The BHS Bugle

BHS BUGLE

Juvia had stared for over twenty minutes at the jumble of a house, thinking about the letters, and how her grandfather never discontinued sending them. How he had written them to the point of his death. She took in every detail of the outside of the house, every rotten board, every dead bush and flower, all of it. Finally, she decided that it was time to go inside. She felt silly standing there, the neighbors must have been watching curiously at the new owner of the “Crazy Old Man's” house. Juvia looked towards all the adjacent houses, searching for a swaying curtain or for any signs of prying eyes, but she found that the houses were all boarded up, no sign of human life near them for what must have been years.  

“It figures. No one wanted to live near the him I guess.” Juvia said to herself. The feeling of loneliness that her grandfather must’ve felt quickly washed over her for a moment, and was then gone as soon as it came. Suddenly she felt bad for not reading those letters. She was the only one he could talk to. She sighed and shook her thoughts away as she lifted her bags to bring to the porch. She reached for the gate, and with only one touch of her fingertips it broke off its hinges and fell flat on the ground.  

“Okay. No more gate.” She said through gritted teeth, continuing her march up to the porch. “At least it’s not dad’s basement.” She tried the doorknob. It was locked, as it should’ve been. She reached into her backpack aggravatedly and dug furiously for the keys. She cursed a few times before she found them, even though they shouldn’t have been very hard to find. They were old medieval type keys, painted streaky dark brown. The paint on them was chipping, and the metal underneath was rusty.

The door opened easily enough with a good shove. She looked down as she walked through the entrance, expecting exactly what she had seen in the pictures—a messed up, old, rickety, house that needed to be cleaned and most likely fumigated.

Looking up, it was like the oxygen around her became instantaneously locked out of her lungs.

To be continued...

May 2018, Yad Vashem, Israel

I am German.

I watch all these people around me walking through Israel's biggest Holocaust memorial. Some of them walk slowly like they need some time to let all these horrible and brutal pictures and words arrive in their minds. Others walk fast. It seems like they just want to get out of here.

I am German.

We all stop at the signs which have been written by the Nazis. I am reading the lies and the rules which don't make any sense. Then I realize that I am probably the only person in this room who can read these signs without a translation. When words get translated you get more of a distance from them. I feel like the translation puts a level of protection between you and the words. In this room I am the person with the least amount of protection and the least distance to these words. That’s why they hurt me the most.
This language is my language. People used the language I dream in as a brutal weapon against humanity.

I am German.

There is this one thing everybody thinks about when they hear “German” The Holocaust.

What about me? What do I think about when I hear “German?”

I think about my hometown Berlin. I think about all my friends living there, my family, my school and all my memories that are connected to my home country.

I am German.

I also feel this responsibility. The second World War has a big influence on how people see me as a German, but it also has a big influence on how I see myself as a German.
I was raised with terms describing war, discrimination and brutality. They have always been around me. When I first heard about the Second World War I wasn’t even in elementary school. In history, which is a mandatory class, we spent the whole of grade ten talking about the time of the Nazi’s and I have already been to two concentration camps in my 16 years of life.

I am German.

The moment when I realized that this is not how children in other countries learn about World War II was when I came to Canada as an exchange student. You as Canadians have a different way to talk about World War II because it is not a part of  your national identity and that’s fine. I can understand that people here have a different view on WWII. Sometimes I feel like people here just have a different view on history in general, not better or worse, just a different way to reflect the past. That’s okay. But it’s not okay when people do the Hitler salute when they see me in the hallway. I wanted to run away, but I couldn’t move. I wanted to scream, but there were no words.

I am German.

The next time I had a similar experience I tried to talk. I tried to explain what it means and especially what it means to me. While we were talking I realized the same thing that I also realized in Israel. Most people who are not German don’t say “The Nazis”, they say “The Germans.” It’s right that the Nazis were German, but not all Germans were Nazis. You could say that this is not important because it is “just” language, but it is never “just” language.

