them myself. Staying with a host family in Bedouin village made me form an intimate relationship with people, especially women there. After I returned to the U.S, everytime I see Jordan on the news, I just have the feeling of familiarity, and definitely paid more attention than before. When I went to see the movie Aladdin, Wadi Rum desert showed up and I was so proud.
I think the play was absolutely great. It was one of the best play I’ve even seen. I believe that the main message conveyed in the play is that humanity is able to unite together regardless of country, race, gender and sexual orientation after a tragedy. It is also about putting personal prejudice down in order to help the greater good. I found it interesting that they included the task of saving animals. The advantage of musical play is that it is easy to understand and engaging. Music is universal. It doesn’t require too much knowledge to understand. Therefore, people from all backgrounds can listen and participate. A musical play is also short, that it compresses all the essential information in. Therefore, people have less time can also gain a lot of knowledge about it. Also, acting brings out the emotional and touching part of the story. I was sad when the woman talked on the phone announcing her son’s death. I was also very impressed by how only 12 actors can play both the roles of villagers and travellers, because it was so clever and easy to understand. However, there are many disadvantages of the play too. There would be much more details involved if it was a book: I remember in the documentary they were talking about combining two reporters into one. However, if it was not compressed, I bet there’s more interesting fact and small stories that are fun to read. Also, if the story is a book, I will have a chance to review any part that I miss and reread the book if I have time. However, I don’t think I’ve ever go to the same play again because it's far away and expensive.
The most important thing I learned is that remembrance is important. There are many layers to that. First, it was really important for the Jewish people to remember their identities, because it made them unite together and actively helped each other. Remembrance is also about love, because with love those people overcame harsh conditions and love brought them hope. It helped survivors overcome the fear or anger. At last, remembrance also let us, students who have not experienced the tragedy learn about what happened in the past, so that even when survivors past, the history still remains.
Before I came to the memorial I thought that the Auschwitz concentration camp was inside Germany. However, I found out that it was actually in Poland. I think it is really important to know the truth because it has a different meaning to it. Being in Poland, people who were evicted from their own home were enslaved and killed in their own country. It was a great shame and tragedy.
This is timely revenant because there’s still anti-semitism movements and speeches around the world. This is still a problem when it shouldn’t be. Therefore, I think it is absolutely for everyone to learn about the history before developing any hatred.
The art I picked is the memorial square with victim's name in it. I think it is a really beautiful art because the lights and water surrounded it. Specifically, I think it is really creative to engrave victims’ names and have the light shine from inside to outside. The water is deep inside the center, flowing. I think it means that although so many people were lost, they are always within our hearts, as the water flows, their memories, and our memories to 9/11, will be flowing in others’ minds and history as well. The history will be passed on, generations after generations. The light around victims’ name have a similar purpose; their influences will always be lights that inspire people, warn people and always let people remember. The combination of water and light is brilliant. Because after I saw it, I just couldn’t forget it.
I went to a church for the religious service this time. The full name of the church is St. John’s Episcopal Church. The church believes in Episcopalian and is a member of the Anglican Communion. According to my research, Episcopal churches are between Catholic and Protestant. However, the church I went to last year was a Protestant church called South Church.
Since both of them are churches, they have a lot of similarities. First of all, both of them believe in God as a savior. Therefore, they both provide Bibles in front of the seats for people to read. There were crosses in front of the room. In both services, the celebrants referred information in the bible, either presented as direct quotes or the interpretation of the quotes. Although they were tough for me to understand, I concluded that the general information was both about believing that God can forgive your sins if you choose to believe in him. Of course, both churches simplified some language to tell bible stories so that kids could understand, and I found that interesting. Later on, both churches mentioned some current events and linked them with God. Last year the Father talked about the polarization of politics and asked people to unite together under religion. This year, the celebrant mentioned the school shooting and how it changed a lot of parents’ lives. Because of that, she said, a lot of people shut themselves off. She encouraged us to open up, be awake but keep alert. I think this is a really good message because not all people are bad people.
Although there are a lot of similarities, I believe I observed more differences. The whole tones of two churches are completely different- in the church, I went to last year, it was super casual. People could shout “Amen” in the middle of the talk, or raise their hands when they were passionate. However, the church I went to today was more serious- there were more people but much quieter. Inside of the architecture was a lot of religious decorations. A few children were holding crosses, and there were colorful glasses like those in Europe. Even the songs in two churches were different. In the church I went to last year, it was like a rock band that performed. The band was wearing jeans, and the songs were modern. However, in this church, there was a formal choir that sang religious songs that were hard to understand. They were dressing quite religiously, too. All of the songs were beautiful, and the entire service was so sacred that I didn’t even dare to breathe loudly. The ethnic components were quite different, as well. In the church last year, the majority of people were black and Hispanic. In this church, however, all of them were Caucasians. There was definitely more engagement in last year’s church, but this church has more clergies.
