Who Am I?
Individual > Community
Growing up I never knew what my community was. It was just me and my family. I was never interactive with people and was very shy growing up. I still am today. I would always go to my Grandma’s house and play there, since my parent were busy with my sisters at home. Occasionally, my Grandmother and I would go to Walmart or some other Grocery store to buy some food or toys. Whenever I went to the store, I was always afraid of strangers. To me, all i knew was my dad, mom, sisters, and my Grandma.
Of course, this would continue till Kindergarten. I was fortunate to go to a private school, so it wasn’t as bad as public school, but I was still scared. I remember the first day of school I couldn’t let go of my Grandma and cried a lot. Eventually, I was away from my Grandma and took into the classroom. Since I went to a Catholic private school, I saw the same people every day and every hour of school.
The first few days of school, I was alone, since the only people I knew was my family and I wasn’t an outgoing person, so making friends was very hard for me. Eventually, I would become friends with all the people in my class, since there were only around 20 people in my class. Of course, being with the same people every day, eventually everyone would get to know each other. These people would eventually be my first community, a community of friends.
Throughout, elementary school, I would continue to play with others and get to know them better. But, it wasn’t until high school, when I asked myself, “Who am I?” Instead of asking my community who they are, I should be asking myself, “What was I born to do? Am I American or Vietnamese?” This question about my identity to the world would ponder in my mind throughout my freshman and sophomore years high school.
This question wouldn’t be answered until I read the book in my junior year of high school, “Catfish and Mandala,” an autobiography about a Vietnamese-American trying to find his identity. This directly related to me, being a Vietnamese-American and son of an immigrant just like Andrew Pham. Through this book, I learned my true identity, embracing my heritage as a Vietnamese-American.
I also learned a very important lesson. One thing that directly related to me was the ending of the book, where he reminds us that we can change no matter how we were raised as a child. For me, no matter how shy I was as a child, I can always change this. Just like how Andrew Pham’s father had to change and adapt his customs and traditions from Vietnam to America, I too can change from being shy to be more outgoing.
Through this all, I was able to know how important my identity was, being able to know who I am and my meaning in this life. However, I should be careful. Even those with high respect can abuse their power. Sometimes, this can also be the fault of the community, giving this person too much respect that they abuse all this respect to get what they want that negatively impacts others. If I receive a lot of respect to my identity, I should be careful not to abuse it, or I could end up like Harold Shipman, A.K.A, Dr. Death. I first learned about Dr. Death from my class padlet on videos or reading about how an Individual is greater than its community. Dr. Harold Shipman was well-respected by his community and was trusted by the sick and old. However, this respect led to him killing over 200 people!
Dr. Harold Shipman killed 10x more people than an average doctor. But the question is, “How were people not able to notice the death of all these people?” The answer is simple, the community trusted him too much and didn’t suspect him to do such a thing. Of course, as an individual, I should not try to abuse the respect that I gain, and as a member of a community, we shouldn’t give too much respect to an individual person so they can’t be corrupt. This shows us how an individual is greater than his or her community.
Overall, I have learned my true identity and purpose to this world and the limits I should have as an individual and a member of a community. Many people have the misconception thinking that the community is greater than the individual, but a community is not able to help you find you’re true identity. Just like how my friends can’t help me find my identity, only the individual is able to find that out. And also like how wrong Dr. Harold Shipman’s community was on giving Harold Shipman too much respect on his identity. By giving his identity too much respect, the individual became too corrupt and abused his power that he was given. In the end, I learned an important on how an individual is actually greater than their community.