Monthly Archives: September 2008

Journal 5. Free Response

Liquid milk found to be tainted in China

18 now in custody; fourth child dies, more than 6,200 babies sick


  After reading this article, I was shocked and scared. I started thinking about whether I ever drank or ate any Chinese dairy products. I couldn’t believe that such contamination could cause thousands of children to be sick, and four infants to die. This article really got me thinking about trust. Nobody can trust the government, a company, or a salesperson fully.

     Over the past month, thousands of babies were sick in China because milk was tainted with the banned industrial chemical, melamine. I conducted some research about this chemical and found out that melamine was a pesticide that led to reproductive damage, kidney stones, and irritation in the eyes. Because of this contamination, 22 dairy companies recalled their products.

     The most shocking part of this story, however, is not that four infants died. It’s that the Sanlu Group Co. was already informed about the contamination in December 2007. Strangely, they did not do anything about the contamination. Even the government, who was monitoring these companies, did not make a public announcement about the milk. I was disappointed that some people wanted to keep the contamination a secret because of their economic benefits. As a result, the head of China’s product quality watchdog agency resigned on Sept. 22, and General Manager Tian Wenhua was fired from the board of directors. If these leaders of China publically dealt with the contamination, the milk crisis would not have happened. Because of their dishonesty, China’s economy is suffering (since countries/companies are banning Chinese dairy products, including Starbucks) and a strong mistrust in the Chinese government has formed.

     If there were one thing we should learn from this crisis, it would be the importance of honesty. Without honesty, one cannot gain any trust. I don’t think I would feel very comfortable if I was a Chinese citizen under the Chinese government either.

Unfamiliar words/phrases:

  • melanine
  • Sanlu Group
  • Hebei Province
  • Fonterra Group

Journal #4.

This I Believe

Prompt #1: The Power of ‘Hello’ 
When I first read this essay without listening to Howard White’s voice, I predicted he was an old, successful man. I also knew he must be a polite, humble person who doesn’t discriminate people against jobs, race, gender, position, etc.

After listening to Howard White read his essay, the meaning of the essay sank in deeply. It was much more effective when I listened to him read his personal essay. He sounded sincere and serious, with a deep voice. Howard White put emphasis on important words, and read important sentences slowly. Also, his accent made his voice more distinct.

Prompt #2:

The Choice to Do it Over Again
This essay was by Daniel Flanagan, a father of a daughter and a son. He dropped out of high school in 9th grade because he was illiterate. All he did was party, drink, and do drugs because he gave up on his life. As a consequence, Flanagan had to do labor work everyday in order to earn enough money to live. However, when his son was born, Flanagan decided to re-do his life by going back to high school and college. He started learning to read with his son’s books. Now, Flanagan goes to a community college where he studies sociology. When I heard Flanagan read his essay, I was very touched because he was so happy with his life. Even though he lost respect from all his family and friends, he did not give up. He started his life again in order to support his wife, daughter, and son. There was a shift in his tone as he read his essay. At first, when he described his early life, he was quiet and serious. Later on, he got more cheerful as he was telling the listeners about his new life.

The Long Road to Forgiveness
  Kim Phuc, a Vietnamese, wrote about the impact of the Vietnam War on her life. She is the girl in the famous photo of the Vietnam War attack bomb attack near Saigon. In this picture, she is running with an expression of horror. She is naked because her clothes were all burnt off, and her skin was also severely burnt as well.  
  Kim Phuc later on immigrated to America and lives a peaceful life with her children and husband. In her essay, she talked about how she learned to forgive and forget about the incident. Her voice was very effective because her English was broken and choppy. She read very slowly, making the readers think about every sentence. Her voice made the story sound more real because you could actually hear her pain and courage in her voice.