On the day that I was born, a hired assassin joined the Texas Rangers. Twenty four years later, a historical figure was assassinated. Exactly forty years later, a person with great fortune escaped such morbid fate. The lucky man was President De Gaulle of France. Interestingly, the President and his wife were saved by their car. The Citroen DS 19 — classic, elegant, reliable — shielded the two individuals against the rain of 140 bullets. According to the Wall Street Journal, the DS was the “most technically automobile of its time” (Neil). With its hydropneumatic suspension system, a design which automatically adjusts the height of the car for easier control, the Citroen was able to move out of the dangerous situation despite all its tires being punctured.
The man was not short of enemies at that time. To Winston Churchill, De Gaulle was a menacing and hostile presence; to some French citizens, a traitor. The assassination was a result of De Gaulle’s action of giving up Algeria to the Algerian nationalists. Feeling that the President was acting against the interest of his own nation, the OAS, a group called the Secret Army Organization in English, gathered in opposition of the French head figure.
It’s enlightening to find that my birthday is a good day for assassination related businesses. When I was born for the first time, I guess Monsieur De Gaulle was experiencing a moment of rebirth as he emerged from the battered Citroen.
I first fell in love with Winston Churchill’s ideology and personality when I heard one of his many fierce quotes: “If you are going through hell, keep going.” This simple advice of less than a dozen words dragged me through the last six years of my life from the swamp. This cartoon, with its harsh color combination and gruesome images of the monster being penetrated from its belly, strongly portrays Churchill’s message of never giving up, never yielding to the force.
I have always been quite rebellious, although the fire has been more under control over the past years. I absolutely love Churchill’s straightforward, uncompromising, and commanding statements. The sense of uncertainty that once intimidated me so much now serves to excite me. Sometimes when I reflect back to the past, I still feel the sizzling defiance that saved me from complete self degradation and depression. It is ingrained in my nature. Like that little hero in the novel, I learned to become a fighter. After all the scratching and clawing and snarling and screaming, I am one step closer toward being indestructible.
Recently, an image of a little boy’s body washed ashore sparked a boiling debate around the world and forced many to be aware of the migration issues currently burning down Europe. The picture turned into an icon for this new wave of refugees. Germany is currently a popular choice for the migrants since the country “waived EU rules”. During the weekend, about 40000 more migrants are expected to pour in. Thousands of Syrian refugees have been “making their way from Turkey, through the Balkans and Hungary to reach Austria, Germany and Sweden”. Throughout this chaos, residents across Europe actively participated in giving either peaceful demonstration to welcome the refugees or violent protests against them, several of which have been banned. Austrian Chancellor, Werner Faymann, furiously criticized Hungary’s “decision to place migrants on a train after leading them to believe they were heading for the Austrian border when they were in fact destined for a processing camp in Hungary”. Doesn’t this situation sound eerily familiar?
I often try to pull my mind out of my current location and send it stretching across the world like an invisible film; consequently, I gain a better understanding of my place on Earth. It is so easy to be limited to our own views by our visual data input: we perceive what we currently see as relevant and realistic, while everything else ceases to exist with meaning. Our hearts are beating together, some are slower while others faster, some just stopped while others just started. However we do not feel it. We do not feel the rhythm, because our senses are often overridden by our eyes. When I sit on a tranquil, sunny morning writing this blog, thousands of refugees are rushing to make the border of European nations before their presence will be marked as “illegal” by the authorities sitting in their office. The moment their feet scramble out of their door steps in desperation, their identity is uprooted and erased and the sense of certainty that humans oh so instinctively crave is gone.
For the last sixteen years of my life I have rarely done something merely for fun. I have the habit of assigning “important” reasons behind everything I do in order to justify my actions; therefore, I rarely compose for entertainment outside school. Most of the time I write for communication. Email is the best method since you can always avoid the awkward moments on the phone conversations and track the written responses down in your mailbox. Diary writing, on the other hand, serves as a tool to release my emotions in the form of ink on paper. Sentiment in the form of chemicals inside the brain is hard to control, but it freezes on paper, which makes analyzing such a powerful force much more convenient. When I opened a new diary page just a few days ago, I suddenly realized that my writings have unconsciously shifted from fully Chinese to completely English as last six years went by. It is a scary experience to loose the ability to jot down the cubic characters effortlessly.
I am always more of a taker than giver in the world of literature. In order to have more control over my jumbled thoughts, I often memorize poems and passages. Reciting large chunks of literature makes me physically feel relaxed and confident. As for short fiction writing, I have started several times. Each time I was determined to keep writing until I produce a complete piece of fiction. However, after three days my enthusiasm often combust violently, leaving me bored yet again. After these numerous half hearted attempts, I now have much more respect for the authors, especially people like Leo Tolstoy, who had enough tenacity to finish their works.