Vaccine

Today I got the vaccine, and boy can’t I be more relieved. I feel safer knowing that I am almost fully vaccinated.

I got the first dose today and in a couple of weeks, I am going to get the second dose. I encourage anyone who can to get the shot- it is painless and will protect you from COVID. I know there were lots of disputes around these vaccines- Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson and Johnson- but whichever one you get will help you tremendously.

I am not one to be afraid of needles and this shot felt like nothing, I didn’t even flinch.

Photo credit: CDC

If you can please get one, it is the most relieving feeling ever. The wave of joy is really hard to explain, you want to jump for joy. Soon enough life can go back to normal and we can hang out with large groups of people. Unfortunately even if you are vaccinated hanging out in large groups can’t happen yet. This due to the fact that not everyone is vaccinated yet.

Slowly but surely everything with be back to normal.

Women Issues

Today in the United States, women make 82 cents to their male counterparts 1 dollar. Then this is broken down into different races and ethnicities. “Black and Hispanic women workers are paid only 65 cents and 58 cents on the dollar, “stated epi.org. “Compared with 81 cents for white, non- Hispanic women workers and 90 cents for Asian women.” Inequalities between different races and ethnicities between women are also so different. Women who are white and Asian get a step higher than those who are Hispanic and black. Women are treated like shit still to this day.

We can not leave our houses without protection- pepper spray, knives, tasers, and more. We fear our lives; wondering if we are going to be killed, sexually assaulted, or raped. We are scared of our shadow and men. When we say all men, we do not mean all men, but we do not know who will hurt us and who will not.

The Pink tax exists. Products that are geared towards women and females are marked up higher than products that are the same but are geared towards men. This makes feminine products more expensive and harder to buy. Menstrual products are expensive, and these products should be free. Every person who experiences menstruation should be able to have these products for free.

photo credit: Indy100

Media and Society pick women apart for their bodies, thus creating lots of body dysmorphia in women and teens today. If someone is not the perfect hourglass figure or what society deems as skinny, then they are considered fat or overweight. They could be healthy and still be deemed overweight, and this could cause lots of eating disorders and body dysmorphia. But if someone is too skinny, then society comments on their weight as well. Society and the media love commenting on women’s bodies.

Speaking on commenting on women’s bodies brings up the topic of abortions. Men love commenting about women and what they should do with their bodies. There are laws set in place against women having abortions, such as the gestation limits. This law states that “43 states prohibit abortions, generally except when necessary to protect the women’s life or health, after a specific point in pregnancy, ” (guttmacher.org). These laws are made by men who try and restrict women and their bodies.

Women all over the world experience inequality.

Bibliography

“An Overview of Abortion Laws.” Guttmacher Institute, 1 Mar. 2021, http://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/overview-abortion-laws#.

Gould, Report • By Elise. “What Is the Gender Pay Gap and Is It Real?: The Complete Guide to How Women Are Paid Less than Men and Why It Can’t Be Explained Away.” Economic Policy Institute, http://www.epi.org/publication/what-is-the-gender-pay-gap-and-is-it-real/.

A year like no other—2020 in review

in shuttering silence

happiness is fleeting

buoyancy is turbulent 

and the grey world deteriorates

breath is belabored

and the periphery begins to seep in

the color is fading fast 

fast

faster still than hot flames

the fury and the fire in the center

burns has burned and will burn

hot

hotter than before

but still it burns through its fuel

and the sides still fall away than the center can build back

better to be honest 

better to be free

better to seek the middle even as the edges fray

better to worry about the now than lose hope in the future

as the color fades into gray

Andrea Mantovani for The New York Times

why not to call me a bigot

To whoever called me a bigot on instagram,

I understand where you are coming from, I must seem pretty awful to you. I am sorry you feel that way, I wish it wasn’t so. I wish I didn’t mess up too. But I really want to talk about your point because I feel like we can all benefit from thinking more deeply about what your words mean to people like me. So, I thought maybe I should propose a little thought experiment:

So, lets presume for a second that I am a bigot, that I am intolerant of other cultures, of races that arent white (although I am brown,) of gay people, of transgender folk, and of women. And I was trying to adjust my image so some college would admit me, would it be a good thing to reprimand me for trying to seem less intolerant? Presumably showing me that there is no way I can fit into a society that you live in. Maybe I would feel hurt and I would confide in communities which tell me that my bigotry is okay. Is that what you want?  Or, on the other hand, would it be better to tell me, a bigot, that I had improved and that I am a better person, to offer me acceptance and forgiveness, which would probably encourage me to continue on a path that would eventually lead me to abandon my bigoted views and instead embrace diversity and inclusion. 

