Farewell Blog

One of the meanings of farewell, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “a formal occasion honoring a person about to leave or retire”. Therefore, I’d like to interpret this farewell blog as a chance for me to formally honor the community and my classmates, as we are about to part ways and embark on a new journey.

I’ll always remember the community that is ICS as a community of students and teachers that values diversity, not only the differences in nationalities or ethnicities, but one in which accepts and absorbs a wide array of ideas, thoughts, and perspectives. Because of the diversity that ICS and the faculties foster, I now learn to celebrate different academic opinions instead of condemning them, cherish thoughful lunchroom conversations, instead of dismissing them, and take pride in assimilating all these different perspectives to gain a larger and more comprehensive look towards the problems that plague today’s world and society.

And to my classmates, first and foremost, congratulations on all your college acceptances. You will be a valuable addition to any institutions and future workplace lucky enough to have your perspectives and ideas.

Thank you for a great senior year!



“Damage and Healing”

There are numerous external conflicts that Paton discussed in Cry, The Beloved Country. One of the most impactful and controversial conflicts is discrimination, as the book is centered around apartheid South Africa. One disciminatory difference between the white people and nonwhite people is an economic one. Many unfortunate black people are pushed towards the outskirts of the city that lack adequate housing, medical care, law enforcement, and education. Paton’s answer to the reality of apartheid South Africa can be seen in the character of Arthur Jarvis. People should strive to fight for justice much like Arthur, who is determined to help the less fortunate minority through writing abook only to be ironically killed by that very minority. This further suggests that it is not an easy task to end discrimination in a very segregated country- one must be willing to sacrifice time, energy, and even one’s life.

In addition, Paton describes many internal conflicts in the book. One such example is a moral brokenness found in Stephen Kumalo, which developed from occurrences with his sister, brother, and Absalom. Stephen suffers greatly when he learns about Absalom and his crime. Because of this, Stephen questions his faith bringing his spirituality and morality into question. Likewise, Jarvis also suffers from the loss of his son. Paton’s solution to moral brokenness can be seen in the encounters between Jarvis and Stephen. This is because it is very inspiring to see forgiveness taking place in the hardest place one could ever imagine, and this is what Paton wants his reader to grasp: in an apartheid country ruled by segregation, both blacks and whites must learn to forgive one another and steer away from violence.


Dr. Zevallos’ website and the book Cry, the Beloved Country display similar themes about the concept of othering. Dr. Zevallos talked about the importance of power, and how social institutions such as law, education, and the media hold the ultimate power in deciding what is correct and normal. In the book, the concept of power is also evident in the way different ethnicities both socially and legally, thereby, enforcing the value of othering. And it is the difference in power that caused othering not only in Thailand, but in the global world.

Throughout history, we see the abuse of power to enforce othering, such as the Civil Rights Movement and the Jim Crow Law era. In today’s world, authority figures abuse their power by indiscriminately deporting immigrants, and arresting and shooting colored people because they can. People in the social institutions of power have their own representation of what is normal and will rid of groups of people who are different. In Thailand, many immigrants from neighbouring countries are being deprived of their rights and abused by authority officers due to the concept of othering. Most often, these people are poor, while those in power are rich and making othering more obvious.

How to Write About…

So you want to write about Thailand? In all honesty, to accomplish this feat is quite easy, as Thailand is quite straightforward. Just be sure to include all of the following:

How to write about Thailand. In the beginning, if you want to mention its history, don’t forget to mention our rich history with elephants. And how, throughout history, helped lead Thailand through many wars and victories, and was the backbone to our agricultural economy. But most importantly, don’t forget to mention that elephants are so important that Thai people, children and adults alike, still use them today to ride to school and go to work.

And towards the climax of the story about Thailand, be sure to talk about politics. Write about the political unrest, the military coup, and the protests that plagued Bangkok. And how because of all the violence, their citizens are always at risk of being harm. But most crucially, mention the corruption surrounding Thai politics. Talk about the fact that if you want to make a log of money, go get a position in the government bureaucracy, but you got to pay some money first.

Lastly, conclude the story by talking about poverty. Sadly talk about how the top 1% of people, mainly politicians, earn more than 99% of people. Then, write about how the streets are filled with beggars and homeless people. This would surely give the readers a pitiful feeling towards Thailand.

In essence, if you want to write about Thailand, be sure to include the aforementioned information and little add-ons like how it is always raining and the spicy food. Certainly, the audience would get a glimpse of what it is like in Thailand.

Answering Che’s Calls to Action

Che’s calls to action is effective in that it uniquely emphasizes the concept of “social medicine” for a healthier society. Throughout his journey, this goal and concept of his certainly shines through in many instances such as with the people experiencing poverty. Because of this, I find that whatever profession you choose to pursue, remember to integrate in the society as well.

Personally, I believe that a degree in law and a career as a lawyer opens up many pathways for me to become successful. And because of the prestige, hardwork ethics, and reward that comes with this job, it is easy for me to overlook the importance of serving the public, especially the underprivileged. Thus, I don’t only want to be known as “Ming the corporate/international lawyer”, but someone who uses the law for the public’s wellbeing. Lastly, my future goals will serve a greater purpose in society and bring about positive social change by helping those who are taken advantage of and oppressed through pro bonos, legal clinics, and working towards UN’s peace goals.

Travel and Tourism

Respect is the ultimate characteristic of being a responsible tourist. This means respecting not only the people their, but their culture, history, religion, and social norms. And when traveling to a foreign place, one should always keep that concept in mind at all times.

