Wednesday, February 28, 2007

By the way, what DOES an American mean?

The other day, I was conversing with some friends on issues facing the U.S. and other parts of the world. I know what a broad topic. Well, one thing that came up was the fact that you could travel around the world observing different cultures. However, the U.S. remained unique because what exactly defines an American?

A friend of mine pointed out that if you visit Sweden, majority share the same Swedish culture by being Swedish citizens. If you go to Italy, you see majority Italians or people that have embraced the Italian culture. However, when you think American (U.S.--not Canada or Mexico, or South America), what comes to your mind? Diversity. In America, you will see people who have different cultures and are living those cultures. Examples include Chinatown, Greek town, Little Italy, etc. You can visit those places in the U.S. It is common for many Americans to eat Italian or Chinese food any day.

So a friend of mine said that is exactly what makes the U.S., a culture full of diversity. The friend continued to say, an American is a Chinese, Spanish, Italian, Arab, Greek, etc. Americans are diverse with diverse needs.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Does this say something about our teachers?

OK, I found this news item on MSNBC: Texting 101: Don’t send pot messages to cop
Kentucky teacher sent trooper drug-deal details intended for dealer.
When I read this article, I thought first of what a shame an educator who teaches children is accused of dealing with drugs.

Then I thought how embarrassing as an educator, to make an interesting mistake by sending the text details to law enforcement. Maybe tougher teaching standards should be enforced in college for future teachers, and detailed background checks.

Is it me, or is this some kind of irony that this educator sent her drug details to a police officer?

Read the story and groan or laugh... .

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Abu Ben Adam

This is an interesting poem written by James Henry Legh Hunt. I read this, and to me it is very calming to read, sort of spiritual.

Abu Ben Adam

James Henry Legh Hunt (October 19, 1784 - August 28, 1859)

Abu Ben Adam, may his tribe increase

Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace

And saw, within the moonlight of his room

Making it rich, like a lily in bloom

An angel writing in a book of gold.

Exceeding peace had made Abu Ben Adam bold

And to the presence in his room he said

' What writest thou?'

The vision raised its head

And with a look of all sweet accord Answered:

'The names of those who love the Lord.

'And is mine one?' said Abu.

'Nay not so' Replied the Angel

Abu spoke more low

But cheerily still and said

'I pray thee then Write me as one that loves his fellow-men'

The angel wrote and vanished.

The next night it came again with awaking light

And showed the names of whom love of God had blessed.

And lo! Ben Adam's name led all the rest.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Is pay everything?

I got this in an email. I thought I would post it here. If you are the author or you know who is the author of this forward, let me know , so I can put it here. It is nice and ideal, but is this realistic?


The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life. One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued, "What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?"

He reminded the other dinner guests what they say about teachers: "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach."

To stress his point he said to another guest; "You're a teacher, Bonnie. Be honest. What do you make?"

Bonnie, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, "You want to know what I make? (She paused for a second, then began...)

"Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor. I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents can't make them sit for 5 without an I Pod, Game Cube or movie rental...

You want to know what I make?" (She paused again and looked at each
and every person at the table.)

I make kids wonder. I make them question. I make them criticize.

I make them apologize and mean it. I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions. I teach them to write and then I make them write .

I make them read, read, read. I make them show all their work in math.

I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to know in English while preserving their unique cultural identity.

I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.

Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they were given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life. (Bonnie paused one last time and then continued.)

"Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, I can hold my
head up high and pay no attention because they are ignorant...

You want to know what I make?

I MAKE A DIFFERENCE. What do you make?"

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Roles of males and females

We didn't finish our lecture on gender today, due to a piece of technology not working properly. I wanted to show a video to end the lecture, followed by a discussion of the video. That didn't happen because the speakers were not working. In the mean time, I need to call the service people to repair that before next class period--Thursday.

Basically, we discussed what are genders and the stereotypes of genders. The class really enjoyed it. There some good discussions on if physical job standards should be lowered for females to enter certain fields of work, for example soldiers, firefighters, and police officers, to name a few. Majority of my female and a male students said no. Standards shouldn't be lowered for physical demanding work. If a female is qualified, then she is more than like to enter those types of careers.

