Katie Couric has inserted in her journal the freedom to choose whether a book is deemed “banned”. When a book is banned or censored, there are a lot of implications that one must consider. What if the book has a source of great knowledge, but due to profanity is banned. What if the book shows insight to the corruption of society, but due to government’s interest is censored. What if the book brings great passion and catharsis to one, but due to the church’s values is deemed “wrong”.

For me, no institution, group, or society could just censor a book. Each of us have a right to read and access novels that we want. Though there are sayings that the government or an institution must censor these books for the protection and preservation. And they do have a point, but I believe that if a book tends to criticize of show profanity within the novel, I think it’s a warning to the government that they should fix it. By censoring books it encourages us to perceive that the government’s major policy is avoidance and not enhancements.

Therefore, people should have the right to censor the books they want to read. Of course out in the world there are books with swear words, sex (mind my English), diatribes, critical analysis, and more. But that doesn’t mean a certain group should ban one from reading something that could actually make a difference in one’s life. We would never know how a book could impact us, unless we open the covers and read the black ink on those pages. Sometimes the most profane books have been the most influential in the world, because of their direct stab in society and how they reveal to us a facet of it. Therefore Katie Couric’s Notebook puts it well that people should not ban books, because it hinders critical thinking and in a society where we value that trait why should we destroy it by our own hands. By us reading books we want to read, we learn in supplement to our experiences and enhance that important thought process. So I believe there is no sufficient reason for institutions to ban books, unless they feel threatened. And I feel that if one feels threatened, then that means that ones knows he/she has faults.

That’s what I have to say.

1. Which book did you find the most valuable and why?

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan was probably the most valuable, because the of the length of time we studied on it. Since we worked on it progressively for a long period of time it gives us more time to actually delve into the values, characters, and themes of the book. And since we got to peruse Snow Flower and analyze it further, it allowed me to realized Snow Flower was a good book in the end and it really showed certain important values. Also I think a part that really impacted me was that the book showed Asian cultures (different from what I read for the past three years in high school). By reading something from an Asian perspective, it really made me connect easier to my own life and comprehend better.

2. Which task/project did you find the most challenging and why?

A: The cultural persuasion project was the most challenging, because I personally felt that it was really confusing. Even though I’ve written two drafts and done a PSA, I wish since it was the first project we could’ve worked harder on it. Also it was really hard to write in two different perspectives, when I already had a set one. Further on since I had to follow rigorous guidelines in PSA by keeping it short, it was quite difficult from the other projects I’ve done which have given me around 1 minute. But overall it was the most insightful of all, and it allowed me to learn my mistakes.

3. Which task/project seemed the most valuable?

A: Discussions were the most valuable, because I could learn different perspectives of the same novel we were studying. When I read the book, I start to formulate my own standpoints. But when I discuss it with others and listen to their views, it really allows growth within my mind. I could study different areas in the book that I had never seen with discussions, so it was a really valuable experience for me.

4. What changes would you recommend to the unit in order to enhance learning and opportunities to think more deeply (do not consider grades when you answer this)?

A: I think discussions will enhance learning and opportunities to think more deeply. By doing discussions you get to talk about the book in depth, and also you get to hear more different information than you already have. And when you have this new and old knowledge, it becomes really interesting to create connections between each other and start to create my own process of critical thinking. Also by having discussions, you can further identify different parts of the novel that are important and study intensely later as the course goes on. So discussions really fuel, I think, the learning and opportunities we get from each novel and in literature.

when i wake up in the morning, at 7:30 AM.

i’m tired, groggy, and confused.

my mom wakes me up for the third time, and at the fourth time–she screams as if a vulture did so.

eventually, i drag myself to the bathroom.

turn on the warm, hot water–grasp reality again.

feel the warmth through my body, and then when i’m done–i feel the cold.

the dark, cold surrounds my body–waking me up in reality.

 

i ride the car to the city, and arrive at the study hall i need to go.

i make myself a cup of tea, and i wait for my classmates and teachers to come.

 

when i come back home, i realize im in a nightmare.

trying to wake up, i go into a deep trance–hoping that when i open my eyes again, the world i dreamt of will come to me.

all the five senses will feel that world, and enlighten me into a new paradise.

but i wake myself up, and i see the green desk and my white macbook in front of me–along with the dreadful SAT book.

 

i just have one wish: to wake up from this nightmare and madness.

mom said, “you should be apologizing for what you’ve got. why is your behavior like that?

son replied, “is it a crime that my grade is a _ ?”

