Belief and Determination uder Pressure

What would Digna do on witnessing the poor child suffering agony? Did her belief or her determination change?
A woman walked from place to place hoping to find magic that can cure the disease of a girl that has no blood connection with her. She ran from science to superstition. She asked help from don to doctors. Her belief seemed to be flexible; she seemed not to possess a specific or particular faith. However, whoever was in her situation could have acted like her. What should she do on witnessing her so-called daughter’s “body trembled and deep long moan[s], like a love call, ran through her” (70), and her body “shake[d] convulsively; …arched backward with superhuman force” (Ibid)?
The mother, Digna, was very religious; in fact, she “had the habit of talking with God” (11), she “lost herself in long prayer and confessions” (12). She devoted her time and health for God although she had to take care of her children and family without the help of her husband who usually went out for work. However, what did religions do to pay back her belief? What did God do to show His power? She didn’t see any symbols of God; what she saw was that “the Church was the friend of the rich and the foe of the poor” (63), what she noticed was that one religion considered the other as a rival. Hence, she was like a sheep without the shepherd. Inside her heart, she wondered whether her belief was an illusion or reality. And her faith seemed to be shaky.
As a result, she went to science with the hope to rescue the poor child from the torture of her malady. She hoped science could have a remedy to cure the child’s “English disease” (56).Yet in this country, somehow science was also not reliable. She asked help from a doctor, but what kind of treatment she received: “ignore [the child] and hope that when she grew out of adolescence she would also grow out of the attacks” (57). Hope. Yes, only hope. She went to him with a hope, and then she was asked to wait with a hope. If this hope wouldn’t be fulfilled, the child absolutely would continue suffering anguish until her demise.
What’s more, before obstacles, Digna was like a person downing in a deep river. She didn’t know what to believe in and what to do. Hence, she held on everything that she could think of. Somehow, she was like Callimo in “The Fortune Teller,” upon facing fear and confusion, his belief altered. He ran to the fortune teller. Similarly, Digna ran from the west to the east, from mountains to deltas with hopes to cure the poor child’s disease although these hopes were as small as a grain of sand in an ocean. For her, caring for Evangelina was no longer a responsibility, a mother’s duty. She could have given up, but she didn’t. She could have returned her to her real parents, but she didn’t. She loved the girl with all her heart and soul. She herself knew that she could never receive anything for her efforts, yet for her, health and smiles of her poor child was the most valuable award. And she contributed her entire life to achieve that award.

Belief and determination under pressure

What would Digna do on witnessing the poor child suffering agony? Did her belief or her determination change? A woman walked from place to place hoping to find magic that can cure the disease of a girl that has no blood connection with her. She ran from science to superstition. She asked help from don to doctors. Her belief seemed to be flexible; she seemed not to possess a specific or particular faith. However, whoever was in her situation could have acted like her. What should she do on witnessing her so-called daughter’s “body trembled and deep long moan[s], like a love call, ran through her” (70), and her body “shake[d] convulsively; …arched backward with superhuman force” (Ibid)?

 The mother, Digna, was very religious; in fact, she “had the habit of talking with God” (11), she “lost herself in long prayer and confessions” (12). She devoted her time and health for God although she had to take care of her children and family without the help of her husband who usually went out for work. However, what did religions do to pay back her belief? What did God do to show His power? She didn’t see any symbols of God; what she saw was that “the Church was the friend of the rich and the foe of the poor” (63), what she noticed was that one religion considered the other as a rival. Hence, she was like a sheep without the shepherd. Inside her heart, she wondered whether her belief was an illusion or reality. And her faith seemed to be shaky.

 As a result, she went to science with the hope to rescue the poor child from the torture of her malady. She hoped science could have a remedy to cure the child’s “English disease” (56).Yet in this country, somehow science was also not reliable. She asked help from a doctor, but what kind of treatment she received: “ignore [the child] and hope that when she grew out of adolescence she would also grow out of the attacks” (57). Hope. Yes, only hope. She went to him with a hope, and then she was asked to wait with a hope. If this hope wouldn’t be fulfilled, the child absolutely would continue suffering anguish until her demise.

