Field Trip to the DMZ (Blog #22)

Posted in Uncategorized on May 1, 2009 by eddieha

The following is a response to another blogpost.

The DMZ was set more than 50 years ago with a truce that divided the Korean peninsula in two. Ever since, the two nations have took opposite approaches in developing as a society. The North adapted a form of socialism while the South adapted America’s democracy. While the North maintained their own culture, the South has been greatly influenced by the globilization. From social aspects to economic aspects, the two nations differ considerably. However, many people in both North and South Korea recognize each other as “Korean” as a whole.

In the documentary referred to, the 8-minute documentary we saw in class, it depicts a life of a North Korean who has spent most of her life in South Korea near the DMZ, separated from her family. Like her, many South Koreans’ family members are in the North, separated by the brutality of the Korean War. My grandfather himself has 8 brothers whom he was separated from during the war. The North and the South may appear divided, but truly inside is a queer emotional tie that brings South and the North together.

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All the Pretty Horses (Blog #20)

Posted in Learn on April 29, 2009 by eddieha

This is a response to another blogpost.

All the Pretty Horses, by McCarthy

All the Pretty Horses, by McCarthy

All the Pretty Horses is one novel of a trilogy written by Cormac McCarthy. The book contains very unusual and unconventional elements that certainly certifies the book as something unique. Its writing has been recognized as similar to famous literary writers of the past. One of the famous authors it has been compared with is James Joyce, his style often referred to as “Joycean,” characterized by a lot of puns. McCarthy is also compared with Faulkner and the Elizabethan language. It is said that McCarthy was influenced by these sources of style in writing this book.

The focus of this novel is more on the nature and horses than on the character. Throughout the novel, the characters exist almost as an entity just to continue the plot, while the depth of detail is largely focused on the vast landscape and the grandeur of nature. The horses are described with “human traits” including its strength and masculinity throughout the novel. Although the characters and their thoughts are regarded with some merit in the novel, it does not appear to be as important as the nature that surrounds it.

McCarthy’s style in this novel is something also special. It does not include any quotation marks, and seem to flow in and out of the narrative. It is almost as if the dialogue of the characters is engraved in the writing of the book. The style of speech is very colloquial and very much sounds like what we hear, more than what we would read. Also, his diction is quite unique in this novel. The article describes the writing as “full of archasims so unfamiliar they appear to be neologisms.” Unconventioanl descriptions such as “reefs of clouds” color the book with unusual diction that represents his complex writing style.

Are you a digital native? (Blog #19)

Posted in Live on April 28, 2009 by eddieha
This is a response to another blogpost.
This blogpost is a response to a Frontline documentary "Growing Up Online"

This blogpost is a response to a documentary "Growing Up Online"

If you’re reading this blogpost right now, you most probably know enough about the internet to search anything you want. Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Myspace, MSN, AIM. Our lives as modern teenagers are surrounded by these inernet utilities that we use everyday. They have even become culture-specific. While America has Yahoo and Myspace, Korea has its Naver and Cyworld, fitted to the Korean culture with different styles of advertisements, news and design. Nevertheless, it is difficult to imagine not to have access to internet, computer, or technology of any form. How would it feel to be “unplugged?”

I believe that much of the technology use may be seen as a state of addiction, with a potential power to harm. It is useful in many ways in that it allows us to do many things that would take much longer if we did without. It facilitates the experiences of meeting new people, typing up long papers and more. Being a digital native, it would be difficult to live without technology, but it’s entirely possible. Pick up a book or two. Go outside to exercise. Meet friends offline. Go watch a movie. Sure, it is much harder to do it than say it, but it is possible. As for me, I would just have to be plugged at least once a day, at least through my laptop. There are necessities that have become so crucial and important that I can’t do things without. Checking my e-mail, getting updates on friends abroad, and simply checking what my homework is.

As soon as I come back home either right after school, after my activities, or after tutoring late at night, I would do three things for sure. First: sit. Second: Open Internet Browser. Third: open two pages that would be permanently be left on my computer screen–Gmail and Facebook. The routine is so engraved in my daily life that it would almost be impossible to disconnect myself from all media. The only way to do so will probably be to seclude myself in the countryside of a foreign country or to sleep for a very, very long time. I wouldn’t be able to do the necessary things that are required everyday–sending e-mails to my friends abroad, my family back home (once I move to the states), complete assignments that require technology, and so on.

Facebook attracted a lot of teenagers when it was first recognized at our school. Its use spread like wildfire, and soon students were communicating with their friends through facebook without hesitation. However as time passes by, its fervor was slowly lost, and now it exists as a “what-is-the-point” entity in my comptuer screen. Sure, it does help me keep in contact with friends that I haven’t met for a long time, but I no more spend numerous hours on it. Just few minutes of a check is enough.

Many say that teenage internet users are easily “fooled” and “manipulated” under the advertorials that exist in the media. Many believe that these unsuitable “ads” pose a potential threat to the online users. But, as it is with everything in real life, I think the amount of experiences I had as an internet user since elementary school makes it easier for me to recognize the so-called “dangerous” marketing online, and I don’t see it as a big problem for “digital natives.”

