The Blue & Gold: Volume XXII, Issue 2

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Taipei American School | 800 Chung Shan North Road, Section 6, Taipei, Taiwan | | VOLUME XXII, ISS. 02 | December 1, 2015

Finding new platforms for ideas By Jocelyn Chen This coming December 5th, we can anticipate an engaging speaker series in the Small Theatre for the second annual TEDx at Taipei American School event. Themed “To be continued…,” the series will feature 6 student speakers and 2 guest speakers. They will be sharing their concepts that relate to “the future” or that can be “continued,” according to Lead Organizer Angie Wijaya (12). “To be continued” can also be seen as a reference to this year being a continuation of last year’s event. The themes by TEDx this year and last (“Unbounded”) could be described as extremely broad, which opens up the realm of discussion. Angie said, “The themes are open-ended so that a variety of people can talk about them, whether they want to talk about science or selfgrowth--they can apply it to the theme.” Felicity Lin (11), Head of Marketing, said, “You’ll be able to expect a lot of different topics, but they’ll all draw back to the theme of something to be continued.” In comparison to last year’s event, this year’s will be more student speakerbased. “When we think of ‘TEDx Taipei

American School,’ what’s special about it is that it’s at our school,” said Angie. “We wanted to showcase more of the voices in our community.” The 6 student speakers presenting in December have been selected by the TEDx team and worked with the team all throughout November crafting their ideas and thoughts into presentable forms. Their speeches have been shaped to appeal to our school audience and to be more interactive. With just a few days before the event, Angie and Felicity urge all TAS students and teachers to join. Angie said, “Come and see people that you see every day talk about interesting things, or things you may have never thought about—things that could make you think differently.” TEDx is all about the sharing of different ideas, which Felicity says makes the event “worth going to, because not only do you receive knowledge from others, but you can also share the ideas with those around you. TEDx inspires ideas worth spreading.”

Calling all participants: Lead Organizer Angie Wijaya (12) has high hopes for this year’s TEDxTAS.

Tickets (free) are now available for reservation! For tickets and more info about the TEDx team and event, visit

The last inning for IASAS softball By Emily Yang

Out!: Decisions from IASAS committee make this year’s IASAS softball the last.

Since last year, the IASAS schools have been discussing a change from the slow-pitch softball program to baseball for boys and fast-pitch softball for girls. This year, they finally set the decision in stone and declared next school year’s IASAS baseball and fast-pitch softball. Unlike TAS, Singapore American School and International School Bangkok have long had progressive baseball and fastpitch programs and backed IASAS on the call. Due to several concerns, TAS has

decided to pull out from the IASAS tournament in 2017. “There are a number of variables that are specific to our institution that don’t exist at others,” said Mr. Mueller, Director of Health, PE, and Sports from K-12. “Facilities, space, budget, and most importantly, the safety and well-being of our students. Making sure that the transition from softball to baseball and fast-pitch goes smoothly and we don’t increase the risk of injury.” When the pitches no longer sail in a slow arc at the batter, a wild pitch could

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result in a strike to the head or the body. The pitching mechanics between slowpitch softball, baseball, and fast-pitch are completely different as well, which means that pitchers would be especially subject to injuries. “You can tear your rotator cuff, or shred your labrum,” said Mr. Mueller. “You can do a lot of things to your upper body if you haven’t taken the time necessary to learn certain techniques.” Another problem is that one can’t just start baseball or fast-pitch late in the game. “I grew up playing baseball since first, second grade, and people here, from what I know, don’t really do that,” said Paul Imbrogulio (11), a returning player of the Varsity Boys’ Softball team. “It’s not like softball where you can just pick up the game. It’s something you need to play for a long time to be capable and to just be safe about it too.” As a result, the Athletics Department plans to build the Middle School baseball and fast-pitch softball program first and expand into Upper School later. The year off of the tournament will be necessary to slowly build a baseball/fast-pitch culture as well as build infrastructure. Naturally, this decision was met with outrage from the softball players— especially next year’s seniors. “When

I first heard about it, it sounded pretty cool,” said Paul. “But then I was informed that we wouldn’t be going our senior year, and now I am, I think, rightfully [angry].” Some don’t see any reason for pulling out. “Regarding safety concerns, every sport has its risks,” said Annie Yu (11). “The risk of fast-pitch softball is one that parents and students are all willing to take, so why stop us? If safety concerns are the real issue, then why not cancel something like IASAS rugby, too?” “If we can feel the team and if we can be decent, then I don’t see why we couldn’t go,” said Paul. “We’ll make the decision next year is what I thought would be smarter instead of just going like, ‘Okay, we decided we’re not going in 2017, 2 years from now.’ Unfortunately, TAS itself can do little about the decision the IASAS committee has made, and pulling out of next year’s tournament is the Athletics Department’s attempt to help the proper development of the program without endangering students. Whether they like it or not, softball players will have to make a choice between attending transitional practices next year and playing another sport. In the meantime, they will have to make the best of their upcoming, last ever slowpitch softball IASAS.

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Shooting hoops with robots By Vivian Kuo & Caroline Chou

“Robotics first; life can wait,” said Kevin Chou (11). Kevin, along with a group of dedicated robotics aficionados, is currently preparing for the annual Formosa VEX competition that will be held December 5, 2015. Every year, TAS has the honor of hosting this competition that brings Taiwan’s robot enthusiasts together. Each competition has a different set of rules, and this year’s theme is “Nothing but Net.” The goal of this competition is to create an exhilarating game of basketball played by the robots. The objective of the game is to acquire a higher score than the opposing team by dropping balls into the goal. There are two types of balls: bonus balls (located in the arena) and regular balls (constantly loaded outside of the arena.) The robots are crafted carefully to exceed maximum performance in each arena. Like the NBA with myriads of teams, the amount of participants in the competition has also increased significantly over the years. There are 37 teams total competing for this continued on page 2


the blue & gold december 1, 2015

Dengue fever hits Taiwan

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year’s competition, with 9 from the TAS Upper School and 8 from Middle School. Teams from other visiting schools have also long prepared for this

intensive battle. “I think how good they [other teams] are is relative, but they haven’t been able to [beat] TAS and our team is planning to keep it that way,” said Jinhyun Park (12).

By Andrew Lin Every year, people from Taipei will travel down to southern Taiwan to visit relatives or to enjoy the assortment of activities that the area has to offer. In recent months, however, Dengue fever has plagued the entire southern region of Taiwan and the recent outbreak has caused panic among the residents of the south. Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne illness that is spread by a species of mosquito known as the Yellow Fever Mosquito, or Aeges Agypti. When infected by a single mosquito bite, one experiences common symptoms such as a sudden fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, rashes, nausea and vomiting. However, when the disease deteriorates into dengue hemorrhagic fever, it can be fatal if not properly treated. Dengue fever can result in organ dysfunction, severe bleeding, low blood pressure and blood plasma leakage—although such cases are small in percentage. Currently the disease is only

causing problems in the Kaohsiung and Tainan districts with small cases reported in Pingtung and elsewhere. As of November 5th, the reported cases of Dengue fever have already topped 30,000 cases and more than 100 patients have died from the fever despite the best efforts of Taiwanese healthcare. In response, the Taiwanese government has sent the military to suppress the mosquitoes with pesticides. The Center of Disease Control or the CDC has also encouraged the residents in the south to help suppress the disease by spraying pesticides and removing artificial water containers that provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes. There are sevetal different ways to prevent getting Dengue fever: using insect repellant when outside, staying indoors to prevent chances of getting bitten or covering all the skin areas to prevent bites. Just remember: there is no vaccine or cure for Dengue Fever so it is very important to protect yourself from mosquitoes.

Going for the gold: Robotics teams working on a prototype to design a lightweight robot that functions at high speeds. [VIVIAN KUO & CAROLINE CHOU]

Most students on the robotics team work at the lab 2 to 3 times a week. However, as the competition draws nearer, students visit the lab almost every day. Kevin Chou’s (10) team designed a prototype in Autodesk Inventor, a software used for engineering and construction, over the summer. His hardware is almost complete. Kevin “loves being part of the VEX Robotics community because everyone is pretty chill and easy to approach.” This is his third year participating in the VEX competition and he thinks that it is a great way to dive deeper into the world of robotics. However, the triumphs come with hardships. Daniel Shen (11)’s most memorable moment when constructing the robot was finally getting “the custom differential [part of the robot] to fit in the robot frame by the 957385th attempt.” It’s clear that the TAS teams are wholeheartedly dedicated into preparing for the competition. This is a great chance to cheer on your friends and watch some intensive games of unconventional basketball. For those of you out who want to know more about robotics, don’t miss this opportunity to attend this competition.