What’s more, before obstacles, Digna was like a person downing in a deep river. She didn’t know what to believe in and what to do. Hence, she held on everything that she could think of. Somehow, she was like Callimo in “The Fortune Teller,” upon facing fear and confusion, his belief altered. He ran to the fortune teller. Similarly, Digna ran from the west to the east, from mountains to deltas with hopes to cure the poor child’s disease although these hopes were as small as a grain of sand in an ocean. For her, caring for Evangelina was no longer a responsibility, a mother’s duty. She could have given up, but she didn’t. She could have returned her to her real parents, but she didn’t. She loved the girl with all her heart and soul. She herself knew that she could never receive anything for her efforts, yet for her, health and smiles of her poor child was the most valuable award. And she contributed her entire life to achieve that award.

A Letter to All of You!!!

 Dear All,

An academic year is reaching its end. During this year, we have experienced and shared happy and unhappy memories with each other. It is high time to look back to the past and reminisce about these beautiful days so that we can understand our luck and have more zeal and stamina to overcome obstacles that are awaiting us in the future.

In the first days in the Asian University for Women, everything was new and strange to almost all of us. At that time, we were like small birds that flew to the sky with innocent eyes and weak wings. We found it difficult to adapt to the new environment. Sometimes, we felt upset to encounter with different people about whom we hadn’t thought before, hear different languages about which we hadn’t known before, and taste different kinds of food that we imagined before. Sometimes, the nostalgia was so strong that we felt remorseful and endeavored to escape. However, like Vasant Moon’s community, everything has changed as time elapses. If today Moon’s community is named after Anandnagar, “Happy City” (176), in AUW’s community we are named after “AUW’s students.” If today fields in Moon’s vasti disappear, the segregation and gaps between nations, complexion, and knowledge in AUW’s community are also dispelled. If today concrete houses in Moon’s community are built everywhere (Ibid.), friendship and solidarity are spread in every corner in AUW’s environment. And if Moon’s community is the crackle of notable people such as Devidas Khaparde, Jogendra Kavade (175), AUW is the garden for leaders in the future by preparing for us knowledge about various aspects.

Maybe, Vasant Moon’s community can be forgotten as time passes, but hope that memories in this year will never be obscured in our minds. Hope that the images of pigeons that are the symbol of loyalty and peace will still be in our minds so that we will be responsible for friends whom we have “tamed.” Lastly, hope that friends who will go back your countries will have a nice vacation with your loved ones. Besides, hope that friends who will stay in AUW can savor a wonderful holiday in this foreign country. And remember the fact that we are still friends whether we see each other again.

Sincerely,

Tram Pham

Autobiography (Part 2)

‘“I will go hungry, but I will not steal. I may die of hunger but not lay my hands on anyone else’s goods” (75).The words from my mother’s tongue seem to be a knife penetrating my heart. My head is still obsessed with these words although I endeavor to forget them. I am a thief and liar. I am willing to exchange my integrity with a dozen of bananas. To satisfy my hunger, I deceive an old woman, and I deceive myself. In contrast, my mother accepts to lose her job instead of having a stain on her reputation. Hence, I feel mortified before her. I feel guilty of myself. What should I do now?’ These words were written in Vasant Moon’s diary after he understood why his mother lost her job.

 

Like Moon, we human beings often make mistakes, but we don’t concede them until someone points them out or unintentionally mentions something relevant to our mistakes.

 

These thoughts lead me to my childhood when I used to be such an obstinate that I would want to take revenge to my parents because they coerced me into not making friends with the one I liked. To be candid, my friend was not good; indeed, she was a naughty girl, a bad student, and a disobedient child.  She even played gambling and drank beer. Despite these facts, I sustained making friends with her because I believed that she had a heart inside the label “spoiled girl” and one day I could find out this heart. However, unfortunately I was altered before altering her. To make friend with her, I learnt to go to parties, talk with so-called gangs, and said stupid words. Needless to say, my results reversed, and my parents had to give me curfew and threats of cutting my allowance. At first, I was so irate that I wanted give them reprisal in return. However, the less I was with her, the more I realized her bad attributes. And I myself wanted to terminate our relationship. I wouldn’t have stopped making friends with her if my parents hadn’t given my adverse deterrents. I would have lived in different path if my parents hadn’t pointed my friend’s bad attributes out. Therefore, I have learnt that it’s good to have others surrounding us so that they can help us to realize our mistakes.

Mysteries about Lying!!!

Judith Viorst has mentioned forms of lying that seem
appropriate and necessary to be told. Social lies are told to maintain our
relationships (181); peace-keeping lies are created to “avoid irritation and
arguments” (182); protective lies are made up to protect our loved ones (183),
and trust-keeping lies are produced to keep our promises (184), for example. Today,
I will present to you different forms of lying that are easy to avoid, but we
human beings usually don’t want to do so. Are you curious? Are you fond of discovering
these enigmas?

