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Foreword:

This page contains the views of Leon, the webmaster.  This is not to incite anger or debate, but rather, just to share my feelings/opinions.

Welcome IELTS Writing & TOEFL Writing Students!  Perhaps you can get some ideas about how to write an essay for an exam.

 

************************************************

Table of Contents:

1.  Is America the Greatest Country in the World?
2.  "Hamburger--Junk Food?"
3.  "Mad Cows or Mad Farmers?
4.  "The Road to Happiness"
5.  "A Call for Humane Dog Meat"
6.  "What is Love?"
7.  "The War on Terrorism"
8.  "What's in a Name?"
9.  "Likes and Dislikes of Aliens in Asia"
10.  "The Human Race"
11.  "Utopia"

Please scroll down to see the essays (in order).

 

1.  Is America the Greatest Country in the World?

Date:  June 27, 2005

Title:  "Is America the Greatest Country in the World?"

All people should agree that America is the most powerful nation in the world, both militarily and economically.  Yet, that doesn't necessarily make America the 'greatest' country in the world.

I am not a Christian in the commonly accepted sense of the word, but I would like to quote the Nazarene thusly, "He who is greatest, is the least and servant of all."  It is a paradox, yes; but, it is so true.  I would also like to quote Lao Tzu, the father of Taoism.  He wrote:  "True power seems weak.  The greatest person seems unsophisticated.  The greatest wisdom seems childish."

The older (and consequently more experienced) that I become, the more the words of Lao Tzu and the Nazarene ring true.  Along the same principles, one of the greatest films I have ever seen in my life is "Little Big Horn" starring the young Dustin Hoffman.  If you've seen the film, you know what I'm talking about.  The hero of the story was called "Little Big Horn".  Little Big Horn was a classic coward and spent most of his life in servitude, yet he outlived all of his friends and relatives; and, he lived to tell his story.  Whether a true story or not, I know not, but the message is extremely pertinent.

Dostoyevski's "The Fool" is another classic story that I love.  If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. It is a short story and can be read in a single day.  In the story, the "fool" gives all his money to his elder brother, hence he was labeled "The Fool".  I can't remember what happened after that exactly, but the main gist of the story has stayed with me.  The gist was that he who was labeled "The Fool" was actually the wiser of the two.  The true fool of the story was the elder brother.

Yes, America is on top, but is being on top tantamount to being the greatest?  I think not.  Not until America becomes the servant of all, not until American humbles itself as a little child, it will never become the greatest.

 

2.  Hamburger--Junk Food?  Please!

Date:  April 21, 2004

Title:  "Hamburger--Junk Food?  Please!"

Why is a hamburger listed as junk food in most sources?  I don't understand this!  I really don't.  Merriam-Webster's Online Unabridged Dictionary defines junk food thusly: "food high in calories, but low in nutritional value".

Dietitians say that we are supposed to eat many portions of breads/cereals each day.  A hamburger has a bun, which is bread.  Dieticians also say that we should eat plenty of protein sources each day.  The hamburger patty is an excellent source of protein.  Furthermore, in my opinion, no hamburger is complete without tomato, lettuce, onions and pickles.  Dietitians say we should eat lots and lots of fruits and vegetables.  Tomatoes, lettuce, onions and pickles are all vegetables.  Every component of a hamburger is HIGH in nutritional value.  So, there is no reason to call it junk food.

I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to vehemently disagree with anyone who even remotely suggests that a hamburger is junk food.  A hamburger, which has tomato and lettuce, is a well-balanced meal with components from all four major food groups.

 

3.  Mad Cows or Mad Farmers?

Date:  February 27, 2004

Title:  "Mad Cows or Mad Farmers?"

All right!  I've had enough of this mad cow business.  When are the farmers who feed flesh to herbivores going to acquire some common sense?  Which is truly mad, the cows or the farmers who feed them?  That's a rhetorical question.  My position obviously is that the farmers are madder than the cows.

