Tuesday December 1 2012
Library protesters fight to Oxford
London girl wins over Chinese for her traditional Chinese food James Low
Cherry Keeley Protesters staged a campaign outside All Souls College, Oxford
last week, to garner support and attempt to persuade the warden and Fellows of the college not to convert Kensal Rise Library into flats. “Where is your soul, All Souls?” protesters asked. “We need our library. If Mark Twin was in heaven, he would not be happy with this.” Kensal Rise Library was a Northwest London library opened by American author Mark Twain in 1900. The site where the library sits was reverted by law to the All Souls College after being closed by Brent Council to cut budget in April 2011. Local residents have submitted a proposal that they get the entire building and reopen the library for community use with the £80,000 pledge they have collected. But the college rejected their proposal. “We are hoping that All Souls look favorably on our bid because it is a charity,” campaigner Saleem Yousaf said. “We promote educational plans which is similar to the college’s. They should help us out.” Kirt De Silva, 69, a Kensal Rise local resident, said he has used
the library for 32 years. “All my three children all grew up with the library. Children use the library to read book and get access to Internet. But now it is all gone.” The college is in talks with a property developer, who promises to set aside part of the ground floor to run a library at a market rent.
If they really feel the education is important, they should do more However, Margaret Bailey, the director of Save Kensal Rise Library, claimed the policy made by the college was “unsustainable” and “unworkable”. “They offer us a very small space and a subsidy which is very small compared to what they are going to make out of the sale of the library.” A college spokesman said on Friday they were “working towards a positive and practical solution
Protesters appealled All Sould College not to sell Kensal Rise Library. which would enable library services to be provided again.” The college intends to provide £25,000 grant for equipment and covers the rent in full for the first five years of operations, along with subsidies for an additional 15 years. All Souls College’s only source of revenue is its endowment. It was donated £220m in 2010, while the sale price for the library is £1m. “It is a fantastically rich college,” Richard Cross, a campaigner said. “It is very shocking that the place of learning in Oxford wants to take back a gift they gave to the community and turns it into flats for profit.” The campaign drew public attention, which made people from other parts of London and Oxford join the campaign. Kathryn Spicksley, 27, a teacher from a primary school in Oxford said: “I was a student at Oxford and worked for it at that time. If they really feel the education is
important, they should do more.” Robin Willow, a songwriter-performer who used the Willesden Library even composed an impromptu song for the campaign and thought this was not about just looking our own interests. “Books are very important. We have to be brothers and help each other.” Ms Bailey said the information given by the college was still ambiguous. “On the one hand, they want to get rid of this issue. On the other hand, they said they want to be engaged in discussion with us.” Although protesters did not speak to the Fellows of the college directly, they will have more constructive discussions with the college. The community also has put forward a nomination to Brent Council for its right to bid.“But I think it is very important to keep this pressure up on the College,” said Bailey.
Westminster student’s cartoon maps sold across Asia Robin Bridge Cartoon World maps made by a student are going to be sold across Asia, which covers the Air Asia’s airlines. Anastasiia Kucherenko is studying MA in University of Westminster for design. Two weeks ago, Air Asia found her map illustrations through her blog and they employed her to create a series of maps to be sold on airplanes as puzzles and other products. According to the contract, Anastasiia is going to create up to 50 cartoon maps, which would represent all destinations of Air Asia routes. She has created three maps already, waiting for the feedback from the company. It was Anastasii’s first time that she was employed by such a big
company. “But this is not my first success,” she said. “I used to do lots of personal projects as well as works for small business, like illustrating an article or creating a T-shirt design.” After getting a BA degree from Ukraine, Anastasiia went to China as an exchange student and worked as an English teacher for around two years. During that time, she won the first prize out of 177 competitors for designing a logo for the GROW campaign launched
by a charity Oxfam, which raised awareness of food insecurity for the poor. So far, Anastasiia has made her
“Heart Island”by Anastasiia Kucherenko
illustrations commercialized in some websites, including Redbubble and Shutterstock, which provides platforms for creative designers to market themselves. Even though Anastasiia has made some business through her work, she is the only student in class that did not share an educational background of design. Instead of taking professional courses, she taught herself since childhood and kept it all these years as a pastime. “I cannot really call myself professional in drawing, as I still have a lot to learn,” said Anastasiia. “But drawing is enjoyable. I will keep creating and developing myself in design and illustration.”
