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China’s environmental damage is one of the most pressing issues to emerge from the country’s rapid industrialization, leading to negative impacts on the public health, economy, and social inequality. People used to take blue skies and fresh air for granted in their daily lives, but those have now become luxuries for urban residents in China. Air pollution in China is one of the most serious problems in Asia. According to World Bank’s estimation, 16 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities are in China.

Industrialization in China is coming at the expense of the country’s public health. A report in 2013 found that outdoor air pollution is a major contributor to about 1.2 million annual premature deaths in China, with cancer being the leading cause of death, as stated by the Ministry of Health. Throughout the years, China has been overly focused on industrializing the country that they have put aside their concern for the environment and public health of the country. Although the industries in China are advancing, the air quality is constantly declining, severely harming public health.

Additionally, severe water contamination has been listed as one of China’s biggest environmental challenges. A World Bank study done with SEPA concluded that 60,000 people die annually from diarrhea, bladder and stomach cancer and other diseases that can be caused by water-borne pollution, and nearly 500 million people lack access to safe drinking water. This shows that China has sacrificed the two most essential resources, water and oxygen, for the industrialization of the country. Furthermore, this reveals the severity of issue, along with China’s urgency to “cram a century’s worth of industrialization and urbanization into about 30 years,” as proclaimed by the British historian Niall Ferguson.

Besides public health, environmental degradation in China also poses a serious threat to China’s economic growth. Although China’s economy has sustained rapid economic growth over more than three decades, it is questionable whether that will continue to last.

Currently, coal takes most of the blame for the degradation of China’s air quality. It is estimated that China consumes close to half the world’s coal, and the country relies on coal for about two-thirds of its energy needs, making it the main source of energy for the country. However, demand for it appears to be declining, as factories are being shut down on bad air days and are losing productivity. This, along with the massive number of deaths caused by the pollution, are showing its effects on China’s economy. At the turn of the 21st century, the World Bank estimated annual losses of 2 to 3 percent in China’s GDP. It is evident that the Chinese government is making an effort to tackle the issue of air pollution, however this is causing a considerable amount of harm to the economy that also cannot be ignored.

 China’s industrial growth depends heavily on coal, but it is harming the air quality.

China’s industrial growth depends heavily on coal, but it is harming the air quality.

Chinese residents are constantly thinking of ways to avoid the environmental crisis. The most common solutions that are being employed by the public are wearing pollution masks and placing air purifiers at home, but some of the wealthier citizens have decided that the best solution is to just leave the area. As a result, air pollution is becoming a cause of social inequality in China.

Residents in China wear masks for protection from air pollution.

Residents in China wear masks for protection from air pollution.

During the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain, the wealthy Londoners escaped the smog by returning to their homes in the countryside. Similarly, more and more wealthy Chinese and expatriates are simply leaving Beijing. People with low incomes, however, do not have that choice; they stay and choke. As shown, pollution exacerbates social inequality as it causes greater suffering among the poor. They have no choice but to be exposed to the harmful environment, and they are often unable to pay to prevent or to treat the resulting illnesses. The gap between the wealthy and the poor is expected to widen over time. Since the wealthy Chinese have protection against the air pollution, it is likely that they won’t take much action to resolve the issue, leaving the problem to worsen.

In the 1820s, Britain was in a similar position as today’s China. Britain’s massive industrialization resulted of severe environmental and public health problems. The Chinese government has already made several attempts to improve the air quality, such as raising awareness and starting campaigns. However, a solution that China could adapt from Britain is proposing a clean air act, similar to what the British did in 1956.

In 19th century London, coal was the main source of smog which lead to the Great Smog that caused as many as 4,500 deaths in one week. In an effort to reduce air pollution, the British passed the Clean Air Act in 1956 that introduced “smoke control areas” in which only smokeless fuels could be burnt. This helped to control the smoke and particles that were released in the air. Britain’s Clean Air Act has proven to be effective, as the air pollution in urban areas significantly reduced along with atmospheric pollutants such as sulphur dioxide. This historical precedent indicates that the same solution may assist China in successfully meeting the air quality standards that they have been unsuccessful in doing for a long time.