It’s never just language, it’s never just a movement you do with your arm and it’s never just THE Germans.

A profile on Brigitta Payne

It’s the 10th of May 1940.

At 4 o’clock in the morning Brigitta Payne suddenly woke up because she heard the sky exploding.

But it wasn’t only the sky.

The Germans came to her home country, the Netherlands. The moment the Germans entered the Netherlands war, violence and death was entering, too.

Payne was 14 when she saw planes crashing and bombs exploding. She clearly remembers one night when they all went downstairs and tried to sleep on matresses because the airplanes were going over the city. The emotion she remembers is fear because they “had no idea what was going on.”  She, her two older sisters and their parents had to leave their home for two days. They returned when the fighting stopped, because the Netherlands had to give up. The 14 year old Briddy, how her mom called her, lived in an occupied country. A difficult and dangerous time which ended her carefree childhood.

“You had to watch, that you didn’t do anything out of the way” remembers Payne.

Otherwise the Germans would have send you to one of the concentration camps. One of these places, where people “never got out” was just a few kilometres from Payne's hometown away. It was very close to her father’s business. One day she visited him at work. When she entered the business she saw some men she has never seen before. No One talked. Silence. Then the men took off their hats. Their heads were shaved. In this moment Payne knew that they escaped from the concentration camp. But her father never talked about the fact, that he helped people from the concentration camp. Payne isn’t even sure if her mother was aware of this. It was a time full of unspoken things. Things, no one talked about, but everybody knew.

“You couldn’t tell anybody anything”

This seems to be one of the rules which helped her family to survive these times in their house in Amersfoort. But not only her own family survived there. They also helped a Jewish couple to survive the war. Hiding Jews is one of the most, probably the most dangerous and risky thing you could do during that time. The Germans entered their house twice to search after the Jews. Thinking about the reasons for her family’s decision to help the couple Payne answers, “We just did it.” The Jewish couple survived the war. Because of Payne’s family, they didn’t just disappeared and never came back;as it happened to so many jewish children Payne was going to school with.

One day Payne’s oldest sister who was working in the underground called her mom and explained that there will be a young man coming to their house and that they should give him a meal and a place for the night. But she also said that they shouldn’t talk to the man, not a single word. He came, ate the meal, slept and left in the next morning and as her sister said they didn’t talk a word. The family was thinking that it was probably someone who had to hide from the Germans and they were right. But the man was a German. The reason why they shouldn’t talk to him was because no one should realize that he is German.

It seems like nothing makes sense anymore in wartimes, there are no rules anymore.

Even a German soldier has to hide from his ‘own’ people, even he is not safe anymore. Why? Because he didn’t wanted to fight anymore. No reason to fight or just nothing to fight for anymore.

Maybe he was right, maybe there wasn’t much left to fight for. Payne strongly remembers the days without heat, electricity and food. She and her family had to eat bread, which was almost black, and they “know what it is to be hungry”. The war seemed like an endless terrible dream, but after five years it was finally over. Payne was 19.

After the war she met her husband when she was still in school. He was a Canadian soldier and she was the girl he “dreamed about”. They didn’t see each other for two years because he went back to Canada and she was finishing her studies. But he wrote her two letters a day, one arrived with the morning mail, one in the afternoon. Sharing their thoughts and emotions must have connected them. After two years she followed her husband to Canada. The first time was very hard for her, because she really missed her family. Although she lived through five years of war, she describes herself as “kind of innocent” at this time. A new life for her has began.

World War II was over, but in many people’s mind and hearts it was still going on.

Payne explains that you “just live with it”.

Just?

“It is always there”.

After years she spent with her husband and her two children in Canada she went back to Holland for a visit. She went back after her husband died. He was her home in this strange country and the time after his death was very difficult for her. In Holland they went to the zoo and Payne strongly remembers her own reaction to some German voices she heard. She felt like their voices were a danger. She still saw them as enemies years after the war ended. It was still there. Maybe it will always be there.

