Our country's current state is filled with thoughts about when the next bombing is going to happen. People are no longer as fearful as they once were during the 9/11 attacks. Recalling the scandal of Bush administration tapping American citizens phones without the concession of Judicial court, the former president was left unscathed. President Obama attempting to use drones on home front brought bouts of frustration and anguish from American citizens for our amendment rights to privacy as well as due process was alarmingly threatened. Police cameras are everywhere. We are all being surveyed, one or another.
But does having a safe country equate to our rights being stripped away? Our rights that was once guaranteed to us for the sake of preventing the government overpowering the people they work for, are they no longer valid because of recent violent incidents? Are people willing to risk their rights for their lives? I'm sure everyone's opinions' are different.
The irony of this photo is that in the land of liberty (symbolized by the State of Liberty) holding up surveillance cameras. It makes me wonder what will become of America in 10 years? 20 years? Any thoughts?
|I rarely give information about my beliefs or the types of principles that I live by. But I've noticed that on xanga, there has been a trend or more emphasis on religion, and those are the topics that people appeared to be concerned about (just look at the top blogs and you'll see.) Frankly, I have no qualms with any religion because various religions have a set of principles that does provide an upright living style. Not to mention, a comfort for those who are experiencing difficult phases in life. I know a few that have suffered hardships throughout their life and they find meaning in practicing their religion. I am only grateful that they are still there because of their beliefs. However, what I don't believe is imposing or projecting your beliefs on others forcefully. Force does not only equate to physical coercion, but the mental and emotional break down of another person, thus stripping them of their free will to think for themselves. It is one thing to chose religion out of your own free will, but it is another to be influenced blindly into believing without understanding the repercussions of those beliefs. |
Due to recent events, with all the bombings and belligerent factions pummeling out their discontent/opposing ideas towards each other, it makes me wonder whether all these issues are simply and only monetary gains. Certainly, who doesn't want to dominate the Middle East when so many of the rich resources are embedded in that region. But there are a few that would counter that opinion. Some believe that Islam is the cause of all these issues - violence in the Middle East is an inevitable part that follow Muslims. But if you look at America, we have a good number of Muslims living within the country, and they never stirred trouble. I mean, when has religion and faith become a measuring tape for deciding the goodness in people?
In using religion as a measuring tape, I think we deepening the crevices that already exists among the different religions, ethnic groups, and in general, people. We are not learning what the beauty of religion brings to our lives. Instead we are using it to mean and ruthless. Religion can be beautiful, can bring people hope. What it should not bring is intolerance. Because wouldn't that defeat the purpose of trying to make this place a better world, when it has already (pardon my French) gone to craps?!
In light of these events, of the lives lost, we should empathize for the families that lost a loved one. Hatred only brings hatred. Until the day when we truly forgive others, and do away with the measuring tapes, can we truly bring happiness to this world.
May peace be with you.
|On April 15, 2013, bombs planted by the Tsarnaev brothers went off killing 3 people and injuring more than 200 people. News reporters speculate that the reason for the brothers' erratic action was a terrorism by nature and that they were nothing but pawns of the extremists of fundamental Islam. As we're busy pointing fingers at religion as being the push-off of such deadly actions, so far I have only read one or two articles about self-reflection - why is everyone hating Americans? Don't think it is only the Islamic Fundamentalists that spout hatred towards Americans, many other countries have also expressed discontent with the pompous and overzealous American culture. Sure, the conclusions we have drawn about Tsarnaev brothers are based on apparent evidence, but sometimes its not enough to look only on the surface of things. Though I sympathize for families and victims involved in the violent incident, it is still not good enough to point fingers at the direct causes. Let me remind you that there is an increase of massive shootings throughout America. It begs the question of what psychological and/or social factors that is creating this unprecedented number of violence?|
One Times articles that I read two weeks ago talked about how assimilation is not what it used to be. There are certainly more factors to deal with especially in America's social climate. Where before there was only racism and social inequality, there are the gender issues, religious fervor and financial equality that has taken place. Opportunities are far less or fewer than they were before. Even though there's great talk of religious tolerance, Christianity and Catholicism remains as the center of preached practices.
