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Taipei American School | 800 Chung Shan North Road, Section 6, Taipei, Taiwan | | VOLUME XXIV, ISS. 04 | February 8, 2018

DISPL Members of the Taipei American School community discuss third culture kids, home, and life beteween two cultures.



Classics program invites Princeton professor By Shereen Lee (‘19) From Jan. 31 to Feb. 2, classics professor Dan-el Padilla Peralta visited Taipei American School as the Stanley ‘88 and Annabelle Ko Classics Visiting Scholar. Currently serving as a professor at Princeton University, he spoke to Taipei American School community members on one of his research passions: citizenship. Peralta’s work was heavily inspired by life as an undocumented immigrant in the U.S. “I like to frame my own experience with a specific background,” he says. “The conception of these questions was very much rooted in particular aspects of my life.” Born in the Dominican Republic and having immigrated to the United States at a yong age, Peralta quickly learned about the dark implications of his home country’s history. “Something that I didn’t know at a young age, but which I became increasingly aware of as I grew older, is that my country of birth had been for the entire extent of its standing as an independent country defined by the menace of annexation,” says Peralta. An interest in classical studies, piqued by Greco-Roman history books he read as a child, also contributed to his passion for the topic. Peralta spoke at schoolwide events at the Harmony Theater and Guy Lott Jr. Auditorium. More information about his visit is available at

Performers showcase music at annual charity concert By Audrey Kong (‘18) At this year’s annual Tri-M Charity concert, a fundraiser event for St Anne’s Orphanage, held by TAS’ Tri-M Music Honor Society, sold 203 tickets, raising over $30,000 NT. The Tri-M Charity Concert was begun 20 years ago by Bill Kain, who also founded the honor society. Throughout the year, Tri-M Music Honor Society helps out at concerts such as the Jazz Supper Club and the U.S. Celebration of Chamber Music. With 66 members and 13 officers, Tri-M has its hands full with not only the charity concert but also organizing the Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asian Schools Music Cultural Convention.

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Tri-M Honor Society started preparing for the concert in the fall, from filling out logistical forms for work service and catering to holding auditions, “to just in general make sure things would be in the right place at the right time,” says co-president Brian Kuo (‘18). And they did just that. Glenda Foo (‘19), who attended the event, says, “In between the performances, the Tri-M officers were really professional. What really stood out was the way Sarah Chin introduced each performance. She added humor to engage the audience throughout the concert.” The concert had a variety of genres from the school jazz ensemble to plenty of classical

groups, acapella groups, guitar and vocal duets, ukulele and vocal duets. In particular, copresident Sarah Chin (‘18) says, “I think DRM’s performance was unique in that it was such a huge group created through a music club instead of from a class. It astounded me that they could have rigorous and periodical practices with so many members passionate about the music they play. Also, their La La Land Medley was arranged and conducted by one of their co-presidents [Celine Hsu (‘20)], which I thought was an amazing feat to pull off.” In addition to the astounding performance of 22 students, arranged by only a sophomore, “the 飄向北方 [Piao Xiang Bei Fang] performance shocked me as


well because the audience reaction it elicited was overwhelming. I don’t think people expected the Chinese rapping mixed with the melody,” she says. Performer Annabel Uhlman (‘18) says, “I think Tri-M is a great opportunity to showcase musical talent in the Upper School. I feel that the musical arts often get overlooked and thus the charity concert is a great way to highlight all different genres and abilities!” Likewise, Jasmin Yu (‘19), a fellow performer, says, “Tri-M was a very eye-opening experience. It was really breathtaking to see the hustle and rush of energy backstage in the room with the other performers.” Besides the Tri-M Charity Concert, Tri-M Honor Society


is looking forward to making the IASAS Cultural Convention better than it has been other years. We want to make sure everyone is welcomed and when they reflect back, think ‘that was a great IASAS, I loved being at TAS,’” says Brian. With its vast number of officers and members, Tri-M Honor Society was able to manage all the chaotic concerts and was able to achieve its hope of “improving upon the Tri-M concerts from previous years from multiple aspects in terms of audience, programme, and focusing on getting the message of charity out,” says Sarah. Brian says, “We all have a common goal, a common interest—we all enjoy music,” he says.

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Co-president Sarah Chin (‘18) introduces each performance. [AUDREY KONG/THE BLUE & GOLD]



the blue & gold febuary 8, 2018

Students make history at Academia Sinica TAS students join Dr. Jacob Soll to see Chinese artifacts from the 17th century

Students visit Academia Sinica with Dr. Soll and discuss their imperial documents. [MRS. DARBY SINCLAIR FOR THE BLUE &GOLD]