New era for women: elections in January By Shereen Lee With the general election for Taiwan’s next head of state coming up in less than 4 months, the buzz surrounding presidential hopefuls is only increasing, and with good reason: the upcoming elections are poised to make Taiwanese history. The frontrunners, Tsai Ing­ -wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Hung Hsiu-­ chu of the Kuomingtang (KMT) Party, are both women, which will likely lead to the inauguration of Taiwan’s first female president. The fact that there are few prominent male politicians in either of their parties also makes the 2016 election a rarity not just in Taiwan, but the world. Beyond this, the two politicians

Next stop for Netflix’s expansion By Bonna Yi Calling all the Netflix lovers in Taiwan, deprived of your favorite shows and movies: the wait is over! Netflix recently announced plans to open in Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan by early next year. “The combination of increasing Internet speeds and ubiquity of connected devices provides consumers with the anytime, anywhere ability to enjoy their favourite TV shows and movies on the Netflix service,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in a statement. Netflix’s expansion helped the

company add 3.28 million new subscribers in the recent quarter, with most of them coming from Netflix’s new international markets. The company is keeping mum on pricing, programming, and availability for the four Asian countries, with details said to be coming at a later date. Instead of buffering illegal streaming or paying for pricey VPNs, you can soon indulge in your favorite shows like House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black as an honest and legal Netflix viewer. Now go binge-watch!

also have strong views which are likely to promote dramatic changes within the country. Hung Hsiu­ -chu, current vice president of the Legislative Yuan and former elementary school teacher, hopes to promote relations with China through promising actions ranging from signing peace treaties to establishing that China and Taiwan are one country. Nicknamed “Little Hot Pepper” by her supporters for her fiery and rousing speeches, Hung will carry on in the steps of past Taiwanese presidents to take cross­strait relations to a new level. On the other hand, Tsai Ing­-wen, chairperson of the DPP and former professor of law, hopes to broaden Taiwan’s scope and further increase civil

liberties, encouraging political protests and declaring that she will introduce a vote on legalizing gay marriage. In stark contrast from Hung’s pro­-China position, Tsai, along with the rest of her party, hopes to lessen socioeconomic dependence on China and maintain a stance of independence. The opposing views have highlighted the division in political stances, but seem to display a decisive trend: Tsai has consistently been in the lead for polls from June, and the latest poll from news company TVBS saw Tsai lead by more than 15%, with 40% of voter approval. zno matter who takes office, Taiwan is set to see an unprecedented 4 years of policy change and problem solving.

the blue & gold december 1, 2015

Stand up and support school spirit


By Jocelyn Chen

TAS isn’t a bad school; in fact, it’s a great school. We hold titles for a multitude of things including robotics, math, science, and sports. We have resources that most other American high schools don’t have, such as art machine developments, research database access, and incredible facilities including for classrooms and athletics. Even our cafeteria food could be considered well above the standard American high school food. So, my question is: why isn’t our school spirit up to par with all of our greatness? School spirit is loosely defined as emotional support for one’s educational institution. When I asked 25 people if they thought our school was spirited, 21 of them said no. Coming from a public high school in California, I personally saw the difference in school spirit between the schools as well. At my old school, students and teachers looked forward to pep rallies. They are themed and encourage everyone to dress up to receive free things from ASB (equivalent to our Student Government). The gym, a little smaller than our MS Gym, is packed with students and teachers of all grades and everyone—I mean everyone—is on their feet jumping and chanting for either their grade or the school. Announcements similar to our IASAS announcements are given, except they’re given by team

captains rather than faculty members. Announcements additionally include outstanding individual achievements throughout the season. The biggest difference is that aside from announcements, the pep rallies include performances from the school dance team, cheer squad, and a ceremony from the football players (where they attack a replica of the rivalry school mascot… I have to say this does raise a lot of school spirit, but tell that to our 5 Values). The motive behind spirit at our school varies and usually steers away from wanting to support our school. Angie Wijaya (12) said, “People are usually only supportive of their friends. When people are spirited, it’s for their friends, not for the school.” True, if you go to a sports match you can see the majority of

students watching are there to cheer on their friends. The thing is, at my old school, you probably wouldn’t recognize almost half or more of the athletes or performers celebrated at the rallies. Yet regardless, there’s a huge surge of support for the school’s teams. However, we may see an upward trend in spirit with the help of StuGov, Spirit Committee, and Athletics Council. Spirit Committee officer Serena Chen (12) said, “I think we’re getting better at this whole school spirit thing. Some of the activities we try to do, like Spirit Night,

attract more people to sports events.” But whether or not TAS school spirit can continue to improve is debatable. Takeshi Yamashita (12) doesn’t think it will get better. He said, “It’s just a different culture. Spirit should be intrinsic. The rewards [and] prizes [from the Athletics Department] try to force spirit, but it shouldn’t be like that.” Kenny Lin (12) said, “Dress-up during Spirit Week or Field Day isn’t that bad. We do a bad job for sports, though.” There’s a possibility that people aren’t as spirited about sports as they are for school events because they don’t know much about some of the sports. On the other hand, there is a group mentality behind spirit. “I know people in college who are going to football games even though they don’t know anything

about football. People are going because everyone is going,” said Kenny. That’s where we can do better: a lot of people have told me that spirit at TAS is low because many people feel silly or stupid, or that they are “too cool” to go wild with cheering during school events. “People think it’s cool to be not spirited or to act like they don’t care,” said Iris Loo (12), “but it actually is cool to be passionate about our school.” Next time there is a chance to be supportive of either your advisor group, class, or school, just do it! I have to say that being at a school that you’re proud of and you openly support generates an exciting experience that’s honestly worthwhile and like no other. There’s nothing stupid about encouraging a team even if you don’t personally know anyone in the team. You can be proud of someone for winning iGEM championships even if they aren’t your best friends. Cheer for your class during Field Day. Try being “too cool” to stay sitting while the rest of your peers are standing up for TAS.

Go Tigers! The TAS cheerleading squad from 1987 poses in unison for a team photo. [TAIPEI AMERICAN SCHOOL FACEBOOK PAGE]

Serve yourself before serving others

By Emily Yang

When I stumbled upon the activities section of the Common Application, a rush of paranoia hit me. How many extracurricular activities do I take part in? And just how many is the average high school student expected to partake in throughout these 4 years? I soon found myself on College Confidential, a forum for kids desperate to get into college, reading lists on lists of different students’ extracurricular activities. As I read, I grew increasingly concerned—not just because everyone seemed to be much more involved than me. At TAS and in other schools around the world, many students think it necessary to not have a life. Some overachievers are juggling 7 hours of school each day, captaining the Robotics and three varsity sports teams, helping out at local orphanages, founding student corporations, and interning at research centers on a regular basis. Take, for example, this pseudorésumé I found on College Confidential: Or this one: Extracurriculars: Robotics Team (Captain), Student Council (Freshman VP, Sophomore-Senior Class President), Foreign Language Club (VP), Academic Decathlon Team, Boys State Delegate, NHS, Varsity Baseball, Club Travel Baseball, play an unusual instrument. Job/Work Experience: Youth baseball umpire Volunteer/Community Service: Hundreds of hospital volunteer hours, American Red Cross High School Leadership Team, Service mission that provides items for homeless, Peer tutor (calculus, Spanish, chemistry, physics) Summer Activities: Shadowed physicians in different specialties during summers, travel baseball, volunteer work, Robotics

Doing that much is cool. That Extracurriculars: Founded a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, developed website for it, have been raising funds for more than a year. Columbia University Science Honors Program - 2 yrs (very competitive admission), DECA - 3 yrs, Mock Trial - 4 yrs & President, School Math Club - 3 yrs & Co-founder, Paid tutoring, Beekeeping Club - 1 yr Job/Work Experience: Summer job Math Camp teacher Volunteer/Community Service: 80 hrs to youth program while I was going into 10th grade Summer Activities: Georgetown Summer Program (10), Math Camp Intern (11)

is, if they genuinely want to do all of those things. But it’s not so cool if they’re founding a Beekeeping Club or loitering around in a research lab just so they can add another “activity” onto their applications. In a highly competitive and academic environment like TAS, motives for service or activities are, more often than not, misguided. As a club president, I’ve had my fair share of friends asking to be given an officer position because they have “nothing on their apps.” I’ve also watched a few people throughout the years found clubs and subsequently do nothing for them. It’s not an unknown fact—we’ve all seen students start clubs or vie for officer positions just to fill up the space on their applications. The idea of service has been greatly distorted over the years—by schools, parents, and students themselves.