I also asked them, who would your rather work with? Men or women? Majority of them said men, a couple of them said mixed, none of my students said women. I was surprised by that. I asked them why not? Some of female students replied women tend to be more emotional, gossip, and dramatic. *You think?* I explained to the class those were a form of stereotypes.
To be fair, I, personally, have worked with some awesome female and male colleagues. I personally find that both men and women have some personal issues at work. I do plan to discuss age issues in the workforce, I believe that is important because we are living longer and some of us are even staying longer in the workforce.

I do plan to finish this lecture next week. Then we will be discussing other race issues.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Let the debates begin!

Starting tomorrow and for a couple of more weeks, my students and I will be discussing stereotypes of minorities. It should be really interesting because many students do not like to talk about this in a formal setting, like an institution. I always manage to have a healthy debate on these issues. I want students to know that it is important NOT to ignore sensitive or controversial issues, but instead engage in a healthy, yet democratic discussion/debate.

First we will discuss gender issues, what are they and some stereotypes, etc, followed by race and ethnic issues, and multiculturalism education.

So for now, adios, ciao, stay tuned, shalom, salaam, aurevoir.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

War is ugly

According to Al Jazeera English 's article "Blair 'to announce Iraq pull-out' ", and CNN's article "Reports: UK to begin withdrawing Iraq" troops, Blair is finally going to begin withdraw British troops from Iraq. All I can say is about time. I mean they should have never been sent there in the first place. I think Bush needs to follow suit. I say bring our troops home, enough headaches and heartaches.

Although, ruling under Saddam may have not been the best in the world, I think Iraq's situation has worsened than under Saddam's ruling. In Iraq, there is chaos, kidnappings, religious tensions, and corruptions, it is just plain crazy. All for oil? For location of the Middle East? Solve this through peaceful actions and missions.

The solution is complicated and complex. A wise person once told me, "You can kill a person, but you can't kill the idea." War is not the answer. People die, but ideas live on. The bottom line is we have to negotiate with words, followed by diplomatic actions. We all have the same, basic human needs of survival.

I know I just kind of jumped from one point to another. It is just is frustrating to see a country that used to be the Mecca of Education in the Middle East, to go down in ruins as if they have never had anything great happen in that country. I mean, how long, will wars have to last, and people have to suffer?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Oppression of the Races

Why is it that humanity doesn't learn from the past? Why is it that a group of people have face discrimination or some other form of oppression? It sickens me to see that some humans have no feeling for others. As I have stated in an earlier posts, we are afraid of the unknown, and we need feel how the "others" feel.

Here is a list of different ethnic groups that faced some kind of mass oppression in the past and present. This is not an alphabetical order. Just a list running through my head.

  • African slavery in the west
  • Holocaust
  • Palestinian uprisings/Intifada
  • Bosnia genocide
  • Rwanda genocide
  • Kosova genocide
  • Iraqi civilians
  • Afghanistan's civilians

I am sure this is not a complete list. If you know of any more, comment and I can update this post. I will be glad to do this, so that maybe, just maybe we will take our role as humans seriously.

Time is a gift

While we are constantly working, or constantly busy filling up our time. Don't forget the most important thing on Earth after yourself. Your family. Step away from your schedule with activities that can wait, and spend time playing ball with your kids, or conversing with your spouse. Those are moments that will be preserved forever in the minds of your family members. Time is a gift that can never be replaced. When you are on your death bed, reflecting your life, what will you wish you had done? Probably spent more time around those you love. Don't wait till that happens. If you cannot give up those activities that fill your time, at least include them in those activities. For example, when I used to work for a local newspaper, I would take one of my siblings, on a photo shoot. We would converse going to that location, and returning home. My sibling got to experience what I go through. It felt really good.