By Kelly Phil (‘20) Dr. Jacob Soll, a MacArthur Fellow and a professor at the University of Southern California, was one of the visiting scholar at Taipei American School in January. During his time here, Dr. Soll conducted a project on archival practices and documentation used by Chinese government officials. The opportunity to accompany Dr. Soll was

open to high school students and teachers at TAS. On Jan. 16, 15 students visited the research institute, Academia Sinica, and the adjacent National Institute of History and Philology. There, the students were exposed to Qing dynasty documents, including various drafts and surviving remnants of imperial edicts made by Emperor Kang-xi. “It’s an incredible opportunity,” says Dr. Soll. “These are world-class archivists

and researchers who the students [were] able to interact with.” The trip was the result of months of back-and-forth communication. Ms. Darby Sinclair, one of the teachers who accompanied the students, says, “We spent a couple of months trying to contact the historians working at Academia Sinica to find the historians working in the archives.” Because very few of the documents were actually documented and researched, Mrs. Sinclair believed that

if given permission, the opportunity for high school students to witness such documents would be an incredibly valuable experience. In fact, Ms. Sinclair says, “There really is nothing in European history that would be this amazing in terms of opportunity because very little of this has been researched or interpreted.” By visiting the archives, TAS students were not only observing history, but were also making history. “No student has

ever seen these. They rarely take them out. Because they were written in the 1600s, we were the first young people to see these in 400 years.” Ms. Sinclair says. She continues by saying, “I cannot overstate how massive this was.” This is evident in what compelled students to join the project. Brian Lain (‘21) says “I joined because I want to experience and learn about history through another aspect that is different from the academic style I am used to.”

Because of the project’s success, TAS is looking forward to working with the historians at the research institute in the future. Mrs. Sinclair says, “The goal now is to develop an internship program for TAS students, because they were interested in allowing TAS students to continue working in the archives. It is a gold mine for anyone who wants to work with history.”

TAS adopts Essential Capacities By Coco Lee (‘19) & Barron Tsai (‘19) Have you ever sat in class forcing your eyes open as your teacher tries to cram endless facts off of a PowerPoint into your brain? Why would we need to learn the 95 Theses or the Transitive Property? Perhaps the thought has crossed your mind that much of what you’re learning is not applicable in the real world. Indeed, many of your peers would likely agree with you - but the truth is, there is a method to the madness— Taipei American School does have an underlying philosophy behind everything they do. They are called the Essential Capacities, and “they are what every student who graduates from TAS should demonstrate,” explains Mr. Peter Kimball, Professional Development Coordinator and IB psychology teacher. “They’re not skills necessarily; they’re more dispositions, or the sort of things that kids would demonstrate or show on a regular basis.” The Essential Capacities are loosely based on the ones created by the National Association of Independent Schools, an organization of

leaders who research trends in how to pace education for students. They replace the existing Expected Schoolwide Learning Results at TAS. While the ESLRs involve critical and innovative thinking, production process, civic engagement, and preparation for college and other postsecondary opportunities, the Essential Capacities involve: analytical and creative thinking and problem solving; complex communication (oral and written); leadership and teamwork; digital and quantitative literacy; global perspective; adaptability, initiative, and risk taking; integrity and ethical decision making; and wellness. Dr. Nathaniel Smith, Director of Pedagogy, Curriculum, and Assessment at TAS, explains the reasoning behind the implementation of these Essential Capacities. “They are overarching across insideclassroom and outside-classroom experiences that TAS students have. I think it would be fair to say students have developed some of these capacities, whether we have named them or targeted them

or not. But, if you do not codify or shoot for them specifically, the development of these capacities can be uneven.” . Starting from school year 2018-2019, teachers from the Lower, middle, and Upper schools will be required to weave the Essential Capacities into their curriculum and encouraged to explicitly mention the Essential Capacities in their classes to help students understand what they are. “One of the methods I like to use are open-ended, authentic learning activities, where students consider an ideological issue, and devise their own approach for encountering, exploring, and reflecting on it,” says Mr. Jaami Franklin. “This promotes several essential capacities. Another method that I love is meditation and ‘brain breaks,’ for wellness.” Mr. Kimball says, “We want teachers to be thoughtful in what the capacities are and to try drawing more direct parallels and connections to them. So when they are doing their lesson planning and thinking what they are actually teaching, it will more directly reflect the Essential Capacities.”


the blue & gold february 8, 2018

GRADE-GRUBBING AND COLLEGE A principal exeleutherostomizes By Dr. Richard Hartzell

LETTER TO THE EDITOR Re: Julian Lee, “What’s in a name? Why honors classes deserve their title” At first, I planned to extemporize on the pros and cons of such riveting issues as the renaming of some math courses; however, given that only a simple mind could find any disadvantages, I abandoned my initial project in favor of a deeper existential question: Do my students deserve the educational opportunities that Taipei American School affords? After about five seconds of profound reflection (my mind is not as quick as it

used to be), I determined that the answer is, of course, no. End of article? No! Instead of addressing puerile floccinaucinihilipilification at TAS, I have decided to let you in on some esoteric—perhaps even hermetic—secrets. Please do not tell anyone about what you are about to read. This is only for the intellectually curious, the openminded, the special. First secret—oh, and this is a doozy—your TAS GPA, the one with PE grades and all those impressive weights, has no relevance to college admissions. Really? Yes, really. (What a bummer!) Now, come on, if you are reading something written by someone as strange as Dr. H, clearly you are a bright, perspicacious person. You didn’t really think that Rice University was going to take your A in Ceramics I into account, did you? Or your A+ in PE 9? And how is Rice going to compare your weighted grades to those of students whose schools do not weigh grades? How? Here’s how: each university has its own system of recalculating GPA. Most strip the weighting and discard the “electives”; many do additional

calculus using what’s left according to manipulations that no one outside that university’s alchemical admissions magicians will ever know. So, why does Upper School have a weighted GPA? Good question! I asked the same one myself! Let me just say here that the arcana of independent schools are numerous and, by definition, mysterious. Second secret: true students take challenging classes and participate in extracurricular activities because they are interested in the world of the intellect and enjoy participating in activities. For example, any students who take AP English Literature, currently taught by a curmudgeon with unrealistic expectations and no hair, merely to build their “college resume” (since when do children have resumes?) are fools. The course is designed to impress young lovers of literature, not Yale’s admissions staff. If the latter were true, we could simply offer the same course title and teach Harry Potter—and Cornell would never know! College preparatory independent schools were not invented to be stepping stones to

