From history, we can learn that nationalism can serve as both a powerful, destructive tool, and also as a beacon of hope and a feeling of belonging for nationalistic people. It is a tool used for uniting people together, and whether the unity is used for creating or destroying solely relies on the intentions of the initiator of those nationalistic causes. Most of the time in history, nationalism is seen as good when the nationalistic side wins. When the nationalistic side loses, it is seen as the greatest evil. For example, the American revolutionary war was seen as inspiring and heroic, yet the rise of Nazi Germany was seen as absolute evil. This was because the victors are the ones to write history, therefore they will emphasize on the good deeds done by their side more than the crimes they committed. Nazi Germany had affected so many countries around the world, causing vulnerability in the German reputation. The cruel actions the Nazi took were no doubt horrifying, yet one can’t help but feel that it has at least some level of exaggeration associated with it. However, my view is weak, for I do not know enough of Nazi Germany enough to condemn it, nor does the rest of most of the world. All that we are fed are that Nazi Germany was evil, corrupt, and inhumane. If we tried to look into it further, we might see past those terrors, and realize that Nazi Germany was never as evil as we are told. We might come to the revelation that many societies in history had done the same, or worse, yet it was not so severely spoken of only because it hadn’t been as well-known as the Nazis.
In my own opinion, I think that the pure form of nationalistic thinking itself is good for it brings people together. However, once politics and immoral human thoughts mix in with it, it becomes wrong. The combined power of a great number of people can lead to either the best change or the worst carnage.
There are many interpretations and views of religious fundamentalism, and there is no doubt an existence of evil in some, if not most. Religious fundamentalism, according to Oishimaya Sen Nag, is “the belief of an individual or a group of individuals in the absolute authority of a sacred religious text or teachings of a particular religious leader, prophet, and/or God” (Sen Nag 1). It may cause people to do things that may be seen as radical, since many religious scriptures are from much older times and could be influenced by the bias of the writers. Racism, homophobia, sexism, and other immoralities were much more prominent compared to that of the current era, therefore such writings could mislead faithful followers down a dark and destructive path. It twists the perspective of its followers, turning the well-intentioned believer into a fool.
What we should encourage as the ideal perspective of the world is to approach the world with an open mind. When one is confronted by a new idea or view, the best solution is to be understanding. Be positively curious, and listen to what the other side has to say. Find the good in the evil, and the evil in the good, for nothing is without either two. No idea is all noble and no idea is fully evil. Religious fundamentalism composes of strictly following the “rules” of one’s religion, therefore wiping out all open-mindedness of a person. Their view will narrow and will be able to live their life only on one side, which is their own. They will never be able to cross the bridges of ideologies. Therefore, be approachable for all new things.
In my view, I don’t think teenage rebellion is unavoidable, unless scientists develop some kind of weird drug that keeps down the rebellious hormones that are produced in a teenager’s mind. It is natural for teenagers to rebel, with their body changing drastically so suddenly. When teenagers rebel, it is then more likely that the parents would try to stop them from rebelling. The oppression may be likely to fuel the rebellious behavior, though in other cases the controlling factor of the parents may keep the teenager down. It is quite necessary to “come of age”, because the rebellious phase is a sign of growing up and learning. It is how the teenager adapts to their new environment and new social standing in society. Although I have not fully grown out of my teenage phase yet, I think rebellion really has played an important part in my coming-of-age journey. However, I am not nearly as rebellious as some other teenagers, because although my mother can be strict, she sometimes is very lenient and flexible, allowing me to do things that I want to do so I would not be so full of pent up feelings. I rebel mostly by not answering my mother or father when they call me, because honestly I am sometimes too tired to deal with them. All in all, I still cannot see the effects of my rebellious phase just yet, and still don’t know how it has impacted me. Maybe in five or six years, I will look at my life and back to my teenage years, and realize how much my rebellious behavior has impacted me.
My own poem
My life is like an upturned bird; confused and plummeting through the sky,
Twirling in all directions yet heading towards none,
Except for the south that lingers, looming inevitably.
How can my feathers ever save me from the ground, now that I’m already so close?
What happens if my wings straighten and catch the winds, would I be freed from my fall?
The clouds I near disappears as I close in,
Like a fanciful new beginning and false hope.
In this poem, I tried to follow Rumi’s structure, starting off with a simile and then explaining it as the poem progresses. Rumi’s poem is also really deep, and he uses elements from nature to convey his message. Each element symbolizes something. Here I do the same, using a bird to symbolize my current state of mind. This poem is about my feelings about my life right now, since I have to decide on my college and major. I am still very confused, thinking of going one direction and then deciding otherwise, still not going in a particular direction.
