Communication is Key

Writing a letter is not a foreign activity for me. Due to the fact that I am nearly nocturnal, it would be normal for my friends to be asleep, disabling me from text messaging or instant messaging them. So what better way to update them than with a letter? I decided to write to my cousin, who is also my best friend. We went to different Elementary and Intermediate schools, but we have both attended the same high school- Oak Grove High School. Now that we’re off to college, life feels so different without her in my life- incomplete, almost. I mean, we do talk with each other every now and then, but how much chit-chat can we really fit into our busy college schedules, right? Mailing this letter felt a little weird for me, because when I write letters, I normally wait until I see that person another time to give them the letter. I think that I usually do this because I’m giving myself a type of reassurance that good-bye isn’t really good-bye. That no matter what happens, we will always have another moment together. It doesn’t matter if it would be next month, next week, or next year. I just needed to know that the future will always hold more reunions for me and my best friend. Actually putting the stamp on my letter was a new experience for me during this activity. It reminds me of the feeling we would have when we want to send a controversial text message to someone, but debate with ourselves for the longest time until we finally build up the courage to press the ‘send’ button; we wouldn’t be sure whether we would regret sending that message or if it was ‘for the better’, but the only certain thing is that there was no turning back. Finals are just about over for UCSD, so she will be home soon for me to personally update her with my life myself. Either way, sending that letter was a big relief. It made me feel as if she was listening to me even though she wasn’t physically next to me. It made me feel a bit less lonely. It made me feel like wanting to write a letter every time I needed someone to talk to, because it allows me to pour out my feelings without showing anyone my scrunched up crying face, or my awkward giggles from reminiscent memories. In a generation where technology reigns supreme, I hope that the art of writing letters does not die out.


A Mixture of Cultures (Major Post 3)

So I interviewed my friend, Evonne Ttran. She says that the most favorite thing that she likes to cook is boiled ramen noodles with hot links and eggs. “It’s quick and easy, and tastes really good,” she states. This dish is really convenient for her schedule because it can me finished within minutes, without having to sacrifice the taste factor of the meal. This dish is also able to be eaten at any  time of day- seeing how in Vietnam, it is not uncommon for a person to be eating savory noodles for breakfast.  She also added her own touch of hot links and a boiled egg, which are not Vietnamese factors.

The idea of a boiled egg on top of noodles originated from Japan. The boiled egg is supposed to add contrast to the noodles because of the texture of the two ingredients- being that noodles are more soft and the boiled egg is more hard. Boiled eggs are very popular with the Shoyu-styled soup, versus the Miso, Shio, and Tonkotsu soups, which have no boiled egg in them. Boiled eggs in ramen are very popular in the Tokyo and Yokohama regions of Japan. Sausages, on the other hand, have a more mysterious origin, since it is one of the most oldest known prepared foods.

The main part of this dish is the noodle itself. In Vietnamese, it is called “Mi”. In the Vietnamese culture, there are different types of noodles such as egg noodles, rice noodles, and wheat noodles. All of which can also differ in thickness and shape. Noodles are served in many different ways. They are served as soups, dry with sauce, dry and fried, and in other different methods of cooking. Noodles and rice play the biggest role in the Vietnamese diet.

Being a person of Vietnamese descent, it is very typical for Evonne’s favorite dish to consist of noodles, but having an appetite for a food that is rather plain in flavor, the sauce or the soup of the dish plays an important role on the taste of the overall dish. Vietnamese cuisine is usually composed of many herbs such as Thai basil leaves, bean sprout, mint leaves, coriander, and lemongrass, which enhance the flavor of the food without needing to use much oils. Fish sauce and soy sauce are also popular flavor enhancers for the Vietnamese diet. With these ingredients, Evonne is able to make the soup for her noodles with sausage links and a boiled egg become harmonized with one another in flavor and texture.

