Fall is coming which means any student’s lethal enemy is coming: cold. Consisting of sniffing nose, annoying coughs, and dry throat, cold brings potent effects that students just love to hate. Now I have seen my friends taking pills, baths, and other therapy treatments to avoid this enemy. But to me, I have my own strategy to fight against the cold: milk tea. It seems awkward that I woud drink milk tea to avoid cold; on the other hand, it might not seem so weird afterall to drink milk tea since milk tea is tea which means it would bring warmth to my body.

Well, I do not know how milk tea would help my immune system biologically but one thing I am definitely sure is that I am starting to drink less cold food as my interest shifts towards milk tea. Thus, I  wanted to show my devotion towards milk tea by introducing it.

According to Stash, the Dutch were the one of the first Europeans to enjoy tea; by 1675, more tea were imported in Europe and more people were able to enjoy tea. However, it was not until 1680 that the idea of adding milk to tea was established. A social critic Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, the Marquise de Seven was one of the first people to for the idea of adding milk to tea. Since then, various types of milk tea began to be introduced as Britain colonized Hong Kong and other parts of the world. For example as shown in Tea-or-Chocolate, there is a milk tea called Hong Kong style milk tea, or Dai-pai-dong milk tea. Ingredients in this tea include black tea, evaporated milk, and sugar. Another name for this milk tea is pantyhose milk tea because the tea bag looks like a silk stocking. Although foreigners do not like this tea very much, many Chinese see this Hong Kong milk tea in high regard due to its smoothness.

In addition, I read an article from CNN that a new type of milk tea called tapioca milk tea was popular in California. This tea is just an ordinary milk tea except that they add black balls called tapioca. As the demand for tapioca tea rose, many shops in LA and in the Bay Area began to serve tapioca teas.

However, I read some articles that reported that adding milk to tea is not good for our health. Articles from websites such as BBC reported that adding milk to tea would destroy its ability to block heart disease. Yet, I also read some other articles that disproved this find. A group of Scottish researchers found that adding milk to tea did not decrease the amount of antidoxidants in blood level (Webmd).

I also have noticed that there was also the danger of melamine in milk tea (ABC news). However, I only drink homemad milk tea, so I guess I am safely out of the danger.

In short, I would like to end this blog with this quote from Tea-Or-Chocolate written by William Gladstone:

If you are cold, tea will warm you;
If you are too heated, it will cool you;
If you are depressed, it will cheer you;
If you are exhausted, it will calm you.

May tea be with you 🙂

Milk tea-yum!

Milk tea-yum!

(http://www.insidemotherhood.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/hk-milktea.jpg)

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The three contact points that initiate change within Korean community are: education, motorcycles, and entertainment. 

 

Education is arguably the contact point that brings most changes to Korean community. These days we see many Korean students studying abroad in America. Obsession with Ivy League schools is one of the evidence that proves Korean trend for studying in America. Also, many American standardized tests like SAT, TOEFL, TOEIC, and ACT are taken by Korean students and employees according to Joongang Daily. Thus, we see more students studying English at hakwons. In fact, so many Koreans want to study in America and to master English that many Korean universities and education institutions use English as their “normal” language. These days, it is not hard to find a professor in Korea lecturing in English (Korean Herald). As a result, we get physical and ideological diasporas from emphasis on American education (Joongang Daily).

  

 Another interesting change agent is motorcycles. Recently more Koreans are riding motorcycles; it is not just Korean men and workers who are riding these motorcycles. Even women and even old men are using the “vehicle.” With surge of people riding motorcycles, many American motorcycle brands such as Harley-Davidson are imported in Korea. Of course there are many Japanese brands in Korea as well but many Koreans favor American brands because those brands have characteristics such as engine noise that Japanese brands do not have. Although this agent change will not bring much impact as education does, still American motorcycles are attracting enough number of Koreans to bring more westernization to Korea according to an article from Joongang Daily. After all, Korean motorcycles will not have much prominence in Korea any more.

It is surprising how LOUD and NOISY Harley Davidson is...which is why so many Koreans are attracted to the brand

It is surprising how LOUD and NOISY Harley Davidson is...which is why so many Koreans are attracted to the brand

 

The last change agent is entertainment. At most times, many American movies such as The Dark Knight, Iron Man, and Mamma Mia are more popular in Korea than Korean movies. We often see these American movies ranked higher than Korean movies. Also, American dramas such as The Prison Break, Gossip Girls, and Grey’s Anatomy are attracting large number of Korean fans. Recently, I saw Korean cable programs broadcasting these dramas according to Joongang Daily. Again this is another change agent because as time pass and more Koreas are starting to favor American dramas, Korean television programs will be filled with American dramas and eventually Korean TV programs will look much like American programs. In addition, inclination towards American dramas will cause Koreans to adopt American culture and ideologies.

