The Blue & Gold: Volume XXII, Issue 3

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Taipei American School | 800 Chung Shan North Road, Section 6, Taipei, Taiwan | | VOLUME XXII, ISS. 03 | February 16, 2016

Taipei snow brings joy and tragedy By Bonna Yi

Taipei experienced its lowest temperature in 44 years and the second lowest ever at 4 degrees Celsius on January 24. For those in elevated regions such as Yangmingshan, Jianziliaoshan, Linkou, and Pingling, the cold weather has also brought a rare sight of snow. For many, the wondrous first sight of snow in 80 years was a once in a lifetime opportunity. However, the cold weather also brought another once in lifetime event for 52 people: death. According to most recent reports, 36 people died in Taipei, New Taipei, and Taoyuan, and 16 in Kaohsiung. Most of the deaths were related to hypothermia and cardiovascular diseases, as those inexperienced to the cold were caught off-guard. Across the world, the East Coast of the United States also recently experienced a massive snowstorm dubbed “Snowmageddon” and “Snowzilla.” It affected 85 million people, with the heaviest fall in West

Virginia (42 inches of snow recorded). In New York City, which saw its second heaviest snowfall (26.8 inches) since 1869, began a travel ban that shut down the city. Several drivers were stuck on snowbound highways in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia for up to 8 hours. Federal government offices and public schools in affected regions remain closed throughout Monday, January 25. At least 48 deaths throughout the affected regions have been reported since Friday, January 22, as result of car accidents, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks while shoveling snow. Despite it all, the snow storm has become an excuse for many to start organized snowball fights on streets— something, unfortunately, those in Taiwan could not do with their measly snowflakes. The menacing snow storm is reportedly heading towards the UK as of now. Hopefully the Brits will be prepared for the onslaught of snow, death and winter-time fun.

Snow in Taiwan: (left) Shantih Whiteford (10) and Rose Hsu (10) showing off their prized snowman, built on Yangmingshan [ROSE HSU], (right) Yangmingshan national park [BILLY H.C. KWOK]

Indirect cheating is still cheating By Jocelyn Chen

TAS’s most eligible bachelors and bachelorettes are ready for Valentine’s Day. Are you? Check to see who made the list on page 8!

Mr. Long, Dean of Students By Alex Dong Next fall, Mr. Long, TAS PE teacher, will be taking the newly created position of Upper School Dean of Students. His role will be to oversee all student activities which includes student clubs, Winter Frolic, and Prom. In addition, he will be helping to plan advisory group meetings in collaboration with the current class deans and helping to lead upper school character education. According to Mr. O’Rourke, “it is

a new title and it is sort of an evolution of the activity director position.” This position is not to be confused with the Associate Principals, in that it will not deal with the student discipline; instead, the Dean of Students will be an advocate for all upper school students. In short, if you don’t already know him, Mr. Long will be someone you want to get to know. With this new job, Mr. Long will be in charge of

many positive aspects for students. Mr. O’Rourke is extremely excited about this move and he said that Mr. Long is a “proven leader and a proven student advocate.” Although Mr. Long will be leaving his position as a 9th grade PE teacher, he does plan to continue coaching the girls’ soccer team at TAS. He is eager to take this job because he will be able to “work with a larger group of students.”

You have a first period Honors Biology test tomorrow. We all know it won’t be easy—for everyone—even if you’ve paid attention all unit long and taken good notes and studied for a reasonable amount of hours. You’re already expecting to stay up all night reviewing obscure diagrams of light dependent and independent systems of photosynthesis—ugh. There is, of course, another option: to get Mom to call in sick for you so you can skip first period and have a bit more time to study. After all, teachers are always going on about how TAS students don’t get healthy amounts of sleep—so really you’d just be seeking ‘health first.’ Yeah, nope. This seemingly harmless faked absence is just one of many subtleties that make up the cheating culture at TAS. Here, students are less likely to resort to old-school cheating methods, such as notes scrawled onto left hands, notorious “wandering eyes” at neighbors’ scantrons, or hidden cheat sheets. Instead, we fake absences, share test questions and necessary formulas, skip school the day before a big cram-worthy test, and so on.

Maybe one absence might slip by unnoticed, but absences are quite obvious once they fall into a pattern. Upper School English teacher Mr. Montgomery shared his experience with this form of cheating: “I once had a student who was absent for four consecutive assessments and those were the only four classes that that person missed.” Even just in this current semester, he has seen a suspicious trend in attendance: “I have had about as many kids absent the past 2 days (assessment days) as all the days combined since Winter Break (previous 12 days of class).” Another issue teachers face with cheating results in the familiar concept of “A day tests” and “B day tests.” Commonly, by word of mouth, students share information about what is covered on a test between days, and usually even between periods. Teachers frequently remind students not to share this information for two reasons. For one, it obviously only hurts the students who share because the students going into the test with preconceived knowledge have an unfair advantage, also preventing an accurate curve and bringing down the first students’ grades while boosting the continued on page 3

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the blue & gold february 16, 2016

Astronomy is more than a shot in the dark By Clarence Abrena

Ms. Vinod at the Grainger Observatory at Phillips Exeter Academy: “It is a 15 second exposure and the Big Dipper is right behind me.” [MS. VINOD]

Cyber-bystanding By Jocelyn Chen Cyberbullying is a familiar concept to most TAS students. Our principals have previously addressed issues regarding anonymous messages on fairly popular social media site In fact, the school actually blocked two years ago because of cases of cyberbullying at TAS through the site. Implementing such a measure to deny students access to the site signified the degree of the issue and still raises questions about our community. There is a common assumption that social media sites which have anonymous functions cannot avoid online harassment or hate, because the option to harass or hate sits so comfortably in the hands of just about anyone. But why is it that our students give in to the modern phenomenon of bullying online? Is it so hard to come across a well-intentioned website and use it without abusing its functions to spread hate? The increase in use of computers and cell phones contributes to the culture of communicating through the Internet. Over 80% of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most popular form of technology (The Cyberbullying Research Center). It has never been so easy to talk to another person through technology, and the amount of social media platforms is endless. In Taiwan, internet users are most active on Facebook (41%), LINE (33%), Facebook Messenger (25%), and GooglePlus (17%) (Statista: Taiwan social network penetration). Sending messages to friends and family members is instantaneous. The invention of sites with anonymity such as, Formspring, and Tumblr not only allows the same quick-paced messaging but without an attachment to user identity. Rishita Gurnani (12) said, “I visited some accounts that were attacked, and I couldn’t believe what I saw. TAS promotes our values and the sense of community we belong to, but reading those things didn’t show any of

that. The sense of anonymity gives bullies the thrill of hating without having to deal with the responsibilities.” The answer to my previous question is: it’s easy. It’s easy, fast, and appealing to hide behind a screen. 81% of youth agree that bullying online is easier to get away with than bullying in person (Teen Online & Wireless Safety Survey: Cyberbullying, Sexting and Parental Controls). Even sites that do not allow anonymity usually only require a fairly short process to create an account, or a fake account. Aside from, students at our school have struggled with online integrity through fake or private accounts, popularly on Facebook or Instagram. Upper school counselor Ms. Han said, “Often times, people use the Internet to go behind somebody’s back since it’s so quick and easy. But you need to learn to handle those conflicts in person—those social skills are so essential but people find it hard since a big portion of interactions and communications happens via the Internet these days.” The most common reasons for why cyberbullies said they engaged in cyberbullying is “to get back at someone” or because “they deserved it”(Teen Online & Wireless Safety Survey: Cyberbullying, Sexting and Parental Controls). Students sometimes use private accounts on social media to post hurtful or embarrassing images or captions about others. By limiting their immediate audiences or maybe by being passive aggressive, the students feel as though what they say or do on the account is private to just their friends. However, by word of mouth or through screenshots and sharing, often times insensitive posts widen their reach and easily do get to their targets. In simpler words, let’s just say doing this isn’t exactly “private.” Perhaps, a larger issue is that many times other students will see what a cyberbully has posted yet will not even speak out about it. Ashley Yao (12) said, “A lot of times, no one stands up for each other because everyone wants to avoid

It’s time to whip out your astrolabes and warm up your telescopes because Astronomy has been confirmed for the 2016-2017 school year. Astronomy at TAS, taught by physics and astronomy major Ms. Vinod, will be an optional elective for students who are curious about the skies above us. In this day and age, TAS students live in the Renaissance of space discovery. Not too long ago, NASA announced exciting news about discovering a new ninth planet (sorry Pluto!) on the outskirts of our solar system. Students taking the Astronomy course will also receive the same opportunities to discover space using the naked-eye. “Space is considered the new frontier for our generation,” Ms. Vinod said, “We are alive in the age of the Hubble telescope, where human eye, for the very first time ever, can peer millions of years into the past to learn about history.” Most high schools today neglect to give astronomy the spotlight it deserves. The high school material taught often gives the impression that science only exists on a small-scale. According to Ms. Vinod, “Cellular mechanisms in biology, atoms in chemistry, or forces in physics.... Don’t get

me wrong, l love these subjects. But high school is supposed to be about self discovery and we’re missing a major part of the context if we never get a chance to study the heavens, alongside everything below it.” Unfortunately, people fall into a trap of thinking that astronomy is nothing but faraway planets, black holes, and Star Wars. But there is so much more to space than meets the eye. Ms. Vinod said, “Astronomy pursues everything vital to our existence! Is there a theory of everything? Is there life outside our planet? Which, by the way, I am increasingly convinced there is.” Luckily, next year’s students will have a crucial role deciding what the class covers. The course will involve nothing new in terms of math and physics, so students do not need to worry about crazy physics equation sheets or saving two rogue astronauts from orbiting space debris. Astronomy, as a subject, has already been proposed and approved by the administration. But the gravity of the situation is if enough students sign up beforehand to make the course a reality. “The difficult part is sitting and waiting and spreading the word to students,” said Ms. Vinod.

Is there life outside our planet? ...I am increasingly convinced there is. Those planning on taking Astronomy next year can look forward to dealing with the universe’s past and future through hands-on observations. Recently, the science department made some major investments to support the astronomy course. “We just bought a solar telescope. It is amazing. We will have the chance to actually view the surface of our sun and observe the giant flares, that are like 7 times the size of the earth. You start to feel small,” she said. To all curious prospective students: the class will be worth it. Dealing with the mysteries of space, students will tackle questions like the ultimate fate of the universe and the fall of mankind. Whether it be about the heavens or self-discovery, the rewards will surely be astronomical.

An increase in the normalcy of technology leads TAS students and other teenagers to replace Ask.Fm and active internet bullying with silent cyberhate. drama. We say we feel bad but no one cares enough to actually do anything.” 95% of social media-using teens who

...No one stands up for each other because everyone wants to avoid drama. We say we feel bad but no one cares enough to actually do anything. have witnessed cruel behavior on social networking sites say they have seen others ignoring the mean behavior; 55% witness this frequently (PEW Internet Research Center, FOSI, Cable in the Classroom, 2011). Ms. Han experienced this firsthand in lower school. She said, “I was bullied by one of my classmates in 5th grade, and I remember feeling even more hurt by my friends than the actual bully because they did not stand up for me—they just remained silent.” What’s harder to hear is that 66% of teens who have witnessed online cruelty have also witnessed others joining, and 21% say they have also joined in the harassment (PEW Internet Research Center, FOSI, Cable in the Classroom, 2011). The online element to this type of harassment gives not only a somewhat secretive aspect, but also allows others to easily join in by “liking” posts or commenting similarly hurtful comments—quickly multiplying the amount of emotional damage it could cause to the victim. There is a skewed perception of what “cyberbullying” is, because the way it is portrayed to us as students shows cyberbullying as an extreme. I’ve watched tacky instructional anti-bullying videos where the ENTER button is dramatically pressed as a person sends a hateful message. Similarly, anti-bullying movies such as Cyberbully (starring Emily Osment) follow dramatic storylines where the girl reads statues that openly

bash her and spread rumors. I’m not saying that this kind of bullying doesn’t exist, but the point is that’s not what it takes to be a cyberbully. Really, if you ever post something that either pretends to be someone else, or is hurtful to someone

Cyberbullying in numbers

else, news flash: that’s bullying. Just because you’re not going onto someone’s wall and writing, “I hate you, you suck.” doesn’t mean you don’t qualify as a cyberbully.



the blue & gold february 16, 2016 continued from page 1

following students’ grades. Secondly, the entire act of doing so isn’t morally just. Mr. Montgomery said, “I think that cutting corners in this aspect of life dangerously sets a precedent for cutting corners in other aspects of life—personal, professional, whatever.” Getting into a routine of thinking this is acceptable slowly skews the idea of how to properly achieve something. He said, “My perception would be that on average the interest here seems to be more in the result than the process in a lot of ways. ‘What’s my grade’ as opposed to ‘what I learned.’ That lends itself, I think, to cheating in the sense that it doesn’t matter how you get there as long as you don’t get caught.” The root cause for such a widespread cheating culture at TAS is that we avoid coming to terms with the fact that these little things are what the scary term “cheating” is. The idea that cheating indirectly isn’t such a big deal combined with the pressures we face daily to succeed academically (theoretically, leading to success in life) make cheating a popular option. TJ Kim (11), Honor Committee student, said, “I believe all types of cheating — no matter how big or small — is wrong and unfair. Cheating itself brings down one’s character and goes against the TAS values. If certain

students choose to take shortcuts through inappropriate actions, it would be extremely unfair for students that did not take shortcuts.” Mr. Uhlman said, “If a student is absent for a test or a quiz, my first thought is to take that at face-value—that they’re sick and I hope they feel better soon. But it is a pattern, and it’s something that all teachers learn pretty early on in their career. They basically look for patterns— if they see that someone is consistently absent for quizzes and tests then that’s an individual case that teachers work on with the counseling office, with the vice principals, with the student’s parents to help make sure that pattern doesn’t continue.” Take it from a senior who’s been on both sides of the situation: David W. (12) said, “I used to cheat a lot in middle school, but when I got to high school, I wanted to do everything myself. Even though I don’t have the best GPA, it’s what I earned and what I deserve.” So—yes, that Honors Biology test will be hard. But skipping the class period or trying to get insider knowledge from someone who took the test a day before shouldn’t be your solution. Even if it helps your test grade by a few percent, that grade only reflects the cheating you achieved rather than any ability of yours. Just take the test—truthfully.