I read Vox’s Secularism article. I found it quite interesting to read because religion has always been an area that I don’t know a lot about. Seeing the objective data is very nice. I don’t know whether I agree or disagree with this article because I don’t know much about religion and its importance in American society. However, I am suspicious about whether religion matters that much in a person’s life. I think it has to do with the country you live in and the environment you grow up in. For example, I’ve spent most of my time in China, and religion isn’t that prevalent there. Therefore, growing up without religion, I find myself doing pretty good now. I do not feel the “loss of morality” or “community,” as the article suggests. However, I do understand and agree that if religion has always been a part of the family or community, it is indispensable. Therefore, it really depends on individual families of whether religion is important. I think it is quite interesting how this article separates being “spiritual” and being “religious”. There is still a lot of unsolved quests and puzzles in the world, so being spiritual makes sense to me. Also, I believe the reason family and friends rank higher on the community chart is because they are tangible, but religions require a deeper and more comprehensive understanding.
I think Bryan Stevenson's speech is the best speech I've ever been to. It was so great how he uses his own experiences and stories to tell us how to make a change regarding justice. I especially agreed on his argument that in order to truly solve the current mass incarceration problem, we need to "get closer"- get closer to those falsely convicted and imprisoned. Just like what he said, politics sometimes fail to solve these problems because it is too far away. It reminds me of my own experience: before reading Just Mercy, I really supported the death penalty because I strongly believed that if you do something extremely bad, you need to pay for it. Back then, I had little understanding of the negative sides of it. After I read the book, I was surprised to find that my opinion changed as I learned more and more personal stories about the wrongfully convicted individuals. I also understood that the justice system isn't perfect at all. Sometimes, even when the person commits the crime, he or she might be given harsher sentences based on race or economic status. I started to think about what Bryan Stevenson said in so many speeches- sometimes, instead of thinking if the person deserves to die, we need to think about whether we deserve to kill. I think by reading the book, I now am "getting closer" to the experience of convicted people.
About the connection between human rights and justice, I believe they are the same thing. When true justice exists, it is humane. Sometimes people only see one-sided justice, which is not humane. For example, murder is not justice as it harms individuals, which is a human rights violation. However, over-sentencing and mass incarceration are not justice either because the prisoners are human, so they deserve to have human rights. One of Bryan Steenson's story really proved to me the extremely fragile and humane side of one of the prisoners. He talked about a young man who really wanted a chocolate milkshake. It was really touching because usually, people don't and not willing to think about this side of the convicted. Therefore, they let their chosen ignorance to lead their judgment. However, it is only when people put human rights and justice together that they can see both sides of the coin.
The justice system, especially, the due process system, is designed to be humane. Although there's still a lot of injustice happening right now, Bryan Stevenson told us to stay hopeful, and he is a good example. He didn't give up when he struggled with getting government funds; he didn't give up when one of the lawyers left his office; he stayed hopeful even after seeing his clients getting executed. He told us that we should "fight against things make us hopeless," which I think is a good point. Just a few days ago, Rodney Reed's case showed that there's hope. I think it has a great connection to Just Mercy, sad yet hopeful. I genuinely appreciate what Bryan Stevenson is trying to do because I can't imagine the hardship he has to go through. He reminds me of a public defender that I met. When I asked him what the feeling of representing what the society called "bad people" is, he said that he just follow the constitution.
Overall I think this is a great event that is both powerful and insightful. His speech, combined with Just Mercy, changed a lot of my perspectives and really made me learn a lot.
Having a store like A Dong plays a positive role in my life, personally. The store has a lot of Asian/Chinese food that I used to eat back in China, so it is quite great to get them here as well because it sometimes can remind me of my childhood and happy time. I was even able to find snacks that were stopped selling in China. While I lived in an American host family, instant noodles in A Dong market was a luxurious meal for me- the spices and flavor were so different from those of American food. I used to go to the A Dong market once every three months or so and bought snacks for the coming three months. It was great to treat myself with an Asian snack after finishing homework.
