Trump’s New Asylum Policy
Asylum seekers, especially from Central America’s Northern Triangle which consists of individuals from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, are traveling to the United States in search of a new home but are being detained. These individuals are fleeing severe gang violence, government corruption, and cartel violence in hopes of finding safety for themselves and their family members. Despite making the dangerous journey from their home countries without external assistance, these individuals are being told to wait months before having an asylum consideration trail in Mexico due to a new Trump administration policy called the Migrant Protection Protocols (M.P.P.). The M.P.P. requires asylum seekers to remain in Mexico for the duration of their legal proceedings, which can last several months. While in Mexico these individuals live in makeshift camps that are unprotected and with slumlike conditions. This new shift in the treatment of asylum seekers has placed these individuals in grave danger as there is no protection from the threats they were fleeing in the first place. This policy has to change as it is attacking the core moral purpose of the United States asylum process.
This is a political policy that has a direct impact on the people of the U.S. As immigrants look to the U.S. as a beacon of acceptance and safety, the Trump administration is destroying this promise and eroding the moral integrity of this nation. Therefore, I choose to write a letter to Bloomberg a presidential candidate that is basing his running on grounds of morality and social change. It is my hope that engaging Bloomberg will put a spotlight in the presidential race for others to see the immorality of the M.P.P.. The second genre I chose is an op-ed in regards to this issue as it will voice my concerns and share these ideas with like-minded individuals. I would like to submit my article to the New York Times as a contributing voice against Trump’s policy.
The United States is known as a country made up of a patchwork of immigrants. It is one of this country’s greatest strengths, as immigrants have contributed to the prosperity and growth seen in the U.S. today. In addition to being a beacon of diversity, the U.S. has been a leader in granting asylum to people from all over the world as they flee from the dangers and prosecution of their homelands. With this in mind, the current administration’s stance on asylum seekers is alarming specifically when it comes to applicants from the southern border.
Recently, you announced your decision to run for the presidency under the Democratic ticket for the 2020 election, as a champion for morality and social justice. As a counterpoint to immorality, I want to focus your attention on Trump’s current asylum policy called the Migrant Protection Protocols (M.P.P.) colloquially known as “Remain in Mexico.” The M.P.P. requires asylum seekers from Central America’s Northern Triangle to remain in Mexico for the duration of their legal proceedings, which can last for many months. These people who have escaped from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala due to life-threatening circumstances have been met with this new policy that forces them to wait in Mexican border towns without protection while their paperwork processes.
Many of these vulnerable individuals are placed in towns like Ciudad Juárez, one of the most dangerous cities in the world to await their asylum hearings. Their lives are in constant danger as these towns are filled with kidnappers, thieves, and criminals who take advantage of asylum seekers’ vulnerability. Another one of the changes made is the metering of asylum seekers which strictly limits the number of individuals who can even apply for asylum. The fact that Trump’s policy significantly decreases the number of applications has created a bottleneck in the initial process.
This policy is the result of extremely biased views from the Trump administration. This nation is built by immigrants and should continue to be a beacon of hope for those who seek refuge. I urge you to campaign against Trump’s policy towards asylum seekers. Fight against this inhumane policy and work with those that are fighting to repeal it.
Op-ed: Immoral Asylum Policy
By Ihn Lee
Dec. 2, 2019
Is the Migrant Protection Protocols (M.P.P.) more commonly known as “Remain in Mexico” really the best policy? Should Trump really have a wall, that will cost billions of dollars of taxpayer’s money, “to prevent illegal immigration, drug and human trafficking, and acts of terrorism” as stated by Trump? Professor Michael Dear’s opinion differs from Trump’s in the sense that the wall will not resolve these problems because many illegal immigrants already in the U.S. do not engage in criminal activity and truth be told, drug cartels can will function and deliver their goods with or without a wall. Erecting a wall on the border makes sense if Trump wants to keep asylum seekers in Mexico.