Immigration remains prevalent in America, and those that are working here and want to find better opportunities, they must assimilate, and learn the language. After all it is hard to do business with American companies without learning the ways of "American." Children of immigrants are fed the materialism, consumerism and superficial-ism, which contradict with immigrant traditions. You are either to be isolated or included depending on your choice. Those who have stayed in America for generations have no problem with this question, but many of the newer immigrants often faced this issue.
According to some sources, the older Tsarnaev brother was experiencing a difficult time in assimilating into school, and had no luck with making friends. Under the influence of his own depression, he went ahead and turned to Fundamental Islam for guidance, which turn for the worst - concluding his condition was the fault of those around him. His brother, who was more mellow in his condition, was converted by his brother. To think that the conversion was the point of tragedy would be blaming it completely on Fundamental Islam beliefs. But I think the tragedy could have been prevented if the cold and stiff American culture were more opened-arm then this could have been prevented.
I would like you to note that I'm not saying Americans are bad, but there is simply something wrong with our culture. Cheating is prevalent, and in the environment where every one devours each other, it is hard to find warmth and acceptance where needed. Where the American culture used to be a melting pot of different flavors and cultures, it has stagnated to American pop, and sports events. Process of acceptance of other cultures and religion needs to be expedited, so less and less people feel left out. Financial sectors need to be balanced as well as income and employment opportunities. Americans need to start taking care of "America" as their priority otherwise we are going to receive a repeat of these events. And "terrorism" is going to be the least of our worries.
|Every once in awhile, I would question the ethics and the values that American culture preach and uphold. Surely, the cultural and living expectations change through out time. Eventually, it has become an all out luxury good culture with a dominant element of social Darwinism. Not surprising is that Americans who preach about equality have been brainwashed to think that buying luxury goods can actually help them obtain equality, but that is beyond reality. And sadly the public is constantly fed these false images of equality, when equality can not equate equity. Consumerism boldly and enthusiastically bombast us, and like an epidemic, it spreads uncontrollably. |
"Dawn of the Dead" a 1978 classic and was remade in 2004 uses the metaphor of a zombie filled mall to American consumerism. The people that participates in the cultural phenomenon are anything alive. They consume mindlessly in large hordes, but in slow motions. How does that compare to the American consumers? Are we really becoming the smarter consumers as we claim to be? Perhaps George A. Romero's classic horror can shed some light on this topic.
" Building upon the scenario of Night of the Living Dead, the United States (and possibly the world) is devastated by a phenomenon which reanimates recently deceased human beings as flesh-eating zombies, with the causes still unknown. (It is implied that the phenomenon was caused by cosmic radiation from a Venus space probe.) Despite efforts by the U.S. Government and local authorities to control the situation, society is beginning to collapse and the remaining survivors are given to chaos. Some rural communities and the military have been effective in fighting the zombies in open country, but cities are helpless and largely overrun. As evident by infrequent television and radio broadcasts, the subject of what to do about the plague provokes heated discussion and considerable discord.
Confusion reigns at the WGON television studio in Philadelphia by the plague's third week, where staff member Stephen and his girlfriend Francine are planning to steal the station's traffic helicopter to escape the zombies. Meanwhile, Roger and his SWAT team raid an apartment building where the residents are defying the martial law of delivering their dead to National Guardsmen. Some residents fight back with handguns and rifles, and are slaughtered by both the overzealous SWAT team and their own reanimated dead. During the raid, Roger meets Peter, part of another SWAT team, and they become friends. Roger tells Peter that his friend Stephen intends to take his network's helicopter, and suggests that Peter come with them. The matter is decided when they are informed of a group of zombies sheltered in the basement, which they execute with grim determination.
