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When I started watching short documentary “Field Trip to DMZ” produced by PBS, I was surprised that non-Koreans were interested enough in Korean reunification to make a video on it.  I never expected people outside of Korea would care about the reunification and hardships of minority like Hyejung.

Watching the video, I realized how ignorant I was about the reunification. I only had general idea of what it is and didn’t go far enough to feel the pain of departed families. I haven’t really had a chance to think about people who crossed the border from north to south. No wonder the idea of school for students from the north was interesting and amazing to me.

I felt sorry for Hangyure School students for what they have missed during their childhood. Things I have taken for granted such as using compurters, watching movies, and receiving education were things that they could never imagine. It was shocking that North Korean school taught false information to prevent the students from knowing that there is a better life outside of North Korea.

I realized that so many things need to be done for students like Hyujung. There should be more schools like Hangyure so that people from the north can adapt more easily and quickly to the technological world. There should be more publicity about the lives of these students so that more people can help them. Above anything else, reunification should come true soon. It is heartbreaking to see these young students crying out for their parents with wet voices. How hurting would it be to live away from their families, knowing that they are still suffering in the north? I wish more people watch this documentary and contribute to the path to reunification.

 

Click on the image to go watch this video!

Click on the image to go watch this video!

Modernism is everywhere around us today. We can see it in art, music, movies, fashion and many other designs. Modern works break away from the traditional forms. For example, modern artists use variety of materials to create art work and modern architects build buildings that are not straight and rectangular.  Sometimes breaking away from traditional forms results in designs that are practical and simple rather than beautiful; and this is what I’m going to focus on this blog post.

Here are some examples of modernism.

This is called 'Bag TV,' sold in England. TV is thought to be watched at home, but this modern bag design broke the traditional idea and let people carry around their TVs.
This is called ‘Bag TV,’ sold in England. TV is thought to be watched at home, but this modern bag design broke the traditional idea and let people carry around their TVs.
This cute design is called 'Wheel you pass me the salt?' The designer broke the traditional form of saltshaker and made it look like a car. It is also very practical because you just have to wheel the car to pass it on.

This cute design is called 'Wheel you pass me the salt?' The designer broke the traditional form of saltshaker and made it look like a car. It is also very practical because you just have to wheel the car to pass it on.

This is a modern design with a chair on top and bookshelf beneath. It emphasizes pratical needs because you don't have to get out of your chair to look for your book! Simple color and design also makes this modern.

This is a modern design with a chair on top and bookshelf beneath. It emphasizes pratical needs because you don't have to get out of your chair to look for your book! Simple color and design also makes this modern.

Another innovative idea that moved away from tradition. This drawing is done on cassettes instead of canvas. Modern artists are still in search of new trials and creative ideas.

Another innovative idea that moved away from tradition. This drawing is done on cassettes instead of canvas. Modern artists are still in search of new trials and creative ideas.

This post is response to the NYU article on Cormac McCarthy’s writing style.

 

Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy

1. What authors or genres of writing are cited as influencing McCarthy’s writing style?
On the first line of this article, it says McCarthy ‘has practiced the Joycean virtues of silence, exile and cunning more faithfully than any other contemporary author…”. Faulkner is also cited several times as an author who influenced McCarthy’s writing style a lot. Although it doesn’t directly state this, it seems that McCarthy was also influenced by Larry McMurtry and Mark Twain.

2. How does McCarthy treat human characters in his story as opposed to landscape and animals like horses?
Human characters in McCarthy’s story appear to be very small and trivial compared to the massive landscape that surrounds the humans. According to the article, ‘human thought and activity seem almost completely inconsequential when projected upon the vast alien landscapes where they occur.’ This means that rather than focusing on the characters only, McCarthy looks at them as a small part of a big world. He is disinterested toward the human beings, and although main characters like John Grady behaves in a way to achieve his integrity, they still seems unimportant compared to the whole scenery of the world. Contrary to human beings, animals like horses are treated better in McCarthy’s novels. Horses especially are described as important, virtuous and strong. Here is a quote from his novel that supports this idea: “…that the order in horse’s heart was more durable for it was more durable for it was written in a place where no rain could erase it.” Similar to the affection toward animals, McCarthy also describes the landscapes in ‘breathtakingly beautiful’ way.

3. What type of dialogue does the article state McCarthy uses?
The article describes McCarthy’s prose as extraordinary quality. It says that his sentences are long, complex and descriptive. I noticed that this is true when I was reading the book; his prose is very detailed with the descriptions of the scenery and actions. The article also mentions that his dialogues are realistic. McCarthy uses profanity and inaccurate grammar to portray realistic conversation between the characters, and the readers find that the dialogues sound like real people talking.

