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Tuesday, September, 21, 2010

TAIK-O!

Filed under: Music, my stuff, school, video — mete23 @ 12:11 am

I’m taking Taiko this semester and I’m super excited. Taiko is Japanese drumming and it is a combination of dance and synchronized drumming. The drums are so loud and powerful but the drummers have to also be really graceful when striking the drums.

For homework, we have to watch videos of other Taiko groups and so I will share with you all the ones I came across tonight. I don’t think they are the best Taiko videos out there but I have only just started looking for them. My arms are going to be so, so buff.

The video was in HD so that’s pleasing to the eye. The group is called Kodo and they are actually from Japan. The drums we play with at school are much smaller and we definitely play with shirts on. Every breathe they take seems like it requires so much effort and that’s so legit-it’s so hard to relax playing fast and strong that sometimes I forget to breathe.

This video is of the San Francisco Dojo, which I believe is one of the first Taiko schools to open in America. (I miss San Fran)

There’s also this group called TaikoProject based in Los Angeles and they seem to be a young and more contemporary group that infuses hip hop, dance and storytelling. They played at some awesome places…

Finally, my professor, Mark Rooney, is the executive director of Odaiko (One) New England Taiko group near Boston. He’s the bald guy on the right.

If I ever have kids, I will put them through Taiko lessons for sure. Come to my performance! It’ll be on December 3rd.

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Saturday, September, 18, 2010

Ann Coulter and “Fast Track” Christianity

Filed under: celebrities, christianity, my stuff, politics, video, what the freak — mete23 @ 11:43 pm

A friend of mine showed me today a video of Danny Deutsch interviewing Ann Coulter on the Big Idea Show. It was extremely horrific watching this and afterwards my friend (not a Christian) said that she was a “demon.” Yeah seriously…she might be. I immediately thought of the many Scriptures that speak of false prophets who deceive and dress in sheep’s clothing but are actually ferocious wolves. She really shouldn’t be allowed to speak or rather shouldn’t be speaking on behalf of all Christians and worst- Jesus.

Some thoughts:

  1. Watching this video made me understand on a deeper level of why Christianity is such a thorn in America, American politics and academic circles. Growing up in an ethnic-specific church fortunately spared me (for the most part) from hearing the hateful and offensive comments personalities like Ann Coulter make.
  2. On that note, I feel that non-whites and international students (mostly at my school) need to understand and acknowledge the fears that many whites have. A lot of friends from school probably came to Wesleyan for the sole purpose of avoiding and rejecting Coulter-like people. So understandable. Christians deny any association with these “crazy conservatives” and say that’s not the real Jesus, it’s not what Christianity is about, I’m not like that but what are we saying? Have we said anything as loud as what Coulter is saying? Her words have been filling up the airwaves and Jesus’ teachings have been drowned out. I am so guilty of not clarifying who Jesus is or what the Christian faith is. I guess sometimes we also need to be silent and just be with those who are bitter and hate “Christians.” Maybe even if I tried to explain, it would make things messier. Restoration work is needed.
  3. What Scripture says about how false prophets will deceive people (Matthew 24. 11) and even the elect (Matthew 24.24) is frightening because people are listening and following Coulter! All seven of her books have made the N.Y. Times Best Seller List, selling about 3 million copies. Can anyone be so inflexible and unyielding in their beliefs? She believes that conservatism is the best and most perfect view and liberals, liberal thoughts are just completely wrong. She also speaks at a bunch of mega-churches across America. Who is inviting her to speak? Who dares to allow her to speak from the pulpit?