London girl’s Chinese food “Jian Bing” is branded authentic and wins good reputation among Chinese. But she has never been to China and tasted the food before. Jian Bing is a classic food in Northern China which is made from soy mile crepe and fresh egg, sprinkled with spring onion and coriander, brushed with Hoisin sauce and Guilin chili, folded around roasted Duck or honey roast Pork inside, alongside with a fried Won Ton cracker. Melissa Fu, a student graduated from University of Arts, started the business of selling Jian Bing since the end of September at Camden Market. Through two months setting everything up, Melissa said the business is “getting better every week, winning a great market among Chinese and British. Charlotte Perry, a British customer said: “With similar shape to French Crepes, Jian Bing is a little bit spicy. But it tastes good.” As for the Camden Market, which is awash with American-style food, Melissa’s food stall “Mei Mei’s street Cart” is distinguished among them. “Mei Mei” means younger sister in Chinese. Melissa, as the younger sister, attributed the stall’s name to her elder sister, saying her sister contributes a lot to the business.
Self taught Melissa, as the cook, has never tasted Jian Bing before, let alone been to China. Her elder sister described Jian Bing to her after coming back from China. Melissa learnt it from some videos online to see how people did it.” She added: “At first, we made it for fun. Then I was thinking why there isn’t something like that in London?” “I have done researches and found no one sell Jian Bing in London. I thought the business could be a big thing.” Even though more and more Chinese people rush to the stall and appreciate its authentic flavour, Melissa claimed the beginning was “very difficult”. With the help of her elder sister, it still took Melissa six months to learn everything, among which she said the official preparation was the most difficult part. “I did not know the market and how it works, including the licences, food safety, insurance and the council. But it got easier every time and I got all the thing sorted out.” “I would like to make my food stall full time,” said Melissa. “I want to go to different markets around UK to make Jian Bing spread around London.”
Tuesday December 1 2012
Film student rises to fame over Chinese Bachelor Day Roger Coghlan
hope I could find a boyfriend like the guy in the film. He is cute and acting well. When could I find my soul mate?” “The hero in the film performs well for revealing real feeling about single persons. We should be brave like him to chase love.”These might be two of the most common comments towards a microfilm called “one thousand seconds’ plan”, which was released on Chinese “Bachelor Day” and spread widely online in China. Represented by four digits of one, November 11 was set for single persons, but the film seemed to be a bible for them. The film is for promoting a website called “task for senior fellows”, which is said to be the most suitable social platform for Chinese college students. After the release of the film, the users of the website has risen by six times to 300 thousand and it still sustains the uptrend. Zhao Yunjie, as the leading actor, has moved from an ordinary existence to a prominent role since he acted as a senior student, who planned to chase a girl gradually in one thousand seconds by fulfilling different tasks set by her. In twenty days, the film has reached around 1.3 million hits at “Youku”, which is the biggest video-sharing site in China. While the film swept youngster’s love world, Yunjie is rising in the film circles in the mean time. “After the release of the film, I would be recognized on some occasions like going to the barber shop. People praised my performance which made me shy,” said Yunjie. “After all, it is my first time that I feel I am becoming famous on the college campus.”
Swiftly, a post bar was set up for Yunjie at Chinese biggest search engine “Baidu” website. More than one hundred comments piled at Yunjie’s Weibo account, taking him one hour to reply. Even though, as a senior student taking a directing course at Beijing Film Academy, which is the only professional film school in China, Yunjie said he should be modest to the rising fame. “My life remains the same. I am still steadfast in studying and working,” said Yunjie. “I lead a nine to five life as some companies employ me to act for their advertisements. But I enjoy exchanging experience with other good actors. It should take time to be better.” As a student taking the directing course, the most challenging task About the film “Solitary’s law”
“Good performance, sincere emotion, vivid image and bring life to a deep discussion,” says
Chinese famous directors Feng Xiaogang for Yunjie is to feel the character. During these four years, he not only directs some films, but also is hired to act diverse roles. He said only in this way could he be an outstanding director to get a better understanding of various experience. However, this is not the first time that Yunjie has acted as a leading character. Before, he acted in an eleven-minute film called “Solitary’s law”. The film was adopted from Chinese writer He Xi’s science fiction “The sad one” and
Zhao Yunjie, a senior student at Beijing Film Academy, got great attention after the release of the “one thousand second’s plan”. won the gold prize for the sixth Xian Li film festival set up by Beijing Film Academy. Famous Chinese actor Geyou presented the prize and one of the biggest Chinese directors Feng Xiaogang even described the film as “good performance, sincere emotion, vivid image and bring life to a deep discussion.” Yan Zhen, a Chinese student who knew Yunjie from online, described Yunjie as a “persistent student,” saying it was very rare that students like Yunjie still adhered to dreams, especially in this confused generation in China. One of Yunjie’s friends Yinuo said: “He is a special boy who stands aloof from the world. He works hard and knows what he wants.” Zhao Yunjie, 24, comes from Xi’an, Shannxi, where his mother worked as a teacher and father worked for a state-owned enterprise. From the third grade in primary school, Yunjie was becoming mischievous and unwilling to study. The reason for resisting studying was silly, as he recalled, which was that he thought his parents were corrupting the teacher. “I thought the reason why my teacher treated me better than others was because my parents found a job for the teacher’s child, which I regarded as unfair to others. I was a serious person at that time,” said Yunjie. After graduating from middle school, Yunjie’s studying was not good enough to be qualified for a good high school. Like many students without excellent score at academic courses, Yunjie turned to another choice—an art student.