But her sister believes, “We cannot forget, but we can forgive”

 

Posted: October 31, 2018

 

Life is not perfect, but sometimes you find the right path that leads you where you need to be such as in the case of Dr. Yao “Everything just fell into a perfect line”. Dr. Peter Lao Yao was born on October 6, 1926 in Quezon province in the Philippines. Dr. Yao was a teenager during World War Two and lived under the Japanese occupation of the Philippines until the end of the war. Dr. Yao later moved to New York City in the United States where he did his training to become a doctor. He later moved to Saint John, New Brunswick where he gained landed immigrant status with his job as a surgeon at the Saint John general hospital.

Dr. Yao having been raised under the Japanese occupation of the Philippines did not have the easiest childhood or as he described it, “They were tough times, but we made the best of it” . Dr. Yao originally attended engineering school during the end of the war and the years following the war. But in his last year of engineering he dropped out to pursue a career in medicine. Dr. Yao attended University of Santo Tomas medical program in the capital of the Philippines Manila. Dr. Yao graduated medical school in 1957; that same year he got accepted to Mount Sinai hospital in New York city for a residency in their general surgery program. Dr. Yao finished his training at Mount Sinai hospital; at the end of his training he was offered a position at the Old Saint John general hospital in Saint John New Brunswick.

With the offer of a job as a general surgeon at Saint John general hospital Dr. Yao gained landed immigrant status, “I didn't even ask for it” stated Dr. Yao making him a permanent resident, but not yet a citizen of Canada. Dr. Yao officially became a Canadian citizen in 1969. Dr. Yao met and married Dawn May Logan whom was a nurse at Saint John general hospital. They had three children Kim, Krista, and Kara. Doctor and Mrs. Yao have a total of two grandchildren. Dr. Yao practiced medicine for a total of twenty-six and a half years. Dr. Yao moved to Bathurst in 1997, “It's a calm place to settle down” where he has lived in retirement ever since.

Dr. Peter Lao Yao has lived an extraordinary life. One filled with hardships, but also so much joy. He has seen more in his 92 years of life then many of us ever will. He is truly an extraordinary individual. “My life has had its ups and downs, but I'm still here and that's all that counts.”

  

 

 

      

 

AttachmentSize
File life_is_not_perfect.docx121.98 KB

 

“Hopefully I’ll be fresh out of university, and I’ll be able to start my own horse facility from my home. I also want to be financially stable, but that’s kind of expected!”

- Rebeka Sealy, grade eleven student at Bathurst High

“In five years I want to be finished my degree at St. Mary’s University in Nova Scotia. I want to make a lot of money with my degree too.”

-Tyler Duguay, grade twelve student at Bathurst High

“I’ll want to be finishing up at St. Mary’s and be living in Halifax after getting used to school. I’ll probably be doing stuff for the boat club at the university too, because it sounds like a lot of fun and I think I’m going to have a really good time doing that. I really want to have my own pet too, like a gerbil or something.”

-McKenzie Bolichowski, grade twelve student at Bathurst High

Students who were faced with the recurring question of their future plans were quick to add healthy finances and a post-secondary education onto the list. But does having a higher education and being rich truly matter more than the morals that seem to be lacking in modern society? Is being financially stable more important than enjoying oneself to the extent of being comfortable in their situation, no matter what they are going through? Does happiness not have more importance than the constant stress and dreariness a forced life carries?

Obviously, there are exceptions to this claim; many people aspire to bring light into other people’s lives through education, health, safety, or stability, for example, which require a post-secondary education that will be obtained under no force. However, there are many other students that are forced to meet the requirements of societal standards, whether or not they wish to follow those footsteps.

