{AHS Lesson 10} The First Crusade

Hello Students! Welcome back to Anime High School 🙂

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Today, class, we’ll be going back… in time. *insert mysterious music*

Student (Susila): “Oooh, similar to Steins Gate?”

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I meant that as a figure of speech, not literally… Moving on!

If you are literate and can read what is written on the whiteboard, indeed we’ll be discussing The First Crusade today.

In all honesty, I had absolutely no knowledge of this before today, for I’m not a Christian. I know it doesn’t take one to be a Christian to have general knowledge but history’s not really one of my passions.

Battle Knight

The First Crusade, in 1096 – 1099, played a very important part in Medieval England. It was an attempt to re-capture Jerusalem, which was taken in the Muslim conquests during 632-661.

According to the New Testament, Jerusalem was the city to which Jesus was brought as a child, to be presented at the Temple and to attend festivals.

Furthermore, under the rule of the Muslims, any Christian who wanted to pay a pilgrimage to the city faced a very hard time. Muslim soldiers made life very difficult for the Christians and trying to get to Jerusalem was filled with danger for a Christian. This greatly angered all Christians.

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A Christian, called Alexius I of Constantinople, feared that his country might also fall to the Muslims as it was very close to their territory. Thus, he called on the pope – Urban II – to provide him with assistance.

In 1095, Pope Urban II spoke to a large crowd at Clermont in France. He called for a war against the Muslims so that Jerusalem was regained for the Christian faith. In his speech he said: “Christians, hasten to help your brothers in the East, for they are being attacked. Arm for the rescue of Jerusalem under your captain Christ. Wear his cross as your badge. If you are killed, your sins will be pardoned.”

Yuri Kuma Arashi
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The First Crusade had an arduous journey getting to Jerusalem:

Without control over the Mediterranean Sea, they had no choice but to cross by land. In the course of their expedition, they covered hundreds of miles, through scorching heat and deep snow.

The Crusaders had also ran out of fresh water, and were forced to drinking their own urine, animal blood or water that had been in sewage.

Food was bought from local people but at very expensive prices. Some men were reduced to pillaging and plunder in order to get food.

Disease was common especially as men were weakened by the journey and drinking dirty water. Dysentery was common. Heat stroke also weakened many Crusaders. Disease and fatigue affected rich and poor alike.

More than half of the entire army had died, by the time they reached Jerusalem.

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Student (Teresa): “Why did they not ensure that there was adequate preparations beforehand?”

I admit, I admire the crusaders’ unyielding strength and desire for the sake of their religion. Despite all the obstacles, they persevered and managed to achieve their intended objectives.

But at what cost?

Similar to what Teresa had said, the reason why the crusaders faces so many challenges was due to poor foresight and planning. In life, we need to think thoroughly first and then, prepare ample resources and materials, before carrying out the particular action.

Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (Assassination Classroom)
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… is fundamental for anything that we do.

Forgive me for saying this, but it is quite an extreme view to say that the First Crusade was a success.

In my opinion, the satisfaction in terms of the recapturing of Jerusalem, is unable to outweigh the significant loss of lives throughout the crusade, plus the grief inflicted on the victims’ families. Therefore, if we were to measure the overall benefits and drawbacks, the First Crusade should not have been organised at that point in time.

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But students, this has solely been about the Christians. What about the Muslims and their welfare?

Indeed the Muslims were the ones who perpetrated this war with Christians, by attacking the city of Jerusalem in the past. But was it right to massacre all of them, after the recapturing of Jerusalem?

In Christianity, the second Greatest Commandment is “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself“.

I believe that Jesus also said to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you“.

god loves everyone (cut)

 

Considering these aspects, how is the massacre different from the recent actions of ISIS right now? There is absolutely no form of justification behind the ruthless killing of Muslims by the Christian crusaders, other than pure vengeance, which is what Jesus does not advocate.

All in all, the First Crusade may be an event of the past, but I hope everyone of you learn from the important takeaways history provides you with. Do not let history repeat itself. Violence and war can NEVER be justified as a panacea to problems, unless it is self-defense. There are many other alternative methods that will prove to be beneficial for everyone.

If the recent extreme actions of ISIS are not enough to ingrain this notion, I don’t know what will.

Have a good day, yall! Class is dismissed 🙂

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Hardest Obstacle in the World

 

Let me ask you.

What is the hardest obstacle in the world?

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In life, we face countless difficulties.

Friends. To make friends, we need to be outgoing and friendly. If you are shy to speak up and talk to people, where does the problem lie when you have no friends?

Academics. To score well for tests and examinations, we need to study hard. If you don’t prepare early and put in effort, where does the problem lie when you obtain poor results?

Health. To stay healthy, we need to consistently have a balanced diet and plenty of sleep. If you take your health for granted, where does the problem lie when you are plagued with illnesses?

Let me ask you again.

What is the hardest obstacle in the world?

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Imagine you’re in an army being sent to war. Sure, fighting the enemy requires skills, weapons, strength. But is that the most difficult part?

My favourite scene in Shingeki no Kyojin is not a battle fight. Neither is it a devastating death.

It is the scene when the decision to join the Survey Corps was made.

Are you willing to offer your beating hearts for mankind?

