in Blog, Life, Reflections

Life Update + Reflections: Episode 6

So originally this post was called “Why Are People Prejudiced” but I decided to edit the post and combine my reflection post with my Life Update post. Making this a really long post, but it’s divided into sections, so if you don’t want to read the whole thing that’s totally fine! I think this is actually one of my longest posts so far but I had so much to say and I didn’t want to divide this into two posts.


For my on-campus elective, I had to choose a project and I chose to do the project on my grandpa. [1. More details on that later] I asked my aunt and she dug through her old boxes and came across this super cool picture of my grandpa at his 60th birthday, posing with my grandma. My family history is actually really fascinating, which I may expand in a separate post, but my grandparents from both sides of the family actually came from North Korea.

My grandpa was actually born in a Korea before it was separated into the North and South but lived in the part of Korea that later became the North. And as you can sort of tell from the picture, he was very much the gentleman. Meaning he was well-educated and well-off. He later escaped via the Nam River when the war broke out with my uncle and then later met my grandma.

Break for Sunday school is over this upcoming Sunday. Please cross your fingers and/or pray for me. I’m kind of dreading seeing my first graders.

In other not-so-great news, my aunt recently passed away.

She lives in South Korea, so my dad is there right now. I wasn’t very close with her (partly because she lives in another country) but she was really close with my dad. When I was in the first grade and I saw her for the first time, she sobbed when she saw my sister and me. At the time, I probably didn’t understand why she was crying but now that I think about it, it was probably because she had seen us for the first time even though she was so close with my dad.

In that way, it’s really hard living away from family. The only extended family I have here in the states, is my aunt but apart from that, everyone else lives in South Korea. My sister and I are only close with each other but sometimes I feel like it would have been nice to be closer to the other members of my family.

Books

I finished two books. One was The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington (fantasy) and the other was The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury (YA). Both were pretty good but I didn’t think about them afterwards, which is what I usually end up doing over a really good book. I end up thinking about all my favorite parts and can’t wait to read the next book, which isn’t what happened after I read both of these. Not that they were bad in any way! I think I just developed higher standards for genres that I read a lot.

Here is the summary for The Shadow of What Was Lost:

It has been twenty years since the end of the war. The dictatorial Augurs – once thought of almost as gods – were overthrown and wiped out during the conflict, their much-feared powers mysteriously failing them. Those who had ruled under them, men and women with a lesser ability known as the Gift, avoided the Augurs’ fate only by submitting themselves to the rebellion’s Four Tenets. A representation of these laws is now written into the flesh of any who use the Gift, forcing those so marked into absolute obedience.

As a student of the Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war fought – and lost – before he was born. Despised by most beyond the school walls, he and those around him are all but prisoners as they attempt to learn control of the Gift. Worse, as Davian struggles with his lessons, he knows that there is further to fall if he cannot pass his final tests.

But when Davian discovers he has the ability to wield the forbidden power of the Augurs, he sets into motion a chain of events that will change everything. To the north, an ancient enemy long thought defeated begins to stir. And to the west, a young man whose fate is intertwined with Davian’s wakes up in the forest, covered in blood and with no memory of who he is…

The book was well written but felt like an average epic fantasy novel. And after reading a couple of great epic fantasy novels that really pushed the boundary, “well written” doesn’t grab my attention as much as it used to. Still a great read though, if you like epic fantasy!

And then The Forbidden Wish:

She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world…

When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years—a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Aladdin from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.

Which actually had a really interesting premise. I liked the world-building and the romance was well written. Sometimes, I get bored at reading YA romance/fantasy novels just because I’ve felt like I’ve read it before but the romance in the book wasn’t insta-love and just felt really natural. But I felt like the plot could be a bit predictable at times.

TV

I started watching Trollhunters on Netflix. It’s an animated TV series by Guillermo del Toro and produced by DreamWorks. It’s actually pretty good (even though computer 3Dish animation still bothers me a little). This is the summary from Wikipedia:

A fifteen-year-old boy stumbles upon a magical amulet that transforms him into a warrior with the title of Trollhunter. He is the chosen defender of the trolls that live below the human town of Arcadia from miscreants who try to disrupt peace.

I’m not watching any Korean dramas at the moment, even though I want to. I heard Netflix will be coming out with an original Korean drama, which is exciting! I wonder who the actors/actresses will be?

Comics

These days I’ve been reading Noblesse consistently. [2. Apart from One Piece, of course] I also started reading Something About Us (Romance) and At the End of the Road (BL). All three are webcomics and the last two are from a site called Lezhin, which is actually pretty R-rated. Okay not “pretty R-rated”, it is R-rated. I was pretty shocked but I guess as long as it has a story line, it doesn’t matter all that much to me? LOL I don’t really discriminate which topics I should or shouldn’t read.