From the Hague

Rise of global terrorism By Andrew Lin & Amanda Huang On the early morning of November 14, we woke up only to find earthshattering news: terrorist group ISIS had launched a coordinated attack on Paris leaving more than 100 people dead. Following the attacks, people from across the world openly supported the affected French people, commonly through social media. While most news stations report more significant terrorist attacks based on casualty count and amount of damage done, smaller-scale terrorist attacks occur on an almost daily basis, more frequently in the Middle East region in countries such as Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. Global terrorism has reached an alltime high and has spread across many countries, most notably in the central African region. However, the Middle East still accounts for a high volume of terrorist attacks. 78% of terrorist-related deaths in 2014 come from just five nations, four of which are in the Middle East. In 2014 alone, terrorism claimed over 32,000 lives which was a rise from roughly 18,000 lives in 2013. In 2015, the number of deaths connected to terrorism has dropped from 2014 but the number is

still high, at around 26,000 lives. The main perpetrators of global terrorism in 2015 include Al-Qaeda, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Boko Haram, and numerous counts of lone wolf terrorists. Al-Qaeda has been active in the Middle East since 1988 and is notoriously known as an Islamist extremist group,most famously known for committing the 9/11 attacks. The Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, otherwise abbreviated as “ISIS” or “ISIL,” is also an Islamist extremist group that is currently fighting in the Syrian Civil War and has been linked to many terrorist activities in 2015 alone. Boko Haram is another group of terrorists situated in Nigeria and has been the main group of insurgents operating in Africa, most extensively near Nigeria. Lone wolf terrorists operate across the world but unlike the three aforementioned groups, these lone wolf attackers often have very different motives for committing attacks. While ISIS and Al-Qaeda have straightforward agendas, lone wolf terrorists act beyond any command structure and have arbitrary motives.

MUN members Sherry Tseng and Cherice Tsai give us an insider’s look at this year’s MUN trip to the Hague in the Netherlands.

By Sherry Tseng & Cherice Tsai

Whenever students return from school trips, they are always asked a question by their peers and teachers: “How was your trip?” Many of us would probably agree that this is an extremely difficult question to answer. Not only because there are always too many highlights and not enough time to share them, but also because different individuals are interested in hearing about different aspects of your experience. Today, we would like to attempt to cover some of the various highlights inside and outside the conference for the TAS students who traveled to attend THIMUN at The Hague, Netherlands. INSIDE THE CONFERENCE When we first set foot in the World Forum where the convention was held, a realization hits. This is not just any MUN conference. This is THIMUN Hague. It’s not just an opportunity for us to debate the various pressing issues around the world; it’s a chance for us to strike up conversations with people hailing from the corners of the world, from Zimbabwe to Norway to Saudi Arabia. For many who attended, the conference is, as Jimmy Choi (12) puts it, “a chance for you to be an independent thinker while also being able to engage in different cultures beyond those of European nations.” In terms of the content of the conference, the sheer quantity of people in each committee is already enough to attest to its international renown. With approximately 200 delegates per committee, and 16 committees, there is always that slightly bitter feeling towards the person with the longer arm who gets called on more often. “[You] have to be more aggressive when we raise our placards so that we get chances to speak,” said Theodora Tang (10). Yet, regardless of whether we were debating the question of Kosovo or the protection of World Heritage Sites, delegates, as Fiona Chen (11) said, “are very respectable and will respect and consider your points.” All in all, the conference represented a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to meet a diverse group of people who share the same interests in political, economic, and social issues. OUTSIDE THE CONFERENCE Besides indulging in conversations

regarding global issues, students had the opportunity to visit a number of museums, one of which was The Humanity House, where the experience of a refugee is simulated for visitors, who tour the museum through the lens of a refugee. The Humanity House offers a unique experience - although it may not poignantly or realistically enable any to genuinely experience the life of a refugee, it encourages people to be more openminded through associating themselves more intimately with the idea of being a refugee. In many ways, this is similar to what students do in MUN. At the end of the day, solutions MUN participants come up with are usually not going to be implemented (or at least not in the near future), and many of their solutions may not even necessarily be feasible. But it is the awareness and the spurring of dialogue that matters. Other museums that students visited included the Anne Frank House, the Rijks Museum, the Van Gogh Museum and the Marithius Museum which featured renowned paintings such as “The Girl in the Pearl Earring” and “The Golden Finch” by Dutch artist Vermeer. Cultural experience for THIMUN-H participants did not end at museum tours. Students enjoyed local cheeses and even tried stroopwafel McFlurries. When asked to discuss her favorite part of the trip, Florence Liou (10) expresses after much thought that it was climbing up the tower Nieuwe Kerk, on the last day of the trip. The Nieuwe Kerk is a protestant church tower (also the second highest church tower in the Netherlands) located in the city of Delft. She not only enjoyed visiting tower because the “scenery was amazing” but also reveled at the visible differences in building structure (in comparison to that in Taiwan) she could see from the top of the tower. Even with the piles of make-up work from school after the conference, overall, THIUM-H delegates not just at TAS, but worldwide, relish the experience as an incredible social, cultural and intellectual one. THIMUN delegates leave the conference with a disease they coin “Post THIMUN stress Disorder” (PTD). Simply put in the words of Jimmy, “Hague is bae.”

State engagement : (top left) Jimmy Choi (12), (top right) Rebecca Tseng (12), Serena Yiin (11), Jimmy Choi (12), Justin Rhee (12), Samuel Biddick (12), (bottom) MUN students interact with representatives of countries from all over the world. [DR. SOUBLET]


the blue & gold february 16, 2016

Cambodia Service Initiative writes back

Helping hands: Each year, club members give back by participating in the Cambodia Service Initiative’s annual house-building trip. [CAMBODIA SERVICE INITIATIVE]

Dear The Blue and Gold, Having read the article “Serve yourself before serving others” by Emily Yang, we felt compelled to write a response to it. At competitive schools like TAS, resume-padding has surely been an unspoken concern, but to say that TAS students go on service trips just to embellish their resumes is a hasty generalization that overlooks not only those who genuinely care about their causes but also the efforts put in by the sponsors precisely to avoid such abuse. Though there is certainly a minority of students who misuse these service opportunities as means for embellishing their college applications, we are optimistic that there is a greater number

of students who genuinely care about giving back to the community. Many of these students give back by participating in the Cambodia Service Initiative’s annual house-building trip in Cambodia. To ensure that students understand the trip’s purpose better, the trip coordinators take many measures to educate the participants on both the learning and service aspects of the trip. Through a combination of seminars, lectures, and videos prior to the departure, students understand the significance of respecting the local Cambodian culture while paying homage to its complex history. With all this preparation, and three days of educational touring and only one of

building, the article’s claim that “most time is spent learning to hammer a nail” is clearly unfounded. By learning about the Cambodian culture and history, participants are not only able to make themselves culturally mindful but also add onto their knowledge of Cambodian history as they tour the historical and culturally significant sites throughout the trip. We are also able to see where and how our money benefits the people by visiting the NGOs that we fund, all of which were chosen after a selective filtering process. Such cultural mindfulness and concern for the locals do not stop at the trip. For instance, we stopped selling

Cambodian pants this year because there was a possibility that they could be made in unethical sweatshops. As continuing to buy from such exploitative institutions will go against our core values of making a long-term positive impact in the local community, we chose to suspend our pants sale until we find a reliable and honest vendor to source our sales. The trip participants also discussed this issue during the pre-trip information sessions, thereby further adding to their knowledge about Cambodia’s situation and establishing a link between the trip and the club itself. It is really simple for anyone to do community service. Donating money or even just posting something on Facebook

is something we can all do. However, monetary donations barely scratch the surface of what CSI’s or any other service group’s aims are. We understand that some charitable organizations do more harm than good so we go through a selective process when deciding on the NGOs we support. It’s unfortunate that some people don’t understand the spirit of service learning and they should consider getting involved before jumping to conclusions about any program. Sincerely, Cambodia Service Initiative

have become archaic; it seems as though nowadays, the institution you will attend in the fall most accurately reflects who you are as a student and as a person. I know I got the better end of the deal. My December was full of congratulations and good wishes and compliments. But when I thought more about it, I became increasingly disillusioned. Just what was I being congratulated for? Why do people choose now to tell me stuff like, “You’re amazing”? I’m the same person I was before I received an acceptance letter. My mental capacity does not increase or decrease, nor does my character suddenly change just because I was accepted, deferred, or denied by a school. Of course, I appreciated the congratulations and am in no way disparaging anyone for doing so. I just hope that no one thinks of me any differently because of a college acceptance — that I don’t need a school

name plastered onto my forehead to make an impression. This goes the other way as well. Being denied from a school does not change who you are, nor does it necessarily say anything about you. Let’s face it--the college process, when it comes down to it, is completely subjective. Chance inevitably holds a few cards in its hands. There are always going to be “deserving” candidates who don’t receive proper recognition, and “undeserving” ones who slip through the process for unknown reasons. Whether a school decides to take you or not does not reflect on your intellect or your work. Subjective factors like how well you would fit into the student community invariably come into play. So, no. Attending a prestigious university is not an immediate indication of success--this we all acknowledge, but never seem to actually believe. Of course, it probably means that you’re well under way, but that is based on your own merit and

hard work, not on the reputation of your school. Seniors: regardless of results, you each have something to be proud of. If a school sees that, then that’s great. If it doesn’t, that doesn’t make your exceptionality or any of your hard work disappear. When it comes down to it, there are hundreds of schools out there that will offer you an incredible education. If we shed all preconceived notions of prestige and reputation, and actually look at schools for the pursuit of knowledge, then it will be easier for everyone to love where they end up.

And even if you don’t end up where you want to be, you can always do more about it by applying to transfer in the future. A letter printed with some words you’ve been dreading for months, though terrifying, is not the end of the world. As more of us find out where they are headed over the next few months, everyone must keep in mind that one’s worth should not be defined by any label, much less by a few letters. Even if they do spell out “congratulations.”