Georgia Tech; they were created to prepare students for success at college. (Shh! Please don’t let anyone find this out!) Third secret: you are not alone—everyone believes that life in unfair, and all of us, like Regina George so aptly puts it, believe that we are just victims in this situation (at TAS, at home, in college admissions, in life). There is no cure for our status as victims, although the next time you indulge in self-pity, you might try to remember that, while you suffer through TAS, there are millions of children who have no schools, no teachers, and no real homes; there are millions more who attend pseudo-schools and don’t even have an endless supply of electronic toys. It’s tough being a human being because being human requires more than walking on two legs and suffering through the slings and arrows of life in Tianmu; it’s less tough for us, however, than it is for more than a couple billion other persons. Fourth secret: you are not where you go to college. It is even possible to go to Harvard and still become a wonderful person, as the case of our own Dr. Bruce so clearly shows. If

you somehow subscribe to the notion that you should work hard to get into a college that will make your parents (or you) proud, you are a greater fool than the above-mentioned fools. Dr. Soll, the MacArthur Genius Award winner whom you heard if you weren’t asleep and in the process of earning the title of greatest fool of all, attended the University of Iowa. Did you know that? What can you learn from that fact? Final secret: you are surrounded by a culture of idiocy. Take Logan Paul, for instance. Please, take Logan Paul. Or consider how some unnamable person could possibly become the leader of the (for now?) most powerful country on this imperiled Earth. Allow yourself to be entertained, but be careful not to swallow the shallow sound bites of wisdom that constantly pummel you, the most pernicious among which is the ever popular, “Just be yourself.” Just be yourself? Really? I mean, I love Julian, for example, but, really, Julian, is that all there is? That’s all this world is going to get? Nothing more? Please don’t settle for being yourself.

Here’s some advice, everyone. Each time you look in the mirror, forget about your hairstyle (okay—admittedly this is easier for me) or your complexion, and ask yourself some important questions. Have I done anything to get better in any way? Do I deserve all the privileges I have? (No, you don’t. None of us does.) Who am I? Who do I want to become? Why? These questions are as challenging as they are important. In the past, you would have been counseled by Dostoevsky and Dickens, rather than Sachs and Silicon. You would have read, instead of watched, and you would have been forced to find information on your own, rather than being bombarded with it. You can either join the culture of idiocy, or you can rebel and become yourself. If you rebel, you will be different and, therefore, an outcast, but you will be able to continue to look at yourself in the mirror.

Experiential learning trips: time to give them another shot? By Julian Lee (‘18) For a well-run, academicallyoriented institution, Taipei American School probably has a surprisingly low attendance rate. Not because our students are juvenile delinquents—but rather, because our overachievers are constantly jetting off to international competitions and conferences. Between robotics, sports, Model United Nations and more, it may seem that the TAS calendar already has more than enough overseas trips. An Interim service learning week, however, is no ordinary trip: It gives students the rare chance to learn from giving back. A well-established program at international schools like Hong Kong International School and Singapore American School, Interim pauses all classes for a week every March. For this week, instead of sitting in classrooms, the high school student body splits into small groups and embarks on a vast range of cultural immersion or service learning adventures.

Admittedly, the educational value of a “cultural immersion” trip is doubtful. In fact, TAS operated a similar program until 2007, allowing freshmen and sophomore students to travel to cities such as Florence and Istanbul. However, the trips amounted to glorified sightseeing vacations, taking up academic time in the middle of the school year, and therefore were discontinued in Dr. Richard Hartzell’s first act as Upper School principal. However, a service-oriented approach to the Interim program would be an incredible addition to the TAS experience. Jonathan Chung, current HKIS senior class president, has volunteered in India and South Africa during the past four years. He says, “It is one thing to learn about service and civic engagement in a classroom, but another to actually experience them for oneself. The experiential learning brought about through Interim has allowed me to

Jonathan Chung, now a senior at HKIS, taught an empowerment curriculum in India’s Tamil Nadu province for his sophomore year Interim. [JONATHAN CHUNG FOR THE BLUE & GOLD]

connect with these concepts on an emotional level, and witness for myself how the principles I’ve learned in class came to be established in the first place.” Critics may argue that a week of overseas service is hardly the most efficient way to help underprivileged communities. For one, any impact made is likely to be an unsustainable

one-off. The price of such a trip would also be exorbitant: Why not just donate the airfare instead? For these reasons, the best solution might be found closer to home. Upper School associate principal Mr. Andrew Lowman says, “Rather than going off overseas, wouldn’t it be better to engage more with our

community here in Taipei?” SAS and HKIS both offer domestic Interims. We could easily follow suit by sending our Upper School student body for a week of volunteering at charitable foundations and projects around Taiwan. Dedicating this time completely to bettering our surrounding community would help TAS students to build a

warmer relationship with the local Taiwanese, who can often view us as at least distant, if not spoiled. It would also strengthen the school’s growing emphasis on character education — and most importantly, it would enable students to better comprehend the privileged position that we occupy on this island.