But… thankfully Something About Us and At the End of the Road aren’t R-rated. And to be honest, I did try reading a mature/R-rated manga and I think my virgin eyes are pretty much scarred for life.

Misc

I’ve been playing Kirby: Planet Robobot, which is super fun (and also really cute) on my 3DS. I own a few other games but Kirby is probably my favorite right now. The air plant that I mentioned in a previous Life Update post is slowly dying. I thought it would be easy to take care of like a cactus but I was totally wrong.

I also just realized that my Life Update posts end up being mini-reviews, aha. I didn’t mean for them to end up that way but they just sort of did I guess?

Thoughts of the Day – Why Are People Prejudiced?

I’m going to end this post with a reflection. I’ve been on a Harry Potter re-reading high and as I was reading through the Goblet of Fire, there was one particular scene that stuck out to me.

“So?” Harry prompted Ron. “What’s the problem with giants?”

“Well, they’re… they’re…” Ron struggled for words. “… not very nice,” he finished lamely.

“Who cares?” Harry said. “There’s nothing wrong with Hagrid!”

“I know there isn’t, but… blimey, no wonder he keeps it quiet,” Ron said, shaking his head. “I always thought he’d got in the way of a bad Engorgement Charm when he was a kid or something. Didn’t like to mention it…”

“But what’s it matter if his mother was a giantess?” said Harry.

And this passage got me to thinking about prejudices.

Previous to this, Harry expresses how his lack of knowledge about certain aspects of the wizarding world made him ignorant about things like giants. But does this make him ignorant? It seems to me like because of his lack of knowledge, Harry is expressing his opinion based on his character and not because of how he looks. Which got me to thinking about how issues like this translate to the real world?

For instance, my own parents grew up in South Korea. South Korea, along with North Korea and Japan, are considered the most homogenous countries in the world. Which basically means that everyone looks the same. And when everyone looks the same, you don’t encounter people who don’t look like you or very much diversity in terms of race. My parents, being older and not having grown up with the internet, grew up in this homogenous country and as a result, can be racist. They had preconceived notions about a whole group of people, even though they had never seen them in person before. Does this justify the fact that they’re have prejudices? No, it doesn’t and after living so long in the US, a very diverse place, they’ve started to get over some of those preconceived notions. In all honesty, it’s hard getting over those notions if you’ve grown up with them you’re entire life, but at least they’re trying to get there.

But maybe it does help us understand why people are prejudiced. This doesn’t just apply to the color of your skin but I don’t think we should judge people based on how you look. I don’t want to be called that “Asian girl”, just as I’m sure someone who is over 6 feet tall doesn’t want to be known as that “tall person”.

Ron, having grown up with tales of how violent giants are, would have judged Hagrid (even before meeting him) if he knew that Hagrid was a half-giant. Harry, having no exposure to violent tales about giants, doesn’t understand why anyone would judge Hagrid because he was a half-giant.

I don’t know. I just thought that this was interesting to think about (and also reminded me why I love Harry Potter as a series so much). As mentioned in my post “Am I a Good Person?”, I want to continue to think about issues like this and become more articulate on why I believe in the things I believe.

Write a Comment

Comment

18 Comments

  1. I really think that our prejudice stems from the things we have been exposed to in our environment. For instance, in a place where basically everyone looks the same and thinks the same way, our way of thinking gets influenced by the few stories or things we hear about certain groups, which creates stereotypes in our minds (and we have no way to see if these stereotypes are real or not). At least, that’s how I see it based on my personal experiences.

  2. This is so relatable to my family.

    My parents grew up in Hong Kong. And although it’s a little diverse there, they were still basing a lot of things off stereotypes that they would read about in the newspaper or see on TV.
    They’ve been living in the U.S. for a while now, and are actually pretty open-minded about a lot of things now. They don’t want to be seen as the “stereotypical” Asian parents (ie. tiger mom) because it’s not a very positive thing here.
    The more TV (news) they watch, the more open they are.

    I also love your layout, btw! It’s so cute!

  3. I agree that nature/environment has the effect on our prejudice. I’m no psych major, but this reminds me of Pavlov’s conditioning, stripped to the bare minimum– Perhaps humans have been conditioned to an extent by their environment (media, people, etc) and it creates an imprint. Similarly, my parents also had the same prejudices you mentioned to an extent, but since the mind is flexible and complex, it overcomes or perhaps evolves from the basic conditioning, and over time people are more accepting or open-minded as they are exposed to certain environments more?

