Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

When I first purchased this book, I honestly thought that the setting was going to be set in Asia. The title, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Steig Larsson,  seemed like an Asian book, because of the word Dragon in the title, only, later did I realize that this book was an intricate puzzle and that "dragon" was just something to catch the reader's eye.  The book is set in Sweden, is about Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative journalist, Henrik Vanger, a rich industrialist, Lisbeth Salandar, a hacker, and a 40-year old unsolved crime.  This book is a complicated story with Henrik searching for a long lost relative, a corrupt businessman, and a several incidents of domestic violence.  This book was a bit complicated with all the names and places, but after reading a couple of chapters, it begins to flow more easily.  Its about 480 pages, but a worthwhile read.  I highly recommend this to adults and highschoolers who are tired of school reading.  Stieg Larsson is a wonderful author, even though he passed away in 2004.  This book is part of a trilogy, and I will be reviewing the next book soon.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

MY Research Paper

I remember saying that I would post some of my here is my latest one.

Martial Law in Taiwan; Was it worth it?
While it may not have been a shot heard around the world, it was a shot heard around Taiwan. Hatred between the Formosans and the KMT government erupted on February 27th, 1947, which then escalated into a widespread rebellion. On February 27th, 1947, an elderly cigarette vendor was assaulted by Taiwan Monopoly agents. After being beaten multiple times, the elderly vendor was killed. Soon, a massive crowd appeared, then, the shot was fired. (Memorandum on Taiwan Situation, Stuart) The panicked agents fired into the crowd. This began the rebellion. While the KMT government began negotiating with the Formosans; they began building a huge army to assault Formosans. Dead men, women and children, became the usual panorama, because they were everywhere, however, it was March 8th when it became massacre. On March 8th, 21st Division under the command of General Liu Yu-ching landed in Keelung. (28 February, 1947, Ilha Taiwan) Finally, on March 10th, martial law was declared. This was the official beginning of Taiwan’s “White Terror”, as well as Taiwan’s modernization. Martial law in Taiwan was positive for Taiwan even though there was much widespread killing. There were improvements in economy, infrastructure and allowed democracy to develop. Martial law helped provide unity in a chaotic country.
Martial law in Taiwan was labeled as “the Holocaust to the Taiwanese”, because of the killing, and wrongful persecution. (28, February 1947, Ilha Taiwan) Martial law was declared through the passing of the “Temporary Provisions” bill. This allowed President, Chiang Kai Shek and his Vice President, to be exempted from the 2-year limit, as well as granting him emergency powers in case the communists attack; however he used the bill to force Taiwan into martial law. (Temporary Provisions, In the beginning of martial law in Taiwan, there was chaos everywhere. Formosans were bayoneted, many were robbed, and soldiers, like mosquitoes, are everywhere, except unlike mosquitoes, they did more than sting, they killed. Then, on March 8th, 1947, it became a massacre. Once the first troops landing in Keelung, they began shooting civilians on the street. (Massacre Victims remembered in Keeling Taipei, Taipei Times) This was one of the many atrocities committed by the KMT army, however, there was more to come. According to a study done by, former DPP legislator and political prisoner, Hsieh Tsun-ming, there were at least 29,000 political persecutions involving 140,000 people with 2,000 to 3,000 being executed. (White Terror exhibit unveils part of the truth, Taipei Times) Many of the political prisoners were sent to Green Island to undergo torture and work camps. (Green Island Taiwan, Spirit Survivors such as Chen Meng-ho, have a hard time adapting back into society because of the fact that he was imprisoned. “After [I] was released, relatives and former classmates avoided him when they saw him on the street, Chen recalled.” (Documentary about White Terror features interviews with victims, Taiwan Journal) Because of the taboo, many families don’t know about their loved ones, whether they are dead, or alive. Many families were separated because of the actions of the KMT army; however, it’s because of the martial law, which created an over-reaching unity of the country. It’s the unity, which helped them develop a stable economy.
In the midst of all the killing, Taiwan’s economy flourished during this period. When the KMT government fled China, they brought an entire gold reserve as well as foreign currency reserve. More importantly, Chiang brought over elite businessmen and intellectuals. The unexpected “influx of monetary and human capital laid the foundation for Taiwan's later dramatic economic development”, which is later known as the “Taiwan Miracle”. (The Story of Taiwan-Economy, Once Taiwan’s economy began to rise, many of its companies also started to expand and establish international branches in China and USA. During the 1950s, the JCRR, or Sino-American Joint Commission of Rural Reconstruction, issued a land reform which allowed farmers to own the land they farm. Since the late 1800s, when the Japanese had control of Taiwan, farmers didn’t have control of the land they farmed. With the land reform, farmers not only can farm on their own land, they can sell their own crops with their own prices. Because the farmers can control their own land, they are now properly motivated into helping the agricultural sector of the economy. (ROC on Taiwan- Economy, Culture, Education and Society, Much of the current Taiwan economy was and is still based on the fact that Taiwan is a large exporting country; however this began with the help of US Aid. (Taiwan, Gale Cengage Learning) Following the American experts’ advice, the KMT government created an ambitious program to restructure the whole Taiwan economy, by making it export orientated. With Taiwan’s export orientated economy, in the 80s, Taiwan has risen to a status of being part of the Four Tigers. Yet, Taiwan couldn’t have become a trade oriented economy without the help of the developing infrastructure.
When the US sent money over to Taiwan, Chiang spent a good deal, in bettering the infrastructure. Because of the forced unity, many of the construction projects that were ordered were quickly completed. After WWII, one of the ports that were heavily attacked by the allies was the Kaohsiung Harbor. During WWII, the Japanese use the harbor as a supply point for their campaign in the south east. After, the Japanese surrendered, Taiwan was in the midst of restoring itself, from the war, however the Kaohsiung Harbor became a ghost harbor. In December of 1945, the KHB, or Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau, was established to restore the harbor. Finally 10 years after it began, the restoration was finished. (History of Kaohsiung Harbor) A second harbor was later constructed under the orders of late President Chiang. The Kaohsiung harbor now is the largest harbor in Taiwan. In 1978, Taiwan had its first national freeway completed. The number 1 highway, or Sun Yat-sen Freeway, was the first North to South highway constructed, and is still today one of the busiest highways in Taiwan. (Highways and Freeways, With this highway, goods that landed in Kaohsiung Harbor can now be transported throughout Taiwan. Once this highway was constructed, many other were built to relieve traffic flowing, such as the Second Highway. After the Taiwan Railway Administration was developed after WWII, many of Taiwan’s longest railways were completed with double tracks and electricity. With these railways in place, commuters and cargo could easily travel across Taiwan. Lines like the North Link line were completed as part of the Ten Major Construction Projects. (Taiwan Railway History, Taiwan Railway Administration) With the new developed infrastructure, the economy intact, the only thing left was the restoration of the government.
The final step into modernizing Taiwan was the change of government; from authoritarian to democracy. Once Chiang Kai-shek died, his son took over Chiang Ching-kuo and ruled Taiwan with more leeway. After many weeks into his presidency, he soon realized that if Taiwan pursued democracy, Taiwan’s international status could rise. In 1986, CCK called for major reforms in the government, some including, restructuring parliament, creating multi-party elections, and abolishing martial law. Finally, with these reforms, the Democratic Progressive Party arose and became one of the two major parties. In 1987, CCK abolished martial law which acted as the final step to political modernization. When CCK died, Lee Teng-hui, his VP, became what the Taiwan Panorama calls, “Mr. Democracy”. (Mr. Democracy, Taiwan Panorama) Lee began this by allowing full elections for legislate and introducing multi-party presidential elections. Also, he gave the people basic freedoms such as freedom of press and speech. All these changes freed the people from the “white terror”, and removed them from the authoritarian government. On September 28, 1986, the Democratic Progressive Party was established as an opposing party against the KMT. (DPP History, While forming political parties was illegal at the time, the DPP rose as a result of the people’s craving for change. A year after its establishment, martial law was abolished, and the DPP quickly rose to legalize elections and winning their first election in 1996. With the DPP and the KMT, Taiwan was finally a democratic republic with multi-party elections.
Martial law in Taiwan was a dark hole in its history, and because of the crackdown, many historical documents and papers were lost, however even though the crimes that were committed were terrible, martial law still created a unified country which helped Taiwan modernize. In the beginning, there was much killing, all around, but because of the forced unity, the economy came back, infrastructure was improved, and it allowed democracy to sprout. The atrocities that were done against the Taiwanese, was horrifying, yet the growth of the country itself, is scary as it is. This shows that countries, who have suffered similar atrocities, if not worse, can come back and become a great nation as well. If Taiwan can become a better country, then countries, who have suffered such as Cambodia and Darfur, can return as well.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sink or Swim...