The disease which has been dubbed "mad cow disease" {scientific name: bovine (cow) spongiform (in the form of a sponge) encephalopathy (in brain disease)} doesn't make cows mad, nor people mad.  It eats holes in victims' brains, making them lose memory and motor control, until they eventually die.  And how did this disease come about?  By feeding flesh to an herbivore.  HOLY MOTHER OF GOD!  I am no biologist, but I know that you don't do that.  Moreover, all these so-called geniuses at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with Ph.D's in health and biology and medical science have been approving the feeding of cattle flesh to cattle.

To make matters worse.  It is not the flesh of the healthy cattle that gets ground up and thrown into the feed.  It is the sickly cattle that are ground up and fed to the other cattle.  Now if that isn't the sickest thing I've ever heard in my life, then I don't recall what is.

WHAT IN THE WORLD IS THE FDA THINKING?!

I mean do they eat the same meat that they approve?  I'd like to know!

What are we going to do next?  Start feeding ox manure to our cattle?  Oh, no.  Don't tell me...    Don't tell me that they are already doing that.  'Cause I will become a vegetarian over night.

I think that the farmers should be made to eat the same feed that they give to their cattle.  Maybe then, they'll think twice about grinding up sickly cattle and feeding it to their cattle.

I call for a world-wife boycott of beef until farmers get their act in gear, and stop feeding flesh to herbivores.

And here's a wake-up call for you people:  it's not the genetically altered food that will kill you.  It is the people who feed flesh to herbivores that will kill you.

If you eat the meat of a cow with the so-called "mad cow disease", you will die.  It doesn't matter how well the meat is cooked.  You will die.  Because, mad cow disease is not caused by a bacteria or a virus.  It is caused by a preon, which is a complex, indigestible protein.  Yes, that's right:  a protein.  It is a complex protein that is harmful to all cows and humans (and most likely many other species as well).  The protein replicates itself once it gets in your body.  It starts attracting amino acids and replicates and attracts and replicates, etc., in effect eating you alive.  It "eats" holes in your brain and possibly other parts of the body as well.

There is no cure for a preon.  The body can't fight a protein.  With bacteria, your phagocytes (a kind of white-blood cell, stored in the lymphatic system) will literally eat the bacteria.  With a virus, the body makes antibodies to "block" or inhibit the virus from spreading.  But the body has no natural defense against a preon.  Why not?  Because herbivores never ate flesh in the past!

In conclusion, the cows aren't mad, because cows wouldn't knowingly eat flesh.

----------------The End--------------------

Post Script

And here is the sickest part of all:  Even after the mad cow disease started killing people.  The FDA has continued allowing the feeding of flesh to herbivores.  What is their major malfunction?

How many people have to die before someone does something about this?

I believe that the European Union has disallowed the feeding of flesh to herbivores and has disallowed the import of meat of herbivores fed on flesh.  Good for them!  I wish all countries would do the same.

 

 

 

 

4.  The Road to Happiness

Date:  December 16, 2003

"The Road to Happiness"

Happiness is something everybody seems to want. In fact, I would go so far as to write that everybody wants it. I've never met anyone who didn't want it. I've never even heard of somebody not wanting it. So, for all intents and purposes, I will make an a priori assumption that everybody wants it.

The problem is how to acquire it. There are various philosophies on how to attain happiness. Here they are, in a nutshell...

1.  THE SUFFERING-LEADS-TO-HAPPINESS PHILOSOPHY:  (Christian Philosophy)

IN A NUTSHELL:

According to some, the Road to Happiness is a road of longsuffering, obedience to God's laws, and avoidance of many of life's pleasures, for a "higher", eternal happiness in the life to come.

CONCLUSION:

I used to believe this, because I was raised as a Christian.  Then, I was on the fence, because I realized that nobody had died and come back to tell us what was on the other side.  Finally, I became aware that there ARE people who've died and seen the other side, then come back to tell us about it.  The general consensus is that the purpose of this life is the learn to love.  A few have told us that once we achieve that goal, completely, we can move on to the next level of existence.  Even those on higher planes of existence are trying to progress to higher levels.  They do that by helping us (as guardian angels).  So, it would seem that Christians have got it wrong.  There is not only once for a man to live, but rather we keep coming back until we master love (or perhaps a certain level of love).