That night, Roger and Peter escape Philadelphia with Francine and Stephen in the helicopter. Following some close calls while stopping for fuel, the group comes across a shopping mall, which becomes their sanctuary. To make the mall safe for habitation, they block the entrances with trucks to keep the undead masses outside from building up enough cumulative force to break through; they also craft a wooden "false wall" to hide the access to their living space. During the cleanup operation, Roger becomes reckless and is bitten, dooming himself to reanimation. After clearing the mall of zombies, the four enjoy a hedonistic lifestyle with all the resources available to them. As time goes by, however, they come to perceive themselves as imprisoned by the zombies, especially since Francine is four months pregnant. Peter offers to abort the child, but Stephen rejects this. The men begin to consider leaving; Stephen, now seeing the mall as a kind of kingdom, opposes the plan, but teaches Francine how to operate the helicopter in case of emergency. Roger eventually succumbs to his wounds, reanimates, and is shot by Peter. All emergency broadcast transmissions eventually cease, suggesting that civilization as they know it has completely collapsed.
Their ironic salvation occurs when a gang of motorcyclists, having seen the helicopter during one of Francine's flying lessons, break into and start looting the mall, which allows hundreds of zombies inside. Stephen forces a gun battle with the bikers and is shot in the arm; he tries to escape through an elevator shaft, but is cornered by the undead. As the zombies consume some of the bikers shot by Peter, the rest retreat with their stolen goods. A reanimated Stephen (apparently knowing enough to remember the false wall) breaks through it and leads the undead to Francine and Peter. As Stephen enters their hideout, Peter kills him while Francine escapes to the roof. Peter then locks himself in a room and contemplates suicide. When zombies burst into the room, he has a change of heart and fights his way up to the roof, where he joins Francine. The two then fly away in the partially fueled helicopter to an uncertain future."
Firstly, the story mainly took place in the mall, where the people searched the shops for survival resources. Malls, in this sense, played many different functions: institutions of consumerism, dependencies for survival, attraction of violence, and embodiment of American consumer culture. Institutions of consumerism points to big fashion companies, food franchises, and luxury good vendors. We currently see them everywhere, whether it be on tv, newspaper, magazines, or taxi cabs (especially in NYC), there's isn't a crevice that is not promoting something. These institutions of consumerism are simply establish to allow these "consuming" activities to thrive. Essentially once these actions become habitual, it will increase - this is when it escalates to dependency for survival. It is apparent the "malls" like Wal-mart are not just only luxury good centers but encompass the function of providing food. It is the exact predicament city folks are tied to - we can't grow our own food, thus we need to purchase our food from big retailers. Through stripping our ability to grow for ourselves, and by excessively drowning our minds that buying from huge retailers is the way we go, it makes us close to zombies - unable to think for ourselves. But with every good thing, there is always something that is bad. Theft and violence are due to inundated thriving in certain places and disparity of other sectors. While the people in the mall were living in the lap of luxury with something similar to unlimited resources, the bikers (living on the outside and constantly exposed to unsafe conditions that involve scarce resources, it is safe to assume that they are more or less the representation of the struggling classes. They eventually force the group that living in relative ease to face the reality of the outside world. Thus the end of the film states that unsure future of the two main characters, they will either be isolated from the consumer culture, or be overtaken by the overpowering zombi-fied consumers. I'm guessing the latter is more likely to happen. Or perhaps there is still hope that Americans are not doomed to be controlled by consumer culture.
|Yesterday, Sichuan China experienced a scale 5 earthquake, resulting in more than 100 deaths and thousands more missing. What is upsetting about the situation is Sichuan had experienced a couple years back and having just recovered from the last one, again they receive another one. Some speculate that the plate tectonic movements were induced from heavy drilling and excavation of coal for fuels - a way to propel the country's development. Governments who approve these projects simply are not doing enough research to understand the repercussions of these things. But to only spotlight the Chinese government for its irresponsible behavior is just pointing at a needle in a haystack. US pretty much allows the energy companies to conduct business in the same manner. |
What I wanted to point out is government's responsibility to the people is not being upheld, rather people are made into expendable resources and labor. If that were the case, we need to do what we can in order to prevent this from happening.
Off the record - isn't it mind blowing how much energy developed nations need, when the rest of the world is fine with how things are?