    Btw, I like these topics you mention lately. They’re very thought provoking and insightful!

  4. I remember starting TrollHunters but I barely remember the premise since I just had the series in the background. But I remember being intrigued by it because of the director – I liked Pan’s Labyrinth a lot. I think I have TrollHunters in My List and I’ll start watching it over again.

    On prejudice: I think it is multi-faceted. One reason is the one you mentioned — people are/were not exposed to different people/cultures/etc. But I think even “homogenous” nations like South Korea and Japan are beginning to open up especially the younger generation.

    Another reason, I think, which kind of relates to my experience, is there are people who will be prejudiced because they are trying to “compensate” for a “hidden inferiority complex”. I grew up in the Philippines and am part indigenous(Igorot) and even up to now, it is common to hear/read statements from Filipinos like “That’s so barbaric, like an Igorot”, or “you’re as ugly as an Igorot” or “Do you have a tail”? Basically, any statement that would imply backwardness. And I do not believe these statements stem from ignorance, but rather from their own need to feel “superior” because they feel inferior to something. I see a lot of this statements from people from big and more “cosmopolitan cities” in the country with good educational background. One Filipino woman who even made outrageous statements on the internet was living in France. I’ve only escaped these prejudices being said to my face because well, I wasn’t “ugly enough” and Filipinos think I am either Chinese, Korean, or Vietnamese.

  5. I definitely agree with you in terms of prejudice and it’s so cool that that sort of thing was highlighted in Harry Potter (currently reading the series). My dad’s heritage goes back to the South which, I’m sure you’re aware, has some people who can be racist. As a result, I’ve dealt with some racism from him. But I’m glad your parents’ opinions are changing.

    As for your family history, it sounds fascinating and I’d love to learn more.

  6. I’m so sorry about your aunt! That is so hard to not be close to your family. My family is the same way in that it’s small and not very close-knit, so I don’t get to see any of my extended family (and I don’t really know most of them either). I want to be connected but it’s hard.

    Unrelated, but Kirby Robobot is SO FUN. I’m with you – the Kirby games have been great lately.

    As for prejudice, I really wish we could all just get over ourselves and stop thinking one type of person is better than another type of person. There’s such a loooong history of prejudice in every single country, though – all the more reason to just keep trying every single day to check ourselves and make sure we’re being fair and compassionate to others.

  7. Those books sound great. The Forbidden wish sounds really interesting! I only saw Disney’s Aladdin for the first time last year, but I loved the story, and that version sounds really cool.

    Kirby is amazing. I always love playing as him on Super Smash Bros, just because he can eat everyone! I think I’ll have to have a look at Kirby: Planet Robobot, because I’d love to have something new to play.

    It’s sad that people still judge people based on things that shouldn’t affect anything. Stereotyping groups of people is horrible, because, even if a large amount of people are a certain way e.g. some giants are horrible, there’ll always be some who aren’t, and it’s just not fair. I’m shocked to see how much it still goes on tbh. I think there’ll always be people like that though, which is very, very sad.

    So sorry to hear about your aunt. Hope you’re doing okay!

  8. I definitely have to reread Harry Potter as an adult. So many of these things flew past me as a kid. I didn’t think about it in terms of how these concepts apply to the real world, but I’m sure there are many hidden gems in the series.

    Thank you for sharing the photo of your grandpa and your family history. I can definitely relate to that feeling of having extended family see you for the first time. Now I look back, I wish I learned more about them earlier and interacted with them more. Instead, I was too shy to ask more about them. Only after they pass away do I hear these amazing stories about them.

    I agree that exposure to different people and new encounters can help break down personal prejudices. They may have only heard one version of the story, or perhaps they’ve had one terrible interaction that later defines all other interaction. Or they’re looking for an easy scapegoat during tough times. But the more people interact with others, the more people become individuals rather than groupings. Or so I would like to think.

  9. Oh, wow. That’s an amazing photo of your grandpa at his Hwanggap! It was interesting to me to read about how he’s from the area that’s North Korea. His escape must have been super scary, though! They were brave to make that escape.

    My family is all from the Jeollanamdo region, while I’m a Seoul girl, haha. I should try and look into more of my family history — this post is making me curious now!

    I’m so sorry that your aunt has passed away :( It’s hard when families live in different countries. My dad’s side of the families are all in the states, and I’ve only met them twice in my life. I can’t say I have any real connection with them . . . but I’ve been keeping in contact with some of them on Facebook, but I can’t say we’re close at all.