El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala the Deadliest Countries World-wide
Asylum seekers, especially from Central America’s Northern Triangle which consists of individuals from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, are traveling to the United States in search of a new home but are being detained. Authors of a New York Times article, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Elisabeth Malkin note that asylum seekers from the Northern Triangle are at record highs with “about 150,000 Salvadorans [becoming] refugees or [seeking] asylum in recent years.” El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala are the deadliest countries in the world. Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world, El Salvador is 5th, and Guatemala is 6th , according to worldatlas.com.
This influx was due to severe violence where in 2017 “there were 10.8 homicides a day in El Salvador.” The number of murders in the U.S. for the same year were 47.4 homicides a day, according to an FBI report. In comparison with the U.S. population which is 51 times bigger and landmass which is 467 times larger than El Salvador, El Salvador’s daily average was extremely high. Asylum seekers who came to the U.S. border were so desperate as they left behind their homes in search of safety because their government could not protect them from gangs, robberies, kidnapping, raped, tortured, and killed for ransom. Unfortunately, these migrants were forced to stay in Mexico which was no better than what these asylum seekers left behind as Mexico has experienced a rise in the murder rate last year with 35,964 killed and a continued uptick this year.
Asylum seekers have risked their lives to arrive to the U.S. Southern borders in search of a reprieve to be sent back and told to remain in Mexico; however, asylum seekers who were forced to stay in Mexico live in Mexican border towns that are extremely dangerous. These migrants have been subject to kidnappings, discrimination, prejudice, and poverty. In addition, to this deterrent, the Trump administration enacted metering as noted by a CBS article by Kate Smith that discussed the shift in for Customs and Border Patrol officers who have processed on average 20 individuals a day in Jan 2019 instead of the 100 individuals a day in that was the past standard. Due to this shift, many migrants have lost hope, get frustrated and return home.
Morality in the United States Asylum Process
The M.P.P. requires asylum seekers to remain in Mexico for the duration of their legal proceedings, which can last several months. One of the reasons why so many asylum seekers are staying at the border for a longer time is the higher denial rate of asylum grants by immigration judges. The denial rate increased from 42.0%, in 2012 during the Obama administration, to 65%, in 2018 during Trump administration, according to a TRAC report. Asylum seekers are therefore forced to wait at the borders towns forming makeshift camps that lack proper sanitation or protection, and as a result, the most vulnerable population, children suffering the most. Kevin Sieff from Washington Post focused his article on the impact this policy has on children. Many fall ill, and their parents lack the ability to acquire the proper medical intervention. As a result, parents have sent their children over the border alone in hopes that their children are found by CBP (Customs and Border Protection) officers because of the fact that unaccompanied minors are not affected by M.P.P. This policy has not only broken these asylum seekers’ hope but it has also destroyed their families.
Despite this very bleak situation, there are ways that we can help those who wait in Mexico for asylum. As there are not many lawyers available in these border towns, we can encourage bar associations to mobilize and volunteer their services to asylum seekers who can greatly benefit from legal aid. We, everyday citizens can show our support by writing letters to Congress for an asylum policy repeal. We can donate items such as clothing or dry goods to organizations that are working with asylum seeking families at border towns. In other words, there is hope for our country to still be a beacon of light for those who seek refuge in her towns. We cannot forget that this nation is built by immigrants.
“Asylum Decisions and Denials Jump in 2018.” Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, 29 Nov. 2018, https://trac.syr.edu/immigration/reports/539/. Accessed 1 Dec 2019.
Harrup, Anthony. Mexico’s Murder Rate Hit Record High in 2018. The Wall Street Journal, 25 Jul, 2019. https://www.wsj.com/articles/mexicos-murder-rate-hit-record-high-in-2018-11564079972. Accessed 1 Dec 2019.
Kanno-Youngs, Zolan and Elisabeth Malkin. U.S. Agreement With El Salvador Seeks to Divert Asylum Seekers. The New York Times, 20 Sep. 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/20/us/politics/us-asylum-el-salvador.html. Accessed 1 Dec 2019.