 

 

1. What is the meaning of the phrase “Things Fall Apart” within Yeats’ poem?

The phrase “Things Fall Apart” signifies the collapse of order and human civliazations after World War I as shown in line 2 and 3 of the first stanza. It also points out to the breakdown of the bond between the center(perhaps the government) and people. As the center cannot maintain itself, the outer edge goes out of control. In other words, the world is becoming orderless. In the first stanza of “The Second Coming” from Mr. Jones’s Blog  as shown below

Turning and turning in the widening gyre (1)
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Line 4 illustrates what the phrase “things fall apart” would look like in the world in which anarchy would be prevalent in the world. Thus, another meaning of the phrase “Things Fall Apart” would be the spread of anarchy such as  the spread of fascism and communism in the world after World War I.

2. What does the Second Coming refer to in general?

According to Mr. Jones’s Blog, the Second Coming refers to the biblical story in which the Jesus will come back on Doomsday and at the same time, a monster that has been sleeping for centuries will wake up, unleashing calamity in the world. On Doomsday, Jesus will come back to fulfill his promises and prophecies. We can infer this from the following quote:

“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30)

 

According to All About God.com, the Second Coming is one of the most important elements of the Bible. Questioning the Second Coming may refer to as questioning the validity of the Bible and words of Jesus. However, most importantly, the Second Coming might exist to relieve people. Jesus is coming back when the human civilization is in utmost need of “the Righteous King” according to this website. This is because when the monster wakes up and unleashes great chaos, Jesus will come back and supposedly restore order in the world.

3. What does the Second Coming refer to in Yeats’ poem?
By looking at the poem in Mr. Jones’s Blog, The Second Coming in Yeats’ poem refers to two things: the coming of new age and calamity before the arrival of new order. In Yeat’s poem, the coming of Jesus may refer to the coming of new age and restoration of order since in the Second Coming(story) Jesus will restore order at the time of great chaos. Also we can infer this from Yeats’ reference to the Sphinx as noted by the following excerpt:

 shape with lion body and the head of a man,
 A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,

Sphinx, representing old civilization, would give way for a new age of human society. However, as the new age is coming calamity is also established as noted by the rough best of the Second Coming. In this poem, the rought best refers to the destruction resulted by World War I and the rise of fascists.

I also believe that the Second Coming refers to the purpose of the poem. The Second Coming itself is a prophetic story, Yeats might have used this to hint the readers that the poem itself would be a prophecy.

 

4. As you read Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, note how the novel both takes up and changes Yeats’ version of the Second Coming. Who or what in the novel represents a “rough beast” that “slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

From Things Fall Apart, Two different groups of people come up to my mind as I think of a person or a thing that represents a “rough beast” that “slouches towards Bethlehem to be born.” First, Eupreans who came to Afirca to colonize the area would represent the beast. They unleash calamity as they affect the collapse of the central authorities of Ibo people. Although they started a new age for the Ibo people by bringing new technology, trading posts, education, institutions, and beliefs, at the same time Europeans brought chaos. They denounced the sanctity of African religion systems, authorities, and traditions. In addition, due to their influence, kinspeople are falling apart as some became supporters of Europeans while others became the adversaries of the foreigners. Therefore, Europeans can represent the beast as they cut the heritage of Ibo people, bringing the “gyre” as mentioned in the Yeat’s Second Coming.

Another group of people is osu people. Although they can be related to Europeans, I believe they can represent the beast by allowing the Europeans to expand their power and shrink their clan’s influence. The clan can not attack another group if any of the kinspeople are there since it is forbidden for the clanspeople to shed the blood of their own people. When osu went to the Europeans, the osu revealed the biggest weakness of the clan because it meant that clans people cannot do any big harm for these Europeans. It is like a person unable to get rid of a pest in his/her body because the pest resides near an important body organ. As a result, the osu people brought diaspora to the Ibo clan as one big group of the clas sided with Europeans, which allowed Europeans to further undermine African hertiage.

 

Yeats the author of The Second Coming

Yeats the author of The Second Coming

 

After reading Mr. Jones’s post, I acknowledge the fact that I did feel grossed out about some of the strange foods I encountered. For example, while I was watching a TV program about insect foods from the Discovery Channel, I found my self having goosebumps all the time. In South America, it is not uncommon to eat caterpillars, larvaes, and ants. What’s more, there are many restaurants that specialize on these strange foods.

I felt disgusted, refusing to concern about the culture of the region and reasons for eating those foods. But, after reading the story about strange food in Things Fall Apart, I realize that these strange foods may be practical solutions for nutrition problems. Some cultures might lack food that has particular nutrition such as protein, causing nutrition problems for those people. Insects and other creatures might have been perfect solutions to those problems: they are rich in proteins, abundant, and easy to catch. Voila! People started eating these foods that might seem strange to others.