Service has become something arbitrary, something requiring a 50hour commitment for the sake of an IB diploma or a decent-sounding application. And in trying to fill these requirements, we take the most halfhearted attempts to help anybody, slap a few titles onto them, and call them “community service.” Of course, any kind of service, no matter the quality, is a positive thing. However, people must acknowledge that in such cases, their “service” doesn’t exactly solve all problems. For example, although I find the intentions of the Cambodia Service Initiative noble, it is far from the best possible way to help out Cambodians. You spend most of the trip learning how to not nail your own hands, and end up building around 10 houses that you can’t claim to be well-built at all. In the end, you don’t really do all that much for the Cambodian community at large. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that the participants who go on the trip get far more out of it than those that they are trying to help do. If anyone claims that going on that trip to hammer nails into mediocre huts can do more good than simply donating to some reliable corporation like the Cambodian Children’s Fund (rated 99.25 out of 100 by Charity Navigator, the “guide to intelligent giving”) and leaving the constructon process to them, I

wouldn’t be able to agree. Making fun memories aside, these kinds of service trips in general never really do as much as possible for a cause. It’s okay, however, to acknowledge that point and simply not claim that you are doing all that you can. I think it’s great that students are getting out there to learn more about the world through service and initiatives. But if you really want to make something out of yourself or better the world, don’t resort to empty titles or half-hearted methods like many do nowadays. And if you’re out there in the name of a cause, do your job! Something as simple as making that sale poster when your club president tells you to or sharing a video on Facebook can make a difference in the long run. In short: do things that you mean, and mean

the things that you do. If you do that, you’ll be doing the world a lot more service than you think you are doing right now.


the blue & gold december 1, 2015

Toughen Up: Women in the real world By Amanda Huang

Underrepresented: Percentage of women in leadership roles. [NIGHTLY NEWS]

We often refer to ourselves or others as the “minority” but the social context behind what we’re implying is ignored. A minority group is officially defined by Google as “a category of people differentiated from the social majority.” Social majority. I think we can all safely assume that Asians make up the racial majority of TAS. In this new lens, our school’s leadership resides with two minorities: caucasian and female. Dr. Hennessy is one of the few women in leadership positions among

international schools in Asia. However, when we take a look at the bigger picture, this is actually a drastically small number. Men continue to hold higher percentages of positions in the education profession. It’s easy to overlook the discrimination female figures in leadership face on a daily basis. After all, with Tsai Ing-wen and Hillary Clinton running for president in Taiwan and in the United States respectively, so at first glance, society seems to be fairly

accepting of women holding leadership positions. It appears that at last, people no longer deem women “inadequate” as leaders and are finally recognizing their achievements. To me, however, it seems that the more women are finally stepping it up, the more people are starting to doubt the motive behind their actions. Are they trying to accomplish practical tasks, or just trying to prove that women are capable? This idea on its own can make a woman lose her credibility all at once and because of this, women are forced to work harder for the same benefits as men. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been told that I should work harder because society sets harsh double standards for females. We see instances of this everyday. A girl breaks up with a guy and she’s heartless. A guy breaks up with a girl and he’s a boss. It’s not surprising that this mindset is translated into the workplace as well. A female CEO giving orders definitely will not be received the same way as a male CEO giving orders. And this doesn’t just stand for women, but minorities in general. This past summer, I picked up Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO (Chief Operating Officer) of Facebook. As she recounted her struggles and journey to get to where she is now, the emotion that stuck with me the longest was sympathy. She wrote, “Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder.” The message she was trying to convey was for people

to think outside the box and design ways to reach the top rather than stick to a path preset for you. Having heard that analogy, I couldn’t help comparing the preset ladder to the different ways men and women reach certain points

If we can shatter the stigma behind being a household husband, we can also empower the female leader. in their careers. Sandberg also delves into this in her book as she reflects on instances where, as a woman, having great credentials is simply not enough. I’m not trying to say that men do not work hard for their achievements, but rather, maybe it’s time we start thinking about what we can do to level the standards we compare men and women to. Two people, one male and one female, can work the same job, same hours, but it wouldn’t take a genius to guess who will probably be promoted first. Regarding such ever-present double standards, Dr. Moran, Deputy Head of School, said, “Women have to be more experienced and more qualified when competing against men for leadership positions. Certainly, I receive greater respect as Dr. Moran than I would as Ms. Moran or Mrs. Moran.” Because women are seen as inferior, albeit subconsciously, even today, it’s crucial for us to be extremely aware of the opportunities present for us, and

to not take them because they will boost our reputations, but because we genuinely believe a woman can do as good a job as a man can with the same task. “As a woman leader, you have to get on equally well with not just men, but also women. In the field of education, where the majority of teachers at elementary and middle schools are women, you’d better be a good leader for women and preferably [one] who fosters leadership in other women,” said Dr. Moran. Each woman’s mindset is the key factor to all of this, but we must acknowledge our rigid ideals about masculinity. In order for us to move forward and start making changes to the way women are viewed compared to men in the workplace, we should start at home. If we can shatter the stigma behind being a household husband, we can also empower the female leader. “One aspect of today’s society that promises hope for future women leaders is the role of men in the home,” said Dr. Moran. “It’s expected that you are equal partners in the home and child-raising. That is a giant leap forward for families of aspiring female leaders.” Women in leadership have no choice but to toughen up and get ready for a rockier ride. Sandberg embodies what a brave, ambitious woman should be like and I can only hope that as we get older, the jungle gym continues to exist but we will have brought in our own ladder.

The harsh reality of college acceptances By Bonna Yi It’s that time of the year: hopeful TAS seniors are staying up till the light of dawn, finishing their college applications right before their deadlines. One question every college application will ask (that you would otherwise gloss over) is “How do you best identify yourself?” It’s pretty much a question of ethnicity, where your usual options are as followed: Asian, White, Hispanic/Latino, Black, Native American, Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiians, or Other. The question is optional, but then again, nothing in the college process is really optional (plus, the college admissions officer can easily verify your background history by looking at your Facebook Profiles). News flash: most seniors at TAS identify as Asians/Asian Americans. Many seniors (and their persistent parents) are hoping to attend top-notch schools to match their equally top-notch (and expensive) secondary education at TAS. Thus, answering the mundane question of ethnicity shouldn’t really be a concern for most of our student body, at least not when compared to more pressing worries like SAT scores, recommendations, and G.P.A. But it should be. A recent lawsuit by Students for Fair Admission accused Harvard of discriminating Asian American students admissions. It isn’t a blatantly obvious discrimination where college admission officers go, “Oh, this applicant’s an Asian. REJECTION.” Rather, it’s a combination of subconscious

preconceptions of Asians and statistics that result in a subtle discrimination in favor of other races. It is true that there are ways in which the rich, White majority population is advantaged in the college admission process, the first of which is the called “legacy” status. The generation of students educated at Ivy Leagues during the 1970s, 80s, and early 90s were mostly of wealthy, White backgrounds due to their economic and social advantage. Currently, at least 10-15% of Ivy League students have alumni parents. Furthermore, several feeder schools in the U.S, especially the upstate New York prep schools predominantly used by White and wealthy parents, are a key for Ivy League admissions. That’s not to say that Asians in America are financially disadvantaged. In fact, Asian-Americans have the highest median income of $66,000, exceeding the average income of other races. Many have access to hiring college

advisors, SAT prep classes, and resumebuilders such as expensive overseas trips to help less developed communities. However, this same high-income is one of the reason why Asians are seen as the model minority, making them invisible to affirmative action, which focuses more on representing the Blacks and Hispanic populations. The Ivy League is a long-standing institution, established in 1954 to create a conference of eight private institutions of higher education the Northeastern U.S, which includes the prestigious Brown, Harvard, Cornell, Dartmouth, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, and Yale. These schools are conservative from the very beginning; just as they prevented a large Jewish community from entering, now they are preventing a large Asian community to reach their optimal admission rate. Harvard’s quota for Asian Americans stands at 17%, forcing Asians Americans to compete in smaller

applicant pool. Statistics researched by by sociologists Thomas Espenshade and Alexandria Radford show that Asians score 140 points more on the SAT than Whites and 450 points more than African Americans. With the limited admissions at top universities and higher statistical expectations, Asians Americans have bigger competition to face—from within their own race. Meanwhile, other races are represented with lower standards of expectations since many are not set to be the same caliber as Asians. The resulting student demographic is what most Ivy League schools would like to have: a predominately White student body with just enough different ethnicities for statistical representation so that the administration cannot be accused of lacking diversity. The schools suddenly become based on nepotisms and financial matters rather than meritocracies. It should be noted that as an Asian myself, there will be a biased approach.

