Somber Past, Bright Future

Brandon Wong

Posted by Matsui Washington Fellow Brandon Wong.

The past few weeks have been a little rough. I’ve been trying to shake off a persisting cold, to little avail. On top of that, applying for jobs takes up a great deal of my time, in addition to scholarly pursuits here at the UC Center. Finally, I made an obligatory excursion to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum a few weeks ago. I say “obligatory,” because I believe wholeheartedly that everyone must eventually witness the tragedies of the Holocaust to honor the living and the dead. Reading Elie Weisel’s Night in high school was an emotionally exhausting endeavor, affecting me in a way few books have. However, even books about the Holocaust don’t fully capture the human suffering and cruelty; going to the Museum made that clear to me. One thing about the Museum that really stuck with me was the boxcar they had on display for museum goers to walk through. Of course, eventual victims of the death camps were transported by train in box cars. They were often packed to the brim, allowing very little freedom of movement. Walking through the boxcar sent a chill down my spine and made me feel incredibly uncomfortable. Though I was technically alone in the sense that no one was in or around the boxcar with me, I did not feel truly alone. I doubt I’ll ever forget that. Continue reading

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Going Primitive in D.C.

Summer Dong BlogPosted by Matsui Washington Fellow Summer Dong

I never realized how much I had been enslaved to my cell phone until three weeks ago. I went skiing in Maryland— Yes, they do have a couple of ski resorts around D.C., nothing like Lake Tahoe, though — with three friends from UCDC, and accidentally gave my cell phone a mountain funeral. Since then, I have been living in a constant state of uncertainty. “Where is the nearest post office again? I have to mail some postcards to my friends in Berkeley. And, what are their addresses anyway? Gosh, I really should have written them down.” “It’s now 4 minutes past my appointment time with my boss, what if there was something coming up and he had to ditch me?” “Wait, at which Metro stop should I make my transfer again?” Without a cell phone, my life is just full of those “Gotcha” moments. I’ve always thought that, compared to all my “techy” friends in the Bay Area, I was pretty indifferent to digital stuff. Now I have to say, a smart phone is something that, once you get used to it, there is just no way back.

Summer with her friends Ari (left, from University of Sydney), Tom (from UCLA), and Joe (front, from Carnegie Mellon University)

Summer with her friends Ari (left, from University of Sydney), Tom (from UCLA), and Joe (front, from Carnegie Mellon University)

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