Her philosophy on food is that she lives to eat. She feels that taste should never be sacrificed in a meal because certain ingredients should be used to enhance the flavor of another ingredient versus just eating to ‘fill the stomach’. Although she is a person of Vietnamese descent, she feels that ingredients in a dish should not be restricted to only one culture. She feels that many different cultures cultivate flavors from their own cuisine, but combining certain flavors allows for a new taste that accommodates to what she is used to tasting based on her background and the taste that she enjoys eating as an individual.

Angry Asian Man (Major post 2)

In the Angry Asian Man’s blog, he reveals both the good and the bad appearances of Asians in mass media and popular culture, pointing out any racism he finds onto his site. The ‘Angry Asian Man’ is a persona that is responding to racial stereotypes and racist speculations towards the Asian race by shunning those ‘popular beliefs’ and replacing them with rationally witty comments that equalize the Asian race with other cultures. The general purpose of this blog is to inform readers of the social struggle that Asian people must endure, such as hyper-bullying (compared to other races) and old, inaccurate stereotypes made on Asian diets and abilities. This blog also includes recent news on achievements and catastrophes that involve Asian people- adding in a few funny stories and videos for comic relief.

We all know that Asian people eat rice, but is that the only way to differentiate Asians from other races? In the Angry Asian Man’s post called All the Chinese Kids are Wearing One, he points out that on BBC’s website, (in the section for children’s primary languages where they can select the language of their choice) there is a picture of a Chinese person wearing a bowl of rice as a hat (whereas the French and Spanish characters are wearing hats that are ‘typical’ to their culture).  The Angry Asian Man commented, “I suppose they could have the obvious route and given the kid a stylish Conical Asian Hat. But they avoided that by somehow going with something even more ridiculous”. A bad move on BBC’s behalf, by trying to avoid a fashion choice that may come out as offensive, they choose a route that leads to even more resentment towards their judgment. The Angry Asian Man later adds an update to his post and reveals that BBC has changed the photo of the Asian person with a bowl of rice on their head into a photo of the same character with the bowl of rice in their hands instead. In addition to the updated photo, the Angry Asian Man makes a sarcastic remark on the change of position of the bowl of rice, saying  “How in the world would visitors to the site know that he’s Chinese? Because all Chinese people carry around bowls of rice, but only the most skilled ones carry them around on their heads.”

Not only is it apparent that Asians mainly eat only rice, but Asian people also eat a lot of dog! Another post from the Angry Asian Man, called Oops. Turns Out It Was Just Duck Meat, Not Dog Meat , he describes a situation where news journalists investigate a restaurant in a Chinatown in Minnesota because of reports of the restaurant using dog meat. Unable to find any evidence of the restaurant using dog meat, the news crew calls the restaurant and straightforwardly asks if they use dog meat in their food, and an employee from the restaurant replies with what the news crew heard to be “Yes, we sell dog.” However, what the restaurant employee really said is that they sell duck.

These two blog posts that the Angry Asian Man has posted reveals the racism and stereotypes that exist in our society and our media. The Angry Asian Man successfully emphasizes the ignorance that subsists inside the back of our minds when we think of certain cultures or races- especially in a generation that seeks equality; he reveals that even in such modern times, equality is a long distance away from us.

The end of a world phenomenon? (Blog post 3/Weekly Activity 4)

Growing up, every birthday I’ve had, my birthday wishes were always the same- world peace, or to end world hunger, or to stop war in the world. But on my 18th birthday, my life was changed forever. It all started in my room at 8:30AM. I woke up to the routine sound of my screeching alarm clock. -tap- 8:39Am, and I am once again awaken to my snooze alarm. August 6, just another ordinary birthday, right? So  I get up and maneuver through all of the scratchers and lottery tickets on the ground that I got from 711 at 12AM last night in order to go to the bathroom to get ready for my day. “It sucks”, I thought. Graduation was just 2 and half months ago, but I miss all of my friends so much, and everyone’s so busy getting ready for college that I’ll have to be celebrating my birthday without them this time. “Oh well”, I thought. “At least I’ll be getting a lot of birthday wishes on facebook,” I laughed to myself. I finished my morning routine and made my way to my grandpa’s house for my annual birthday barbecue.

