Feet

I have a repulsion to feet. Something about them cry out “I am the dirtiest part of the body!” For example, one of my pet peeves is when, in lecture, people set their feet on a chair next to me. Another pet peeve is when people set their feet next to my head. In general I see it as a sign of disrespect.

One time, I got into a fight with my dad because of “foot matters”. Early high school, my dad was telling me to get some work done as he was lying on the couch and I was sitting on the ground watching television. When I said I would do so later, my dad began to prod me with his foot. I got angry and then yelled at my dad not to do that. My dad shot back that I should have gotten to work anyways. We proceeded to yell at each other and got into one of the biggest yelling matches we ever had.

In some cultures, it’s considered rude to point your soles towards others when crossing your legs? Shoes are considered to be unclean. This is why the shoe thrower@Bush was considered such a villain (hero).

Sometimes I wonder, how did Jesus even work up the humility to wash His disciples’ feet?

Good News vs. Bad News

“What’s the matter with you?
Why don’t you ever bring us some good news?
It’s not my fault. I only read it.”

-“Fiddler on the Roof”

I find it intriguing that the majority of news (or what people consider to be news) is bad. Most of the general public views the publications media as negative, and not without reason at that.

The media publish countless articles and features that portray this world in a negative light. They depict devastating natural disasters, scandalous corruption, and dramatic tragedies. I’d be willing to bet that if a researcher was to flag each published article or feature (on any media) within the span of one month as positive, negative, or neutral, the majority of articles would be negative.

The media isn’t stupid. They aren’t going to report on things that don’t interest us. They likely had analysts study people’s curiosity for good and bad news (just as almost any other successful business does). I don’t question the media’s coverage of mainly “bad news”. It’s all marketing strategy. The marketing strategy is directly caused by people’s gravitation towards bad news.

Why are people so gravitated towards other people’s bad news?

Imagine a world where the media only reported good news. This would be a world in which the media would report on miracles, people’s good works, and the general goodness of mankind. Besides the likelihood that this would create a very naiive public, imagine what would happen if any one person encountered trouble at a point in his life. He would think to himself, “Goodness. Life seems so perfect for everybody else, but why is my life so screwed up? Why does my life suck?

My point is, too much good news is difficult to listen to. Some good news is good because many people need hope and fantasies. But here’s the bottom line: it’s easier to listen to bad news than good news. When one hears bad news he can either sympathize, empathize, or gloat. Sympathy isn’t difficult. All you have to do is feel sorry for the person. Pity is easy. Empathy is rarely lasting. Gloating is ridiculously easy. On the other hand, when one hears good news, it’s easy to become jealous, difficult to share joy with the beneficiary.

Sure, my logic is a bit over-simplified, but there is a seed of truth. It is not necessarily more difficult to listen to somebody else’s good news than to listen to somebody else’s bad news as much as it is that it is easier to listen to somebody else’s bad news than to listen to somebody else’s good news.

My Racist Experience

A single experience can overshadow years of education.

I tend to sleep a lot on BART. I almost always fall asleep between the Fremont and Oakland Coliseum stations on the Fremont to Richmond train. But last night (around 9:15PM), I was feeling tired after a long day (dentist appointment and 4 hour cello lesson). I decided to go to sleep on my way back home on the Richmond to Fremont train.

My, oh my. I wake up at the Oakland Coliseum station to some unintelligible screaming. I turn around, drowsy, and I see a young Vietnamese lady (mid-twenties, did not seem to be native, probably lived here for 7+ years) visibly upset in a scuffle with a Black man who looked to be at least 6 feet tall, medium-heavy build in his late twenties- early thirties. I later realized she was repeatedly shouting, “Hey! That’s my bag!” I’m ashamed to say, I did not intervene. I could only watch in shock and fear. There were about 3 or 4 other people (one of whom was a man) grabbing onto the thief at the door of the stopped BART car. One man had a firm grip on the thief’s hood, but the thief took off his sweater and fled with the victim’s purse.

Now, I’ve given much thought as to what happened. And I realized that the robbery, in addition to the people’s attempt to contain the thief, occurred in approximately 20 seconds. 20 seconds doesn’t sound very long. But oh my goodness, it felt like 20 minutes at that moment. But I still don’t really get it. Why didn’t I try to stop that thief? I could have at the very least taken a photo of the guy to help out. I could have at least ran around the opposite side of the car and attacked the guy from behind.

For the remainder of the BART ride , I split my time thinking about what would’ve happened had I been the victim, and running the robbery through my head over and over again thinking of different ways I could have stopped the thief.

And then on my way home, I thought back to my “Ethnicity/Race” class that I took last year. We spent an entire semester breaking down stereotypes and racism. You know what, I’ve been taught repeatedly since elementary school throughout high school and college that racism is unfair and unjust. And I agree. Racism rips communities apart. But honestly, I don’t know now if I can ride BART or the bus and see a suspicious Black man without clutching my belongings out of caution. I know that in class, we talked about how poverty and the government pushes people into positions in which they don’t want to be. But is that really what’s going to pop into my mind if/when I get mugged?

I’m angry at this thief. Not even a month after a Black man is wrongfully shot and murdered in the back by a BART cop, this thief decides to rob this woman’s purse. What is this Vietnamese lady going to tell her family and friends about what happened last night? What are her family and friends going to say and think about Black people? I grew up repeatedly taught (almost brainwashed) about equality and the bigotries of racism, yet even MY view of the general Black man has been detrimentally affected. I’m going to take a wild guess that this victim (who, by speculation, was probably not native to the US) was not raised in a setting that condemned racism. What is she going to tell her family and friends? Could it be that experiences such as these cause racism?

lol-ing

Despite my friends having told me for several years now, I realized only recently that my laugh is ridiculously loud.

Several days ago, I was eating breakfast with Pyunny & Monkey. Usually I do not wake up in time for “the most important meal of the day”, but lately my sleeping schedule had been off: going to sleep at 11am and waking up at 8pm. Finals cause the weakest of us to harness our powers to do incredible things. But that’s a different story.

Anyways, we decided to start our day at Ann’s Kitchen. Somebody said something funny and I burst out laughing. As I was laughing mildly (or so I thought), I noticed people were turning their heads towards me. Their blank stares rubbed off on me and I sensed a bit of frigidity.

Maybe these people just were not morning people. Maybe the sound of somebody’s full laughter was too much for them at the early hour. But no, I highly doubt this is the case. When I think back to moments when I am out in public, people will often turn and stare at me when I decide to laugh my head off.

My friends have used words such as “pompous” and “boisterous” to describe my laughter. If those words weren’t descriptive enough, they’d go ahead and try to imitate my laughter (but usually females for some odd reason). Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with my friends trying to describe my laughter. It’s just that their descriptions of my laughter worry me. Do I really sound arrogant when I laugh? Do I sound fake when I laugh? I think (or I hope) my friends realize that’s just how I laugh. But I wonder what other people think.

I’ve typed the word “laugh” so often that the spelling looks very strange now.

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