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The self-serving nature of our service culture By Catherine Lin (‘19) A few years ago, an announcement went up on Blackboard Learn, advertising open shadow officer positions for a new club. The club would meet as briefly and infrequently as possible, the announcement promised, solely to plan club sales; it would do nothing but sell food and donate the proceeds to a charity. In the way that this new club aggressively targeted students looking for low-commitment opportunities without any pretense of authenticity, it epitomized what I had termed a “shell club”: a service club existing exclusively to provide leadership positions. Though its name has since slipped from my mind, I do remember that at the time, I believed it to be the ultimate proof of the hollowness of Taipei American School’s service culture. During my freshman and sophomore years, I managed to join zero service clubs. Laziness and misanthropy no doubt contributed, but I told myself that I chose noninvolvement because after much deliberation, I concluded that no form of service at TAS

A TAS student pays for bubble tea at a service club sale. [SHEREEN LEE/THE BLUE & GOLD] was truly untainted—truly good. Food sales. Service trips. Fundraising events. Each option seemed to carry its own set of moral quandaries because each option seemed inescapably self-serving. Granted, the school has implemented regulations to suppress shell clubs, such as by mandating 15 members to sign up before a club is

created. And the food sale calendar is now too crowded for any club to rely on them alone. Still, the root of many problems with our service culture lies not just with the school, but with colleges. When service is reduced to yet another hoop students must jump through as part of the college admissions process, ethical gray areas are bound to



A Blue & Gold writer discusses the not-so-subtle discrimination she faces from family members every Chinese New Year. By Charlotte Lee (‘20)

My grandpa ran a grocery and tofu stall for 50 years, named “山 水豆腐,” or “Mountain Water Tofu.” He worked morning to night, every single day of the year, except one: 初一, the first day of the Lunar calendar. To Hong Kongers, the first day of Chinese New Year is no small event. This was the holiday—like Christmas, Thanksgiving, July Fourth and all those other holidays compacted into 24 short hours. This year’s Chinese New Year is right around the corner, and that means many otherwise strange traditions will be socially acceptable for a week. People will walk around handing out red envelopes full of money, each meal will be a feast to

rival that of most Americans’ Thanksgiving dinner, and sweeping the floor will (of course) be forbidden. Yet one ancient practice persists both on this holiday and yearround: the patriarchy. Receiving red envelopes is a curious practice: You walk around, find each of your older relatives, and use exclusively four-letter phrases to wish them a happy new year. There is a plethora of phrases that you can choose from, but being “The American School Kids” in our family, my brother and I have a significantly smaller word bank than all our other relatives. The relative will then give you an envelope filled with money and respond with several more auspicious sayings. Over the years, I noticed a pattern in what my relatives were saying to my brother and me. To my brother, the

oldest boy in an extended family of 10 children, they said,“步步高升,課課拿A!” which essentially translates to “improve step by step and get A’s in all your classes!”

One ancient practice persists year-round: the patriarchy. Starting his freshman year, my great uncle had already begun asking my brother where he wanted to go to college. Perhaps he had forgotten that he was only 14, but that did not deter his enthusiastic questioning. “America? Harvard?” he said, letting out a hearty laugh and clapping him on the back aggressively.

emerge. If every service activity is potential fodder for college essays, it is impossible to act with completely unselfish motivations regardless of the form service takes. You might object that any extracurricular and any interest can be faked. Why single out service? Should colleges then not consider applicants holistically at all,

and rely solely on academic achievement? Faking a passion for playing the bassoon or for reading postmodernist literature is very different from faking a passion for service. The selfish impulse to collect service club leadership positions directly contradicts the unselfish, altruistic impulse that a person’s service activities

is meant to indicate. Rather than being a reliable gauge of an applicant’s character, service activities have become equally reliable indicators of ruthless careerism. As a result, admissions officers gain little to no useful information about a candidate based upon his or her service activities. This is why colleges should not factor in community service at all when evaluating applicants. Maybe the world would be a worse place for it, deprived of a zombie army of high schoolers laboring to accrue college admissions brownie points. But the world would be a purer place, too. A well-intentioned attempt at signalling the value of social responsibility has now birthed the voluntourism industry, along with numerous other dubious enterprises designed to profit off upper-middle class anxiety. Universities surely cannot be blamed for these wideranging side effects, but they opened the Pandora’s box, and now they should use their considerable influence to close it.


