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End of Term One

July 7, 2007

We finally finished our last presentation for the Communication class yesterday and we are going to have a week off so that we can rest our brain a little bit before the instance second term start. However, I had lots of recalls of this writing course while driving on the way home. One of them was “I want to put what I have thought of this class in words for this week’s blog”.

Write in web format

When I first started this class 3 months ago, I felt that why should we have a “Writing” class in a Web design program? But after 12 weeks of learning and studying in the Communication class, I now understand that it is important to learn the proper way to write and to communicate with other users online. It is crucial that online users sometimes ignore other’s writing and get annoyed by big chunck and unorganized content. Writing in a proper web format is the key to interact with other users.

What have I learned?

When writing for New Media, you must remember three principles. They are Orientation, Information, and Action.

• Orientation

First, you have to make sure what is your main point for the contents? Make
them clear by using headlines, blurbs, subheads and, captions.

• Information

Again, the information from your contents has to be accurate and clear.

• Action

Web is all about interaction. You want to make sure you have a
“positive attitude” to encourage other users to respond on your content,
and a “you attitude” to show you are writing for the users’ needs.

See you again

It has been a busy but substantial first term studying in the BCIT. Overall I had experienced a tremendous curriculum with excellent instructors for the last three months. I am not sure am I still going to update my blog entries every week in the coming future, but I’ll definitely provide my blog whenever I have a thought or comment on Lakers or basketball. I am glad that I finally have people respond and leave me comments on my blogs.

Even though people say it is going to be tougher and tougher for rest of the terms, I am still looking forward to them.

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The Real Meaning of Freedom of Speech

July 2, 2007

This week I want to talk about an article that I have read in college.

The United States is one of the few democratic countries that maintains and supports freedom of speech. However, a recent controversial appeal shows that America’s freedom of speech is more limited than ever. Tyler Harper, a Christian student from Poway High School, was told that he could not wear a T-shirt with text that could be offensive to gay and lesbian students. He wore the shirt during the Day of Silence, which the school had designed to teach tolerance of homosexual students to the rest of the student body. According to the Los Angeles Times article; Free-speech fashion, “A teacher told him that the shirt violated the school dress code and was inflammatory. When he refused to remove it, he was kept in a school office for the rest of the day” . Harper and his parents felt that this action went against his constitutional right to freedom of expression. The action taken by Poway High School infringed on Tyler Harper’s constitutionally- guaranteed right to freedom of speech by undermining the original meaning of the 1969 Supreme Court decision.

Harpers wanted an injunction

Harper’s family had wanted an injunction from a U.S. District Court in order to take precautions against the school continuing its policy. They felt that the actions of the school had unfairly and without authority, obstructed Tyler Harper’s constitutional rights. Strangely, the court rejected their request. Judge Stephen Reinhardt applied the armband decision that the Supreme Court had made in 1969 to explain why Poway High School had the right to forbid Tyler Harper from wearing that offensive T-shirt on school grounds. This new ruling by the court shows that the original intent of the 1969 decision has been misused to give the school rights it doesn’t have. In 1969 the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the First Amendment by allowing students to express their antiwar opinions by wearing black armbands.

However, Tyler Harper was punished by Poway High School for expressing his opinion. Not his opinion on the war, but on Homosexuality. The T-shirt he wore reads, “Homosexuality is shameful and Be Ashamed, Our School Embraced What God Has Condemned”. Even though Harper was wearing a T-shirt that has a potentially offensive message to homosexuals, his T-shirt did not ridicule or attack any specific homosexual students.

In what case can school suppress student speech?

The author of Free-speech fashion points out that this new ruling uses the 1969 decision to take rights away that were hard to win originally. “The armband case gave schools the constitutional authority to suppress student speech only when it poses a “substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities” . However, Harper did not cause any “substantial disruption” or “material interference” by wearing that T-shirt. He did not point out any specific homosexual student’s name on the T-shirt. Harper wore the T-shirt only to express his opinion on homosexuality. Since the school had the right to declare a “Day of Silence” to teach students tolerance of homosexual students, why didn’t Harper have the right to his own opinion and the ability to show his opinion on the same topic by wearing that T-shirt?