Congratulations! You are not your school By Emily Yang

Looking at bulletin boards around D block, you’ll come across inspirational posters from, headlined by something like “From Homeless to Harvard,” or “Quadriplegic. A-. Harvard.” Typically, they detail somebody triumphing through hardship and difficult circumstances and eventually graduating from Harvard University. These posters always bother me slightly: they speak of the prestigious Ivy League university as an immediate token of success—not explicitly, of course, but as a given, assumed already to be true for the headline to be dramatic. And that’s a problem ever-sopresent in our student lives today. College decisions have come to define us as students almost entirely. As Early Decision results started rolling in last December, I couldn’t help but feel deeply unsettled by this fact. It’s as if other labels, like sexuality, social class, and political inclinations,

From homeless to Harvard: Inspirational posters such as these often create the imperssion that prestigious universities are the immediate token of success.


the blue & gold february 16, 2016

Recognizing racism: Asians in the film industry By Rebecca Tseng Let’s play a game. Name an Asian actor in Hollywood. Good. Now name another one. Okay, let’s start over. Now try naming Asians in Hollywood who... 1.Don’t play characters that have accents even though the actor speaks perfect English. 2.Don’t play nerds with no game. 3.Don’t play the token Asian person who is placed in to create diversity, but has the small role of drycleaner, Chinese food delivery man, janitor, tea sever, prostitute, or opium den owner. 4.Don’t play either a dragon lady, kung fu master, “exotic” Chinese doll, doctor, or scientist. 5.[Whose] character’s only conflict and character isn’t “it’s so hard to relate to my parent’s Korean/Chinese/Indian/ etc. heritage! This is America! Why don’t they understand me?” or “Oh no, I got an A- on my test! My parents are going to kill me!” The sad thing is, you can probably count on one hand all the Asians who play developed main characters…and count a whole lot more who aren’t. Let’s start with the beginning of Asians in American media from back in the early 1900s. Anna May Wong was the first Chinese American movie star. But while she was a groundbreaking actress, the areas that defined her (Chinese, American, woman) were also where the problems began. Almost all of Wong’s offered roles were typecasts of Chinese stereotypes (“Dragon Lady,” “Lotus Blossom”) and she almost always died (make of that what you like.) Though she was vocal about these stereotypes, there wasn’t much she could do about it. This was the era of Yellowface: putting on exaggerated makeup to portray East Asians. This idea reigned supreme all the way through

the 20th century, culminating with the infamous Long Duk Dong (Mickey Rooney) in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), in which a short and pudgy white man played an angry, accented, Japanese landlord--and there are countless other examples. But that was in the 1900s. It’s 2015. Blatant racism is pretty much over, right? While representation has definitely improved, Hollywood is still far off the mark. Matthew Moy in 2 Broke Girls (2011) is a good example of a “bad” portrayal. Moy plays Han Lee, a heavily accented, immigrant, and sexless restaurant owner. Criticism rose in opposition to his stereotyped, caricaturized character, and the show’s straight up racist jokes (episode two: “You can’t tell an Asian he made a mistake; he’ll go in the back and throw himself on a sword.”) In response, 2BG co-creator, Michael King answered with “But I’m gay! And I’m putting in gay stereotypes every week. I would say being a comedy writer gives you permission to be an outsider and poke fun at what people think about other people.” Hiding behind a mask of humor doesn’t make the jokes any less offensive, and in no way does it justify the fact that the writers basically created a modern-day Long Duk Dong. Yellowface still exists today, albeit in a different shade. White actress Emma Stone was recently slammed for portraying Asian American character Allison Ng in Aloha (2015). Cloud Atlas (2012) was under fire for casting white actors Jim Sturgess, James D’arcy and Hugo Weaving as Korean, even augmenting their eyes and facial structure to make them appear more “Asian.” In Hollywood, apparently white people can play other races, but

other races can play little else. In these situations, directors had the opportunity to give an Asian a stereotype-defying, heroic role, but they chose not to, revealing the fundamental roots of passive racism in the film industry. Master of None (2015), written by and starring American Indian actor Aziz Ansari, discusses the problem of minority representation on television. In one episode, a casting director explains to Dev (Ansari), that he couldn’t cast Dev because if he does a “show with two Indian guys on the poster, everybody will think it’s an Indian show. It wouldn’t be as relatable to a large mainstream audience.” Ansari replies: “Yeah, but you would never say that about a show with two white people. Every show has two white people. People don’t watch True Detective and go ‘oh there’s that white detective show.’” In the age we live in, there can be one Asian in a show, but there “can never be two.” Right now, shows that aren’t portraying Asians as an “ethnic prop,” as Ansari put it, are often showing the other side of Asians: the discussion of fitting into America. The problem here isn’t with the discussion of heritage and living as a first generation immigrant; that is an important conversation to have. The problem comes when the Asian character is confined to this role. As Constance Wu from Fresh off the Boat (2015) stated, “The thing that’s alluring about those other characters isn’t their whiteness. It’s that they’re given rich stories that have a complete emotional arc.” Sure, it’s good to have roles that have to do with racial identity, but not “every Asian actor’s story should revolve around their race. After all, we have problems—like heartbreak, financial

difficulty, or dealing with death—that everyone deals with.” Representation is important. In this century when we can finally give proper representation and strong role models to an Asian American community to combat years of racism, I ask: why not? Ansari recently brought up in an interview one reason for the problem of Asian representation: a lack of Asian actors. “I had to cast an Asian actor for Master of None, and it was hard. When you cast a white person, you can get anything you want: ‘You need a white guy with red hair and one arm? Here’s six of ’em!’ But for an Asian character, there were startlingly fewer options,” he said. I’m willing to concede that perhaps there aren’t as many bankable Asian American actors to choose from for Hollywood directors and producers; what I’m less willing to budge on is my belief that maybe the reason for that Asian deficit is because they aren’t given the chance in the first place. It’s a vicious cycle: Asians are discouraged from becoming actors because of the lack of representation, thus there are fewer Asian actors seen. However, while the media has definitely not reached the point of equality in racial representation, it has improved--especially in the past few years. Indian-American Mindy Kaling wrote and starred in her own show, The Mindy Project (2012). Lucy Liu continued her success on Elementary (2012) as Joan Watson. Aziz Ansari created his own Netflix original, Master of None (2015). Ki Hong Lee was popularized after playing Minho in The Maze Runner (2014) (and was even named the fourth sexiest man alive by People magazine, the only

Asian on the list). Glenn Rhee, played by Steven Yeun on The Walking Dead (2010), continues to be a fan favorite. Fresh off the Boat, the first AmericanAsian sitcom in 20 years, received high ratings (91% Rotten Tomatoes, 8/10 IMDB.) At first seemingly a stereotype, Mei Chang, played by Lori Tan Chinn on Orange in the New Black (2013), received a proper backstory in the third season. Shadowhunters (2016) casted Glee’s (2009) Harry Shum Jr. as a (SPOILER ALERT) gay warlock and love interest for the main character (talk about diversity!), and Sanjay’s Super Team (2015) about a young Indian boy was nominated for an Oscar. Priyanka Chopra, a long-time star in Bollywood, was highly praised as the protagonist of thrill FBI series Quantico (2015), and recently even won a People’s Choice Award for the show. A few shows out of the hundreds currently being broadcasted are not enough to properly represent Asians-especially if the majority of the shows either have a shocking lack of diversity or are still using Asians as “ethnic props.” Everytime I see an Asian on American television I am both surprised and delighted. (Example: in a recent episode of New Girl (2011), Jess’ newest love interest was Asian and also described as a “dreamboat.” I smiled for the rest of the day.) Overall, the problem exists because the roles don’t exist and aren’t recognized. Hollywood needs to cast Asians not because they want a token Asian for “diversity purposes,” but because in the real world, Asians take up 60% of the world’s population. The lack of discussion about this topic sends the message that racism is still acceptable, or worse, even funny. And this topic is one we don’t want to cue a laugh track for.

Michey Rooney as a Japanese man in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Jim Sturgess as a Korean on Cloud Atlas.

Constance Wu in Fresh Off the Boat

Mindy Kaling in The Mindy Project.

Priyanka Chopra in Quantico.

In a school community that serves students from the tender age of four, we need to be mindful of the kind of language we use and the kind of role models we are. Recently, two eight-year-olds were sent to my office. They had used the infamous “F” bomb during a heated soccer match at recess. I asked my standard opening question: “Where did you hear such language?” Without hesitation, they blurted “Older kids on the bus!” I was not surprised. From my many years of similar interviews, their experience was not unique. Students often report that foul language is frequently flung around on the bus like a Frisbee, whether it be in English, Mandarin, or even Taiwanese. TAS hallways, nooks and crannies, the lobby, and lunch lines in the cafeteria are other places that profanities seem to creep out into earshot of classmates, parents, faculty, and the lexicons of younger students. So with its seemingly increased presence, frequency, and acceptance,

what’s the big deal with ugly language? According to the Cuss Control Academy (yes, it really exists), swearing is bad for society, corrupts the English language, and imposes a personal penalty on those who swear. The Academy reasons that swearing gives a bad impression, is a tool for whiners and complainers, reduces the respect people have for you, indicates a lack of control, and immaturity. Among other reasons, swearing is offensive, makes others feel uncomfortable, signals a lack of character, a lack of imagination, and turns discussions into arguments. Basically, it degrades us. Who could argue with that? When I was a kid, adults used various tactics to keep us from swearing. Often, we were told that our grandmothers would be disappointed if they heard us using cuss words. Playground lore at my elementary school had us believe that our principal Miss Johnson (a striking resemblance to Miss Trunchbull from the beloved classic Matilda) would

wash our mouths out with industrial bar soap for the slightest inkling of vulgar language – a scary thought for any kid! At other times, parents would imply that bad language was the sign of a low-class citizen with a one-dimensional vocabulary. And, no one wanted to be low-class or one-dimensional in any way. Perhaps you’ve also had similar rationale pushed on you by caring adults. I’m a realist and know that swearing has played a part in colloquial chatter for thousands of years. I also must admit that for many, a curse word followed by an exclamation mark can provide immediate release and convey strong emotion. However, most people would agree that this kind of interjection should only be spoken in private with close friends or at least under your breath-not in public places, especially at school. Because ultimately, swearing is not really about you; it’s about others. Bad language affects all those around you. As older students in a KA-12 school

community, you have a tremendous impact on younger students. Like it or not, you are a role model. Younger students at all levels watch your every move. They copy your dress, your actions, and your words. They are sponges who soak up all they hear and see, including your words. I’m asking you to think twice about the words you use in public: make the choice not to swear. Don’t do it because of your grandmother, or the Trunchbulls in your life, or for fear of inadequate vocabulary prowess, although they would all be good reasons. Make the choice out of respect for others – including TAS’s youngest learners.

What the @#$%! By Rick Rabon Profanities.Obscenities. Vulgarities. Call them what you want, but swear words catch the attention of all who hear them. In fact, popular culture has made swearing trendy and ubiquitous. And while it seems to pepper everyday life more and more, it’s not the kind of seasoning everyone wants or needs.

While Opinion articles do not represent the entire views of our staff, nor the views of TAS at large, The Blue and Gold actively encourages community dialogue. If you have an opinion on these matters, contact us at blueandgold@


the blue & gold february 16, 2016

Feminism forgetting the in-betweens By Bonna Yi I’m going to make myself clear: feminism is a good cause. I admire the efforts of feminism in creating an equal world for women. However, talking about feminism is a dangerous topic because people become prone to fight and defend this viewpoint. Not being a feminist is immediately associated with not agreeing to equality and women’s rights. People erroneously assume that if you’re not with feminism, you are against it. Feminist Lena Dunham (creator and star of the HBO series Girls), in an interview, asked Hillary Clinton if she was feminist. Clinton replied, ‘I’m always a little bit puzzled when any woman of whatever age, but particularly a young woman, says something like, “Well, I believe in equal rights, but I’m not a feminist”, to which Dunham giggled at. The fact that both Dunham and Clinton—the supposed symbols of woman empowerment and independence—are seen associating non-feminists as some radical idiots to titter at was offensive. It clarified the clear association between antagonism and non-feminists. In a recent survey done in 2015 by YouGov, just 20% of American consider themselves feminists, while 63% said neither. However, most respondents (approximately 82%) believed that men and women should be equal. Statistically, it’s been shown that few identify as feminists, but most still believe in equality of sexes. Yet there still is a faulty assumption of nonfeminists as against equality. I’ve always been hesitant about identifying myself as a feminist, even though the movement has been seen as a moralizing achievement by many. And it’s kind of weird, because I don’t have any trouble adamantly denying racism or agreeing with world peace— all of which are just as morally relevant

as feminism. But my hesitations and qualms with feminism are equally as valid and important. People often think it is better for women to be an extremist feminist than a non-feminist, because, at least as a feminist, you are fighting for selfempowerment while not fighting will label you as an ignorant, submissive woman who fits into the stereotypical destined housewife. Society sees everything as a dichotomy between this and that, black

...without being a feminist

Society sees everything as a dichotomy between this and that, black and white, women and men. The inbetweens are forgotten. We can’t expect the entire world to change when we are only working on half of the world population. and white, women and men. The inbetweens are forgotten. We can’t expect the entire world to change when we are only working on half of the world population. It has become too commonplace for men to be used as benchmarks— as ways of comparison—in feminism. We want the same amount of pay as men, the same amount of liberty, the same amount of education. Yet, there are men out there who are underpaid, denied certain civil liberties, and are discriminated against both sexually and intellectually. When we fight for equality, things don’t just go equally good. They can go equally bad. Let’s say that in a alternate universe, men are denied education. Boys are sold off into prostitution

and forced into a submissive role of housekeeping and child-rearing. When the level of discrimination set upon men equal the discrimination of women, technically, equality would be achieved. Afterall, now women are being treated equally as men are, which must be a fair treatment for everyone. Right? What feminism is fighting for is so dependent on comparisons with men—not on liberating each individual based on their own powers and abilities. If true equal treatment among all humans was to be achieved, it shouldn’t be to match the worth of our

male counterparts. It should be because society recognizes females as worthy individuals who deserve to be treated fairly. We should stop comparing in lumps—as divisions between females and males. Individually, as men and women, we have our own weaknesses and powers. Our own flaws, needs and wants have nothing to do with gender, but as human beings. In the end, I know this is an unpopular opinion, and someone will definitely find this article a hypocritical, offensive and ignorant piece of writing. My hesitation and fear of being judged is the reason why I wanted to write

this—freely and honestly. We are told that every woman has a choice. This means that we get a choice to not be feminists without backlash or shame. Labels such as feminisms, despite its goal to created a united effort, is further dividing ourselves on tiny differences that set us apart from men and non-feminists. It doesn’t matter how or what we identify as—if you are someone who truly believed in equality, love and fairness, the goals will all be the same. Maybe once we realize this, the equality we’ve been seeking for the past century will finally happen.

