13 Reasons Why

Entertainment is thought to be fun and light, making people’s day just a bit brighter. That is often the way most people see entertainment as. However, no one realizes how entertainment can play with someone’s mind with its underlying messages that people do not realize they learned.
13 Reasons Why was originally a book that has become a short 13 episode TV series just recently. I have had debates with numerous people because I am not the biggest fan of it. I have not yet finished the show, but I did read the book when I was a freshman in high school.
Here is the plot in a nutshell: This girl named Hannah Baker kills herself and sends out cassette tapes to 13 peoples, telling them they are the 13 reasons why she killed herself.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the book and the production so far. It shows that people should be careful with what they say and do to someone because no one ever knows how they will end up effecting that poor someone. That is a great message to get across, I must admit but that’s only the physical message it gets across.
First, although the show does not speicifcally take suicide lightly, making a TV series about that as a whole kind of does that job. If you know anything about the storyline, you must know that it doesn’t make Hannah Baker’s suicide that tragically. Instead, it makes it a mystery and shows people more pissed at the fact that the girl killed herself than sad and depressed, mourning about it.
The tapes go around and the other students determined to destroy the tapes because they are afraid the tapes will be let out and they will be blamed for the death of Hannah Baker instead of showing kids actually mourning and being sad because of Hannah Baker’s death.
Second, there is an underlying message that says you can inflict pain on others if you’re in pain. But that’s not okay, not okay at all. In the show, the 13 people now have guilt to carry for killing someone they knew. I guess the guilt isn’t all bad but it was not the best way to get that message across.
Everyone only speaks of how the show shoes that we should be careful with what we say and do to others. But inside, deep inside, so deep that no one actually notices that they learned this, people now have that unconscious thought of having the option to cause other people pain if they are too. But that’s not right and people should also know that.
But 13 Reasons Why is only a TV series, a form of entertainment. Yet it has a way to get to people in ways that no one actually realizes.

Dear Rosslyn Academy

Dear Rosslyn Academy,

Creativity is the power to think of something no one else has ever before: the power to create. And I used to be a kid overflowing with creativity.

During art class, if I were to create a monster of my choice, I didn’t have to think too hard for a brilliant monster to pop into my mind and just fill my mind all day with the powers it has.

During writing class, if I were to write a story and create a plot, it felt like a piece of cake. Each and every character’s name, history, and features would just automatically play out in my head, involuntarily directing and producing a movie in my head.

During my free time, if I were to play alone, playing make-believe was the easiest and most fun thing to do. I would cook with the plants and mud, creating a feast for my fellow animal friends. I would pretend to have powers and fight the shadows the nature created for me. I would dress up and perform a fashion show for my stuffed dolls and barbies. I would just have fun with what my mind created.

Because that’s what creativity is. Creativity is the juices one’s mind generates.

I have been in Rosslyn Academy for 10 of the 11 years of my school life. That one year I did not attend to Rosslyn Academy made me realize how great of a school it was and is. Though conservative, I realized that there was a lot of room left for leeway here and there.

Yet it had its constrictions because my brain does not create the same juices it used to when I was younger. The teachers only talk about facts

The teachers teach us something and there is nothing else but that. Yes, there are classes that allow room for debates and discussion times, which really helps, but that’s also based on facts; things we already know to be true.

We cannot create chemical solutions with our minds anymore. We have to actually and physically mix the real elements and observe the reactions created, not we create. We have to see the colors and smell the scent it creates instead of making it smaragdine that smells like boiled eggs seasoned with cinnamon. The class may give you a chance to hypothesize something, but if you hypothesize wrong, that’s a zero for that section no matter that the word hypothesis means.

We go to our English classes and when they want you to either make up a story or a poem, they also give you a structure it should follow. They also give you requirements for the storyline. We should have this type of thing happen to this amount of characters. There’s room for creativity, but only for some of it.

Challenging teachers have actually been my forte. I’ve just not been the most respectful challenger in the world, but teachers take it in different ways. Some totally disagree with the general idea of, “How dare you challenge me?” going on if they don’t say it directly. Yet there are also teachers who are willing to hear you out and actually learn from you, making it easier to learn from them.

Creativity is not black and white where it’s you come up with an idea or not. Creativity also includes thinking for yourself. And that is something Rosslyn Academy insists we do yet do not allow us to do.

For us, students, to understand the rules given, we must be able to question them and understand why those rules came to be. I have tried, yet I have only received dirty looks and hard times from the authority.

Here are a few examples:

Why does Mr. Dirk Jasperse not allow us to wear anything on our heads during class? When I asked him the first time, he just said it’s his rules and that’s that. The second time I asked, he said it was a sign of disrespect that he didn’t want in his classroom. But I personally think that being able to cover my greasy hair is respecting others. They don’t deserve to have that sight or odor near them.