However, it should also be noted that this article is in no way an attack against the majority. This article serves to support my minority group and shed light on the disadvantages they face in a world where unseen, systematic discrimination exists. But the discrimination should not serve as a discouragement from applying to your dream schools. Rather, it should inspire you to find ways to define yourself beyond stereotypic statistics and biased opinions. And no matter what happens, remembe—America is pretty much a land of universities and colleges; there are plenty of doors open to you.

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

Students accepted into Harvard Class of 2018







the blue & gold december 1, 2015

The blurred lines of healthy dieting CABBAGE SOUP DIET A 7-day quick weight loss plan, this diet makes you follow a strict schedule involving one type of food per day and a whole lot of cabbage soup. Although supposedly effective, people tend to regain the weight immediately after stopping.

PALEOLITHIC DIET Named and modeled after the presumed diet of our Paleolithic ancestors, this fad diet consists solely of nuts, berries, and meat. When taken out of proportion, it can cause calcium and vitamin D deficiencies, or an overdose of fats and protein.

MEDITERRANEAN DIET This diet is not so much a diet as a lifestyle. is considered to be the among the healthiest diets in the world. It emphasizes a higher intake of vegetables, fruit, herbs, grains, and more while maintaining a balance between different foods.

By Andrew Lin It’s 10:30 AM and flex is starting in 5 minutes. You sit there and ponder over what you are going to eat for lunch today: Should you eat hot lunch? A salad? Or something from the snack bar? This is a common concern, but often simply due to people’s indecision over what will best suit their tastes. Instead of that reason, however, you should be mulling over how your next meal will fit into your diet. Having a good, healthy diet can really make a difference in life, but what exactly is a healthy diet and what is an unhealthy one? “A healthy diet is something that gives you a lot of energy to make it through the day,” one freshman said. “An unhealthy diet is something that contains a lot of fat in it.” A senior gave a slightly different definition. “A healthy diet is something that doesn’t make you fat,” she said. “An unhealthy diet is something that makes

you fat.” There is no set definition of a healthy or an unhealthy diet. Some may look at some foods as healthy while others see them as unhealthy; the definition really depends on you and how you look at food. While there is no universal definition, a common definition of a good diet includes a balanced consumption of different food groups. In a society obsessed with gaining or losing weight, people take to all kinds of diets—especially fad diets. A fad diet is usually a weight loss plan that promises dramatic results. These diets normally do not yield long-term weight loss and are generally unhealthy. Some examples of fad diets include the cabbage soup diet, which consists of cabbage soup paired with one food type each day of a week, and the Paleolithic diet, which restricts you to only meat,

nuts and wild berries. Most such diets are deemed unhealthy by scientists as the fads focus on one selective group of foods over other food groups. Focusing on specific food groups often upsets a balanced diet, and prevents people from getting vital nutrients from all food groups. The lack of balanced consumption also leads to malnutrition as you fail to obtain necessary energy from, say, carbohydrates or proteins. Even at TAS, eating disorders resulting from and resulting in a poor diet are everywhere. The two most common eating disorders are anorexia and bulimia. Anorexia is a general fear of weight gain that distorts one’s perception of the body and causes an avoidance of food, which can threaten one’s health and mental outlook. Bulimia, on the other hand, is the excessive consumption of food in a short amount of time (also known as

binge eating) followed by means to lose weight immediately such as vomiting, fasting or exercising. “My cousin suffers from anorexia even though she doesn’t really admit it. She exhibits some symptoms of anorexia, like she continues to view herself as ‘fat’ even though she is super skinny,” one junior said. “She also eats very little, often taking one more two bites before saying that she is full.” Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia are more common than most people think. But beyond just the mainstream and well-known disorders, other less known ones lie in wait. Some other examples of lesser known eating disorders include orthorexia, an obsession with eating healthy that severely restricts food groups, bigorexia, striving for muscle gain through diet restriction, and night eating syndrome, where one fasts throughout the day

(12), however, is probably manning a McDonald’s counter, taking the order of math teacher Mr. Lopez, who comes around that time every week. Such is the fate of a part-timer. At TAS, many of us are used to handling several things at a time, from schoolwork to sports to extracurricular activities. Some students decide to throw part-time jobs into the mix. Nancy Zuniga (11) is one of these students. She works part-time at Eddy’s Cantina, a Mexican restaurant in Section Six off of Zhongshan North Road. “[I started working] because [I] wanted something to do during winter break,” she said. “Then, I would work four or five times a week, but now that I have school and other activities I only work once a week.” While Nancy started working out of boredom, Lucy put herself out there for the sake of the experience. “I… think food-related jobs, where you get to see the other side of service, are a rite of passage that everyone should go through at some stage,” she said.

During January of last year, she came across McDonald’s “wanted” sign, and “figured [she should get a] glimpse of the real world.” It may seem counterintuitive, but taking up a part time job actually improves one’s time management. “If you wake up on Saturday knowing you have to be at work in three hours,” said Lucy, “it forces you to get something done in those three hours.” Beyond polishing time management, however, part-time jobs have indeed given both Nancy and Lucy what the latter called “a glimpse of the real world.” From embarrassing experiences like spilling three glass bottles of Coke on a customer to frustrating ones where customers repeatedly change orders or complain about prices--their job experiences have taught them both a lot. “[Having a job has] definitely forced me to be a lot more empathetic,” said Lucy. “When you have permanently passive-aggressive managers, you learn to never take it personally when they

screech at you and question your intelligence--most likely, they’re on the phone with a drive-thru customer whilst preparing the order of another drivethru customer, whilst trying to manage a group of 16 employees. Instead of thinking ‘Oh em gee, she’s such a witch I hate her and she hates me’ it’s more a case of, ‘Oh, she’s incredibly busy, what can I do to minimize her stress?’” If you ever find yourself uninterested in any school-offered activities, or simply want a similar experience, take the leap into the world of part-time jobs. Whether you intern at a company or wait at a restaurant, you’ll always emerge from a working experience as a better person equipped with substantial, new knowledge.

only to eat at night. If you don’t watch your diet or your self-perception, the possibility of an eating disorder is always real. There are still many ways for people to choose a proper diet without harming their own health. The Mediterranean diet is one diet that is considered healthy by researchers, having been found to reduce the risk of multiple diseases. Having a balanced diet of different food groups will also ensure a strong body and help maintain a better long-term health solution. Exercising regularly and cutting down on calories and salt and fat intake will also help you stay healthy. When you are thinking about food and deciding what to eat, always consider what you are eating, when you are eating and the necessary measures to take in order to have a better long-term health plan.

Full-time students, part-time employees By Emily Yang

At your service: Nancy Zuniga (11) serves up some salsa for customers at Eddy’s Cantina. [NANCY ZUNIGA]

At 8:30 PM on Sunday nights, you’re probably busy cramming for an upcoming test or finishing that last homework assignment. Lucy Davis

On the job: Lucy Davis (12) takes some trash out at McDonald’s. [SAMUEL BIDDICK]


the blue & gold december 1, 2015

Getting to know Mr. Kiang

Mr. Kiang’s title states “US Electronic Systems & Information Specialist and Teacher” in his online signature, meaning he serves as the go-to guy for both faculty and students to ask any tech-related questions. Mr. Kiang said, “Teachers ask a lot of questions.” Imagine every time you were in class and your teacher couldn’t get the SmartBoard to work, couldn’t get the projector to turn on properly, or had problems with the OLC or Google. Now multiply that number tenfold—Mr. Kiang deals with all of these problems every day. Aside from fixing technical difficulties, Mr. Kiang also has coached varsity boys badminton, teaches an A5 Intro to Robotics class, helps out with VEX robotics, and works on game streaming with Mr. Sinclair. This year, TAS is hosting IASAS Track and Field, and Mr. Kiang is heading all the IT work related to scoring, timing, and set-up. Although he studied graphic design and film in college, Mr. Kiang always had an interest in technology. “I loved to code since I was in middle school,” he said. Prior to working in the IT department, he worked on several TAS design projects including coding database information and organizing student grades and SAT scores. “I could see every student’s grades,” he said. “But don’t worry! I forgot all of it.” Mr. Kiang is currently looking to introduce new technology into TAS classrooms. One program is the Class Notebook, which is basically Google Docs on Microsoft OneNote. “[Teachers] can have an online class notebook on a cloud, so whatever you ink or put in onenote, the teacher can see it, even if you’re at home,” he said. The IT department is also looking to implement Apple iPads in Upper School classrooms. The Swivel app on the iPad allows a tripod and iPad to swivel on its stand to follow students or teachers wherever they walk. This is especially helpful for when teachers are overseas during student presentations or ifthey want to record their lectures. Mr. Kiang’s favorite aspect of working at TAS is that every day is different for him. What else does he like about TAS? The scones. “[They’re] so good, but they get sold out pretty fast, so I emailed Mr. O’Neill and asked for more. I have to go at 9 AM just to get a scone,” he said.