Time is one thing that keeps going, and never stops. Time was here before us, with us, and will continue after us. Think before you use your time. Take advantage out of it. Get the most from your time. You will be glad you did.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

I told him, but I forgot about me

My spouse and I went out of town car hunting. My brother met us at the car dealership. After we were finished, I told my brother that if he was going to come see our parents who lived in my town, to take the tollway because the roads are better cleaned due to a snow storm we had. I told him that we saw about 6 cars in the ditch when we had taken a free way. We then parted our ways. My spouse and I were discussing the outcomes of our car hunting, when we ended up taking the free way again. I chuckled a bit because I had emphasized to my younger brother to take the tollway because the roads were too dirty. My spouse and I totally forgot about that, and we ended up taking the free way. I just shook my head, and I said "Wow, I can't believe I reminded my brother, but forgot to follow that advice."

I learned a lesson. Take care of yourself because you are now responsible for your spouse and child(ren).

Friday, February 16, 2007

Afraid of the Unknown

The unknown scares many people, probably most people. We as humans like to know things about the past, present and future. Once we know things, we are not afraid towards those things. However, once an unknown thing arrives, humans tend to get defensive and behave ignorantly. Maybe it is a survival technique, survival of the fittest mentality.

This should stop because life is a never ending process, until Day of Judgement arrives or whatever you may believe in. We are of different cultures, races, and ethnicities. There is no way we are going to know everything about each other. I like to tell my family and friends, that "it will take the rest of my life to know you." A person changes due to experiences, maturity level, or circumstantial. We are constantly changing and growing, hopefully for the better.

Many people around the world have faced some type of persecution. Why is that? Is it because we don't respect them as humans? Or "they" are not like "us"? Their culture is less valuable?

I honestly think that people are afraid of the unknown, and would prefer to not know because their foundations of life may crumble and have to be rebuilt. I challenge you to tackle the unknown, and learn about what you do not know.

This is not going to happen overnight. It is a lifetime challenging process.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Spelling maid eezee

Today, I heard from a fellow educator that there is a push to have spelling made easy. For example, instead of spelling "people" that way, it would be spelled "peepel". What is this world coming to? I mean, I know "people" doesn't really make phonetic sense, but come on people don't be lazy. Spelling is good for the brain, let it be challenged a bit. It is healthy.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I am not the type to go with the "flow", so to speak. I tend to rebel. I refuse to celebrate commercial holidays like Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, whatever else day. It is silly to have one day of the year designated as such.

I know this sounds so cliche, but every day should be V-Day, or Mother's Day, or Father's day. You should show your love and appreciation everyday to your loved ones, not extra special on those assigned days. It is so interesting to see people get involved with V-Day, or St. Patrick's Day (OK, OK, I understand the mother's and father's day, and even grandparents' day).

How commercial should we go? Are we teaching future generations to be more materialistic than ever? Seriously, think about it.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Kind acts do exist

Good old fashioned neighborly acts still exist today. It was observed that a young, male adult used his snow blower to clean up his parents' driveway, then their neighbor's driveway, and cleaned up sidewalks that ran along with four homes. No one had asked him to do this, his mother said. He just did it from the goodness of his heart, for humanity.

It is awesome when a kind human does some random act of kindness. Way to go. There is still good in this world.

Monday, February 12, 2007

I Am Not a Mascot

This was done by a student at U of I for a sociology class. It may offend you, but don't forget about the Native Americans.

Racial tensions on campus

Racial tensions on college campuses is a thing of the past. Or at least it should be, but unfortunately, it is not. University of Illinois, of Urbana- Champaign, is going through racial tensions due to a debate on their mascot. Check out the story at The mascot up for debate is a symbol of a Native American chief, is it acceptable or unacceptable?

Personally, if another group of people feel offended by this symbol because of cultural reasons, then it is time to have a dialogue and come up with a solution. No culture should be in a negative spotlight, despite what the dominant culture thinks.

There needs to be better relations between races on college campuses. No need of a Us vs. Them attitude. The point of going to college is to experience many things that outside college life cannot. Differences need to be put aside, to better understand each other in mature and responsible fashion.

A true democracy respects the voice and opinions of all people.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Got dialogue?

