GRAN TORINO

Diversity has a great impact on people, and no one is unaffected by it. The film “Gran Torino” (2008) by Clint Eastwood, we see an example of how diversity affected the main character Walt in his belief system. In the beginning of the film it seemed like he always wanted to be alone, where he judged everyone else around him. Getting a close relationship with Thao and Sue made him open for their culture. Their relationship drastically changed his belief system, from judging other cultures for not being his own, to a belief system where he was openminded and also happier. Once he got to know Thao after he tried to steal his Gran Torino, everything changed for him. In the end, I think Walt was happy the incident of the supposed stealing of the car had happened. Getting to know different cultures, and being a part of it yourselves, makes us ignore the differences between us. I think it will make us focus on our similarities, and rather see the differences and diversity as something that makes the relationship stronger, something Walt did with Thao. In conclusion, getting to know different cultures will make us more open for other cultures and see the differences as a part of the world.

 

Walt is a dynamic character, and we follow his change as he once starts to accept his multicultural neighborhood. From fighting gang members to experiencing shooting are just some of his experiences of living in diversity. However, despite the challenges, his relationship with Thao is important to him. The Hmong culture and his own culture live side to side, and his starting view on them changed throughout the movie. One thing that especially strengthens the fact that Walt is a dynamic character is his choice with the Gran Torino. The relationship with Thao started after he tried to steal his car, and this led to him working for Walt. This was a part of the Hmong culture to show his regret with the action and make up for himself. At first, Walt blamed him and got angry. But the film ended with his choice to give the car to Thao, despite his anger. This made an impression on me, and really made me see how Walt changes throughout the film “Gran Torino”.  


 

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THE PHILIPPINES

English has always been one of the official languages of the Philippines. More than 14 million Filipinos speak English, and the country is recognized globally as one of the largest English-speaking nations with majority of its population having at least some degree of fluency in the language. 92% speak it as a second language. Filipino is used as the lingua franca for many while English is used in publications and media, it is taught in school and also used while talking to non-locals. Philippine English is similar and related to American English, and also related to Spanish. They are said to have a “sing-song intonation”.

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Spanish was the official language for more than 3 centuries under the Spain colonial rule, but when the Americans took over and started the colonization of the Philippines in 1898, the Americans tried to teach English to the Filipinos who lived through Filipino-American War. They were introduced to schools, and later, the Americans set up a school system where English could only be spoken inside the school premises. If anybody were caught speaking in a native language, they were given a fine for every native word spoken. This played a big role in making English an official language in the Philippines. Before the colonization, only 4% used English. Almost 50 years after the American colonization, 70% of the population were able to speak English.

 

An example of a literary short text from the Philippines is “The mats” by Fransisco Arcellana. The author was born in Manila in the Philippines and is considered one of the first writers of the modern Filipino short story in English. The text is about the father of a family, Mr. Angeles who returns from a trip to Mariveles. During his trip, he where wrote a letter to his family that he would surprise the whole family with their own mats made by a craftsman, which are personalized for everybody with colorful designs. After unfolding their mats, the children realize that there are three yet to be unfolded. Mr. Angeles bought these for their three children who passed away.

 

The author is portraying a typical Filipino culture and the strong relationship within the family. I think this is mainly what he is trying to get across through the text, to present the Filipino culture through the love of the family, and that we must not forget our loved ones who passed away. “Do you think I’d forgotten? Do you think I had forgotten them? Do you think I could forget them?” The author makes the story sad and emotional, with the way he describes their feelings.

 

A contemporary issue in the Philippines today is illegal rubbish dumping. From 2013 to 2014, containers of rubbish from Canada has been dumped in the country and were falsely labeled as plastics meant for recycling but were in fact filled with tons of household waste. The Philippine court demanded that the garbage should return to Canada, which they agreed to within May 15, but they missed the deadline. According to CCN, It was announced that if Canada didn’t get their trash, the Philippines would leave the same within their territorial waters.