Same old party as every year. I greet my family members by bowing to them and rush to see what food was prepared for this year’s party. “Fried rice, shrimp balls, eggrolls, and Korean barbecue. Nothing to go crazy over but it’s better than what I usually eat,” I thought to myself. I ate until my stomach felt like it was going to explode. After about 30 minutes of sitting and digesting, I run into the jump house. Eighteen years old and I still have a jump house? “Oh well, you can never be too old,” I convinced myself. So I jumped with my cousins for hours- ostensibly too long because the sky outside was now a shade of a dusky dark blue. I gesture at my cousins at the dark sky, and we make our way back into the house. “Who wants ice cream cake?” my mom asked my cousins and I as we walked back into the house from wrestling and doing back flips inside of the jump house. “Both a jumper and an ice cream cake?” I thought to myself. I’ve never been one to hold onto my youth. Always work and no play, but I guess today was a good enlightenment.

I sit down in the middle of the table that was surrounded by faces that were too many to count as my grandma carefully walks into the dark room with eighteen lit candles on top of it. All I can see are the dimly illuminated faces of all my family members with glistening eyes staring at the candles that looked to have had what seemed like an eternal blaze to their flame. As the cake is slowly  descended onto the table in front of me, I envision a new possible wish I can make for this years birthday. It is my 18th, afterall. I come up with nothing, but I have little time left before my younger cousins would try to blow out my candles for me, so I quickly make my wish. “I wish that I can end world hunger.” -huff- And all the candles were out. My family starts to applause for there is now another member in the family that is officially an adult. Soon after, I leave to go home. I’ve had a long night.

August 7th, I wake up yet again to the sound of my alarm. No snooze this time, I’m too hungry to sleep. “I really want a breakfast burrito,” I thought to myself, and then I heard a ‘poof’ sound. BAM! On my lap was a freshly made breakfast burrito with two packets of hot sauce right next to it. “This is exactly the image that I just thought up in my mind!” I said anxiously. I look around the room to see if anyone was there, but all I can see is an empty room that is being lit from the sun outside the blinds of my window and a breakfast burrito that is sitting on my lap with two hot sauce packets, just waiting to be eaten. “This is impossible”, I thought. “What’s going on? Where did this come from?” I didn’t know where this burrito came from, but I did know that I wasn’t going to eat it. I mean, who eats food that just comes out of thin air? I wondered where it came from some more, and thought to myself, “What if I was the one who made it appear?” I wanted to test my theory, so I think up foods that I’ve been craving for the past week. “Green tea frozen yogurt, chicken pot pie, barbecue flavored chips,” and I heard three ‘poof’ sounds. I opened my eyes to see green tea frozen yogurt, a chicken pot pie, and some barbecue flavored chips on my lap next to the burrito that was still screaming to me to be eaten.

After eating my free and quickly prepared breakfast, I made my way to the news station with a shirt that says “Just eat it.” I felt like this shirt was the most appropriate thing to wear for this situation. So I walk in, and tell them that I had something I wanted to show them. The receptionist had a nervous facial expression as she asked me what I wanted to show her. I asked her what her to close her eyes and to tell me what he favorite food was. “Macaroni and cheese,” she stated. ‘poof’ As she opened her eyes, she saw a dish of the food that she’s been longing to eat since her shift at the news station had started. Surprised, she said “Where did you get this?” So I repeated my ability- but this time with her eyes open- and she was stunned. She quickly called in an executive of the news station and I showed him my powers. I made an agreement with him. I would give him this story, if he made it possibly that everyone in the world can access my power. I wanted to help starving people everywhere. I mean, what else would I do with this gift, right? He agreed, and almost instantaneously after being featured on his news channel, government agents swarmed the news station, and I was taken into custody.

I was put into a room for examination, and nothing was wrong with me. I tell them the story of what happened that morning, and all their faces were in disbelief. “I was born to save the world from hunger,” I told them.

