Friendship in Peril

Perhaps, some people live in a disastrous world where war disintegrates the bond of friendship. 2 blood brothers, bound by trust and friendship, are forced to fight each other at gunpoint due to cultural reasons. The novel “An Act of Love” written by Alan Gibbons describes Imran, an American with Asian and Islamic background, and Chris, an American. From when they were seven years old, the two were inseparable friends. Even though Imran was occasionally bullied by white American kids, Chris sided with him all the time. Little did they know that their friendship was about to be risked in peril. Imran’s inner and outer conflicts were the factors which led Imran to part, and eventually reunite with the caring society around him.

 

Political crisis between the Middle Eastern countries and the U.K. intensified in the later years of the 20th century. Imran was from Arabic descent, which meant he suffered from racism. Likewise, people who were from the middle east were discriminated and treated badly. “Go home, Paki. No one likes you.” (Gibbons, 159) Therefore, many Muslims living in England wanted to get revenge at the Americans and the British for joining the war against whom they called “Innocent Muslim Civilians”. They held daily protests, and denounced the Americans in public. In the midst of all that, Imran, a young boy from Pakistan, had several inner conflicts. Firstly, there were Muslim groups all of the U.K. holding protests. Since Imran wanted revenge for his brother, Rafiq, who was taken away and detained by the police, he wanted to join in the mayhem going on within the crowd. The extremists, who were mainly the leaders of the protests, were a group of people who believed in violence resolving all conflict. Imran’s internal conflict was the conflict of person vs self as he pondered over the choices of following his passions or siding with his neutral family. His decisions led him to betray his father and family and ran away from his home to join the extremists, a gang led by a man named Arshad. Arshad, however, thought Imran as a weakling that could never be “strong”. “He is of no use. He is a weakling who shall never truly be a Muslim.” (261) Persuaded by his brother Rafiq, who had come out of jail, and his dad, Abbu, he thwarted Arshad’s plan to train him, and returned to his home.

 

Imran’s tough decision let numerous people in despair. Muslims in U.K. were contesting the whole British society by protesting against them to stop the war. However, Imran’s case was far more extreme since he sided with people who were willing to use violence to achieve their goal. As a result, the external conflict he had with the society around him was severe. Firstly, Imran denounced Chris and tore apart from him, calling him a “Killer of Peace, a Murderer.” (180). Then, he pushed Abbu away when he was stopped by Abbu, telling him that he was a weakling who didn’t know the real way of being a Muslim. Abbu warned him that Islam represented peace and non-violence, and the extremists were impulsive fools that would do anything to achieve what they believed “Islam”. Imran did not heed the warning and left the house for several months after coming back. His mother and sister phoned him several times, which he never responded to. As a bird seceding from its flock, Imran distanced himself with the society and left to follow a passion which he was never able to pursue.

 

I personally had similar conflicts with Imran. Imran’s conflict with his family over what he was planning to do was huge, and it led him to even quarrel with his parents, which is what he rarely does. I had a conflict that also led me to have conflicts with my family over what I wanted to do. After telling my parents that I wanted to attend a class of my choice in school, my parents disagreed and said that it was useless, and it wouldn’t help me improve my grades. Therefore, even though they said I couldn’t sign up for the class, I ignored them and signed up for the class I wanted. However, it became clear to me later that my parents were right, and I regretted signing up for the class.

 

The setting of the story locates in England, where Muslims and the British were quarreling over Great Britain’s choice to participate in the war. The war was viewed from a different perspective from each of the groups. The British thought it was their job to send their soldiers in a counter-terrorist mission, and the majority agreed with that in the polls. However, the Muslims viewed it as the U.S. and its allies slaughtering innocent civilians. Therefore, the mood of the story is mostly gloomy as people were extremely sensitive about the decisions that the government made. “Americans are murderers! Stop the slaughter!” The Muslims cried out as the British Parliament decided to participate in eliminating the extremist government of Iraq. Imran, who was unable to forge his own perceptions, struggled against the public opinion bearing down on him like a slab of rock. Therefore, Imran represents the people who were unable to control themselves and was swept away by the situation around them.

 

Life is all about making certain decisions and taking certain pathways that will lead to specific choices. Sometimes, they could lead to content results, and sometimes, they could lead the seeker into an unknown disaster. Imran’s inner conflict and outer conflicts were eventually the factors which led Imran to reconcile and re-strengthen his bonds with Chris and trigger growth in his inner self. As my teacher once said, “Life is all about making certain choices. If you make a choice, you have to accept what goes with it.”