Fun-making Lies

These lies are relevant to playing tricks on others.
We use them as a kind of diversion. We use them to make our friends happy. We
use them to push away depressed faces.

Before making these lies, we analyze their pros and
cons, but later, we sacrifice guilty feelings with smiles.

For instance, one of my friends imitated our
teacher’s voice and asked us to come to the conference room to talk about our
study results. At that time, our hearts were out of our bodies. However, when
finding out the truth, all of us burst out laughing.

Sometimes, feeling bored, I make up stories to deceive
friends, but later I feel guilty. How about you?

Reliable Lies

These lies are told to make others believe us.

Do you ever give your words to study so that your
friend agrees to work a group with you, but the concealed reason is because you
want to be with her? Similarly, before being voted, electors promise to do many
things. However, how many do have the abilities to realize all of their promises?

These lies are also called self-protective lies. To
become good images on others’ eyes, we somehow have to make up stories in which
we become either heroes or victims.

Do you tell your mother that because of playing
basketball, your fingers were injures? Or will you concede this wound is the
result of pillow fights with your sister at midnight?

Are you willing to acknowledge that your laziness
caused to your bad grades? Or will you make some excuses: “This test is too
difficult,” or “I was sick in that day, so I could not study”? I seem to be tempted
to tell lies. How about you?

Self-deceptive Lies

These lies
are apparent in the play “Death of the Salesman” by Auther Miller. For
instance, Willy faced self-deception when he put his too many expectations on
Biff. Under his eyes, Biff was a hero, who was admired and respected by many
people, including Oliver; however, it turned out to be that he was only a
shipping clerk, a thief, and a jobless boy. I don’t like this theme because Willy
was more devastated when the truth was divulged. How about you?

However, these lies are good in some cases. In fact,
they help us keep our morale and zeal to sustain endeavoring. “Everything will
be okay.” Many times I try to sedate myself before obstacles by murmuring these
words. How about you?

Autobiography (part 1)

In the chapter “Heat and Rain,” Moon Vasant describes his beautiful boyhood during hot days in summer. Reading one page after another, I am ecstatic to live in Moon’s colorful life and observe the appearance of strange fruits and ceremonies. Through the lines, I smell the flavors and taste the sweetness of different kinds of fruit. I hear the shouts and laughter of the kids when it begins to rain. I also feel their fears when they steal food. All of the imageries remind me to my own childhood when I used to share the same experiences with my friends. We would steal fruit from our neighbors due to having fun rather than suffering hunger. We would endeavor to jump over high fences to “harvest” ripe fruits; we would shout out when we were tightly holding these fruits in hands, and we would run as fast as we could whenever we noticed a slight sound. Being so innocent, we would even take showers in rain without wearing clothes. We would run houses after houses in order to invite our friends to join us. After that, all of us would race to a big damp in another village and even dived ourselves into it. After savoring enough the influx of water from the mouth of a huge dragon in the sky (our childish beliefs), we would go back home with enough zeal and energy. Sometimes, I wonder why our parents were so lenient in those days. Indeed, they didn’t say a word or forbid us to expose to the dirty water in the damp.

 

Usually, I wonder why people’s attributes change as time elapses because those beautiful days seem to disappear when we grow older. Maybe, today, we are mature birds with solid wings, so we can find our own directions and ways to our nests. Maybe, we are now independent enough to find food and establish new relationships ourselves. Maybe, those hobbies seem to be absurd for us, adults in the contemporary society. I don’t know the exact answer. However, I exactly know a truth that I have never felt remorseful for those beautiful days.

My Beloved Neighborhood

My community is divided into four small villages according to their directions. My village is adhered to the name “WestVillage,” and its people are called “Western villagers” because it lies in the west of the community. Besides, it has the nickname “Pig” because almost all of the villagers earned money from raising pigs. The villagers usually heard pigs’ cries at meals’ times or at periods when old pigs were sold and new babies were bought. As a result, many people formed the habit to predict meals’ time according to pig’s cries. Nobody can say who were the first ancestors of this village, but since the first day of my life, I have heard many stories about the neighbors who connected their lives with this village tens of years ago. In fact, I absorbed their stories so deeply that I learnt their family trees by heart.