I believe the most important aspects of my culture that I shared are: first, a lot of things we eat, like dumplings and hot pot, we eat with our family members. It is a tradition to eat dumplings on Chinese New Year as a family. Second, I told American students that the store doesn’t really represent Chinese supermarkets now. A Dong is more like a Chinese supermarket 20 years ago. Now the markets in cities are way more organized and fancy. I wish I could better explain the types of desserts in the frozen area because they really taste good. However, I was not able to introduce them to English because I don’t know how to translate some materials into the food.
I learned from American students that some of them actually know about Asian snacks. I was surprised when they told me their own opinions on particular snacks. I think snack is a good start for American students to learn Asian/Chinese food.
I really like Dorje Dolma’s presentation. I was especially intrigued by her childhood life (the part where she chased the snow leopard) and her success in writing and art. I find it’s really cool how the interaction with nature and her memory of home & culture reflect in her artwork as she kept learning art in the United States. Also, I feel that she is such a brave girl that even though she lived in such a tough condition with her disease and the outside environment, she still actively sought for help. Specifically, I was quite shocked when she used all her courage to ask a white woman if she could go to school, knowing that it was her only hope. Dorje was also very lucky, as well. Thanks to the doctor who found her back problem, she was able to come to the U.S. and become the person she is today. Dorje’s culture is very interesting. Although in the same country, the village she lived in still had a very different dynamic than that of the capital, Kathmandu. Being in the city was a challenge for her, and I believe coming to the United States was a big transition as well. Though living in a remote place, Dorje’s parents were quite open-minded in a way that they let two of their children out of the country. Maybe they loved them so much that they only wished the best of them.
There are many similarities and differences between Dorje and Lia Lee. They were both from extremely remote areas in Asia where the technology and medicine were in shortage. However, they were both fortunate enough to come to the U.S., where they could receive sanctuary for different reasons. Both of their cultures practice traditional medicine, which combined religion, herbs and spirits together. They also had severe diseases that made their lives, and their parents’ lives difficult. Fortunately, both of their parents loved them so much. For the difference, the most obvious one was that Dorje finally survived the battle with the disease. But Lia Lee, on the other hand, did not. Maybe it had something to do with the parents’ attitudes towards Western medicine and the medical system. Although they are both from remote areas, I personally feel that Dorje is more fortunate than Lia Lee because she did not experience the cruelty of the war and its impact. She also received help from so many people whom Lia Lee did not get the chance to. However, Lia Lee was able to stay with her family while in the U.S, but Dorje did not.
Culture breakers helped Dorje a lot through her journey. At first, the people in the soup kitchen gave her the hope that she never experienced before. The doctors also helped her brother with his disease, which lessen the burden of her family and made her trust the Western world even more. Being a brave girl, Dorje also created herself opportunities to be seen by people, which makes her her own culture breaker too. She was able to bear the pain of separation from her family in order to find a cure for her disease. She actively learned English and adapted to the Western way of living. Dorje’s parents acted as culture breakers, too, especially Dorje’s father. Being a traditional healer, he was able to see the flaws of traditional medicine and tell the patients to use Western medicine. Perhaps open-minded actions like this allowed Dorje’s parents to fully understand the need for their daughter to go to the U.S.
6/2019 Corn Maze
Through this event, I learned about the American Fall Festival, which is super fun and interesting in my opinion. Since Connecticut is in the New England area, the leaves turn red, yellow, and orange during fall, so there’s a lot of representation of these colors in Lyman Orchards, especially orange- color of pumpkins. It looked pretty to me because there’s not a lot of colors during fall in the part of China I lived in. Also, it was really interesting to see how apples were widely used in food and dessert. I’ve never had apple cider in China but after I tasted it here, it became my favorite drink. I also was intrigued by the “cider dog” on the food menu. However, I was disappointed when I found out that it tasted the same as a regular hot dog. Apple picking in Lyman Orchards seemed cool too as it's a fun experience to pick the fruits you eat directly from trees. I liked how there were so many families that came to the orchard, which let me learn that Fall Festival is a vibrant festival that brings families together to celebrate the harvest.
The interaction with American students was good as well. Our team worked together and became the first group to get out of the maze. The American students in my group also showed Chinese students different desserts that people eat during fall, such as apple fritters, apple butter and honey sticks. Though they didn’t come to corn maze a lot, they were still very familiar with activities like apple picking.
After the event, my host family picked me up and we bought pumpkins in a store nearby. They noticed that a lot of people put pumpkins in front of their house, so we are doing it this year. We will carve the pumpkins into Halloween faces and put candles inside them. We also got some spaghetti squashes as food too. In general, I think fall festival is happy festival that connects food and family together.
