2 | ThursDAY, April 3, 2014
Pratt graduate student talks men’s fashion application Brad Rubin, a first-year Pratt graduate student, runs the mobile app “Stylehand,” an app designed to help young professionals and color blind men avoid fashion mishaps. He was spotted at the DUHatch showcase Wednesday and talked with The Chronicle’s Kirby Wilson about the app and entrepreneur resources available at Duke. The Chronicle: What do you hope to accomplish with your app? What is the end game? Brad Rubin: I want it to be the go-to app for people to use when getting ready
in the morning. I want people to use it and know that they look good...and walk out the door confident to rock the day. I also want to help people shop for clothes and make that whole experience easier and less stressful. TC: How did you get connected with DUHatch? BR: When I came to Duke, I was interested in entrepreneurship, and I knew that DUHatch was the entrepreneurship center, at least for the engineering school, so I came here the first week of school and got involved.
TC: How has your experience been with DUHatch? BR: It’s been great. They’ve been paired me with different coaches on call, different entrepreneurs and lawyers to give me advice. They’ve also hooked me up with some of my team members [and] they have given me space. They have been really helpful. TC: What did you hope to accomplish with today’s presentation? BR: I just wanted to let people know about it. I wanted to see if there was anybody in the audience who wants to con-
nect with me. I want to generate awareness—get more beta testers, get more feedback on the app. TC: Have you gotten a lot of feedback about the app? How many users does it have? BR: It has about 20 users right now. It has gotten some good feedback that has been really helpful. One of my friends used to dress up in all black because he thought he was so serious.... He started using the app and he noticed that his outfits were dark and bad so he started dressing with more color.
Documentary producers explore Tibetan plight by Iris Kim
A screening of the documentary “The Sun Behind the Clouds” sparked a discussion on issues facing Tibetan independence in Griffith Theater Wednesday evening. The documentary’s directors—Tibetan filmmaker Tenzing Sonam and his partner, Ritu Sarin—led the discussion, which was hosted by the Duke East Asia Nexus. The film closely follows the plight of the 14th Dalai Lama, Tibet’s highest spiritual leader, and the Tibetan people as they struggle for freedom under Chinese occupation. Tibet lost its independence in 1959, when the Chinese government militarily occupied the Tibetan plateau—leading the Dalai Lama to escape to Dharamsala, India, where the current Tibetan government-in-exile is located. Tibetans living within the People’s Republic of China’s borders today are under strict surveillance from the Chinese government, unable to freely practice their religion, freely speak or own pictures of the Dalai Lama, the documentary shows. Through the film, Sonam and Sarin conveyed that not all Tibetans in exile are homogenous in their views on how
to resolve the issue and to what degree autonomy should be advocated for. The 14th Dalai Lama calls for the Middle Way Approach, which compromises the two extremes—complete Tibetan independence from China and the present situation, in which Tibet is under China’s complete control. The Middle Way Approach advocates for an agreement on the condition that Tibetans will live under the Chinese government, but will have greater autonomy and allow the return of the Dalai Lama to his homeland. The film highlighted that the Chinese government is afraid of the Middle Way compromise given that the Dalai Lama is such a powerful symbol of freedom. Allowing him back in Tibet may encourage the people to persist in achieving complete independence. Sonam said the younger generations tend to advocate for complete independence, as shown through Free Tibet and Students for Free Tibet campaigns, while older generations tend to support the Middle Way Approach. “It’s a Western narrative that all Tibetans are non-violent, that all Tibetans support the Middle Way,” said senior Tenzing Thabkhe, editor-in-chief of the Duke East Asia Nexus.
Sonam added that self-immolations— setting oneself on fire as a form of political protest against the occupation—are one of the most underreported news topics in Western media. Since 2011, 133 self-immolations have taken place, associate professor of cultural anthropology Ralph Litzinger said during the discussion. Litzinger added that it is difficult for Western media to fully report on the self-immolations. Reporters have limited access to information within Tibet as they cannot physically get to the sites of self-immolations or talk to the affected families. Litzinger added that the numbers of Chinese and Tibetan Duke students have changed since he began teaching at Duke in 1994, creating more opportunities for diverse dialogue on the subject. “Our college campus right now is in a sort of historical moment that we have not seen before,” he said. “When I came to Duke twenty years ago, there were hardly any students from Mainland China.” From 1994 to 2001, he said he would occasionally see undergraduate students from Mainland China, Taiwan and ex-
iled Tibetan communities. In the last six to seven years, he has seen an increase in Tibetan students from China. Litzinger emphasized the importance of engaging in dialogue as a community at Duke. “There’s a tendency to want to fall back into our camp and not appreciate the fact that we don’t have to be like governments,” he said. “We can actually talk to each other. We can have disagreements, real strong agreements, and we don’t have to turn to violence and anger.” Litzinger added that he was disappointed that there were not more Chinese students at the screening, referring to how some Chinese students had discouraged others from attending the screening on WeChat because doing so may be considered support for the Tibetan cause. Thabkhe similarly expressed dissatisfaction with the turnout of the screening, noting that he would have liked to see attendance from more students who are not Asian. The documentary has won a number of awards at film festivals, including at Palm Springs International Film Festival and Mumbai International Film Festival.
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