Sources:
‘Airpocalypse’ China Cannot Rely On An Industrial Revolution Solution
As China Roars, Pollution Reaches Deadly Extremes
The Negative Effects of China’s Development Model
China’s Industrial Revolution Is Happening On a New Planet

 

Image credit:
https://fortunedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/459705020.jpg?w=840&h=485&crop=1
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https://static01.nyt.com/images/2016/05/02/business/26chinacoal3/26chinacoal3-master768.jpg

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to see William Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, scripted and filmed as a modern Korean drama? Well, that is exactly what my group, Ariana, Bryn, Josh, Stephanie, and I did. For our director’s notebook project, we chose to interpret three sections: 2.2.109-162, 3.2.122-281, and 5.1.401- 416. Below is the director’s notebook that we created for the film, which includes the script, and descriptions for the costumes, props, staging, and music. Enjoy!

 

My contributions to this project were my acting role of Hermia, writing multiple sections on the script, being responsible for the music for our film, and editing the entire video.

My individual responsibility in the team was finding suitable music for our film. In My Heart for Another, I used Korean drama music to show an understanding of mood and how that develops our theme of confusion. In the beginning of the film, Hermia and Lysander are on a date happily with no distraction. To fit this relaxed, stable, and lovely mood, I inserted a slow, but also energetic song with a guitar and piano accompaniment to express this overall romantic scene. However, towards the middle when Hermia comes into the coffee shop looking for Lysander. After getting rejected by him, she becomes very confused and shocked about why her boyfriend is suddenly ditching her and falling in love with her best friend. This situation is described with an instrumental that has a build up of notes in the minor scale which intensifies the scene. Minor scales generally produce melodies that sound depressing, which is similarly used in B Rosette and Can’t Forgive. These soundtracks are used in this film for scenes where the characters have mixed feelings of confused and upset. Our film includes a variety of songs that are both cheerful and heart-breaking. This supports our theme of confusion because the mood often 5changes from one scene to another.

In our film, my role of Hermia portrays a wealthy college student who is in a relationship with Lysander, another wealthy college student. My movements, for example, when Hermia walks into the coffee shop to find Lysander and when she grabs Helena’s wrist and pulls her outside, shows that my character is very confident, which adds on to her wealthy background and the fact that she is used to always getting whatever she wants. Also, my gestures including holding Lysander’s hand, leaning on his shoulder, and putting my hand on his shoulder when I first walk into the café, expresses Hermia’s flirtatious personality and her affection for Lysander. Moreover, my speech is initially very cheerful and relaxed. However, everything changes once Lysander falls in love with Helena and confusion arises. Once Hermia finds out that Lysander does not love her anymore, there is a dramatic change of her personality and actions that is visible through my acting. Hermia’s personality changes from confident to desperate and confused, which supports our theme of confusion.

I wouldn’t consider my life so far to be very interesting, but rather complicated and difficult to explain. However, I hope I was successful in this video.

My product (video) demonstrates my ability to “Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences” quoted from the Common Core English Writing Standards. Although my product is not an actual writing, my project required me to write a script – a narrative of my life, using big events from it that were necessary and interesting to talk about. It was crucial for me to include important and “well-chosen” details, as well as structure my narrative in a comprehensive way that was easy for the audience to follow.

As mentioned previously, my project encouraged me to organize the major events of my life into one cohesive narrative that utilized reasonable transitions and links in between each event. An example of this is when I say, “after about 2 months of surviving in the school, I tried to stay home in every way I could […] Once my mom finally found out what was going on, she got me transferred to ISB […] ISB was a little better in terms of school life”. This was one of my biggest transitions (both in this video and in real life), transferring to ISB shaped my life in many ways and allowed me to obtain many great experiences. By using the link of me refusing to go to school in order to get myself transferred to ISB, I created a successful passage from my life in my old school to my life in ISB. Also, I organized my narrative in a way so that similar events were placed together. “Moving away from all my friendship stories, I always had this one big dream to be able to have my design as the front cover of the yearbook”. In my video, I had a whole section in my narrative just for the topic of friendship, where I just talked about my friendship stories one after another. This made it easier for me to simply say “moving away from all my friendship stories” so that I could introduce another topic.