The Freshly Squeezed topic this year quite informative. It definitely helped me get more insight into hate crime itself and the status quo. I like how one speaker stated the stages of how hate crime grow- starting with a joke and so on. Which means, there are ways to prevent hate crime from happening by stopping it on the “joke” stage. Another speaker pointed out the problem of who gets to decide the definition of hate crime beyond the court, which makes me wonder if those who have the most power get to define it. For example, because gay marriage was legalized, many hate crimes or speeches targeted towards the LGBTQ people might not be even considered as hate. Therefore, it is good to see that civilians are having more and more power in American society. Before this event, although I knew that hate speech is very prevalent in many areas like race, religion, etc., I did not realize that social media is such a big platform for them to express prejudice. Specifically, I did not know that there’s so many “deep web” that offer people opportunities to do so. I was mad when hearing such a loose policy in terms of internet freedom as well. However, I especially liked it when one speaker pointed out that the public should not focus too much on whether those internet users have freedom of speech themselves. Instead, they should be more concerned with what impact this “freedom of speech” has on society. I completely agree with what she said, and I think freedom of speech doesn’t come empty-handed. It should be bored with the responsibility to the people themselves and society as a whole. Freedom of speech is a right, but when abusing the right beyond the norm of society, it is no longer a right but a privilege that should not be given.
Hate speech and crime definitely have tremendous impacts on society. From my perspective, I pay the most attention to their effects on schools and students community. It is true that through developing, students are easily affected by others and follow the trend, but they are also easy to be corrected once the right measurements are implied. However, not all schools care equally much about correcting students, so a student may grow up having a deep bias, enter society, and eventually commit hate crimes. I think it’s an excellent method to promote the idea of equality and diversity in school, letting students understand the importance of accepting others’ opinions. One speaker also brought up the idea of “empathy” towards those who commit hate crimes. However, I think empathy only suits in some places, but not all. It is great to have empathy for those who enter into the world of hatred, but it might be too late for those who cannot be changed. In that case, correction centers are the only way out.
The class discussion was interesting that it emphasized a lot about social media policy, whether importing stricter regulations is a good idea. From my own understanding, I think it is a good idea. Though I admit that putting stricter regulations might cause them to have more hatred towards society, but not doing anything will let them believe that their actions are acceptable. Like one of the classmates said, the goal of regulations is not to get rid of hate speech, but to at least send them to a deeper world where the general public has no access. In my opinion, freedom of speech is overused and abused. In the world of rapidly developed technology, laws can barely follow the step of crime. Therefore, the definition of freedom of speech might need to be readjusted. Besides, according to the speakers, when Germany presented the stricter regulations, though people feared that democracy would be harmed, nothing much actually happened yet. According to what another classmate said, “how much do we need to compromise.” Even harmless memes and symbols are considered hate symbols now. I suggest that we take more proactive steps than reactive steps to prevent hate crimes from spreading more.
The author of the article brings up a very interesting point that makes me rethink the details in the book that I read about. He mentions in paragraph four that the conflict in the book is “not a battle between the medical culture and the Hmong culture, but rather Hmong customs and American law” (Richards). Because when I read the book, it seems pretty straightforward and obvious to me that both sides are unsatisfied with each other’s methods in terms of medicine, and the setting takes place in a hospital. Therefore, I assumed that “medicine” is the root of the problem. However, after reading the article, I found out that law is even before the medicine, which serves as the foundation of the United States. Then, I suddenly felt sad because any customs feel small in front of law, especially Hmong’s. But it also explains why Lia’s doctors send her to foster care and things like that: they are not selfish but following the law which is inevitable in that case.
I think a more journalistic approach would have done less to honor the story of the Lee family, since journalism sometimes tends to care more about facts than emotions. However, such an intimate story like Lee’s needs a lot of emotions in order to convey its authenticity. The audience needs to know more than who, what, and where, they also deserve to know how the family truly feels in the story. Without a book format, journalistic approach distance the story itself from the readers and may only serves as a surface understanding to the story. Although the book is quite long and sometimes repetitive, I think it is powerful at the same time- unveiling examples and most importantly, let readers understand more about Hmong culture in an intimate way rather than an encyclopedia’s way. The book not only stresses the fact, but also let the audience think more profoundly- for example, when they talk about the sacrifice of dogs and how it is illegal in the U.S., it makes me wonder that if, within a nation, the most powerful group gets to define its law and culture, instead of every member being equal. There are lots of examples like this that are thought-provoking. Therefore, in order to honor the story, it is necessary to try to recover the details as much as possible, like what Anna Fadiman did.