Years later, I find myself making trips to Asia, Africa, Latin America- everywhere- spreading my powers to the hungry. I have made an unlimited supply of food for the world. I have ended world hunger.

Breaking the Chains of Social Isolation! (Major post 1)

In Astra Taylor’s documentary Examined Life, viewers are exposed to eight individuals willing to share their different exhilarating concepts on life.  The different factors varying from physical disability to caste influences each philosoper’s  ideas, and how these concepts and examinations were brought about from  their everyday routines on subjects ranging from cultural theory to moral philosophy.

Despite all of the remarkable philosophers presented in Astra Taylor’s film, the most fascinating concept  to me would have to be Judith Butler’s ideals on our culture’s fixation on individualism. Butler states that having physical accessibility for disabled citizens creates a social accessibility; this being a form of acceptance for those with a disability, allowing them to break away from their isolation and interact with the world.

What interested me about this philosopher was that her concepts were the hardest for me to relate to. Nothing separates me from the other philosophers, but because the fact that Judith Butler has a disability, I will have more difficulty in trying to relate to her dilemma versus relating to the other philosophers’ ideals. Not only does her physical disability create a social barrier for her, but she also feels discomfort in doing things with body parts that they are not normally used for because of the normalizing standards that society has create for those body parts. This idea intertwines with her theory of physical accessibility creating social accessibility by contradicting the idea of the breaking down of social barriers for the disabled. She’s saying that society may be willing to help disabled citizens by giving them more access to their community, but in the process, disabled people are judged for doing handling their problems in an abnormal manner.

She then clarifies the distinction between having a disability versus having an impairment. Butler states that an impairment is its own unique embodiment, while a disability is the social repression of the impaired. This is interesting because I always thought of impaired and disabled as the same thing, but her concept exclaims that the social repressions of the impaired include limited housing options, no career opportunities, social isolation, and even cultural aversion.  This means that an impairment is the prognosis, and a disability is the disabling affects of society from having an impairment. Butler states that she feels an anxiety of being judged even when she orders coffee, an action that many people do daily. She states that in a way, her buying coffee and demanding help is like a political protest because help is something that we all need. This notion surprises me because I too am guilty of only helping a disabled person because of my sympathy, rather than having the mindset that helping a disabled person is a form of social equality. Butler also brings up the idea that the able-bodied person being self-sufficient is false because of the fact that we all live in an interdependent society.

Another hindrance that doesn’t only apply to disabled citizens but to everyone, is what we are allowed to do with our bodies. Butler believes that society’s normalizing standards for the functions of a body part isolates a set of capacities or set of actions for body parts, and we are assemblages of those things. This means that the way our bodies move have to be aligned accordingly to that of what society tells us how our bodies should move. Not only for those with a disability, but even gender: if a person who’s gender presentation doesn’t conform with standard ideas of femininity and masculinity. Society has appointed what we allow our bodies to be used for. Butler challenges individualism by examining what people decide are social issues.

Proclamation to the Wisest Man (Blog post 2)

