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'Union Jacks and colonial flags' - Common App


ckpckp1994 8 / 17 2  
Oct 23, 2011   #1
Prompt: Topic of your choice

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Union Jacks and colonial flags were flying above the sobbing crowd outside the Government House on the 1st of July 1997, the day when the British handed Hong Kong back to China. The four year-old me witnessed the removal ceremony of the British Empire's coat of arms, as the military band steadily lowered the badge to the strains of "God Save the Queen." I locked my little eyes on the crowned lion and the chained unicorn -- they casted a firm stare in my direction, evoking a nobility of their British monarch. Not soon, I was drawn to the English griffins, the Irish harp, the Scottish lion, the motto ribbon... I knew I was sold.

I immediately started a collection of ancient coat of arms from various European kingdoms. Fleur de lys first made her appearance to me, followed by the British griffins and the Cruz de BorgoĊ„a. The accumulation of these unknown heraldic symbols eventually triggered my curiosity. When I reached twelve, I borrowed a book about heraldry from the local library. I dove into a world of coat-of-arms as I flipped the lively pages. The vivid explanation of the symbols tempted me to dig deeper into heraldry, and picked up the hobby of identifying ancient coat of arms.

It is true that heraldry always fails to garner attention from the public, as architects tend to place the coat of arms in the dark corners, or hang them up high on the ceilings. With the exception of my uncle, a history fanatic, I have met no one that shares the same hobby as me, not even the elders in my family. Therefore, my uncle became my personal protégé for about nine years. He often invites me to his house for showcasing his heraldry collections. With my eyes glued to the coat of arms, I carefully examined each tiny detail - the color, the crest, and the pattern. I perceived the slow process of studying a coat-of-arms as a pleasure and an adventure though history.

My interest in heraldry mirrors my exceptional tolerance of both extremes within one field. As a part of humanities, heraldry has decorated my science-dominated life with some vivid patterns. I can handle the strictness of Newton's Laws in Physics, but I also welcome Norman Foster's uncluttered modernism in architecture. I enjoy the convulsion that electronic music in Manhattan brings, while playing country music with fake southern accent also pleases me. I speak fluent English at school, but mostly Cantonese at home. The blending of these two languages causes me no trouble, even with my third language, Spanish, coming along. People around me usually find my one side of extremes hardly fits the other. In fact, studying heraldry sharpens my observational skill, the most needed ability to be a scientist or an engineer; country music calms me after dancing to electronic music; finally, my Asian heritage enables me to understand myself as a person. My life does not depend solely on one element, but a perfect balance of two halves.

I extended my index finger toward the art piece, tried to locate the details to my uncle as clear as possible."...I am quite positive that this coat of arms is Union of kingdom of France and Kingdom of Navarre."

"Impressive," my uncle complimented, "but do you mind back up a little bit? You're too close."
"Oops, sorry!" This was not my first time.
daniel44992 13 / 29  
Oct 24, 2011   #2
I really like it. A lot. If you want to, I would leave it just the way it is because it communicates your point beautifully. The only thing I would change would be the ending. I like the light-hearted touch it gives but its kind of awkward because the reader immediately imagines you standing too close to someone and it makes them feel like they are the person being crowded on (at least that's how i felt). Maybe find another humorous touch to replace it with.

Excellent work and good luck!


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