On a related note, I think that love can bring us happiness.

*********

2.  THE AVOIDANCE of SUFFERING PHILOSOPHY:  (Hindu-Buddhist Philosophy)

IN A NUTSHELL:

There is no road to happiness mentioned in Buddhism; rather Buddhism is about the eradication of suffering, freedom from karma, and attaining a state of non-change (nirvana).

CONCLUSION:

The road to non-suffering does not lead to happiness because it entails the eradication of thought and desires.  This is not happiness.  It is a state of "emptiness", absence of feelings, & absence of passions.  There can be no suffering NOR happiness in such a state.  

********

3.  THE WAY / ROAD TO HAPPINESS:  (Taoist Philosophy)

Incidentally, TAO means: "The Way" or "The Road".  The question is:  "...the road to what?"

I think it can be the road to anything (anything you want).  If you want money, the TAO can teach you how to get it.  If you want success, the TAO can teach you how to get it.  If you want fame, the TAO can teach you how to get it.  AND, if you want happiness, the TAO can teach you how to get it.  

The Taoist teachers have taught that the TAO is found in non-force... in letting things "unfold", if you will, naturally. This observation comes from nature. To force the petals of a flower open, will only result in the death of the flower. Same with forcing the cocoon open prematurely, and forcing the bird's egg open prematurely. One must let the flower, the cocoon, and the egg open naturally, when the time is right, in order to incur desired results. Being overly aggressive, only servers to push desired results away. When we back off and let things happen, they will happen as they should.

COMMENTARY:

The Taoist Road is the most compelling ROAD TO HAPPINESS that I know.  Yet, when we try to force our way into happiness, we lose it. When we try to find our way to happiness, we likewise lose it. It seems like a paradox, and that is because it is a paradox. The harder we try to find our way, the more obscure it becomes. When we stop looking, morning dawns and sheds light upon the situation, and the way opens up before us. This, seems strange, at first, but it is true.

Chasing happiness is a wild goose chase, as anyone can tell you. The only way to gain happiness is by letting it come to you.

CONCLUSION:

If one combines the TAO with current teachings from "The Secret" that explicate the 'law of attraction', you understand that while the Taoist idea of non-action is true, there is something that you have to do first:  you have to put your intentions out there into the cosmos.  You have to have pleasant thoughts and emotions, because you attract what you "put out there".

Prayer can be one way of putting one's intentions out there.  And then, you let God (or the Angels) (or the Cosmos) do their thing.

CAVEAT:

Letting happiness come to you doesn't mean you go into a shell and become a hermit, unless that is what makes you happy. You have to get out there, be visible, make opportunities for happiness to come to you. Wall flowers seldom find happiness. Mingle. Do things. Find a hobby. Enjoy life. Life is like a horse. You can either get on and ride it, or not. It's up to you. But, don't take the reigns. Let the horse take you to places you've never imagined. To try and force the horse to go the way you want to go, will only end in sorrow and pain.

I took the horse by the reigns, and headed for an Oasis that I knew of, but it bucked me off. I landed in a heap of sorrow and pain. But, I've decided to get back on the horse, and this time, I'll let the horse take me to the watering hole of its choice. Perhaps it will be better than the Oasis I was heading for.

*****

For related articles, see my HAPPINESS page, or my TAO page

 

 

5.  A Call for Humane Dog Meat

Date:  July 8, 2003

Title: "A Call for Humane Dog Meat"

I love meat, and dog meat is no exception.  The problem that I have is the way that the dog meat is prepared in many countries. Dog meat is generally prepared by beating the dog prior to it's slaughter. This is done to induce the release of adrenaline into the muscles of the dog, which produces a dog meat that provides the eaters with great stamina.

I refused to eat dog meat after I learned how the meat was prepared.  This, in my opinion, is cruelty to animals.  Then, I started thinking... there must be a way to obtain the same effect in the dog meat, without being cruel.  I have come up with a solution, which I'm sure will work. If dog ranchers would spray bitch pheromones at the male dogs, just before killing them, the same effect would be achieved.  If not the same, then I believe a greater effect would be achieved, and in a much more humane manner.  When pheromones are inhaled by males of the same species, adrenaline and testosterone are both released into the blood stream and transited to all parts of the body, including the muscles.  Moreover, since most men eat dog meat in order to increase their sexual stamina, testosterone would be a great help.