 

 

 

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A Golden Friendship

Imran’s Facebook Page

A terrible war between the United States and the Middle East separated a golden friendship that developed since childhood. The book “An Act of Love” written by Alan Gibbons take place in the United Kingdom, where Imran, a boy with Asian and Islamic background, and Chris, a British boy, develop a strong bond of friendship. However, the U.S. and its allies declared war on terrorists of Afghanistan, which infuriated numerous Muslims. This parted the 2 friends apart. However, Imran started to regret drifting apart from Chris and his father, Abbu, by antagonizing his loved ones. “He walked fast, relieving so many memories. He regretted drifting apart from Chris.” (Gibbons, 181) This led him to reconcile with his family, and eventually, Chris.

I chose to make a Facebook, or Fakebook page for Imran since I thought it would best represent Imran’s internal and external conflicts with other people, such as Chris, Abbu, Rafiq, and himself. “Go to hell, man. Go to hell.” (180) It fits with the exposition since it gives background into the story and most importantly, best represents Imran’s character.

I found it challenging to decide which person I should focus on in the story, since there are 2 main characters in the book. However, I then decided that Imran’s character was more diversely shown through the types of conflict. Another challenge was deciding relevant pictures to use. I solved it by delving into the character’s mind and the setting, which led me to finding several relevant photos.

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Friendship of Trust

A firm bond of friendship is often caused by trusting and having faith in one another. In the book “Seven Deadly Wonders” written by the famous author Matthew Reilly, the theme “Friendship is forged by trust” is consistently communicated through the actions of the main character, Jack West, and his colleagues. “Stretch and Pooh Bear, with their guns drawn, both rushed to defend Lily. Without precautions, they had both dived individually in order to save the girl.” (Reilly, 276) Jack and his squad, the Minor Nations, risked everything to combat some of the mightiest world superpowers for the sake of humanity. Despite all odds, Nike raised the hand of trust and care rather than the hands of cruelty and injustice.

A tense and thrilling race to seize the world’s greatest masterpiece weapon initiated when scientists and historians discovered that 7 shattered pieces of a golden pyramid-shaped capstone are hidden in the ancient chambers of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World. When the 7 pieces are united and placed on the top of the Giza Pyramid, it could save the world from a deadly disaster called the Tartarus Sunspot and grant unlimited power to the civilization who performed the right ritual along with the placement. This ritual involved a prophet which could decipher a certain language, and there were 2 prophets: a boy named Alexander and a girl named Lily, both the age of 11. When the United States and the European Union, the world’s 2 strongest superpowers, found out about this capstone, the leaders of both superpowers sent their elite squadrons to scavenge for the capstone pieces. However, in order to prevent any country from being a superpower, a third group of allied nations joined forces to thwart the superpowers. From each country of the allied nations, 1 to 2 members were picked to create a team of 9, which was designated to be leaden by Australian captain Jack West Jr. The team then attempted many times to forage the pieces and keep them, but the American CIEF Forces were hot on their tails and always managed to steal the pieces from Captain West’s team.

One day preceding the day of the ritual, the attempt to secure the second to last piece, the Hanging Gardens piece, failed when American troopers stormed into the cavern where the Ancient Wonder was located. There, Captain West’s colleagues were taken captive, and the girl, Lily, was along them. West and his friend Pooh Bear were left for dead as the cavern detonated. The next day, on the day of the ritual, American forces arrived at the Giza Pyramid to bestow their country unlimited power. They easily wiped out the European forces, and pursued through the job of placing the capstone. However, West and Pooh Bear, who had escaped through the quicksand, reunited with their captured friends, and started a counterattack on the Americans. After a tense battle, it looked like the Americans were going to seize victory. An unexpected twist happened, however, when the known Islamic terrorist Mustaphar Zaeed bypassed the distracted Americans and performed the ritual, sacrificing Lily along the way. West, who anticipated this, countered this with another devious plot which granted Australia, instead of Syria, a thousand years of power. Lily did not die since she trusted Jack until the end, giving her hope that she would survive. “I love you too, daddy……..A weak voice called out. West turned around, to see Lily alive.” (504)

