The Cat that could not

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The cat runs and chases the little mouse.

It stalks, leaps, and claws at it.

It does this not just out of hunger but also for fun.

Finally the hunt is over it sinks its fangs into its prize.

All is not well however.

The mouse had been poisoned by some naughty human contraption.

Too late for the cat, so graceful during the hunt.

So pathetic in death.

Looking back the mouse was tainted too sickly, too slow.

The cat should have known.

The cat did not and thus became a pawn in the game of life.

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Beijing Opera.

Beijing Opera, also known as “Peking Opera,” is one of the most representative performing art of Chinese culture. It is the largest Chinese opera form, and is extolled as “Oriental Opera.”

Having a history of 160 years, the Beijing Opera is developed from absorbing many other dramatic forms, mostly from the local drama ‘Huiban’ which was popular in South China during the 18th century. It is a scenic art combining music, performance, literature, aria, and face-painting. The performance focuses on the technique of expression and different roles have different meanings.

Some main roles in Beijing Opera are: Sheng, a common name of male characters; Dan, the general name for female characters; and Jing, which refers to some male characters with particular appearances or personalities. Lots of them are based on the real historical people.

Another feature of Beijing Opera is the facial painting, also known as Lianpu. Lianpu is regarded as the colorful dressing on actors’ faces. The colors are varied with each characters to represent different themes. For instance, red symbolizes loyalty, such as Guanyu, a great general during Three Kingdoms Period (220-280). Black signifies honesty and frankness.

Beijing Opera portrays the soul of Chinese national culture. It is the unique and eternal treasure of China.

Blank Page.

I wrote a poem
and left a blank page for thee

I started from the very beginning
that portrays the excitement of me
holding you carefully
you were tiny and clean

With the cycle of seasons
I watch thee
from walking to running
from talking to learning
from failure to success

Then I wrote about us
I sat down
recalling all the moments

when the curiosity emerged from your eyes
when the impatience began to expand

But I still felt content
to see your growth

I wrote a poem
consisted of all the details
you ignored easily

Therefore
I left this blank page
it also said something

What would’ve happened if America didn’t make it out of the government shutdown?

Keep in mind that I’m not wearing a cardboard sign yelling “THE END IS NIGH!” Nor am I a crazy homeless dude that snuck into an Apple Store to write this blog and scare their readers out of their minds. I just seek to answer if the great super power of America could take a plunge into the third world after a mild kick in the knees.

Being realistic, the United States of America would definitely not collapse because of a dispute between the Democrats and Republicans that resembles more of a pout. In the extreme rare case of this not being settled, the USA would land on utter Anarchy.

All government workers would be out of commission due to lack of funding, which means no police, fire department, teachers and it could even go as far as no military. The current government system as it is would have been completely obliterated.

Meanwhile, the world economy would take a great hit considering that the richest and highest consuming country in the world is out of the game.

The Government shutdown could have gone to extreme lengths, like civil war or just flat-out separation into two new countries. But the most plausible thing would be that the UN and the rest of the powers, like China, Russia, UK, France and Germany would determine the future of America.

The Creepy Crawlies

One of the least appreciated rooms at our camp was the Creepy Crawly Room, located on the second floor of the barn and requires a few twists and turns down an eerie hallway to reach.

As the name states, creepy crawlies reside in the Creepy Crawly Room. Creepy crawlies include tarantulas, cockroaches, frogs, newts, and scorpions.

Many times a week my friends and I would try our luck and see if there was a counselor monitoring the Creepy Crawly Room. Perhaps one out of five visits would be successful, the other times we would leave disappointed and roam the habitats and jungle instead.

On the days where there was a counselor we were allowed to hold the roaches, tarantulas, etc. Most of my friends would cower at the entrance of the room but I would always head straight to the cockroach habitat.

These weren’t your average pest cockroaches. They were tamer, you could say, and I could easily just reach into the glass tank and pull out a roach. People called me weird but man they were cute.

My best friend loves tarantulas, so he would always go for the little tarantula enclosures first. You couldn’t play with cockroaches or tarantulas, but there was a strange charm in simply holding an arthropod in your hand and watching them move. “They’re scary!” people would shriek, “they have fangs and poison!”