Needless to say, Miss Hoa’s house was conspicuous in my village because it had a large garden in front where children used to gather there and play games. Moreover, because of its location—at the end of the village, Miss. Hoa’s house functioned like a brick connecting my village with the South one. Every night, the villagers would gather in her garden to tell stories. While the eldest woman murmured the stories about old days when her peers and she took care of buffaloes in muddy fields, took baths in large, green rivers, and fried fish in big fields, the others listened carefully and sometimes moved their legs to avoid mosquitoes. After her childhood’s stories, the stories about her girlhood sustained being told. She was always proud of her prosperous girlhood when she had been chased by both “Western boys” and boys in adjacent villages. She wouldn’t stop saying until her face was hurt by mosquitoes’ bites, and her throat was dry. In my village, houses shared walls with houses, so nothing could happen without the notice of the villagers; therefore, parents felt safe enough to allow their children to stay up late to hear stories providing that they weren’t tardy for class the next day.

My village was so close that information was transmitted quickly without the help of the Internet. Understanding that sooner or later, every secret would be disclosed although they were kept tightly, the villagers chose to share their secrets publicly. One day, Mrs. Binh, who was notable for her fertility; indeed she gave birth to 11 kids, would cry, “My daughter gave birth with a boy in the near village.” Immediately, all the women stopped doing their household chores, ran to Mrs. Binh’s house and quested about the baby’s father. Such the curiosity was so effective that some minutes later, Mrs. Binh’s cries would change into laughter.

However, from time to time, such the reliability to share secrets would change into competitions and even revulsion. Whenever a child got good marks, his or her friendship with the friend next to the door was liable to be shaky because the parents somehow put the definition of arrogance and shame in their children’s heads. They taught the children the lesson of the winners, who were wise, and the losers, who were stupid; therefore, the children were in fond of showing their talents off and were ashamed of not being perfect.

In the middle of the village, there was a mango tree, which was a cradle of horror tales; in fact, the adults usually told stories about huge ghosts with long hair, tongue, and fingernails, who would cannibalize disobedient kids. Consequently, in the evening, many mothers fed their children in the tree’s roots.

Opposite to the tree, in the right hand, there was the house of an old widow, who rarely lived in peace. Every day, from day to night, the villagers heard her complaints and reprimands. I felt as if she preferred to die than to keep silent. However, everyone ignored her complaints; they even sometimes took time to visit this lenient widow. After I many times insisted, one day, I was told the story about this miserable woman. She had had a fantastic life of which many women had been jealous: an affluent family with kind husband and cute children. However, when waking up one day, her life was reversed: her husband and son were informed to be killed in the American-Vietnamese war; her only daughter eloped with an American soldier and was killed on her way to America. The widow decided to move to another village to escape from the memories of a miserable past, but she returned soon with the reason that she couldn’t live away from the land of her ancestors. One month later, she sold her house, which was near the entrance of the village, and bought her current house.

Mr. Sy, who was the head of the village, became the owner of her house. Next to his house, in the left hand, there was an empty field that was used to park tractors and cars. Now and then, this field was used for celebrating parties to welcome officials who came to investigate the environment, the population, and living standards of the villagers. This field was named “Mr. Duc’s diaper,” and everyone, from a kid to an old man, knew the origin of this name. One day, in a party that was held in this field, Mr. Duc drank so much that he seemed unconscious, and no one could bring him to home. When he woke up, his pants were filled with his urine. After that accident, people called him “Baby,” and this field became “Duc’s diaper.”

The Interview about Happiness

     What is happiness? Why do many people endeavor to achieve the thing that they cannot define? Why do they spend money, time, and effort on discovering the enigma of happiness, which they cannot touch, see, or eat? What is the true power of happiness that helps it attracts everyone in the globe? Below table are the records of an interview that questions some people’s thoughts about happiness and tactics they use to achieve it.

 

Willy Biff
     Happiness is similar to be affluent and famous. For me, huge salaries of a job that is suitable for my age is happiness. I also aspire to witness my sons’ success, especially Biff, of whom I always feel guilty. At the end of my life, I hope many people to attend my funeral and pay the last respect to me.

     To achieve these things, I always endeavor to work hard and coerce my sons to do so as well. I want them to realize that happiness lies in our hands, and whether we want to hold it or not is vital.

     My happiness is to be what I am. I want to be myself and do what like to do. For me, happiness is not necessarily noble or wealthy. I dream to have a farm where I savor peace with a beautiful wife, nice animals, and beautiful plants.

