2009년 7월 23일 목요일

Infinity and Beyond

This blog was created during my English 1020 as a freshmen. Now I'm continuing to use it for my course ISMG 2050.

2007년 5월 9일 수요일

My thoughts on Writing...

I always thought writing was easy. Whatever was inside of my head I put on to paper and that was my writing for the day. I also enjoyed writing; writing what I felt inside and being able to express it was good for me. It was not until this class I realized writing is so much more than “just writing”. The majority of the writing I have been doing was in reflective form. I would write what I thought and felt, and I thought that’s all there was to writing. Taking this course however led me to see the different aspects and styles of writing and showed me what true writing is all about.

One of the new styles of writing I encountered through the course was the observational writing. As I wrote the work, I often caught myself making remarks and opinions on the concert. I found out that it was actually difficult for me to write a straight observational paper. My simple mindset on writing led me to believe it was all about self-expression; yet this observational essay was all about thorough examination. I was bewildered! Even as I wrote, my head was telling me to write just on observation, but my heart wanted to reflect and comment. A similar happening occurred with the rhetoric essay as well. Taking on the professor’s advice to choose a topic of some interest, I chose to write on a picture regarding Columbine. Once again, my heart chose to reflect and express on the picture when I should’ve been analyzing the different styles. In honesty, my first rhetoric essay I had to throw away in whole because it was all reflective and none rhetoric. I even considered doing another media; something less interesting so that I wouldn’t be as tempted to turn the paper into a reflective essay (Even towards the end of the essay, I ened on a reflective note "'Disregarding how the collage was made and how it was effective seems to be put aside within the simplicity of the message:Where have all the Children gone! Across our land – COLUMBINE AND ALL THE OTHERS LOST'"). As people say ‘old habits die hard’, I still caught myself even towards the end of the course often reflecting on everything, but this eye opening experience to new styles of writing truly gave me new insight to what writing was capable of. Not only were we able to express what we thought, through writing we were able to break down anything to its purest, simplest form. From there we were able to analyze, evaluate and assess on the topic from the basics of the basics. Writing wasn’t a tool for expression; writing was a tool to open up eyes and ears to new gateways of thought.

As difficult for me as it was for me to make this transition (a new change in writing), I can’t help but think how precious this opportunity has been for me. As business major and a current banker, I am led to many situations where I have to write. If something goes wrong within the branch, I have to either correct the matter, or write a nice little letter explaining why it went wrong. I always knew that my reflective form of writing was going to run into its limit. Simply writing what I felt on a situation was not going to take me far when it’s an issue dealing with money. This English course gave me the tool to fix this problem. Now I was able to write with these different strategies in mind. I found the letters that I write more professional and much more persuasive than how it had been before.

This new sense of writing would not have been possible without the help from my peers and my professor. Because of my tendency to write reflections, what I considered rhetorical or observational was often reflective. I wouldn’t find out how confused I was, until I peer reviewed other’s work. Out of everything in this course, the most valuable tool of ‘learning to write’ was to work with other peers. Each writer has their strengths and weaknesses. People usually discover their strengths with ease, but their weaknesses are rarely found. Working with other writers allowed all of us to compare and improve. More than once, I found work that was very different with mine. From there, the two of us were able to progress as better writers by seeing what the other person does and how they do it. Even from this point, working with the professor gave us even more room to grow. As novice writers, we would run into walls and hit our limits on whatever we write. The professor for this course read our work before submission and showed us how to improve. Getting help from peers and the professor alike; there was no way I couldn’t improve as a writer.

All in all, this English course was very worthwhile. I discovered a new writer within and I’m very satisfied with the result. I hope to continue to strive as a writer. I’m always going to write throughout my life whether it’s my major or not. Why not write well when you have to write anyway?

2007년 5월 2일 수요일

The Rhetoric of Columbine

Amidst the sense of security and calm within the U.S., many were shocked by events that occurred at Virginia Tech and Columbine. Fingers were being pointed on why a tragedy such as this came to place; easy access to guns, ostracism at school, lack of prayer in school, etc. Yet, before anything, this picture speaks to America on what we felt the most; sorrow of the loss of precious lives and the pain that followed it.

The picture is of powerful image; smiling faces of those who have died, people in mourning, and a flower to perhaps give the sense of fragility of life. The pictures utilize ‘pathos’ to speak a message out to the audience and the text above the picture supports that message by speaking out in the same fashion. Each face in the picture is shown smiling happily. To know that lives of those smiling faces were taken away on an unsuspecting day really stirs in our hearts great emotions of grief, pain, and sorrow. Within the layout of the collage, we are also able to observe a few strategies that were used to heighten the message. One of the strategies is the compare-contrast. The collage is put together into one big picture, but within the pictures, we are able to discover that it’s divided roughly in two. The bottom portion of the picture shows the smiling faces of victims, while the top portion shows of people mourning, SWAT officers with guns drawn, and flowers and letters written to those who’ve lost. The bottom portion speaks to us in a manner where had the tragedy not happened, those smiles on the victims would have continued. But, because of the occurrence of the tragedy, the smiles of those victims were replaced by great pain and suffering. In a similar fashion, the picture depicts a strategy of Cause and Effect. Because of the shootings, lives were changed from smiling faces to crying tears. In either way, these strategies heavily supports the ‘pathos’ message of the pain in losing those close to you.

We are also able to discover in the collage that each victim is also made very visible to utilize the ‘ethos’ connection with the audience. Advertisements by big companies such as Nike or Gatorade use big time celebrities like Michael Jordan or Carmelo Anthony to sell their product. However, to utilize a character, one does not have to be a known face to have its affect. This collage is one of the cases where a sense of ‘ethos’ is brought to play without celebrities. Within a mix of other pictures and messages, we see clearly in the collage faces of those who had died in Columbine. While every other picture is hidden or less emphasized, each picture of a face is made focus of the whole collage. This delivers a message to the audience of how each life lost is care for genuinely. As is delivering a positive public image for a corporation becoming an ‘ethos’ method, so is this, a collage delivering an empathetic image to America as an ‘ethos’ method as well. It adds a perspective to the audience as a character.

However, all these strategies and methods become useless unless the audience knows what happened in Columbine. Without proper background knowledge of what happened and who had died, these smiling faces and those mourning above it can even seem confusing. The collage is embedded in cultural resonance based on U.S. culture, and makes the message of the collage not as effective as possible. For example, in some cultures of the world, it is improper to show pictures of those who have already passes away. In other countries, flowers of a certain type or color (like the sunflower on the frame for example) carry specific meanings and should not be used. Yet, because this tragedy that is background to the message is really pertained to the U.S. culture, the matter of efficiency should not be considered. This did happen in U.S., and the audience that is most affected by this message would be those within the U.S. anyway.

The physical layout of the collage is positioned well. A flower (Regardless of what message it can hold out of cultural resonance) is in fade on the center of the collage. Above the fade are pictures of faces of the victims as well as the pictures of those who are hurting after the lost. While the picture sizes of the victims are relatively small, so are pictures of everything else. This balanced symmetry in sense delivers a message that those who were killed are being remembered, while those who are mourning are thought of just as much. The coloring of the collage is relatively dull, to add emphasis to the pain. A bright, light color may have not been appropriate for this subject; people suffering from the loss of life is not a joyous occasion. In understanding to that, it appears that the face pictures were chosen to be presented in black and white and other dull colors. The border is bright however; it is covered by flowers and laced in gold. Perhaps a message that despite life moving on (represented by bright colors), scars from the tragedy are always remembered (represented by the dull colors within). In any retrospect, the two differences create contrasts which accentuate each other; the pictures in black and white seem more dull, while the borders of the collage seems light.

