Stained Red

For a long time, I was restless at night, always vigilant. It all started in the summer of 1966 and will forever be framed in the autumn of 1976. Now, as a middle-aged woman in her late 40s, I flip through the pages of my journal once again. As I read it once more, I dive back into my younger days and reflect upon one of the most recent revolutions that affected countless Chinese people within the span of 10 years. This is the Journal of a young teacher, Xu Yingnan, during the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

While many things changed, more stayed the same. Despite the severe disputes erupting between the two sides of the government during the revolution, China continues to be run by a one-party government after 1976. Nevertheless, the extreme idolization for a leader is no longer present and the word of one man no longer contains near as much power. Any order made by the chairman today needs to go through a series of procedures of being agreed upon. While the way the government is ran changed, Chairman Mao’s influence and reputation remained. Mao continues to be portrayed as the savior and hero in movies and television series. Not only so, but Mao’s portrait is also printed on all Chinese paper currencies and displayed in the middle of Tiananmen square.

Chinese Cultural Revolution in Plain Communism

The Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution is one of the most recent and massive revolutions that led the Chinese people on a detour. In this video, you will learn about the overall objective and direction of the Cultural Revolution, as well as a reflection on how the Cultural Revolution impacts our modern day.

Backstory: A little more than 10 years before the official beginning of the Cultural Revolution, Stalin of Russia passed away. A series of movements called “de-staliniztion” began in Russia, aiming to reverse many of Stalin’s orders. Though you may ask, what does this have to do with China? Well, Mao, the chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, always saw Stalin as a role model and aspired to become a leader like Stalin; however, the events erupting in Russia made Mao worry that the same thing was going to happen to him. Therefore, Mao thought that he needed to take action to seal his legacy on Chinese history and the Communist history. This being one of the major purposes, Mao launched the Cultural Revolution in 1966. Want to know more about the revolution that sent China to pursue “extreme communist”?Want to know what measures were taken to cause more than 40000 deaths in just two years? Want to know the event that led to an entire generation being illiterate? Watch this video!

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Hey Google, is “Google It” a good book?

Living in a time where technology dominates our daily lives, the non-fiction book Google It provides us an opportunity to look back to the beginning of this technological era where the instant search was still an imagination. Google It is a book written by Anna Crowley Redding telling the history of the company that we associate with almost every single day. Think, invent, organize, share, don’t be evil, shoot for the moon, and change the world is what Google and this book try to show us. The theme of this book can be identified through the story of the two founders of Google and their motivation that led them to success: Curiosity and Passion often inspires people to reach for the impossible and make it a reality

Google It is a page-turner that you won’t be able to put down the second you pick it up. It is a book that is worth the read whether you are an adult or a student. Google It is a fun and intriguing literary non-fiction. Unlike traditional non-fictions full of plain facts, Google It incorporated a storyline and is told in a humorous manner. This book allows readers to reflect on how the advancement of technology changed our everyday lives in the past 20 years. Google It communicates many life lectures such as the importance of curiosity and that success often comes after sacrifices. I highly enjoyed reading this book, witnessing how technology slowly entered our lives and eventually becoming something we cannot live without. Finally, if you adore technology and/or modern history, you will certainly love this book.

Other things I love:

  • There are also fun facts scattered among the pages.
  • Before and after comparison
  • Explains the origin of different features under Google (many of them are unexpectedly interesting)

This non-fiction unit is a unit that I never expected myself to enjoy so much. I was never a big fan of non-fiction novels and I was never particularly enthusiastic at the mention of facts and statistics; however, this unit changed my view on non-fiction as a whole, I specifically enjoy the type of non-fiction told humorously in the style of a story. In this unit, I learned many strategies when it comes to absorbing new information such as rereading confusing and important sections to deepen our understanding, as well as researching certain parts that you are uncertain about and or are drawn to. I also improved my analysis skills by constantly organizing and connecting my notes throughout the book. Most importantly, I learned to enjoy a new book genre.