Smith, Kate. The country’s busiest border crossing will allow 20 people to claim asylum a day. They used to take up to 100. CBS News, 25 Jan, 2019. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/tijuana-port-of-entry-san-ysidro-allows-20-immigrants-claim-asylum-immigration-advocates-2019-01-25/. Accessed 1 Dec 2019.
Sieff, Kevin. In squalid Mexico tent city, asylum seekers are growing so desperate they’re sending their children over the border alone. The Washington Post, 22 Nov, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/in-squalid-mexico-tent-city-asylum-seekers-are-growing-so-desperate-theyre-sending-their-children-over-the-border-alone/2019/11/22/9e5044ec-0c92-11ea-8054-289aef6e38a3_story.html. Accessed 1 Dec 2019.
The authors of Op-ed pieces present a problem and state how the problem has an impact on society. In order to strengthen their arguments, authors will use many rhetorical devices such as logical reasoning, statistical analysis, sound research, or expert quotes to support their claim. Then, the authors provide a clear analysis that explains how the evidence they have provided supports their argument. These authors will follow this procedure of evidence then analysis several times to support their claim. One of the Op-ed articles had an extensive autobiographical component and in doing so the author was able to achieve his credibility which is an effective method to convince the audience. To conclude their argument, these authors will restate the main points and deliver a possible solution to their targeted audience. The authors’ tone for this type of writing shows their commitment and passion for the specified problem.
The Op-ed is a genre that enables authors to present their ideas to a readership through the art of persuasion. It is a genre that allows for the use of rhetoric which is a very powerful and useful method to deliver a message to the reader. It is also a genre that has at its core an inherent bias based on the author’s perspective on a specific issue. It is in this sense that the reader should always be aware that within an Op-ed piece the goal of the author is to convince the audience of his or her perspective and to leave the audience with a sense of passion or intrigue toward the specific topic. As a norm, the Op-ed genre aims to convince the reader.
Since the Op-ed genre allows for an author to argue for a specific claim within an issue, I focused on an issue that I am passionate about – global climate change. I searched for Op-eds that were related to this issue and found a range of opinions and perspectives expressed surrounding this issue. I noticed that the Op-ed articles that I found within the global climate change umbrella had overall a sense of urgency and alarm. The solutions presented in each article varied and illustrated the interconnectedness of global climate change in all aspects of society. I realized that the articles I selected supported my stance on the topic I chose. I found that in this regard, Op-eds had an inherent bias. As the targeted audience, I didn’t read or use articles that denied global climate change. I selected articles that acknowledged and supported my view that global climate change is a very real and urgent problem.
I identified how rhetorical analysis was used within this genre and realized how I could implement the same type of analysis within my own writing. I was able to use this technique in a presentation for my Public Speaking class. I focused on Local Law 97 which is the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions for about 50,000 residential and commercial buildings throughout New York City. I used sources from several government departments to give my claim credibility. In doing so, I felt that my presentation persuaded my audience of the importance and necessity for the law to be followed. I ensured that I appealed to my audience’s emotions as I made clear the connection between current and future prosperity is dependent on ensuring that this law is properly followed.
I would like to continue my growth as a writer by taking more classes like English Composition I. Since English is my second language, I do not have as firm of a foundation in the mechanics and norms of English in comparison to native speakers. Despite this deficit, I truly enjoy learning English. I want to write grammatically correct and acquire the tools I need to express my thoughts and feelings on paper. I want to write in a way that my reader can clearly understand. I want to write more effectively as I have difficulty connecting ideas and sentences. Some challenges that I have are: coming up with unrelated ideas from brainstorming, failing to draw strong connections between ideas, and having weak or no transitions between paragraphs.
To become a better and more effective writer, I need to read more in English. I still read mainly in Korean and I realize how reading more in English I can start to learn the patterns in writing. I can also watch videos that explain specific writing techniques. I can participate in more writer’s workshops and share my ideas with others. I can also read different genres in English to learn new techniques and styles of writing.