Instead of asking about school, my relatives would tell me and my other female cousins, “越來越亮” which means literally, “get prettier.” Aside from my great aunt, who worked as a elementary school principal and sometimes asked how I was doing in classes, people in my family simply did not care as much about my scholastic future as they did my brother’s. And it was not just me: empty comments about the younger girls’ pretty dresses defined a clear limit to the conversation concerning the eight girls in our family. At best, my great uncle would joke about how to pronounce my English name. Maybe not everyone in Hong Kong is so outwardly biased towards males. My dad, for example, intentionally avoids the auspicious sayings entirely. “The words don’t

m e a n anything— it’s a f o r m a l i t y. I hate it, it’s like there are strings attached.” He explains that Chinese culture has always cared more about how males can thrive in society, but he is convinced that people will change their perspectives—slowly. It is no secret that my brother has always been the smarter child in the family. But since we have been living overseas for 12 years, these relatives that we see once a year know little to nothing about either of us. Still, they find it easy to talk to my brother about his bright future and squeeze out what little energy they have left to tell me and my mother how we are starting look more and more like sisters. My third uncle’s oldest daughter is similar to what

Julian was when he was also in the fifth grade: He wears plastic blue glasses and always has her nose buried in a book. She likes plaid shirts, cars, and is already better than me at reading Chinese. You practically have to rip her book away from her to get her to the dinner table But visiting relatives fail to mention her love for reading. Instead, they make jokes about how one day, they hope she will outgrow her boyishness. As a sophomore this year, when I go back to Hong Kong in the upcoming holiday, my turn for the college small talk will be long overdue. But I am almost sure that this conversation will never arrive.


the blue & gold february 8, 2018


The role of truth in student journalism

Shereen Lee (‘19) Editor-in-Chief

Throughout this school year, several readers have noticed and approached staff members about the Blue & Gold’s tendency to mostly cover the positive aspects of people and events. These students took a critical stance on our supposed bias. They were surprised to learn that every quote in the newspaper must receive confirmation from the speaker before it is published, and that everyone has the right to rescind comments or suggest

Christine Lin (‘19) Managing Editor for Online

changes to their portrayal. While we agree that the Blue & Gold’s articles have an emphasis on positivity, we do not think this tendency is negligent, nor is it a result of gratuitous self-censorship. Rather, depicting people positively goes to the heart of our philosophy regarding the purpose of student journalism at Taipei American School. We understand why this practice might come across as a distortion of the truth, and as a failure to perform our function as journalists. The truth is that every person and every event possesses flaws,

Anya Lai (‘19) Managing Editor for Print

and the traditional purpose of a newspaper is to inform its readers about the truth. It is important to keep in mind, though, that the Blue & Gold is not a traditional newspaper. It is a student newspaper. While many journalistic organizations h a ve — r i g h t f u l l y — e vo l ve d to take on a watchdog role, our responsibility toward the school community supersedes that. Instead, if we have any fundamental guiding principle we follow for our pieces, it is that we should aim to encourage everyone in the school community to value

Ditch the friendzone By Vanessa Tsao (‘19) You get a text: it is from your crush. Your heart leaps, but then sinks as you read the message. Whatever it said, the first thing you think is, “I’ve been friendzoned.” Still, what is known as the “friendzone” is not simply unrequited love. Rather, the “friendzone” occurs when someone—Bob, for instance—feels that because they have been a good friend to Mary, so Mary has an obligation to further the relationship romantically or sexually. Mary does not feel the same way for Bob, so Bob feels like he has been unsuccessful in his pursuit of Mary and complains of being “friendzoned.” The “friendzone” carries troubling implications. It differs from unrequited love because it contains a power dynamic that positions the friendzoned person as a victim: They portray themselves as a wronged party, an unjustly resentful and aggressive reaction. While the term “friendzone” is used by both guys and girls, typically the

dynamic described occurs more with guys. In an interview with Buzzfeed, Daniel Radcliffe criticizes friendzoning as a terrible concept for men to use, saying “I definitely think the idea of the friend zone is just men going, ‘This woman won’t have sex with me.’” Historical gender dynamics place men in the role of pursuer who must persuade women to love them and have sex with them, whereas women are reduced to objects of sexual desires. The “friendzone” implies that one’s crush was the antagonizer who hurt one’s feelings by “friendzoning” them. This is a terribly toxic mentality, exposing the entitlement that has led one to feel like a victim in the first place. Being a nice, decent person does not entitle one to rewards like a romantic relationship or sex, nor any obligations at all from others. Being nice ought to be courteous behavior expected of all, and it should be especially alarming if one is being nice to others for the sole purpose

of hooking up with them. Sometimes, the “friendzoned” person even proceeds to cut themselves out of the life of their crush, indirectly punishing their crush and further casting them as an offender. A sense of entitlement and toxic masculinity often prompts men to take such a petty action of revenge on women, rather than the other way round. This concept of men failing at performing masculinity if they do not succeed in hooking up with women perpetuates the sexist idea that women are trophies to be attained to soothe men’s fragile masculinities and objectifies women. The friendzone is an unhealthy concept that we should not allow to influence our relationships; feeling hurt at not successfully dating a crush does not justify holding on to such a harmful idea. A culture that blames women when men do not get their way should be shut down by our refusal to partake in it, through both our words and actions.