I find The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down rather sad but still hopeful. The whole book covers a lot of information regarding cultural differences, which is my favorite part of reading, and it certainly shows me how significant effects cultural differences can create. A big focus in the book is how diseases are portrayed in American and Hmong culture. In American culture, diseases are described as straight scientific problems on the human body that can be treated by the straight scientific method- medicine. However, the Hmong people think that diseases are related to higher ground- a spiritual matter that God grants to the people. Therefore, there is the saying of “The spirit catches you and you fall down”. This fundamental difference on this simple term generates more problems, as the two cultures are not able to break the gap or believe on the other side. Before reading the book, I’ve experienced lots of cultural differences. However, every time when that happens I blame the “misunderstanding” on myself because I think since I’m a “foreigner” who comes to the U.S., I should be the one who opens wholly and accepts the outcome even when it’s terrible. However, after reading Lia’s story, I found that cultural differences should be borne by both sides of the table to understand each other and solve the problem truly. Lia’s tragedy is a failure to do that. Throughout the course, I can’t control myself thinking that, if there is even a little bit more understanding on both sides, would Lia turn out to be totally different? However, the tragedy has happened already. But thanks to the book, now the public has a better understanding of Hmong culture, and hopefully, both sides can create more opportunities for understanding in the future.
Another significant part I find interesting is the current American medical system. This book gives a lot of insight on this topic, and I went from knowing barely anything to at least something. I think this book points both good and flawed side of the medical system. For the good side, I find myself being fascinated about how dedicated the doctors are. Lia’s doctors, Neil and Peggy, spend a large amount of energy on her that even when they are off shift, they have to be there for Lia when she has emergencies. I think this is especially valuable because they actually care so much about their patients. Another valuable part is that the hospitals take in Hmong patients no matter if they have money or not, which shows an exceptional understanding of the medical system to people in need. However, there are flaws in this system too. First of all, the medical system tends to think medicine is the source that solves most problems, so that they prescribe patients so much of them, In Lia’s case, too much that cause side effects. To say it in another way, when the doctors detect Lia’s blood to see if she has enough medicine, I feel like the doctors are not treating Lia as a person, but a piece of crop. Regardless that the situations vary between patients, they have to prescribe what they think is the most “scientific” dosage. Also, it seems to me that everything has to go to the legal stage, which in a Eastern perspective, is a lack of “human feelings.” The doctors ignore how much Lia’s parents love her, and how much time they spend on her. They only focus on what the poor parents do wrong. Though, in the end, they regret sending Lia to foster care, the mistake has already been made. I feel like the medical system can improve a bit on those two angles, though I am certain that all doctors want the best for their patients.
The global studies night was cool. I really liked the format to present students’ work, because I think the audience was drawn by the Ted Talk presentation. I enjoyed Nicole’s presentation, especially when she compared the racism in history and contemporary time. It was so visually appealing and touching. I liked Jamie’s a lot as well. His topic was quite unique because when people talk about gender, most of them would develop from a sociological perspective. However, Jamie used scientific proof which I personally think is something I’ve never seen. My favorite one was Alina’s presentation. Comparing to the practices I saw, her real presentation was a big progress. I was not able to see her painting and the last part of speech during practice; when I saw it on the real performance it really surprised me, especially the last part of the speech. I think it was because her topic was so relatable to me that evoke my emotions. However, I think it was as well intriguing towards American students because that topic was able to let them know what international students may feel like studying abroad.
For the Capstone project next year, I wish we can still use the Ted Talk format because it allows speakers to present themselves well. I think I would choose a topic that I either have a relation to or completely new. After watching the seniors’ speech, I think there is a lot of space for me to think about what I should do next year.
Avery’s topic was quite intriguing. His topic on comparative policing provided me things I never knew. I thought he would focus on police brutality since it is a serious issue right now, but surprisingly he focused on a rather neutral perspective which was really interesting. I especially like how he connected the development of technology with the way policing works; it was eye-opening because I did not think that technology would be crucial in the police office. Avery then talked about the reform system and its structure. I was surprised by how much work he has done behind the scene to present the audience what he has gathered. Then, the group activity was nice. My group was assigned to research about the four perspectives of Copenhagen police department and compare to what other groups had found about the policing in different cities. I think it was cool how policing is different based on cities’ policies and population. Avery’s topic was interesting that it let me notice what I have missed to recognize when talking about policing.