This mission would not have been successful if it wasn’t for the teammates’ trust between each other. There were many perilous moments which threatened the stability of the team. One example was the conflict between Pooh Bear, a Muslim, and Stretch, a Jew. Israel and the UAE were both in the Allied Nations, but the 2 nations experienced major conflicts in the past. Therefore, the distrust between them was initially severe, until Captain West called out for peace and reminded them of a common objective. “That Israeli is clearly not to be trusted. The next time I meet him, I’ll break his neck.” (398) Later on, they realized their common loyalty lay towards the team, and grew to trust each other firmly. Another example is when Professor Max Epper and Lieutenant Zoe Kissane were taken captive by the Europeans. Regardless of Pope Del Piero’s requests to turn them into his side, the two captives only yearned of reuniting with the rest of the team. “Why, why, Max, my old friend, how pleasant to see you here.” (375) They were able to reunite with West at the day of the ritual. The third example is shown when Max and Zoe were captured. Captain West had to manage arguments between Stretch and Pooh Bear, take care of Lily, and supervise a terrorist. “The team wasn’t going to run well with a constantly arguing Muslim and an Israel, a little girl barely the age of 10, and a well-known terrorist.” (328) Captain West was the glue which kept the team together, thus preventing it from separation. The members of the team also were devoted and loyal to the objective at all costs and times. Therefore, this was the power which motivated the team, against all odds, to compete and eventually overpower 2 of the world’s greatest powers. “You can’t win this. You are merely an egg trying to crack a rock.” Captain Judah said to West. However, sometimes, a hard egg bunched up with a sturdy structure could dent a rock.

The book “Seven Deadly Wonders” is an action packed thriller which introduces the theme “Friendship is created by trust”. A series of books called the Maze Runner series written by James Dashner demonstrates a similar theme. In the Maze Runner Series, the world is engulfed by a natural disaster called the Flare. Immediately following that, an unknown deadly virus called the Flare, named after the disaster, takes over mankind. The virus invades the brain and slowly drives the infected insane, taking all human characteristics away from the victim. The surviving governments joined up to form an organization called WICKED, and it gathered teenagers who were immune to the virus. There, they ran many harsh and severe endurance tests on the teenagers. The main character, Thomas, along with his many friends, frequently had to make brutal choices, but ultimately trusted his colleagues the whole way and eventually reached the safe haven, where no threats existed. One of the choice he had to make was whether or not to lead his male friends, the Gladers, to trust Jorge and Brenda and assume that they would lead the Gladers back to WICKED. The Gladers, under the Scorch Trials, had to return to WICKED in order to finish their trials. Jorge and Brenda were affiliated with WICKED, so Thomas wasn’t sure if he could trust them or not. However, due to his trust, he was able to get back to WICKED on time with his friends. Another situation was when Thomas’s close friend Teresa suddenly turned against Thomas and captured his friends. Thomas and the Gladers managed to escape, but they encountered Teresa again in the WICKED Department. Teresa offered to help them find a way to escape WICKED and its tests, and Thomas decided to trust Teresa since she was his close friend once. Thus, they found the Right Arm Organization, which they were able to evacuate into. Thomas’s friendship with Teresa was extremely unstable since Teresa took Thomas’s back several times, but Thomas still trusted in his friend, which reinforced their relationship. In comparison with Captain Jack West Jr. Thomas lead the team to success by trusting outside people, while Captain Jack West trusted his colleagues and kept him and his team intact. These two tales both represent a common theme where friendship is created by trust in others and themselves.

Trust is the most important factor in a relationship. Through the eyes of two novels, and most real-life scenarios, friendships and the reinforcements of the bonds are caused by people learning to trust each other and sincerely believe in other people’s ideas and thoughts. Captain Jack West and his team’s success was fueled by the amount of belief each teammate had in another. As a quote states, “Whether it’s a friendship or a relationship, all bonds are built on trust. Without it, you have nothing.”

 

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A Brave Leader

Jack West‘s Diary

Jack West, the main character from the book “Seven Deadly Wonders” written by the Australian author Matthew Reilly, was the leader of a team destined to save the world from a thousand years of slavery. From fighting against the U.S. and the European Union for the Golden Capstone, which is the key source to a thousand years of dominance and power, he demonstrates traits and wisdom to lead the team against the greedy two superpowers until the day of the Tartarus Sunspot, an earthly disaster.