Rumi Poem 42
In this river the heart is like a ruined waterwheel; in whichever
direction it turns, there is water before it;
And even if you turn your back to the water, the water runs
hurrying before you.
How shall the shadow save its soul from the sun, seeing that
its soul is in the hand of the sun?
If the shadow stretches forth its neck, the sun’s face that instant
5 Brave Sun, before which this sun in heaven quivers with fear
The moon is like quicksilver on a palsied palm—one night
only, and for the rest it is poured forth;
In every thirty nights, two nights it is united and lean, for the
rest it endures separation, and separation is torture.
Though it is wretched, it is fresh of face; laughter is the habit
and wont of lovers.
A literary device that Rumi utilised is a simile in the line “In this river the heart is like a ruined waterwheel,” continuing it by explaining that, “in whichever
direction it turns, there is water before it”. The heart is symbolised by a ruined waterway, and I think that it’s saying that in many instances we will feel emotions that can overwhelm us and our heart, which causes the ruined waterway to be overrun with water no matter which direction it turns to. In the line, “And even if you turn your back to the water, the water runs hurrying before you,” I interpret that this line is trying to say that if we happen to try to ignore and suppress those emotions and feelings, it will rush back at us and catch us off guard. You ignore the water, and it is still inevitable that it will still rush at us. The sun in this instance could represent the reality of life, the shadow is any defence mechanism we have to cope with life, and the soul is our vulnerable and easily-affected mind. Sometimes reality is harsh, and the shadow jumps to our rescue and “stretches forth its neck” to “shroud” the sun’s face.
Morality is defined by google as “principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior”. A huge influence to our set of moralities is definitely our own culture, which has fostered us into the people we are today. According to the psychology class I took last year, we are either born with a blank slate and gain principles from the outside world (environmentally affected) or we have a set of universal moralities already (internally affected). In the case of culture, it is obviously an environmental factor, and it also has a huge impact, too. People who have parents to discipline them will learn the good and the bad from their parents, and it is all due to what kind of culture they are in. Families in a Thai culture will probably be very much different from a western culture, and we will probably see things differently in terms of morality. But because the world has become much smaller compared to way back then, many cultures have influenced one another and are coming to one single point, although they may still be different. However there is no doubt that there are yet still many cultures out there that have vastly different views on delicate topics.
The question asking whether it is ever appropriate to say that the traditions or values of another culture is immoral is rather complicated. I would want to say yes, but then all the arguments that I come up with can be easily shot down with something like “you cannot disrespect someone else’s culture”. For example, the internet has taught me that a relationship between an adult and a minor is taboo and should be treated as such, but then there are traditions that support that, and I can’t argue because “it’s not my culture”. It is something that a group of people grew up with, and the majority says that I should respect it. The female circumcision is another topic I want to discuss. Really, just imagining it already makes me cringe. I doubt that anyone would ever want to go through that, nor do they want to endure the effects of it. Researching just recently, I found out that FGM can cause “severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths” (“Female Genital Mutilation”, 2018). The sole reason for such a practice to continue is, I assume, that it’s a tradition. They keep this up because they feel that it’s what they are born to do, and most of the time humans are creatures that generally prefer to resist change. It is also possible that the women who grew up from that culture support FGM, only because their parents and families and friends influence their way of thinking. Therefore, if I ever wanted to argue for them, they would have to be the ones to start resisting before I do, because I am not a part of their culture, therefore I have nothing to say.
For me, I would like to say that my moralities are based on whether an action hurts someone or not. If it hurts someone, then I will say that it is bad. If it has a positive effect on someone, I will say that it is good. But I will admit that my moralities are not universal and cannot be the basis of the entire world’s morality, so therefore, I have no say in such a delicate topic.
The most important human right to me is the right to education. Education is almost like a gateway to a whole new world, and if we were not able to unlock it, we’d be kept inside a garden of naivety forever. The world will spin on, time will pass, and events will unfold and we will only be able to understand the smallest of the things that will go on around us. Like they always say, the less we know, the more we think we know, and the more we know, the less we think we know. With education, you can also push yourself further and higher into society, and be able to gain a life that you aim to have. Without education, I believe that it is often much harder to achieve the life of your dreams. Also, from the stories that my father and mother have told me, people that do not receive sufficient education may develop an inferiority complex that will make them think that they are lower in terms of social statuses than those who had education. Even though they may become extremely rich, the complex will continue to exist and bug them throughout their entire life.