It is important to have dialogue on all issues, regardless of our opinions. We need to hear the other side. Look at that point of view. A true learner is not afraid to challenge his or her own thoughts, opinions and ideas. It is a necessity, if we want our society to advance in human relations.

So, I am challenging you and myself to having an open, yet honest dialogue.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Uplifting your spirit

Make a conscious effort to study nature, its delicate details. There are hidden, beautiful treasures that can be found in nature.

Contemplate. Reflect.

Just like our minds and body, our spirit also needs exercising as well. I am not going to preach to you what method of religion you should follow--that is your decision.

What I want to write to you is don't forget to strengthen your spirit through religious or meditation methods. Our spiritual and religious needs are part of our being. Some place more emphasis on spiritual and religious beliefs, and some do not.

Make time to exercise your spirit, whatever way is up to you.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Now let's exercise the body...

News have reported that more Americans are heavier than before. An interesting site you want to check out is CNN's Fit Nation:

Experts are now recommending to have at least 30 minutes of daily exercise about 5 to 6 times a week. Just keep moving. The more you move, the better for your body. It is important for our body to be fit and relaxed, so that we may focus on other issues surrounding within ourselves and our environments.

After all, "a sound mind in a sound body is a short but full description of a happy state in this world" (John Locke, 1632-1704).

Thursday, February 8, 2007

At least do something...

If you don't want to volunteer, or your excuse is not enough time, or "I am too busy," at least join an association or organization of some sort. That way you could be informed through mailings, magazines, conferences, websites, etc., of issues that may interests you.

By being part of a group, you have representatives working on your behalf through your donations and contributions.

Groups are only as strong as their members. It is up to the members to strengthen or weaken the group and its purposes.

Groups are part of the building blocks of an ideal democracy because people work collectively with each other to strengthen society.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Are you ready to make a difference?

I am going to emphasis to you again, to volunteer either locally, nationally, or globally. Pick your choice. You have to see how others are living, thinking and doing.

Volunteering doesn't have to take much time. It could be from few minutes to a couple of hours a week. Imagine if all citizens volunteered to some extent, what kind of world would we have?
No really. Imagine.

Make a difference, if not in some one's life, then let it be yours.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

It is your right to volunteer

One of the best ways to know about ourselves and others is to volunteer. By volunteering, you are teaching yourself to be humble and treat people with more respect. N.A. posted this quote "Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth" (Muhammad Ali quote).

Volunteering has many benefits. Not only does it look nice on your resume, but it actually gives you an energetic perspective on life, especially if it is out of your comfort zone.

Exercise your right to volunteer.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Ourselves vs. The Others

To begin the journey of trying to understand life, I say that we need to understand ourselves first, and then understand others. We need to understand why our local environment (family, home, town, society we live in, etc.) is the way it is.

By understanding our local environment, then we are able to study nationally, and then globally. We are all puzzle pieces that link to each other.

So, I recommend that you start by knowing your family history. Know what you can. After that, learn about your birth town/residence. It is important to understand what the town expects of you and from you. Then you want to study your region (state, province, etc.). You will be surprised to see similarities and differences in your region. Once you have reached the level of understanding, move on getting to know your nation. That is were many similarities and differences are like your state, but on a larger scale. Finally, once you know your own nation, then it is time to study global issues.

Your experiences, starting with yourself to your nation, will lead you to have an open mind or at least the willingness to learn about others and their lives.

Of course all of this will not happen over night. It is a long process and an evolving process.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Who am I? I am a Human.

Since I challenged you to think about who you are, I will give you a bit of who I am. I am a human that believes ALL HUMANS have inalienable rights regardless of ethnic or gender origin.

When I see man, woman, or child get hurt, I get hurt. When I see man, woman, or child succeed, I succeed.

I, also, believe that Life is ONE HUGE Classroom. I believe that Life has so many things to teach us, but many of its students (humans) don't take the time to study. If they all did, we would have a better understanding of cultural diversities.

I see with my brain, but listen with my heart.

This is awesome!