Sunday, March 22, 2015

Passion Project Update!

So far, I am starting to learn a lot about my topic and I'm finding so much information on a topic I once knew nothing about. Still, "palm-reading" isn't quite yet becoming believable to me and I'm still skeptical on the topic and how your palm somehow shows your whole future ahead of you. However, my parents told me that during spring break, we might see our far relative (Jayshree) that had read my palm four years ago. I don't really know her that well and I will have to come up with questions to ask her about palmistry. I also know that her daughter is taking classes in India about palmistry. I think that talking to Jayshree will be a huge turning point in my project because I will find data out from a real source. Furthermore, I also need to talk to Ms. VanArsdale, because apparently she has a connection with someone about palmistry. Some obstacles I anticipate is trying to get my palm read again by Jayshree, because I'm not sure if she will agree to it or I'm kind of nervous to find out myself what "my future holds." Another thing I am worried about is that what if I don't get convinced that palmistry is real, even after the research and data? Then my passion project would probably be useless because it's not something I believe in...
My parents also believe in palmistry and I know my mom did take some classes on it, so they would also be great sources for me, because if my parents believe in palmistry then it's more convincing for me.
All in all, it is very exciting and somewhat spooky to explore so much on this topic. I never knew palm-reading was so intricate! I've researched about how the different lines and mounts on your palm are affiliated with the planets and your future. I also researched on the history of palm-reading. I still have a lot more to go...

Monday, February 16, 2015

Roger Ebert

Over the last week, I learned a lot about someone I had never even heard the name of. After learning so much about him, his struggles, his impact on society, and his views on life, it also makes me feel that this world has come to a loss after Ebert's death. It is very unlikely for someone to remain optimistic about life, despite the bad times. However, this is nothing compared to what Ebert had to experience. He was unable to eat, drink, move properly, and even speak. Yet, he remained as the ray of sunshine, very positive in life. The problems I face on a regular basis seem so minuscule and worthless. Still, I break down and lose all of my confidence. For instance, just last week, I had forgotten my chemistry homework on the kitchen table, and ended up getting a 0 for that assignment. I felt very disheartened and started doubting myself for being so careless and foolish. In fact, that whole day just passed by of pessimistic thoughts because I would always remember to do my homework, but messed up this one time. 

When I walked into this class and learned about Ebert, I was astonished to find out that he had cancer--but did not sink. If I get so worried about a mere homework assignment, how can Roger Ebert be so courageous when he had cancer and was restricted to eat, drink or even talk? My problems seemed so useless compared to his.

After getting to know a little about Ebert's life in class, I began to read some of Ebert's blog posts--his only source of communication and the only way he can express his ideas. After reading "All the Lonely People," I could relate to something Roger Ebert wrote: "I've never felt particularly lonely. I came from a happy, stable home. The school bus dropped me off at 3, and my parents weren't home until after 5, but those two hours alone were treasure to me. I was a curious little boy. I always had something going." Similarly, I reach home from the school bus around 3, and my parents and brother come home at 5:30. I love the time I have alone and would spend that time doing my hobbies, which include painting a picture, writing, or listening to the music I love. Another thing that I was very fascinated by in his blog post was when he wrote: "I can't remember the last time I felt bored. I can't eat, drink or talk, and yet I have so many other resources to keep myself entertained. I think I must be a case study." I get bored almost on a daily basis. Even though I can eat, drink, and talk, I end up having nothing to do at times. I think it is amazing for someone to keep themselves entertained when they don't have the daily things we take for granted. He really is something special.

This all ties up to our original question: Why do some people swim, while others sink? I believe that sinking or swimming all has to do with your past experiences. For example, I have an uncle that had grown up dirt poor in India. His parents died when he was only 10 years old, and he grew up in poverty. Yet, he did not sink. He got a small job in India to satisfy his daily needs, while he was still attending school and keeping up with his education. Now, after 20 years, he is a very successful doctor in California. His philosophies on life are always very optimistic, and he worked extremely hard to achieve what he has today. My uncle swam because he knew the consequences he, and his younger sister would have to bare if he didn't. My uncle had a rough childhood and was "used to" struggling. He knew his parents never gave up and saw them struggle to provide food on the table everyday. So, when my uncle was left on his own, he imitated his parents. 
On the other hand, if someone grew up in a middle class family and lived a life where they didn't have to go "the extra mile," or didn't have exposure to any kind of hardships in their life, chances are, when something happens that is out of the norm, they may not be able to handle it. They had only been used to life going the way they expected it to go, and would not swim, nor be mentally prepared for a death in the family, being laid off, or even a minor relationship problem. 

In conclusion, though sinking or swimming may not be determined solely by your views on life/what you have went through, I believe that your past experiences and the way you grew up have a major impact on whether you will swim or sink when you are faced with a personal tragedy. Relating this to Mr. Ebert, for some time, he had been an alcoholic and did even face troubles. Would this have impacted his decision to swim? 