Students constantly are chained with stress. Not only do they receive it from their parents, but also they receive it from a variety of sources ranging from academics to school life. What they wish is just a time when the stress is all disappeared. The constant peer pressure, college preparations, parent’s criticisms cannot be all handled by a single kid alone.

I acknowledge that going to the real world is “harsh”. It’s a brutal area. Morality is ignored, and it’s all about competition. But, is it that harder than the youth years? When a person makes a mistake in society, they are not condemned for it. They just have to suffer the consequences whether it is external, internal, or both. But a mistake a student makes is always bound to both pathways: external and internal.

THEREFORE, a question that I impose is this: Is it a crime to not meet parent’s standards?

Now, let me show you my analysis of the question. Today, I’ve received criticism about receiving a score of an average B in one of my AP courses. Just as a disclaimer, my parents are Asian and they really take academics serious than that of other parents (well maybe not, it’s just my stereotype and other parents of different races might be worse). They told me “literally” that it is my fault for not getting the grade. Acknowledging the fault internally, I understand that I’ve caused the grade to become a B. But the one word that hit me was “apologize”. That made me wonder, what am I to apologize about?

Maybe things might be different if students went to a public school (I’ve only went to a public school for some time, a long time ago; so things might be different and standpoints might be different), but some students that go to private schools might feel guilty about this issue. Tuition fees are a big burden to parents, and to me I feel sorry in some aspects about that. But education-wise what is there to apologize? What is there to apologize to the parents by the kid about education, learning, and academics? Is it a crime to not meet a person’s standards? If we re-consider the criticism lashed by my parents, if it’s a crime to not keep up the standards that my parents have, does that mean is it not worthy to live if we cannot match other’s standards because others won’t be able to comprehend some faults like our intimate family members. The subject is in our own learning. It is not their brain that is growing. It’s not we’re feeding their knowledge. Information comes into our brain, that means we filter what we learn. We feed our own brain capacities, not our parents. So is it truly a crime to not meet their standards?

ANSWER: No.

It’s not a crime to receive a low grade on a subject. It is not a crime to meet your parent’s standards. Sometimes, things can happen and a person might not be able to match the others’ expectations. But that is not a crime that, that person should be apologizing for. Making apologies are done when you have harmed the person directly, not implicitly. Did I call my parents stupid? Did my grades say they deserve criticism for their parenting? NO. That never happened. When actions are caused explicitly, and a person has physically or verbally attacked or harmed his disposition in both the physical and mental world: YOU are to be blamed and it is a crime. You must say sorry. But not meeting one’s expectations and standards are not to be “apologized” for. I mean saying sorry once is enough, but when it’s constantly repeated–the situation doesn’t make sense. I believe a person should not be sorry for not keeping to one’s expectations, especially academic ones. I’m the one should be sorry and angry at myself for not keeping up with the expectations I had. Learning is my own private property, not others. They don’t teach it for me. They don’t absorb it for me. If the grade I got was for their benefits and it damaged their status in society, then I should be the one saying sorries. But, this is for me. The education is for me. I don’t believe one has to apologize about their own life to others.

SO, what do you guys think? Do you think it’s a crime to not meet people’s/friend’s/parent’s expectations about your own life? I’m open to your opinions, and hope you guys could give a comment on it! Wow, blog posting, after doing it two days in a row, is quite a bliss :)! HOPE I get some feedback!

glass shards.

“love is something that drive us crazy,” – anonymous

ANSWER: yes, seriously.

To me, love is like a piece of glass. Love is hard to create, just like glass; but it is easy to break, just like glass.

When the glass breaks, the pieces are stuck to your heart and will constantly reach deeper within. I usually never talk about love, but for some reason it might interesting to bring up an interesting subject about what “first love” is. For some people, love might be just an on-and-off relationship; you can either shut it down or gain another one easily. But, the first love is different. When you fall in love with someone for numerous reasons and cannot stop thinking about them, you will start to create the glass in which you will see your love’s reflection. As you constantly construct and build relationships and links–the glass starts to take shape and you will see the complete reflection of your loved one. Sometimes, relationships last only for a short period therefore the reflection is not clearly seen. But true and first love can create a perfect reflection, which can make you dream and fantasize wasting precious time. It’s just like the story of Narcissus. Narcissus loved his reflection in the end so much, he fell in love with it forever. Forever is the key term. First love provides a reflection that we can perceive, love, dream, talk, interact, and also break apart.