The right to marriage and raising a family may be one of the most difficult to ensure at this point in time. I feel that I must emphasize that I am not talking about the “traditional” marriage between a biologically male and female person, but I am talking about marriage between people of a different sexuality. Although it is still a slow process, many countries have started to legalize gay marriage; however, there still do exist countries that have yet to follow this decision. Unfortunately, having legalized gay marriage does not mean that the citizens of the country would accept it entirely. I’ve read on the internet countless of stories about gay couples being harassed by homophobic people, and I’ve encountered those who feel very strongly against such marriages. It is also withheld because of different views in religion. Some have been raised in strict religious households, telling them that the right way is to live a “normal” life and have a lover of the opposite sex. Because of this discrimination, it discourages gay people to marry.
If we were to look from the perspective of the bible, it would make sense to say basic human rights came from God and that it is natural. However, I believe that these human rights are entirely made from our own thinking and analyzing of events. Why is it that we don’t follow these rights since ancient times? Forget the past, why are we still not entirely following it now? We know of the basic human rights; it’s been established, even. But why haven’t the people of the world act accordingly with it yet? Why does it have to even be established in the first place?
Because if something bad were not done to us, we would not care.
If we are happy and content with our lives, it is normal for most human beings to divert their gazes elsewhere, anywhere but at those who are suffering. We would pretend not to see their tattered lives, like what we are doing now at those who are suffering in our very own country. As I am writing this, the image of the poor beggars I see on the sides of the street form in my mind. I walk pass them, pretend not to see them as they beg those who stride past. And those who walk along with me do the same.
So, I believe the source of human rights is what we wish to not happen to us. We do not want to be derived of education, therefore the right to education is included. We want to marry whoever we want, and raise a family however we’d like, so that became a human right. We don’t want to be tortured, enslaved, spied upon, so that’s why all of those have rights that go against them. If the majority agrees with it, then it will become a human right.
In this world
We walk on the roof of hell
Gazing at flowers
(世の中は / 地獄の上の / 花見かな)
This haiku by Kobayashi Issa utilizes the use of imagery to convey the emotion that the haiku intends to give out. The picture of “the roof of hell” and “gazing at flowers” contrasts very strongly, for “hell” gives out a very dark, sharp feeling, while “flowers” give out a soft and peaceful feeling. The structure of this piece is 5-7-5, which is the normal structure of a haiku. The phrase “we walk on the roof of hell” is a metaphor, possibly for symbolizing the hardships and obstacles that we encounter in life. It can also symbolize life itself, and how harsh and scary it is for us as people who roam this world, or this rooftop.
Pines and bamboos, and have come to own the wind and moon.
Winter was Over the other day, and spring is here.
Peach, plum, and apricot blossoms bloom in the sunset,
And the grass looks greener in the threadlike rain streaks.
This is from the Song of Indulgence in Spring by Chong Kug-in tells about the beauty of nature during springtime, and they style their words in a way that conveys to us how the speaker finds happiness in that moment. They do not give mind to how others view their circumstance of having to live outside, and indulges themselves in the beauty of it rather than scorn their own way of living. From what I’ve read, the author uses really vivid imagery in their writing, describing the surroundings of the speaker so clearly that it gives us a very strong image in our mind.
I like to move it
Move it, I like to move it
Move it. We like to..
I wake up early.
I don’t want to be awake.
But look, here I am.
School is over now
Yay! Finally, I’ll go home
Time to sleep again
my senior year
In all honesty, I was not looking forward to senior year at all, because I felt like I wasn’t ready to grow up yet, nor am I to this day. I’ve been at ICS for thirteen years, and as much as I dislike school, I know I will never forget this place. Deep down, I realized that my bond with this school will always have a place in my heart. But what I am excited about right at this moment is the carnival, because I feel like our class is united for the first time in years. The past three years of high school went by with most of our class being quite separated and distant, I think. I feel like that border is disintegrating, or it may be only for this month when carnival is right around the corner. Or it may be just me, and everyone is still on the edge.
The clear goals I have of senior year is to finish my portfolio in order to hand it into college, and also try to have the best last year here. I kind of want to join the volleyball team right now, but with all the portfolio things I have to do, I just kind of feel overwhelmed. But at the same time, it is my last year and I do want to experience as much of life as possible before heading off to college. Another goal I want to accomplish is become closer with the people in my class. I am quite the quiet person, and will rarely speak the mind unless asked to. Except when I’m with my close friends.
I feel like goals and accomplishments are quite the same thing? I guess I’d want to accomplish in having a healthy sleeping schedule. (Which I am currently NOT succeeding in. I’m so tired. Ahh.) I want to get more fit too, and eat more healthy food, and have fun, and enjoy life- Oh! And get done with capstone.
I want my senior year to be defined by friendships. What is important as humans is social interaction, and without it we will feel incredibly terrible. Having good bonds with other people will make us happy, and I believe our last year here should be full of healthy, cozy friendships.