 

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Sources:

http://manilastandard.net/news/top-stories/295484/ph-as-garbage-dump-aussies-follow-suit-after-canada-sokor.htmlposted May 24, 2019, by Vito Barcelo and Rio N. Araja “PH as garbage dump?”

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-48290963?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.com/news/topics/cnx753je2r4t/philippines&link_location=live-reporting-storyposted May 16, 2019, “Philippines recalls ambassador to Canada in row over rubbish”

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/23/asia/canada-to-take-back-philippines-trash-intl/index.htmlUpdated May 23, 2019, By Sareena Dayaram, “Canada to haul back mountains of trash sent to Philippines years ago”

http://www.seasite.niu.edu/Tagalog/Literature/Short%20Stories/The%20Mats.htm“The mats”, By Fransisco Arcellana

https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/philippine-english

 

SPOTLIGHT

By watching “Spotlight”, I learned a lot about investigative journalism, as we followed the team of journalists in Boston Globe. Their process of bringing to light the sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests in Boston, showed me an aspect of the film that I had not seen before. The way they were so caught up in the case, and the way the case affected them, made a big impression on me. As if they worked throughthe case, not withthe case. For instance, Michael Rezendes’ reaction when the team was not intending to dispose the Catholics that had committed sexual crimes. This changed my thinking of how the journalists work with cases.

The way the journalist Sacha Pfeiffer worked the case, is something that appealed to me in the presentation of the film. The scenes where she went around houses all over the city, asking citizens what they knew about the case, she had to be patient, open to new aspects and stories as well as she had to be careful about what she said to them. Indeed, she had to be very understanding and not judgmental. The way the movie presented Sacha during the conversations she had, her behavior and patience was important for me to make me understand how serious the case was.

 

“Spotlight” was exciting and thrilling, and I really liked the film. The way we saw the process of small traces of the sexual abuse to the actual publishing was inspirational and educational. The journalists never lost hope and they never stopped investigating.

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From the worksheet, I answered question 3 and 4.

THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST – BOOK AND FILM COMPARISON

It is quite hard when coming to a decision of whether I like to read a book first or watch the movie. Many movies are based on the novel, however, there can be many differences within the characters, their roles, themes and settings. “The reluctant fundamentalist”, by Mohsin Hadid, is an example of this. After watching the movie, my impression of the story had changed drastically.

 

Starting off, the film “The reluctant fundamentalist” was quite exciting and unexpected. The fact that it was based on the novel was hard to believe at first. Agents, guns, watchers, kidnapping and intense music is not presented in the beginning of the book and left me rather confused. Also, the ending in the film and book are not even close to be similar. Unlike the movie, after reading the novel I was left with the responsibility to make up my own thoughts and opinions about Changez’ intentions. I was hoping that the ending would be open in the film as well, because this is an important part of the story, and I think this is sort of the point of the uncertainty between the American and Changez.

 

The American plays a significant role in the film compared to the book. It seems like the novel focuses on Changez, whereas in the film it is more about the American. Not only the glimpse of a gun in his pocket portrays him and his intensions. Also, the meeting between Changez and the American does not take place in the film, which I hoped it would. I think “Do not be frightened by my beard” leaves an impression and is important. I think the part of the story where Changez leaves with the American should be as presented in the book. The ending of the novel is something that makes the story more interesting.

 

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SOURCES:

https://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/26/movies/the-reluctant-fundamentalist-directed-by-mira-nair.html, By Manohla Dargis, April 25, 2013, “Dreams are lost in the melting pot”

THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST

The main character in the novel “The reluctant fundamentalist” is the Pakistani man Changez. Throughout the book he narrates the story of his time in the United States to a stranger. He attended Princeton and worked with finances. These things are told through Changez himself, where he talks and explains to the stranger. There is not a lot of dialogue so far in the book, so my impressions of him go through what he talks about and his behavior. He is proud of his culture and seems to be open to not only new people, but also new cultures.