Breaking apart is the hardest moment in a person’s life. The length of pain matters of how intimate the relationship had been. Relationships, as they grow, become icy. Single mistakes, simple problems, and impetuous word choices could easily create a rip on the ice the relationship becomes. The mistakes you make can make you feel guilty. The mistakes the other made, could make your heart rip apart. Therefore, there comes a time when the glass will break. It’s not due to you “ending” the relationship verbosely, it’s disconnecting the link implicitly through gestures and motions. When that happens, the glass will break and you will get cuts eventually. But the glass shards aren’t just any sharp, temporary pains. They can last for a long time. The pieces and the fragments cut deeper into your skin, and as they constantly reach closer and closer to your heart–you break down. You cannot forget the one you loved and it’s just pure agony to try and ignore the pain. The more you deny the fact you’re still in love with the person, the more the glass shards show the reality of the predicament. Now, those glass shards will take a long time to get used to and maybe it will stay within your body forever–just you’ll get habituated with it.

NOW! I know this is pessimistic, but that’s what I believe about love. Love is fragile, and it really hurts when things go wrong. Even though you didn’t say, “Let’s break up,” you can sense the feeling that the relationship has been already destroyed. The more you try to re-construct it, the more there will be gaps and incomplete edges that won’t completely recreate the connection you both had. Therefore love is a painful,  yet delightful curse given by God. It is delightful when you create it. When you enjoy the moments with your loved one. But it is painful when it breaks down. The reality allows you to realize that you haven’t given up on the person and also you cannot reconstruct the relationship you had before. Therefore, I guess I could create a three sentence theme about love.

“Love is glass.

It is created with happiness.

But it breaks apart with pain.”

Again, this is just my rant. I do respect other standpoints about love and will love to hear your comments about it! Please criticize if you think it is wrong, but if you agree just agree! And it’s actually been a long time since I’ve written a blog post, so my writing skills might have exponentially decreased since June! :)!

Picture from CreativeCommons

Q

what is thinking.

what are humans.

what makes him different from her.

what do we live for.

how do we think.

how do we have a sense of consciousness.

how do we measure our own happiness.

how do we survive.

why do we think.

why do we believe in religion.

why are relationships so important.

why are our hearts so delicate.

these are the questions that i carry.

& there is no right or wrong answer

we just create logical and empirical conclusions

Helping each other, even though there are differences (From Creative Commons)

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is a progress. Working together is a success.” – Henry Ford
It has been exactly: 174 days, since school started.

That is: 1218 hours, or 73,080 minutes, or 4,384,800 seconds since I’ve been a sophomore.

BUT, in english class that is exactly: 120 hours

Every year in english class is different in a way–and this year was truly a time to remember. One of the key important things I’ve learned during this class was, something actually “extra-ordinary” (seriously…). It is teamwork. Our teacher, Ms. P., is a type of teacher who emphasizes on both the use of collaboration between peers and individual work. What was most interesting about this year’s English class was the fact that I didn’t have too much “close” friends within the group. I felt a bit distant from each other in a way, because our Class of 2012 is a group of kids that love creating “tribal groups” and sticking to themselves. What this division caused was the separation of close relationships we had between each other.

Just like these crew of Pilobolus, teamwork could accomplish magnificent things

However with Ms. P’s projects, homework, classwork, etc.–I felt more connected to each other, than before. At that time I realized that actually as a team, we could accomplish more. For the past five years since I’ve been in school, I have stereotyped different people and held distinct prejudices amongst them. Through the constant positive attitude lead by Ms. P., those barriers and walls broke just like the Berlin Wall (ooh! an allusion :)!)–and I learned the importance of teamwork. The one thing that really is so special about teamwork is the fusion of different ideals into one creative one. Teamwork requires people with different characteristics to work together and create a distinct product (whether it’s a project or an event). An example I could give in class would be when I had to work with two of the most introverted people. People usually describe me as an extrovert: bright, hyper, and talkative. However, when Ms. P. assigned me these two introverts, it really worried me in the fact that there would be awkward situations. In the end, that wasn’t the case: one of the groupmates was Flora K., and she was actually very skilled at art–helping us create a better character map & also one of the other groupmates was Ryan H., a friend with great skills in writing and analysis. With these people, I felt that we created a great product (character map, look at my previous posts!).

I can’t express how much I have to thank Ms. P. for making me understand the importance of teamwork. Teamwork is a strong force that could literally solve any problem in the world. However, an important lesson that I’ve learned is that in order for people to collaborate perfectly well is to actually break the stereotypes and prejudices one has amongst others. If that is accomplished, I’ve learned from english class that nothing is impossible.

This concludes the reflection of a hard sophomore year. Thank you Ms. P & my fellow A Block English class for a valuable Lesson.

dino k.