Barbarians or Nationalists: Boxer Rebellion in China

“Do not impose on others what you yourself don’t desire.” –Confucious

The Boxer Rebellion is an event that can be seen as an effect of previous years of humiliation and War. This event led to the eventual fall of the Qing Dynasty. While the Boxers receive a positive name in Chinese history textbooks, in the west, they are known as violent terrorists. Having read multiple sources and viewed from different perspectives, I conclude that the Boxers do not deserve a bad reputation. First, we must understand the beginning of the Boxer Rebellion in 1898. The trigger to the series of events revolving around the Boxer Rebellion all began when two German missionaries were murdered in Qingdao, in 1898. Although it might seem like the boxers overreacted by killing the two missionaries, their anger and frustration are accumulated over the long-term after the Second Opium War. Years of suffering led to the burst of people’s dissatisfaction and pressure. By 1860, Many treaties were signed, including the Treaty of Tianjin, which not only legalized opium but also allowed foreign nations to build legation quarters in the heart of Beijing. Foreigners start to pour in China, taking over provinces such as Shandong and Hongkong. These provinces eventually became the targets of missionaries. They built churches on farmlands and spread foreign beliefs among the Chinese. Many Chinese saw this as a threat, as it is replacing their traditional cultures, yet the government was too inadequate to reject the imperial powers, forcing the commoners to stand up for themselves as a way to protect and retain their culture. This resembles the reaction of many Africans during the Scramble of Africa, where Africans attempted to resist imperial powers, specifically missionaries, by refusing to trade, and by starting rebellion wars, however, they were unsuccessful due to the overwhelming military power/supplies of foreigners. After both the Opium Wars, the Qing government lost much credibility and power, standing in a vulnerable position against imperial nations. They not only lost money but lost land, as well as laws that kept foreigners in order. These losses resulted in the ultimate fall of the Qing Dynasty since the government no longer holds enough power to protect its people. The Qing government was generally forced to obey all requests of the foreign nations. This left the upset citizens no other choice, but to rebel, using violence, attempting to make a change themselves. History is not simply black and white, a lot of times, our claim and view on a historical subject/event cannot be directly “Yes or No”. Admittedly, violence is never the best solution, thus, it was wrong for the boxers to practice such violent actions. However, forcing religion or belief on a nation’s citizens disregarding many of its traditional cultures is also inconsiderate. The boxers could have chosen to protest their dissatisfaction in a more peaceful way, like how Gandhi did to free India; similarly, imperial nations could also spread their influence in a less forceful manner in order to come to more mutual agreements with China. In the end, it truly narrows down to who made the mistake first to spark the chain of events that continues to occur starting from the trade of Opium.

“Treat others the way you want to be treated.”–The Golden Rule

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This magazine cover is a project that shows our analysis and understanding of the characteristics of characters from Shakespeare’s famous comedy “A Mid Summer Night’s Dream”. I chose the character Lysander, which is the lover of Hermia and the rival in the love of Demetrius. Lysander’s optimistic and playful attitude stood out to me. Lysander’s undying, persistent, and passionate love towards Hermia also made me understand the reason behind Hermia’s stubborn rebellion against her father’s orders.

I chose a picture of Leonardo DiCaprio in his 20s as a representation of what I believe Lysander would have looked like. I see Lysander as a handsome young male with a sense of mischief in his features. As Leonardo once played Romeo, a character in a similar position as Lysander is, I can see him as the confident lover that wins the heart of a fair lady in MSND.

I am most happy with the quotes I chose for showing the idealistic side of Lysander as I find this characteristic of his stood out the most in the play. Translating his words, he says, true love comes with obstacles, but no trouble lasts forever, like how all sounds only go on momentarily. Lysander’s words display his determination and positive view towards his and Hermia’s relationship.

Through this small project, I realized that people often have different interpretations of the characteristics of these characters as this is a play with only dialogues. This teaches us an important lesson, and that is: we should learn to accept and respect the different opinions of others, after all, “There are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people’s eyes”

WANTED: Are You a Renaissance Humanist?