In Plato’s “The Apology”, he portrays Socrates as a humble person who knows the extent of his own knowledge. I believe he does so in order to show his readers that Socrates has died an unjustified death, since ultimately in the end he did not harm anyone or anything but he was executed because those in his society feared his philosophies. This ties me in with my theory that Plato names his excerpt “The Apology” as a pun, being both a defense mechanism that Socrates used (since the word “apology” meant ‘a speech made in defense’ during his times) to explain himself when he was in trial, and as an actual apology for Socrates since his execution was poorly justified. Plato also describes Socrates as a devoted person; when people did things, he wanted to know the reasons that they did them; he wanted to know their true intentions. This curiosity of his also portrayed him as a pest to his community because no one was able to quench Socrates’ thirst for knowledge with a thorough legitimate answer. Plato probably puts in these additional characterizations for Socrates as naturally curious and devoted in order to emphasize Socrates’ rapturous passion for knowledge. Despite being someone people would turn to for his wisdom, his thirst for knowledge and curious personality did in fact give him some opponents. His top three opponents were Metelus (the primary man responsible for Socrates being accused) and other accusers, Lycon and Anytus. Socrates was being accused of corrupting the youth and not conforming to common beliefs (religious). Socrates highly valued virtue and knowledge. In his quest for knowledge, he is ultimately accused and sentenced to death, but his life virtues allow him to accept his death as shamelessly as possible. He says that “I ought not to do anything common or mean in the hour of danger: nor do I now repent of the manner of my defence, and I would rather die having spoken after my manner, than speak in your manner and live. For neitherin war nor yet at law ought any man to use every way of escaping death.” Meaning that he would rather die being falsely accused than to live and conform to what his society thinks is okay. This event also characterizes Socrates as a brave man who stands by his words. An oracle describes Socrates as the most “wisest man”, which is ironic because Socrates declared himself as not wise during his search for a wiser man. When he would meet a person that other people during his time period thought of as wise, Socrates would question and analyze that person and realize that they’re not wise at all, but are merely people who take on the title of being wise. I believe that the oracle states that Socrates is the wisest man because Socrates is the only man who is humble and modest enough to believe that there is someone who is more wise than he is, despite him being adequately wise himself. By denying himself as being wise, Socrates emphasizes his thirst for knowledge.

Onward Towards New Adventures! (Blog post 1)

First off, here are the photos of our adventure!

During the experience of this scavenger hunt, I was very frantic. I am a new student to De Anza and I do not know where anything is, so I could not contribute much to my team; therefore, my partners had to carry me as dead weight and my timid personality did not help much. Despite being quite nervous throughout this experience, walking around De Anza and exploring the campus was pretty fun (and very tiresome at the same time). My team would quickly pace to the places from the worksheet that they can locate around the campus. If we had to do this scavenger hunt again, then I think doing exactly the same as we did this time would be fine since we have successfully completed this assignment. When we got into our groups, right off the back, two people took the lead and directed the group to the places that they were familiar with from the scavenger hunt sheet. During the expedition, our method was the same: someone would point out on the scavenger hunt sheet that they knew where one of the locations were, and our team dashed to that building. We then quickly took a picture and rushed to our next destination (always keeping an eye out for people with Jamba Juice). During this scavenger hunt, our biggest problem was the order of the destinations that we wanted to go to. From the beginning, we already knew about three of the locations, but we did not know in which order we should execute the expedition so that we can make it back to class by 9:10AM. We resolved this dilemma by starting from the east of the school and made our way to the west, so that we can comb all of the campus in one go. Based on this experience, the Scavenger Hunt reveals that race, gender, wealth, etc. do not matter when it comes to creativity. Yes, the way we are brought up in life alters the way we think and what not, but in the end, our group of strangers (that were pretty diverse) was able to communicate with one another in order to get to our destination quickly and smoothly and rush to the next with seemingly no trouble at all. I believe that the message that this scavenger hunt makes on society is that when judgement looms, we are only creating our own downfall, and that if we want to succeed, then it is best to put all personal grudges and judgments aside in order to complete the assignment successfully. In other words, society has created these types of social tiers and racial barriers so that a person from one area cannot be seen communicating with a person from another area because the “quota’s” of society says that it is absolutely preposterous. Scavenger hunts eliminate the social tier and racial barrier factors because succeeding in a scavenger hunt, you can be the queen of England or a homeless on the streets on San Francisco– it doesn’t matter. What does matter is an individual’s creativity. Their creativity is crucial in solving puzzles for scavenger hunts, aiding them in their search for the designated items. Such as finding a cat or duck at school, I’ve heard that some people went online and took pictures of a duck on the screen. Whoever thought of that ingenious idea allowed for their team to being one step closer in finishing their scavenger hunt. All from a creative idea. The depths of creativity is beyond social tiers and racial barriers simply because any person can be creative. Yes, some more creative than others, some more willing to express their creativity, and even some who are barely even creative at all–like myself.