     I will try to persuade my father, Willy, to support my dream.  I will work hard to make him proud of me although my dreams aren’t relevant to what he hopes.

Linda Happy
     My happiness is my husband’s and sons’ happiness. I feel satisfied whenever I see them love and care for each other. For me, they are the best people in the world.

     To realize my dreams, I attempt to bring joy to my family such as supporting Willy whenever he is devastated, encouraging Biff to work hard, and reminding Happy not to get irate with his brother, Biff.

     My happiness is to possess big cars, big houses, and to talk with beautiful girls. I think that to live is to savor, so I always live joyfully and satisfyingly.

     I want the merchandise manager to die to achieve my happiness. (Laugh). To be candid, I think that I am happy, so I don’t need to anything else. I am satisfied with my life now. The only thing annoying me is to hear my father’ and brother’s quarrel.

 

     After reading these records, hope that you all will find the exact meaning of happiness and appropriate strategies to achieve it.

Growing Up Untouchable in India

In the chapters “Fearless” and “Callousness and Clouds” of the novel Growing Up Untouchable in India, gender discrimination was implied. Indeed, as a boy, Vasant Moon was sent to school and oriented to achieve valuable goals such as a saheb (11). He was also the recipient of thorough care and attention. In contrast, his mother possessed nothing for herself. For instance, the decision to marry lay in her father’s hand, and all her father’s properties also lay in her brother’s hand, Laxman. The definition of the inequality between genders seemed to absorb so deeply in Moon’s community that many girls didn’t have chances to go to school because they were anticipated being wives. For example, at the age of 16, his mother was considered to be old and somehow a leftover, which would be rotten unless it was used soon. Therefore, her father, without taking into account of his daughter’s real happiness, approved of her marriage with an affluent drunkard. Besides, like other girls, his mother was raised as a beautiful flower in a garden; indeed, she said no curses or did no household chores. However, after that, she was sold for a stranger and considered as a non-living object. In fact, everyday, his husband, Waman, would savor his diversion by beating her; moreover, he was so indifferent to her cries and insists that he sustained forcing her children to drink alcohol. What a ruthless husband and father!

Furthermore, the two chapters didn’t describe Moon’s attitude towards his father. Did he awe him? Did he dislike him? Or was he afraid of him? What did he think when witnessing her father beating his miserable mother? What did he think when being forced to drink alcohol? I think that this curiosity might be satisfied according a scene in the novel: Moon and his sister went out to beg (22). His love to his mother was infinite, so he could sacrifice his reputation and shame to reduce his mother’s pressure. What a good son! Therefore, how could he express his animosity towards a person who exploited his beloved mother while that person was his father?

To live is to choose.

In the poem, “The Road Not Taken,” Robert Frost stated clearly the thoughts, feelings, and anxieties of a person who is facing a dilemma. After looking at and analyzing two roads representing two choices, the speaker chose the one that seemed to be eccentric and strange to him or her. In fact, with the interest in exploring and learning, he or she preferred the one that was “less travelled by” although it might be more difficult and dangerous than the other. Moreover, understood that when a decision was made, it couldn’t be made again, the speaker always endeavored to be satisfied with and responsible for what he or she had chose.

Like the speaker, we human beings also cannot escape from making decisions in our lives. Indeed, our lives are chess matches, and we are players of these matches; therefore, we always have to decide which pawns will go next. Also, we cannot stop the matches until their ends, the ends of our lives.  We may be confused, frustrated, or worried about the advantages and disadvantages of each pawn, but we cannot choose more than one. In addition, we have to make our own decisions; others can only give us advice and suggestions. We can make the right choices, or we cannot. However, at the ends of our lives, we can sigh because at least we have the abilities to decide the road of our lives.

Regarding the old, young, girls, or boys

No one can be exempted from choices.

Zeus even has to make his own voice

To support his wife or the mother of the boy

Who has saved him from his dead-point.

 

Therefore, don’t find ways to ignore or hide,

However try to show our strength and pride

So that every last decision often might

Be the one that makes us satisfied

Though we can’t say its results will be nice.

 

And after choosing one in the dilemma,

Never look back and hope we can be able

To return in the past and make another

But endeavor to become responsible

For what we have chosen forever.

 

Also, learn that to live is to choose

So try to pick the right one through

Considering bad and good between two

So that our lives will be sewed

In cloth and fabric that are cute.