If I was to rate myself as a Renaissance humanist, I would give myself a 2.7/5 for average. First of all, the minimal requirement for a Renaissance humanist would be the ability to balance philosophy and religion, however, this is not applicable for me as I and my family do not believe in a specific religion or god(atheist). As this rule does not apply to me, I am only able to receive 1/5 for balancing religion and individualism. Moving on, we look deeper into the subjects studied by humanists of the Renaissance. Humanists are expected to study art, architecture, government, language, history, literature, poem, and more. I would be lying if I said I master all these subjects, but I did learn courses such as literature/poetry/art in classes and know little bits and pieces of other subjects. Thus, I would rate myself 3/5 for the study of multiple subjects as a humanist. I would not call myself the most passionate when speaking of classical cultures. Admittedly, parts of them are highly interesting and thought-provoking but I do not have the resource nor the high interest to study the subject, therefore, a 2/5 for me on classical cultures. Different from classical culture, I highly enjoyed the Greek and Roman units from the last two years, the philosophy and thinking are undeniably fascinating to me. Since we have studied the Greeks and Romans in class last year, I do have a good amount of knowledge in the conclusion of the two cultures. Hense, 4/5 for bringing back the Greek and Roman ideas. Like Albert Einstein once said,” Important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” The humanities philosophy encouraged people to question knowledge and stay curious. However, as a student in 8th grade living in the 21st century, I do not have any authority nor place to challenge the knowledge we equip. As information nowadays is highly accurate and reliable, but having everything fact-checked is not an excuse for not asking questions and to stay curious about the unknown. I ask when I don’t understand and question when I doubt a piece of information or result. Thus, I give myself a 3.5/5 for questioning and curiosity.

The Thundering Theme of “The Sound of Thunder”

What comes to your mind when suggesting a butterfly? Perhaps the famous concept of chain reaction proposed by Edward N. Lorenz? Now, ask yourself whether you have encountered an example of the butterfly effect, moreover, what could have prevented the repercussion. Just as an unremarkable butterfly fluttered its wings on one end of the world could ultimately cause a hurricane halfway around the world, unintentionally killing a butterfly in the past could flip the future upside down. “The Sound of Thunder”, a piece by Ray Bradbury illustrates the story of time travel that takes place in the future, where rich hunters can travel back in time to hunt extinct animals. Eckels, Travis, and other hunters traveled back to the Mesozoic era to Safari, Africa to kill a Tyrannosaurus rex. Nevertheless, on their trip, a small mistake led them down a tragic path that consequents in a cruel failure that could not be undone. Small accidents can make a big difference. Using the story of Eckels as an example, author Bradbury embedded the important concept of carefulness and awareness in the fiction.

The author of the short story “A Sound of Thunder”, Ray Bradbury, believes being mindful and careful can prevent small mistakes, thus, avoid causing great differences and a negative shift in the result. Due to the risks of changing the future, travelers to the past are especially careful and cautious of their actions and decisions. Travis, one of the workers at Time Safari Inc. warns protagonist Eckels multiple times about the potential consequences of violating the rules, he stated, “’ Destroy this one man, and you destroy a race, a people, an entire history of life.’” (Bradbury5). Travis’s words hint at the theme of the story. A man is only one of a kind in a large species, however, destroying one man could cause a chain impact, resulting in a consequence much larger than expected. This implies the theme the author tries to convey: small mistakes and slight changes could alter the final result immensely. As the plot develops, despite Travis’s constant reminder and admonishment, Eckels, unsurprisingly, still panicked when the dinosaur came into view, he fell off the anti-gravity path and succeeded in disobeying every order made by Travis, and killed a butterfly as a bonus. After cleaning up behind them, and triple-checking the environment to make sure things are left “untouched”, they, Eckels/Travis/and others, returned to the present. Though they soon realized a change, a mistake, a difference in the year 2050. The sign painted on the office wall was no longer the same, instead of” Time safari, Inc. Safaris to any year in the past. You name the animal. We take you there. You shoot it.”, it said, “Tyme sefari, Inc. Sefaris tu any yeer en the past. Yu naim the animall. Wee taekyuthair. Yu shoot itt.” (Bradbury12). Eckels’s mistake of murdering a butterfly from the Mesozoic era changed not only the language people spoke but also the government system. The death of a free butterfly brought the country “the worse kind of dictatorship” (5). This example of chain reaction recalls the cause of World War I to my mind. The assassination of Archduke Franz led to the declaration of war between two small countries (Austrian-Hungary and Serbia). Which eventually resulted in having more than 30 nations engaging in the war over the next number of years. Aside from the obvious theme, author Bradbury also deeply shamed and condemned human for abusing the nature for self-pleasure and the consequences we are ought to be responsible for. It teaches us the potentially severe consequences of small causes, and the importance of mindfulness and cautiousness when coming to making choices.