Formal fashion: To wear or not to wear By Amanda Huang

Sporting uniforms: Amanda Huang (11) and Austin Huang (10) 9 years ago, wearing their school uniforms. Wearing a uniform is not just about the outfit, but rather what it represents. The moment you leave campus, you are representing the school and the behavior you present is the impression people will have of that school. You can advertise the school as easily as you can tarnish the school’s reputation. Sporting a uniform also creates a sense of community and identity among the school. Everyone is equal at school in that sense. There are no questions of who has the coolest top or whose dress is cutest. Because of this, you are no longer defined by your appearance and instead, judged based on how you act

and what you say. My parents felt inclined to send me to private school from a young age. Naturally, this made me more privileged in terms of education and environment. However, despite the nicer textbooks, or cooler science lab, what my childhood friends envied was our school uniforms. We had to wear pink or blue jumpers over Peter Pan collared shirts. Having a uniform that I was “forced” to wear everyday simplified a lot of things. Unlike my friends had public schools, I never had to wake up early to pick out what I was going to wear, or struggle to find an outfit every day. Statistic Brain Research Institute conducted a study that showed that wearing uniforms not only promoted a sense of security for parents, but it also minimized distractions and eliminated the peer pressure of “fitting in” by wearing certain clothes. School pride can also be bolstered by standardized dress. Experiencing that sense of community is something rare and being able to have to identify with a group and represent a group is a rewarding experience. If TAS were to implement uniforms, we would have a greater sense of school pride and unity.


the blue & gold february 16, 2016

Ryley Rasmussen: what being transgender really means By Christine Lin “I officially realized I was transgender around January of my sophomore year. I was watching a transgender guy on YouTube talk about his experience and it was crazy to me that a girl could want to be a boy,” said Ryley Rasmussen (12). “That video reminded me of all the thoughts I had when I when I was younger, thoughts that I was born in the wrong body.” Ryley, also known as Julia in class, identifies as a transgender person. According to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), transgender describes a person whose gender identity differs from the sex the doctor marked on their birth certificate. Simply put, the sex they were assigned at birth does not match their own internal, personal sense of being a man or a woman. “Everyone perceives you as a girl or a boy, but deep down inside you, you know that isn’t true,” said Ryley. “Being transgender doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. It just means your physical appearance doesn’t match how you see yourself on the inside.” Although Ryley officially realized he was transgender 3 years ago, he’s known this his entire life. As a young child Ryley experienced feelings of being placed in the wrong gender category, but didn’t know there was a term to describe what he felt. “When I was younger I was very closed off and never talked about my feelings of wanting to be a boy,” said Ryley. “I remember when I was about 5 years old, I would have a dream where I was given 3 wishes and the only thing I ever wished for was to be a boy.” As Ryley grew older, his greatest challenge was accepting himself for

who he was. “People around you want you to be someone you are not. I hate to disappoint people, so I had to learn to put myself before others,” said Ryley. “I’m just trying to be me, the authentic me, and that’s all that really matters. I realized there’s no reason to be ashamed of who I am.” Since coming out as transgender, Ryley hasn’t encountered anybody unaccepting. “When I first started telling other people, I was terrified. No one’s been rude to me, but no one really talks about it either. There is next to no talk about LGBT+ issues around school,” said Ryley. A few years ago, the Upper School addressed issues surrounding the gay and lesbian community by discussing the murder of Matthew Shepard, an anti-gay hate crime. “The Laramie Project”, a play depicting the aftermath of this murder, was mandatory summer reading for all Upper School students, and was the first play performed in the Black Box theater. Most importantly, Judy and Dennis Shepard, parents of Matthew Shepard, spoke out at assemblies about acceptance and eradicating hate. “Exposure to the compassionate ideals of Judy and Dennis Shepard had a wonderful effect and really helped the progression of tolerance at TAS,” said Stefanie Mayer (11), president of the LGBT Alliance. “That being said, the atmosphere here is more of a quiet acknowledgement rather than a full on embracement. With time, old habits return and internalized homophobia continues to permeate the community. TAS, to its credit, has been making an effort on an administrative level, and many students are starting to

[Photo: Andrea Tai; Typography: Christine Lin]

promote acceptance of the LGBT community.” However, being transgender has not been formally addressed at TAS. In recent years, a variety of media outlets have talked about discrimination towards transgender people. In 2014, the front cover of TIME magazine featured Laverne Cox, a transgender woman and actor on the TV show, Orange is the New Black, and in 2015, Caitlyn

Jenner, a transgender woman and reality TV star, appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair. Ryley said, “Caitlyn Jenner has definitely brought so much more awareness to the transgender community, but there is still a lack of representation in the media. There is a huge lack of understanding on what it means to be transgender.” Now, Ryley corrects others when they call him Julia. “Changing my

name is a good first step into my transition,” said Ryley. “But I’m very understanding if people mess up. I know how hard it is to meet someone under one name and then call them another.” When asked to describe being transgender in one word, Ryley said “complicated.” Although it may be hard for us to understand what being transgender means, we can still try.

From hobby to profession: best of both worlds By Andrew Lin For many adults and even students, their weekdays are often occupied by work – work which forces them to reschedule their spare time on the weekends in order to spend time with people they love or to enjoy their personal hobbies. Not so for Joanna Nichols visiting scholar-in-residence, Dr. Michael Littman; he has the best of both worlds. He is able to obtain a job that provides not only money but also his hobbies. Dr. Littman works as a professor at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, USA, where he teaches a variety of subjects, most notably, robotics, optics, lasers and mechanical science. Born in New Jersey, Dr. Littman grew up aspiring to become a chemistry major and attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to do just that. But he did not stay at RPI, nor did he end up with a chemistry degree. “I transferred to Brandeis University... and in those days I was thinking of becoming a chemistry major,” said Dr. Littman, “but I decided that I didn’t like chemistry so when I transferred to Brandeis, I became a physics student at Brandeis. [I] had a great experience at Brandeis.”

After attending Brandeis, Dr. Littman applied for graduate school at MIT and eventually got his Ph.D. in physics before moving to work at Princeton University in 1979. Currently, Dr. Littman runs the teaching program in Princeton’s engineering school where he is able to bring his numerous interests and hobbies and assimilate them into his daily life without the need to reschedule his hobbies for a later time. “I managed to figure out a way to bring my hobbies into my daily activities,” said Dr. Littman, whose hobbies include many aspects of mechanical science such as restoring old radios, phonographs, computers, “I basically have blended my hobbies into my profession.” Now, Dr. Littman teaches many courses at Princeton including optics, mechanics, controls, robotics and even history courses of engineering but he also works on several independent research projects in addition to his course load. His projects involve research into space telescopes with special properties that are able to identify earth-like planets and faint objects and stem education, and a joint project to create a curriculum

Princeton Professor Inspires: Visiting scholar Dr. Michael Littman poses with Dr. Garcia’s robotics class.

for students to use 3D printing to recreate historical objects. Dr. Littman is best known for his work in optics and lasers, with a plethora of Princeton documents under his name. Now successful and content with his life, Dr. Littman now aims to help

guide students to have a successful career by advising on how to plan the future and giving advice on how to be successful. “I tell [students] to look at it two ways: you look short term, so what will you be doing for the next few years,


[and] to look out 10 years and to say: What kind of career do I want to have and what would I want to be doing 10 years from now,” said Dr. Littman, “sometimes you [even] have to work hard and do things you don’t like to achieve a goal that you do like.”

A TAS VALENTINE’S DAY: FROM FIRST LOVES TO F I RS T CRU SH “I was in preschool, and we kissed during nap time. We both got in trouble.” “He had clammy hands but his best friend Alex didn’t so I just held Alex’s hands instead.” “I was in Kindergarten. I liked him because his name was similar to mine and he had a large mole next to his lip.” “In first grade I gave her goldfish crackers, and we became passionate lovers.” “It was someone from a cartoon or movie.”


“It was third grade and I started liking him because he always shared his snack with me when I forgot mine. He was also very good at Foursquare which was the ‘it’ game of the time, so that made me like him even more.

“When I was in first grade, I was in love with this sixth grader. He was really attractive (well, as attractive as a sixth grader can be.) I still have my yearbook where his photo was circled and there were hearts around his name.”

“There was a boy in my first grade class who I thought was really cute, so I kept staring at him. One time we played in the playground and when I pushed him over he started crying. Oops.”

“In Kindergarten he gave me flowers and told me we were going to get married.”

“I got rejected.”

“One time I made eye contact with a girl and she didn’t look away immediately in complete disgust. That’s when I knew I was in love.”

“I went on a date with a guy from my old school. His mom had to buy us tickets because we were going to watch Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. Two minutes into the movie, I started bawling my eyes out and I didn’t even have anyone to hang onto because he was crying as well, and clinging onto his Mom. I was traumatized. Last year I saw him again when I visited, and we watched Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter again.”

“The one where I go by a Korean girl wear

“He said he had to go to the bathroom during dessert, but actually just left the restaurant and left me with the bill.”

“I went on a date wit for 5 days. Then we for a whole year but n

“We compared and c during Valentine’s D up and things got bet

“We went to Pizza H piece of pizza he to because ‘girls are o salad’. That’s literally



HOBBIES: eating, sleeping, lying in bed doing absolutely nothing, scrolling through social media

HOBBIES: sleeping, volleyball, watching YouTube videos


WHAT YOU LOOK FOR IN A SIGNIFICANT OTHER: easy to get along with, nice, and cute

IDEAL VALENTINE’S DATE: something different

PET PEEVES: chewing with your mouth open and food flying out

FAVORITE SONG: “Where is the Love” by White Iverson

IDEAL VALENTINE’S DATE: bubble tea and chill

DEAL BREAKER: steals my food, doesn’t snapchat back

FUNNY CRUSH STORY: There weren’t that many girls for me to like in Middle School because most of them were a head taller than me.

By Christine Lin



HOBBIES: Minecraft and photography

HOBBIES: singing, running, skating

WHAT YOU LOOK FOR IN A SIGNIFICANT OTHER: someone who is supportive and funny

WHAT YOU LOOK FOR IN A SIGNIFICANT OTHER: someone who is accepting and fun to talk to. Also, she has to be shorter than me.

IDEAL VALENTINE’S DATE: a picnic by the pool or beach (High School Musical) FUNNY CRUSH STORY: one time a guy tried to confess he liked me and tried to tell me I was beautiful, but he didn’t know how to spell it and called me “bettyfull” instead.

IDEAL VALENTINE’S DATE: We go to Antarctica to swim with penguins. Then we can watch some netflix and “chill” (get it because it’s cold in the Antarctic).

REESE MCMILLAN (11) HOBBIES: acting, seducing women



WHAT YOU LOOK FOR IN A SIGNIFICANT OTHER: someone less than 75 years older than me FAVORITE SONG: “L’Afrique” by Kids These Days IDEAL VALENTINE’S DATE: Taking her to see a good rom com like Schindler’s List


THINGS YOU OFFER AS A PARTNER: I will laugh at all your jokes!

