Alex’s Blog

Yee Haw

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The Ubiquitous Party of Canada

Today, I’m sharing with you the press release for my political party. This is a brand new PLP project, that project being to form a political party that brings something new to Canada. This has proven to be incredibly challenging, while this project is incredibly interesting, I would argue that none of us can really bring something functional and new to the table of politics, in other words none of us have a political science degree. This doesn’t mean that we won’t try though.

 

Enter the “Ubiquitous Party of Canada”, we aim to incorporate the best of all sides of the political spectrum, that is to say what we believe to be the best aspects for all. You can read our press release which fills you in more right below.

 

Universal Basic income is definitely our most radical goal and platform, we think that it is an idea that has a lot of potential, our financial plan revolves around it and if we are to strive for a green economy UBI seems like a necessary step in the process. For those of you who don’t know UBI is, it is a standard amount of money (we suggest 1000$) that every adult in Canada would receive every month indiscriminately. UBI, in theory, would help redistribute wealth, end poverty, and help us financially move towards a green economy. How would we get the money for this though, tax reform is necessary also we plan to tariff national corporations that have monopolized certain industries in Canada, the cell provider industry is a great example. This tarrif system would be less of a tax and more of “pay us this % of your projected annual income before you’re allowed to sell” this is quite an authoritarian approach to big business in order to provide our libertarian platform, hence our namesake. Read more about the pros and cons of UBI here.

 

UBI has never been tried before on a national scale and people seem to think that makes it lesser, but I think that illustrates how modern the idea is. We constantly need new ideas to shape our world, yet there still is value in the tried and tested, we aim to try the best of both. 

 

We believe that political reform is necessary to move forward in the country, and my group and I have come up with a lot of ideas on how we would change the current situation and political atmosphere in Canada. I’d like to make it clear, though, we certainly aren’t the most “focused” party (yet), that is to say, we need to narrow down our goals for sure, we don’t have enough knowledge to implement all of our broader ideas. Soon, we will release an advertisement on why one should vote for us (if we really existed), and there will be more focused ideas to present there. 

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Election Reflection

The 2021 Canadian Federal Elections have concluded for us Canadians, and more importantly, I’ve started my final year of PLP and high school. One would assume that change is on the horizon, but as far as this election is concerned, not much really did change. The Liberal party has re-secured another minority government, with the conservatives being the opposition, it is also important to note that the PPC saw a significant growth of seats acquired, make of this what you will. I would say that this is the most controversial and interesting chance that has happened with the results of the election.

 

I am not here to talk about the results though, I am here to point out what I view to be a flaw in our electoral process. In Canada, parties select representatives known as Members of Parliament (MPs) to run for election in different regions across the country, members of parliament, if elected, work with their communities to voice their concerns in parliament, and work with their party to voice their ideology. If an MP is elected they win their party a seat in parliament, the party with the most seats will form the government and their leader will be appointed Prime Minister. If a party wins more than half of the seats it is known as a majority government, if it wins the majority of seats but less than half it is known as a minority government, which is where our current government falls under. MPs do not have to agree with their party or their leader all the time and usually don’t, this is where the problem arises, voters should not have to choose between voting for an MP or voting for a leader. To illustrate this, I interviewed 3 different age groups of people and asked them if they have ever felt conflicted about voting for an MP that is inherently attached to their party leader. 

A voters relationship to an MP is vastly different from their relationship with a party leader, a voter may resonate with a Conservative MP but believe a Green leader is more fit for the role of Prime minister, I don’t believe we should abolish a prime ministers or MPs attachment to their party’s but I do believe that we should have a separate vote for each. Some may argue that this  would slow down an election process too drastically but I would argue that the opportunity cost of losing that time will be regained by voters voting more fit MPs and Leaders when they are not so attached to one another, the amount of desirable MP candidates we lose to their attachment to a leader (and vice versa) has lead voters to forget about how important both are independently. 