I realized that by focusing on the Op-ed genre and learning about the way the genre functions was powerful. It directly impacted the way I was able to express my own ideas on an issue I was interested in.
Gore, Al. “To Skeptics on Global Warming . . .” The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/1990/04/22/opinion/to-skeptics-on-global-warming.html Accessed 30 October, 2019.
In “To Skeptics on Global Warming . . .,”Al Gore supports his argument that global warming is a real and serious matter by presenting the most commonly deployed questions by global warming deniers coupled with the scientific responses in order to provide a ‘final’ response for naysayers. His tone is one that is meant to address the supposed concerns that deniers have continued to use in their political arguments in order to inform the public at large that global climate change is real and in his opinion, “the single most serious manifestation of a larger problem: the collision course between industrial civilization and the ecological system that supports life” on earth. In presenting his argument in this manner it becomes clear, as his op-ed appears in The New York Times, that his targeted audience is the American public. These are the individuals who he wants to make aware of the fact that politicians are denying the real and perilous impact climate change has on the livelihood of the American people. Gore presents the Bush Administration’s stance, by providing a directive given to policymakers advising them that ”a better approach is to raise the many uncertainties,” around global warming. The purpose in Gore’s argument in presenting this information to his audience is to then provide the commonly used questions with definitive responses backed by research and scientific findings. One such question elicits the response that, “it is irresponsible to assume that after moving in tandem with carbon dioxide for 160,000 years, temperatures will not be affected by those dramatic increases,” illustrating the direct connection between carbon dioxide emissions and temperature change. In using scientific findings, Gore provides logical reasoning as one method to convince his audience of the urgency of the issue. To add to the sense of urgency in his claim, Gore refers to global trends that have seen “unprecedented population growth and new technologies for burning fuels, clearing forests and manufacturing chemicals [that] have given humankind the ability to alter the composition of the atmosphere.” In doing so, he solidifies his argument that climate change is affected by modern industrialization in a way that it is a clear domino effect. Gore wants skeptics, including the Bush Administration to know that global warming is a scientifically proven reality in order to encourage the public to urge lawmakers to “act now or it will be much worse than predicted.” This statement further emphasizes the impact humanity’s abuse of the environment has for all species and generations to come.
Kaufman, Kenn. “Opinion: As a birder, I see the effects of climate change every day. Now, Audubon has quantified the threat.” Los Angeles Times, https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2019-10-10/climate-change-bird-species-threatened Accessed 10 October 2019.
Kaufman presents his argument through the venue of the Los Angeles Times in order to reach a readership from both sides of the political spectrum. The rise in global temperature is particularly notable for birdwatchers due to the direct impact warmer temperatures have on the habitable ranges for specific bird species. Kaufman uses current research from the National Audubon Society where “scientists analyzed the current geographic ranges of 604 North American bird species, and modeled how those ranges would change at different levels of warming” to strengthen his argument. In presenting the argument in this manner, the author appeals to the logical correlation between increased global temperatures and the emotional investment birdwatchers have as a group of individuals regardless of varying political views with a shared passion – birds. Birds, as a focal point, appeal to hobbyists and conservationists alike. Kaufman ensures that the targeted audience is convinced, noting that with the increase in temperature swaths of bird species will no longer exist. This statement implies the correlative and fatal impact of global temperature rise, which is the destruction of entire ecosystems. In presenting these findings in this manner, Kaufman’s tone evokes urgency and concern within the reader and thus further convincing the reader of his claim.
Lee, Bryan. “E-Commerce’s Efficiencies May Help Reduce Pollution.” The Wall Street Journal, https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB944834575190849787?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=16 Accessed 31 October 2019.