In China, due to the increasing pressure of the college entrance examination, more and more students choose to be art students, who are not required much at the academic courses when going to college. Nevertheless, they still suffer from both professional exams and tremendous competition pressure. As for Yunjie, the way to be in-
It was very rare that students like him still adhered to dreams, especially in this confused generation in China volved in film industry is not plain sailing either. In 2006, Yunjie came to Beijing alone to learn drawing. It took him three years to be qualified for Beijing Film Academy, which only recruited 60 people out of 1646 students for art school in 2009 and Yunjie was one of the ten chosen students from Shannxi province. Yunjie called this as “destiny,” revealing that he was intending to apply for Tsinghua Art Academy. But he realized how difficult it was as Tsinghua was the dreamland for most art students. “At that time, I knew a friend from my hometown and he happened to be a student of Beijing Film Academy,” said Yunjie. “I
thought that it was relatively easy to get to the film school. Besides, I love movies. So I decided to have a try.” However, the journey was too long for a boy that first left home alone to a place without knowing anyone. As stated by Yunjie, the biggest problem he confronted was himself. “When I came to Beijing I was like a naïve boy knowing nothing, including the etiquette in socializing. These tough three years have transformed me from a boy to a mature human. I am not qualified a man now, but at least I have been independent.” “But there was pain and pressure from family, especially when I took the exam for the third time. I have failed twice before and I do not know whether there would be the fourth time waiting for me. As though once I stopped, my future would die.” For the third time, Yunjie finally did it and now is heading to an all-around way. In Yunjie’s mind, actors and directors are both charming. One is the soul of the film, while the other is transforming into another man to experience a different life. Speaking of future, Yunjie said he does not have a certain plan. “It is my final year and I know I would face hardships sooner or later. I do have dream but I will not dream big. As long as I could lead a stable life and take my spare time to company with those I love, that should be enough.” “I will never stop but keep going. I would be well-prepared to amaze the world with a single feat.”
Death exhibition is on at Wellcome Collection Ben Grant Have you ever been afraid of the doom year 2012? Or have you ever thought about what you would do in the face of imminent demise? Indeed, you might think death is out of reach, but at least the twenty-minute queue at the Wellcome Collection proves that while the death terrifies people, it fascinates them as well. A blockbuster exhibition named
“Death: A self-portrait” opening at the Wellcome Collection two weeks ago plans a tour for people to explore death. The exhibition is organized into five theme rooms. A Chicago-based former antique print dealer Richard Harris devoted an series of his collection—300 artefacts related to the grim reaper, which spans over five centuries and many continents. There is an intricate plasticine
sculpture to marvel at, which is called “Calavera” by Argentinean collective Mondongo in 2011. It assembles diverse culture elements into a three-dimensional collage, including European and USA capitalism, which have a radical influence on South America. The giant sculpture, which as a whole, formed the shape of a skull. As colorful as it is, the masterpiece express a strong political meaning.
The most striking thing is definitely the emaciated corpse sitting upright on a wooden box. The corpse made by John Isaacs is half flesh and half bone, which reveals the morbid but anatomical beauty. There are few people around the corpse probably due to its terrified and bloody body, but it, to the largest extent, renders the transformation from life to death. Crammed with tremendous mas-
terpiece, “Death: A Self-portrait” is more than an exhibition. It not only portrays an end that we all will get to, but also implies how we could make peach with it. After all, death is awaiting us all and no one is immortal. Perhaps the only way to dance with it is to live. Although life is short, we could still live as sakura or firework, which die at the moment when it is the most glorious and never fear it.