 

If we separate the votes, I believe it will allow us to select the best MPs and Leaders for us, although I don’t reasonably believe this radical of political reform is plausible in the near future, I also don’t believe this to be, necessarily, the right answer, I aim to just point out the attachment of MP and Leader to be a problem. I hope perhaps we as a society can take incremental steps towards the best answer to the dilemma of voting between an MP. 

As always, thanks for reading, and have a wonderful rest of your day/evening. 

 

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Advancements in Technology has led to Many Young People With Feelings of Nihilism

For many generations religion is what dictated most people’s morals, but as technology has advanced and now that ideas are so easily shared, religion has become less and less popular. Young people are surrounded by ideas and trends that challenge these old ways of thinking, there is an overwhelming amount of knowledge that reminds us how insignificant we are, I believe this to be a factor in how easily young people get attached to radical ideas that can seemingly give people’s lives, the sort of profound meaning they search for when presented with the idea that there is none. Echo chambers in modern media is good example of this idea as it re affirms people’s beliefs very strongly, making their paradigm increasingly narrow.

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Lima’s Perspective on The Shining Path

An Interview with dad who lived through the era of The Shining Path

To read a brief overview of Abimeal Guzman and the shining path click here for my zettelkatsen literature note

What was the general opinion on The Shining Path inside and/or outside Lima?

Most everyone in Lima believed the shining path to be a monstrous organization, people in Lima generally had more acsess to information about the group compared to people in more rural places like Juancayo, yet people in Lima still didn’t really know who Guzman really was, or what he was really about. Very few people sympathized with the cause in Lima because all they saw was the terror without reason. However outside of Lima was a different story, my dad recalls occasionally seeing “People’s War” spray painted or murals of shining path fighters in places outside Lima.

What was the scale of fear felt towards Thr Shining Path? It fluctuated, early on it didnt seem terrible, yet when they started to force small villages into submission they knew the worse was yet to come, people tend to forget that a the Shining Path was heavily active for almost over 20 years, and small factions still remain to this day, when the Shining Oath took the war to Lima, the fear really set in, but again sometimes there would be months with no attacks or major fights in Lima, yet other times there would be a bombing every week. For a good 5 years though many people would stay clear places that were heavily bombed like banks or certain types of cars. The Shining Path was made up of scared Villagers following a strong voice just as much as it was made up of radicalized idelogical belivers of the “people’s war”

When did you realize the real ness of the threat that was The Shining Path? For my dad, it was when the Shining Path heavily bombed a very busy main street about 10 blocks from his house. This was in early 1992 and was after my dad had moved to Canada yet, he had a friend that died in that bombing and an uncle in law who had half his face maimed with large shards of glass. His brother was also at home during the attack and felt the ground shake when the bombs hit. Acts like these is what led most people in Lima to antagonize the shining path, not because of politics but because their means could never of justified their ends.

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Quarter 4 – Reflection 1

And we’re back! After a very long hiatus, I have returned to the PLP classroom due to the quarter system my school is doing this year (2 classes for 10 weeks each then a switch). Of course, there’s a new project, this time we are crafting a “second brain” through a note taking system called zettelkasten. Zettelkasten connects core ideas that are derived from more informal notes. This project has so far been unlike anything I’ve ever done with PLP, it really focuses on the small steps and planting “seeds” of knowledge rather than a larger more focused and direct project (e.g Bluesky (2019)). Historically speaking, the smaller, stepping stone like aspects of projects have been the areas I’ve struggled with the most, and so far this has mostly been an exception to that rule.

 

We have been doing lessons on turning points throughout history, every lesson we write a “Literature note” which summarizes the lessons and allows us to take meaningful ideas from the lesson/resources provided by the teachers, we then put those ideas into our ever growing network of Zettelkasten notes. I’m fairly proud of my Riverview closure note as well as my Watergate note, because I was able to connect those to ideas I was already passionate about. 