 

Changez talks about an interview with Jim, the vice president at Underwood Samson. Eventually he becomes Changez’ mentor. He also talks about his girlfriend he had in the States, Erica. She attended Princeton with Changez, and they originally met during a trip to Greece. Chris, Erica’s ex-boyfriend, died one year before she met Changez, and this affects her feelings throughout their relationship. Erica is, through her name, more like a description of “America”.

 

Another important character in “The reluctant fundamentalist” is the stranger. His name is not released yet, however this is an American man. They are in Lahore, Pakistan. He seems quiet because of his participation in the conversation. Despite him not being part of the story itself, the story would not take place without him.

DEMOCRACY – A THREAT?

Democracy is under pressure in many parts of the world. Looking across the globe, it might appear at times that violence, chaos and fear are getting the upper hand over democracy. What is really happening in the government? Many journalists were killed in 2018 because they were speaking the truth. The editor Musa Abdul Kareem was abducted by unknown assailants and later found shot dead with signs of torture. He was described as a humble, loving person, always giving back to the community. He often raised money to support people that needed help. Extremist groups are everywhere in Libya, and there is no safety or rule of law. Despite this, his death came as a shock to his colleagues. They couldn’t believe that “someone like him” was kidnapped and murdered.

 

“Someone like him” was just doing their job and telling the truth. I don’t know whether the murderer did it in order to protect a secret, give a warning that this should not be published or that he did not want anyone to search on the case because he was scared of the consequences. However, I think it is crazy that anyone can kill to feel protected. Why is torture and death the right answer? What did Musa do, other than his job? I think that his colleagues had never even imagined that something like this would happen. A man who told the truth, and nothing more, was killed, and sadly it was only one out of many.

 


 

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/dec/05/journalists-murdered-khashoggi-kuciak-panama-papers, Wed 5 Dec, 2018, By Aamna Mohdin and Bibi van der Zee “Killed for speaking the truth”

MULTICULTURAL BRICK LANE

Multiculturalism is a situation in which all the different cultural or racial groups in a society have equal rights and opportunities. The film Brick Lane does in many ways portray the challenges you face when living in a multicultural society. There are to find many different people, cultures, religions and traditions in the movie, and they highlight some of these difficulties.

 

Living in a multicultural society can lead to fear of influence. When different traditions, religions, people and cultures are all put together, it can make it difficult for people to express themselves as they are. Their individuality disappears. This is something I noticed in the main person Nazneen when watching “Brick Lane”. Numerous times in the movie she experienced flashbacks of herself and her sister playing, enjoying life and expressing themselves. However, they are just flashbacks. Whereas in the film she seems quiet and mysterious, as if she somehow tries to hide her identity. This is especially in front of her family and husband.

It seemed difficult living in Brick Lane for the family of Nazneen because of how they were adapting to the new culture. They talked about “home” several times, and I had the impression that they missed their home country and had a difficult time adapting. When her husband and children were off to work and school, Nazneen was home, quietly waiting for anything to happen and thinking about her sister back in Bangladesh. The communication and language within the family was confusing, where sometimes they mixed English and Bengali. All in all, I noticed troubles adapting to the culture, and that shows a big challenge when living in a multicultural society.

I was surprised about how the different cultures looked at each other. I consider this the most visible and important challenge for the people in the multicultural society. Nazneen did not go out of the house many times, but when she did, the other people living there were talking about her behind her back, glancing and almost looked down at her as she walked by. In addition, there were conflicts, people screaming and name-callings.

 

Living in a multicultural society can be hard. “Brick Lane” shows us an example of this. Fear of influence, tension between the cultures, communication and adapting are just some of the examples that the film shows.

 

 

 

Sources:

https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/multiculturalism

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2006/jul/17/film.uk

http://www.visitbricklane.org