DEALBREAKER: if she calls Pokemon a child’s game

“If you want me to define love, I don’t know how to do it,” said Mr. Maguire, Upper School AP and IB coordinator. The definition of love has always been elusive and mysterious to us. Love is filled with contradictions: it can beautiful or destructive, cheesy or meaningful, fleeting or infinite, or all at the same time, and everyone has their own definition. Ryo L. a kindergartener at TAS, said, “Love is… my mom.” Like most other lower school students, he associates love with family and simple acts of affection, from helping one another to hugging. “Love is when my friends help get the swing for me during recess,” said Molly T., a first grader at TAS. Other kindergarteners replied with picking someone up when they fall down, playing with them, or drawing pictures and making cards. Ethan Y. (1) said,

“I know this girl loves me because she always pulls on my arm during math class. But one of my friends took my love and now they are together, which makes me feel kind of worried.” Fourth and fifth graders almost always mentioned their family when asked to define love. “Love is being with my family. My family loves me because they give me a home and things to eat,” said Amanda S. (5). However, as we grow older, our definitions of love change dramatically. When high school students were asked to define love, responses were overwhelmingly cynical, with answers such as love is “a bunch of chemical compounds”, love is “fake”, or love is a “distraction”. But there are still some students, though a small percentage, who believe love is something meaningful. Kayleigh Chen (10) said, “Love is

butterflies in your tummy when you see someone even if you see them everyday.” Venus Su (11) said, “Love is magical, weird, unfathomable, and like no other.” Married teachers at TAS also have an entirely different perspective on love. Mr. Lowman, Upper School college counselor, said, “Love is unconditional. When you’re married and a parent, you will see everyday expressions of love. My youngest daughter always shares her cookie with me.” Mrs. Winton, Upper School English teacher, said “Love is finding someone in the world with who you can be wholly yourself. Love is not a single act, it’s compounded the more you spend time with another person.” But despite how puzzling love may seem to us, perhaps it’s definition can be put simply: Mayuk R. (KA) said, “Love is being happy when you are with someone else.”


The Blue & Gold tackled love at TAS by sending out a survey to the Upper School student body. 325 students responded. For more replies, visit


ot kicked in the head ring steel toed boots.”

contrasted his two exes Day. I told him to shut tter from there.”

Hut and when I ate a old me to stop eating only supposed to eat what he said.”

th a guy and we dated ended it and had beef now we’re best friends!”

A NONY M OU S CRUSH CORNE R “We went to a sports match at school. Competition got the best of us and we ended up having more negative energy than before.” “I asked a girl out to get dinner and a movie. Dinner was good, or at least I thought so, until 2 of her friends showed up to join us for the movie. She texted them on our way to the movie because she needed some advice on what to do.” “Thought I was on a date. Wasn’t.” “Every date is great with me in it.”

“She’s weird, quirky, and dresses like a professional secretary. Her hair is like Jackie Kennedy’s and she’s amazing.” “We have a lot in common – more than I expected. You’re always cheery and it’s a lot of fun working with you. You’re a wonderful person all around, and in the end, I wouldn’t mind staying your friend.” “I met this cute senior through my Theater Arts class. He’s really nice and doesn’t make a fuss when someone asks him to do something. He’ll do it willingly and he makes everyone laugh.”

“I saw a cute girl and I never had the courage to talk to her. I just hope there will be a project where the teacher makes us work with each other. I know it’s lame!” “Said person thinks he/she is funny. I also think said person is funny.” “It’s always so awkward. I always try to act normal but just end up laughing and sounding like a dying hyena.” “He’s really nice and funny, but sometimes mean to me, which makes me like him even more.”

“This guy once asked to borrow my charger. I was about to turn around and say ‘no’ because my computer was dying, but when I turned around I saw how cute he was so I said ‘yes of course’. Then for the next half hour I could only use my phone because my laptop had died.” “She is the force, I am a Jedi. She hurt me like Jacen hurts Han, but it’s alright, my padawan. Even if I was Chewbacca I’d shave off my hair for her. I’ll be loyal to her like the BB-8.” “He makes me feel all funny inside.”






HOBBIES: watching TV shows so I can enthusiastically discuss them with my friends, taking artsy-fartsy photos to post on my Instagram account, and going exercising with my parents every Friday night

HOBBIES: scouting for eligible bachelors

HOBBIES: drawing animals, gardening, baking, and thinking about nothing

HOBBIES: eating, sleeping, crying, and disappointing my parents

WHAT YOU LOOK FOR IN A SIGNIFICANT OTHER: someone who is nice, down to earth, and talks often so I don’t have to

WHAT YOU LOOK FOR IN A SIGNIFICANT OTHER: I don’t a$k for much in a $ignificant other, ju$t make me $mile!

HOBBIES: soccer, watching food shows on youtube, playing PS4, exploring the streets

IDEAL VALENTINE’S DATE: We are on the 2nd floor of Haagen Dasz, the one with the private booths and heart-shaped pillows, feeding each other ice cream. We finish, and I say that I am sad because I didn’t get to try out her flavor. She says it’s okay, we can order another scoop, but I say that that’s not what I meant. For a moment she’s confused, but then I kiss her for the first time, tasting the thin film of ice cream on her lips, and she shivers as if she were a leaf caressed by the wind. Afterwards I order two scoops of her ice cream flavor because my original intention was to get two additional scoops instead of one.

FAVORITE SHOW TO BINGE WATCH: I am currently too poor to afford Netflix, so I’m looking for a significant other who can fund my TV addiction. I’m a really good investment so hmu!?

Whether you’d like to admit it or not, we’ve all experienced unrequited love. Unlike other forms of love, unrequited love happens much faster and unfortunately, causes more pain than joy. There are two distinct kinds of unrequited love. First we have the kind of unrequited love where you simply watch and admire from afar. You see them once in the hallway and before you know it, you start planning how to run into them again. Such feelings tend to be much easier to handle than the other kind of unrequited love. The second kind of unrequited love can be embodied into one word: friendzoned. Are you willing to risk your friendship over some foolish feelings? In the end, the answer is always no and the feelings remain unrequited.

Neha Purswaney (12) said, “I met this girl at camp but I knew it was doomed from the beginning because one, she was 7 years older and two, way out of my league, but that didn’t stop me from crushing on her big time!” Even when we clearly know we can’t have that person, we are still inexplicably drawn to them. Love makes humans do stupid things but it’s also these things that we can later look back on and laugh at. “I remember one time I was trying to impress her that I could take care of children and I offered to take care of her tent so that she could go chill and have a break. One of her kids peed their beds and another one got in a fight with a kid from my tent. Also, I found out she ended up going to chill with her boyfriend,” said Neha. We can’t control who we love but

WHAT YOU LOOK FOR IN A SIGNIFICANT OTHER: someone who I can be crazy with and who accepts me for who I am. I value a relationship where both parties build and sharpen each other up. PET PEEVES: someone sneezing without covering his or her mouth. Please, I don’t enjoy getting blanketed in sneeze particles.

WHAT YOU LOOK FOR IN A SIGNIFICANT OTHER: whether his horoscope matches up with mine. I’m a Virgo. PET PEEVES: if he isn’t willing to hand over his social media passwords IDEAL VALENTINE’S DATE: private tour of the solar system. DEAL BREAKER: If he doesn’t meet any one of the 525 criteria I have.

THINGS YOU OFFER AS A PARTNER: my fun personality! DEAL BREAKER: someone who doesn’t value my opinions or take me seriously

By Amanda Huang

THINGS YOU OFFER AS A PARTNER: Quick wit and endless criticism. I’ll always be there for you, whether you want me to or not. DEALBREAKER: breathing. Also when people pull a Kate Winslet and let go, after they explicitly said they wouldn’t #smh

WHAT YOU LOOK FOR IN A SIGNIFICANT OTHER: A kind, caring, and genuine girl. I look for someone I can talk to whenever I’m happy, but also whenever I’m sad! FAVORITE SHOW TO BINGE WATCH: How I Met Your Mother. I can talk about that show all day, I love it! IDEAL VALENTINE’S DATE: A trip to Danshui. First, my date and I will bike along the river as the sun sets and try out all the street food. Then we will walk along the river and listen to the gentle tides. As we enjoy the view, we will talk and laugh for hours about life. I will then make sure she gets home safely, hug her, and say “thank you for being my Valentine.”

we can control how we deal with it. Rather than wasting your time stalking them on Facebook, maybe it would be a better idea to try and get to know them. Who knows, maybe they are nothing like what you expected them to be, and you can end up becoming good friends. Neha said, “I don’t think you can control who you love. When you try to control who you love and try not to like someone, you just end up liking them so you just need to let the feelings do their thing and leave.” If you are experiencing unrequited love, it’s important that you understand that just because someone might not be interested in you does not make you any less of a person. Someone who just doesn’t like you that way shouldn’t be blamed either. You should let go and move on or you might miss an opportunity to meet someone else.


the blue & gold february 16, 2016

February is for films: Black History Month By Bonna Yi February is a time and chance to fully appreciate that special someone. Therefore, it makes sense to dedicate some time to praise the works of people that often been underappreciated. February is Black History month. We should use this month to truly understand the works of African American and shed some light on the importance of diversity. This year’s theme, chosen by The Association of the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) on Black History Month is “Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories.” From surviving on slave ships, fighting for freedom in plantations, and creating cultural hubs in cities, the vestige of African American history is ingrained in the soil of America. These sites remind us to remember where the footprints of Black history began. TAS is also hosting its annual African American history on February 19-20, sponsored by the US History Department. Here are some of the films being featured:

A story about the volatile and complex partnership between Black cardiac pioneer Vivien Thomas and white surgeon Alfred Blalock (a.k.a “Blue Baby Doctor), which blooms into an unlikely friendship despite the prevailing racism.

A biopic about the cultural evolution of the Compton, CA hip hop group N.W.A (Niggaz Wit Attitudes). From struggling above the poverty line to drug dealing and discriminatory police activities, the movie depicts the honest lives of rappers like Dr.Dre and Ice Cube before they were mainsream artists.

Chi-raq, Spike Lee’s modern adaption of the ancient Greek play, Lysistrata, takes place in South Side Chicago as women abstain from sex to force gang members to stop violence. The movie is a symbol of the power of women.

Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has long been passed, black voters still face discrimination for exercising their rights. Not acquiescing to such injustice, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his followers press forward on an epic march from Selma to Montgomery to start a battle for suffrage.

Solomon Northup, a free black man, is abducted in New York and sold into slavery. Facing brutality against his cruel master and finding few glimpses of kindness, the 12year odyssey of Solomon sees a man attempting to survive and retaining his dignity all the while.

Students blend genres in A Doll’s House By Shereen Lee Behind the facade of a perfect marriage, a woman who has never been allowed to think for herself must make painful decisions which could risk her life. Columbia Roy (12) weaves a darkly captivating tale of blackmail as Nora, the protagonist of A Doll’s House, this year’s spring production. The story revolves around Nora’s dysfunctional relationship with her husband Torvald, who is played by William Ni (12), and follows its characters as they find surprising truths about themselves and each other. Both Columbia and William are seniors who starred in the fall production, You Can’t Take it With You, and the cast of A Doll’s House is made up of the IASAS dance and drama delegates. Dance and drama? You read that right. In a refreshing twist, the dance and drama departments have merged for their IASAS performance. According

to Ms. Lagerquist, upper school dance teacher, while the actors present the play’s plot, the dancers “represent the emotional subtext of the piece.” “What makes it so interesting is that because it’s a movement, rather than a concrete speaking role, the audience can also take away their own interpretation, similar to how emotions can be interpreted differently,” said Ms. Lagerquist. Another notable aspect of this piece, dancer Rachel Hsu (9) noted, was that most of the choreography was a collaboration for the student cast. “You have actors dancing and dancers acting, and I feel like that kind of artistic integration makes the… production really special both on our parts and the audience’s: you get to see our interpretations of concepts like rationality, honesty, and social binary,” she said. When asked about the combined production, the coaches turned to the

students as their inspiration. “I feel that we’ve seen the program evolve to fit students who are more than just dancers, more than just actors,” Mr. Edwards said. Many who are part of the play agree. “Since I’m an actor, it’s quite refreshing to be a dance-heavy character. It’s challenging, experiencing this new side of the stage, but it’s enjoyable,” said Melissa Cho (11). “The actors learn from the dancers and the dancers learn from the actors.” While it was one of Mr. Edwards’ first plays in college, Ms. Lagerquist fell in love with A Doll’s House while she was a junior at TAS. “I first read the play in IB English, and it really made an impression on me,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed introducing it to the dancers.” The students, on their part, have also enjoyed their introduction to A Doll’s House. “It’s easy to get absorbed,” Rachel said. “Our version [, in

Webbed conundrum: Surrounded by “spiders,” Nora tortures herself with the problems she has trapped herself in. [SHEREEN L.]

particular, puts] a uniquely modern twist put on a play made in the 1800’s.” With a running time of 65 minutes, this dance and drama production will be performed at the IASAS Showcase

on February 26 at 4:00 PM, and again during the IASAS Cultural Convention. We’ll see you in the auditorium.