 

Right now, I’m very busy with both things inside and outside of school so I’m honestly kind of pleased with how I’ve been keeping up with PLP so far this quarter, but I know that I do have the ability to extend my work to higher levels and also stay organized a bit better (this evident as this blog is being uploaded a day late) I will aim to do better as we move forward with this project.

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Shrew You: Reflective Post

Welcome back readers, time for another look into my learning with PLP. This project focused on building our essay writing skills along with studying “The Taming of the Shrew” in order to answer our driving question: “How can the suffragette movement demonstrate both how much and how little has changed for women today?” you can read my answer to the question linked here in my final essay.

 

Similarly to my last project this quarter I’m very happy with turning everything in on time this project, it doesn’t seem like much (mostly because it isn’t) but I am pretty happy with myself for putting more effort into this course this year. I’m also really happy with the amount of learning I explored outside of the realm of the assigned curricular competencies, if that was for better or for worse is debatable, you can read about most of the extra research I did for this project here in my Milestone Two assignment. Like every project with PLP there are still a lot of things I could have done better with retrospect, for starters that milestone two document linked earlier, should have related a lot more to texts assigned in class and less about the other research I did, and I had the chance to revise yet I didn’t. I let myself get caught up in, what I determined to be, more important assignments even though if I had just managed my time better I could have revised and still done all the assignments at the same caliber I presented anyways.

 

The biggest blow to my performance in this project was easily my acquisition of strep throat that caused me to be absent from 6 classes. I definitely had 2 days there where I was not functional at all but I used it as an excuse to not put in 100% for the remainder of my time away from school, I barely hung on to my contracted grade of 93%, if it at all. Taking this into consideration I’m very grateful for my teachers for letting me move along with my final essay, because in Mr Hughe’s words… “We asked for a cherry pie, but you made us an apple pie, the apple pie still demonstrated my baking skills but it’s still not a cherry pie”. To that I would say that firstly, pie isn’t that good in the first place why are you teaching us how to make pie, and secondly, apple pie is better than cherry pie. All that said I am still proud of my final essay, Ms Willemse challenged me to take stance on the “right” interpretation of taming of the shrew, and I think I soundly argued my case on how the interpretations of the play over time represents a positive shift in the ideas of what place of women is in society. 

 

So, overall I think I did a relatively good job on this project although I should have paid more attention to feedback and/or asked for more considering the recent controversy on Suns and Rainbows (our grading system) within the PLP 11/12 cohort. I think I learned a lot and I would argue that my perspective on many things and ideas has broadened during this project, which is great. I don’t really care about my grade that much as long as I took some real things out of a course, and I did this quarter with PLP. I recommend you check out my final essay linked above, any feedback is cool with me!

 

Hopefully you will see some other cool blogs on here during the time in between now and the next time I’m back in the PLP class which will be in the last 4th of the school year. Thanks for reading and as always, have a great rest of your day/evening

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Weekly Reflection: Week six

Hello all, welcome back to another weekly reflection. This week saw the completion of the PLP 11/12’s essays, coming in the form of Milestone 5 and 6. If you read my reflection last week you would know that I was sick for 4 days of that week, I continued to be sick for 2 more days of this week, these 6 missed days of an accelerated course are pretty much equivalent to missing 2 months of class in a regular year. I was honestly pretty proud of my performance in the class up until this point, I still am proud of the work I’ve produced yet I am not proud of the work habits I practiced during these last two weeks, my hand in times for most homework assignments went from a usual 5-10pm (if an assignment is due the next day) to a not particularly healthy 12-4am, my sleep habit is still abysmal, and it’s my fault. I let myself slip to this point, even though I am still doing my work, which is an improvement from years prior I am still leaving it to the very last moment possible, this is impacting my other classes too, I’ve been tunnel visioned with my humanities work that I forget about Physics a lot of the time, and haven’t been keeping up with the worksheets assigned much. It feels like I’m just barely hanging on to my decent marks in both classes, maybe it’s possible that I subconsciously like that, maybe it’s just a “relapse” into my old habits, the point is, I don’t know why I do this to myself. My saving grace is that I have still been working hard in class and been learning a lot, the biggest lesson I should be taking out of this week is that one slip up shouldn’t define the rest of my performance in a class, I have a tendency to let things snowball and I didn’t let my mistakes snowball exponentially like I usually do. I also know that since I have shown myself that I am capable of growth as a person (with my work habits in particular) I know that I will be able to rebuild my good habits I demonstrated earlier this quarter again throughout the rest of the year. 