Lee claimed that the growth in e-commerce led by publicized internet use can save huge amount of energy and pollution. He supports the claim where “The U.S. experienced economic growth of about 4% annually in 1997 and 1998” and “During those same two years, the nation’s energy consumption — the principal source of air pollution and gases linked to global warming — hardly grew at all.” Information-technology companies’ growth allowed the economic gains without making pollution. Also, Lee made argument that rise in e-commerce allows energy saving delivery. This argument is supported by “The delivery truck uses just 10% of the energy equivalent of the consumer’s car trip.” Instead of going to physical bookstore or stores, delivery to where it is needed is a chance to reduce energy consumption up to 90%. Energy savings from the decrease in retail space is other significant claim by Lee. He cited analysis to support his claim by stating “By 2007, e-commerce could eliminate the need for 1.5 billion square feet of retail space, or 5% of the U.S. total,” and “The resulting energy savings would replace the output of 21 average-size power plants, preventing the release of 35 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.” Therefore, online retailers such as Amazon can save retail space and energy.
Maier, Stephanie. “Op-Ed: Investors are getting closer to a climate change tipping point.” CNBC,
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/04/investors-are-getting-closer-to-a-climate-change-tipping-point.html Accessed 27 October 2019.
As an investor, Stephanie Maier presents her argument in a manner that is accessible to other business-minded individuals. By presenting her argument in this manner, Maier utilizes the discourse commonly heard in the business world presenting her audience with facts and projections to garner their interest and ensure their attention by highlighting that there is an expected “$23 trillion in global losses . . . with a 4°C rise in global temperatures.” In addition, Maier appeals to her audience by noting the current trend that can be seen in the investment world with “ investor shareholder engagement [becoming] mainstream [and in turn] opening up a new front in the drive to decarbonize the global economy.” This provides a sense of momentum and heightened awareness that is needed by her audience to ensure that they are relevant and involved in the fiduciary health of their companies to ensure that their investments are successful and productive in the global markets. Maier is worried that climate change has a significant effect on global economy but she mentioned in hopeful voice that we avoid economic crisis caused from global warming if owners of big companies and head of nations have responsibility from ownership.
Payne, Daniel. “Don’t go vegan to save the planet. You can help by being a better meat-eater.” USA TODAY,
Daniel Payne’s argument supports more environmentally and humane ways to eat meat, “consumers now have the option of buying better, cleaner, more humanely raised and less environmentally destructive meat,” in order to persuade meat-eaters to choose their meat with their wallets. It is clear that his intended audience are not individuals who are already vegetarian or vegan but rather individuals who consume meat regularly because Payne’s tone is one from the standpoint of a meat eater. He provides facts regarding the health benefits of eating animals as a part of human evolution to ensure that his stance is not confused with that of promoting veganism by stating “Human beings are part of a long meat-eating evolutionary chain stretching back millions of years; our bodies and our physiology have been shaped countless millennia of a meat-rich omnivorous diet.” In doing so, he ensures that his targeted audience does not become skeptical of his opinion as he is not trying to make them stop their eating habits. Instead, his argument is for meat eaters to change their spending habits as he uses facts that meat from animals that have lived healthy, happy lives produce better quality meat for consumption. In addition, Payne is able to illustrate the secondary results of eating ethically treated animals which is the environmental impact, saying “Healthier meat also makes for a healthier local environment, which can over time lead to a healthier climate. At a time of growing concern about pending catastrophic climate change, this benefit can’t be overlooked.” This connection is made clearer for the audience to ensure that his audience is convinced and committed to select the more expensive but overall morally and ethically better meat choice.
Schoonover, Rod. “The White House Blocked My Report on Climate Change and National Security.” The New York Times,
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/30/opinion/trump-climate-change.html Accessed 16 October 2019.
