The Only U.S. President That Spoke Mandarin Chinese

The Only U.S. President That Spoke Mandarin Chinese

Here's something you probably didn't know about our 31st President of the United States.

Being bilingual nowadays always seem like a huge surprise. English has become such a common language in America that it has become unnecessary to know any other language. But I am not saying a person shouldn't learn a second or third language. Being able to communicate to others without having the language barrier is undoubtedly a useful skill.

So my mind started wondering earlier today -- has there ever been a bilingual president?

Obviously after 43 presidents, there's bound to be one that spoke another language other than English. And of course I had to search it up, which I did, and found out there were plenty of presidents in the beginning that spoke another language like Latin or Greek.

That wasn't surprising at all. It continued to not be a shocker when I read there were other presidents that spoke French, Dutch, German, Spanish, and Italian. Basically all these past presidents knew European languages. What was surprising to learn was that there was one president that knew Mandarin.

Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the United States, lived in Tianjin, China for two years with his wife, Lou Hoover after graduating Stanford with a degree in Geology. He worked as a mining engineering and executive during those years. According to the Hoover Association, the two adapted to the language there and would sometimes speak in Mandarin when they didn't want people to know what they were talking about.

The Hoovers even caught themselves in the middle of the Boxer Rebellion during their time in China in 1900. The couple was sent to a walled compound for protection from those who were rebelling against Western influence in China and persecuting Chinese Christians. The Boxer Rebellion finally came to an end a year later in September of 1901.

There are a lot of things that come to mind when I think of President Hoover, like Hooverville and the Great Depression, but after learning he was one of the few U.S. Presidents that knew a non-European language and the only President that knew Mandarin, there's something else to remember him by.

And if you're wondering whether or not our current U.S. President knows any other language, the short answer is yes. Yes, he does. He speaks Bahasa Indonesian from when he attended school in Indonesia as a child.

Cover Image Credit: History Channel

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Why Burning Bridges is Okay

Why the age-old advice of remaining on good terms with everybody is wrong.

“You shouldn’t burn your bridges,” is a saying that I’d bet the majority of us heard growing up from our parents, relatives, and teachers. It is the idea that you should try to remain on good terms with everyone you meet in your life because you never know when you might need their help or if you’ll regret losing them in the future. This common piece of advice is something that while in theory has good intentions, should be taken on a case-by-case basis.

For most of my life, I’ve been a strong proponent of this phrase. It used to be my golden rule. I thought the most important thing was to remain on good terms with everybody. If I could master that, I wouldn’t ever have to worry about anything. I would be happy.

In the past few years, I’ve learned a few things about this famous phrase.

First, there is the idea that you should remain on good terms with people because you never know what purpose they might serve you in the future. While it is true that the majority of our interactions in life are a give-and-take relationship, people should not be treated as a means to an end. The people in your life should not just be something you’re kind to because it might help you in the long run. We should be kind to one another because it is the right thing to do, not for selfish reasons.

Secondly, burning bridges is one-hundred percent, without a doubt, okay. Burning bridges has this sort of negative connotation because it seems to encourage being rude or dismissive to one another. On the contrary, burning bridges simply means not letting people who are not good to you, or no longer serve a positive purpose in your life, stay in your life. It is the ability to recognize people who have hurt you in a way that is not forgivable. I think a lot of people are unhappy because they allow people who have treated them badly, whether that be friends, exes, or relatives, to stick around. They feel the need to keep those people around because it is both familiar and hard to let go. It is no secret that toxic people are going to enter your life. There are going to be people who use you and deny it. There are going to be people who hurt you and don’t feel sorry.

Over the past few years, I’ve been hurt tremendously by a number of people I trusted. People who I thought would never treat me a certain way. I’ve lost friends, relatives, and people that I loved on a deep level. It was very, very difficult to let go, but these people simply did not serve a positive purpose in my life anymore.