4. What is notable about his diction (word choice)?
McCarthy uses odd words that some of them look like newly invented words (neologisms). Instead of using contemporary wording style, he uses dictions and phrasing from evolutionary history of English, which resembles ‘flux of remarkable possibilities’ of Elizabethan language.

ec98a4eba19ceb9dbcHere is the link to our group project.

Just click on the image! 🙂

facebook11. In what ways would you need to change your routine in order to disconnect yourself from all media (i.e. no TV, no Internet, etc.) What problems would you encounter if you unplugged for one day? One week? One month?
I would need to work harder and spend more time studying because I would not be able to use computer or other electric resources for homework and researches, which means the work will take longer time. Also, there will be more excercising time because I will not be spending my free time in front of computer or TVs. Instead, I will be riding bicycles, dancing or hanging out with friends. I would not have much problem if I unplugged all media for one day; in fact I often spend a whole day without using TV or internet. If I don’t use them for a week, I might be slow on some of the recent news unless I read newspapers. Unplugging for one month would be disasterous especially if I have any kind of project during the time. I would not be able to research internet and communicate with my group members to discuss our project. I will be out of date with all the new exciting things and TV programs that my peers are chatting about. I would not be able to email with my sister who lives in America for a long time unless I write a letter by hand. Basically, I would not be able to belong in the whole community that I’m supposed to be communicating with and I will be isolated from my friends. Also, I will be bored unless I go out to hang out with people, because there will be nothing to do at home except reading.

2. How many hours per week do you estimate you spend on Facebook or similar personal networking sites? What are the benefits and disadvantages of using these sites?
I spend about three hours on personal networking sites per week. The benefits of using these sites are that I get to communicate with people that I live far away. I can check what their lives are like by looking at the pictures and notes that they put on their personal pages. Also, I can create my own space that is all about me, which is not easy to do outside internet. The networking sites provide chances to express myself and store pictures, notes and videos that all become part of my memory.

3. To what extent are you aware of viral marketing, the use of “advertorials” (presenting advertisements as editorial content), or direct marketing on Facebook and other social networking sites?
There are flashes of advertisement on any social networking sites and sometimes things just pop up to make people click on them and see the products on screen. There are even occasions when advertisements are sent automatically through my friend’s email or messenger. I am well aware of viral marketing and advertorials, but the good part is that I don’t have much interest in them. I do not click on them unless the product is something that I had in mind. Usually I am annoyed by those advertisements rather then interested in them.
4. Personal response based on your individual viewing of “Growing Up Onlines”.
There were some parts of the video that I could relate to very well and other parts that I could not relate to myself or people around me. I could understand how teenagers feel like when parents try to check what they are doing online and force their children to open personal pages. I thought it would be terrible if my mom asked for passwords to log on to my facebook account. I know that parents are just worried that their children might be going through bad influence online, but asking for password is not the right solution, because those accounts are personal. Except for severe cases, most of the students know how to control themselves online and don’t easily get trapped in bad websites or relationships, so parents do not need to worry too much over these issues. The parts that I could not understand was the case about the boy who committed suicide. Why would anyone create those how-to-commit-suicide web pages and why would anyone access those sites? Don’t they know that there are some border lines that they are not supposed to cross? It is true that these webpages are easily accessible, but we can always avoid them if we don’t click on the links. After finishing the video, I wondered if it would have been better if internet was not created. I concluded no, it would not have been, because there are far too many benefits that we get from internet. It is true that young generation have some problems dealing with it, but that is the matter of HOW people use internet, not the internet itself.

Click on the image to watch "Growing Up Online"

Click on the image to watch "Growing Up Online"

Article #1

Reading the article ‘Hagwon in U.S. cash in on Korean students’ was not new to me, because hagwons are all around. I would say nearly 100 percent of Korean students living in Seoul have recieved help of hagwon at least once. The fact that Korean students are having hard times with English writing and logical thinking is not surprising at all because I am one of the victim of ‘cramming style of education.’

I used to attend public Korean school before I transferred to an international school. In Korean school, we do essay writing only once or twice a year and the rest of the time everything is about memorization. Students do not think creatively and logically, but just absorb what the textbook says and that’s it with the education. When I came to an international school, which follows American curriculum, I suffered so much trying to learn how to think and write my own ideas in English, which I was not comfortable with. During the first two months of school, I lost 4 kilograms because of stress about writing essays in U.S. Literature class.

I can understand why Korean students attending universities in America are seeking for help in hagwons. Hagwons is part of school life in Korea; most of the students attend hagwons to recieve help. Since the students are used to getting help from hagwons instead of trying to find solutions by themselves, it is no wonder why Korean students are suffering in American universities where they have to think indepently and survive on their own. They are desperate to get help  so they are registering for ‘flushing’ hagwons even if the price is unreasonable high.

