Tribute to Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014)

Tribute to Maya Angelou (1928 - 2014)

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To be or not to be destructed by digital technology?

          When I was 7 years old, I had received my first desktop by my father as a present for the purposes of education. Nonetheless, all sorts of CD games, even those from cereal boxes long ago, have been installed for pleasure and excitement that board games could not provide as it was convenient and captured my attention along with my other siblings. Internet access came in my life when I was in grade nine. Within Richtel’s piece of digital technologies, medical studies, and the story of 17 year old – Vishal Singh, Matt delves into the life of this teenager and his career aspiration for film-making who suffers for his passion in computer and its software in his studies. His parents gave him a computer in grade seven, which has initiated his love for the film-making industry and longing desires to go to an elite art related college. Despite a low GPA –  he offers his intellectual knowledge to his parents, and his portfolio where he hopes to compensate for the sake of his future. His love for technology may be his downfall but it is also the central aspect of his life.

       Matt Richtel’s work – “Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction” examines the effects of the continuously evolving digital technologies in our lives as well as its influence on students’ studying habits. The fascinating piece that I found relatable in one’s life is those familiar social types and its cliques of the jocks, the nerds, the popular, and so on. Depending on our behaviours, academic and interaction abilities, everyone was marked with a label but we also secretly had a desire to belong somewhere. Enter the 21st century, new labels have arisen for the social butterflies and couch potatoes to the texter, gamer, YouTube potato, and Facebook addict. Is it wrong if I am guilty of all of these habits? Granted, they provide me instant gratification with streaming videos, access to music content, interaction to friends & family whenever I wish at a 24/7 convenience but I am also losing valuable time that can be spent within face-to-face interaction, and physically spending time with loved ones.

            When the notion of ‘rewiring the brain’ , it was interesting as to how several studies such as the German Sport University in Cologne in 2007 have conducted on the use of different media elements such as television and video games, and its immense influences on the growing minds of young children. Richtel provides the medical information and studies for his claims on digital technologies rewiring our minds. We are becoming more inclined and programmed to a way where instantaneous information and assistance is more reliant and convenient than traditional books. On a twist of Dr. Rich’s words, let’s bring back boredom in moderation.


Richtel, M. (2010, November 21). Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction. The New York Times.
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Response on Thanos Matthai’s profile “A Fine Balance: The Life of a Muslim Teenager”

            The writer of this article, Thanos Matthai, based it on his fellow student, Mohamed Ahmed, a first generation American Muslim. Raised in a wealthy suburban town outside of Boston, Matthai states that only 196 out of 10,000 residents are not Caucasian. Mohamed was one of the 196 residents as well as a Muslim. At 6 foot and 3 inches with a thick husky frame paired with a dark complexion and short black hair, Mohamed played as an outside linebacker and as vice president in student council during high school. Different from his community in terms of religion and ethnicity, his school welcomed him with open hearts and he has also educated the teachings of Islam to show the meanings behind his faith when 9/11 occurred. Apart from his extracurricular activities and school life, Mohamed is forbidden to do many things that his friends commit on a regular basis and what we take for granted. Those things range from drinking alcohol, having sex before marriage, to being forbidden to consume pork. As a Muslim, he strictly follows the regulations such as halal and haramHalal is any object or action allowable in accordance to Islamic law. Haram is the Arabic term for sin such as consuming food that contains the by-products of animals such as gelatin, found in many sweets (i.e. gummy worms, starburst).

            Emigrated from India, Mohamed’s parents strictly regulate and enforce Islam different than the way other young adults have been raised in countries of Pakistan and Egypt as noted by his cousin. This difference can be easily explained through the fear of losing cultural roots when living in multicultural countries like USA and Canada. Although it is their way of bringing their religious roots into his life, it is also the source of conflict that is tearing him apart that many people are experiencing today. This division caused extreme rage and resentment when his drunken friend convinced him to drink from her cup of Sprite, spiked with vodka. It took one year and a half for him to fully forgive her. Personally, I believe when he realized he unknowingly committed haram, hell brought loose. From his environment, he blames himself for what had happened in those circumstances. Divided as a devout Muslim and a first generation American citizen, the stress from his family and desires to be American erupted effortlessly.

          Coming from a Polish heritage – the cuisine is heavily influenced by pork, potatoes, cheese, meats, cabbage, stews, fish among other savoury side dishes such as roasted potatoes and pierogi. Not to mention, Poland is also known for their breweries and vodka. To refrain from alcohol and pork, I would not last very long as Mohamed has, but I would have to say that those who are of the Muslim faith and follow these dietary regulations have diligence and high restraints from temptations. Then again, I was born and raised as a Catholic with Polish cultural roots making me follow different regulations than that of Thanos’ classmate. Personally, I sympathize for Mohamed and other people in similar circumstances where pleasing traditional strict parents is one’s priority that can easily make any child stressed, angry, or confused. There has to be a balance. No one wants to let down their parents but neither do we want to merely follow their wishes because it is the ‘right’ thing to do. For one has a voice to speak and heart to follow as well. Communication is the key in establishing a well-rounded relationship with the people you want in your life.