Now, presume for just a moment that I am not, in fact, a bigot. That I am someone who genuinely has learned from my mistakes. I am someone who has been educated and now has an understanding of both sides of the story, I am someone who is trying to make a difference in this world, to teach other people that don’t understand the impacts of their actions the importance of forethought and understanding of other peoples. Would it be a good idea to tell this person that they are a bigot? Showing them that maybe despite their 180º that no one will ever accept them within a diverse community. Showing them that they are permanently canceled and they may never be able to rejoin your part of society. Maybe I would internalize this and come to the conclusion that no longer should I try in vain to be a good person and instead sink back into my past. Into the uneducation that led me to make my mistakes in the first place. Is this the impact you want to have with your post?

I think you intend to do good by calling me out. I really do. I think you are trying to do something to benefit communities which I hurt. To defend them in some way, by not letting me return to society easily.  But I think you need to think more deeply about the repercussions of your actions.

Luckily, I know I am not a bigot, I know that the pain I caused my peers at —— was a result of my uneducation, not of prejudice. I know I posted those things in satire. I know that the mistakes I made were not because of hatred but because of stupidity. And I also know that the people in my life who I respect and love are of the same opinion. So I won’t seep into the recesses of hatred and intolerance,  I will continue to do my best to make this world a better place. But that is luck. If I didn’t know any of that, your words could have done real harm. Real harm to communities that you think you are helping by calling me out. So, once again, in the best interest of the communities you think you are defending, don’t call me a bigot.

 I am not one. 

PC: wikimedia commons

P.S. 

I tried to frame this argument as objectively as I could, but I still feel like I need to address my feelings a little bit. You really hurt me by calling me a bigot. I feel like someone who has tried my best to not only try to learn from my mistakes but to actively try to make others not fall into the mistakes that I made. I know that the actions I have taken after ——— have done good in this world and in the communities that I am a part of. And for that to be met with your post and comment really hurts me, I know that is probably not worth much in your eyes but I still felt like my feelings needed to be acknowledged.

Surplus

Just because something is currently relevant doesn’t mean it should be used in everything. This is something that I have learned since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yes, it’s obvious that this disease is the most important current event. But it doesn’t need to be included in everything we do. I recently worked with a former teacher to craft a letter to a college that I was wait-listed at. We had a disagreement over a section where she insisted that I mentioned we were “shifting to online learning due to COVID-19.” This allusion was not relevant, and I refused to include it. I’m sure that everyone else is as tired as I am of hearing it over and over, especially an admissions officer who already knows that this is affecting students throughout the world.

Another reason why a constant stream of coronavirus related media is detrimental is because it usurps other important global news. For example, locusts are tearing through eastern Africa, demolishing crops and leaving many farmers with nothing. On a lighter note though, a second individual has been cured of AIDS, which is a huge victory for everyone. But you may not have known that, as virtually everything is about the bloody coronavirus.

It’s important to talk about major events, especially if there is a life threatening aspect to them like now. But it is equally important to provide a breather from all of this information, as it can be stressful, and honestly annoying. I also realize that I am contributing to the problem by writing this. Oh well.

Also the image below is a piñata that you can buy in Tijuana.

Credit: Mexico News Daily

COVID-19 In Korea

I was notified that the school is shutting down the day before my March SAT, and standardized testing is not going to happen till May. I tried to stay calm and optimistic, but frankly, it was hard to not panic at the moment. I was clueless about my plan, and I wasn’t sure if I have to get a plane ticket back to my home country, Korea. 

After long consideration, I decided to go back in a week since all the students were leaving and school was forcing students to leave the campus as soon as possible. However, I was lucky to come back early, or I would have to be quarantined at a place that I don’t even know.

Asian countries are doing a great job dealing with this COVID-19 Issue, However, the number of infected people in Other countries like America and Italy are increasing exponentially., 

Schools in California officially stated that they are shutting down till the end of the semester, and it is uncertain that it would get better after summer, but I hope the situation gets better, So there are no more casualties and I can study in the proper environment.

PC: BBC KOREA

notes on a conversation with the west

two months ago, i was blessed with intelligence and wisdom from a stranger.

every word that came from his soul and out his raspy voice was enlightening and humanizing.

his words brought me down from a mountain where I praised my accomplishments and settled me into the soil where my roots where buried.

here is a view into that conversation:

Optimism ≠ fueled by hope (understand the dangers and evils)

Our culture is getting weaker: integrity and loyalty fail – the ego and arrogance is rising

Listen to LEARN.

Bear witness in something bigger than yourself.

Keeping who we are in check with the varying dynamics of Life is challenging but is a pressing need

modern society is caught in a cycle of conformity – CANCEL IT!

Love your Enemies

he is a sign and symptom of our culture.

Skin pigmentation does not excuse courage or harm.

find your OWN voice (think, love, feel for yourself)!