Whether it is disgusting or not, I thought I should appreciate these strange foods for a purpose. Nowadays, we have food shortages. Shortages of rice- Korea’s staple food- eventually caused some countries such as India and Cambodia to prohibit the farmers from exporting rice to other countries so that the country can feed their people. Thus, in the future when we can’t get enough food to feed ourselves, we might have to turn to insects or other things for alternate food sources.

Like I said in the previous article(Back to Nature I), Fall is coming. But there is one peculiar incident occuring near my house: I still hear birds chirping. It would not seem weird to me when I hear birds chirp during summer. But at Fall?! I thought birds started migrating at Fall.

Some birds chirp annoyingly loud. Others sound pleasant. Fortunately, my mom was able to identify two species.

Chinese Oriole

 

Cuckoo

 

That’s it. Mom and I were only able to identify these two. And something more amazing is they are not suppose to be here at this time of the year! They should be heading south. But, they are still here  and I’m still glad that they are here. It was fascinating hearing Chinese Oriole’s “calls” as birdwatchers would say. The calls were very high in pitch, but it was still pleasant. It  was like listening to a Diva singing in an opera.

Because my house is right behind a mountain, I enjoy merits of nature such as listening to rare birds chirping at day or night. Other merits include fresh air and view of clear, vast sky.  I used to complain that I was living in a rural area and that I could not go anywhere without a car (because my house was so far away from stores and buildings). But I am slowly seeing the benefits of living in such a rural place.

                                                            

The sky is everywhere- of course. Even though the landscape changes, we still can see the blue sky. So sometimes, people may think it is pointless to go to a countryside to see the sky. Obviously, all we have to do is to look up and bam! There is the sky.

But, I beg to differ. The vastness and the beauty of the sky is radically different between cities and rural places. We can’t appreciate the magnetitude of the sky among the forest of sky scrapers. Buildings fragment the view of the sky, like reain forests breaking into fragments due to land developments. In cities the common impression of the sky from a city-person may be, “Ah, the weather is nice today.”

On the other hand, the countryside fully highlights the vastness of the sky. There is nothing to stop the blue sky from stretching over our heads. The sky is so wide and clear that I sometimes feel overwhelmed just by looking at it. For the countryside, the sky is the guardian of the place.

As the Fall is approaching, it gets easier to see the clear blue sky. However, as I walk through the streets of Seoul, it is sad to see small glimpses of the sky between the buildings. But I can enjoy the full view of the sky when I am at home, since my home is almost rural (no big land developments!).

So the next time I happen to have a free time, I decided to grab a cup of hot tea or coffee and enjoy viewing the sky for a while.

                       

When I read the article, I instantly thought of the article from  the International Herald Tribune about digital reading and its impact on teenagers . Consequently, there was an intense debate among the scholars about the influence of digital reading on teenagers’ comprehension skills.

This article is just another episode of the struggle between old and new, which involves  technology.

But before I continue talking about the struggle, I would like to provide some background about a famous psychologist PIaget and his theory of cognition. Piaget is a psychologist who specialized in children’s development. He was one of  the first modern psychologists to highlight and clarify previously obscure field of child development. With his theory of Cognitive Development, many misunderstandings about children’s thinking were clarified.

The first stage of the Cognitive Development is sensori-motor(birth-2yrs) where a child recognizes self and object permanence.

The second stage is preoperational(2-7years) in which a child learns to represent objects by images or words but still can’t view the world from another person’s point of view. For example, when somebody asks a young boy if his sister has a brother, the boy would say no because he can’t view the world from his sister’s point of view.

The third stage is concrete operational(7-11 years); at this stage, children have learned the conservation of mass, weight, and numbers. They are starting think logically, but still has difficulties grasping abstract thoughts.

The fourth and final stage is formal operational(11 years and up) where children can think about abstract ideas and concepts.

Back to my response,  the article was interesting by combining both traditional values and modern ways to answer the question: when should children get the latest gadgets? Based on this article, it would be okay as long as the gadgets can accomdate the child’s development. It was also interesting for the article to provide so much information on what kind of gadgets parents should give to their children(even providing web addresses and prices). I believe this is another way of supporting the author’s argument that children can grow up with latest gadgets.

Even though latest technology can provide an opportunity for discovery necessary for children’s growth, I believe that gadgets are still not sufficient enough to help our children’s development. Gadgets somewhat limits children’s views since children can only experience the world beyond a screen. Also it limits children’s opportunities to fully explore their senses. Real toys allow them to experience what their senses-such as taste, touch, and hear- can do. The experience provided by toys or real world is 3D; but technlogy is somewhat 2D. To me, technology is still flat. It can’t provide the richness that nature provides or the discovery that real objects bring to children.