Baby Idan on board! By Rebecca Tseng

By Rebecca Tseng & Jocelyn Chen

“It feels like family,” said Upper School art teacher Ms. Kao. “I just want to spend time with him. I’ve never been so aware of time passing because he grows every day. His hands get bigger every day. It’s crazy.” Ms. Kao, who had her first son, Idan, a week before school started, recently came back to work after eight weeks on pregnancy leave. Her husband is Israeli, so her son’s name comes from his side of the family. However, Idan’s

Month-milestone: Ms. Kao holding her newborn baby, Idan, at 4 weeks old. [MS. KAO]

name was actually ‘Sagi’ throughout Ms. Kao’s pregnancy. “It sounds cute unless you pronounced it wrong. Then it could be ‘soggy’ or ‘saggy,’” said Ms. Kao. A lot of aunties voiced concerns over this matter and his name was soon changed. “When he was born it was like yeah, he’s an Idan,” said Ms. Kao. During her first trimester, Ms. Kao was still teaching at school and “just wanted to sleep everywhere.” Later on, morning sickness hit. “It’s like, ‘Oh no maybe my kids will know I’m pregnant right now because I really feel like throwing up into the trash can,’” said Ms. Kao. “I had this experiment to see how long it takes for students to say anything.” It took six months. While it was difficult handling teaching while pregnant, Ms. Kao had the support of the faculty to help her through it. Upper School dance teacher Mrs. Lagerquist (otherwise known as Ms. Q) recommended a book that gave pointers on making babies fall asleep; Mr. O’Rourke, associate principal, suggested always getting onesies with buttons at the bottom to change diapers quickly. Faculty members weren’t the only ones offering tips. “The second you become pregnant, [everyone] wants to talk to you,” said Ms. Kao. “Cab drivers tell you about their grandchildren and sales clerks tell you way too intimate things about their pregnancies. Everyone says it’s hard but all worth it.” Ms. Kao spent only four hours in labor as opposed to the usual delivery time of eight to twelve hours. “My doctor said to not come to the hospital until your contractions are five minutes apart and they’re so painful you want to kill someone. If you can still play on your cellphone, your contractions aren’t strong enough,” she said. But despite the pain, Ms. Kao opted for a natural birth without painkillers. “It’s

something on my bucket list since high school,” she said. To Ms. Kao, it really was all worth it when she first saw her son. “It’s magical,” she said. “I was thinking that most newborns are very funny looking and one of my fears was that I’ll say something inappropriate the first time I saw him, but he was just beautiful.” Now, instead of handling pregnancy, she has to juggle motherhood while teaching. Babies need to eat every two to three hours, so Ms. Kao has been getting significantly less sleep. In the morning, besides getting ready, Ms. Kao must feed Idan, change his diaper, breastfeed, and eat so her milk supply doesn’t drop. Because she wanted to breastfeed naturally, she’s learned to “dress for pumping success” during the school day. “The first month was difficult,” said Ms. Kao. “Instead of burping, he would throw up everything. He’ll fall asleep and we’ll be worried why he was so quiet.” However, she and her husband have gotten lots of love from family and friends. Ms. Kao has even been able to bond with her mom when she came to help. “She’d talk about us as little kids. It’s a new respect for all mothers.” Now, at a little more than three months, Idan has grown into a happy child. “He’ll just chill and talk to himself in his crib. When he’s feeding, he’ll suddenly look up and smile. He laughs in his sleep.” Because Ms. Kao’s husband often speaks Hebrew while Ms. Kao speaks English, and Ms. Kao’s mother speaks Mandarin and Taiwanese, “the baby is balanced with four languages,” said Ms. Kao. Looking forward, Ms. Kao is excited to continue watching her baby grow. “I want to see if his hair is going to be curly, what he’s going to look like when he starts walking around, and what his laugh sounds like,” she said.


the blue & gold december 1, 2015

Mr. Huang: Designer turned educator By Amanda Huang

“Teaching is very different from working as a professional,” said Mr. Andre Huang, new Upper School Art Teacher. “In a professional setting, people carry certain expectations for you. But teaching allows me to sharpen my own skills and translate my knowledge and skill into the students.” Prior to teaching at TAS, Mr. Huang worked in both interior design and the architectural field. In university, Mr. Huang pursued his interest and took architectural based courses. From there, his interest grew into a burning passion. He graduated from Auckland University of Technology with an Honors Degree in Design. “The entire thing is quite cool because you’re basically building the world—the space, the environment people live in: it’s created by you,” said Mr. Huang. Throughout and after university, Mr. Huang entered competitions and held exhibitions. This contributed to one of his main goals: to create a design style that others can recognize as his own. Eventually, Mr. Huang started pursuing residential

work and interior design work professionally. In fact, his design ventures have even led him to become project manager for INDITEX. Many famous brands work with this company, including ZARA Taiwan.

You’re basically building the world—the space, the environment people live in: it’s created by you. “The workload was heavy and I didn’t get to do much design as there is a standard operation procedure to their [ZARA] store

interior,” said Mr. Huang. “The hours were really long, I rarely got off work on time, [and] everyone was under a lot of stress. It felt really unreasonable in terms of work ethics.” He has since shifted his focus from working in architecture and designing professionally to teaching similar material. But Mr. Huang is still involved in professional design. In fact, he is currently working on projects with a design firm he started. “Right now, we are getting licences for design and construction in Taiwan. We are working with landscape architects and architects for another project in the south of Taiwan, renovating a farm into a holiday villa. We have also started a transportation design initiative which is looking at sustainable designs [that] will drive us into a greener future,” said Mr. Huang. “Working on a project is translating my ideas and thoughts into the design directly. To teach is to translate my knowledge and skill into the students and hopefully from that, they can generate their own ideas and become great designers.”

Taiwan’s immigration policy alienates foreigners By Christine Lin “I just feel that because he’s lived here all his life, he should be able to get permanent residence,” said Mr. Openshaw, Upper School Video Production Specialist. Mr. Openshaw has been living in Taiwan for 16 years and his two sons were 4 and 6 years old when they came to Taiwan. “They’ve grown up in Taiwan. Taiwan is the only country, the only home they’ve ever really known,” said Mr. Openshaw. But with the current immigration laws, children who turn 20 years old can no longer stay in Taiwan on their parents’ ARC. This means those over 20 must either get a student visa by studying at a local university or leave Taiwan. “My eldest son, who is 24, is mentally challenged, so he will always be my dependent,” said Mr. Openshaw. “He can’t work because he’s unable to learn Chinese and he can’t go to university. That’s just not open for him.” As a result, Mr. Openshaw’s son is here on a family visit visa and must fly out to Hong Kong every 6 months. “Every time he has to fly out somebody has to go with him. It’s just a big logistical issue I have to keep in the back of my mind all the time. Not to mention a colossal waste of time and money,” said Mr. Openshaw. Mr. Openshaw, along with a group named Forward Taiwan, has been petitioning the government to improve laws that govern international residents and workers in Taiwan. “It’s not just about me,” said Mr. Openshaw. “Quite a group of people have the same kind of problem, and we hope this can be solved for everybody.” Forward Taiwan, a non-profit organization founded in 2013, focuses on “building a strong economic future for Taiwan through forward-thinking immigration reform”. The organization wants

to make it easier for foreigners to receive working visas, ARCs (Alien Resident Card), APRCs (Alien Permanent Resident Card) and Taiwanese citizenship. Taiwan, like most other countries in Southeast Asia, does not allow dual citizenship. However, Taiwan only applies this policy to foreigners. While foreigners must give up their home country’s passport to get Taiwanese citizenship, Taiwanese citizens can hold passports from other countries without being forced to give up their Taiwanese citizenship.