Catherine Lin (‘19) Copy Editor

each other, whether student or staff member, artist or athlete. A major factor that distinguishes student journalism from professional journalism is that our writers, readers, and article subjects all belong to the same social world. Anything that we publish about an individual is something that their friends and teachers will potentially find out about​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, which is to say that anything we publish can do harm. We have the responsibility to be careful not to hurt the people we quote. This awareness of the impact that our work may have does not mean that we

Charlotte Lee (‘20) Social Media/Marketing Editor

must treat every viewpoint as valid: We choose to publish opinions that we believe will generate thoughtful, necessary discussions. This does not mean, either, that we will endorse bigoted and discriminatory opinions from potential interviewees or contributors. It does mean, however, that we go to great lengths to avoid singling out a specific person or group of people for the sake of criticism, and it does mean that we sometimes intentionally omit quotes that we feel may jeopardize the speaker’s wellbeing if printed. It shapes our intent during the editing process,

and informs our ultimate goal of limiting some personal biases in favor of less judgmental coverage. Yes, we believe that we are obligated to represent the facts accurately. But facts rarely, if ever, stand alone, uncolored by the writer’s perspective. When we write, we inevitably— and very consciously interpret the facts and use them to create a narrative, implicit or explicit. We choose to see our subjects through a empathetic lens, the same lens that we hope our readers will adopt.



As a child growing up in a small Taiwanese town, Dr. Daniel Long had never seen a McDonald’s, Starbucks, or even a 7-Eleven. The family television had three channels. So when he first set foot in America for college, the place he would eventually describe to others as “home,” it seemed like an alien planet. “The difficulty for me was that because I was white, and I had an American accent, I was expected to fit in,” he says. “But I didn’t. For a long time, I didn’t have the social context that other people did. I didn’t know as much about sports teams. I didn’t have the same vocabulary.” Throughout his adolescence, Dr. Long’s family held on tightly to vestiges of American culture. Every year, for example, during the Super Bowl, the family would wait to get the VHS tape that friends were sending from the U.S. in the mail. “We would watch it together two weeks after it had already happened,” says Dr. Long. “It was one of the only times I ever watched TV, because none of the three channels on television had English programming.” Even though his family clung to these vestiges of the American experience, Dr. Long usually spent much of his time immersed in a more Taiwanese mindset, forming his closest bonds with aboriginal children in town rather than hanging out with the small group of other western kids at the school he attended a 10-minute bike ride away. Meanwhile, his brother, Dave, embraced as much of America as he could from a continent away. “There was a striking difference between myself and my brother,” says Dr. Long. “My brother was adopted. Ethnically, he’s Korean. In everything else—the way he thinks, the way he behaves, the way he speaks—he’s very, very, American.

He even joined the U.S. military. But people would still assume things about him because he didn’t ‘look American.’” In the same way that others had assumed that Dr. Long was fully American because of his appearance, Dave was often looked to as the bridge between Taiwanese individuals and the rest of Dr. Long’s Caucasian family. “People often turned to my brother to speak while we were in Taiwan, expecting him to translate and know more about how to communicate because he was Asian,” says Dr. Long. “No one would realize that I was the one who spoke fluent Chinese, while he never learned the language.” What the brothers lacked in cultural commonalities, however, they made up for in their shared experiences as third culture kids who were constantly moving from country to country—first living in Japan, Vietnam, and Taiwan, before scattering across the world as they grew older. “As children, we got used to leaving people. We got used to moving on, pretty quickly,” says Dr. Long. “When you’re a third culture kid, people think you’re flippant. They think you don’t care, when you leave because you just move on and adapt.”

WHEN YOU’RE A THIRD CULTURE KID, PEOPLE THINK YOU DON’T CARE... WHEN YOU LEAVE. Is it true? “Of course not,” he says. “It’s a coping mechanism. If I got upset and cried every time I had to go away, I’d be doing a lot of crying.” But he does admit that his childhood has instilled a wanderlust that was, at first, hard to shake. “It wasn’t until I met my wife, until I had kids and I grew roots in Taiwan, that I no longer felt the need to pack my suitcase,” he says.

At the same time, Dr. Long’s history has helped him create a new brand of friendship with fellow travelers. “I can move away and not see a friend for 20 years, then form an instant bond when we meet again,” he says. He also has an affinity with others who have been displaced often throughout their lives. “I gravitate to other third culture kids who can understand my experience, because I don’t have to explain,” he says. “I can tell them, ‘I’m from Taiwan,’ and they’ll understand.” Where does he tell other people he is from? The closest approximation to a U.S. home is South Carolina, where his parents currently reside—but Dr. Long has only ever lived there for a year. The answer is not entirely inaccurate: He will always find a home “wherever Mom and Dad are,” he says. Large family gatherings occur every year in his parents’ Columbia house, where he reunites with his many America-dwelling relatives and his younger sister living in Tanzania. These meetings are what consolidates the emails, Skype calls, and Messenger chats that they use to try to maintain bonds within their family. Still, Dr. Long’s voice is blase and a little resigned as he tells me of the barriers that keep him from claiming Taipei as his own. “The thing is, when people are asking me where I’m from, they’re not expecting for me to say Taiwan. So I say South Carolina. I lived in St. Louis for three years, so sometimes I say that too,” says Dr. Long. “The irony is that even though I know Taiwan much better than these other places, I’ll never be Taiwanese to the vast majority of people. It doesn’t matter how long I actually spend my life here. That’s just the cultural expectation, that to be from here you have to look a certain way.” But then, his face clears. “Taiwan is a great place to be from,” he says. “It’s really a wonderful place, and I owe my parents for bringing me here. It’s been one of the great blessings of my life, even if I didn’t choose it.”