Modernism! (Blog #21)

Posted in Uncategorized on April 7, 2009 by eddieha
 

This is a response to another blogpost.

mitdorm

Simmons Hall @ MIT

This is one of the dorm buildings at MIT. This building portrays one of the unconventional ways in which architecture developed in the modernism era.

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera

HouseThe Sydney Opera House is one of the most prominent architecture that represents the elements of modernism. The structure of the building is obviously unconventional, and involves intricate use of modern technology. The inspiration for the building is said to have come from randomly peeled orange peels. 

 

Luigi Russolo

Luigi Russolo

 

Luigi Russolo is a musician that incorporated elements of modernism in forms of music. He incorporated a variety of sounds that were not known to be used as forms of “music.”

 
Picassos Massacre in Korea
Picasso’s Massacre in Korea

The drawing above is an example of modernism in paintings. Picasso is recognized as one of the most prominent artists in the modernism era, who represented human beings in abstract ways, as shown above in the right. He incorporated technological aspect in to human beings.

The Mysterious Middle East

Posted in Learn on March 9, 2009 by eddieha

The following blogpost is a follow-up to a project on “Stereotypes and Archetypes.”

Do we really know that much about this region?

Do we really know that much about this region?

The Middle East: a land full of sand dunes, people covered in robes, and violence. The imagery that the worldwide media around us depicts mostly follow among those lines. It is this narrow vision of this region that has caught our attention and has provoked us to ask questions — where do these stereotypes about the Middle East come from? This project delves into the media that exists today and have existed in the past to search for the archetypes that gave birth to the several stereotypes that are strongly associated with the Middle East.

Where else could he be from other than the Middle East?

Where else could he be from other than the Middle East?

While reviewing the stereotypical images found, our group was surprised to see how much we were influenced by the stereotypes the media has been feeding us. We had originally believed that the Middle East was made up of Arabic men wearing turbans and holding guns in some cases, suppressed women fighting for rights, barren deserts and plains, camels, and war-torn villages; however, what the media portrays is just a small part of the Middle East. The media has only showed us the most attention grabbing and entertaining aspects of the Arabic world. Only a minority of women fights for independence and most women choose to wear hijabs, not all Arabic men wear guns and turbans, and most Arabic nations have buildings (they do not live in the desert with camels).

Welcome to the Middle East... or should I say the Middle of Nowhere?

Welcome to the Middle East... or should I say the Middle of Nowhere?

Although our group was aware that the funny Arabic man in the movie and the Arabic terrorist in the cartoon were stereotypical images, in our minds a connection between the images and the ethnic group had formed because we did not have sufficient information on the Middle East. Osama Bin Laden and the Al Queda had been the faces of the Arabs in our minds. Our group is glad that we were given such a project and believes that it has helped us get rid of the stereotypical images and preconceptions we had about different ethnic groups, and especially the Arabs.

Can you ever be the odd one out in the Middle East?

Can you ever be the odd one out in the Middle East?

Before we go off to college, where we will mix with students from various ethnic groups, we believe that it is important to realize that stereotypes portrayed by the media are just stereotypes and that they should not be used to judge other ethnic groups. It is important to get rid of the stereotypical ideas we have about other ethnic groups mainly because they are not true and because they can cause unnecessary conflicts and tension between students from different ethnic backgrounds. Through this project we were able to accurately identify who the Arabs actually were and get rid of the stereotypical images the media has been feeding us.

Above is a video that perhaps best exemplifies the degree to which the media portrays the typical stereotypes of the Middle East. Even though this fan trailer shows us the use of exaggeration for comical effects, the fundamental elements within this clip and the movie represents some of the mainstream stereotype an average Westener may have about the Middle East. Before we delve into investigating where these stereotypes may have stemmed from, look through the film with an open eye.

Religious fanatics in the Middle East are called Muslims, not Arabs, nor terrorists.

Religious fanatics in the Middle East are called Muslims, not Arabs, nor terrorists.

Considering the widespread stereotypes concerning the Middle Eastern population, our group was able to easily identify the stereotypical images, such as images that depicted the prevalent notion that Middle East is entirely made of deserts, or that all men wear turbines and white robes. However, in almost every aspect we have touched, it was hard to pinpoint the archetype of the category. For instance, our group soundly came to the agreement that people have a singular image of how Arabs dress up, and that people think all Arabs have the same name, we had a hard time finding the original root of such stereotypes. However, for categories such as “violence” or “environment,” we realized that the media, notably the internet, was filled with archetypical images, such as Osama Bin Laden, Al Quaeda, and the movie Lawrence of Arabia.

Seems familiar? Try turning on a news channel right now.

Seems familiar? Try turning on a news channel right now.

We first began our search for archetypes with the imagery of Middle East as the “middle of nowhere,” filled with nothing but sand and occasional robed men with camels and pyramid sites. An average Westener would not have been able to visit the Middle East to see this sight first hand, nor be able to be a wide enough influence to impact the majority to think of Middle East as it is portrayed today. We were able to find that the movie Lawrence of Arabia released few decades ago was a perfect archetype that, for the first time, depicted the Middle East with a certain light that in turn afixiated the audience for decades.