Why does Mr. Dirk Jasperse not allow us to use our phones in his classroom in general? There are days I go to class early and just sit down with my phone in hand. He would come up to me and specifically ask to not use that device in his classroom. But why? Why or how does that effect him? It’s not even class time and it’s certainly not me laughing my butt off or calling someone really loudly.

Why does Mr. Dirk Jasperse not allow us to work on other class things in his classroom? Every Friday, he gives us a quiz to challenge the knowledge we obtained about Chemistry the past two weeks during first period. Once I’m done, I also had an AP Psychology quiz every day during second period. So I preferred to study for the quiz coming up in literally ten minutes instead of doing an assignment not due until the week after. Yet when I asked why, he said that it’s his classroom and his classroom is a Chemistry classroom.

Gee, thanks, Mr. Jasperse. Now I perfectly understand your rules and why you have them.

Like so, dear Rosslyn Academy, you should not just teach your students to think for themselves. You should allow it. Because right now, you’re telling us to be creative and locking us up in a small box.

Thank you so much for taking your time to read this,
Hanny Lee.


On 14th of April 2013, a ferry with the name of Sewol sank on the southwest coast of Korea, killing 304 people.

It was a great tragedy where the citizens of Korea could do nothing else but sit and anxiously watch the big ferry sink.

The news reports said it was a tragic accident. Tragic, yes. But accident? no.

There are way too many traces of the government’s hands in the sinking of the Sewol ferry for it to be the accident the public has labeled it to be.

The ferry was supposed to carry students from this rich school. However, just before leaving the port, plans were changed. Instead of taking the high school students from the rich school, it ended up taking high school students from a more common school.

That’s not all the only suspicious thing that appeared upon its leave. It was a foggy day. Though I do not know much about sailing, I’ve watched enough movies to know that ships, ferry, watches, and just boats, in general, don’t set sail on a foggy day because the captains cannot see ahead of them. So let me repeat. It was a foggy day. So all the ferries at that port, that day, decided to not go to Jeju island. All but the Sewol ferry.

Even just by looking at the start, people can see that something was up.

Now, let us look at how the boat sank. If we trace back the tracks of the ferry, it takes a sharp turn at one point. This ferry was not a small boat. It had rooms after rooms and floors just below 5. Captains, when training how to drive a ship, learn not to make quick turns on water because the ship will flip. Yet that afternoon, the captain made a sudden turn. But then again, Sewol ferry was a big ferry. It needs great amounts of momentum for it to flip over. And guess what just happened to be at the top of the ferry: shipping containers that weren’t tied down properly. Who would have guessed? And after the ferry went down, the government did not allow the ferry to be fished out. So containers have had to stay down for a while.

After the boat started sinking, the lifeguards were set out. But that was it. The marines were ordered not to make a move. So the lifeguards went out and saved the captain and some of the crew members… and left. Just like that. They saved and evacuated the people who should have stayed behind until they were sure every one of their passengers was safe and out of the sinking piece of metal. If that does not strike you as suspicious, I really don’t know what does. On the news, when the reporter was telling us about how everyone was trying their hardest of rescue and save everyone, the camera footage shows a lonely ferry slowly sinking. The lifeguard boats at stepped back and just waited around.

That’s not the end of these nonsense lifeguards. They did fish out the people who came out of the ferry on their own, but those people have testified that they said some horrible things while saving them: things like “God why is he so fat?” and “How did the kid survive?”

Countries from all over the world offered to help, sending their own marines. They, too, could not stand looking at this tragedy unfolding in front of them even though it wouldn’t ever affect them. Yet just like the government shut down the Korean marines, they did the same for the marines of the other countries.

And while this not-actually-happening rescue was not-actually-happening, people hacked into the phones of the high schoolers drowning in the ferry and texted their parents: “Mom, I’m in the kitchen.” “Save me, please!” “I’m scared.” “Mommy… I love you.” This made it seem like the rescue was not happening because these kids were still surviving because there was still a chance these kids could be alive. But when the officials checked, it had hackers’ fingerprints all over it.

Right after this, the first person arrested was the principal of the high school that was on their ferry. He was interviewed and he was suspected. He ended up killing himself, not being able to handle the weight of everyone’s death and the government’s pressure. Can someone actually stare me in the eye and tell me that he was not a scapegoat? What did he do wrong? His students weren’t supposed to be on that ferry in the first place!

When the bereaved families did a demonstration against the government for the truth, they were punished, looked down upon, and even arrested. They were only demanding for the truth. They had been fighting for the truth for almost 4 years now.

Oh, did I mention that the president at that time was the daughter of a dictator we had about 30 years ago? Well, she is. But recently, she was impeached and the ferry was taken out of the ocean just a week or two ago. The inspection is going, but it’s not going well. Miscommunication is so common, which doesn’t make sense. The people fishing out the ship are too vague and refusing to share the information to those who have been sleeping on the docks just waiting for news.

Sewol means time and ages. As time passes, as ages go by, we, the people, are hoping for the truth to reveal itself, for the people who deserve it to get punished, and for the bereaved families to find peace. And that time will come; it will come.