Dr. Schoonover, who worked as an intelligence analyst for the federal government, and focused on the impact of environmental and climate change on national security in the U.S., presents an ethical appeal to the reader for his decision to resign from his position. Considering the political climate in which Dr. Schoonover is presenting his argument and the venue in which it is presented, the target audience he is addressing is not individuals on the far political right but rather moderates to more left centered individuals. In order to appeal to this audience, which has a range of opinions and stances with regards to climate change, he highlights his educational background to establish his position as an authority in the realm of scientific inquiry. Dr. Schoonover expresses his admiration as a senior analyst for the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the State Department by highlighting that it was “home.” He also expresses reverence for the position he once held as it is “the oldest civilian intelligence agency in the government . . .well known for its history of analytic sharpness and courageous dissent.” To ensure that his audience does not suspect his increasing frustrated tone to be connected to a dissident political view, he highlights the “apolitical nature of [his] work.” Dr. Schoonover then uses his position, as a well-versed and dedicated scientist, to fortify his stance with regard to the negative impact climate change has on our national security. Throughout the piece, Dr. Schoonover combines this admiration for the work and the position he once held with concern and frustration with the current administration’s stance which “blocked the submission of [his] bureau’s written testimony on the national security implications of climate change to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.” He elicits sympathy from his readers as he recounts how he was repeatedly not received by the administration because his findings illustrated the negative effects climate change has on national security. In presenting his stance in this manner, Dr. Schoonover makes it clear that his act of resignation is directly due to the outright denial of the facts that his work presented to the current administration due to the fact that “the scientific foundation of the analysis did not comport with the administration’s position on climate change.” It evokes fear in the readers as they realize that despite the best intentions and unbiased manner in which Dr. Schoonover attempted to present his findings to the Trump Administration, there was an outright denial and distrust of the scientifically analysed reports.
Kaufman, Kenn. “Opinion: As a birder, I see the effects of climate change every day. Now, Audubon has quantified the threat.”Los Angeles Times, https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2019-10-10/climate-change-bird-species-threatened Accessed 10 October 2019.
The rise in global temperature is particularly notable for birdwatchers due to the direct impact warmer temperatures have on the habitable ranges for specific bird species. Kaufman uses current research from the National Audubon Society where “scientists . . . analyzed the current geographic ranges of 604 North American bird species, and modeled how those ranges would change at different levels of warming” to strengthen his argument. In presenting the argument in this manner, the author appeals to the logical correlation between increased global temperatures and the emotional investment birdwatchers have as a group of individuals regardless of varying political views with a shared passion – birds. Birds, as a focal point, appeal to hobbyists and conservationists alike. Kaufman ensures that the targeted audience is convinced, noting that with the increase in temperature swaths of bird species will no longer exist. This statement implies a correlative and fatal impact of global temperature rise, which is the destruction of entire ecosystems.
“Survival by Degrees” which he cited, birds which lived in tropical areas can be seen in most of the state of California, and 389 North American species of birds will disappear if the temperature of the globe goes up by three degrees Celsius. Birds play a crucial role in keeping down insect populations and serving as food themselves for larger predators. Eventually, he mentioned that we can still fix this problem by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions as individuals and governments.
A room full of people waiting in silence, for the blue screen from a Dell 20’ monitor to change. I looked at two short #2 pencils placed on both sides of the desk. Sitting on an office chair with cushions, I was doubting my ability to pass the test.
I stretched my back against the back of my chair, then rolled my neck back and forth. I massaged my eye sockets, pressed down onto the bridge of my nose, pushed on my temples, then rubbed the back of my neck and finally my earlobes.
None of this, an attempt to relax my body, did anything but make me more anxious. I have two dictionaries with me, a thesaurus that cost two dollars from the dollar store, and an old Oxford pocket dictionary that my wife gave to me. The inspector tells me that I can only bring one into the exam.
Since English is my second language, taking a test without the resources I needed was a disadvantage. Frustrated, I chose the normal dictionary over the thesaurus due to the fact that I needed to understand the words rather than choosing. The test started with a timer whose big red numbers alerted students of their remaining time. I felt that time was slipping by, 60 out of 90 minutes had already passed. I wrote the paragraph summaries, developed my ideas for a response, provided a personal experience, and drafted a conclusion. Five minutes before time would be called. I rushed to the conclusion and finished it.