If you are going to a foreign place, the most important thing to do is familiarize yourself with that country. This means learning their rules, the dos and don’ts to avoid committing any faux pas, and learning the basics of their law so that you don’t get in trouble unintentionally. For example, this could mean leaving your shoe outside before entering someone’s house or getting in an orderly queue. Futhermore, being aware of your body language is important as certain sign languages have different meanings in different countries. And by doing this, you can successfuly avoid offending anyone there. However, you should not only respect, but also embrace their culture and history. This means going in with an open mindset, and devote your time and energy in learning their culture by exploring and talking to the locals and visiting attraction sites not just shopping malls.

There are certainly types of tourism and traveling that are immoral and damaging. On the extreme spectrum, this means dealing drugs, doing illegal transactions, and doing something violent. On a lighter note, this could mean not respecting their culture by for example, not following their rules or not respecting the religious aspects of the country.

All in all, it is very important to have respect in a country that we are visiting by educating yourself beforehand.

“The Many Sides of a City”

Boston is the largest city in Massachusetts rich with history. When Governor John Winthrop first became leader, he described Boston as a “City upon a Hill”.  This phrase could not better describe the characteristics of the capital city of Massachusetts, a city enriched by its history, famous educational institutions, and international diversity. Certainly, these different sides of Boston are what makes it shines and “light up” among other US cities.

Boston is home to many historical events, including the American Revolution. America’s patriotism stems from these events such as the Boston Tea Party and Boston Massacre. The patriotism and nationalistic feelings also comes from years of British oppression, where harsh taxes such as the Townsend acts were imposed. Furthermore, during the Civil War, Boston was home to many anti-slavery activities. Certainly, the historical side of Boston which reflects the United States as a nation is second to none.

Apart from the historical side, Boston is home to many higher educational institutions. The likes of Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Tufts University forms the prestigious “Brainpower Triangle”. The area within this triangle consists of the brightest and most intellectual minds in the world. With about 20% percent of the population in Boston comprising of university students, Boston surely celebrates its academic side in an intellectual way.

Lastly, Boston also fosters an international diversity that is growing every year. Only behind Los Angeles and New York, Boston ranks third for the most foreign students. These foreign students bring a whole new culture to classrooms in universities. Years of mass migration from Europe and Asia also explains why Boston can be described as a “quilt of culture”, with different culture woven in Boston’s identity. This international diversity side of Boston is unmatched by any other cities in America.


Indian Short Story Analysis

“The Storeyed House” by Waman Hoval


  • Traditionally known as untouchables and lived on the outskirts of villages. Performed various duties for the entire village, including as watchmen and messengers.

“Can you forget your position simply because you’ve turned Buddhist?”

  • The conversion of untouchables to Buddhism, does not mean they can disregard Hinduism enitrely and identify with the Brahmin class.

Betel Leaves

  • In India, these betel leaves are offered as a sign of respect and to mark beginnings and occasions such as greeting elders during wedding or New Year.

This short story provides numerous insights to the social standing of the untouchables. For example, we know that the untouchables, due to poverty, don’t posses much personal items, with Bayaji, the main “untouchable” character, being able to pack “his entire household goods in this box”. Furthermore, this story also reflects the difficult work the untouchables have to do, described as “lifting heavy loads … day and night”.  Poverty and hardship are conditions that define the lives of this class. In addition, the untouchables were looked down upon by society, often mistreated and . In essence, this short story portrays the untouchables as living in extreme poverty, both physically and mentally.

Despite the caste system being abolished many years ago, the theme of discriminating against the lower classes is still prevalent today. This is due to India’s religious influence: Hinduism. The concept of reincarnation and karma from Hinduism still impact the negative light the untouchables are seen in. Because of the idea that one should suffer for one’s karma, Indians are less sympathetic towards the untouchables, and making this issue a complex one.


Social Issues

Differences in social status and income are the root cause of social issues. Therefore, one of the most pressing social issues that we should address is the wealth divide between rich and poor. There are numerous factors that affect why there is still an economic gap between different social classes. For example, different levels of education impact the wages people received. Furthermore, technology enforces the need to get educated as many jobs require knowledge and skills in computer and social media, which are alien to poor people. Because the people in slums are living in extreme poverty, they will seek to improve their situation through many means, often unconventional. This is where other social problems arise. These people will move out of their slums into big cities such as Bangkok causing urbanization. Urbanization then results in many social problems such as job competition and pollution. In addition, people living in slums will resort to committing crimes in order to sustain themselves such as dealing drugs. Therefore, the state of the slums will only worsen. Lastly, people living in slums are willing to sacrifice their integrity so that they can survive by working as prostitutes. In conclusion, one can say that to solve these social issue one should address the problem of poverty in slum areas and help decrease income disparity.


Karma and Suffering

If Jesus is the “answer” to every Bible/Sunday school question, or hydrogen bond is the answer you put for most questions on your chemistry test, then surely karma is the equivalent of those two answers when it comes to questions dealing with suffering. But as there are scientific evidences that show that hydrogen bond affects water’s unique solvent property, what kind of solid proof do we have to back our claim that karma indeed affects one’s life. Growing up in a Buddhist family and in a predominantly Buddhist country, I have always been perplexed by these karma-related questions. Since I was young, I have been taught to strictly follow the five precepts in Buddhism the reason being that we should refrain from doing bad deeds. And when suffering comes upon us, I frequently hear that karma is the sole provider for the unfortunate event. As someone who believes in the impacts of karma, it is important to cope with the suffering that we will inevitably face. We should realize that everyone in this world suffers. There is not a single person in this world who has lived a happy and pleasant life the entire time. By having this mindset, you will be able to cope with suffering better because it will give you comfort in knowing that there is someone else that has gone through or is going through similar hardships and that you are not alone. In essence, even though karma may play a major role in determining every step of one’s life, it should not hinder how you cope with suffering.