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Answered Prayers November 29, 2006

Posted by betweennaps in Christianity.
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This summer I prayed for both our school’s Christian Legal Society and that I would find people to fellowship with and keep me accountable.  The Lord has blessed CLS with an unusually large and active number of Christian 1Ls as well as some awesome leadership.  I was initially worried about who was going to lead the group, but the two chairs have done a terrific job.  Among many other things, God is teaching me that I don’t need to be in control of everything, and that sometimes it’s just best to follow.  Additionally, four of the 1L women have decided to start a bible study, as I mentioned in my post supra.  The women are wonderful and the bible study is also a blessing.

Thank you, Lord for answering my prayers!

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The Holiday Season Makes Me Feel So…. November 27, 2006

Posted by betweennaps in Life.
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Greedy.  And materialistic.

I love looking at catalogues and shopping online, but sometimes it gets to my head.  Lately I’ve been wanting to own perfume; I don’t even wear scented lotion.  There’s also a $47.50 Estee Lauder offer in a Nordstrom’s catalogue that I’ve been coveting.  To some people that might not be a big deal, but considering in my lifetime, I’ve only ever purchased one tube of lipstick (the top is still chiseled the way it was when I bought it), it’s quite unusual for me.  And I’m 24.  Considering all the beautiful clothingshoes, bags, and jewelry that are out there, I’m glad my Asian upbringing has limited me to just coveting and not actually purchasing the things that I want.  I guess it’s not that hard for me to imagine why so many people my age are up to their eyeballs in debt.

Ebonics November 27, 2006

Posted by betweennaps in Black People.
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My roommate is a graduate student studying educational linguistics.  We often talk about educational issues, and she has a lot of really leftist views.  She’s not really a political person, so I think that her views stem from the leftward tendencies of many graduate schools.  Today she asked me what I thought about Ebonics.

I think that whatever you speak at home or with your friends is your own business, but to not teach black children standard English is short changing them in the long run.  Whether or not it’s fair, a black job candidate who speaks “white English” will be looked upon more favorably than a black job candidate who speaks Ebonics.

My roommate has a problem with looking down on people because of their language or the way that they speak.  Because black people grow up with Ebonics, it’s not fair to have to change the way they speak to fit in with white culture.  It’s not fair that by and large all successful black people have had to give up their black identities.  My roommate is studying Cantonese (something about how the written Cantonese is different from spoken Cantonese and how in general it’s considered less prestigious than Mandarin), and she feels that it is unfair that many Chinese people look down on Cantonese speakers.  When she was reading criticism about Ebonics, she became extremely upset because of the parallels she saw between Ebonics and Cantonese.

My roommate is an intelligent person, yet her views on education and language make absolutely no sense to me.  I still can’t fully articulate my beliefs because I’m hesitant to make a judgment call on something that’s not “mainstream.”  Ebonics in and of itself is not bad.  I guess it comes down to practicality.  Although I can see that a person’s background may disadvantage him in life, I think that pretending that Ebonics won’t negatively impact a person’s job prospects only handicaps him further.

Feeling Stalked November 22, 2006

Posted by betweennaps in Life.
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It’s fun to stalk someone you have a crush on.  I’ll be the first to admit that much.  What’s not so fun is when you suspect that you’re being stalked by someone who has a crush on you – and you’re not interested in that person.

I can’t tell if it’s all in my head.  No worries, there isn’t any physical stalking going on.  I just feel like my internet activities are being monitored too close for comfort.  Do I need justification?  The person has never come out and said, “I like you.” There are other signs, though.  I think I’m usually a pretty good judge of character, and I have a pretty strong feeling about this one individual in particular. 

I’m very reluctant to end the friendship because in the past we were fairly close friends, but I no longer enjoy the friendship.  At the same time, I don’t want to pretend to be someone’s friend out of pity.  I guess at this age, when an individual initiates something beyond friendship, the person has assumed the risk of whatever consequences will follow.  Too bad in this case, it looks like someone will end up in the abyss.

Justice Thomas and Affirmative Action November 20, 2006

Posted by betweennaps in Black People.
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One of my pet causes is racial injustice in the United States, particularly for Black people.  When I entered law school, I was a strong supporter of affirmative action.  Basically, I thought that Black people don’t have the same resources that white people or Asians have, so affirmative action makes up for them being disadvantaged from the start.