As an international school, Taipei American School is full of students with ambiguous conceptions of home and belonging. What does it mean to belong to a nation? Is “where are you from” the same question as “where is home”? Five members of the TAS community discuss how moving has shaped and complicated their cultural identities. BY SHEREEN LEE (‘19) AND CATHERINE LIN (‘19) PHOTOS BY SHEREEN LEE (‘19)

IDENTICAL TWINS, DIFFERENT IDENTITIES Peyton Phillips (‘19) and Patrick Phillips (‘19) are identical twins. Both lived in the United States until they were 12 years old, spent four years in Japan, then moved to Taiwan this year. Both assimilated with few difficulties in Japan, where the small school size of 200 students created a tight-knit community. But if you ask them where they consider “home,” they will answer differently. Patrick says home is the U.S., where they have family, return every year to a house they own, and plan to go to college. Peyton is not so sure. “When I first moved when I was seven years old, I considered the place I used to live in as home, and the same for when I moved to Japan. So there’s always the thought in my head

that somewhere in the States is my home,” says Peyton. “But going into high school, I think I realized how much I liked living abroad, which led me to the thought that my home is where I’m comfortable and wherever I feel like a part of a community.” Surprisingly, Peyton feels at home in places where he is different—in Japan and in Taiwan, and even in North Carolina, where he has not lived in 10 years and most kids his age have never traveled more than a few hours away from their hometown. “I feel foreign here, but it’s still my home... especially here, my community is in the school,” he says. “Even if I feel foreign, it’s not like an uncomfortable feeling.” In many ways, Patrick and Peyton are traditional third

culture kids. Having spent such a large part of their formative years abroad, their high degree of integration into Japanese culture makes their identities distinct from their parents’; they now take their shoes off when entering the house and have acquired a taste for new foods. For Patrick, though, his conviction that he is American muddies the waters, even as he recognizes the extent to which he fits the definition of a “third culture kid” on paper. Does he belong in Asia, or is he merely a temporary observer? “Believing...that I’m American is the only thing that helps me ignore that painful question, and for that reason, I stick with it,” says Patrick. Rather than causing him to feel un-American, living

abroad has only solidified his identification with the country of his birth, and expanded his conception of what constitutes American culture. “It’s getting a lot more difficult though to classify x or y as un-American because there are so many people who live overseas and have the same experiences I have,” he says. “American culture is becoming more and more vague, especially with lots of people with international backgrounds moving there.” Peyton’s experience living abroad has likewise given him a greater appreciation for diversity. “In my opinion, I think the experiences I get, as a person who has been able to travel, are invaluable and worth more than staying in one place growing up,” he says.

CLAIRE MOY IS ASIAN—MAYBE Three years ago, when Claire Moy (‘18) stepped through the gates of Taipei American School for the first time, its sheer number of Asian students shocked her. “Walking around the rest of the day, especially in the cafeteria, was pretty eerie,” she says. She had just moved to Taiwan from the suburb of Bethesda, Maryland. “At my old school, I was maybe one of 10 Asians and one of two Chinese in my class of 500,” she says. The daughter of a State Department official, Claire spent the first year of her life in the U.S., moved to China for four years, then returned to the U.S. at 6 years old before relocating to Taiwan in 10th grade. Her friends in America did not treat her like a foreigner— to them she was “just ‘Claire,’”

she explains—but she remained highly cognizant of her differences. “I was a lot more aware of my race while being in the minority,” she says. “I wasn’t ostracized or singled out for being of a different race, but I was certainly conscious of the fact.” As an elementary school student in the U.S., her mother’s packed lunch of dumplings or noodles conspicuously announced her ethnicity at a table laden with pizza and salad. She recalls how she resorted to bringing sandwiches or simply did not eat. “They’d sometimes ask to smell or try my food, or ask about what it was called,” she says. “It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but I hated standing out for being Chinese.” After Maryland’s

predominant whiteness, being plunged into TAS’ sea of black hair and brown eyes initially felt strange. She soon acclimated, however, and though she still missed the convenience of a 24-hour CVS Pharmacy, she stopped feeling like a foreigner in Taiwan. She adjusted to the urban environment, to K-pop and anime, to the way student life revolves around academics, and to the luxurious air-conditioned school buses. Still, she thinks that does not fit in completely. “My friends here are always reminding me that I am foreign in a friendly, teasing way,” says Claire. “They often call me ‘white.’” So when someone asks her where she is from, her reply changes: Home is both in America, where she grew up,

and in Taiwan, where she has assimilated in the past three years. In Taiwan, she says she is from the U.S, and in the U.S., she answers “Taiwan.” However, to Claire, the two countries—though they may be separated by an ocean—are not very far apart culturally, even as she recognizes that the U.S. may appear strange to a TAS student whose conception of American public high schools is derived from consuming popular culture staples like “High School Musical.” “That stuff is not a good representation of American life. Honestly, the U.S. is [similar to] Taiwan. We have 7-Eleven and the Starbucks and H&M and everything,” she says. “People are really nice though. Like overly nice.”

KURT PENG DRIFTS ACROSS THE PACIFIC When Kurt Peng (‘18) thinks of home, his memories are not of his everyday life as a high school student at Taipei American School: Instead, he is taken back to a scene almost a decade ago. “I’d sit on the sofa and put my feet on my mom and watch TV while my dad went to get coffee,” he says. “That was really the last time everyone in my family was all together.” After that, true to third culture kid tradition, he and his family were scattered around the globe. “When I moved to New Jersey as a first grade student, my mom came with me and my sisters,” he says. “My dad stayed in Taiwan to work.”

