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“Happiness is based on a just discrimination of what is necessary, what is neither necessary nor destructive, and what is destructive.”

First Quarter Reflection in Literature and Social Justice

In the first quarter of the course, the main pieces of text we were lucky enough to dive into deeply, were the memoir written by Trever Noah, Born a Crime, and the documentary Searching for Sugarman. The significant issues that we were touching base on were all regarding race, and all around the events that happened during Apartheid. It was very devasting to learn about the inhumane acts that were accepted into their society and were seen as the norm. As a strong and vocal advocate against xenophobia and racism myself, I felt ignorant not knowing how cruel and prevalent the issue was, and this unit for sure has invited me to learn further about issues regarding race.

 

I personally think I did alright in general with the discussions, and I do think I tried to be involved in the discussion, but not take over the entire discussion the first time. However, I think I could have done further preparation to provide my classmates more full, and inciteful comments and questions. In class, I have tried to meet all the student as a learner strands, and as of now, I think I’ve been doing pretty well in regards to responsibility, participation and others.

 

I think some goals moving forwards will be focused towards is being able to analyze text in further depth, whilst doing it more effectively. I think that has been something that has been lacking for me for the longest while, and I would love to work towards arriving at a better ability to analyze text in great depths in regards to the context and the authorical choices the author makes.

Global Issues Post – REPOST

Art, creativity and the imagination

Freedom of expression

The legitimacy of censorship of culturally sensitive works of art/pieces of writing

 

Censorship is an issue we face in our everyday lives, as we live in China. To me, in particular, it has been a concurring motif in our lives as it was also one of the main themes in the book that we just read, Balzac and the little Chinese seamstress by Dai Sijie. Such censorship might seem like it was left in the distant past, but it is really astonishing how abundant the lack of freedom of speech is for people in some places in the world in the current era. Being a giant art & literature nerd, I really wanted to focus on the hardships people face when trying to publish their work, but also the distribution of pieces of work that might be inappropriate, and even culturally insensitive. The sole thought of: “Should titles that might be offensive to a specific group of people be published?” thrilled me and drove me to continue researching this topic.

This theme intrigued me further as this theme is also a recurring theme in literature. In a recent book I just finished, Americus by MK Reed and Jonathan Hill, the main protagonist, Neal, is a shy and and introverted character who decides to stand up when the local Christian activists accuse his favorite fantasy series of containing immoral themes and heresy and tries to get them banned in the local library. Although from the exterior this story might even seem foolish; however, the message the author is trying to convey regarding censorship propelled me to really think about whether it is okay to publish works of sensitive topic to a certain group of people, and if it isn’t, whether the work should be refrained from publishing or not. Before I turn this topic into a political discussion, I wanted to move onto the piece that I wanted to analyze for this post.

The piece of text I wanted to analyze for this post is a news article from the New York Times, titled Displaying, not Hiding, the Reality of Slave Labor in Art by Alina Tugend. I happen to be a big American History nerd as well, and I actually stumbled upon this article before I started writing this post, but it fit perfectly, so I decided to bring it here. The article starts off by demonstrating that many of Thomas Jefferson’s artifacts actually belong to his slaves, and further down focuses on how museums around the world have been hesitant when displaying such artifacts, and admitting to slavery and events that occurred regarding slavery. Luckily, the museums have been able to be more open about such topics as of recent times, and instead of obscuring the actual history behind slaves, they decided to display what the artifacts are really representing and where they actually came from. This includes even the slightest hints of slavery in paintings whether or not they were actually portrayed in the work itself.

I personally thought this was a perfect article, as slavery is a very culturally sensitive topic, and it is evident that people often deny and refuse to acknowledge its existence. Although it is true that being more open and historically accurate seems to be the right decision and a morally correct thing to do. However, overly explicitly stating the brutal details might come out as insensitive for some people. The author of this article actually advocates for the accurate representation of history through museums. Through multiple examples, of various museums, she listed examples of certain museums and specific curators that argue for the accurate representations of slavery in history.

ABC Panel Examination & Analysis: Part I

American Born Chinese: Panel Analysis

Page 28

 

 

In this part of the story, one of the main protagonists, Jin Wang is introduced. We are shown the child version of him as he is seen as any other Asian child growing up overseas in a Chinatown.

Here in this specific scene, Jin is with the wife of a herbalist showing off his transformer toy. He turns the toy robot into a truck, stating a quote, which happens to be the title of an actual transformers comic. There is parallelism drawn between the main protagonist Jin and transformers which also correlates the theme in the story of conforming into a society that is not of your own culture. In ABC, Jin is brought to a new group of people, a small society, to an American public school and has to fit himself in, whereas in transformers, autobots are aliens that came down to earth and have to find a way of symbiotic life with humans. Through this, a common theme is shown as both Jin and the autobots are “strangers” in a new environment trying to adapt and accustom to a lifestyle that allows a life that does not cause conflicts between any group.