Finally, Wednesday is nearly here.  I always find Swim Zone, the most relaxing part of my week, even though I have to take care of screaming little kids.   Swimming, and teaching my two favorite things put into one....SIGH!...Anywayz...i can't believe I have to fill out the stupid booklet.  I mean, teacher shouldn't have to stick to a study plan, or lesson plan.  Teachers should have a goal in mind, but an open mind to create activities.  Each class has different strengths and weaknesses, by planning ahead, this restricts the freedom of the students.  For example, teachers may need to change their lessons, because of one student.

Well that's about it for today...and i really need to finish that review.... 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

House Rules Review

Fans and I raved when Picoult's Handle With Care was released and now, about one year later, fans cry again.  This time however, fans not only cried, they were forced to think.  House Rules, is about Jacob Hunt, an 18 year old boy, suffering from Asperger Syndrome, on the more severe spectrum of Autism.  Like all Asperger kids who have "special talents", some are good at math, while others good at art.  However, Jacob's "special talent" is forensic science.  His passion for it, has caused him to watch "Crimebusters" (basically CSI), every day at 4:30.  Yet, when his tutor is found dead, all the symptoms for Asperger, such as not looking at the cop in the eye or random fidgeting also seem like guilt.  All in all, mothers, and young teens like me who read this book, have to wonder, could their own child be capable of murder?  Who can you believe in times of great distress?  Your kid, or the painted hero?  This book, forces you to think about your own child.  House Rules, a new book from Jodi Picoult, and as thought provoking as ever.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ain't No Mountain High Enough...

Today....2 quizzes, crazy kids x 2 and cool people. Anywaiz...quizzes were fine, I talked in front of gold house 8th grade...and I TAUGHT! Swim if i haven't told you yet....Swim Zone is everything I like doing, teaching and swimming at the same time.  I always feel relaxed when I work with the kids.  Finally, I met really cool people from the other school for IASAS Cultural Convention...XD!!! I GET TOMOLO OFF!!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How to save a life....

Soooo Cultural Convention official started 7 min ago...lolz

1. Get to get out of math early cause speaking to 8th graders about community service.
2. SWIM ZONE! MY KIDDIES!!!! XD (speaks for it's self)
3. CC !!! (also speaks fo its self)

Finally, I am thankful that someone else is reading my pathetic little blog....KANAKO!...ok....enough with the caps...I',m thinkin i do another book review about House Rules and send it to blue and gold....XD

Currently its an awesome book.

Monday, March 1, 2010


YESH!!!! I am in the IASAS Cultural Convention Tech Team, which means I get Thursday off....YEAH!!!! Also, I like be in Tech Team because I feel in control when I am in the control room.  This week is gonna be a blast!!!