Featured image here.

When thinking about which character I would be most similar to in A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, I tried converting their dialogues into modern English and tried to match myself with the most suitable character. After a long time of flipping through the pages of the Midsummer Night’s Dream, I decided that Hermia and I make the best match. 

Until 8th grade, as surprising as it may be, I never gave off the image of “short” or “petite” or “little”. I don’t ever recall being considered as one of the exceptionally tall people, but I was never short either. However, as my doctor predicted since I was in elementary school, at one point the majority of the people, including the shortest students in our grade, grew taller than me. Now, I often fit in the shorter half of the class, accepting the words “short” and “petite” to describe me, and I’m sure Hermia can relate. However, unlike me, Hermia is very sensitive and becomes defensive when others use her height against her in an argument: “Little again? Nothing but low and little? / Why will you suffer her to flout me thus? / Let me come to her” (3.2.326-328). As a person that have been relatively short for all my life, I learned to just accept the fact that I was short, and in some case I began to use it to my advantage, whether that be getting through a museum with the children’s ticket price or not having to worry about stretching my legs uncomfortably in an airplane. 

Despite being small, Hermia comes out as a bold and self-assertive person. Her boldness and assertiveness is evident from the first scene. When her father Egeus petitions Theseus to punish Hermia if she continues to refuse to marry Demetrius, she strongly states her own opinion. Regardless of Theseus’s argument that “Demetrius is a worthy gentleman,” (1.1.52) Hermia boldly replies, “So is Lysander” (1.1.53). Similar to Hermia’s personality, I like to speak my mind and express my true opinions at all time. Originally this began due to my short height. Since I disliked it when people looked down on me as a short and insecure little girl, I developed my personality as a bold and outgoing person. In addition, coming from an Asian family that tends to be overly controlling of my life, I often portray a rebellious daughter that consistently works to persuade my parents for the things that I want. Although this is the case, unlike Hermia, who elopes with her lover because of her father’s disapproval, I don’t go overboard with my actions. If my parents say “no”, I will continue to persuade them, but I will not act the way that I want to until I get the approval from my parents.

Helena, Hermia’s close friend, says that “when [Hermia] is angry she is keen and shrewd; / she was a vixen when she went to school, / and though she be but little, she is fierce” (3.2.323-325). Hermia is also quick to judge and make conclusions. When Lysander and Demetrius both fall in love with Helena temporarily due to Puck’s potion, Hermia immediately places the blame of Helena: “O me, you juggler, you canker-blossom, / you thief of love! What have you come by night / and stolen my love’s heart from him?” (3.2.281-283). Even though I am similar to Hermia is terms of personality and I have a bad habit of judging everything I see and witness, I don’t jump to conclusions as fast as Hermia does. On the outside, I act as bold and strong as I can, but in my heart, I am very delicate and I get emotionally hurt easily. So if I were to encounter a situation such as this, unlike Hermia, I would contemplate the problem and situation thoroughly before saying or even thinking anything. 

I never thought I would have to compare myself to one of Shakespeare’s character, but I have now observed many similarities between Hermia and I. I think that even the differences that we have are due to Shakespeare’s dramatic story writing, and if Hermia was an actual person, we would have much more in common. 

Featured image here.

WW2 Propaganda Poster

This poster, created from the perspective of the United States during World War Two, is targeted towards American parents. Through the use of propaganda techniques such as intentional vagueness, I aimed to persuade American parents to fund the war to protect the next generation.

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For the research “CREATE” project, my partner, Jeanine, and I made a poster that presents how the Golden Shield Project works. The title for my research outline was “Sieving Internet Through a Filter” which represents how the Chinese government censors the internet. We drew a large sieve between four security officer to show that the Ministry of Public Security is always keeping their eyes on the information getting “filtered”. Additionally, we drew logos of some internationally popular sites such as Facebook and Twitter to show what type of foreign sites are generally censored. The water dropping from the sieve represents the information that was approved by the Chinese government, and the red colored sea represents China. Lastly, the officer standing on the dock on the left represents the Chinese government providing media that was approved by the government that they encourage people to use. Our target audience is high school students in ISB because they get affected a lot by China’s internet censorship when doing homework and research, and that is why we made an artsy poster to grab their attention, as well as teach them what it is that is blocking their access to foreign websites. We have printed out copies of our infographic and started to post them in the high school hallways.