People also have the right to refuse messages they do not agree with

It is necessary to remember that though everyone has freedom of speech, we also have the freedom not to listen to messages we do not agree with. People have the right to ignore someone’s opinion they do not agree with. But others must equally have the right to choose, not have their decisions made for them. According to Free-speech fashion, “Students certainly have a right to learn, free of bullying and harassment. But they also have the right to express opinions that their classmates might find offensive – as long as doing so doesn’t pose a substantial threat of disruption”

By wearing that T-shirt, Harper did not cause any substantial threat of disruption, because wearing the shirt was a passive form of non-violent protest. Harper did not fight or yell at any homosexual students. All he did was express his opinion on this issue in a non-violent way. No one can force a gay or lesbian student to look at Harper’s T-shirt or accept his opinion. These homosexual students do have the right to choose not to look at the T-shirt and they don’t have to accept Harper’s opinion. Furthermore, it is unfair to heterosexual students who can not express their opinions on homosexuality freely. When others argue that a homosexual student might be offended when he/she sees Harper’s T-shirt, could it be possible that a straight student would also feel uncomfortable when he/she sees something that is against his/her sexual orientation? Imagine a straight student who sees a lesbian student wearing a T-shirt with “I like Girls that like Girls” written on the front. Doesn’t the heterosexual student feel harassed as well? Will the school punish the lesbian student as they did Tyler Harper and tell her not to wear that T-shirt?

Banning students from wearing offensive T-shirts is not the right way to protect the minority
Merely banning students from wearing offensive T-shirts cannot protect homosexual students. Yet according to Judge Reinhardt in Free-speech fashion, “Students should be protected not only from face-to-face harassment but also from ‘derogatory and injurious remarks directed at students’ minority status such as race, religion and sexual orientation’” . It is true that a lot of homosexual students have been bullied by other’s prejudiced opinions; nevertheless, there is no way we can control a person’s opinion and we should not control a person’s freedom of speech anyhow.

I agree with the editorial from Free-speech fashion that “Reinhardt’s expansive definition could cover all sorts of utterances that gay students might find offensive – like a classmate’s praise for the pope’s opposition to gay priests or a civics class comment that states shouldn’t legalize same sex marriage”. Homosexual students should know how to accept or refuse other’s opinions without making themselves feel like victims.

Real freedom of speech

Real freedom of speech should let people express themselves freely. Each person has their own thoughts and opinions that could be injurious to others and there is no way that our government can or should try to control its citizen’s thoughts or opinions. We are living in a world where nothing is perfect. Each person has their own mind and has the ability to choose to like or dislike the statements of others. Luckily, people have the ability to improve themselves and move to a higher level when they learn to accept others conflicting opinions. Hopefully one day Tyler Harper will learn to change his opinion. But it is his decision to make, not Poway High School’s.

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Teo Chow Men’s Basketball Team

June 25, 2007

Teo Chow Men’s Basketball Team is the team that I used to play in LA and is one of the most competitive Chinese American basketball teams in the southern California. In the past few years, our team has created some remarkable records in several basketball leagues and tournaments. In fact, Teo Chow just won the championships in both Mofufus and CAAA leagues this winter.

Will and Phil

Wilson Fang and Phil Chien play two big roles in the Teo Chow since the first day. They started the team a couple years ago and got sponsored by Fukien Association of Southern California. In the beginning, they just wanted to go out and had fun by playing against with other teams, but the result came out that their skill level was quite higher than others.

New Sponsor

Due to different opinions and thoughts on the team, Will, Phil and rest of the players left Fukien several seasons later. Phil didn’t want to dismiss the team, so he took the money from his own pocket and keep supporting the team’s league fees. However, a talented team will never be forgotten. Phil eventually found the team a new sponsor, which is the Teo Chow Association. Sponsors from the Teo Chow Association were really supportive on developing this fabulous sport in the Los Angeles. Because of their supports, Teo Chow Men’s Basketball Team becomes very well known in the community.

Team Roster

Teo Chow’s roster includes:

  • Phil Chien- Manager

Phil is now the manager of the team and he manages all the team’s business.

  • Wilson Fang- Coach

Will is the coach now. He retired few years ago because of the knee injury.

  • Hon Trieu- Point Guard

“Trieu” is one of the best point guards ever in the league. He trusts his
teammates and makes all the incredible assists through out the games.

  • Hung Duong- Shooting Guard

Hung, also known as “H”, is an outstanding shooting guard who is also the record
holder for scored most 3 pointers in a single game in the Mofufus league.

  • Vince Lee- Shooting Guard

Vince is another great shooter on the team. He had a knee surgery few years
ago, but he never lost the enthusiasm of basketball and eventually fought
back to the game again.