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Revolutionary Journals

2016Revolutionary+Voices+Russian+Revolution+slideshow+Keynote

This is a keynote with my journals included about a young teenager living at the time of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The Great Proletariat Chinese Culture Revolution had a devastating effect to China and led it back thousands of years.

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Semester 1 Reflection

Looking back on Semester 1, I think I have some things to reflect on. There were a lot of interesting events which happened in Semester 1. Therefore, some of the things I did well were submitting my work with good quality. I always put in a lot of effort for my work, and that lead to getting good results. Therefore, I must continue to do this. I also have some areas to improve in Semester 2. One thing is getting my work on time. I had some work to do, since I missed out on some stuff. Therefore, in Semester 2, I need to improve on that area. Overall, I spent a satisfactory semester, so I must keep up the good work and fix the old, bad habits.

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Boxer Rebellion Video

The Boxer Rebellion was one of the major revolutions that changed China. In the 1840s, China was infested with foreign invaders, or “Foreign Devils”. The foreign powers of Europe, mainly the British, were seeking to trade with the Chinese. However, China refused to deal with foreign powers, and thus began the Opium Wars. In this war, China was defeated badly at the hands of England and its allies. Therefore, China was forced to open up its ports and signed numerous unfair treaties. After this, the foreigners set foot on China. Countless missionaries, businessmen, and diplomats set foot on China. In order to colonize China, the foreigners spread their religion and their ways of thought to the Chinese locals. They saw Chinese culture inferior compared to the European culture, so eventually this lead to foreign missionaries converting Chinese people to Christians. The Boxers, a group of people who practiced martial arts, disliked this, and believed that the foreigners were corrupting the Chinese. Therefore, they attacked the foreign embassies in Peking (Beijing). I visited the legation area, where most of the events took place, and created this video. Hope you enjoyed this!

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Simulating and Replicating History

During One Day, January 24th, Joonho, Leon, Kevin, and I decided to simulate an historical event through a history simulation game called Civilization. Our group tried to simulate the Korean War, which was a gory war between South and North Korea. I was playing as America, Kevin was North Korea, Joonho was South Korea, and Leon was China. We split teams, and almost succeeded until Leon decided to unleash nuclear terror on me and Joonho. However, we had fun recording the video, and hope you enjoy it! This video tracks our progress as we attempt to replicate history.

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Incinerating the Olds

The Great Proletariat Chinese Cultural Revolution was a gigantic and significant movement which impacted China massively. It led China’s history back several hundred years, and destroyed its bright future. Chairman Mao, who was the leader of the revolution, spoofed and veiled much information to the public, and the corrupt government was a state of chaos and Powerplay. After the Revolution, things went back to normal. There were no more prosecutions of being an anti-party gangster, no more postings of Dazibao posters, and no more public denouncing. However, the impact of this Revolution still remain in the hearts of many Chinese civilians.

This is a Common Craft Video in plain English. The video was made by me, Tiger, and Kevin. This video explains the Chinese Cultural Revolution and its progresses throughout time. Thank you, and hope you enjoy!

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Star Night Reflection

Star night reflection

 

The star night event, which occurred on the 9th of December, was one of the big-scaled and interesting events for me. On that day, everyone who came were expected to stay for a star night, where you sleep over at school and watch stars through telescopes. Fortunately, with a clear sky and clear AQI, we were able to witness many stars through our own eyes. Some of the celestial objects that we observed included the Moon, Jupiter, Venus, and Mars. Furthermore, all the lights were turned off, so the night sky was clearer for us to look at.

 

Some of the things that I liked about this event was that we were able to see the stars clearly. There are really not many opportunities, especially in Beijing, since the Air Quality is bad and there are lights everywhere. I consider this fascinating event to be one of the meager chances to be able to see stars in the night skyline. The meals and the food were delicious, and many of my good friends came as well. I slept well since I was tired. There were also some activities to keep us fun.

 

Some of the things could be improved; One of them was the movie. The movie was not interesting, except that included the favorite quote of my science teacher: “NGU, never surrender!” However, I felt like the summary of the movie was unrealistic and too fictional. Other than that, it was perfect.

 

Overall, Star night was fun, and we were able to extract a lot from it. I feel like we should have an event like this planned out in the future, for others to enjoy.

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