mandag 24. oktober 2011

"Gran Torino"

DVD Cover 
Today we watched Gran Torino in class, a 2008 American drama film directed by, produced by and starring Clint Eastwood. He has done an incredible job making and starring this movie. He shows us how it was like to be a Hmong immigrant in the United States in the 1980s. The Hmong are an Asian ethnic group from the mountainous regions of China, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, who fought against the communist Pathet Lao. When Lao took over the Laotian Government in 1975, thousands of Hmong fled westwards. We follow Clint Eastwood as Walt Kowalski when the Hmong people move in to his neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan. Walt's wife recently died, so he has a hard time letting people in, and it doesn't make it any easier that he lost his friends in the Korean war.

When his neighbor Thao, a young Hmong teenager under pressure from his gang member cousin, tries to steal his Gran Torino, Kowalski sets out to reform the youth. He realizes that Thao is a really nice and polite young man, he just doesn't know what he wants to do with his life yet. So Walt decides to get to know him better and help him out, in his own special way of course. He has a peculiar way of communicating with other people. He uses racial slurs frequently, not always to be rude, but it often appears quite condescending. For example when Thao's friend introduces herself as Youa, Walt repeats: "ooh Yum Yum". Maybe he does this because he is insecure of his own language skills, as you earlier on could see when he fails trying to say the word "Hmong". 

He is not familiar with the Hmong rules. He pats a Hmong child on his head trying to be nice, but instead he resided the child’s soul according to Hmong beliefs.  And it's very rude to look someone in their eyes, which Walt did. I personally think that Walt wants to get to know the Lor family, especially Zue and Thao, but feels vulnerable because the love of his life died, and don't want to lose anyone close to him. I think that he really shows that Thao means a lot to him when Walt lets him drive his prized car.

Walt trying to help Thao get his first job 
Thao has got some problems with a Hmong gang, the same gang who pushed him to steal the car, the same gang who stumped a smoke on his chin and the same gang who shot with machine guns on Thao's house. Thao wants vengeance, but Walt is not sure if that's the right thing to do. A least that's what he tells Thao. On the evening they are going to raid the gangbanger's house, Walt locks Thao into his basement. He doesn't want Thao to join him, because he has his whole life in front of him, and doesn't want him to die. Walt goes to their house with nothing but his cigarettes and lighter. The whole neighborhood is watching as they argue. Suddenly Walt makes a quick move, just to get his lighter from the inner pocket. But the gangbangers thought he was about to pull out a gun, so they shoot him down. But i don't think that this came unexpected on Walt. I think that he put the Lor family before himself, and saw this as the only conflict resolution. 

Walt and the Hmong family in the background 
Walt Kowalski died that evening. He got them all locked up in jail. The last scene shows Thao driving down the road in his brand new car. Walt Kowalski's testament said: "I would like to leave my 1972 Grand Torino to my friend Thao".

mandag 17. oktober 2011

Social Medias

In February 2004 Mark Zuckerberg founded what was going to be the largest social network worldwide, Facebook. Every second someone clicks, likes a status, chats and shares pictures. The development of Facebook's function in daily life is amazing and fascinating. News spread faster here than on any other international news channel. With more than 800 million active users, where more than 350 million of them currently access Facebook through their mobile devices, there is no doubt that the website plays a huge role in the international society. For example when Apple founder Steve Jobs tragically died last week, updates like "rip Steve Jobs" was all over Facebook's news feed.

 To learn more about the social medias, Sandvika High School invited Cecilie Staude, a lecturer from BI. She taught us some wise things to have in mind when you expose yourself to the internet. Among them were: some updates are appropriate to share, but some things just aren't. A quite good example is negative updates about your job, which can be unfortunate for your work situation. Since the internet has become an "online cv", employers can read what you write.

In the fall of 2008 I signed in on Facebook for the first time. I can't really remember how I used Facebook back then, but now I use it every day. Mostly for chatting, but I do also check out pictures and updates. Arrangements , achievements, school work and happenings are announced on Facebook as well.  The development Facebook has had since it was founded is huge. Before, the website was made for chatting and sharing pictures. Now it is a platform used for advertising, communication, demonstrations and so much more. Some even say that if you don't have Facebook, you are lost. I think that this quote speaks for itself, how could it be that we have become so addicted to social medias?

mandag 10. oktober 2011


As the English language has spread to all over the world, it is only natural that there will be formed dialects and variants of English. The dialects and variants are a result of grammar and pronunciation mistakes. Dunglish is a good example of this, as it has been formed by a collision of Dutch and English.

Dunglish first occurred as "Coal English" early in the 20th century as the Dutch had to communicate with the English traders who came with supplies to Netherland. "Coal English" is today known as the poorest variety of English in the country. The Dutch have a tendency to translate words and sentences directly form Dutch to English, without taking word order and meaning of words to consideration. This can cause misunderstandings like the one the former Dutch ambassador and prime minister Dries van Agt did. He supposedly once said: “I can stand my little man”, when he actually meant to say “I can stand up for my self.” The reason for this error was that Dries van Agt directly translated the German proverb “Ik kan mijn mannetje staan”, a Dutch idiom meaning roughly “I can stand up for my self”.

The reason why the Dutch speak English today, is because they have to communicate on a international level. A very important reason as well, is that a lot of students study abroad nowadays, not only in Netherland, but in the entire world. And I think that you will have more opportunities in life if you know English well. 

How The World Changed 10 Years Ago

10 years ago, the entire world was in shock after what happened in Manhattan. It may sounds like a cliché, but it seemed to be just like another day, until it happened. On the 9th of September 2001 Manhattan turned into a war zone. Two planes were hi-jacked by Al Qaeda activists and crashed into the World Trade Center, also known as “the twin towers”, in New York. A total of 2986 died as a direct result of the terror attacks, included were 343 firefighters. I think that it is quite incredible that so many firefighters fought to get survivors to safety, knowing that their lives could be the price of it.

To get to see the firefighters’ view of it, we saw a movie about 9/11 in class. The French filmmaking brothers, Jules and Gedeon Naudet, came to New York in the fall of 2001 to make a movie about the rookie firefighter, Tony Benetatos, in New York City Fire Department. On the morning of September 11, the Naudet brothers experienced an unexpected twist on their filming. They got to capture the firefighters’ valiant effort to save those who were trapped in the Twin Towers.

I like the fact that I got a whole new outlook/perspective on the incident. First i only thought of the victims in the towers, but after seeing this movie, I think of all the volunteers and firefighters who gave up their lives to save others. Even though this led to a higher death rate among the ones who helped, it increased the number of survivors.

I think that it was a well-made movie, which captured the real moments. For me the worst part of the movie and the part that gave me the most impression was when people desperately started to jump out of the towers. To see them fall through the sky and smash into the ground, it was horrible. And the sound of them hitting the ground, I first thought it was parts of the buildings, but later realized that it were actually humans. I got the same feeling when I saw the first videotapes of the incident at Utøya, July 22. I can’t imagine what drives human beings to do such terrible, unforgivable and cruel acts.