Since I began identifying as a conservative, my attitude towards black empowerment has not changed, but my view of affirmative action has.  I’m not completely against it, but I’m on the fence and leaning towards it being a bad idea.  I’m just not sure that it works in the long run.

In my constitutional law class, we recently read the affirmative action case Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena 515 U.S. 200 (1995).  In Justice Thomas’ dissent, he writes out exactly why I’m so wary of affirmative action even though I support its goals:

“[T]here can be no doubt that racial paternalism and its unintended consequences can be as poisonous and pericious as any other form of discrimination.  So-called ‘benign’ discrimination teaches many that because of chronic and apparently immutable handicaps, minorities cannot compete with them without their patrnizing indulgence.  Inevitably, such programs engender attitudes of superiority or, alternatively, provoke resentment among those who believe that they have been wronged by the goverment’s use of race.  These programs stamp minorities with a badge of inferiority and may cause them to develop dependencies or to adopt an attitude that they are ‘entitled’ to preferences.”

This is also what makes me concerned about the influx of illegal Hispanic immigrants.  I’m not convinced that illegal immigration will cause our society to collapse economically.  I think that Hispanics enter the U.S. with the same hardworking mindset as many Asian Americans.  In fact, my paternal grandfather was a “paper son.”  My concern is that liberal establishments will work to corrode this hardworking mindset, so that Hispanics in America will fare more closely to the Black population than to the Asian population.

Muslims In Indonesia November 19, 2006

Posted by betweennaps in Islam.
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Atlas Shrugs has posted some graphic pictures of violence in Indonesia.  Some of the comments say that rather than current persecution of Christians, they’re actually several years old.  I don’t know if those comments are correct or not.  Regardless, the photos are quite disturbing.  Considering that Indonesia is the country with the largest Muslim population, it does make you wonder about how much Islam promotes peace.

A True Homie November 18, 2006

Posted by betweennaps in Black People, Funny.
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Today I happened to be at Britney Spears’ myspace page (don’t ask), and I came across this post by “Green Eyed Puerto Rican”:

IF U WERE KILLED TOMORROW, I WOULDNT GO 2 UR FUNERAL CUZ ID B N JAIL 4 KILLIN DA NIGGA THAT KILLED U!
…_…|..____________________, ,
……/ `—___________—-_____|] = = = = = D
…../_==o;;;;;;;;_______.:/
…..), —.(_(__) /
….// (..) ), —-”
…//___//
..//___//
.//___//

WE TRUE HOMIES
WE RIDE TOGETHER
WE DIE TOGETHER
send this GUN to everyone you care about including me if you care. C how many times you get this, if you get 13 your A TRUE HOMIE

Normally I get emails about things like appreciating life and friendship that I’m supposed to forward for goodluck or to show how much I care about XYZ.  I’ve never seen a gun that’s supposed to be forwarded, let alone to prove the sender is “a true homie.”   Aside from the “u”/”you,” “c”/”see,” “4”/”for,” etc. many of my peers use that irritates me so much, it’s somewhat a reflection of the misplaced priorities which seem to plague high-crime demographics.  I mean, can’t you go to the funeral first and then get revenge?

Sad, but tremendously funny.

Learning Piano November 17, 2006

Posted by betweennaps in Childhood.
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As a kid, piano was the bane of my existence.  I never figured out that music was supposed to be something pleasurable until junior high, long after I quit.  It didn’t make sense to me why people would want to play the piano when a computer could make the same sounds, only without missing any keys and with perfect timing.  My parents used to make my older brother and me practice an hour per day.  Even on Christmas we had to finish piano before opening gifts.  

Various tactics I used to avoid practicing seemed reasonable at the time, although in retrospect they were really quite lame.  There was a bed behind the piano bench and between songs I would lie backwards and watch the second hand on the clock move until I thought my parents might become suspicious of the prolonged silence.  Sometimes I would try to avoid practicing in hopes that my parents would forget.  Somehow they never did.

“Did you finish your piano?”

“Ummffffrggghhh.”