Another focal point of this panel can be his expression, as he looks happy specifically in this panel, and is furthermore seen as a very gloom and unhappy character that has trouble conforming into the average American life at school. Here, he is very innocent and ignorant of this fact as he is living in a Chinatown, and by doing this, the author also foreshadows the hardships that the protagonist might go through as he hasn’t gone through the “transformation” yet.

Paper 1 Practice: Reflection

A couple weeks ago, I was given an opportunity in my Lang&Lit HL class to practice writing a Paper 1 for the purpose of preparing for my IB exams.

This was my first attempt at an IB-styled analytical writing and I was nervous even going into class that day that I was going underperform. My worrisome thoughts aside, we were given an article from the Washington Post, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior“, by Amy Chua.

To my surprise, I did better than I expected, and some good things were seen in the result. I think one part that I excelled in is how I tried to plan out my writing beforehand by writing a short outline of my ideas with bullet points with headers describing topics for each paragraph. Through using this method that I learned to use for timed writing pieces, I have been able to put out my ideas more effectively in a limited time without babbling on and on about nonsense that I don’t intend to write. I would like to continue this method of outlining my thoughts before I go into writing, but one concern I do harbor is that time management might be an issue. If time is well kept, then I do believe that this method will be very effective going forward, and should be continued.

Something I still need to improve on is the depth of analysis, and I did feel the lack of understanding of the text was a critical problem in this specific piece of writing. I would like to believe that what happened this instance is that I was a bit nervous and very sensitive to time that I was sort of rushing through the analyzing part of the essay. I did hit some marks that I am proud of, such as the part where I described the comparison that the author uses to draw a contrast between American and “Chinese” Parents, but throughout most of the essay, my analyses were pretty shallow and could be elaborated more on.

Propaganda Poster

For this project, I was trying to parody an actual Propaganda poster from the Chinese cultural revolution that depicted the legendary war hero, 雷锋. As my group analyzed him in the previous presentation that we had in class, 雷锋 is a semi-fictional character that the Chinese government used in propaganda posters to promote the spirit of the revolution and I saw the perfect poster to parody off of. Coming from this poster, I thought it would be a perfect fit, as our grade’s spirits seem to be very downed ever since the start of high school. I wanted to emphasize the three students including me, wearing a Chinese army styled hat. To reassure us together in the photo as a focal point, not only did I directly put it in the middle, I also used faint but present lighting to amplify the effect of drawing out belief from the audience as many religious paintings and propaganda posters often tend to depict important figures with beams of light or even a halo.

The picture itself tries to bring out the warmth from the bright red colors and the flowers in the foreground, the heartwarming picture in the middle is from last year’s graduation and the body gestures and how we’re all together really touches with Pathos. Additionally, the yet again faint pictures in the background are of pictures of the past, and I wanted to highlight the importance of moving forward and wanting a peaceful community not only here in ISB but also to reduce animosity that remains between countries such as between ROK and Japan.

The caption itself then should draw the audience’s attention. The caption reads: Study DK’s fine examples, diligently study pacifism, Mr. Munro’s thoughts. This caption is yet again a direct parody from the original poster as it reads: Study Lei Feng’s fine example–Diligently study Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought. I think I was pretty clever in trying to convey my message whilst using similar language to parody the original.

 

Escaping from society.

Throughout the course of completing this project, our group did run across some problems, and decisions couldn’t be made, whether it was the layout or the context of the article. It was a hard time for us because we had no arguments or ideas from all four of us that worked to make this magazine.

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Albus Potter: The problematic child

Click to see a clear view of the multimedia.

In the book I read over the Spring Break, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The creators, J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne have made Man vs. Man conflicts throughout the whole play. The main character Albus, has problems with opening his mind to his father, as well as to his closest friend Scorpius, causing trouble. To top that up, Albus and Scorpius also had to go through Delphi, and to stop her bringing back Voldemort.

Above are 2 quotes that show the conflicts between albus and his father/friend.

SPOILER BELOW

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Johnny Tremain X American Revolution (Events & Outcomes): Writing Styles

For the past 2 days, I compared the pages 147-150 of the novel Johnny Tremain, written by Esther Forbes, with page 17 of a textbook called American Revolution (Events and Outcomes) by Dale Anderson.

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Am I American?

 

Hi, I’m Brandon. Brandon Hart.

I was born twice: First as a British boy that fully trusted the British, My father forcing me to believe in them.  I was a little foolish, if I would say. After my father’s death, I was full of rebellious thoughts, revenge fill up inside me like hot lava would inside a volcano.  At this time, Britain was all I relied on, until the incident, the Boston massacre happened. The trusted soldiers betrayed us, and I decided to change. I was born then again as an American.  The revolutionary thoughts deep inside me exploded, and I decided to change, to help become gain liberty.

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‘Murican Revolution in a few minutes!

 

Interested in the American Revolution? Take a seat, as me, June, and Hugo walk you through the American Revolution in common craft style.

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