E-mail letters, December 15, 2010

‘Olden days’ were far
better in many respects

Is it a blessing or a burden to live long enough to reminisce about the “olden days”? Somehow, I survived before government began making our critical decisions for us.

—As an infant, my parents weren’t advised not to put a plastic bag over my head.

—As a toddler, they weren’t reminded to remove me from the stroller before folding it up.

—As a youth, I had no bike helmet or knee pads.

—As a student, at school “God” was in the pledge and “Christmas” was a proclaimed holiday.

—As an athlete, it was not unsportsmanlike to keep score.

—As a youth, military service was an obligation and source of pride.

Early TV was bearable, not obnoxious, like “The Simpsons” and Geico or Capital One commercials.

Mediocrity, not achievement, has become the norm in school systems: Eliminating valedictorian honors avoids offending underachiever while teacher tenure protects subpar teachers from termination.

Remember the excitement for college football bowl games when the nation’s 10 best teams played in five major games? Now, with 34 bowls many inferior teams are among the 68 participants.

In the “olden days,” presidents exhibited pride by praising our nation, not disdain by dissing it. And first ladies sponsored worthy causes instead of deeming parents incapable of choosing what children should eat. Many congressional representatives were role models, respected for their service. Was there ever a past national legislature with a “disapproval rating” of 70 percent?

Now retired, I resent government interference in my life, but I’m still a proud American, free to speak and free to worship. The November election proved that I’m one of a multitude of citizens who will continue to fight for the constitutional freedoms to which we are entitled.
We simply refuse to be “dumbed down!”
Richard Doran

Chinese characters
must be used carefully

Regarding the Dec. 12, Lifestyle section of the newspaper: An article written by Rachel Sauer about using Chinese characters for Christmas gifts is a nice idea, and it is very nice to see people
interested in Chinese calligraphy, but the picture shown with the article has inaccuracies that bother me very much.

First, the meaning of the characters on the left hand side are ” happy,” not “love” as stated by the author. More important, the characters on the right hand corner are very bad and inappropriate language in Chinese (even in English) and are not something educated people would use.

Sometimes it is very hard to get to know a foreign language, especially one as complicated as Chinese. Just putting characters together if you have not really studied the language and its common use structure can really confuse and mislead people, especially when those using the words don’t even realize how bad their meaning is.

I am a Chinese-American. I was a formal Chinese teacher. I just want to express my opinion about this issue. Hopefully my note will helpful in the future. Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.
Lily Shanabarger


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