“The sound of thunder” is more than a title, “thunder” drives the development of the story, at the same time symbolizing two things in the piece: the sound of T-rex’s footsteps and the sound of gunshots, two events that led to the turn of the story. Similarly, the butterfly also plays a symbolic role, representing the butterfly effect, the chain reaction leading to the repercussion.  We know that small mistakes can result in large consequences, moreover, we learned the significance of awareness when it comes to making choices because you never know when the next thunder will hit.


The Poem, The Conflict and Summery

The River The Bass and Sheila Mant Found Poem – Nan

The found poem above was taken from page 4 of the story “The Bass, The River, and Sheila Mant” by W.D Wetherell. It shows internal conflict within the narrator, which is also the protagonist. This conflict took place at the climax of the story, where the narrator is to make a tough decision between a bass that he unintentionally caught, and his crush, Sheila. My poem captures the moment of him feeling conflicted between the fish and Sheila, using phrases such as “But all my attention was with the fish” shows the narrators desire for the bass, however, later on, he continues to say “I had problems of my own, get to Dixford” Showing that the other part of himself wants to get to Dixford with Sheila. The art in the background showcases the river they were on, the canoe they were in, and the bass he caught. The narrator and Sheila were on the canoe to a band performance at Dixford, on their way to their destination, the narrator accidentally caught a fish on his fishing pole, it was described to be the largest bass he has ever caught. However, his crush Sheila did not enjoy fishing, quoting from the test “I would have given anything to not appear dumb in Sheila’s unforgiving eyes.” The narrator was naïve, he did not want to embarrass himself in front of his crush, yet, the bass was intriguing. After rounds of debating with himself, he chose to sacrifice his desire for the giant bass and continue his trip with Sheila. The narrator soon regrets his decision as his feelings for Sheila faded along with the summer. That night, he left with neither Sheila nor the Bass.

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Argumentative essay

Deeply concerned that more and more unhealthy food became people’s first choice due to its convenience and cheapness. However, the number of obese children has increased in the past few years. At the same time “whether the government should be responsible for the massive number of childhood obesity” became a popular debate topic among citizens. Knowing that obesity is not only a threat to children’s health but also a sign of poverty, the government has the resource and is capable to help the obsessed population. Thus, childhood obesity should be the government’s responsibility.

First of all, childhood obesity can be an extreme threat to children’s health, children are the future of our society, if they are not healthy then our society would be affected too. Study shows that starting from 2016, more than 650000 people with cancer got cancer from obesity. This shows that if the obesity rate continues to grow like it already is then our society would be full of weak people that may not be able to hole up our society in the future. Additionally, according to “Obesity can be a cause for diabetes, arterial hypertension and coronary artery.” Childhood obesity has become a major health concern, for parents and physicians all around the world. Childhood obesity is associated with increased risk for other diseases not only during youth but later in life. If the government wishes its citizens can country to stay healthy in the future, then the government is highly encouraged to do something about the current issue.

Secondly, a massive number of obesities can be a sign of poverty. According to “childhood obesity is a civilization disease and the proportion of people suffering from it continues to grow, especially in developing countries.” Also, according to “Being overweight in young adulthood is associated with unemployment, limited education attainment and lower levels of income.” It is clear that obesity is closely associated with poverty. When a family is poor, they often use more money of shelters and other things that food. Since affordable and convenient food is often form restaurants such as KFCs and Mcdonalds. Often times, long term of eating junk food may lead to obesity.

Some may say what the children eat is the parent’s responsibility. However, some families might not have the resource to afford healthy food. Therefore, the government is responsible and capable of helping the low-income population with being able to afford healthy food. Data shows that after Mexico established “sugar tax” the number of obese people decreased drastically. This means that if the government taken action, there will eventually be a result, what really matters is whether the government I willing to help or not. Another example is in 2010, the government of the USA launched the “let’s move” campaign to solve the childhood obesity epidemic within a generation. Different organizations were responsible for different areas of the plan. Receiving support from the GOs not only makes things easier but also motivates the citizens.

Aware that the childhood obesity issue has been going on for decades and it had only gotten worse. It is time for the government to make a difference. From areas such as children obesity being a threat to children’s future health, obesity being a sign of poverty and the government having the resource to help, it is obvious that in order to reduce the current issue the government will need to step in and help.