Behind the cheer: the history of Spirit Week

By Christine Lin

Since the 1970s, TAS has lost many stereotypical school spirit traditions, including homecoming queens and kings and a cheerleading team. Uglier traditions, such as an annual Slave Day and junior cage, have also been erased. Mr. Arnold, Upper School history teacher and sponsor of the junior class in 1976, said, “Slave Day was really terrible. Often someone who was popular would go for 3000 NT and someone not so popular would go for 20 NT.” On slave day, each senior got up onstage while underclassmen bid on how much money they would pay for that senior to become their slave for the day. This included carrying their books, getting their lunch for them, or tying their shoes. “Not only were there historical reasons, but it made students feel very bad, so slave day ended early in the 1970s,” said Mr. Arnold. The annual Spring and Food Fairs we are so used to now also never existed 45 years ago. Instead, TAS had a junior carnival to raise money for

Throwback Tuesday: A yearbook page from the 1970s displays several elements of Spirit Week that no longer exist today. [MS. HELEN CHEN]

prom. During this fair it was a tradition for juniors to have a metal cage, and anybody could put someone in the cage for a certain price. “They would pay 200 NT to put someone in the cage,

and that person had to pay more to get out,” said Mr. Arnold. “The problem was they would get more friends to put the same person back in the cage for even more money. Sometimes it was like

bullying, and for the whole day of the fair, that person had to stay in the cage.” Luckily, TAS has gotten rid of these traditions, and Spirit Week has evolved into dress up days, class games, and activities like airband and cheer. Back in the 1970s, Spirit Week consisted of a homecoming dance, a bonfire, floats, and the most important soccer game of the year against Morrison Academy. “Lots of teachers and students went to these kind of events, and it wasn’t because they were getting points,” said Mr. Arnold, “It was simply because they wanted to go, which is very different from now.” Spirit Week has stayed fairly similar since the 90s. The most recent change to Spirit Week occurred just this year, with Student Government deciding to alter the point system. Brendan Wong (11), Upper School president, said, “Last year Edmund Tong, who was in charge of keeping track of results, proposed a new system. A major advantage for the new system is that winning a category doesn’t matter as much. Grades have to

try to get as many points in all different areas, and participation is even more crucial because every point counts.” Although now Spirit Week is a competition between the grades, Brendan wants students to focus on having fun. He said, “A true testament of our school spirit would be to strip away the competition element of Spirit Week and see how many people still come dressed up. Perhaps that will happen in the future, who knows?” The problem with Spirit Week now is that we just copy middle school. I don’t think there’s anything clever about high schoolers wearing pajamas to school, nor does it show any more “spirit.” We can definitely do something worthwhile with our energy; there just needs to be more creativity. High school Spirit Week should go beyond that of middle school, especially considering high school talent and abilities. It was always fun to see kids doing things they really enjoyed just because they had passion, which is different from TAS now.


the blue & gold february 16, 2016

IASAS CulCon Senior profiles With the IASAS Cultural Convention just around the corner, The Blue & Gold introduces to you the participants that will represent TAS and our culture whether at home or in Kuala Lumpur.

ART Debbie Lin

Kira widjaja

How long has art been part of your life? I have been drawing ever since I was 5, but I never really took art seriously until last summer.

artists who accidentally spill ink or paint all over their finished products, but still make it look natural and appealing.

How long has art been part of your life? Art has always been a part of my life, because my parents are architects and exposed me to it at a very young age.

How do you motivate yourself to finish a piece? My grades for school artworks. Trust me, IBHL Art is not an easy A course. Art is probably my lowest grade. For the artworks I do outside of school, I post them on deviantart to motivate myself. Favorite artist/artwork: Agnes-Cecile. Her painting “nell’acqua” is truly amazing.

Every artist has a favorite theme or medium they like to explore with. What is yours? I am interested in the theme of antitheses. There are numerous combinations of things in society that juxtapose with each other, yet still form a concrete idea or visual. My favorite medium to use for the theme antithesis is double exposure photography. I use the double exposure technique to combine two contrasting movements together.

What does art mean to you? Art is a way to express myself and create something beautiful that others and I can appreciate. It’s also kind of meditative, especially when I really get into a piece, so I can often relieve stress by making art.

What is the piece of which you are proudest, and why? I don’t have a singular piece that I’m most proud of, because I’m constantly creating new art and I’m usually proud of the work I finish. If I had to choose it would probably be anything in which I have painted skin, because skin is really hard to paint!!

How do you motivate yourself to finish a piece? I think about the consequences that happen if I don’t finish. It’s normally not hard to motivate myself to finish, unless I really don’t like what I’m

Favorite artist/artwork: Currently my favorite artist is Lois Van Baarle. She’s a digital artist and I love her use of color and her drawing style. Check out her website! http://loish. net/

What does it mean to be a good artist? The ability to fix mistakes. I have seen

“nell’acqua” by Agnes-Cecile. [AGNESCECILE.DEVIANTART.COM]

“gumdrop” by Lois Van Baarle. [LOISH. NET]

working on.

Forensics & debate Justin rhee Events: Extemporaneous Speaking, Impromptu How have the things you’ve learned from forensics/debate carried into your everyday life? Studying current events for extemporaneous speaking has allowed to me to remain informed about the issues at the center of the modern international community’s attention. More tangibly, however, impromptu speaking has made me significantly more comfortable with thinking on the fly.

Eli morimoto

Best/most memorable experience from forensics/debate: My most memorable experience related to forensics and debate is probably the time a competitor started to breakdance in the middle of his speech. What does it mean to be a good speaker? In my opinion, being a good speaker just means getting the desired response out of your audience. It might sound vague, but whether your goal is to convince others of a certain perspective or simply to entertain a crowd, the fulfillment of that objective you set is all that matters.

Event: Debate How long have you been involved in the forensics/debate program? I’ve been an OO/OI speech-er since freshman year, but this is my first year of debate. What prompted you to try out? I love listening to audiobooks and telling stories be it through music or drama. So, I decided to try out for Oral Interpretation my freshman year.

everyday life? Forensics has allowed me to find the confidence to try new things/meet new people. Debating controversial topics has taught me the importance of forming my own stance beyond the podium. Oral Interpretation taught me to embrace my weirdness, and to find the weirdness in others. To you, what is the definition of a good speaker? Dr. Coburn-Palo.

How have the things you’ve learned from forensics/debate carried into your

drama & dance Hau-ping ting What does dance mean to you? To me, dance helps release stress and is an outlet to feelings and thoughts. Sometimes when I’m confused, improvising or choreographing helps me to know what the actual issue is. What does it mean to be a good dancer? The definition of a good dancer can be super long but in general, I think a good dancer is someone who is flexible, adaptable to different styles, able to come up with creative choreography, and easy to work with.

Perks of being a dancer: You become flexible, strong, and more coordinated. Dancers also get to wear cool costumes with bruises and burns all over the body! Favorite dance performance (your own, or another’s): Definitely the dance scenes in this year’s IASAS piece A Doll’s House! The directors, dancers, and actors have put in tons of work into creation of the show so everyone should come watch our performance at CulCon in March!

Will ni How long have you been involved in drama? I’ve been properly involved in drama ever since my eighth grade year, with my first performance in the Middle School production from a play my drama teachers wrote at the time called The Silver Screen. What does drama mean to you? Well, drama means a lot to me, because it’s the one thing I’d say I enjoy doing most and don’t do badly in. But the importance of drama in

my life extends past the mere reason of just “enjoying” it. Immersing my mind into the psyche of my character, then presenting that onstage with adrenaline in my body, is the most therapeutic and empowering activity I can possibly do. I love the way theater communicates. How it makes you sit, watch, and contemplate something besides yourself… That’s something we don’t really do anymore, and I want to be able to evoke these thought processes in another person.

music baron jan How long have you played drums? I’ve had an on and off experience with drums, but it all adds up to around 6 years in total. What does music mean to you? In addition to what many people would say about music and artistic expression, music lets me take a break from academics and life in general. In a way, music also gives me the chance to embrace my inner craziness. To you, what makes a good musician?

I think a good musician is not only defined by his/her performance alone. In a collaborative setting, a good musician listens to and interacts with other musicians. Musicians should strive to improve not only his/her own sound, but rather the entire band’s sound overall. Who do you think is the best drummer to ever live? In terms of technique and musicality I have too many to name. My personal favorite is Jeff Porcaro, Toto’s founding member and drummer.

josephine liu How long have you been singing? I have been singing since I was a kid; I started to sing more seriously when I was entering ninth grade. What does music mean to you? Music helps me feel grounded and stay connected to my inner self, and is a way to express, release, and understand my emotions. To you, what makes a good musician? A good musician is anyone who does music with love and passion.

Tell me about a song that is meaningful to you. You Raise Me Up [by Josh Groban]. I have a very supportive and loving family, and I really appreciate it; I hope I can support others the way they do.

Best experience from drama so far: The best experience from drama thus far would probably be travelling to Edinburgh during the summer to perform at the Fringe Festival, which is one of the world’s largest theater festivals. It was the first time I performed to the public and not a school, and it was the first time I was exposed to so much theater. Every step I took I would see a new person advertising their show, and groups of actors performing on the streets.


the blue & gold february 16, 2016

aspiring youtubers of tas by Rebecca Tseng TAS students partake in an astounding number of activities: robotics, forensics, service clubs, interest clubs, the list goes on. But there is one more “student activity” that is not so well known yet: YouTube. In the recent years, this media platform has triggered a sensation of “YouTube celebrities,” from beauty gurus to gamers, rappers to rising chefs. Here are 4 Upper School Students who add their voices into the mix.

Audrey Tsung (10), inspired by other popular teen YouTubers and they way they filmed and edited videos, joined the website around two months ago. So far, she has made videos on clothing hauls and “YouTube challenges. “After posting the first video, people began to watch them and some gave me compliments,” said Audrey. “I wasn’t expecting [this], but then some encouraged me to actually start a YouTube career, [so] I thought maybe in the future that would happen.” The hardest aspect of having a

channel for her is looking at the analytics and seeing the dislikes. But whenever she “rewatch[es] the videos one last time to make sure everything’s in place, I feel excited to post the video,” Audrey said. In the future, she looking into possibly filming vlogs or parodies of makeup tutorials. In general, Audrey’s channel is composed of anything that comes to her mind. In fact, her latest video brings you Spirit Week shopping and on a food adventure with her.

Trinity Liao (10) creates comedy videos, challenges, prank videos, and other fun and entertaining videos. What started out as a beauty channel in seventh grade was revived last November. “I’ve always thought that making videos is something that I enjoy doing,” she said. However, having an YouTube account does come with challenges—to Trinity, the hardest aspect of keeping a channel is having to constantly post videos, especially with school to handle on the side. But receiving feedback and views

makes it worth it. “My friends were super supportive,” she said. “[But] they would play my videos in front of me because they knew that I didn’t want to listen to myself talk.” Though Trinity likes posting prank videos, they don’t always work out the way she intends them to—perhaps sometimes for the better. “I tried pranking my friend,” she said. “I kept on laughing and she didn’t get tricked at all but I posted it anyway.” Despite this, Trinity said that she will “continue to make troll videos and challenges.”

On YouTube, Lisa Durdeyte (12) is known as hpmarocsvp, where she mostly translates and adds English subtitles to videos of French-speaking Belgian singer Stromae. She discovered Stromae during the summer of 2013 in France when watching a music channel on television. When she was 12, she wanted a platform to post videos of her drawings, so she created a channel. Now, Lisa has over 1200 subscribers. Her most popular video, a 50 minute documentary about Stromae reached 80,000 views. “I was really proud of it because it took weeks for me to translate,” she

said. But though her videos take a long time to edit, she finds the comments and views she receives rewarding. One time, two people even started a comment war on her video arguing about Quebecois (French Canadian) accents. “It was completely unrelated to the content of the video. All I could do was watch on as the notifications kept popping up every time they replied to each other,” said Lisa. As a senior, Lisa has trouble finding time creating the videos. But after graduating, she plans to become active again, and even start posting other singers’ videos.

William Wang (11) posts his remixes of popular songs and mashups of music videos to go along with the songs. His interest first began in 7th grade, when a friend asked William to make a medley for the Spirit Week MTV dance performance. After enjoying creating the mashup and receiving positive feedback from his friends, he decided to make more. This interest, after years of development, eventually turned into over 1.3 million views on his most popular mashup of “Love Yourself ” by Justin Bieber and “Photograph” by Ed Sheeran. For him, the most challenging

aspect of having a channel is maintaining good content and keeping the subscribers listening and interested. What is most rewarding is receiving positive feedback, ratings, and views. “Maybe you, or your video, is something that people are talking about, which makes you feel special,” said William. While his channel was recently taken down for copyright strikes, William now has a new channel (as well as several other backup channels) and is planning to post more mashups, and perhaps even original content.