I humbly request the help of you readers of this essay to propagate my idea to the proper agencies.

Sincerely,

Leon.

6.  What is Love?

Date:  June 18, 2003

Title: "What is love?"

I've seen some postings about love, and they shed some light on some aspects of love, but love seems to mean different things to different people.  Poets use colorful metaphors to describe love.  Biologists say love is a chemical reaction in the brain.  Psychologists say love is an emotion, like sadness, or anger, but the latter two are so fleeting, and it just doesn't seem right that love should be placed in the same category.

To each of us love means what our culture, our society, and our families taught us that it means.  Therefore, no two people have the same meaning for love.  Some languages have different words for the different kinds of love.  English, unfortunately has only one word.  Korean has at least two: sarang and jeong.  Latin has at least two: amour and agape.  Greek has at least two: eros and philos.  Yet, I have found that if I ad an adjective to the English word "love," I can come up with eight different kinds of love.  They are:

1. Erotic Love

2. Platonic Love

3. Maniacal Love (infatuation)

4. Pragmatic Love

5. Egoistical Love

6. Altruistic Love

7. Familial Love

8. Philanthropic / Agape Love

When finding a mate, I suggest a holistic approach.  I have the view that the best and most fulfilling love, is the one that incorporates all eight kinds of love into one. That may seem impossible since 1 & 2 are opposites, 3 & 4 are opposites, 5 & 6 are opposites. 7 & 8 are different, but not exactly opposites. But, what I'm advocating here is a balance.  We need to find a balance between the eight kinds of love.

Update:  Feb. 2007

I believe that my six-year-old son has come up with the perfect definition for love.  One day, when my wife asked, "What is love?"  I said, "What do mean?  Everyone knows what love is.  Even our son knows what love is."  Then I turned to our son and asked, "What is love?"  Without hesitation he replied, "A hug."

That is the most beautiful definition of love that I have ever heard!

 

7.  The War on Terrorism

Date:  Jan. 8, 2003

Essay Title: "The War on Terrorism"

Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld was seen on AFN News recently saying that the way to fight terrorism is the way the US military is doing it. That is, by searching for, killing, and incarcerating as many of the terrorists as possible. I'm sorry, Mr. Secretary of Defense, but I wholeheartedly disagree.

The first thing one must do in order to conquer an enemy, is understand the enemy. Does the commander-in-chief of the American military truly understand his enemy? I don't think so, for if he truly understood his enemy, he would not be doing what he is doing.

The enemy of America and Israel and all who help Israel is Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is not a nation, which can be dominated by traditional war methods. Al Qaeda is a secret organization, which exists in almost every nation of the world. We cannot eliminate the enemy, because we don't know who the enemy is. And the enemy is not limited to a particular race. There are european caucasion members, and asian caucasion members and negroid members.

Furthermore, the enemy values rectitude more than life. The Al Qaeda is an Islamic radical group. In the Islamic religion, there is no end after death, but a continuation of existence in a metaphysical way. We cannot fight against the religious conditioning (see B.F. Skinner) that usually begins from birth and is inculcated so deeply in the mind of the islamic radical that eradicating it is nearly impossible. Usually religions inspire people to be nice to each other, and to turn the other cheek, but religion can also be used to inspire people to kill each other, as we have seen on September 11th, in America, and also, quite frequently in Israel.

Let's say that America is successful in capturing or killing the infamous Usama Bin Laden (UBL). Will that end terrorism? No way! Killing or incarcerating UBL will only make him into a martyr and strengthen the cause. Another person will lead Al Qaeda in the fight.

I want to ask Donald Rumsfeld and his boss, President George W. Bush, how can one fight against the convictions of an enemy that cannot be found, and cannot be identified completely?

I think Jeshua Ben David Bar Joseph (also known as: Jesus, the Nazarene), said it best: "I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." (Matthew 5:44).