I have learned a lot in Arjun Kapur’s talk. He has an interesting perspective as an American who studies in China. He told us to look at the issue from an impartial perspective, which is really hard to do for most of the people. Kapur analyzed from a historical way that after the Cold War the triangle that contained the U.S., Russia, and China was formed. He cleared a lot of misunderstanding that the Communism in China is actually different from it in Russia. Kapur then commented on the status quo that both U.S. and China should learn to agree to disagree and cooperate in the field that accommodate mutual interest, like denuclearization and fighting for global warming. What especially intrigued me was the point he mentioned about the new triangle. He stated that different from many people, he suggested India will replace Russia in the triangle. I think it is a really important strategy to not cling on the history too much and blindly focus on Russia, but to pay attention on the probabilities in the future.
From him, I can see that he was really doing something he like. And I think that is what Watkinson has tried to teach its students- to develop an interest and chase it with method. He mentioned that in college he studied under some famous professor. I think that’s what smart about him: to use the resources that school offered and perform his potentials.
Jake Halpern’s talk was very interesting and informative. I was intrigued by his story- especially the one about catching the economic criminal, where The New Yorker had to support him in the legal matter. From that, I understand that sometimes one’s ability is not enough even if he or she has an ambitious heart. However, at the same time, if Halpern wasn’t there, the legal force may not put on investigation on the suspect. Therefore, people’s ambition to dig into something plus the power behind them is able to make the world a better place. Halpern also talked about how he also developed interests in journalism, which was a pretty risky thing to do. Although it is not quite related to the power of a narrative, I found it so inspiring that he chases what interests him rather than a set career; he told students that we may not know their career right away but we will eventually find out.
Halpern’s writing in comic book addresses a lot of minute issues that I may not know about refugees. The the difficulties they face even after coming to the states are hard to believe, but they are the reality. I think here the power is that through the writing and comic, audience would learn so much not only information, but also different perspectives to look at the immigrant issue. Because the story is so personal; it is not what we can see on TV or read on newspaper everyday. It is live story that the immigrants from the Middle East experience.
I read about The Secret of the Temple, which is an interesting story about Treasure under a temple in India. Jake interviewed a lawyer who sued the royal family because of property issues in this treasured land. It was interesting how much research about the temple and the loyal family he needed to complete in the article. I think it is definitely not a easy job to do. However, when the article comes out, his words can appeal to people when they read it.
The cooking class was very interesting. I was familiar with the food that we made because I went to Jordan. However, I had no idea how to actually make them before the lesson, so that experience provided me an opportunity to actually learn to make the food I ate in Jordan. The salad was quite easy to make but there were a lot of procedures involved: they had to make sure the vegetables were small enough and clean enough. As I expected, the put lemon juice in it which made it taste sour. The hummus was great that it reminded me of Jordan.
Yaman seemed like a strong woman. Her experience of coming to the States without knowing how to speak English was advantuous. I was so impressed how it only took two years for her to speak such good English. She also seemed very diligent that she wanted to challenge herself to learn new lessons and how to drive.
Cooking and hearing her stories did allow me to learn more about Middle Eastern culture, especially the fact that I went to Jordan and learned so much there too. With the combination of knowledge, I have gained so much.
The speaker provided very comprehensive background information on the formation of white nationalism and how it evolved. I really liked the question that his wife raised. She asked that why white nationalism took place on the new generation- those college students who grew up learning that it is wrong. In my opinion, I think it is because the students want something rebellion; they want something that is against the major beliefs that most of people have. It is quite sad that they do so because after so many years of efforts, the society should keep progressing forward. However, fortunately, a lot of people understand it and try to convey right information to the public. They education the youth and make the society better.
My visit to the Palestinian museum was quite good. At first, we gathered at the main room and thought that was all of the the exhibit. But after seeing all of the art work, I was astonished. The variety of how people presented their thoughts into the articles work was interesting, although everything seemed sad to me after Saleh had introduced us the history behind it. The children’s drawings were especially surprising because most of them drew about the war and the cruel reality of it. Saleh’s talk provided me another perspective towards the conflict because of his identity.
It is very significant to have the Palestinian museum because it allows the public, especially the American public, to be educated and see from the other side’s point of view. I remember Mr.Saleh telling us about some people who never heard of Palestinian, or some Palestinian Americans being unfamiliar with their identities. So it is a good opportunity for them to learn more by watching the video clip and viewing the exhibit.