Business is boomin’! By Amanda Huang

TAS students have always pursued more than just good grades. Recently, two students have pursued their dream of starting a business. ZXNE and PR Athletics are two startups that have been gaining hype all around campus. Whether you are walking through the cafeteria or working out in the gym, it’s hard to miss their logos. In January 2015, Nathan Chang (11) and Garett Huang (10) decided to start their own business called ZXNE. Essentially, they wanted to create a fashion line that would produce streetwear and other types of clothing that they themselves would want to wear. “We began our business because sometimes we would see clothes that were nice but had certain elements we didn’t like, whether it was how the shirt was made or the price, so we decided to make a brand that gave us control over how things looked, fitted, and were priced,” said Nathan. Hoping to make clothes that show people their style and taste, ZXNE does hope to get big enough to dictate the fashion industry and be

a brand that influences the market. Nathan said, “The biggest struggle is probably marketing and getting the brand out as in getting people outside of school to get to know our brand.” Despite this setback, Nathan has high hopes for ZXNE in the future. He said, “I hope to make a complete Spring/Summer collection as well as a Fall/Winter collection. I also hope that our brand gets more exposure and that sales would become easier.” PR Athletics is another TAS student-run company that developed from the CEO’s passion for an activity: Vincent C. (11) began powerlifting in sophomore year to relieve stress. Now, PR Athletics is dedicated to providing comfortable, durable, and affordable gym-wear and accessories for both male and female powerlifters, fitness enthusiasts, or any gym-goer. Vincent said, “Since the fitness community has given so much to me, I feel like it is only right for me to give back. If it wasn’t for powerlifting, I would probably be balding right now due to the amount of stress.” Unlike other fitness apparel and accessories companies, PR Athletics

puts the majority of their revenue stream into the next launch instead of putting it in their own pockets. Vincent hopes to generate as much revenue as possible so the quality of the products can be even higher. “I’ve not only sold my products at school but also at World Gym. People just came up to me and asked where I got my shirt and I would pull out my business card and introduce myself and my business,” said Vincent. Because of the westernized style of the products, however, the company has run into problems with manufacturers. Being only 17 years old, they tend to not take him seriously. In addition, because the products they produce are more Americanized, manufacturers have a harder time figuring out what they are trying to produce. Despite these challenges, Vincent firmly believes that anyone willing to follow their dreams can achieve what they want. Even though I am new to this, throughout the ups and downs of running a business, the most important things is to persevere and solve your problems efficiently,” said Vincent.

Designers or models? Vincent C. (11) smiles with his co-founder Allen L. (11), donning their self-made products proudly. [DAZDARREN PHOTOGRAPHY]

Runway material: ZXNE hit the catwalk during the annual ILA Fashion Show last year. [NATHAN C.]


the blue & gold february 16, 2016

Little life, big story By Bonna Yi Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life published March 2015 and nominated for the Man Booker Prize, has a certain “Great Gatsby” approach to storytelling. Both have self-destructive characters whose successful yet unsatisfied lives and youthful American dreams tragically end in New York. Both stories are teeth-sucking, sharp slices of depression and guilty doses of reality where the dreams set out for you never really happen. A Little Life starts out with a group of incredibly bright young men with the world set out for them in New York. In this elite group of friends, we see Jude, a reserved and darkly secretive man; Willem, an actor soon to embrace the Oscars; Malcolm, an architect with a rich father; and Jean-Baptiste, a gay Haitian artist. All of them leap towards the absurd American dreams of youthful tennagers.

Jude and his aristocratic friends are the epitome of hipsters-- a group of unconventional unbelievers who live a frivolous life of wild parties and intellectually philosophical conversations. Within their small group, there is an atmosphere of utopic uniqueness, where being the outlier-the quality of otherness-- is sought after. In this post-modern setting, ambiguous “post-sexual, post-racial, post-identity, post-past” is celebrated by the men. Thus, Jude, with his secretive past and story is praised by his friends as the “post-man” who shines as a literary minority. As the story continues each character becomes further invested in their rich, stressful professional lives. Soon, lies, betrayals and miscommunications unthread the group of friends until only Willem and Jude are left. While we see Willem and Jude’s relationship blossom, Jude’s secrets are peeled back painstakingly

inch-by-inch as we see him cut himself and trace the scars left behind from a traumatic childhood accident. With each chapter, we are given an intimate confession of Jude’s past-- descriptive flashbacks of the gut-wrenching history Jude had and is barely enduring in the present. “The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly, “ Nick says in The Great Gatsby. Likewise, we dreadfully and uncontrollably continue on with the book, watching Jude’s life slowly and successfully crumble apart. There is no catharsis or feeling of hope. This is supposed to be a sad, depressing story reminding us how little life can be. Just as The Great Gatsby is disillusioned tale of a man who never achieved his American dream, A Little Life is about the nostalgic unfulfilled and tarnished life of a man.

Anthony Doerr: A new light spotted By Bonna Yi Marie-Laure is blind, motherless and living in Nazi-occupied France. Her childhood is spent exploring the detailed miniatures of her Paris neighborhood her papa, keeper of the keys for the Natural History Museum, made as a substitute for her eyes. In a parallel story, we see Werner Pfenning, an orphaned German kid living in the mining town of Zollverein. Werner is a the quintessential Aryan male, with snowy white hair and a talent for science-- fixing radios, in particular. Soon enough, Werner is recruited and sent to an elite training school for the future cadre of the Third Reich. The detailed, realistic story of Werner’s time at the school-- and of the brutal “kill or to be killed” mindset that drives the students-- allows the readers to connect to the individualized character. Doerr creates a fantastical history-a new world of storytelling between two different characters whose paths eventually collide. The anticipated “boy meets girl” moment adds to climax of

the novel, forcing the build-up of one momentous event after another. Much like The Book Thief, another historical fiction set in Nazi Germany, the youngadult characters are fascinating. Their idiosyncrasies (such as Marie-Laure’s obsession with the shells of snails) color the story not as just another retelling of the ordinary German/French during the Nazi era, but rather,as individualized stories that were never told. Despite the Doerr’s great talent to details and ability to lure us into the stories of his characters, the misused French and German vernacular makes the story a tab bit unrealistic. From time to time, one can sniff out the awkward French/German phrasings of certain Yankee idioms (it’s odd to hear the French say “Think Big”). Furthermore, Doerr’s prose, however poetic and beautiful it is, becomes tiresome after the first 50 pages. The mix of sharp, short sentences and long descriptions of the scenery using at least three SAT adjectives renders the book way too long.

The light in the title is both in a literal and metaphorical sense. Literally, the light we cannot see are the radio waves.The light is a topic Werner hears on the radio about the brain’s ability to create light in the darkness-- a theme that is amplified throughout the dark trials and tribulations Werner goes through at his cadet school. Metaphorically, the light we cannot see are the untold lives-- stories of people that we never got to see. The lights are shed on the lies told and hidden throughout the story. From the false letters of assurances coming from areas of grave danger to glorifying Nazi propaganda, the light for survival is threatening to be snuffed out. Yet throughout all the deception and cruelties of a war-ridden world, we are reminded to open the eyes and “see what you can with them before they close forever”. Through his novel, Doerr managed to shed light on the stories of MarieLaure and Werner before our eyes closed forever.


the blue & gold february 16, 2016

Burger Ray: Where burgers are made your way By Christine Lin Burger Ray, which opened last year in downtown Taipei (though there is also one in the Shilin area), is a fast food joint with a fancy twist: the restaurant offers solely burgers, fries, and milkshakes, but specializes in high-quality, novel burger flavors such as “foie gras and truffle” or “quinoa, mushroom, and veggie.” A must-visit if you’re looking for a place to satisfy your American food cravings, Burger Ray also features an unique build-yourown-burger style menu, offering unexpected extras such as truffle sauce, candied pineapple and guacamole along with classic addons such as mushrooms, thick-cut bacon, and caramelized onions. Burger Ray is the typical American fast food joint brought to Taiwan, and is especially popular during peak lunch hours – for good reason. Served in a wire basket with brown newspaper, their signature burger (to which I added cheddar cheese and butter sauteed mushrooms) satisfied all my comfort food needs. The bun was soft, the burger patty was tender and juicy, the lettuce was fresh, and the cheese warm and melted. The fries, which come with the burger if you order a set, were hot and crispy. The restaurant also wins bonus points from me for providing free chili and cheese sauce to top your fries.

Unfortunately, the interior of the restaurant, although nicely decorated with industrial elements such as bare bulbs, brick walls, and metal chairs, is very small. With only a few tables available, the majority of customers are left to wait outside or eat standing around the communal bar area, which can get a little crowded. Burger Ray also has a slightly overpriced menu: toppings, including cheese, cost extra money, so the price of your burger can quickly add up to 300 NT or more. Despite this, I’ll definitely be returning to Burger Ray to try out all the creative burger flavors being offered. It’s the perfect burger place, and its food definitely beats that of JB’s Diner.

Price: $$ (200 - 400 NT) Opening Hours: Monday-Thursday, Sunday 11 am-9 pm; Friday-Saturday 11 am-10 pm How to get there: Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT Rating: 4/5

Destined for greatness or disappointment? By Andrew Lin After a rather slow start to Year One of Destiny featuring ‘The Dark Below’ and ‘The House of Wolves’ expansion packs, the game developers Bungie began Year Two of Destiny by releasing the much anticipated ‘The Taken King’ expansion for Xbox and Playstation online consoles, which has changed many features about Destiny’s massive multiplayer gameplay. Destiny takes place in a futuristic era where humanity has expanded throughout the solar system but is overwhelmed by multiple warring extraterrestrial factions. The player fights as a Guardian who serves as part of humanity’s last defense force. The release of ‘The Taken King’ adds a much needed in-depth storyline to Destiny in which the Taken, a mysterious yet advanced group of extraterrestrials, begins to wage war on humanity; the player is forced to fight against the Taken and its leader, Oryx. Despite the Year One expansion packs adding more background and information to Destiny, it was still met with criticism for a continued lack of direction of the story and the lingering issue of players unfairly “farming” for in-game items. However, with the latest expansion pack, ‘The Taken King’, released, Destiny’s gameplay experience has improved dramatically by making the game more player-friendly, fixing numerous game flaws, and

adding another wave of in-game equipment for players to find or buy. ‘The Taken King’ revised many unpopular in-game systems to become more flexible for players to manage. Gameplay has noticeably improved with a single in-game currency instead of separate currencies that have often confused players before. The revisions have also changed the system of leveling up, making it much easier for new players to rank up while learning the basic mechanics of the game. These changes have made playing

the game much smoother and easier to understand, compared to when the game was first released. The expansion pack also adds more customizations, which will impact gameplay and representation in Destiny’s social spaces. Newly released weapons, armor pieces, and vehicles from ‘The Taken King’ have a big impact on gameplay as they determine how strong a Guardian can be because different equipment can change a player’s combat statistics in game. For example, a chest armor piece may grant a faster grenade

cooldown speed or give bonus damage to your weapon. These armor additions are all unique in both design and bonus abilities, giving the player different ways to choose what they want to wear and what color they want their armor to be. These new additions have made multiplayer experience more competitive, making it similar to Halo’s multiplayer. But ‘The Taken King’ still faces one major problem that previous expansion packs also faced: the price. Destiny itself has become much cheaper than it was when

it was first released, now coming in at around $15-25 U.S. dollars instead of the previous $35-50 dollars range. However, ‘The Dark Below’ and ‘The House of Wolves’ are both $20 each and ‘The Taken King’ is set at a rather ugly $40. This would mean that buying all the packs and the game separately would equate to a sum of roughly $100 dollars. This deeply contrasts with buying Destiny: Legendary Edition, which already contains all the packs and the game, resulting in this edition only coming at a price of $60 total. This makes a $40 dollar difference between buying the Legendary Edition and buying all the components separately. Overall, Destiny is a good game with a solid foundation carried over by Bungie’s Halo franchise. While the campaign of the game is mundane with relatively minor improvements, Destiny is able to carry a multiplayer experience that is both very competitive and infuses multiplayer aspects from several other games.