Now, don't get me wrong. We should protect ourselves. But we should not attack. As we have seen in Israel, evil begets evil. There will be no end to the terrorist attacks against Israel as long as there are attacks against Palestine. In fact, the more the attacks against Palestine, the more the attackes against Israel. Have you not been watching the news, Mr. President?

The rhetoric that President George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld use to rationalize their actions makes me want to vomit. They say things like "Go back to work, to the shopping malls, to your normal lives, because if we let the terrorists terrify us, they have already won." I'm sorry, Mr. Bush and Mr. Rumsfeld, but I AM terrified. I am afraid to go back to my own country, because I know in my heart that more attacks on America are coming. First there was the suicide airplane attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Those people who committed those crimes can't be punished, because they are already dead. Then there were the Anthrax attacks through the mail. Those criminals may never get punished, because we don't know who they are nor where they live. It is like fighting a ghost. Next there are rumors of poisoning America's water supply. That would be easy to do. I mean there are no fences around the lakes and rivers which supply Americans with life-giving water.

I am terrified. And, I will continue to be terrified as long as Bush wages this war on terrorism. It is suicide to wage such a war. It is only a matter of time before the next wave of attacks on America come. But, mark my words, it WILL come.

 

8.  What is in a Name?

Date:  Oct. 28, 2002

Title:  "What's in a Name?"

If you ask an American, "What does your name mean?", chances are he/she doesn't have a clue. In the English-speaking West, names are chosen, not because of meaning, but because of heritage and/or appeal.

In my case, my first, middle, and last names are the same as my father's names. It is not uncommon for the first-born son to carry the name of his father.

My first younger brother's first name was chosen because of appeal, and his middle name was chosen to honor our father's best friend. My first younger sister's first name was chosen for appeal. Her middle name was chosen to honor our mother. My second younger sister's first name was chosen because of appeal. Her middle name was chosen to honor both her paternal grandmother and her maternal grandmother. (It is a combination of both their names into one). My second younger brother's first and middle names were chosen by his paternal grandfather for appeal. My last brother's first name was chosen for appeal. His middle name was chosen to honor his maternal grandfather.

As you can plainly see, there is no regard for meaning. However, I do personally feel that the meaning of one's name helps to define that person, if the person knows the meaning. And, meaning is important, I think, for foreigners who wish to choose English names.

Here is a list of the top ten most common names in the USA and the meanings (1990):

Male names:

1. Michael [or Mike] (Greek / Hebrew) = One who is like God

2. Christopher [or Chris] (Greek) = Christ-bearer

3. Joshua [or Josh] (Hebrew) = Jehovah is salvation

4. Matthew [or Matt] (Hebrew) = gift of God

5. David [or Dave] (Hebrew) = beloved

6. Daniel [or Danny] (Hebrew) = God is judge

7. Andrew [or Andy] (Greek) = strong; manly; brave

8. Joseph [or Joe] (Hebrew) = Jehovah will add

9. Justin (Latin) = just, fair

10. James [or Jim] (Greek form of Hebrew: Jacob) = substitute

Female names:

1. Jessica (Hebrew) = wealthy

2. Ashley (English) = ash tree; ash meadow

3. Brittany [or Britaney, or Britney] (English) = of Britain

4. Amanda (Latin) = loveable

5. Stephanie (Greek) = crowned

6. Jennifer [or Jenny] (Welsh) = white phantom

7. Samantha [or Sam] (Hebrew) = told by God

8. Sarah (Hebrew) = princess

9. Megan [or Meg] (Irish form of Greek: Margaret) = pearl

10. Lauren [or Laura] (Latin) = crowned with laurel

(sources: http://www.charm.net/~shack/name/historic.html,

and: 15,000+ Baby Names by Bruce Lansky)

 

9.  The Likes and Dislikes of Expatriates

DATE:  Sept. 24, 2002 (updated:  Dec. 7, 2003)

Title:  "The Likes and Dislikes of Expatriates (Expats)"

Being an expatriate in Asia has been very interesting. I've lived in the FAR EAST for over 8 years. During that time, I've had many bad and many good experiences. It would be impossible to write about all of my experiences here, but I'd like to share with my readers some of what expats like and dislike.