Writing was always a challenge for me; it was something I grappled with for a long time. I am not a writer and yet, there is a persistent spark deep within that burns – a desire to write. Where did it find its fuel? Was it because my father wrote a short story entitled “Road” for my writing competition in school? A short story, that won the highest award but was never truly my own. Or was it because I really did not learn how to write?
When I tried to write, in English the words escape me, in my native tongue, Korean, I avoided writing. I didn’t want to practice or I don’t know how to practice. Practice was the key to success but I found it difficult to develop a coherent story. I did not focus. I would write about apples and then jump to alligators – the connection was lost.
On the other hand, for me reading was much easier than writing. I remember growing up reading many Korean books; I especially enjoyed short stories. My mom joined a book renting program that delivered different books every month. I loved reading those books, sometimes I wanted to read more than once a month.
The other moment when I truly enjoyed books was in the military. Since serving in the armed forces is mandatory for men in Korea, I served for about two years. It was so hard feeling isolated but books kept me going. I read a small Buddhist bible during my night rounds for two and a half hours, reading that book gave me peace. In contrast to the strict rules of the army, this book was a sanctuary. As I rose in ranks, I had more free time and less work.
The military department sent a set of bestseller books to each company monthly. During that year, I read the most books in my entire life. I enjoyed fiction since I was able to create the worlds in my mind – they were my own personal movies. I enjoyed reading so much that it made me forget I was in the military and I would dream about parts of the books. They gave me joy, peace, knowledge, and rest.
Going back to college was a turning point that placed me back on track to learn. English Composition 1 is officially my first class where I am learning how to write. This course has given me examples of great reading pieces in English, my second language. English is becoming as dear to me as Korean as I read and learn how to write effectively. The invisible switch has clicked somewhere in my brain, I feel confident that I will write.
A room of people waiting in silence, for the blue screen from a Dell 20’ monitor to change. I looked at two short #2 pencils placed on both sides of the desk. Sitting on an office chair with cushions, I was doubting my ability to pass the test.
I stretched my back against the back of my chair, then rolled my neck back and forth. I massaged my eye sockets, pressed down to the bridge of the nose, pushed on my temples, then the back of my neck and finally my ears.
None of this, an attempt to relax my body, did anything but make me more anxious. I have two dictionaries with me, a thesaurus that cost two dollars from the dollar store, and an old Oxford pocket dictionary that my wife gave to me. The inspector tells me that I can only bring one into the exam.
Since English is my second language, taking a test without the resources I needed was a disadvantage. Frustrated, I chose the normal dictionary over the thesaurus due to the fact that I needed to understand the words I would use before writing. The test started with a timer whose big red numbers alerted students of their remaining time. I felt that time was slipping by, 60 minutes had already passed. I wrote the paragraph summaries, developed my ideas for a response, provided a personal experience, and drafted a conclusion. Five minutes before time would be called. I rushed to the conclusion and finished it.
Malcolm X’s alma mater is books. He started to learn words from the dictionary from alphabet ‘A’ in prison as a prisoner. After learning words, he began to read books like history and philosophy. He noticed how white people manipulated the world by enslaving black people and making Opium war. It is amazing that how far he made in prison. I have similar experience to his. I served Korean Army for about two years. I did not want to waste my free time after training. So I read. First book I read was Buddhist bible during the vigil. I even underlined it and marked on it. I had to keep it secret since nothing is allowed other than watch-out. Books were given to us every month, so I read almost 50 books for a year especially fiction. He was so passionate about reading books that he even think about himself imprisoned for months. Reading books gives us joy and happiness. I totally agree with what X had in prison. While I was working for military service for nearly two years, I had an opportunity to read a lot. Sometimes, it made me forget that I was in the army.I also experienced a few times that I woke up and asked myself where I am. I felt that it tricks our brain. It separates our mind for awhile just enough to relax.