Lawrence of Arabia: it's where media begins to muddle with the viewers.

Lawrence of Arabia: it's where media begins to muddle with the viewers.

Further, we were able to identify the Walt Disney classic Aladdin as an archetype not only for the portrayal of the environment, but the people in the Middle East. From the mosque-resembling buildings with round tops to the short and robed Middle Eastern warriors with curved swords, Aladdin was one of the first to instill the stereotypical imagery of the Middle East in the mainstream media.

The land of magic, sandhouses, and warriors with curved swords.

The land of magic, sandhouses, and warriors with curved swords.

Also, the Arabs are commonly labeled as religious fanatics. When we think about the Arabs, images of men and women wearing white clothing praying to a single god in come in mind. This idea originates from history textbooks, which portray the Arabs as an ethnic group involved in religious wars. Instead of fighting like their civilized opponents in the picture, the Islamic people are fighting topless, illustrating how single-mindedly devoted the Arabs are to their religion. The media also contributes to this stereotype greatly. Arabic men and women in the media all wear hijabs, throbes, or egals. Unlike any other religious group, the Islamic people dress up accordingly with their religion; all Buddhists do not dress as monks and all Christians do not dress as nuns. The way in which the Arabs dress up seems to convey the idea that they are excessively devoted to their religion. Honor killings on the news, which show Arabic men killing women, are another source that presents the Arabs as religious extremists. Although honor killings are rare in the Middle East, they are frequently reported on the news, making honor killings seem like a common religious ritual for the Arabs.

The religious warfare that occured centuries ago still reflects in the inability for different cultures to understand one another.

The religious warfare that occured centuries ago still reflects in the inability for different cultures to understand one another.

Another common stereotype people have about the Arabs is that their language is very underdeveloped. “Team America” shows an American spy communicating with the Arabs only saying “Bakka Bakka Muhammad Jihad” in an awkward tone, making the language sound funny. In an episode of “The Colbert Report,” Colbert talks to a nonexistent president of a Middle Eastern nation, making up a name with a mixture of funny sounds. In general, the media seems to portray the Arabic language to be made up of funny sounding random syllables. This seems to be a result of the lack of information people have on the Middle East. When we look at Arabic texts, the letters are new and strange. The letters are connected and have dots and loops that are unusual. People seem to conclude that the Arabic language is strange and in a way underdeveloped, made up of a mixture of random syllables, due to its different appearance and sounds.

Above is a video that shows the epitome of how Middle Eastern looks are associated with terrorism and violence. Again, much like the Team America trailer, much of the exaggeration is for comical effects, but the fundamental elements are still there. Through our discussion and investigation on why and how the Middle Easterners became to be associated to such violence, we not only discovered the 9/11 event and the emergence of Osama Bin Laden as archetypes but also better understood the audience of most of the images we have searched for. These images target mostly non-Middle Easteners with plenty of access to all forms of media, who don’t know first hand about the Middle East. The audience was generally international except for a few satirical comedy clips like the video above which are strictly limited for Western audiences.

Through our research we have identified two major demographic groups that seem to be most widely represented; suppressed Arabic women and violent Arabic men, both within an age of about 20 to 40, seem to be the two most prevalent stereotypical images of Arabs in the media. The male and female elders seemed to be the least represented demographic, as there were hardly any images associated with such demographics in the media our group utilized.

True or False? All Middle Easterners are named Mohammed.

True or False? All Middle Easterners are named Mohammed.

We were amazed as to how abundant and uniform the images were. The research showed that the media has an incredibly parochial viewpoint about both the culture and the environment in which the Middle East exists. Almost all images and video clips we have found contained multiple stereotypical perspectives about the Middle East. Furthermore, the majority of the images found on the internet, including the ones we used for the presentation, showed a considerable discrepancy compared to the reality. Yet it was amazing to find that such stereotypical images and concepts were so prevalent as to overshadow almost completely the reality of the Middle East, as we had a hard time finding a counterexample for each stereotypes.

 

I’m Yours – Jason Mraz

Posted in Listen on December 12, 2008 by eddieha

Ahh… holiday scenes. Not quite the holiday we might be looking for this coming january, but nevertheless it’s about time we look for some free time. School will be out. I’ll have time to do what I want. I’m a little too excited.

Come on and open up your mind and see like me

(I won’t hesitate)

Open up your plans and damn you’re free

(No more, no more)

Look into your heart and you’ll find that the sky is yours

(It cannot wait, I’m sure)

If I Were A Boy – Beyonce

Posted in Listen on December 12, 2008 by eddieha

You need to watch this video twice.

You need to watch this video twice, and listen to the lyrics.

I approached this video in an AP Pscyhology class when we were learning about different perspectives from our own. How we can see ourselves from above our heads, through another person’s eyes and from another gender’s point of view. The journal activity that required us to write an account of a date from a different gender’s point of view was an interesting response to this video. Nevertheless, this video brings about a possible point of view a different gender may have towards the other.

How would she think: It’s always a point to keep in mind.