Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mid-term exam season

Very very busy recently. There are long essays, in-class writings, and mid-term exams. Brian just got his drive permit and he is eager to drive everyday. If he wants to drive, I have to sit next to him in the car in order to legalize his driving. I really lack of time to do it everyday for him. I feel sorry about that, but I have no choice. He has ordered a GPS already despite the fact that he has no car. If he cannot conquer his desire to drive, he runs to my aunt’s house to drive her car a while. He will take the drive test tomorrow. Do you think he can pass in the first attempt, Pink Tear?

I don’t know if I can get As on my courses or not this semester. I am trying, but I am really not sure about the results. My history courses and anthropology course are high level courses and very hard. Some assignments are far beyond my ability, and I am unable to handle them. The one credit library 100 course is done this week. It is easy and I put a very few efforts on it. I expect an A on this course, and also believe an A+ if I am lucky. The gym course is fun in the beginning. However, since the professor is increasing the task, I gradually feel difficult now.

I am looking forward the spring break two weeks late; only until that time, I can actually take a break.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A short paper about Washington

Washington’s Private Virtue
In the book, The Life of Washington, by Mason L. Weems, the author argues that the private virtues of Washington are the most important sources to shape Washington’s life and contribute to his accomplishment. Among these virtues, Weems particularly illustrates Washington’s courage, a characteristic that was essential in his entire life.

Weems believes that private life is always real life and reveals a person’s honest nature . It is true that people usually feel free to present their opinions and personalities in their private life than in public places. Thus, to observe person’s private life becomes the best place to understand his or her true nature. In the beginning several chapters, Weems provides many anecdotes of young Washington to illustrate his personality, which is consistent with Washington’s whole life. Once, young Washington cut down his father’s precious cherry-tree. Facing his father’s question, Washington conquered his fear and confessed his mistake. In this story, Weems not only shows Washington’s love of truth but his courage as well. Bing brave is an even more important characteristic because without bravely to perform an action, the virtue of love of truth will be in vain. In the last chapter of this book, while Washington was dying, what he expressed was “I am not afraid to die” . Fearing of death is human nature; Weems’ description here portrays a rarely brave feature of Washington. Indeed, in this book, Washington’s characteristic of courage is particularly important for understanding his life.

As a great man rather than a commoner, Washington’s courage was certainly significant in his public life and made huge influence and contribution to the country. Washington had successfully accomplished many military triumphs. Weems comments, “[Washington] abhors war; but, if war be necessary, to this end he bravely encounters it” . Military is always related to fighting, blood, terror, and death; all of them require a person act in bravery. Particularly, during the American Revolutionary War, the Americans had many severe disadvantages in comparison with the British, for example, poor trained of military. As Commander-in-Chief, Washington’s courageous personality became a spiritual power to encourage American officials and the soldiers to win the war.

Weems’ description of Washington’s political career further proves the importance of Washington’s personal courage. When the American Revolutionary War was over, Washington desired to return to his farm to have a peaceful family life. However, when he was officially notified that he was elected President of the United States, he accepted and set out for New York City . Weems points out that Washington did not wish to “come forward again to the cares and dangers of public life” . Despite his awareness of the dangers of the public life, his private virtues, including dutiful, patriotism, and also his courage led him to accept the duty of serving his country.
During his presidency, there were many difficulties in the new established country. The country had to combat many enemies, but it had only 600 regular troops along with eighty millions of dollars in debt. However, as Weems states, “Washington despaired not” . Although Weems does not directly use the words “courage” or “brave” to describe Washington, how can the president confront all these difficulties without the characteristic of courage?

In the book, Weems provides numerous details to portray a fascinating image of George Washington, the first President of the United States of America. Washington possessed many private virtues such as wisdom, love for the truth, patriotism, and dutifulness; however, his characteristic of courage is particularly emphasized by the author. Without courage, Washington could neither fully perform his other virtues nor make such a great contribution to this country in his life.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ashoka the Great

I will have the second in-class essay of Indian History class. The first one was about Mahabharata that I got an A. I wish I can do well this time also. The topic of the second essay would be about Emperor Ashoka. People knew him is primarily due to the Edicts of Ashoka. The inscriptions of the Edicts mainly about the conversion of Ashoka to Buddhism; he sponsorship of the spread Buddhism; his public projects for poor and animals.

Another very astonishing thing about Ashoka is that he suddenly changed from an aggressive and brutal killer to a Buddhist who loves peace and advocates non-violence. It said that in Ashoka’s middle age, after the war of Kalinga, Ashoka saw the mass dead bodies on the battlefields, he decided to abandon war and violence and converted to Buddhism.

Ashoka was called the great emperor not only in Maurya Empire or Indian history, but in the world. During his reign, India enjoyed several decades of peace and prosperity. After his death, the empire quickly decayed. I am not sure Ashoka is a great man or not. In my opinion, he is just such s smart guy. He killed as many people as he wanted, and then he claimed himself non-violence and benevolence. It is true that the change in his later life is good, better than none. However, how do you think and forget his killing?

His accomplishment is great, but I think his success is indeed rare. In the history there were many great figures who were either great military men, or were full of moral power. Ashoka is the one combined the two features. People can often represent white or black, but Ashoka can represent the two color by himself alone.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Tuesday is my toughest day this semester. But after 4:30 pm, I am free. The rest of the day becomes happy hours for me. This week I don’t have too much works, no paper due or any exam. Thus, after my class, Brian and I went to a department store, Bloomingdal’s, on 59th Street. I have been there around two years ago with Jenny, and I also remember that time I applied a member card although I have never used it again.

We spent around three hours to look around in it. there are nine floors plus two underground levels. It is amazing. In China, even though the biggest department stores, they usually contains five or six floors. Brian likes Bloomingdal’s. He admired it looks like a museum rather than a department store. All the items in the store are expensive. Even though the prices of some items are reduced, we still cannot afford any of them. Anyway, it is not our intention to buy anything. Looking around and enjoy our short trip are good enough for a relax evening. For me, it is definitely true that I don’t want to possess all of the good things that I have seen. Enjoying everything is more important than pursuing the ownership.

After this trip, I realized that I should give myself more free time to go out and explore our city. That is the real and vivid life.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Worry about time

Busy about my study, and worry about it.

There are weekly readings that I can barely finish every time. Thus, how I can get ride of my anxious if when exams and paper assignments will be due. The crucial problem is always time. If you have enough time, you may do anything. However, we already waste time when we are not under extreme stress.

I like professor Sen who teaches the South Asian history. He is so nice to me. One day after class, I talked a little bit with him. He asked if he pronounced my name correctly. Although I told him his pronunciation is perfectly fine, he was still apologizing to his pronunciation. Language is a real amaze phenomenon. Professor Sen is a PhD, and has been a professor many years, but he still cannot completely conquer the language problem.

This is my second time taking professor Stresster’s class, culture anthropology. She doesn’t like me so much. Class participate is weight 25 points of the final grade in her class. Despite my language problem, I push myself talk in the class every time. However, she often doesn’t like to call me to talk when I rise up my hand. I know I cannot speak well, and my opinion may not contribute to the class too much. But when I still wish her encourage, I am disappointed.