Still, it is important for babies in the 21st century to familiarize themselves with technology. However, I want to say that parents should not focus too much on letting children experience modern technology. There are still many values that cannot be ignored among traditional ways of fostering children. Thus, children should start to play with gadgets during or after preschool. We should at least give time for children to play in the traditional way- playing with toys or going outside- to stimulate their senses and muscles in the real world. How tragic would it be for a child to miss the joy of running around and playing with plants or even dirt.

                Definitely, the controversies in the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony tell something about a common tendency among not only in China, but also in other Asian countries like Korea. Striving for perfection ultimately led Chinese to find a shortcut, which included lyp-synching and broadcasting a prepared CG clip of the foot-shaped fireworks.

                 Well, one thing I know for sure is that this phenomenon is not rare in  Asia. For example, the January SAT Test in Korea occurred mostly due to Korea’s pressure for perfection. Because so many students were pressured to get perfect SAT scores, they had to choose to use the shortcut- cheating.

               Then, what do these occurrences tell about Asia? How would the foreigners view Asians? Unfortuantely for Chinese, the cost of striving for perfection was something even bigger and more difficult to solve: credibility.  Like Chinese, it seems that credibility of Asians are going to deteriorate in the western countries if these stories about dishonest conducts keep coming up. It not only ruins the enjoyment that people felt about the Opening Ceremony(including myself), but it also hurts the future of the international relationships between western countries and Asian countries.

                 Am I just picking on Asians for not being honest? No, certainly other Western people like the members of the Manilli Vanilli would cheat, but I see this pattern among Asians that consistently drives them to use the shortcut: strive for perfection. More often Asians are obsessed with this notion of obtaining perfection. They seem to think that even one minor flaw would ruin the whole thing. If many Asians would start to focus less on being perfect, then I believe that we would not have problems like the one that occurred in the Beijing Olympics Ceremony.

 

As I was reading through the International Herald Tribune on Tuesday morning, I read an article about reading in 21st century. It was about a heated debate on whether digital reading was effective or not. Digital reading includes reading digital materials like blog posts, websites, or scanned books. While the opponents of the digital reading claim that lack of reading books has caused the decline of verbal scores among teenagers, advocates of the digital reading argue that reading websites and blog posts  allowed the readers to read diverse amounts of texts in shorter period of time.

After reading this article, I felt that I was neither for nor against the digital reading. I have experienced what lack of reading books can do to me as I realized that my SAT verbal scores were very low. By reading more books over the summer, I was able to increase the scores. However, I also experienced what digital reading can do; as I surf through websites, I quickly gain more information by reading website articles. In addition, by surfing through websites, I was able to increase my reading speed.

Just like issues such as nature vs. nurture, I believe that by reading both books and websites, one can achieve two things: increased verbal skills and diverse perspectives. Yet, I also realize that for teenagers in 21st century, it is harder for them to choose to read books. Digital reading provides more options that intrigues their interests. Certainly, there will be books that will interest them, but I think those books can’t hold their interests for long because teenagers would have to spend more time reading those.

          

 

This week, I was able to experience the reality of volunteer/charity culture in Korea through the UNICEF camp. On the last day of the camp, we were supposed to hand out pamphlets to the people in the Bongwha subway station, to persuade them to donate to UNICEF. Unfortunately, we were only allowed to do this for an hour because the subway managers kept telling us to leave, saying that we were being a nuisance. Although we tried to be  as quiet as possible, the managers still wanted us to leave as fast as possible.

This experience was shocking because I was astounded by the managers’ lack of respect for the volunteers. We did not want to hand out pamphlets in the subway for commercial reasons. We were doing this for a good cause. Also, UNICEF was a global organization, so there would be little reason for the volunteers to steer away from our duties and cause troubles like what wandering salesmen in subways would do.

Even the organizers were disturbed by the managers’ disrespect. I hope in the future, many more Koreans would respect charity work and try to help these organizations like UNICEF as much as possible. I believe that many of them do not see much value in charity work yet. But, when I recall this experience, I keep thinking about a story  about a Korean golfer that my father told me. A famous Korean golfer Kyong Joo Choi always wondered what made Tiger Woods play golf so well. Of course, talent played an important role but Choi believed that Woods had something else that helped him to become a world-class golf player. So one day, when Choi made a small donation, Choi felt that charity has helped  Woods to play golf so well. According to Choi, he felt proud and safe, because it seemed that the people who were affected by his donation would help him to win golf tournaments. Finally, Choi had recognized the value of charity. 

Just like Choi, many Koreans would not immediately recognize the value of charity/volunteer. But I hope, when I’m an adult, many Koreans would feel what charityvolunteer can do to their lives. Just as they give something to the needy, the benefactors would give something back to them.