This is now my home, not a temporary stop. But as long as I cannot hold citizenship here without giving up my birth citizenship, my life in Taiwan feels impermanent. Holly Harrington, co-founder of Forward Taiwan, said, “International people living in Taiwan are perpetually treated as temporary visitors, which has a serious impact on quality of life.” Without citizenship foreigners cannot vote, buy certain types of property, and are disqualified by banks for some types of credit. “This is now my home, not a temporary stop before I move on

to another country. But as long as I cannot hold citizenship here without giving up my birth citizenship, my life in Taiwan feels impermanent,” said Harrington. The Taiwanese government has responded to Forward Taiwan’s calls for change, though not completely. While children who turn 20 can now get a 6 year extension on staying on their parent’s ARC, they still cannot get a work permit. To be able to work in Taiwan foreigners must have a college degree, at least 2 years of work experience, and a minimum salary of $48,000 NT. Furthermore, the extension only applies to children who turn 20 now, meaning Mr. Openshaw’s son, who turned 20 4 years ago, is not eligible for an extension. Ultimately, Mr. Openshaw wants the Taiwanese government to review their immigration policy and allow those who have lived here for more than 5 years to be eligible for permanent residence.

“Everybody acknowledges that change comes slowly. I have to say that Taiwan is not bad compared to other places in the world, though it can certainly improve on its immigration policies,” said Mr.

Openshaw. “I come from South Africa, a country where the situation is not good, so I’m very thankful to live here. I hope Taiwan can recognize that it’s to the benefit of Taiwan to help people like me.”

Another visa run: Because Mr. Openshaw’s son Conrad is unable to get an ARC, he must fly out of Taiwan every 6 months. Taiwanese magazine Business Today talked to Mr. Openshaw about how Taiwan’s immigration laws are pushing away international talents. [Business Today]


the blue & gold december 1, 2015

I N S TAG R A M FA M O U S S T U D E N T S By Christine Lin

SERENA YIIN @serene_eats Serena Yiin’s (11) account is centered around healthy food she makes at home, ranging from pancakes to smoothie bowls. Serena said, “I became vegetarian early this year, but before that I never really ate or liked meat that much. Then I became fullon vegan out of environmental, ethical, and health reasons.” After becoming vegan and following other vegan Instagrammers (such as @thrivingonplants and @bonnyrebecca), Serena was inspired to start her own. For Serena, Instagram is a fun hobby and she laughs about the things Instagram makes her do: “I have to wake up earlier to make sure my


food looks nice, and I spend a lot more money buying spoons and bowls,” said Serena. “But it’s a lot of fun and it’s great to see when other people like your photos.” Instagram has also been a new way for Serena to meet other vegans online and try new products. “I think it’s a great way to connect with people,” said Serena. “It’s also fun to try products that companies send me like teas, powders, and chocolate bars.” Her best piece of advice? “Just go for it! But be very active: if you want other people to like, comment and follow, you should do the same too.”

C ATHERINE CHANG @proudofgomez “Before Instagram existed, I was already saving pictures of Selena Gomez in my camera roll,” said Catherine Chang (9). “When Instagram came out, I was so glad there was a place where I could share my photos and meet new people.” Catherine started her fanpage of Selena Gomez when she was in 6th grade. Now, it has 73,900 followers and over 2000 posts. “My account has seriously changed my life,” said Catherine. “People’s comments make my day and all my followers are so sweet to me. If I posted that I was feeling sad, there would be so many comments telling me to stay strong.” Catherine is now motivated by her followers to


continue her account, and she loves the community of “Selenators” that has grown around her. “When I don’t post they comment things like, ‘Where are you? We miss you!’” said Catherine. “It’s also fun to fangirl with people who like Selena too.” Catherine’s account rose to fame after Selena Gomez liked and commented on one of her posts. Her advice for those who want to become instagram famous is to be real and genuine. “Just be yourself. If you have a passion for something you will find other people with the same interests. Also, make new friends so you can promote each other!”

MEGAN YANG @eat with_megan Megan Yang (11) runs an Instagram account reviewing food, cafes and restaurants around Taipei. She first started her account because her family often eats out on weekends. “When I was in middle school, my mom would take me to little cafes after school,” said Megan. “I wanted to post all the food photos I had on my phone, so I created a separate account.” Although it started out of pure interest, Megan now feels obligated to continue posting on Instagram. She said, “After I got more than 1000 followers I felt like I had to keep finding new restaurants to introduce to my followers. Now I’m always searching for restaurants.” Cafes around Taipei have even reached out to Megan, inviting her to dine for free, provided she give them a review on her Instagram. Megan has also made new friends through the app. “A lot of other foodies and bloggers on Instagram talk to me,” said Megan. “After


commenting on each other’s photos we started to chat through email. Now we share which restaurants we like.” But for Megan, Instagram has also become very competitive. “There are so many food accounts and I always want to find cafes first so people don’t think I’m just going to the restaurants other people are already recommending,” said Megan. And of course, the food she tries is not always good. “There are some restaurants, such as Stoppage Time, that you see all the time on Instagram. But the eggs benedict there had soggy bread and thin ham. It’s definitely overrated.” Megan has also begun to obsess over her follower count. “After I reached 1000 followers I became greedier and greedier. Now, I’m always counting the numbers,” said Megan. “It annoys me, but I still love to try new food.” Megan’s advice for any aspiring foodie is to invest in a good camera.

Megan recommends: Burger Ray is without doubt, the best burger place in town. This was the ultimate foie gras and truffle burger.

Megan recommends: The pork neck from Quan Alley was perfectly cut: the edges were chewy while the center remained tender.

Megan recommends: The best place for spaghetti is Tutto Bello. Their spaghetti with meat jus and aromatic herb oil is just addictive. The noodles had fully absorbed the herbal flavors and meat juice, so this dish didn’t even need any sauce. It was mind-blowing; every flavor can be discovered just by biting into the pasta ribbons.


the blue & gold december 1, 2015



How do you think you have grown as a dancer? As a dancer my technique and performance quality has improved. But more importantly my passion for dance has grown to the point of obsession. #danceislife

Why did you start to dance? I started mainly because I was a shy kid and never spoke much so the idea of being able to express myself without having to use words was so captivating to me.

What is your favorite thing about dance? My favorite thing about dance is the single most rewarding feeling of accomplishment after each performance. We work so hard and so long for that one moment. But it’s worth it.

How do you think you have grown as a dancer? I’ve definitely become more confident as a dancer. I’ve grown to know my body better and what it needs and how to work with it to improve my technique and expression even more.

What’s the most embarrassing thing that happened to you in dance? I’ve ripped the crotch area of my pants for three years straight. Each time when a dress rehearsal for the dance production came around. Actually I’ve gotten so used to it that it doesn’t feel like a complete dance production without me ripping my pants.

How do you think dance impacts you in other aspects of your life? Dance impacts the rest of my life because I feel so much better about everything during and after class or rehearsal. It’s the part of my day I always look forward to even if I’m so sore I can’t even walk up stairs properly, so it really brightens everything up!



What’s the most embarrassing thing that happened to you in dance? The most embarrassing moment for me was during my first dance production rehearsal at TAS in my sophomore year. I had to lift a girl while everyone was watching, but couldn’t no matter how hard I tried. And it was even worse because she was also very light. That also motivated me to start working out to get stronger! How do you think dance impacts you in other aspects of your life? I think dance helps me keep my life balanced in such an academic environment. Whenever I step into the studio, I can just put away all my worries and stress to just move.

Why did you start dancing? [For my first production] my friend half-forced me into going to the audition, so I was confused most of the time. But at the end of the production, I realized I really enjoyed dancing. How do you think you have grown as a dancer? I’ve become a lot more confident, and I’ve grown to enjoy performing in front of a crowd. How do you think dance impacts you in other aspects of your life? As a whole, I’ve become a lot more confident and assertive. I’ve become more comfortable being myself.

What is your favorite memory throughout your years of dance? My favorite memory in dance was probably Friday’s show [of La Sylphide]. It was not only my most challenging and biggest performance, but my last one as well. I couldn’t have been happier with how the show went. I am blessed to have been able to dance with the people I danced with and to perform to my family and friends who care about me.