Matching jigsaw puzzles and writing English papers require the same process.

My product (video) demonstrates my ability to “introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension”, quoted from the Common Core English Writing Standards. Although my product is not an actual writing, in order to incorporate the idea of matching puzzles to writing English papers, I had to organize the important ideas and concepts within my puzzle to symbolize each section in a writing process. This allows me to demonstrate my ability to make important connections using multimedia to aid comprehension.

As mentioned before, my project pushed me to organize complex ideas and concepts to make connections with other ideas. An example of this in the video is when I say, “Putting together the outside pieces first is very helpful, providing a framework and a place to start building connections”. The is one of the first steps, and the same idea applies when writing an English paper, because it is helpful to start with a simple and easy idea that can be used to build and develop throughout the writing. Also, I provide a tip that connects both with matching puzzles and writing, “Having a clear idea of the big picture helps”. This “clear idea” converts to an outline, and it is an important connection that helps while writing, because as mentioned in the video, “knowing the basic idea and key points help me stay focused on the end result”. Finally, I mention the editing portion of a writing process by displaying two missing parts in my puzzle. This is crucial in a writing process because this final step is what can make a writing reach its best.

“‘They play cards in there, but I can’t play because I’m black. They say I stink.’” (Response 6)

Living as a black man, especially on a farm was like having a fence between themselves and the rest of the people around them, which supports my thesis: through the character Crooks, Steinbeck reveals the discriminatory actions that the blacks experienced during the Great Depression. This is Crooks’s life in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. My partner, William, and I created a recorded interview with effects to make the recording sound old.

I showed my understanding of characterization by incorporating Crooks’s accents and personality in the responses. Crooks’s feeling of isolation is shown when he says, “I can’t play rummy with the white guys or even work on the farm with them. I always sit in my room alone an’ read books and nothing else““ (Response 3). The questions asked were not only aimed to reveal his personality, but some of his relationships with other characters (farm workers) as well. A good example of this was “How is your relationship with the other workers on the ranch?” (Question 7). Understanding a character’s relationship with other characters in a novel allows us to gain more knowledge on one specific character, and see how other characters view them as well.

Crooks’s responses are written so that the historical context is evident as well as the characterization. Of Mice and Men was set during the Great Depression, when black men were discriminated and were often “lonely” (Response 3). Black men were not given a proper bunkhouse to stay in. Instead, they were given rooms similar to the harness room that Crooks had. Many questions were about his workplace; what they are like and how it is working there. However a lot of Crooks’s responses talk about how he cannot do much “Cause [he’s] black” (Response 2). This emphasizes the fact that black men were restricted to do things just because of their skin color.

In the Fields

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(Click here for a clearer resolution)

Dorothea Lange’s photo above expresses a gloomy mood, as well as highlighting some of the historical context of John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” during the Great Depression in the 1930s. There is no clear focal point or a dominant element in this photo. However, the focus is generally on the four rectangles on the bottom left (the foreground), where a group of migrant workers are busily working in a large-scale agricultural field. On the right side of the foreground, there is a child sitting alone that is not working on anything, but is not playing or running around as well. This gives the reader a brief understanding of what life might have been like for children at this time. Parents might not have had the money to pay their child’s tuition fee, furthermore give their child an enjoyable life. The leading lines in this photo are the furrows on the field. They lead the reader’s eye to the horizon, implying how vast the work place is, considering the small number of people working on the field at once. Lastly, the background contrast with the middle ground and foreground in terms of color and texture. In this black and white photo, the sky appears to be in a light grey color, which contrasts with the ground (field) that appears to be in a dark grey color. Also, the sky gives a feeling of freedom, which also contrasts with the workers on the field who are busily working with limited freedom.

Fired Up

Everyone has that one friend who has a tough and rough personality with a super short temper. This describes one of the protagonist, George in Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. My partner JingJing and I created a found poem expressing George’s character. Enjoy!

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