The homework video gave me a basic understanding of the Palestine and Israel issue. Before watching it, I had almost no concept on what the issue is and the only thing I knew was Jerusalem. But now, I have learned much more than before.
I really enjoyed some oil paintings. They looked so real that from a far distance they looked like photographies. They showed me how Palestine is without the destruction of the war, which made me pretty sad because the status quo.
What did you learn that surprised you or connected to other things you have learned?
One thing that surprised me was when he talked about people can avoid the military service if they pay the government an amount of money. Lots of people choose to do so so they can stay with their family. However, when one of our classmates ask if he would do that, besides saying that he did not have money, the said that “I would never pay the money to such a government” which I think make so much sense because although one can avoid military service by paying the money, he or she is actually donating money to the already corrupting government system. By doing so, the government may become more corrupted or more brutal towards its citizens.
What do you think about his dreams of being an artist and a teacher being interrupted by war and other circumstances?
He dreams to be an artist but was unable to continue his education due to the war because he did not have a safe environment to create something new. Also, because of the war, the government did not financially support the universities so that the class he wanted to take to become an artist could not really happen. Even if he became an artist, it would be hard for him to make a living because people would be busy dealing with the war but not to appreciate the art. After he because an teacher, although he found it useful and interesting, it is still hard for him to support his living with that. Coming from another country and survive as an immigrant, he might receive lower paycheck than the others, which makes him hard to make money even though he likes the job.
Human rights: For migration in central America, Human rights is a big factor sine the people are not able to get their rights they deserve, they have to leave their countries and try to find asylums. For example, In Rich’s presentation he talked about how his friends were blackmailed by the local mob.
Sustainability: A lot of times, people’s decision to migrate to another country depends of whether they are able to maintain a sustainable life or not. For example, if there is a large amount of natural disasters- such as drought, flood or hurricane- people’s productions will be influenced especially those who work as agriculture. Therefore, without money, it is hard for people to maintain their life so they would go to the other countries to find opportunities.
I did like the talk. And I enjoyed Rich’s presentation as will as this kind of event. Because since he is an expert on the subject, he could give us a really personal perspective in viewing these events. Also, I especially enjoyed the story of the Honduras presidents, it was really intriguing and did interested me.
I think the short videos that I watched before class were really interesting. Because both of them were from the perspective of the officials: ICE and the immigrant lawyer. Especially the second video because it explains the historical reasons behind how the law is functioned. However, the videos are different from Rich’s presentation because Rich’s focused more on civilians and their reasons of why they have to flee to another country. The presentation and the videos also have simility: They both addressed the status quo and that immigration issue is an urgent issue that the whole nation need to care about.
The church that I went to is called South Church. It is located in HartforD Connecticut and here is the link to their official website. http://scchartford.org/ . The church often has service on Sundays; there are two service time that the first period starts at 9:30 and the second period starts at 11:00. They are about one hour and 30 minutes long. The full name of the church is South Congregational Church. It belongs to the branch of Protestant in Christianity. It believes that God has given Congregational churches the authority to govern themselves and therefore it belongs directly to the Christ.
The service I went to was a special event it has for the Harvest Festival. So I think it might be a little bit different than their traditional services. The Pastor used the pumpkin as a metaphor to tell people to believe in Jesus: He took out the inside part of the pumpkin- which symbolized the sin that people have. Then, he put a small candle in- which means that Jesus can light up our world. Then, he connects the Bible with the current events that happened- about the arguments in politics. There were about 35 people who came to the service. About a half of them were African Americans; another half contained majorly Latinos and Caucasians. I think I was the only Asian person there. People had various ages: a lot of them were about 20 to 30 years old; there were some senior citizens and little kids who came with their parents. The female to male ratio was about 1:1. The church has it own band and they played a lot of good songs before the service. Then, the played more songs at the end of the service. In between, the Pastor read the Bible and had the passage presented on the screen. I noticed that a lot of people were really faithful- that they opened their arms as the band played music and shouted “yes” when Pastor said something meaningful. The service was very different than what I have experienced. I believe that I am agnostic so that it is interesting to see that people who have a religion actually believe in what they believe. It surprised me (as I mentioned), that the Pastor connected the political current event to the Bible and the religion itself- it showed the practise of the religion and how it implies to the real world. It is especially important because in that way, people are able to see the impact and engage in it.