 

I have a lot more thoughts on this unit in humanities as a whole, but because I don’t like to repeat myself I will save most of them for unit reflection post that will be posted tomorrow, for this blog I really just wanted to write down the lessons I took for myself as a person this week rather than the lessons I took for myself as a learner. Tune in next week for more self p̶i̶t̶y reflection and my thoughts on the latest PLP project: “Shrew You!” 

 

As always thanks for reading and have a great rest of your day/evening.

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Weekly Reflection: Week Four

Hello all, welcome back to week four of my weekly reflections. This week wasn’t the greatest in all aspects mostly because I had strep throat from Tuesday and for the rest of the week, I slept through most of the week and didn’t really have a functioning brain until late Thursday which really sucked. I did participate in my group’s presentation of milestone 3 (the assignment was identifying continuity and change for the suffragette movement during the 1940s – 1950s) via facetime, I had a fever at the time and it’s probably the worst presentation I’ve ever done, I definitely could’ve prepared a bit more and I wouldn’t be surprised if I lost some mark for that abmissmal performance. That’s not to say I didn’t do any work for milestone three, because I did a good amount of research about feminist literature and I also compiled a list of the most important legal changes during the time period but I definitely could’ve helped a lot more with our thesis. 

 

With all the downtime I had this week I decided to watch two films relating to women’s cultural standards in two different time periods and places, the first was “Marriage Story” and the second was “In The Mood For Love” I had a lot of thoughts on both of these films and if your interested you can read those thoughts in my Milestone 2 document, which is my main research document for my current project in Humanities, keep in mind that this document is pretty informal and is mostly just for myself. I liked both movies a lot, the first one spoke very personally to me because it’s about divorce and that’s something I’ve been through, the second one was more of a beautiful piece of film in my opinion and I totally understand why it’s considered to be one of the best movies of the 21st century. I went a lot deeper with my reflections and interpretations of both in my milestone two, document but the biggest things I took out from the movies was how “Marriage Story” and “In The Mood For Love” show just how much and how little has changed for women over time and shows the cultural differences between Hong Kong and North America in the 60’s. This can all be tied back to my second weekly reflection, where I talked about “The Death Of The Author” the subjectivity of texts, because in my milestone 2 I did not once acknowledge the creators of either films, because it doesn’t matter to justify my interpretation, of course I would say that Wong Kar-Wai did an incredible job in using visual metaphors to add a layer of depth to his story, but I don’t think that his intentions with the movie changes my interpretation at all. They can if I want them to, but I still would argue that my takeaways are as profound as they would be if I acknowledged and looked for the creators intentions with either movies, and I think that makes my own thoughts a bit more personal and the lessons I took away from both movies will probably stick with me longer because of it. It could also be argued that I’ve stuck with this idea for a bit too long with my reflections.

 

I’ve also missed a lot of “Taming of The Shrew” which is probably the worst part of the entire week because it means I have to read it during my own time. 

 

Overall, despite missing a lot of school I still feel like I learned a lot this week which is good, I think. I feel ready for what’s to come in the upcoming week for humanities (I don’t feel ready for physics though) and most of all I’m going to make up for missed time! So as always, thanks for reading and have a great rest of your day/night.