    Yay for doing some gaming! Since you have a 3DS, I highly recommend you looking into trying the Phoenix Wright games (aka Ace Attorney) :D They are adventure games, so it’s like reading an interactive novel.

    As for prejudice . . . that’s a hard question to answer. From my own experience, I’ve grown up in a foreign country within a US military community, so that’s put me in a super diverse environment. I’ve met so many different people from different cultural and ethnic background, and I’m glad I did. I know my own environment has helped me be accepting of people. I will never understand why prejudice exist, honestly, but I guess it all stems to the fact that people are afraid of the unknown, and if they don’t know what certain things are like, they come to their own inaccurate conclusion :/ That’s why diversity is important, that’s why educating people on diversity is important!

  10. Thank you for sharing some of your grandfather’s story with us. It’s so amazing that he escaped.. I would love to hear more if you are willing to share. I am sorry to hear about the passing of your aunt. I definitely can relate to your struggles about living away from family. My parents are both from Hong Kong so the majority of my relatives live there and it’s hard to for me to build close relationships when they are so far away.
    My parents are pretty open-minded, perhaps as a result of living in the West for so long. But I’d say some relatives back home could be racist. You’re right in that growing up in such a homogenous society can influence the way you think but it is still unfair for people to be judged straight away based on outer appearance.
    Thanks for sharing an insightful post, Rezina!

  11. you are a family oriented person, aren’t you rezina :)
    it’s not a bad thing, of course; it’s just amazing when i see someone who’s so family oriented. i personally stray away from family members, especially relatives like aunts, cousins and stuff like that. i even hate family gathering too. one of the reasons is because i can never blend with them; i’m always the odd one out, the black sheep who gets mistreated and gets compared to my cousin who is of the same age because she is everyone’s golden child. i also hate how my relatives (and even my own family, for that matter) are your typical narrow-minded asian baby boomers; they think of shit like “all adults are right, all children are wrong / don’t have a say against this” or “every adult deserves respect but not every youngster deserves it because well, they’re young pfft” and they’re just urgh, all out dumb in a “baby boomers” kind of dumb, if you know what i mean. anyway, long story short, i hate family gathering and i don’t care about my relatives. it probably sounds so evil or selfish or whatever but really, i have reasons behind it haha

    i’ve never heard of the books you mentioned here too! remember when you said that my book post is something you always like reading because they feature books you don’t know? well, it’s the same thing for me! it’s been years ever since i read a young adult book. i guess i grow out of YA and i’m actually thinking of writing a post explaining why. the main reason is because everything is just soooo repetitive and boring!
    i’m currently (still) reading the bone clocks by david mitchell, author of cloud atlas (whose movie adaptation is very good, btw). my reading speed just keeps declining over the years it’s bad. i haven’t finished ANY book last year at all! urgh.

    when you mentioned lezhin, i snorted a little. i don’t read anything from that side but i know that site has quite a few R-rated stories hahaha i don’t know why i blew out a little laugh when you mentioned it (not intending to laugh at you or anything. you’re free to read whatever you wanna read :D)

    oh my god, i’ve been on a harry potter binge lately too! not re-reading the series per se but rather re-watching them all. i’ve been rewatching all 7 movies back to back since december last year! i’m insane hahaha i can probably watch all 7 films everyday and not get sick bout it.

    i like what you have written about prejudice. my parents are racist, my relatives and surroundings are. let’s get real, they’re chinese. i am chinese. and they have been feeding me this thought that because i’m chinese, that makes me a better person – which is such bullshit. i can’t even stress how many wrong prejudice and norms that i have been taught while growing up. i’d like to consider myself lucky because i’m a thinker and i like to think deep into things and issues instead of being that dumb kid who’s all “okay yea, my parents think like that therefore they are right and i have to abide to their mindset” because heck no, most of the things the adults around me have told me are, believe it or not, not right! be it my family or my grandparents, they taught me lots of wrong thoughts and mindset that i don’t want to ever listen to. besides, we all have our own brain and i expect everyone to think for themselves – as ambitious as that sounds because if everyone in this world were to be intelligent and wise, we wouldn’t have naive people or scatterbrained idiots who foolishly follow instead of developing their own logic.

  12. It sounds like you have a very interesting family history and it’s really cool that you decided to do your project on your grandpa. The photo is really compelling. Do you now what year it was taken?

    That is really sad to hear of the loss of your aunt. It is times like these that you do miss your family. :( *hughughug*

    Such an interesting thought about prejudices. I guess many people develop them from what they have learned, and that is basically the same as what you have said. I have no prejudice towards others, and I have been in environments when other people have, but it just didn’t seem right or true to how I felt inside.