“What?”

“I already told you.”

That never worked either.  Eventually my parents gave up and after three years they let me quit on the condition that I couldn’t say that I never had the chance to learn.  I happily agreed. 

Little did I know that I would one day regret the decision.  I admit that at the time, piano was overwhelmingly painful, and it didn’t help that everytime I would leave the room, even to go to the bathroom, my dad would angrily ask, “what are you doing out here?”  But I still regret it.  My older brother played through his freshman year of high school, and my younger brother is still playing now.  He’s 15 and is making $20 per half-hour for teaching younger students.  The fact that virtually all my Asian friends (the majority of my friends) play either the piano or the violin makes me feel even more inadequate.

Now I’m trying to learn how to play again.  I don’t feel like my ability to learn has decreased significantly.  (Maybe it has, but increased motivation makes up for the difference.)  However, now I have significantly less time and resources to put into the process.  I’ll never be a great piano player, but at least I’ve gained an appreciation for the activity and I appreciate that my parents were willing to pay for lessons.

 When I have kids, I’m definitely going to make the learn an instrument.  (In theory I’ll have four kids so they can form a quartet.)  Talking to my peers who took piano long enough to be proficient, it seems like everyone hates it as a child.  Those who stuck with it mostly say that their parents didn’t have a set amount of time for them to practice, but they had enough competitions that they were forced to practice frequently.

I also haven’t figured out if hitting your child makes him a better or worse pianist.  I have two male friends who both had their mothers stand behind them with a ruler when they practiced and would hit them every time they stopped playing.  One is now my piano teacher.  The other one quit when his father finally had enough and threw his piano books into the snow.  We have another family friend who used to lock the daughter in the garage when she didn’t practice her piano.  She turned out to be quite a pianist.  I wonder if that would have made me a better pianist.  Somehow I doubt it.  Regardless, I only regret the inability to play piano, not missing out on being locked in the garage.

Running With Horses November 17, 2006

Posted by betweennaps in Christianity.
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Mentally, I know that there is only one God who is the same in both the New Testament and the Old Testament.  Yet one thing that has always struck me is how different the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament come across in the Bible.  The God of the Old Testament feels legalistic and stern, almost to the point of being heartless.  The God of the New Testament feels loving and gentle.  He seems to be more concerned with the plight of poor people and having compassion for sinners.

My perception of a dual-faced God is gradually being clarified.  The bible study I’m in just finished a six-week series on Jeremiah.   We started with God calling Jeremiah and sending him a vision of a boiling pot.  God tells him, “From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land…. I will pronounce my judgements on my people because of their wickedness in forsaking me, in burning incense to other gods and in worshiping what their hands have made.”  Jeremiah 1:14,16.  We finished in Jeremiah 29, where Judah has been exiled into Babylon, and God tells them “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.  Marry and have sons and daughters….When the seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:6-7, 10-11.

I think it’s interesting that God exiles Judah into Babylon as a judgment for their sins, yet when they get there, his attitude isn’t “Gotcha!  …Bet you’ll remember to listen next time, bastards.”  Rather, he follows through with his word while at the same time loving them and wanting them to prosper.  “This is how it is, but they’re part of my plan and I still want the best for you.”

 I don’t know if God exiled Judah into Babylon because those were the natural consequences of their actions or to discipline them.  Perhaps both.  But God never lost his poise.  How awesome it is to serve a God who knows what he’s doing and who has plans to make us the best that we can be – even when we don’t think much of ourselves.  When Jeremiah (who initially had reservations about his age) asks God why the wicked prosper, God tells him: “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?  If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?”  Jeremiah 12:5

Perhaps one day I, too, will run with horses.

Procrastination. November 16, 2006

Posted by betweennaps in Uncategorized.
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I really should be sleeping or studying right now. Instead, I’ve created my first blog.

I’ve been mulling over the idea of a blog for a little while now. Yes, I have a problem with procrastination, but for now I’ll think of this blog as structured procrastination. Tonight I’ve accomplished two things: starting a blog, and breaking the ice with my first post. Hopefully a series of articulate, thought-provoking posts will follow, though an entertaining series of journal entries seems more likely. I’ll settle for that too.