Saturday, December 29, 2007

I just wanted to say

You know who you are :)

Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Cleaned House

today. In shining up the floor, I gave myself chafed hands and maid's knees.

And the vacuum cleaner did go poof, with the odor of burnt rubber :(

BUT... now it's all said and done, everything is SPARKLING CLEAN :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Several Things Wiser :)

I.Melancholy revisited

So previously I had written about Trade (2007), the movie.
Through conversation with other people and a bit of reading on the web, I've come to a few conclusions:

A) Crimes like human trafficking are so complex that one person cannot ever hope to fight them alone. Instead, one person can spread the word about the existence of these crimes to as many people as will listen. By the power of a group of people -- by increased vigilance, pooled resources -- then something more substantial can be done.

B) One can educate themselves about this crime. Knowledge is truly power. When you know, you can then plan go to proceed. After being exposed to that human trafficking still exists and how, in Trade (2007), amateur porn footage can be produced by using these sex slaves, I can make a difference by encouraging people to boycott porn or at least porn of unknown sources.

C) Keep updated with other breaches of human rights. By creating an worldwide atmosphere of respect and justice for fellow human beings, we can decrease tolerance for such crimes. One good (and very prominent) website that I stumbled upon is Human Rights Watch -- news posted here is current and well researched.

II. A story for thought

So today I ate dinner with a peer, who is about the same age and socioeconomic standing as me. As we sat at dinner, this person started to belittle the achievements of a very accomplished and much older and worldlier person (who has traveled extensively because his work is very much in demand and also has one of the most respected positions in his line of work). After trying unsuccessfully to reason with my peer about the merits of the person being belittled, I very quickly finished dinner and left.

Some things about this peer of mine had been bothering me all day. The fact that this person does not like to read, does not like to study for betterment, expresses very little interest in anything even when explicitly asked. To add insult to injury, this person asks for my recommendations and then does not follow up on them. All of these things, I do not understand. I especially do not understand someone not wanting to be the best that they can be by educating themselves.

And so I googled "Why do people not want to be educated," and I found an article by RC, entitled "Do You Want a More Educated Mind? Seven Common Traps You Need to Avoid" at the following site

The article starts with
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
- Aristotle

That made me think. Sure, I was judging this person for judging someone else. But maybe I should have withheld my own judgment and heard them out.

And the first of the seven common traps was "1) You gravitate toward people that agree with you and reject those with differing viewpoints." By leaving this person quickly at dinner, I was doing exactly a corollary of trap one. Because we were in disagreement, I headed off.

And then there was trap three, "3) You label people who don’t match your way of thinking. There are two extremes for this… Labeling people as crazy, loony, far-out, or the other extreme, labeling people as close-minded, “asleep,” or lacking awareness." While this person was labeling someone else as boastful and untrustworthy, I was labeling this person as close-minded and unappreciative of others.

By doing so, I fell directly into trap six, "6) You don’t make the effort to understand an issue from other people’s perspectives."

As I read this article, I realized that while I thought of myself as pretty educated, perhaps a portion of my education is yet incomplete. I can still be much more open-minded.

Like James William Fulbright, US Senator, said,
"We must dare to think unthinkable thoughts. We must learn to explore all the options and possibilities that confront us in a complex and rapidly changing world."

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The saddest thing in the world

After seeing this movie, I cried more than I have with any other movie. The movie is

Trade (2007)

Based on
The New York Times > Magazine > The Girls Next Door
By PETER LANDESMAN Published: January 25, 2004.

Please be advised that below the movie poster, I write a bit about my thoughts, which may contain spoilers to the movie.

Trade (2007) explores the trafficking of human sex slaves, captured against their will and/or tricked into slavery with false promises of a better life in America. Trade weaves several tales into one -- that of Veronica, a young Ukrainian woman who traveled to Mexico in hopes of better income in America; that of Adriana, a teenage Mexican girl who is kidnapped from the streets of Mexico City while riding a bicycle
bought by her brother with money he swindled from a US tourist with the false promise of prostitutes; that of Jorge, Adriana's brother, who goes across the continent to rescue his kidnapped sister; that of Raymond, the US cop who meets Jorge on his own mission to find his lost daughter, last seen some 10 years ago before being sold by her own junkie mother into the untraceable, unfathomable sex slave trade.

Women of whom Veronica was based had no more understanding of America than what little they extrapolated from the impossibly romanticized and distorted lens that is Hollywood movies. The promise of a faraway country brings hope and dreams, as it had before with so many generations of immigrants. Based on the pureness of hope that had built entire countries of immigrants, Trade explores how that hope is distorted and exploited into the most unimaginable nightmare.

Incredibly strong and faithful through the very end, Adriana delivers possibly the most memorable line of the movie, "Veronica te mira. No es demasiado tarde." She appeals to the common faith that binds her and her captor, Manuelo. With these simple and poignant exchange, the rawest of human emotions is captured -- fear, faith, hope, remorse, and forgiveness.

Unlike the two women protagonists in the film, the two male protagonists are depicted more multi-dimensionally. In addition to being victims, they are also victors and perpetrators of related crimes. Jorge pedaled images of prostitutes to men while his sister was being captured to be sold as a sex slave. Raymond committed adultery against his wife and produced a child who was forsaken by her own forsaken mother, his mistress.

In the last scene of the movie, Jorge angrily stabs the Russian leader of the trade ring. The Russian's prostitutes and customers scatter in a flurry of fear and confusion. And finally, the Russian's son yells, "Papa," in the street stained with his fathers blood. We see Jorge's face once more, now with anger tinged with uncertainty.

I normally don't write about things this serious in blogosphere, but this movie on the trade of sex slaves has particularly struck me. I have started to research this topic a bit. I've found several articles highlighting this issue since this decade's start, but haven't yet found anything that may lead to some change in this problem. I will continue to research this issue and report what I find here. Please stay tuned.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I'm so looking forward to my sleep-over


Haven't had a sleep over since 3rd grade, when I slept over at Mrs. Walker's house (3rd grade teacher). She had the whole class over -- well, divided by gender. One night it was all the girls. The other night (which I wasn't around for) it was all the boys. And Mrs. Walker's husband, Barnacle Ben -- yep that's his real name -- hosted. Good times.
For the girls night, I painted my nails for the FIRST time :) This icky sparkly color of iridescent white. Sounds kind of nice, but really different in reality. Cheers to sleepovers.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

This week

is Exam Week. Dun DUN DUNNNNNNNN.....

And I'm feeling very much like an ostrich, wide-eyed and alert. And always ready to bury my head in the sand.

More realistically, sometimes I WISH that I could put my head in the sand. And my behavioral manifestation of that wish is to put my head on the pillow and snooze. With sleep, I feel justified. Although it's not studying, it's making me more alert FOR studying. Moreoever, studies show that sleeping strengthens the desired mental connections.

Please allow me to present, the outrageous bird known as the ostrich: