Journal 24.

    

North Koreas missile launched

North Korea's missile launched

The New York Times article, “How Hard is it to Fire a Rocket?” claims that North Korea’s missile launch was a failure. The reporter said that launching a missile is actually quite easy, but matching the target is the hard part. North Korea’s missile only traveled a few thousand miles then fell into the sea. Kim Jong Il’s attempt to warn the world about North Korea’s nuclear capabilities was a failure; the failed launch actually proved that North Korea’s technology is decades old. Also, countries should not be threatened by this launch because the missiles cannot be aimed at a target unless North Korea manufactures specific parts necessary for target launch. North Korea does not have enough resources to manufacture or trade.
     Despite this article’s strong stance, I actually think North Korea’s missile launch was a success. First of all, it got all the attention that Kim Jong Il wanted. Secondly, the missile was somewhat successful in lifting off and reaching as far as the Pacific Ocean. North Korea proved that they could launch a missile, even if it is not accurately aimed. This is a threat especially to South Korea because the North could easily launch a missile to countries nearby.

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Journal 23.

Kim’s Nuclear Gamble

Dear Mr. Jones,

I wrote the chart by hand and handed it in already!

Thank you!

Journal 22.

Is North Korea Aiming for Complete Isolation?

     Over the past few years, Korea has become even more isolated internationally than ever. With its nuclear threats and  famine, North Korea, the poorest country in the world, is constantly threatening and creating tension with  its neighbors.

     An article from New York Times on March 19, 2009 titled “North Korea rejects U.S. food aid” explains how North Korea wants to be isolated. Despite North Korea’s chronic food shortages and severe poverty, Kim Jong Il requested all of the five aid groups in North Korea to leave by the end of March without giving any reason. “We’re obviously dissapointed. Clearly, this is food assistance that North Korean people need. That’s why we’re concerened,” said Robert Wood, a U.S. State Department spokesman. The U.S. food aid groups are concerned that this rejection may have been a result to the hostilie political tensions going on because of the nuclear warnings. Another suspicion is that the North does not want to follow America’s “demand for close involvement in how the aid gets distributed”. Whatever the reason is, North Korea is slowly closing off all contact with the rest of the world during a time when they need the most help both economically and politically.

     On top of North Korea’s rejection of food aid, the North also announced that they would launch a “satelite” on April 4th. This article titled “Japan warns North Korea against rocket launching” is also from New York Times, published on March 16, 2009. It states that Japan condemned North Korea’s plan to launch a rocket that will fly over Japan and the Pacific. “Under our law, we can intercept any object if it is falling towards Japan, including any attacks on Japan, for our safety,” said the Japanese government’s chief spokesman, Takeo Kawamura. Clearly, the Japanese government is hostile towards the North, even though the North claims to launch a harmless satelite. More importantly, many countries suspect that the satellite is actually a cover; the satallite is most likely to be testing the North’s Taepodongnorth_korea-2 intercontinental ballistic missle. Prime Minister of Japan, Taro Aso said, “They can call it a satellite or whatever, but it would be a violation of a UN resolution.” The Prime Minister also said that he would intercept the satellite before it could harm anybody. However, Kim Jong Il has said thait they will consider any act to intercept its rocket as an act of war, and he will attack Japan if they shoot down the satellite. This creates an imobolized tension between the North and Japan. If Japan intercepts the satellite, then they would be calling for war. Since Japan already developed a missile defense system, it is ready to shoot down the rocket if it falls toward its territory.

Journal 21.

Abraham Maslow’s Hiearchy of Needs

Do morals exist for people that are starving to death?

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Abraham Maslow, born in New York, came up with the five-stage hierarchy of needs. This pyramid represents the five basic needs every man craves for. The lower levels are the more basic, fundamental needs. You are concerned with the higher needs only when satisfied with the lower needs. If the things that satisfy your lower needs are taken away, then the higher needs no longer matter to you.

The fifth step from the pyramid is the biological and physiological needs. Every person innately needs air, food, water, and shelter. This need is the same for any other creature on the planet; a very basic need that most people do not have to think about in order to satisfy. It does not require any extra thinking or analyzing. However, this basic need is the most vital need because without food and shelter, one cannot survive.

With the fifth step satisfied, you will reach for the fourth need, which is saftey. People need protection, freedom, stability, and security in order to feel safe and composed. When there is an uprising or fight, people look for the police to regain their safety.

The third step, after all the physiological needs are met, is belongingness and love needs. This social need is quite important in everyone’s life, as people long for affection, relationships, and a stable family.

Status, reputation, and achievement are all grouped under the esteem needs. People need to feel self-respect and respect for others in order to be confident with their lives. Some people live to please other because they only care about what other people think. Nevertheless, without self-esteem, a person will feel weak and inferior.

Finally, the first step on the pyramid is self-actualization. The question, “what is the purpose of my life?” is the most prominent problem. After all the other four needs are met, people start searching for their talents in life and how they can use the talent to benefit themselves or others.

According to Maslow, the order of these steps is crucial. Without satisfying the fundamental physiological needs, one does not crave for love or self-esteem. Therein lies the question of whether or not morals exist for people that are starving to death. In the Aquarium of Pyungyang, people from the concentration camps don’t even consider their reputation. They eat anything and everything they can find, including rabbits and rats. I have to say that when people are struggling to satisfy their stage 5 needs, they don’t value friendship, self-esteem, or safety. However, Maslow’s theory does not apply to every person. For example, some people who are religiously persecuted still satisfy the self-actualization need–they focus solely on their purpose/meaning in life even if they are missing the other four basic needs.

Journal 20.

“Faceless” Artist

  Sun Mu, a North Korean defect, paints propaganda pictures of North Korea in order to spread awareness of North Korea’s poverty. The picture on the right is an example of Sun Mu’s drawing of overly happy children singing about happiness. His other pictures include a portrait of Kim Jong Il in pink pants, many children hand in hand with happy smiles, and other funny drawings of Kim Jong Il. This artist does not reveal his true name and hides his face from photographers because he does not want to put his family in North Korean in danger. He is afraid that Kim Jong Il will send his family into prison camps.

Some South Koreans did not understand the irony behind Sun Mu’s paintings. They thought Sun Mu was pro-communist because all the pictures of the children are extremely happy. Even the slogans on the bottom, such as “There is no poverty in this world”, hints at a successful communist country. However, this faceless artist painted these paintings to raise awareness that these smiles are fake. People in the North are unhappy, but they pretend to be devoted and well-off because they fear the communist government. The fact that South Koreans could misinterpret the paintings is very sad; this shows that they either don’t know or care about the North Koreans (and also that some have a hard time understanding irony/sarcasm). I think many Koreans neglect the poverty and sufferings of the North because they cannot see it. Although Sun Mu’s efforts to promote action and awareness did not make much of a difference in Korea yet, I am hoping Koreans take these paintings more seriously.

Journal 19.

My College Quickstart

“My College Quickstart” has four main tools: A critique on my PSAT scores, an SAT study plan, a major&career match, and a college match list. Honestly, I’ve only found one of these tools useful. The other tools were either too vague or annoying. The critiques or suggestions that Collegeboard gave me after the PSAT results were actually very useless and generalized. For example, my writing and math critique said that they could not find a pattern in my needs. Also, the college match tool was very strange because there were only two colleges on my “matched” list–they were both colleges from Canada. Since this system is simply a programmed and systematic approach, I don’t think it is appropriate to tell me what kind of colleges I should consider…

On a positive note, the personality and career tests were very helpful. The questions made me think about what subjects I like, who I interacted well with, and what my working habits were. Although it took a couple of hours to complete these tests, the results were worth it. Surprisingly, the one-page essay on my personality results was very accurate; I was able to relate to each statement. I also realized that before I choose what kind of career I want, I must consider the environment of the job. I’m the type of person that must work with other people, so I am now looking at careers involving social activities.

Journal 18.

“Up and Coming Schools” and “Narrowing Your Choices”

“Up and Coming Schools” was about the colleges that are making substantial improvements in quality. These colleges may not be in the top rankings yet, but they have new resources, courses, and job opportunities. I guess college administrators want students to apply to a wider variety of schools in order to create more diversity. Also, they are trying to get across the fact that ranking is not the most important aspect of a college. This leads to the second article, “Narrowing Your Choices”. In order to choose my top colleges, I must avoid rankings and instead focus on the college environment. My major is probably the biggest consideration because I have to like what I study, no matter where I am. Secondly, I need to think about the size of the school, the weather, and the diversity. Lastly, I must research, research, and research.