  • Albert Chen- Guard/Shooting Guard/Forward

Albert is an amazing player. He is not only capable to shoot consistently from
3-point range, but he also can drive and post up if the team needs him. Al also
shoots a really high percentage on his free throws, which had saved the team
from losing a couple of times.

  • Con Luong- Forward

Con is a quiet person who doesn’t talk much; however, his performance on the
court is completely different compare to his quiet personality. Con is a great
defender who usually has to guard the toughest player from the other team.
He is also a good cutter who always finishes the assists from his teammates.

  • Jason Ridgeway- Forward/Center

Ridge is the most unstoppable player in the team. He holds the highest field goal
percentage among all the teams. When you have someone like Ridgeway on
your team roster, it is almost a guarantee for victory.

What have I learned from the team?

I am glad that I had the opportunity to meet and play with these awesome people.
They let me understand the importance of fundamentals and sharing the ball on the court. Overall, you’ll have to know and define what is your role on the court; do the best you can and trust your teammates. I really enjoyed running on the court with them and I am looking forward to play with the Teo Chow someday in the future again.

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Comparison between current Lakers and 90’s Bulls

June 16, 2007

Many people like to compare the recent Los Angeles Lakers to the 90’s Chicago Bulls because they think there are many similarities between these two teams. However, the Chicago Bulls in the 90’s was a championship team that had created lots of tremendous records and histories. And the current Los Angeles Lakers is a team that has been far away from the championship for many years.

Similarities

What are the similarities between these two teams?

. First, they both have the same coach, Phil Jackson.

Phil is one of the greatest coaches in the NBA history. He successfully reconstructed the 90’s Chicago Bulls to win 6 NBA championship titles in 8 years. After he went to Los Angeles in year 2000, he made Shaq and Kobe play much more effectively together and won 3 consecutive championships from 2000 to 2002.

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Second, these two teams both have a super-star player.

Michael Jordan, who is known as the greatest basketball player in the history, could averagely scored 30 plus points in his career in the Chicago Bulls.
On the other hand, the Los Angeles Lakers has Kobe Bryant, who is known as the “Black Mamba”, can be unstoppable when he is in his attack mode. He had scored 81 points against Toronto Raptors on Dec 7, 2005, which became the second highest score in the NBA history.

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Third, Lakers and Bulls are both playing Triangle Offense.

“Triangle Offense” is a great and unique strategy in basketball. It basically starts in a 1-2-2 set. Players have to space themselves apart about 15 feet. This helps discouraging double-teams and allows for short passing that will reduce the risk of interceptions. Both Lakers and Bulls are using this strategy as their main play in the game.

What is missing?

Since Lakers has several same positive similarities as 90’s Bulls, why couldn’t they win the championship?
. Lakers need “Scottie Pippen”.

Scottie Pippen, who had helped and assisted Michael Jordan when he was on and off the court. Lakers need a second role player like “Scottie” who can lead the team when Kobe Bryant is on the bench and help on scoring when Kobe is cold on his offense.

. Bench Players

Having several nice bench players is another big factor to win the championship.
Basketball is not a one-man sport. It needs a nice teamwork and gets every player involved. When Michael Jordan was suffered from the double or triple-teams, he always had someone to step up and completed his assists, like John Paxson and Steve Kerr in the 90’s Bulls. Lakers need their bench players to play confidently and consistently. They have to do all the fundamentals and complete the easy shots, but not just having too much one on one-offense and choices of bad shot.

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Chinese American Basketball in Southern California

June 10, 2007

Basketball is the most common sport in the United States. You can always see teenagers or young school kids holding a basketball on the street or running games in the park. The Chinese community in southern California also attaches importance of promoting this fabulous sport to its’ nation. There are two major basketball leagues that provide an organized atmosphere with a safe, fair and competitive environment for the Chinese American in Los Angeles, which are Mofufus and CAAA leagues.

Mofufus Basketball Organization

Mofufus Basketball League started in 2001 by Johnny Phan and Kevin Su. Both Johnny and Kevin were players from an outstanding team called Alpine Striders. Because of the enthusiasm of basketball, they established the Mofufus league after they retired from the Alpine Striders. Mofufus only had one open division when it first started. It only had about 8 teams each season. In 2004, Johnny Phan decided to take over and expand the league by adding more divisions and teams. The League now has 9 divisions and about a total 70 teams each season. (Winter, Summer, and Fall.) It also holds an annual Halloween Tournament at the end of each October. Because of the effort and passion from the organization, Mofufus Basketball League now becomes one of the biggest and the most popular leagues for the Asian American in Los Angeles.