YILIN LEE How do you think you have grown as a dancer? I think I’m a more confident dancer now than I was when I first started which is great because I can help the younger dancers the way the older dancers used to help me. How do you think dance impacts you in other aspects of your life? I think dance has definitely taught me to fake it till I make it. It’s pretty cheesy but anytime you make a mistake in dance, you just have to smile and pretend nothing happened, and no one except you will know that you’ve made a mistake. The ability to keep performing and just moving on from mistakes has carried me through a lot of other situations outside my life other than dance. What is your favorite memory throughout your years of dance? My favorite memory from dance is definitely my last performance in Singapore before moving here. It was my school’s annual dance recital and also happened to be my cousin’s last dance performance before graduating. It was such a bittersweet moment to share with my cousin and with all my dance friends who I have known since I started dancing.

CHARIS LIU How do you think you have grown as a dancer? Personally, I think I’ve grown as a dancer mostly through facial expressions and portrayal of a given character. I used to be super shy and hate smiling, but I’ve slowly grown to become much more comfortable with using different facials, as you can see through my super happy scenes in the production! What is your favorite thing about dance? My favorite thing about dance is the way it makes me feel. I love that whenever I dance, I automatically feel 10 times happier. The feeling of losing myself and simply being caught up with dancing is indescribable. It’s a kind of emotional output that not many people can say they have. What is the mostt embarrassing thing that happened to you in dance? I can’t really think of a particularly embarrassing moment that happened at dance, but for some reason my dress always seems to come undone while I’m on stage. I guess I’m just unlucky!


the blue & gold december 1, 2015

long titles, ludicrous plots By Bonna Yi

THE GIRL WHO SAVED THE KING OF SWEDEN Author: Jonas Jonasson Published: 2014 419 Pages Rating: 4/5

“‘Life, here I come!’ he said. And was immediately and fatally run over by a bus.” For those who read and loved Jonas Jonasson’s bestselling novel (TheHundred-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out of His Window and Disappeared) or chuckled at the line above, be sure to check out The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden. You know you’re reading a Jonasson book when you see the tell tale signs of a long-winded, whimsical title and ludicrous plot-lines that give you a range of happiness from small chuckles to full-out belly laughs. Like his previous novel, The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden is a story about a seemingly ordinary character with a penchant for numbers and luck going on an accidental world adventure. This is the story of Nombeko Mayeki, a South African woman toilet-cleaner who is thrust into rag-tag group of

unusual adventurers. We follow her as she befriends a drunken engineer and quarrelsome twins (named Holger 1 and Holger 2) who are officially listed as “one person.” Oh, and they are escaping from the Israeli Secret Agency. With language full of irony, sarcasm, dark humor and absolutely non-sensical situations, Jonassons manages to make his audience laugh at everything from the almost-trigger of mass destructive weapons, scissor stabbings, and the story of three Chinese sisters who specialize in creating fake antique geese. While the unpredictable plotline can become overly redundant and just down-right crazy (Come on, the King of Sweden stabbing a man?), the individual dialogues of the characters is what makes the ludicrous story endurable. You have to admit, Jonasson has a pretty witty viewpoint on just anything: “Nombeko said that she was South African, and that she thought it

sounded laborious to hate all Americans, given how many of them there were.” Jonasson’s book is not just random, hysterical events falling into a plotline. He uses his characters to convey subtle messages ranging from the stupidity of politics to the value of appreciating the small things in a short life. Genuine humane emotions are conveyed through the hardships of Nombeko, who was born in the slums of Soweto and trapped in servitude due to the “unforgivable” crime of being hit by a scheming engineer’s car. In response to a character’s petty rants about vegetarians, capitalists, and communists, Nombeko responds wisely “the angry young woman ought to take a job as a black person in Africa for a few weeks … in order to get some perspective on her life.” For those of you wanting to escape reality for a while, this is definitely your book.

It’s not that kind of book By Bonna Yi

NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL: A YOUNG WOMAN TELLS YOU WHAT SHE’S “LEARNED” Author: Lena Dunham Published: 2014 265 pages Rating: 3.5/5

“There is nothing gutsier to me than a person announcing that their story is one that deserves to be told, especially if that person is a woman.” Lena Dunham’s novel, Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned”, is an empowering memoir of a woman’s struggle to express herself in a world where women and their stories are viewed as irrelevant. For fellow fans of the HBO show Girls, we know Lena on screen as described by her character: an obsessivecompulsive, weight-concerned girl living in New York struggling with anxiety, wondering what (or who) she wants, and solving the labyrinthe that is life. However, in this book, we learn about Lena’s disorientating life with more intensity and stronger emotions. We follow Lena through her confusion, frustration, insightful moments of epiphanies and dark wittiness that bring slow smiles to our faces. We feel her stark sarcasm, act on her anger, and sympathize with her constant self-deprecation and sadness

that come with being human. Lena’s memoir paints an extremely humanizing and individualistic picture of Lena before she became the bestselling author and producer of big-hit shows. We see Lena as the self-loathing chubby girl stuck on meds for her OCD who needs to see food emerge from its packaging before consumption. We feel for the Lena who was left sexually abused at an Oberlin college party. We smile at the Lena who became a vegetarian after a cow winked at her. Immediately after the book’s publication, criticism was raised against Lena’s authenticity on the Oberlin incident and her overly sexual anecdotal accounts of her curiosity with female genitals and masturbation. At one point, Dunham describes experimenting sexually with her younger sister Grace, whom she says she attempted to persuade to kiss her using “anything a sexual predator might do.” However, these criticisms simply reinforce the confusion and pressure of rights and

wrongs that Lena had experienced (and is still struggling with). Her perceptions were esoteric and humanely skewed by anxiety and the traumatizing events she experienced. Lena’s life can’t be organized into the sweet, cookie-cutter story. Instead, it is raw, honest and brutally beautiful. As of now, Lena continues her work on the upliftment of women through the launch of Lenny (www.lennyletter. com), a newsletter she created which includes interviews with the iconic female figures, Gloria Steinem and Hillary Clinton. The long winded complaints, obvious doubts, and mistakes Lena continually makes in her memoir is a way of expression for her—and something everyone should have the right to do. And as we head down the rackety path of criticisms and doubts, just remember “the end never comes when you think it will. It’s always ten steps past the worst moment, then a weird turn to the left”.

The force and fans awaken By Wally Castelaz

THE FORCE AWAKENS Director: J.J. Abrams Coming out: 12/17/15 135 minutes

Star Wars is one of, if not the most, iconic movie series ever created. The fact that non-Star Wars fans know what a lightsaber is or recognize Darth Vader’s theme ‘Imperial March’ doesn’t begin to capture the extent to which Star Wars has influenced pop culture. In 2013, the White House rejected a petition to build a Death Star, but responded in true Star Wars fashion that it would be unwise to spend “countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship.” Last year, Darth Vader ran for president of Ukraine. Really, I’m not kidding. At its core, Star Wars is an emotional and philosophical journey revolving around themes from the classic Good versus Evil to the esoteric nature of the Force. Heroes and villains aren’t purely good or evil, making them realistic and relatable. In my opinion, the beauty of Star Wars is how it resonates with individuals on a personal level. Are we not the imperfect antiheroes of our own stories?