Expats like it when:

1. Bosses honor their contracts.

2. Bosses communicate (either directly or indirectly) all the things pertaining to the alien/foreign employees as soon as possible, such as schedule changes.

3. Non-native English speakers speak polite English.

4. People speak politely to the aliens/foreigners (when they use their mother tongue).

5. People open a window in the bus or train when it is crowded  AND don't get angry when the alien/foreigner opens a window for some fresher air.

6. People drink responsibly.

7. Merchants mark the prices on their goods.

8. Merchants give receipts.

9. People are patient with foreigners who try to speak the lingo of the land.

10. Taxi drivers use the meter and drive directly to the destination.

Expatriates dislike it when:

1. Men urinate on the sidewalk at night.

2. People spit on the sidewalk. (Please do it in the street, if at all).

3. People ask personal questions on the bus or subway.

4. People insult the country of the expat.

5. People blame the country of the alien/foreigner for the economic problems in the country of residence.

6. People honk loudly and continuously.

7. Merchants play noisy loud-speakers and drive around in their trucks early in the morning.

 

That's all for now. I hope this helps create intercultural understanding between Korea and Westerners.

 

 

10.  The Human Race

Date:  July 12, 2002

Title:  "The Human Race"

Race has two meanings: (1) ethnicity, and (2) competition. I would like to discuss the former. In this world, all humans are part of the 'human race', as contrasted with the race of another world. But the human race is composed of hundreds of races, racing for superiority. The recent World Cup was an example of races racing for superiority.

An economic race has some merits. It stimulates a good economy. It provides consumers with choices. And who doesn't like choices? But, I feel bad for the losing races of the economic race. It seems to be unfair. I mean are we not all part of the human race? Do we not all deserve to reap the benefits of economic development? I guess the OECD (the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) is attempting to make the race a more even race, and that is good, but not all countries are members of the OECD.

What drives a race to race against other races? Is it some inferiority complex? Is it some superiority complex? So what if an American wins a short track race? So what if a Korean wins a short track race? Does it really matter? We are all human beings. Let us learn to get along in peace. Let us stop the races. Let there be only one race: the human race.

 

11.  Utopia

Date:  June 27, 2002

Title:  "Utopia"

A utopia is a place where there are no 'have-nots'. In a typical society there are the 'haves' (those who have all the necessities for a comfortable life) and the 'have-nots' (those who don't have all the necessities for a comfortable life). There is no utopia that I know of in this world. If I knew of such a place, I would go and live there. There is a popular proverb in English: The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence. It means that when somebody looks at their neighbors' circumstances, it always appears better than his/her own circumstance.

I read an article in the Korea Times, May 24, 2002. It was entitled "Flying Toward New Dreams." The article is about the Korean families that emigrate for a better life. It makes the interesting point that despite Korea's economic development, Korean families are continuing to emigrate to other countries. This is interesting because it proves the proverb to be true. No matter how beautiful one's lawn appears to be, the neighbor's lawn always looks greener.

The point of the proverb is to tell people that appearances are more often deceiving than not. I have no statistics, but I'd bet that many of those emigrating Koreans will come back to live in Korea someday. I have a Korean friend who has emigrated to the United Kingdom, and he thinks the United Kingdom is such a boring country, compared to the Republic of Korea (ROK). I'm sure he'll be back someday.

I think it's great to go live and/or work in another country for a while, but I wouldn't recommend burning any bridges to one's home country. Then again, as long as one has family remaining in one's home country, there will always be a way back.

In English, there is another maxim: "There's no place like home." It seems true for most people. No matter how much fun, excitement, and/or adventure one has in a foreign country, it can't compare to home. Many songs have been written about nostalgia. One such song is entitled, "Country Road," sung by John Denver. The lyrics are as follows:

"Country road, take me home to the place I belong, West Virginia. Mountain Mama, take me home, country road."

All I'm saying is think twice before emigrating. Make sure it is the best thing for you to do. And, if you were to do your research before emigrating, it would good. 

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