Value for Money: $$ Rating: 4/5 System: XBOX Live; Playstaytion 3 and 4 (Internet required) Where to Buy: Amazon Play Time: Unlimited


the blue & gold february 16, 2016

Lethal Mr. Robot virus takes hold of viewers By Bonna Yi The “dream of saving the world” is what Elliot Alderson, star of the hit Golden Globe winning show “Mr. Robot”, seeks to achieve. However, Elliot isn’t your average hero with outworldly superpowers. He’s a socially awkward IT technician by day and vigilante hacker by night. Elliot’s fight against injustice includes arresting a child pornographer and exposing unfaithful husbands-all done behind the screen of his computer. Soon enough, Elliot is scouted by the mysterious Mr. Robot-leader of an underground hacktivist group (a take on real life hacktivist, Anonymous)-- to start a cyberrevolution on exterminating the world’s debt. The real struggle in “Mr.Robot” is not the fight for world justice. Rather, much of the struggle revolves around Elliot’s mysterious mind and his nihilistic social anxiety. Elliot’s character is quite simply

disturbed, and it purposely makes us uncomfortable and creeped out. Yet, we are intrigued. We want to somehow understand this alienated, anti-hero who breaks the fourth wall by directly addressing his audience. The combination of Elliot’s monotonous, raw monologue on how screwed up society is, his routine drug use, and schizophrenic visions of men in black suits following him truly shows the mess behind a brilliant mind. The tone of “Mr.Robot” is very much what you expect a computer would sound like-- disinterested, unfeeling, mechanical, and menacingly cold. Elliot himself is a manifestation of the computers. We see the manic computations of numbers and misconstrued thoughts in Elliot’s life. Yet we also begin to see a hint of humanity behind the story, and we desperately seek after it episode after episode. Due to Elliot’s social anxiety, he seeks human interactions by hacking into their lives. The thematic

struggle of using technology for human comfort resonates strongly in our society today, where Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is used in place of physical contact. The episodes are exhilarating, dark psychological thrillers featuring cruel languages with intensely provocative plotlines. The pessimistic themes featured on the show-- of fighting against American capitalist corporations, income inequality and the internet-- are timely premises that force us to be introspective about our own role in society. More importantly, the theme of an unlikely hacktivist hero reminds us that we too can fight, not with words or fists, but with numbers and codes.

Released: 6/24/15 Won the 2015 Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series -- Drama Rating: 3.5/5

Mr. Robot Season 2 begins playing this summer on USA Network. [GOOGLE IMAGES]

#OscarsSoWhite: Dearth of Diversity and Opportunity By Jocelyn Chen Lack of diversity in the media is a constant, controversial topic in the U.S. as most would agree that an increasingly progressive 21st century should reflect more equality on screen. Yet, minority representation seems to never be up to par with the standards of those rallying online for more people of color roles to be not only present but acknowledged by the Academy. #OscarsSoWhite is a trending hashtag criticizing whitewashing, or white dominance in characters and movie roles. What was outrageous to many people was that not a single person of color has been nominated for an Academy Award this year. Sadly enough, the hashtag was not created this year; it was brought back

to trend for a second time after last year’s same situation. In fact, this is the 5th time that the Oscars nomination list features exclusively white actors in the past 30 years. In the years between 1927 and 2012, 99 percent of women who have won “Best Actress” have been white, and the same is true for 91 percent of men who have won “Best Actor.” To break it down, there are a lot of angry people. These people are mad for different reasons. The first issue is that people believe some black roles deserving of nominations were “snubbed,” a term commonly used to describe films or actors that were ignored or put aside for less deserving films or actors, by minor white roles. The two leading cases seem to be Straight Outta Compton and Creed, two well-reviewed box office

films about black lives, which the only recognition received for the films went to the white writers of Straight Outta Compton and a white actor from Creed. The black directors of each movie along with their non-white actors, most notably director Ryan Coogler (Creed, Fruitvale Station) and actor Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Fruitvale Station), were shut out. The second issue is one that was raised in Viola Davis’s speech at the 2015 Emmys just a short while ago. The problem is that there are not enough minority roles in the media to begin with, let alone to get nominated for awards. Many people who argue against criticism of whitewashing insist the roles nominated were the most deserving and therefore are not problematic. However--that’s the issue. The same amount of opportunities

“Creed,” with MIchael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone, who received an Oscar nomination for his performance. [WARNER BROTHERS]

simply do not exist for minority actors. The third group of angry people is the people who are upset about or critical of the #OscarsSoWhite trend and general outrage against the Academy. Some of these people believe that the social media users are overreacting, whereas some disagree with the way they have reacted. Actors and producers Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith controversially announced that they would be boycotting the 2016 Oscars due to lack of diversity. Many black celebrities responded negatively and felt that the boycott was unnecessary. Rapper Ice Cube, who co-produced Straight Outta Compton, compared the boycott to “crying about not having enough icing on your cake” while interviewed on The Graham Norton Show. He said, “We don’t do movies for the industry. We do it for the fans and the people. You know, the industry, if they give you a trophy or not, or they give you a pat on the back or not, it’s nice but it’s not something you should dwell on. We got accolades from [all kinds of people]. We got so much praise for the movie, and it’s like, how could you be mad ‘cause one other academy or guild or anybody didn’t say it’s the number 1?” Actress Janet Hubert, who co-starred alongside Will Smith on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as Aunt Viv, posted a viral video that slammed the Smiths and their decision to boycott. Her and some others feel that Smith is acting in response to his snub for his lead role in the film Concussion. “I find it ironic that somebody who has made their living and has made millions and millions of dollars from the very people that you’re talking about boycotting just because you didn’t get a nomination, just because you didn’t win?” said Hubert. “That’s not the way life works, baby.” Although the face of the main battle for minority representation depicts a clash between black and white representation, the lack for black representation is a loss for all minority groups who continue to struggle to

make it to the screen. In the last 10 years, no acting Oscars have been of Latino, Asian, or Native American descent, not to mention that there still is a lack of women involved in the Academy. Women are also affected by Academy bias: in the past 85 years, 99% of the Best Director winners were male, and 77% of Academy Voters were male.

In the last 10 years, no acting Oscars have been of Latino, Asian, or Native American descent. The all-white Oscars nomination list this year probably wasn’t a shocker for most people, and that’s why it was just that much more infuriating. The fact that the statistics used in this article, which date back 85 years, are still relevant and reflective of media diversity today is disheartening. The Academy has addressed these issues and committed to changing their system with a promise to double the amount of women and academy members of color by 2020, claiming they are “going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up.” Although it’s not an immediate solution, nor do I think there is one, the Academy has taken an important step forward and hopefully, the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag will not make a third round next year.

News Brief


the blue & gold february 16, 2016

Congratulations, Ms. President By Shereen Lee Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) nominee Tsai Ing-wen won the Taiwanese general election for president by a landslide victory earlier this month with a stunning 57.7% of the total vote. Aside from the momentous achievement of becoming Taiwan’s first female president, the win also means much for Taiwan’s future policy, ending a history of political dominance by the pro-China Kuomingtang (KMT) party. Taiwan’s increasingly green political alignment, especially after the DPP dominated in a simultaneous legislative election and during mayoral elections last year, has resulted in the DPP’s first control in legislation since Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist government was ousted from mainland China in 1949. Tsai has made great strides toward improving her party from her election as leader of the DPP in 2008; the party had just taken a series of blows as the first DPP member to become president, Chen Shui-bian, was convicted of embezzlement and taking bribes, tarnishing the reputation of the DPP. “We had very low morale after the presidential defeat,” said DPP secretary-general Joseph Wu.

“No one was willing to pick up the pieces.” Tsai was one of the few exceptions, and she successfully led the DPP back to major victories, and now, control in the the Legislative Yuan, for mayorship, and of course, a spot in the presidential office. She is still holding a post as the president of the DPP. On the other hand, KMT’s nominee, Eric Chu, resigned from his post as the party’s leader postpresidential defeat. The two had campaigned against each other for mayorship of New Taipei before, for which Chu defeated Tsai by a narrow margin. Now, as the tables are turned and the DPP is becoming increasingly embraced by the Taiwanese people, the post-Chu KMT is making steps towards pronationalism itself, wooing the public through a proposal to remove the word “Chinese” from their official name, the “Chinese National Party.” The election and name change are all signs of a new generation eager to reclaim Taiwanese sovereignty— so much, in fact, that the election results were not a surprise for most people. I asked students about their responses to the recent election, the comment which I heard from almost everyone was that they had expected the results.

6 months of terror in the Middle East and Africa By Amanda Huang

2015 was rife with terrorist attacks, but how much do you really know about current events revolving around terrorist groups? Here’s an inside look at some of the underreported attacks in the last 6 months of 2015.

One of the primary reasons for Madame President’s positive response is due to the involvement of youth in this election. “I was struck by the younger generation’s level of political engagement and influence,” remarked political science teacher Dr. Nelson. “I think a lot of people would love to see similar levels of engagement from American youth.” The positions of our new president, as the face of our government, will especially influence legislature and diplomatic relationships to 2020 and beyond. On China, one of Taiwan’s greatest policy struggles: although Tsai firmly supports Taiwan’s independence with the rest of the DPP, she also hopes to maintain Taiwan’s tentative link to China for the time being. Tsai remained nebulous on the future of Taiwanese-Chinese relations during her campaign, saying that she would “work toward maintaining the status quo for peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait in order to bring the greatest benefits and well-being to the Taiwanese people” in her victory speech. Ms. President will take office this May, succeeding two-term former president Ma Ying-jeou and ushering in a new political age for Taiwan in the international sphere.

1. July 1: Lone wolf perpetrator

Yishai Schlissel, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man, stabbed 6 people in a gay pride parade. He had just been released from jail after having stabbed three people in a similar parade back in 2005. [Jerusalem, Israel]

2. August 7: A suicide bomber

attacked recruits outside a military academy. A truck bomb was also set off in a residential area. It created a thirty-foot crater and leveled an entire block. More than 50 people died and over 500 were wounded. Officials suspect the Taliban. [Kabul, Afghanistan]

3. August 13: A refrigeration truck

Election Reflections By Bonna Yi

Tsai Ing-wen raises her hands in victory [GOOGLE IMAGES]


President Tsai Ing-wen... • Is a moderate who seeks to “maintain the status quo” • Attended National Taiwan University, Cornell, London School of Economics--all in the studies of Law. • Identifies herself as HAKKA • Headed a biotechnology company, TaiMediBiologics • Supports LGBT+ rights and same-sex marriage

On Friday, 5:00 p.m, the rally for the Democratic People’s Party began at the National Taiwan University. Despite the drizzling rain and chilly weather, a whopping 30,000 people attended the rally to show their support for Tsai Ing-wen—the newly elected president of Taiwan. As an outsider attending the rally, I’ve got to say that this presidential rally was immensely different from those in the United States. Instead of top-notch security guards at every corner, organized banners and stadium seatings, the Taiwanese rally resembled more of a night market or bazaar. Tsai Ing Wen satchels, masks (with anti-Chinese symbols), and clocks were sold at every corner. Stinky tofus and dumpling stands were set, and college student activists were wildly passing out pamphlets and doing mini-speeches of their own. Despite not understanding a word of chinese, I could definitely feel the uproarious excitement (at this point, Tsai Ing-wen’s imminent victory was obvious). Pride and contentment were visible among many faces (as well as sleepy eyes on kids dragged out by their parents to see the momentous event). The combination of rain, crowds, food stands, and the close proximity of Tsai Ing-wen on the stage (wearing an ordinary get up of a trouser and jacket) made the whole experience very much informal and thus quite simply, people-like. There were no men or women in serious business suits with bodyguards following them around or podiums with bullet proof glass. As people stood under raincoats and umbrellas, I couldn’t help but think the moment was visually reminiscent of the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong—a bit of fear for what may come, but most of all, a hope for change with the new presidency.

loaded with explosives blew up in a market. The targets were followers of Shia Islam. 76 people died and 212 people were wounded. [Baghdad, Iraq]

6. October 19: A bomb exploded

4. September 20: Boko Haram

of Muharram, ISIS detonated three bombs in a building full of Shias. One teenager died and between 50 to 80 people got wounded. This was the first attack against Bangladesh’s Shia community. [Dhaka, Bangladesh]

executed multiple bombings, targeting a market, a mosque, and football match viewers. Casualties come out to at least 53 dead and more than 90 wounded. [Maiduguri, Nigeria]

5. October 2: Suicide bombers

detonated their bombs at a bus stop and outside a police station. 18 people were killed and 41 people were wounded. [Abuja, Nigeria]

in a bus killing at least 11 people and wounding 22 people. [Quetta, Pakistan]

7. October 24: At a Mourning


November 28: Militants fired rockets on a MINUSMA peacekeeping forces base. Ansar Dine has claimed responsibility for this attack. 3 people died and 20 were wounded. [Kidal, Mali]

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