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Response on ‘Why the Revolution will not be retweeted’

          As the world progresses in technology and social media, we too have expanded our own abilities to communicate within the masses by using the internet in regards to websites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Before the rise and introduction of technology, communication lines of people were quite limited as it was either in person or information was spread through word of mouth. Before the internet, people adapted to the tools they had at that time from where they could spread the word, create posters and advertisements, and notify others about an upcoming social movement. Nonetheless, those communication lines were powerful and personal as it caused direct focus on the issue at hand as it was time consuming itself. In his article, Malcolm Gladwell examines the difference of social activism and methods from the time of the sixties to the present. Gladwell brought examples of events such as the case of the Greensboro on racial segregation with sit-ins and protests, in order to display a social media role and vast activism contrast between the Twitter Revolution of Moldova on the country’s communist government with none other than Twitter.

          Today, one can simply like a Facebook page on a cause and share it to their friends about all sorts of information. Every ‘like’ equals a follower, someone who cares about the affiliated cause. With the introduction of embedded hash tags in Twitter among other sorts of social media, it is now much easier for people all over the world to understand as well as gain knowledge from the perspectives of strangers. Everything is categorized but the question of the matter is any of the information really reached out and acted upon or is it just words on a site collecting likes and comments. Nevertheless, the major downfall of social media has lethally weakened the issues in society in terms of its depth and intensity as the number of people who pretend to care for those causes increases as times goes on. From the words of Sir Francis Bacon, ‘knowledge is power’, but it is up to us how that knowledge is distributed and implemented is the true form of its power.

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George Orwell: “Politics and the English Language” Review

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Known for his novels of the
Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell is one of the most influential English writers from the twentieth century. In his analytical essay – Politics and the English language, Orwell criticizes the usage of the modern English language as ugly and inaccurate through one’s misuse and foolish thoughts. The two causes for the decline of a language are through politics and economics. George Orwell includes examples of political writing passages from professors and journalists from where he dissects its sentences, format, faults as well as blurred purpose. He also points out the two characteristics all of the passages show – outdated forms of imagery and inaccuracy. It is the downfall of language that stems from these two aspects which disguise the true intention of a writer’s words with elaborate phrasings and understatements.

          Since Politics and the English language was written in a time of the 1940s, the terminology is a bit difficult to get through as I read it couple of times to ‘digest’ and comprehend Orwell’s perspective. Not only was it from a different time, George Orwell himself is an accomplished writer whose career revolved around the use of language and creating meaning behind it. It was up to the reader to get into the mind of George Orwell. From the examples, Orwell scrutinize the works of professors and politicians to uncover the meanings which in turn can be interpreted for the reader to not read everything at face value, but rather to read in between the lines as well as its message.

        Without a doubt, when Orwell had a list of elementary rules to implement better writing, I thought these tools would not only help fellow writers and students but anyone who wants to improve their language use to create direct, clear, and critical writing. The rules can be considered as the commandments to create effective writing as it forbids the use of dying metaphors, similes, figures of speech, and foreign/scientific phrases; forbids passive when active can be used in place; and recommends cutting out the filler as well as meaningless words to avoid wordiness. Ultimately, the final rule contradicts the previous rules by abandoning it all to create a proper sentence. Remember to proof-read your writing by yourself and a close friend to not only make it clearer, but also effective to eliminate verbal habits and to deliver your message without hindrance.

Remember Dexter


          From the season premiere to the heart throbbing finale of Dexter, Showtime has successfully completed this serial drama from October 2006 to September 2013, while enticing millions of viewers nation-wide. From the statistics of the original broadcast for the series finale, Dexter had drew out 2.8 million viewers, the largest overall audience in Showtime’s history and one of its prime accomplishments (Hinckley 2013).  Moving on, the actors & actresses alike – Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, Lauren Vélez, and David Zayas have a refreshing yet compelling chemistry on-screen throughout this eight season length criminal suspense series. Although the content can be somewhat hard to turn away from the numerous blood splatter and crime scenes, we as the audience are invited into the mind of someone longing for human connection. That someone is Dexter Morgan – a forensic blood splatter analyst working for the Miami-Metro Police by day and vigilante serial killer by night. In order to control his “Dark Passenger”, Dexter diligently follows the code created by his late father, Harry Morgan, to kill those who have wronged the justice system. When seeing the central protagonist going through his transition, Dexter had evolved emotionally and socially from a compartmentalized anti-social life style with strict code procedures to someone who is kind and caring for his close friends & family as well as taking responsibility on raising his child.

          Ultimately, Dexter succeeds as he creates those valued human connections he hungered for. However, he sacrifices the life he struggled to attain to preserve those very connections from breaking apart.  As Dexter obeyed the words of Harry Morgan, “Keeping the truth from the people closest to you is how you’ll survive, and how you’ll protect them if anything ever goes wrong.” It leads to a conclusion one can rhetorically develop their version of the ending to satisfy their needs.


Hinckley, D. (2013, September 23). ‘Dexter’ series finale draws in record 2.8 million viewers. NEW YORK DAILY NEWS. Retrieved from