The main question to this, though, is why does it happen? Why do youth feel the need to pursue noble careers and lives they do not wish to have? Sadly, there seems to be no proper answer; pressures from society, parental figures, and even peers can turn it into a competition on who can be the “most successful” under the traditional views that the world currently has. Students are also treated like children for decades and then are quickly expected to decide the path of their whole life by 18, which is extremely stressful, and can make choosing a standard plan seem much more plausible rather than doing things they are passionate about.

Whatever the case may be involving the pressured youth of today, there are still ways for them to claim a life full of joys specific to their interests, true aspirations, and skills rather than what they can make a good profit from in the future. The leaders of tomorrow are the ones suffering from this cycle, however tomorrow will be bright if they are able to break through into a fun and rewarding life for themselves.

Posted: October 10, 2018

It was just a simple question.

Maybe it wasn’t that simple.

But it was just a question.

Five months ago I visited Israel and the palestinian territories. I spent  11 very impressive, intensive and emotional days there. It was a special time, not only for me, also for the people who lived there. Israel celebrated its 70th anniversary. But there are two sides of this story.

While I was sitting in an israeli school and watching all this happiness and proudness they feel about their state, there were palestinian people dying because some protests escalated. Just some kilometres away people lost family members while I was having fun. Everything happened at the same time, under the same sky.

I visited both parts, so I tried to start a conversation with my israeli exchange partners  by asking this question:

“Do you understand that the day you celebrate as your country's birthday is the day the palestinian people call catastrophe?”

Eyes looked at me. Looked at me as if I said something in a different language, something that doesn’t make sense at all. They looked at me as if I suddenly became a different person. I felt like I didn’t belong to this place anymore. I just felt wrong. In this moment we drifted away from each other. It felt like there were hundreds of miles between us. My words couldn’t reach them anymore. We were no longer teenagers who had a great time together. We became foreigners.

I tried to explain that 70 years ago when Israel was founded the people who lived there before (palestinian people) lost their homes. I saw their keys. They kept the keys to express that some of them are still waiting to return to their homes.

My exchange partners just looked at me while I was talking. I wanted them to understand me and my question. And this 15 year old german girl I am, didn’t realised that there was someone behind her. Someone who heard my question and my words.

The day after that I went to school in the morning with my exchange partner. As I arrived our teacher told us that she wants to talk to us. It sounds cliche, but I seriously already had the feeling that I got into trouble. And I was right…

The israeli school didn’t want us to ask questions like this.That’s what they said.
We were there as germans. And almost every family living in this country can tell you the stories their parents and grandparents told them. Their parents and grandparents were people who physically survived the Holocaust and lost people they loved because of it.
And I listened to these stories, because I know that it is my responsibility. It is not my fault what happened, but I have a responsibility.

But it is still my right to ask a question. It’s a human right. There is nothing wrong about asking a critical question in a respectful way and that’s what I did.

I didn’t ask this question although I am german, I asked this question BECAUSE I am german. Because I want to be a critical person, a person who thinks, makes up their own mind. Why? Because my country has a story. And I learned from that story. That’s why it’s not only my right, but my responsibility to ask critical questions.

But it doesn’t matter where you are from. You just have to think about where you want to be and how you want this world to be. And I want this world to be a peaceful place, as all of us hopefully. That’s why we have to fight for the freedom of speech by asking critical questions and writing about things people don’t talk about. ALL OF US.

 
 

Posted: October 10, 2018

Juvia didn’t even notice when the taxi stopped in front of the house until she heard the taxi driver’s voice speaking to her.

“Are you sure you gave me the right address ma’m? This doesn’t look like a young lady’s house.”

“Probation says it’s mine…unfortunately.” Juvia sighed as she dug out her wallet, “How much do I owe you for the ride?”  

“Keep your money! You’re going to need it if this really is your disaster!” The taxi driver replied, shaking his head in the house’s direction.

“Thanks! Have a great day!” Juvia stuffed her wallet back into her backpack and hurriedly scrambled to open the door. Money was tight. Anything free was good right now.