Comments on the video:

  1. She glorified the diversity in mega-churches and commented that mixed-racial couples in New York City look like they have a “chip on their shoulders.” I think I still agree with Martin Luther King when he remarked on how the most segregated day of the week is Sunday at 11:00AM when church service usually begins. That mixed race couple in NYC may be showing more love than churches have been showing to one another.
  2. What the heck is “fast track Christianity?” It certainly is not fast track if Paul’s words of running a race with perseverance and pressing on until the end are mentioned in the New Testament. It maybe easy if she is saying that all you have to do is believe in order to get to heaven but believing requires things like dying to the self, loving God with all of our hearts, minds and souls and loving people until it hurts.
  3. Finally, her anti-Semitic comment about how she wants “Jews to be perfected” has got to be the most blasphemous thing. Does she think she has attained perfection? Is not sanctification a daily and grueling process of working out our relationship with God?
  4. Deutsch kept pointing out how she was suppose to be “educated” and yet she still was making outrageous comments. She graduated from Cornell University cum laude with a B.A. in history and then got her law degree from University of Michigan. It is possible that academia’s liberal bent might have incubated her super conservative views.

My concluding thoughts are that I’m tired with watching these videos of people who claim to be Christians and are not speaking words of Love. If I do watch them, however, I will respond to them and I pray to God that my responses will represent God in a more truthful light.

Thursday, September, 9, 2010

The Asian Whiz Kids

Filed under: my stuff — mete23 @ 9:05 pm

Oh goodness…hahha wow…that’s all I gotta say.

Monday, August, 23, 2010

Do You Want to Know: Josh Wilson

Filed under: my stuff — mete23 @ 10:18 am

If you want a heart of sympathy
Then pray to God to help you, please
See the world that Jesus sees

But be careful what you ask Him for
Cause if you’re gonna open up that door
There’s no going back to before

Cause once you see a mother who can’t feed
The baby that cries in her arms
Your heart will break and you’ll lay awake
No, sleep won’t come quick anymore
So do you want to know?

You pass him on the way to work
He holds a sign beside the curb
You look away and avoid the hurt

Cause why should you be held responsible
Besides, he’ll probably just spend it all
On cigarettes and alcohol

But once you see that the man on the street
Has a name and a family like you
Your heart will break and you’ll lay awake
Cause you’ll understand God loves him, too
So do you want to know?
Oh, no

If you want a heart of sympathy
Then pray to God to help you see

But once you see a world that’s in need
And a sorrow you just can’t ignore
Your heart’s gonna break and you’ll lay awake
Cause you’ll know you could do so much more
Do you want to know?

Two nights ago, I had a nightmare about a woman (I knew her) who had a huge cage in her house. It was covered with a blanket similar to what bird owners do when they want their birds to stop chirping. One day, I caught her taking off the blanket and to my horror she kept a woman in prison there. The woman trapped in the cage was scrawny, had white haired and deep, sad wrinkles. She was wailing in pain and crawling on all fours as if she never had the chance to learn how to walk. The woman who owned the cage was whipping the caged woman. I found myself screaming my head off in my nightmare.

What I like about the lyrics of the above song is that it talks about empathy and the compassion that God has for humanity. This summer I have been getting into heavy arguments about why certain groups of people in society like the blacks and Latinos/as are struggling so much with socioeconomic mobility. Most of these conversations have been with my parents and their generation and Chinese people like to think that the Chinese are all so brilliant and hard-working in academics and therefore succeed. The contrapositive for blacks and Latinos/as is that they do not succeed and excel in education because they are lazy-the classic response. Anger usually burns inside of me when I hear those comments.

I am very grateful that studying (yes, secular) sociology has opened my eyes to see what God sees and has broken my heart for what God’s heart breaks for but when I return home, it has been extremely difficult to understand where my parents are coming from when we have conversations about social mobility. One particular evening, I was taking a walk with my mom and I told her about how I might consider living with the poor (perhaps idealism or truth, we’ll see) in the future and she said that she would want to die first before I did that. Obviously, I was furious and deeply hurt at how unsupportive and insulting she was. Now, my parents are really chill folks. They let me study whatever I want and pretty much do anything I want to do but I didn’t expect this from my mom. As I was about ready to yell at my mom, she told me about her childhood and how when she lived in Kowloon, her family was dirt poor. Their situation rivaled the poverty I saw in Uganda but she was able to get to where she is now. Her family was an epic American dream-like story of pulling up their bootstraps and rising out of poverty. My mom and her sisters all had to walk miles and miles and even rode on boats to get to school. They worked odd and end jobs, collectively making just enough to put food on the table. Their school uniform was their only article of clothing and they all packed into a tiny apartment with one bathroom in the whole building. She lived with a father, who drank and gambled all of the money her mom and sisters made. When I heard all of this, my heart felt wretched because I realized that my parents’ generation believed what they believed in because it was tied so closely with their personal lives-the mentality that “if I can do it, why can’t they?”