I have thought about this problem many times, and I think the only solution to this problems is to change Korean education system. Korean schools should start making the students think creatively and get them into habit of writing. The governent should discourage students attending hagwons because they only teach some smart tricks to put on the tests to let students get  high scores without knowing much. If the current education system continues, the drop rate of Korean students in American universities will keep on rising and more students will seek help in hagwons and spend extra money. I hope this ‘hagwon tradition’ comes to an end before it spreads too much.

Article #2

While reading the article ‘American teens lie, steal, cheat at ‘alarming’ rates: study’ I was shocked at the high percentages of students who violated moral standards. I have always thought that only very small number of bad kids steal from store. However, the statistics showed that around 30% of boys and 26% of girls have stolen something over the past year. This is simply shocking. Cheating was even worse, because more than 60% of students admitted that they have cheated on the test. It worries me that this serious problem with dishonesty of students will pass on to raise problems in the future. The article mentions that the attitude of students  “doesn’t bode well for the future when these youngsters become the next generation’s politicians and parents, cops and corporate executives, and journalists and generals.”

Even more shocking and ironic is that students attending religious school are more likely to have lied to their parents about something significant and to have cheated on tests. I think of religious school as strict and morally right, but the students are apparently not bearing these characters. The problems might be worse than illustrated on the article because according to the article , the students did not reply honestly in some of the survey questions. Once again, we can see that dishonesty is a habit that is ingrained in students’ daily lives.

It was contradictory of the students that they have high self-image when it comes to ethics. This means that students don’t realize that they conduct dishonest actions or that they do not consider cheating or lying as serious moral problems. Maybe they think those are just small actions which do not count as dishonesty. Considerting that 77% of students answered that “when it comes to doing what is right, I am better than most people I know,” the schools need to do something to make student realize how dishonest they are and the serious consequences that might follow from dishonesty. People often don’t realize their defects and try to over-estimate themselves, and students are no exception.

We love watching warrior movies and admiring their skills. But have you noticed any traditional elements about those warriors? After watching several warrior movies and reading The Woman Warrior, I found out some interesting warrior traditions.

 Stance

Warriors, especially oriental warriors, always stand in special stance to get ready to combat. They all have their hands raised in front of their chests, body slightly turned to the side and eyes staring intensely at their enemies’ eyes. In the Chinese movie Crouching tiger, the two female characters stand in certain stance, punch, kick for a while, and occasionally pose in their stance in between the fights. Also in Japanese animation called Dragon Ball, the warriors stand in certain stance and pose before they fight with the enemies. The stance seems to be there to get ready to perform certain routines that the warriors are trained to follow when they are fighting. When they fight, they don’t just randomly kick and punch, but follow the routines that their masters taught them, which is why in some of the movies, people recognize who the master of their enemies is by looking at the style of movements.

Zhang Ziyi in her fighting stance

Zhang Ziyi in her fighting stance

 

Samurai Jack in his fighting routine

Samurai Jack in his fighting routine

Clothing

Usually, man male warriors seem to wear similar outfits in many different countries. They often take off their shirts to show masculine body. However, female warriors’ clothing differs greatly between western and oriental countries. In oriental culture, female warriors try to hide their identity as women by dressing as males. They often tie their hair and wear long sleeves to cover their body as much as possible. We can take Mu Lan as the best example. Even if the warriors are not trying to hide their female identity, oriental women warriors still try not to show their bare body parts. In many movies, the actress Zhang Ziyi ties her hair and wear long clothes as a woman warrior. On the other hand, western female warriors are exact opposite. They wear clothes that expose their feminine body, which we often refer as sexy. For example, Wonder Woman and Tomb Raider show female warriors who wear short sleeves and emphasize the strong but feminine body line.

Typical male warriors show their muscular bodies instead of wearing clothes

Typical male warriors show their muscular bodies instead of wearing clothes

 

Mulan is perfect example of woman warriors hiding their identity as females.

Mulan is perfect example of woman warriors hiding their identity as females.

 

Above is a video clip of Wonder Woman transforming into ‘sexy’ woman warrior

 Inner tranquility

Many martial arts warriors emphasize their inner tranquility as part of their strength. We often see the warriors meditating to control their mind and train to have more inner power than the enemies. The more the warriors can control their mind, the stronger their qi (inner power, spirit) becomes. In the book Woman Warrior, Mu Lan is trained to gather inner strength by living independtly in the forest, and settle her mind down to become one with the nature and animals.

Nature

Another trait of martial arts warriors is that they blend in with nature. They meditate in the forest or near a stream, and also fight in woods where there are no other people. Usually, Chinese warriors fight in bamboo forest, as we can see in the movies House of Flying Daggers and Crouching Tiger. Becoming one with nature is considered important for Chinese warriors because it provides shelter and strenth for them.

Bamboo forest seems to be favorite place for Chinese warriors to combat

Bamboo forest seems to be favorite place for Chinese warriors to combat



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  • Alice: Very insightful. I shall take your advice :]
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