Implications of Brexit for Ireland

As I studied abroad in Ireland this summer, I thought this event last semester, “Implications of Brexit for Ireland,” with Consul General of Ireland Adrian Farrell sounded like a must-attend. On April 2, I sat against the wall of the conference room, eating my provided sandwich and listening to Consul General Farrell talk about borders and trading.

He explained the importance of the Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland border during the Brexit transition. Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland must have an open border due to past agreements. However, while Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom is Brexiting, the Republic of Ireland will stay in the European Union. This creates a problem for the UK, who wanted less immigration, as their only land border with the EU remains open.

Brexit also worries the Republic of Ireland, as a nation that relies on trade, especially to the UK. Ireland, with its small domestic population, has built its economy primarily on agriculture exports, though it exports other products as well, such as medical technology. With the UK threatening Ireland’s open trading, Ireland’s economy could suffer when Brexit takes full effect.

OU Confucius Day 2018

In the year prior, I was excited to see the Confucius Insititute host this event about my culture. This year, I did not take any pictures unfortunately, but I took a sister from my sorority to witness this event. I did miss the dragon dance, but I got to view some of the booths. My favorite booth this year was the one about caligraphy. I do have a Chinese name and so did my sister, so we both practiced writing our Chinese name with a brush and ink.

 

I did not try the food though because I realized that OU Housing and Food Services made the food. Having worked in Housing and Food Services my first year, I know that the Asian food that they made was nowhere close to the authenticity of my culture. In the future, I hope they will find a venue that would provide better idea of how my culture’s food tastes.

Cyber Warfare: the Gateway for Authoritarian Regimes?

During the Spring semester, I had the pleasure of attending a lecture by Dr. Ron Deibert of the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab about the power and influence of Cyber Warfare in the modern age — and issue that is undeniably prevalent in our day-to-day lives today.

Before breaching the issues of cyber warfare and internet security more broadly, Dr. Deibert first explained what his work has focused on throughout his career — explaining that it has primarily centered around the human rights concerns that have developed in the digital age.

Dr. Deibert explained that while these concerns vary rather significantly (touching on everything from media censorship to government surveillance to cellular privacy)  they are all equally important, and perhaps most frightening, equally at risk.

Dr. Deibert went on to discuss how the media and the internet have evolved throughout the last two decades — pointing out that with every year our societies are becoming more and more connected on the local, national and global levels.

Dr. Deibert posited that while there are certainly benefits to this new-found connectivity, it comes with innumerous risks that could potentially outweigh the benefits. Perhaps one of Dr. Deibert’s most insightful points was that our level of global connectivity is increasing at a rate that outpaces our capacity to secure our data.

What I found to be most interesting about Dr. Deibert’s presentation was the way in which he linked this lack of cyber security with the resurgence of authoritarianism in the present-day political arena.

Citing numerous examples from recent campaigns in Europe and the United States, Dr. Deibert concluded that this rise in authoritarianism is due in large part to the increasing prominence of digital media in the modern world, and the government’s virtually unlimited capacity to not only survey but also directly influence the media and thus propagate their nationalistic agendas.

 

 

Voces Inocentes

This past spring semester, I attended a showing of the 2004 Mexican film Voces Inocentes. The film depicts the events of the Salvadoran civil war; however, unlike many war movies, it does not focus so much on the war itself as the tragic effects that the constant threat of violence had on the impoverished people of El Salvador — and specifically the Salvadoran children.

The film is primarily centered around an eleven-year-old boy named Chava, who is deeply afraid of his twelfth birthday. Like many of his peers, Chava fears that turning twelve will mean he will be forced to join the military voices against his will — as a child soldier.

Each week at school, all of the twelve-year-old boys are rounded up by a group of soldiers and escorted onto military vehicles and away from their friends and family without so much as the opportunity to say goodbye. On rare occasions, the boys do return to their village; however, they do not return as children, but as young men — hardened by war and violence and death.

On one such occasion, one of Chava’s friends returns to the village fully clad in military gear with an AK47 rifle strapped across his chest. Initially, Chava and the other village boys are thrilled to see their old friend, but as the day passes by the boys become more and more aware of their old friend and one-time classmate’s new position.

As the film progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that the young boys have few options before them — they can either join the rebel forces prior to their twelfth birthday (thereby avoiding the government draft) or they can bide their time until the military comes and abducts them from their schools and forces them into the military.

However, Chava’s mother hopes for a better life for her son. Knowing that the war will continue to rage on — permeating her village (and El Salvador as a whole) with violence — Chava’s mother is adamant that she wants her son to leave the country all together, even if that means that she is forced to part with her eldest child and, likewise, Chava is forced to part with everyone and everything that he has ever known.

I think that, in today’s political climate, we are quick to lump all immigrants into the same box — as trespassers in need of a firm reprimand and a ticket back home. Many believe that all immigrants are coming from Latin and South America willingly — as if they want to leave their homes and families behind to start over in a foreign country with no connections.

Of course, more times than not, this is not the case.

Nobody simply chooses to leave their home, their family, their life, out of boredom.

This film was a firm reminder to me of the conditions that many people around the world — and specifically in Latin and South America — are forced to endure. A reminder of the impossible choices that mothers are forced to make — whether to send their children off to war or to a foreign land. A reminder to look at all immigrants with a certain measure of empathy and compassion, as opposed to a blatant dismissal of their dignity and human rights.

After watching this film, I find myself even more distraught over President Trump’s immigration policies. However, I find myself equally as determined to fight for a better solution for not only American Immigrants, but also those that are unable to escape the violence and war that plagues their communities and threatens their families.

 

Eve of Nations (2018)

The Eve of Nations was a spectacular showcase of many countries’ cultures. It had a fashion show of every country that the University of Oklahoma represented. For instance, my pledge brother from Malaysia wore his traditional clothing and posed on the stage. It was a very informational and amusing showcase of the type of cultural students at present in the University of Oklahoma. From Asia to Europe to Africae to South America, the University of Oklahoma has no end to the type of student present there.

After the fashion show, I saw the talent show that only several countries participated in, but that allowed me to witness the talents of the countries that decided to showcase their talents. In addition to that, some countries do not have enough students to accurately display their talents. The beauty of this showcase and their talent show is that it provides money to those organizations. Many organizations need money to keep them going and to give them more money to create more projects.

My favorite thing about the Eve of Nations was seeing the varying types of students at the University of Oklahoma. I had no idea that there were that many diverse students at the University of Oklahoma. I really enjoyed that there was also food accommodated at the event, although some of the food were not the best. I hope that the Eve of Nations showcases even more countries the next year.

Mr. and Mrs. Asian OU (MMAOU)

Mr. and Mrs. Asian OU is a pageant for the to showcase the Asian community. This pageant shows the culture of Asians in terms of fashion, talent, and questioning. This was a really interesting, yet informing pageant. For the fashion show, I learned about the culture of their wardrobe that were distinct within each of their cultures.

I think that this pageant showcases the talent and culture of the individuals and gives each participant a chance to showcase the philanthropy that they are supporting. Being in this pagaent ensures that Asian Americans reach out to the community and are good role models for those around them. Winning this pagaent not only means a lot to the individual, but a lot towards their community service.

With that being said. . .

a huge congratulations goes towards my fraternity brother, Huy, for winning Mr. Asian OU. He followed suit of the preceding Mr. Asian OU as they are both pledge brothers of the Lambda Phi Epsilon International Fraternity.

The Asian American Student Organization (AASA)