This is the clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApU72YmOcY8

All of them understand exactly what they would have to do if they were to join the Survey Corps. They have experienced fighting titans first-hand and acknowledges the high risk of losing their lives. They know that it would be much safer to join the Military Police or the Garrison.

Despite this, they stayed.

Despite this, they are still willing to put their lives on the line.

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I may not have watched every anime there is, but I believe that this scene is the perfect example of true bravery. It is not being a badass and recklessly charging into the enemy soldiers. It is the acknowledgment of one’s fear of death, but going ahead with it anyways.

So let me ask you one last time.

What is the hardest obstacle in the world?

{AHS Lesson 3} Blood Is Thicker Than Water

Yo students! Hisashiburi~

Me: “Today we’ll be looking at a particular idiom. Can anyone guess what it is?”

Student (Iris): “Blood is thicker than water!”

Me: “Iris. What did I say about using your telepathic powers in class?”

Student (Iris): “Erm… It’s on the blackboard…”

Me: *turns around* “Oh…”

Students: *awkward silence*

Me: “Well class, I was just joking! Iris totally doesn’t have telepathy ha ha ha… MOVING ON.”

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Akame ga Kill! Episode 15

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Currently, this idiom is mainly used to imply that blood relations are more important than common ties, such as friendship. Also, it can also be said by family members themselves to remind one another not to forsake their family relationships for a friend or an acquaintance.

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In my opinion, we should not blindly just follow this idiom, but instead, just keep this idiom in mind when making decisions. Of course, family is the most important thing in the world. But, friends, especially those that are there for you when you need help, are important too! In other words, blood may be thicker than water, but water is also quite thick and viscous, as compared to acetone and gasoline.

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Anyway, here’s the interesting fact. The meaning of this idiom has actually been flipped around along the decades.

Students: “WHATTT! HONTOU DESU KA?”

Student (Jovan): “Then, what is the original meaning of this idiom?”

The first recorded instance of this idiom was in the year 1180, in Reynard the Fox by Heinrich der Glîchezære, in which he wrote this: “Kin-blood is not spoilt by water.” Then, after a few centuries later, this idiom gained popularity in its modern form: “Blood is thicker than water.” During those times, it actually meant that the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb, or in other words, ties made through loyalty are stronger than kinship; friends made through bloodshed are more important than family. This is because wars were much more common in those days, and so, the bonds made in the army were actually very precious. The soldiers would spend their lives, until the day they die, with these fellow comrades around them, eating together, sleeping together, and well, they were also prepared to die together

In Chinese legends, there is this fable called 《三国演义》, in which, there is a famous Chinese quote by three people: “不求同年同月同日生,只求同年同月同日死“. It simply means that, even though they were not born at the same time, they swear that they will die at the same time. Although they have no blood relation, they have a common goal, which allowed them to swear loyalty to each other and are willing to sacrifice their lives for one another.

Anyways, going back to topic, the meaning of the idiom has since, experienced a 180 degrees change, probably due to a lower amount of wars now. Therefore, in the army, lives are not really at stake, and thus, the bonds formed are not as strong as before.

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Either way, I believe that both family and friends are important to us in their own ways, and we should always treasure them and appreciate their presence in our lives. Sometimes, we might be stuck between the two and would have to prioritise one over the other, but I hope that everyone can weigh the pros and cons of both sides of the coin and carry out what they regard as the best course of action.

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That’s it for history class. Next period’s ‘Organism Science‘ again, so make sure you reach the laboratory on time! Thank you class 🙂

Safety Is The Key To Happiness

One Piece Episode 659 & 660

What is the best kind of life?
A) A life brimming with riches.
B) A life with immense fame.
C) A life full of pleasure.
D) None of the above.

The answer is D, because the ideal life has no specific definition – it depends on the individual.

But one thing’s for sure, many of us would like a safe and secure environment to live in. Some people may want to be the world’s richest person, some may desire to be the most popular person on Earth, but no one will want to live in fear everyday. Imagine how unpleasant a life would be if you were to live in a danger-prone society. You would have to be constantly wary of your surroundings, and treading as carefully as possible, wherever you go.

In all honesty, there are just so many negative aspects of living in Singapore. But why do people still live here? And why is the standard of living in Singapore, one of the highest in the world? It is all because of our relatively low crime rate. According to the US-based World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index 2014, Singapore was ranked the 2nd safest country in the world, 1st being Japan.

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In any case, conflicts should always be avoided, because the losses will always exceed the benefits. Take the recent Israel-Gaza War for example. What did both sides gain in the end? Nothing. What did both sides lose in the end? Over 2,000 lives. We could also take a look at a less extreme example – the Hong Kong protests that are currently ongoing. There have been more than 100 wounded people so far. Thus, such conflicts are definitely not desirable.

People can be poor, but still remain happy. People can be discriminated, but still remain happy. It is a form of optimism. But do you think people in peril, can continue to be cheerful? Do you think people can retain that smile on their face, when they are living in terror? Therefore, in my opinion, nothing is more important than safety.

I believe that everyone can agree that, one major aspect of happiness is to do what you love to do the most. But without a secure environment, will one be able to carry out one’s hobbies? Hence, safety is the key to happiness. Without a sense of safety, no one will be happy. And that is why, my friends, Singaporeans should be proud and grateful for this lovely place that we have been born in.