CAAA Basketball League

CAAA stands for Chinese American Athletic Association. It is the biggest association that supports sports within the Chinese community in Los Angeles. CAAA not only holds basketball league, but also has tournaments for track and field, and swimming. The founder of CAAA, “Mr. Kong”, devoted most of his energies and efforts to create a wonderful environment for the Los Angeles’s Chinese American to show their talented skills on sports. Now CAAA has a nice website and is in charged by Ace Lee, who is also a good basketball player. It has 5 divisions and approximately 84 teams in Spring and Fall each year.

Future goals

Both of these organizations are planning to bring everyone together even more often by throwing some outdoor events, such as B.B.Q at the park. They hope everyone can have fun and meet new friends not just in the gym but also during their leisure time. Best wishes to these two great organizations and hope they will keep providing us the best sports events in the future.

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Kobe’s big announcement.

May 31, 2007

This week’s most discussable rumor in Los Angeles is probably the trade of Kobe Bryant. After the interview with Kobe earlier this week, ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher relayed that Kobe announced he wants the Lakers to bring Lakers’ former general manager, Jerry West, back to the organization and give him full authority; otherwise, he wants to be traded.

Jerry West

Jerry West was one of the greatest guards in the NBA history. He led the Lakers to NBA finals nine times during his 14-year playing career in Los Angeles. One of his greatest achievements after he retired from the league was rebuilding Lakers from an average team to a champion shaped team. He brought Shaquille O’Neal to the team as a free agent and traded Vlade Divac to Charlotte for Kobe Bryant in 1996. Because the right decision made by West, Lakers eventually won their champion crown back in 2000 and had won the title for three consecutive years.

Lakers’ statement on Kobe’s trade demand

Jerry Buss, the owner of the Lakers organization, just recently responded on Kobe’s trade issue. He simply said that the organization is aware of this news. However, they have never spoken to Kobe in person about his trade demand.
“We have made it very clear that we intend for him to be a Laker his entire career.”
said by Jerry Buss. Lakers want to keep Kobe Bryant in the team, but Kobe obviously doesn’t want to spend the rest of his career time to help a team to play more playoff games. He wants to be in a team that has the ability to challenge for the championship.

What’s next?

Jerry West is currently the director of Grizzlies basketball operation and he is leaving the Grizzlies on July 1. Will Lakers hire him to be their general manager again based on Kobe’s statement or will Lakers refuse that and trade Kobe? I don’t know is it going to be the right decision to bring Jerry West back but they’ll have to keep #24 in the team. They need him not just for Lakers’ business market but Kobe is definitely the key element for them to win the championship.

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#24 is a ball hug?

May 26, 2007

A lot of people criticize Kobe Bryant and think he is a ball hug. They said Kobe doesn’t like to pass the ball to his teammates because he doesn’t have faith in them. I had the same feeling while watching Kobe’s game a couple years ago. However, he is not number 8 anymore; he’s now number 24.

From #8 to #24

Most of the sport reporters looked at Kobe as a gifted player when he first started his NBA career. He and his number 8 jerseys had created many incredible records through out the years. Nevertheless, he was too young for those praises from the fans. Kobe wasn’t only known by young and talented, but also known as a selfish and cocky player during his earlier career. Kobe’s biggest change in the past few years is not that he changed his jersey number from 8 to 24, but the increase of maturity and leadership as a basketball player.

What’s the definition of ball hug?

Players who always like to force their shots without passing the ball to his/her teammates; people usually called them ball hug. It is true that Kobe takes most of the shots compare to other Lakers, but that doesn’t mean he’s a player who doesn’t like to share the ball. In fact, Phil Jackson has instructed him to take more shots during the post season this year. Kobe was trying to make his teammates involved in the game by making more assists for half of the season. It turned out that his team needed him to step up and take over the game to win those victories.

Talent

There are lots of Good Players in the league, but only a few of them can be considered as Great Players. Those great players have the talent and ability to dominate the game. If you have a player like Kobe Bryant who can average 30 to 40 points per game, you would certainly like him to take more shots than others. Furthermore, once Kobe becomes the “Target” for their opponents; rest of the Lakers would have more wide-open shots in the game, isn’t it?