Now, this is in no way condoning being cruel to anybody. Burning bridges simply means to let go of people who have wronged you, and recognizing when to do that. Letting go doesn’t mean to be unkind, it simply means to be civil, but distant.

One thing I’ve learned in my life so far is that you must let these people go, no matter how much you care about them. You must do this because they will not help you grow as a person. They will bring you down. They will make you unhappy. You must choose people who choose you. Sticking with the familiar is never a better option than being happy.

And life is way too short to be anything but happy.

Cover Image Credit: Youtube

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Parkland's Elephant In The Room

Why do we march for gun control but not for the pursuit of mental health?

Our thoughts as a nation and as people are with those impacted by the horrific events that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14th. We all feel for the grief of those who lost a loved one and for the trauma of those who will live with this experience. It is heartbreaking.

It is for those people, the people whose lives were lost, the people who survived, and for the people who may one day experience a very similar situation, that we owe change. It is for those people that we owe a thoughtful evaluation of these shootings.

In the week following the shooting in Parkland, our news feeds, Instagram feeds, and Facebook feeds are full with promotions of gun control.

Guns you can see. Bullets you can touch. Bombs, knives, and physical weapons are tangible and form an easy target to claim as the issue. Unfortunately, the deeper matter at hand is less tangible and less easily addressed: mental health.

In the horrific massacre that happened in Nice, France on Bastille day in 2016 when a truck driver drove through a crowd, there was not a promotion of decreasing access to motor vehicles. In the countless instances of terrorism, the morality of the individual is the focal point. In other acts of mass violence that are unrelated to firearms, you simply don’t see the blame resting on the object used to commit the act.

You can be for or against gun control, and that is 100% entirely okay and welcomed. Persuading you to one side or another is not the goal.

But, consistently, with every increasing instance of mass shootings, our attentions are consumed by the morality of gun control. Yet, the topic of actually pursuing tangible and measurable strides in addressing mental health fades to a whisper.

I’m not referring to mental illness; I’m talking about mental health. Period.

Often mental health does not become a priority in society until negative manifestations begin to occur. Whether it be a child’s aversion to going to school or an adolescent’s propensity to harm himself or herself, aid from mental health professionals is sought only once evidence has accumulated. But, at that point, it is far too late. At that point, that individual has already been struggling with mental health for years.

Case in point: I come from a very lucky background. I am fortunate to have access to generous health insurance. However, it took over a decade for my brother to receive competent, significant help for his mental health.

There is a significant disparity placed on the importance physical health and mental health and the access to professionals who can address mental health in individuals from a young age.

We go to a dentist roughly every six months to evaluate our dental health. Yet, it is not common to seek out an evaluation of our own mental health on a regular basis. Instead, we visit mental health professionals when issues begin to arise. This disparity in access and importance placed on mental health before negative manifestations arise is an issue that percolates through every class and corner of society.

Yet, this issue is constantly ignored with each instance of mass violence.

It is vital that mental health be pursued as early as physical health is. The tremendous impact of addressing mental health from childhood in order to create beneficial habits concerning mental health and to destigmatize the pursuit of mental health has been exhibited, yet ignored, with every growing instance of mass violence.

Why is mental health stigmatized instead of actually creating programming and rhetoric to support the pursuit of mental health? Why is visiting a psychiatrist or neurologist or psychologist considered evidence of a problem?

Why is there more political promotion for or against gun control than for addressing mental health?

We owe it to the countless lives impacted by mass violence to address these questions now, more than ever.

It is time we stopped using these horrific events as a means to further our own agenda and start addressing the stigma behind mental health and providing a forum to pursue mental health from all levels of society.

While it would be gloriously simple to say that eliminating guns or increasing gun control would eliminate school shootings or other instances of mass violence, it is, unfortunately, a deceptively simple solution. Life is not that simple. To act like the solution is that straightforward only does a disservice to those whose lives have been impacted.

If we march on the capital in the name of creating true change for gun control in this country, why don’t we march in the name of creating true change for the pursuit of mental health?

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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