She hopped out of the car hurriedly and onto the cracked sidewalk, dragging her black based, purple lined duffle bag and matching backpack behind her. Everything she owned was inside these two bags, along with the house and anything that may lurk inside.  

When first bought, the old building was a beautiful two-story home with whitewashed sideboards and huge dormer windows that let in beautiful streams of daylight, looking out onto the beauty of the outdoor garden. But once Juvia’s grandfather had gotten his hands on it, the beauty disappeared. In present day, the windows were all tinted black, the sideboards were rotting and old, the outdoor porch looked just about ready to collapse from the rotted pillars of wood keeping up the deteriorated black shingles. The garden was left for dead. Weeds and dead bushes crept through the once blooming flowers, along with a decaying fence bordering the cracked sidewalk. Everything on the exterior of this house looked like a rat’s nest. And it was all hers.  

Going off the pictures given to her upon the news of her inheritance, the inside looked no better. In the pictures, dust covered every surface, smoke and dirt seemed to linger in clouds, covering most of the picture’s lenses. The stairs inside were decaying and broken according to the temporary landlord and the lawyer in charge of the probation proceedings. “Very Unsafe.” They had quoted in their report. The kitchen cabinets were hanging on hinges in the pictures and the antique furnishings were shredded and scratched to bits. The whole house from the pictures looked like it had never been cleaned and nor been upheld to even the lowest of cleanliness standards. That was just how Juvia’s grandfather had wanted it to look. He only ever gave a single reason to the people who would dare ask why he was destroying such a beautiful house. “It’s not my house, it’s the creatures’ house! I have to please them!”

For this he earned himself quite a name in the small town of Glenealy, Ireland. Crazy. Old. Man.  

When Juvia was a small child, her grandfather would often send her letters about the beings that lived along with him in the house. He would write to her about the mischievous doings of his eighty-year-old golden retriever which he claimed to be a ghost dog. Her grandfather would send her little bracelets and charms that were supposedly from the creatures. Her mother would always scowl when she showed her the pretty new trinkets.

“Dollar Store Junk.” She would comment.

At seven or eight years old, it amused Juvia to feel like she had supernatural friends in far off places. But her parents, on the other hand, found it disturbing that she was being told these wild tales by her grandfather. Especially at an age where she would grow to believe them. So, slowly but surely, the letters stopped coming. Juvia wasn’t allowed to go get the mail anymore like she used to, and when it was brought home it was kept up on a shelf, far out of her tiny hand’s reach. Later, when she had gotten older, she realised that the letters were being shredded in her father’s office shredder, and were absolutely illegible afterwards. Her parents wrote her grandfather a letter when she turned fifteen, saying that she would no longer be receiving the letters, and finally admitting to the old hopeful man that she hadn’t been receiving them for years. Despite their intense and continuous efforts, the letters never stopped coming.  

 

To be continued...

 

Posted: October 10, 2018

  

 

(Kratos and Arteus shown above)

Santa Monica Studios God of War (2018) is a narrative-driven action-adventure game that is a breath of fresh air for the series. You play as an older, more stubborn, Kratos, preparing his preppy energetic son Atreus, for a long journey to carry his wife’s ashes to the highest peak of Midgard. This is a new beginning for Kratos, hiding his murderous past and godly abilities from his son, while bonding along the way. Atreus favoured his mother and was neglected by his father, Kratos. The clashing personalities of Kratos and his son make for memorable dialogue, and a comedic experience with Kratos’ blunt responses and lack of interest in most things.

 As well as a great story, God of offers a stunning visual experience, which immerses you in the landscapes around you. The game features not only a compelling and immersive main story, but a plethora of magnificent side quests for the perfectionist gamers.

 Nearing the end of the journey you'll see the once cold, distant pair finally start to bond and forge a real connection, both in combat and in personality. God of War truly has an abundance of things to see once the story is completed and it is up to you to find them.

 

Noah’s rating: 8.5/10

Documents

The Path Least Taken By- Nicholas Yao