The Force Awakens is set 30 years after Return of the Jedi (released 1983, not to be confused with the more recent prequel trilogy.) Yes, this means we’ll see Harrison Ford and company reprise their roles. Though the Rebels destroyed the Death Star in Return of the Jedi, the Empire was far from dead. There is also a cast of new characters. Rey (Daisy Ridley) is a scavenger searching for her identity on a remote desert planet. Finn (John Boyega) is a stormtrooper who appears troubled by his Imperial upbringing. In the trailers he’s shown in some scenes wearing Imperial armor, and in other scenes wielding a very famous blue lightsaber. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is a mysterious villain with a medieval-style red lightsaber and an infatuation with Darth Vader. What motivated him to follow in Vader’s footsteps? And going back to the original trilogy characters, where is Luke Skywalker? He’s been conspicuously absent in the trailers. Clearly, there’s speculation about the film, and perhaps some of the answers

will shock us. Of all the reasons why I’m excited for the movie, this might trump them all. I’ve always lamented that this generation of fans never experienced the full effect of Darth Vader’s ‘I am your father’ revelation. The Force Awakens gives us an opportunity that I thought we’d never have: to watch a Star Wars movie for the first time without much previous knowledge about it. On December 17, the world is going to change. The Force Awakens, the 7th installment of the Star Wars series is coming to theaters. The story that captivated three generations will gain a new dimension. For casual fans, this movie will bring new trends to pop culture. As a hardcore lifer whose perspective on many issues is inspired by Star Wars, The Force Awakens may very well cause me to change the way I view life. The bottom line: this is a movie you HAVE to watch. To quote the first line of the movie’s first trailer, “There has been an awakening…have you felt it?”


the blue & gold december 1, 2015

looking forward with purpose By Sherry Tseng April 17, 2014 was a win for every Canadian across the nation. It was the day the White House responded to the petition asking for the deportation of Justin Bieber and revocation of his green card by declining to comment, meaning that Bieber was to stay. After the billboard “Losers Keep Beliebers” surfaced in anticipation of the U.S. versus Canada Olympics hockey game, it was obvious that we Canadians won this round. But with the release of Bieber’s new album Purpose, the victory, in hindsight, isn’t all that sweet. The album demonstrates a whole other side of Bieber, revealing his growth and maturity after years of questionable (and several illegal) antics. With its elements of acoustic R&B and EDM, Purpose

has garnered generally positive reviews from critics around the globe, praising it for its consistent palette and quirky atmospheric electro R&B concoction. To me, the album definitely shows that Bieber has taken his understanding of music and abilities to a whole new level. The songs radiate chill vibes—perfect to listen to while in a bubble bath with a glass of wine, or for most of us, a cup of Calpis. Then again, because the entire album radiates only chill vibes, the album in its full is probably only good to listen to in a bubble bath with a cup of Calpis. However, what truly made this album 500 times better than Believe for me was its lyrics, which have definitely shifted from the all too cliché “I need you and I love you” theme to ones

Justin Bieber: Purpose Released: 11/13/15

of reflection on the self and world. Finally, finally, Bieber has realized that at the end of the day, the “meaning of forgiveness” and the capacity to “look at all the children we can change” far exceeds his desires for a “beauty and a beat.” Of all these songs, I would say my favorite is “Mark My Words.” Its music video begins with a run of all of his acts, from his arrests to his attack of the paparazzi, with Bieber providing a voiceover that he had lost his purpose, and that it was through the production of this album that he found his purpose. Clearly, Bieber is getting his act together, and because of this, Beliebers will be able to once again idolize someone worthy. Now, if only Bieber would make it his purpose to expand his “world” tour beyond North America.

Genre: Dance-pop Rating: 3.5/5

007: Spectacularly Predictable By Amanda Huang The long-awaited addition to the 007 spy series was enthralling but disappointing. Skyfall set some pretty high expectations for this reviewer; however not only was the car cinematography short-lived, the storyline itself is vague and hard to follow. Of course, at first glance, the movie did have some bright points: namely that James Bond, played by Daniel Craig, looked sharper than ever as he travels from one country to the next. The film captured every country in the most beautiful light. Yet, I was left hoping for more in each scene. The movie was fast-paced, but the plot moved in an incredibly slow and, unfortunately, predictable way. Despite the lethargic plot line, Director Sam Mendes does an exceptional job with the action scenes.

If you’re a helicopter fanatic, this is the movie for you. The fighting was the one thing the movie had just the right amount of. It was a bit, however, disappointing for car enthusiasts. Needless to say, it wouldn’t be a Bond movie without the women. French actress Léa Seydoux stuns the audience with her gorgeous blond locks and blue eyes. Her character, Madeleine Swann, resists Bond’s charms at first, making you wonder if they might not end up together. After all, the age-gap is rather large. However, not to anyone’s surprise, the pair end up a romantic one, adding a nice twist to Bond’s otherwise “heartless” character. The film has a focus on government surveillance and, though the motive of the villain is never really clear, we see another conflict within the 00 program. Throughout the film, multiple villains

are introduced, yet we are never really clear on what their goals are in the end. Like any other 007 movie, we see him save the day and all the stories tie together. [SPOILER ALERT] Christoph Waltz, Dave Bautista, and Andrew Scott are just a couple of the villains we see show up. Although the movie attempts to surprise us with a “hidden bad guy” character, it’s quite predictable from early into the movie that Andrew Scott was not going to end up being Craig’s best friend. Let’s not forget the characters that worked behind the scenes. Rory Kinnear, Ralph Fiennes, and Naomie Harris are incredible supporting actors and actresses. Harris, especially, shows us how being behind the desk is just as important as being on the field. Ben Whishaw, portraying the tech whiz,

also does a phenomenal job playing the “geek who saves the world” just in time. If you’re looking for an actionpacked way to pass two and a half hours, this movie has all the elements of a Bond movie you know and love —but that checklist seems to be the problem for Spectre as a film. It doesn’t really have any “shock” element in terms of script.

Director: Sam Mendes Released: 8/26/15 150 minutes Rating: 3/5

Le Petit Prince reaches for the Stars By Bonna Yi For the generation that has grown up reading Le Petit Prince, the recent book-to-movie adaption may be a little different than the actual plotline. An airman crashes his plane in a desert and meets a curious little prince of a tiny planet. The movie is set in a modern context with the story of a little girl whose tiger-mom (voiced by Rachel McAdams) creates a minutelymonitored “Life Chart” of studying, sleeping, and eating, all in order for her daughter to get into the uber-prep school, Werth Academy. The robotic life of the little girl is interrupted by a crazy, eccentric old neighbor who introduces the story of Le Petit Prince. The movie is broken into intervals between the story of the old man and the little girl to the story of le petit prince (using actual drawings from book’s author Antoine de Saint-Exupery). While the usage of stop-motion and paper-drawings animations seem archaic and erratic, this conventional

styling makes sense for the context of Le Petit Prince; it reinforces the idea of childlike-imagination and searching for the “invisible” essentials of life. And in a world dominated by non-sensical technologies and the social conformities of salaries, jobs, and graduate degrees, this movie’s archaic presentation reminds us that it’s alright to return to basics and let your childish self go free. As a senior about to graduate and enter yet another educational institution, I found Le Petit Prince

to be a revelation of sorts. I attend Taipei American School, which is not all that different from the portrayal of the upper-crusty, academicallydriven “Werth Academy” the main character is pressured into attending. There is a daunting presence of earning constant achievements and top quality educations, subsequently followed by a college degree and a stable, brief-cased job. As college applications

start rolling in, all there is to see are students hunched-back in their studies imprisoned by minutely-regulated lives. Enter Le Petit Prince: the real struggle is not how to become an adult —it’s how to stay a child, even when— no, especially when—people tell you otherwise. The difficulties of LPP as a film arrive with the movie’s intended target audience. The trick with book-tomovie adaptions is getting the core message across to the audience. Le Petit Prince does that...but only to those who’ve read the story beforehand and understood the complex symbolism involved in the story. Saint-Exupery’s story, while seemingly targeted for

children with its watercolor illustrations and whimsical characters, was intended to remind adults of their lost youth. With the multiple stories-within-stories backgrounds and unexplained plot holes (never mentioned in the book) it’s hard to keep up. Nonetheless, the colorfully animated movie does justice to the book in maintaining a child-like, innocent spirit.

Director: Mark Osborne Released: 8/23/15 108 minutes Rating: 4.5/5



the blue & gold december 1, 2015

UPCOMING WEEK - December 3: Music Ensemble concert - December 4-5: Formosa VEX Taiwan at TAS - December 4: Theatre Sports - December 4: Jazz Supper Club - December 5: Winter Concert & TEDx TAS - December 17: Mozart Requiem Choir



hamed In Texas, teen Ahmed Mo the threatened to sue the school and . His city he lives in for US $15 million a for en tak mis homemade clock was left ce sin bomb. He and his family have the States moved to Qatar.

N O RWAY nies expect to Oil and gas compa stment sharply reduce exploration inve ate fewer wells next year. They anticip Researchers ar. will be drilled next ye ng to bottom di en sp expect oil-sector up in 2018. out in 2017 then pick

BRAZIL The coast of EspĂ­rito Santo has been contaminated by mud and mining waste from the collapse of of a dam at a mine. The tide of sludge has already wiped out several communities.

B U RU N D I Belgium has advised its nationals to leave Burundi. There has been ongoing unrest since April when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his intention to serve a third term. At least 240 people have died.

C A N A DA Cleantech star tup Hydrotech has partnered with Toronto Hydro to operate an underwater compressed air energy storage system. Energy is stored as compressed air then housed in giant balloons underwater.

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