This collage in its rhetoric voice speaks to our society to remember what’s really important; precious lives of precious people taken away. Disregarding how the collage was made and how it was effective seems to be put aside within the simplicity of the message:
Where have all the Children gone! Across our land – COLUMBINE AND ALL THE OTHERS LOST


Work Cited

Watson, Justin. MARTYRS OF COLUMBINE: faith and the politics of tragedy.
Palgrave Macmillan, 2002

2007년 4월 22일 일요일

A Korean American

I came to the United States when I was 9 years old. Leaving all my friends back home in Korea and coming to a new place with a new school, new surroundings, and new people; I was lost. Because the school I started in was situated in a relatively a “white” neighborhood, I felt alone. Perhaps it was because I was young, but within a year, I found myself adjusting relatively well. I met new friends and began to enjoy this place. This place was now home for me. Yet, I always had to ask myself many times; am I Korean or American? My friends around me had blue eyes and blonde hair, but I had brown eyes and black hair. Their eyes were big but mine were stretched. I spoke English as a second language; English is what they spoke since birth. At home I spoke Korean and ate Korean food, but outside I spoke English and ate hotdogs and pizza. Identity was not clear and I didn’t know who I was. Slowly, I felt as if I was pushed out to a place of no belonging. I was too Korean outside of my home, and in my home, I was too American. My English was too broken to be called American, and what I enjoyed to eat was too American for me to be Korean.

It was a few years later that I found my identity. Another Korean student had moved out to our school. He was straight from Korea and was lost just as I was when I first came. When the teachers reached out to him and was rejected by the language barrier, they called me over to help assimilate this poor child into the American society. We began to talk in Korea and he dearly held on to me until he became comfortable with his new home. I then realized how versatile and hybrid I was as a Korean American. I was blessed with two homes, two languages and two cultures, and I was ready to grab a hold of gifts both societies had to offer. I was able to reach out to both societies and offer them a hand. Knowing two much-different cultures allowed me to become a better person. To see in two different perspectives allowed me to develop into a character that TWO cultures can appreciate. I embrace both cultures and I thank God for allowing me to become a Korean American.


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a well known theory of basic needs for a human being. The philosopher lists the needs in order from greatest to the least, starting from the need of food, breathe, and sleep, to confidence and respect by others. Because we are living to survive, the first needs that a human seeks for is what keeps them alive. Basic needs such as food, sleep, breathing and shelter are first sought after. As soon as those needs are met, Maslow tells us that humans seek for Belonging and Friendship. When we are situated and secured, we have a need to share that with someone that we care for. When those needs are not met, people were seen getting sick; physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

In our society here in the United States, we are given plenty of room to express our identity and our character. Yet, being accepted for what you express is a whole different matter. There is a cultural trend that the majority of the people of society follow, and if someone does not go along with that, they are outcast and ostracized. That person is left out and forced to deal with loneliness by themselves just because they are different. Looking back into the Columbine incident and the Virginia Tech incident, it is sad and disappointing to see how this individualist discrimination caused such a horrible event to occur. Both events involved lack of friendship and belonging; a common need of a human being. Perhaps this world can take a different direction if this is just recognized. There is no need to love and suck up to everyone; people can have their differences. But, only when we can accept others despite differences…

2007년 4월 15일 일요일

Don't just talk, but walk...

A Column Regarding Christianity in America

As a Christian, one of the responsibilities given to us is to evangelize and let people know about God. Out of the many that we talk with, there are those that do not believe in anything at all; they are referred to as aetheists. They believe that there was no God, and they felt that no higher being is ever there. When they were asked why they did not believe, or want to believe, their responses were ironically similar. One of the common answers was that the churchgoers now, do not seem any different from anyone else. In fact, many people thought that Christians seemed to be people of worse quality (character and personality), people who suffer more (materialistically as well as in general), and people of extreme hypocricy. When I heard this response, immediately I was overwhelmed with guilt. I fit into that exact description of "Christian". There are many ways attempted to deliver a message of God: mass media like radio broadcasting, speaking out on the streets, attempting miracles on TV shows... But I realized, all that is meaningless when a person calling themselves Christians, when I, do not walk what we preach. If we don't live by what we say, who's going to believe that there's any good in that? First thing that came to my mind when hearing that response is, "I need to go to English class! Just because I'm tired is not an excuse to miss class!!" Walking what we're talking is what I need to do.

2007년 4월 11일 수요일