                                          Roger Ebert: A Role Model for Many

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Wrapping up Racism

White Privilege...
I feel that White Privilege can be a very sensitive topic, especially for white people. No one would like being "accused" of having societal privileges over non-white people. At first, I thought that white privilege is not real--everyone is always treated equally. But, after my racism research on white privilege and after reading Peggy McIntosh's article, I started to reconsider my thoughts. In her article, Peggy listed the every-day things she notices that make her more privileged than her African American co-workers. Simple things such as African Americans "not being able to participate in conversations" and their ideas "not being heard within a group of people" I feel, really get categorized in "White privilege."

However, it is not fair when it is assumed that white people don't experience "racism" or have it "easy" in their lives. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg are a few examples of white people that have worked their way to success. It is not fair to say that they only achieved a whole lot and are successful merely because of their skin color. Peggy's article opened my eyes up to something I did not know. There have been situations where my family and I have felt if we were white, we would be treated differently. For example, one day my mom and I went to Macy's and my mom needed assistance to find her size. She asked the lady working there and that lady (white) talked very rudely to us. The saleswoman told us "Well, I have a million things to do, it should be around somewhere and if it isn't then we don't have it." At first, I only thought that she may be having a bad day or maybe even treated EVERYONE like that. However, when two white women came to ask for the location of sweaters, that saleswoman politely told them where it is, and even guided them there.

Growing up, I always thought that Martin Luther King Jr solved the world's predicament of prejudice and racism by his "I Have a Dream Speech" in 1963. I WAS WRONG.

Before we started the racism presentations, I had no clue what Colorism was. I was so shocked to find out what it was after Nandhini's presentation. I could relate to everything she said, of how it is considered "rich" to have fair skin in Indian culture. My aunt always tells me not to go out in the sun as much because I can get dark. Furthermore, seeing the commercials that are viewed in India of how to get fairer skin, and how to lighten your skin tone by two shades really disgusts me. I view this the same as media encouraging girls to eat less and lose weight.

Colorism also affects people of the African American race. I have sometimes wondered how African Americans would get treated differently if their skin color was not dark. I know it's weird to think about, but I wonder the differences the same person would face with dark skin, versus with white skin. I don't think it is right to judge someone based on their skin color. Not only that, it is not right to say a certain skin color is better than another. Branching off a little bit, I think nowadays, most people only judge someone based on their looks--not on their personality or hospitality. People are only concerned with getting more clothes, trying to "look better", etc, instead of trying to improve their personality and showing more love to people. Does this show that as a society, we care more about looks, skin colors, beauty, etc rather than our nature and personalities?

Overall, it really opened up my mind and I realized that there are so many issues out there that is going on.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Passion Project Update #2

My passion project is going very well! Most things are going well; however, I am trying to find more unique countries that people don't know much about. I researched on the food of countries such as Italian food, Chinese food and Japanese food so far, but I want to research more on countries that are less known, for example maybe Guyanese food? That is the only obstacle I am facing so far.... I am also researching the historical aspects of food and am creating a presentation. I learned how food progressed and how it evolved in each region. I have all my information on google docs, but I'm just not sure if I want to present my information on Prezi or Google Slides..... Otherwise, things are going great and my passion project gets more and more interesting each day I research and find out more!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Passion Project Update #1

(This is due Tuesday, but I won't be here Monday due to a tournament)....

Over the past two Fridays, I have been working very hard on my passion project. I started with the country China and have been evaluating--not only the food aspect, but the history of it as well. Even though it will require more work and more research to even evaluate the history, I believe that it is important because understanding the history can help me better understand how 'they have' the food they have. I am not facing any obstacles, as of now, but I am still wondering how I can pick and choose the best and most important food aspects of each culture because there are plentiful different foods and so much information about each culture! I am also trying to pick the most reliable websites for my research. I am also trying to make up 3 categories for each region--breakfast food, lunch food, and dinner food; however, some countries only have 2 big meals throughout the day, while other regions eat 4 diminutive meals during that whole day. Overall, I am liking this project because it is something new and I get to learn a lot not only about diet, but also about geography.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Jeremy Rifkin

Jeremy Rifkin had some very strong points about empathy. I think that he is right. I also think that empathy across the world is a very difficult challenge, but will be done in the future--at some point. I think we can bring our "empathic socialibity" by often meetings and constant communication. Communication solves almost everything. We need to learn to put ourselves in others shoes- and for that, we need to be able to talk to that person and see their point of view. After we understand what they are going through, we can take action and take further steps, but the first step is COMMUNICATION. I think that ISIS is a big issue facing humanity as a whole. At first, it was only a terrorist issue. However, now they are killing our US Journalists, and even worse, ISIS is teaching kids to hold a gun and shoot people. As we talked in class earlier, the average person learns about the concept of "death" at the age of 8. However, these children are learning to KILL people at the age of 6. Instead of learning, school is now for shooting and learning that ISIS is the best. ISIS is trying to turn young minds early into this terrorism so ISIS can grow and expand and get stronger. I believe that we can expand our empathy to the entire race. We just need to show the result of what is happening and talk to them. We need to show that there is a solution to every problem and we can end this misery. I think it is possible to extend our empathy!