How could I possibly argue my book knowledge with her personal, tear-jerking life story? Does it change my theories of why certain groups of people seem unable to succeed academically? Not really, but now I have a better understanding of where my parents and their generation are coming from and I shouldn’t be so angry and hostile whenever they make offensive comments. It just makes me sound self-righteous.

Tuesday, August, 10, 2010

Peace Quote from MLK

Filed under: my stuff — mete23 @ 10:42 pm

“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek but a means by which we arrive at the goal.
Through violence you can murder a murderer but cannot murder murder.
Through violence you can murder a liar but you cannot establish truth.
Through violence you can murder a hater but you cannot murder hate.
Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that.

We will not build a peaceful world by following a negative path. It is not enough to say we should not wage war, it is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war but on the positive affirmation of peace. We must say that peace represents a sweeter music, a cosmic melody that is far superior to the discords of war.”
-Martin Luther King
I know I have been on a blogging hiatus but recently, I have had some thoughts that I wanted to post. I just haven’t had the time to blog. Also, this whole idea of wanting to share with the world what some of my thoughts are bugs me at times. Like, what’s wrong with me? Don’t I have friends that I can share my thoughts with? Do I need the world to read this? Does this reflect insecurities? Is sympathy what I need?
Another thing is that I noticed that my posts have changed to become wordier and more essay-like. I apologize to those who aren’t interested in reading another mouthful blog.

Friday, June, 18, 2010

I Know When People Aren’t Listening to Me…

Filed under: food, my stuff — mete23 @ 12:50 am

When people find out that I don’t eat meat (beef, pork, poultry) anymore, they usually and reasonably ask why. By now my explanation is practically a routine exercise and I have noticed a pattern: people aren’t listening to me! I talk about how working in a slaughterhouse is probably the most dangerous job in America right now and how messed up the U.S. meat industry is and nine out of ten times people say, “so, animal cruelty?” I get the animal cruelty part and I agree that that is messed up but aren’t humans more important than animals?

I won’t rant in this post about injustices in the meat industry but if you do want more information, Human Rights Watch released a 2005 report (kind of outdated) that goes really in depth into this issue. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also has a 2009 report on the salaries of various jobs in the meatpacking industries. Still ridiculously low (SHAT) for the incredibly high-risk job that slaughterers and meat cutters have to perform. Look under “Production Occupation.” Unbelievable. There’s a ton of information out there, just google it.

I am also in the process of rethinking the parameters of my “no meat” decision. Because of my reasons, I am thinking about eating meat outside of this country and perhaps in situations where I am not paying for the meat. I have to admit that refusing food in certain situations have been very uncomfortable and unintentionally disrespectful. What I mean is that when my parents or friends’ parents or guests have meat at the dinner table, they already bought it with their own money. My consumption will not decrease the money they already spent. My theory is that my own personal decrease in consumption of meat will infinitesimally lower the profits of the three meat industries that dominate the market. I have not implemented these changes yet and I don’t know if I will but these thoughts have been percolating in my head. The last thing I want to do is to seem like an elitist and a Pharisee.

Cynics and scoffers I hear you. I hear it from myself. How will that make a difference? Well, I’ve come to ignore you (and myself), you who doubt that small things can make a difference. For now, I will continue.

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