 

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Weekly Reflection: Week Three

Hello all, welcome back to the third edition of my weekly reflections. We’ve had a mildly exciting week with our PLP humanities class this week, I’ve particularly enjoyed all of the discussions we’ve been having, I haven’t really enjoyed being labeled a contrarian, though, I see why most people think that. Our daily discussions as a class have been focused on determining whether or not songs in culture are sexist, if you’ve read my blog from last week you may know that I don’t think there’s a right answer to that but usually most of the class comes to similar consensus, I think that’s because the majority of us tend to be pretty progressive with our thoughts on society and culture. 

 

Last week I highlighted the essay “The Death of Author” which argues that all text (including music) should be interpreted by the individual, this week I decided I wanted to dig a little deeper into that concept and relate it to our discussions in class, this lead me down an all familiar rabbit hole of thought that ended with me going through a tiny existential crisis. I think that almost all aspects of life can be interpreted subjectively, I guess this is a pretty nihilistic take because it infers that nothing has any real meaning, but I think that fact gives the individual the power to choose their own meaning, thus my conclusion (this video by “Kurzgesagt” is great on explaining this better than me) if anyone is interested by this video I recommend checking out Franz Kafka, Friedrich Nietzsche, Arthur Schopenhauer, or Plato. I don’t know if that’s the conclusion Ms Willemse wants us to come to, I think most of the PLP students would agree that right and wrong aren’t objective. Perhaps the discussions allow us to think more critically about what we think is right and wrong and realize that our perception of it can change very easily. I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve taken away from the discussions, I used to think that music was just music and people really shouldn’t let themselves get offended by it, and even though I still kind of think that, I now really understand why people can get offended by certain songs or texts. These discussions have definitely helped me understand why things do or don’t matter to other individuals. I just think that being able to hear about other people’s thought processes on these things is really cool, and honestly the discussions are my favorite part of the school day. 

 

Moving forward I’m quite excited for the rest of this project actually, because we’ve been exploring a lot of topics I really enjoy thinking about. I’m also no longer finding the essay readings as redundant anymore because I’ve kind of realized the point in reading them. Also excited to watch Kramer vs. Kramer tomorrow!

 

So as always, thanks for reading and have a great rest of your day/evening!

 

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Weekly Reflection: Week two

Hello all, welcome back to the second addition of my weekly reflections. Overall this week was pretty decent. A highlight of my week included my cousins birthday (shoutout Lucas), during his birthday dinner my other cousin and I discussed school and the subject of humanities came up, I may or may not have complained about my humanities class more specifically the commonlit assignments we have been assigned recently, I made a point about how there can rarely be right answers about interpreting texts so my cousin said something along the lines of “I don’t want you to get in trouble with your teacher, but, you should really read ‘The Death of The Author’ by Roland Barthes” I in fact did not read it because I couldn’t find a free version on the internet but I did read a few synopsis’. 

 

In short, “The Death of The Author” argues against in discerning objective meanings and purposes of any text, taking into account an author’s perspective and biases usually provides an insight to the purpose and meaning of texts, or text can be used to determine an author’s perspective on life or it’s issues, Barthes argues against this citing that acknowledging an author’s perspective limits the amount of interpretations. individuals can make for themselves. Acknowledging an author’s own interpretation of their text defeats the purpose of most literature, the lessons and meaning of literature should be determined by the reader. Obviously there are some flaws to these arguments, perhaps an argument can be made that readers should learn how to interpret an author’s message before finding their own but I think that’s pointless because you will get the end result either way and I believe most PLP students are able to find their own meaningful connections with text. This is why I think commonlit is pointless for the most part and shouldn’t contribute to any of the PLP students’ grades, because we are learning how to identify an author’s meaning and message, not our own, although learning how to identify themes is good mostly. 

 

That was a large tangent, bringing it back to school overall, I think I had some ups and downs with most classes but I am doing better everyday and that’s great but I can still do better with keeping up with physics homework and work experience. As you can tell I’ve mostly been thinking about humanities this week but I expect next week will have more than just one connection about my learning.

 

As always thanks for reading and have a great rest of your day/evening. 

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