Well, dogs could easily rip a person’s throat out, yet they aren’t avoided as avidly. We fear the unknown, and most people have no experience with arthropods. Let a scorpion sit on your hand for a minute and you’ll realize they really have no intention to harm anyone.

A few weeks ago a tarantula was found in our school’s courtyard. My brother and I immediately went to investigate and put him in a safer spot away from screaming girls and stomping feet. “Do you think it was the way you two were raised?” inquires a teacher, fascinated by our lack of fear. “No,” I reply, “definitely not.


(This is Joey)

I ended up going back and taking the tarantula with me to class. I named him Joey and then released him later that day upon learning that he only had a few more weeks to live. Male tarantulas live much shorter lives than females do.

I hope people will appreciate, or at least not fear, creatures like tarantulas and scorpions, because they really mean us no harm.

Emu Drum Solo

In my summer camp, we had a program called the ASIT program. ASIT stands for “Assistant Specialist in Training,” and they’re basically advanced campers that are between campers and counselors.

Many campers become ASITs, but just as many, perhaps more, don’t get the sacred letter. ASITs get to dig a little deeper into the camp; doing the behind-the-scenes work such as cleaning pastures and and taking care of new and baby animals. They are almost the equivalent to “student leaders,” or “prefects,” for any dormers out there.

There are three things you can do to increase your chances of being an ASIT. First is join the ASIT for a Day class, which is an hour of trust-building games and another hour of showing us the jobs of an ASIT. Meaning we have to clean a large enclosure, such as the barn or Lemur Island.

The second thing to do is to write a letter to Lori, one of our camp directors, about what you could bring to the ASIT program. It’s similar to a college application letter, in which you have to sell yourself fully. The third thing is to get a letter of recommendation from one of your counselors, which is something campers generally can’t control.

Hanging by our cafeteria are about two dozen hammocks of various shapes and sizes. After lunch my cabin sits in the hammocks and we wait for Free Time to start. I usually write in my journal during that time.

He had dark, curly hair, stocky body, olive-colored cap, light blue shirt, and was comfortably writing in a large, colorful book. He was an ASIT, and was sitting a little in front and to the right of me. The fact that he was also writing, I think poetry, caught my eye.

At the end of the session, he got up on stage during Skit Night and told us how he mucked out the Back Pastures for four hours. Then he grabbed a rake and started singing.

More than a dozen emus reside in the Back Pastures, and emus tend to make a peculiar drum-sounding sound deep in their chests. In the middle of the ASIT’s songs, he struck a pose, pointed in the direction of the Back Pastures, and declared “Emu Drum Solo!” He held that pose for about 30 seconds.

Every time we would try to laugh he would shush us harshly. He even started over once because he was so determined to perform the song perfectly “Four hours!” he yelled at us, “I was out there for four hours!”

The Intouchables

When I mention the movie “The Intouchables” to someone, they most often hear “The Untouchables.” While I hear good things about “The Untouchables,” I’ve never actually seen it, and I’m sure it couldn’t even compare to “The Intouchables.”

“The Intouchables,” which is a French film, came out in 2011. It follows the story of a wealthy paraplegic man in search of an assistant. During his interviews, a man storms in and adamantly requests him to sign a paper saying that he applied for the job, but didn’t get it, in order for him to receive unemployment. It is obvious that Driss comes from the lower-class, spends much of his time in the streets, may have a questionable past, and a poor work ethic. However, Philippe, the man hiring, takes to the fact that Driss has no sympathy for his condition. He doesn’t treat him as an invalid or an outcast. He treats him as he would anyone else. Philippe decides to hire him, despite warnings from people close to him.

What ensues is a comical friendship, where both men learn from each other. The dynamic duo breaks all the rules that have been set for paraplegics. Driss teaches Philippe how to live again, despite his condition, and Philippe teaches Driss about the rewards of giving one’s all to their work. The two push each other to be the best they can be, despite the internal and external flaws of each man.

The film is based on a true story, and is simply amazing. It is definitely one of the better movies I have seen. The filming was very well done, and the characters provided laughter at every turn, even at times coaxing out a tear or two. I watched this movie over the summer with my dad, and at the end of it, we looked at each other and said “wow.” There is really no other way to describe this movie. I’m surprised by how few people have seen it. It is definitely on my list of must-sees, so if you haven’t already, go and rent it as soon as you can. I promise you won’t be disappointed.