Habitual Vision of the Moral and Spiritual Journey = (greatness)

now, it’s the light I seek.

photo credit: pinterest.com

Flags

For much longer than I am willing to admit I have been obsessed with flags. My trusty yellow legal pad was covered with tiny drawings of real and imagined flags, and I talked extensively about the tackiness of specific flags to anyone who would listen, and, perhaps most embarrassingly, I referred to my study of flags as vexillology. I love the way the perfect geometry of a good flag looks when it is billowing freely in the wind, and a flag at half mast brings my world down with it. A flag is noble and monolithic and is ideally the distillation of a place, but there is also massive weight in the symbolism of a flag. Flags can tell the story of oppression, and they can symbolize a history fraught with complications. I love Los Angeles, but I hate its flag (it is just undeniably ugly). For centuries, a black flag with a skull and crossbones made grown men quiver, and now it is reserved for children’s games. The black, red, green, and white of the Arab flags unite those ancient, bickering states, and the stars and stripes tear through the wind on diesel pickups as they roar down highway 33. 

The American flag is also the focus of the first section of Arthur Grace’s America 101. The photobook describes the way Grace sees this glorious and hypocritical paradise of oddity. I spent so much time reading this book that it changed the way I take photos. But it has also changed the way I see the American flag in general. Grace juxtaposes the immense pride Americans have for the flag with the mundane usage that it receives in advertising or on smokestacks. These two parts of Arthur Grace’s America, one, comically capitalistic, and the other, powerfully patriotic, have become the lens through which I look at my own nation. 

When flying, a flag can be seen on two sides. From the perspective of my Latino heritage, I see those stars and stripes representing employment and the opportunity to support a big family. With entirely different circumstances, my Jewish point of view is focused on the underpinnings of the American beliefs in freedom and expression. The symbolism of the flag is different for everyone who views it, and that is one of its strongest powers: being something everyone can relate to.

As much as I love the American flag for personal reasons, from a design perspective, it is flawed in one way: it cannot be drawn by a child with a box of crayons. This one simple test is the true mark of a perfect flag, and the American flag falls short. There are simply too many stars for it to be crayon-able. But many great flags are similarly afflicted. The Union Jack, for example, is almost stellar, but what child knows that it is not horizontally symmetrical. Or the Mexican flag—beautiful, bold, and impossible to scribble. There are, in fact, perfect flags, unmistakable even in chicken scratch like the elegant Swiss flag and the simple beauty of the Japanese hinomaru. 

To me a flag is a poem. At first it presents as simply beautiful, but with time and knowledge of its history, a flag unfurls the silky layers of its meaning, its true power. A flag can be glossed over, or it can be analyzed and decoded and still maintain its original beauty. Flags tell a story, a history of a place, and that is why I am still fascinated by them. 

Why we chose to do it this way.

Much like the concept of God, Capitalism is a system that cannot be defined by a word. It is not a rock solid object, that can be easily seen or understood. Robert Reich, the former Secretary of Labor for the United States, recently said that the 26 richest people in the world have the same wealth in dollars as the 3.8 billion poorest. 26, the size of the OVS senior class, vs 3,800,000,000, the equivalent population of North America, South America, Europe, Australia, and Africa combined. So basically everything beside Antarctica. Yet this wealth distribution is not specific to the global level. The United States, prided for being a land of economic opportunity and no class boundaries (foregoing the dynamic of ethnicity). But as the year strays farther from the millennium, the more the middle class dissipates, leaving many in a sink or sink situation. Although the political statement-turned-meme “Okay, Boomer” is now annoying and a reflection of the younger side of Gen-Z, the economic proportions of millennials vs baby-boomers are astoundingly different. A common talking point of the difference between these two generations is real estate. At the same age, Boomers owned 32% of real estate in the United States, wheres Millennials owned 4%. (Business Insider). This isn’t just because old people have poor taste. Decent houses for low income and even entry level houses for average salaries are sparse. That, coupled with a stagnant minimum wage and record student debts (paired with record college educations per capita), make it more difficult than ever for Americans aged 20-40 to afford a house. Renting, although disproportionate to inflation, is still a cheaper option.

There are a million other examples of how I could list the caustic nature of the capitalism that we maintain as a nation, but as someone who must soon face these realities, I will stick with the most relevant. I don’t know why we chose to do it this way, but we have the ability to change it yet again. It’s just up to how much we are willing to sacrifice.

Image result for capitalism
Credit: Foundation for Economic Education

Objectified

ob·ject
noun
/ˈäbjekt/
1.
a material thing that can be seen and touched.

                                    …

Dear strong, capable, powerful, being,

you are not an object.

Nowadays, many people are objectified. Not just for sex, but for money, popularity, and much more.

Dear strong, capable, powerful, being,

your purpose is not just to fulfill the wants of others.

You are beautiful. You are intelligent. You are unique.

And you are here on this earth to do much more than to satisfy someone’s wants or desires and then to be put on the shelf until they want you again.

No person is single-use. No person is only good for one thing. No person is an object.

And no person deserves to be treated like one.

Photo credit: artsyrose.com