    I wish you the best with your grades! I am sure you will do better than you think. :)

  13. I’m sorry to hear about your aunt. My condolences to you and your family. ❤️

    I am always fascinated by old photographs of old family members, and to have you write a bit and share your photo was really nice to see.

    I also come from a family who has their opinions about white people or people from other cultures, and I think… where does this come from? Why? And it just comes from stuff they hear through the grapevine, or from their observations from the media. They are not only a little stuck in their ways and the way things were in their home country, but they are also misinformed. Another thing is that when something close to their culture changes, they may find themselves in disbelief, and they don’t adapt to the change. Which I think is where the term “back in my day” came from.

    I’m curious to know what you think of my thoughts, but would you agree? Our parents and grandparents are not used to seeing such rapid change or difference, and the fact that they react in a hostile way is because they have not yet accepted that things have changed. And you used the example of Ron and Harry and their opinions of giants – I’ve also been in situations where I, myself, have judged something without really trying it. I think part of it is because I’m a little snob (as some people are) and think that my ways or opinions are better, and right, and until I’m educated, I’m just misinformed.

    I usually think about a book after I’ve finished reading it, but if I don’t think about it very much it’s probably because it didn’t have anything groundbreaking about it. Nothing was a mystery or it didn’t keep me super hooked. Maybe there was nothing unique about it or nothing “special” so it was just another book. It didn’t mean it was particularly bad, it just wasn’t amazing.

    • I do agree! I think people adapt to change in different ways and cultures are definitely different. I remember when my dad used to say to my sister and I “Back in my day, I couldn’t talk back to your grandpa” and then I would think (inside my head) yeah… that’s because you lived in a different time AND a different country. I also wonder where they got all their preconceptions about certain people. I think a lot of it has to do with media. Even without the internet, I think my parents were able to see foreign films and some of the beliefs sort of seeped into them? I’m not entirely sure, aha. Great food for thought!

  14. Thank you for sharing a piece of your family history. It is always sad to hear about family members having to escape somewhere else because of war. I am sorry to hear about your aunt’s passing. You have my condolences and I wish your family the best. I feel the same way about my extended family. They’re in a different country and it kind of sucks not being able to really interact with them. There is a language barrier between us and that doesn’t make the situation any better @__@.

    The Forbidden Wish sounds like an interesting book. I can imagine being torn between two different choices :x. Guillermo del Toro sounded familiar (Pacific Rim) and it sounds like his TV show is pretty good!

    There are so many reasons why people are prejudiced these days whether they’re raised by it, experienced an event that led them to believe certain people are {this}, or etc. My parents were the same when I was younger but over the years, they start to embrace everyone regardless of their culture because they’re still human. I didn’t like being called “ching chong” as a kid and I’m glad I live in a world today where I am no longer called that @___@.

  15. Your grandparents look so regal! I love old pictures like that. I’m sorry to hear about your aunt :( You and your family are in my thoughts <3 The books you read sound really interesting! I love YA – it is one of my favourite genres.

    I know there's a show on Netflix called Dramaworld about a girl who gets transported into her favourite kdrama. I really want to watch it.

    I definitely feel that your surroundings affect your prejudice.

  16. I’m so glad you like Kirby: Planet Robobot! I really enjoyed it, and now it’s one of my favorites :D I saw that Trollhunters was on Netflix, but I didn’t realize it was by Guillermo del Toro. That makes me want to check it out now!

    Oh wow, I love that old photo of your grandpa, and that’s good that he was able to escape back then. I’m so sorry to hear about your aunt though :( That’s tough that your extended family is so far. My parents were the last ones to leave China, so all of my relatives and cousins are in the US. Sometimes I miss the days where we all lived in the same state, but I’m still thankful that I can visit them somewhat easily.

    I can relate to the last part too. My parents are from China, and while they’re more open minded now, they still have prejudices that I wish they’d leave behind. I know some Chinese people who want their children to only marry other Chinese people, which I feel is unrealistic when you live in a diverse place like the US. (Fortunately, my parents aren’t like that and didn’t have issues with me having an interracial marriage.) I do think the subject is an interesting and important thing to think about though!

  17. My father is from a war torn third world country: El Salvador which is Central America and I had a uncle that disappeared in that same country that I visited many times before hand, still, your grandfather is strong. Props to him and to your family.

    I wish I knew his struggle and my family’s struggle through that time. It hurts to have something happened to my family, so I understand. I’m glad your chose to talk about him and your family. <3