a. I like The Band’s Visit, especially it’s production and how it transition from one person’s story to another. I like how that the musical portrays the similarities between the culture- represented by how the main character is able to sing some Egyptian music. The fact that two groups of people are able to have such good conversations even when they meet for the first time is really shocking to me as the Middle Eastern culture is being publicly viewed as reserved. The Middle Eastern music was really intriguing since I personally rarely heard of that kind of music. It sounds mysterious yet really emotionally provoking.
b. The UN’s visit gave me a basic understanding of how such a powerful organization works. I am really interested in international relations as well as Model UN so the tour there let me see how people worked in reality. The briefing was really informative that it provided many aspects that I did not know. For example, how small the mission group is but how large the danger is in the world.
c. 2. I asked a lot of questions about the immigrants and German culture in general since they really interest me. I answered questions that the tour guide in UN asked since I knew most of the answers. However, I did not actively engage during the briefing.
d. I think I definitely learned more about the immigrant life in the U.S., particularly in New York that I started to pay attention on how cultures, even immigrant cultures, which I thought would be more separate, actually intersect. For example, the German immigrants actually had a competitive relationship with Jewish immigrants and lived close to Chinese immigrants. The most important thing that I gained was that through negotiations and a series of other methods, countries, or cultures, are able to form agreements and work together or live together. Cultural conflicts do exist and result in terrible consequences. Therefore, countries help each others and that is the beauty of humanity. I think global studies have goals to understand the world and that’s how they all relate to each other.
From the meeting, I actually learned about a lot of thing that I didn’t know before. I learned about the differences the two parts of Islam and their core beliefs. The part that Shino brought up to me and the class was quite surprising. When I asked her about what is the major thing that brought the two part into conflicts, she said that it seems to be the religious belief differences, but it might actually be an excuse and the real reason may be the fight over resources. It was a very interesting and new perspective that I didn’t not think about myself, and I think it is able to explain a lot of phenomena in the society right now.
I think I was 2 in the small group conversation. Although I didn’t talk a lot with other classmates, but I asked Shino a lot of questions. I think I got 2.5 in large discussion because I didn’t know enough background about Islam to answer the questions but I did summarise the small group discussion to the whole class.
I picked the article about the two Muslim women being elected into the Congress. I think it is definitely a breakthrough and a victory for the religion and for women in general. In the talk during class, we talked about this by the end of the class about hijab and why we should embrace the culture. I think it is a great thing for the ladies to enter congress because more stereotypes will be broken and people might get to know about the Islamic culture more.
Music is magical. It can do a lot of things. Music can bring people together even you don’t understand the language they speak- because music speaks for itself. One can never imagine the power music can bring: The story of those artists going into village to perform to the local people is really touching. Yes, the people gather together and really enjoy the music. Music can initiate kindness, too. Mr. Gromak and Watkinson school raise money for the Cambodian music through the Khmer music bus; Arn find the artists throughout the country to form a music group; they perform and don’t charge money.
Everybody in the music group has a story. They talked about how they picked up the instrument when it was almost forbidden, or how they still remember how to play songs after the horrible genocide. It was the past and behind them, but they still remember the feelings- therefore, they play music for peace in order to spread more positive energy. They are so brave: I remember they said that the only way they would stop performing music is the government kill all of them. They know they have the mission to let everybody know the traditional music, the part that was not taken by the Khmer Rouge. They want to evoke people’s feeling and retrieve back to their culture. While perform music to others, they also deliver the message of hope. They travel around hoping more and more young people can pick up the traditional instruments and preserve the original Cambodian culture. They also spread the hope for their own country, that it will be better and better in the future. Therefore, their music has a mission, and they are on the way of approaching to accomplish that mission.
Dr. Sekou has a really interesting background in terms of his family background and his community. Though born poor, he got a lot of support from his family and the people around him that led him to be knowledgeable and receive good education. He has done lots of service work through his school year and before becoming a teacher. I think it connects to the work I have done by the idea of “giving back.” He himself had explained to us the reason why he does what he wants to do is because that he growing up poor makes him want to fix the social issues. In A Path Appears, we see different organizations help the people in need. In the Kiva activity, students uses their own understanding in helping others. An important lesson I learn from that is we should do what we can do in shaping the world. Dr. Sekou listed some stages in achieving this goal. He mentions that we need to understand the world first and really plan to take action. Then, we need to reflect back on how this issue affect us and changes the world. Yes, results are important. This is crucial because we need to make sure we are not wasting our time but really doing something important. He mentioned at last by telling us that this world is worth fighting, I think that’s why people never lose hope- because they know that there will be people willing to help them out of the issues.