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By Amanda Wang, V Form
A Preliminary Probe into the Impact of Confucianism on China: How is a thought from two thousand years ago still relevant today?
Confucianism was born out of a disturbed and divided era, with wars plunging people into the abyss of misery and suffering. Different from the Taoists who observed the way and legalists who committed to harsh punishments, Confucius sought to restore a harmonious social order to China. The most prosperous dynasties of China applied Confucianism to state administration, and Confucius himself was known by the highest institutions down to the grass-root workers. The open sentence of The Analects: “Is it not pleasant to learn with a constant perseverance and application? Is it not delightful to have coming from distant quarters? Is he not a man of complete virtue, who feels no discomposure though men may take no note of him?” is a proverb to all Chinese (Xue Er). It renders in my memory since the age of four. At that time, my friends and I could correctly recite around a hundred of those, without knowing what they actually meant. But every grown Chinese knows, through the Five Ideals of jen, chun-tzu, li, te, and wen, the sage influenced China profoundly in society, politics, and culture for thousands of years and beyond.(more…)
By Suha Choi, IV Form
Travel Reflections: Cultural Immersion in Lovely Airbnbs
This June, when sunshine and the early hints of summer were slowly surrounding us, I was very lucky to travel to Europe with my family! This trip was the first time my sister and I visited Europe. We traveled in a rental minivan around many cities and sites. The route included Milan, Florence, Rome, Venice, Nancy, Paris, and Lucerne. I am extremely glad that I had a chance to visit countless sites of human history and landmarks! In this reflection, instead of simply listing the places I visited, I am going to recount a few moments that remain the most memorable to me.
Culture lies everywhere, in the lifestyle and daily bases of people. It is embedded in the restaurants we go to, in the streets we walk, and on the faces and in the words of people we meet. But I believe that there is no place like home to reflect the cultures and lifestyles of people so precisely. What kind of food they eat, how many security locks are set in the door, what kind of books are stored on the shelves, and what time they turn off their lights and go to bed are the small details and factors that define identity and form a culture. During my trip, because our family chose to stay in Airbnbs, which are actual houses rented from the local people, instead of in regular hotels, we were able to directly experience the lifestyles of the people in Europe. Of the dozen of Airbnbs we have been to, two still linger in my heart, and I wish to share them.(more…)
By Kendall Sommers, III Form
Cross Country Running: A Lesson in Collaboration
Running is like a weight being lifted off your shoulders, pushing through boundaries and working through physical and mental obstacles. The first day of cross country, I fell in love with the sport. The sweat dripping off my face after a half hour of the most intense cardio I had ever done. The feeling of cool water refreshing my parched throat. But best of all, the mutual feeling of accomplishment among my teammates and me. It was eighth grade, last year, and I had never been on a team for running before. In fact, I had never run more than in my middle school basketball games or during gym class fitness testing. But nevertheless, I was drawn into the sport after hearing how rewarding it was from friends. And those friends were right.
Running is powered by individual ambition, but supported by a team. Having never run on a serious, all-girls, competing team before, coming to Saint Mark’s I did not know what to expect. Arriving at preseason, I could tell right away that it was the type of team you could join having run a half marathon over the summer or half a mile, and still feel important and valued as a teammate and friend. The captains launched us right into stretching and warming up and then into running. We started by running for thirty minutes without stopping, and that grew to a challenging sixty minutes by the end of the season. I hadn’t realized how perfectly simple the sport of cross country was. Lace up your shoes. Hit the pavement. Work hard. Repeat. So I repeated, every day for ten weeks. Slowly becoming faster, slowly becoming closer to my teammates and quickly adjusting to life at Saint Mark’s. (more…)