Away from many members of his family, he struggled at first to adapt to life in the U.S. “I didn’t get the language at first,” he says. “I remember not knowing what the word ‘rock’ meant. But I think I adjusted more quickly than most would probably expect, because I was so young.” As soon as he had fully settled in at school, though, it was time to move back home— only, this time, his sisters would not go with him. Taiwan was not the same after his sisters had moved away for college, though he lives once again with his mother and father. “I still see them a couple of times a year, but I haven’t spent much

time with them since,” he says. “They have busier and busier lives now.” Eventually, Kurt lost touch with his American friends and cemented his Taiwanese identity at English-language schools in Taipei. “It’s kind of strange for me to say that I don’t feel American, since I am better at English, pay more attention to American news and watch more American sports,” he says. “But I just feel more Taiwanese at my core.” He acknowledges that this feeling might transform as he grows up and away from the island where he was born. “If my college is more ‘American,’

I might change my identity as I try to fit in,” he says. “I think it’s already starting to happen a bit at TAS: I know more about “The Office” than about Taiwanese dramas.” Even as he plans to move back to America for college and work opportunities, however, Kurt will try to keep as much of his heritage in sight as possible. “I made sure that all of my schools have at least a 10 or 15 percent Asian population,” he says. “I just want to hold on to that feeling of being Taiwanese: there’s no unifying definition for what it means to be American like there is for Taiwanese people.”


the blue & gold february 8, 2018

Senior builds $100,000 NT non-profit

By Barron Tsai (‘19)

William Wu (‘18) has quietly built a small charitable business that has, to date, earned a profit of over $100,000 NT; all proceeds from the company’s sales benefit the Taiwanese Guide Dog Association, which works to help the vision-impaired. He first came up with the idea to create Florentino Design Studio over a year and a half ago. “I used to volunteer at the Taipei Municipal School for the Blind,” he says. “I realized, as I grew up and grew older, I had become increasingly self-reliant. These kids don’t get that. Their problems with vision will persist into adulthood. Plus, my own mother had vision loss, so it was something I felt passionate about on a personal level.” Though he volunteered at the School for The Blind For two years, he realized he could do more. Guide dogs came to mind. “These kids need to be able to get around. Something as simple as getting food could be quite difficult for them. It might even affect their ability to not only thrive, but to survive.” William’s personal experiences and revelations formed the basis for Florentino Design Studio. He wanted to create a product that had low production costs but high value. He worked with a local Taiwanese designer to create the Sleepy Cat and Jolly Pup Planters, decorative containers in which plants

William Wu (‘18) and his products Jolly Pup and Sleepy Cat. [KEVIN LEE AND WILLIAM WU FOR THE BLUE & GOLD] are grown. These cute and functional products cost $500 NT, and all profits go to the aforementioned Taiwanese Guide Dog Association. 21st century technology made it possible for him to start his business with minimal capital. “All of this would not be possible without 3D printing. Creating an iron mold for the planters would cost $100,000 NT—creating a

silicone mold for the planters was significantly cheaper.” As a social entrepreneur, William made full use of the resources available here to him here at TAS: “We have a piece of software we use in ceramics class, called Rhino, that I used to create a computer model of the planters.” William also asked Mr. Anthony Ives and Mrs. Michelle Bruce, his psychology

and honors marketing teachers, respectively, for help. “Mr. Ives used his experience with psychology to help me with marketing, and Mrs. Bruce really helped elevate my business with the creation of a 21-page business plan.” Thanks to the combined efforts of these two teachers, a 10-person team of TAS students, and William himself, Florentino Design Studio has

now branched out from selling planters just at the Tiger Shop in addition to local sales at ACI Institute, a popular tutoring company used by TAS students, and a variety of local cafes, William believes there may be some foreign interest in his products. “I am currently working creating a PayPal account and integrating it into my website. If there is actual demand, I would like to bring

the business model with me to the United States when I go to college and find local artists to collaborate with there.” At the end of the day, it is all about making an impact for William. There are an estimated 253 million vision-impaired people in the world and just as his own mother made a recovery from vision impairment, there is hope for them, too.

Alumni experiment with education at Khan Lab School By Anya Lai (‘19) While you were taking your semester exams, recent Taipei American School graduates Avery Wang (‘17) and Angela Chiang (‘17) have been finishing their first semester of their internship at the worldrenowned Khan Lab School, which is partnered with Khan Academy, an organization that provides free online education on a wide range of subjects. KLS focuses on mastery through individual projects, students are sorted by how independent they are and not by age, and grades are not given. This lab school is essentially an experiment that is constantly being changed, and organizations and companies such as Google have promoted this model into the workplace. Avery, a STEM intern, focuses on collecting and analyzing data about each student on the Khan Academy website, and advise projects students at KLS come up with. Avery explains a key difference

All smiles at Khan Lab School. [ANGELA CHIANG FOR THE BLUE & GOLD] between KLS and normal schools. He mentions how KLS focuses on mastery based learning through projects and individual exploration rather than completing the curriculum, similar to a Montessori education. This allows student to become “fluent in global affairs and issues in society.” The projects students take on are called “studio projects,” which

focuses on interdisciplinary and social issues. Using his strong STEM skillset, Avery created a project in which his students use linear programming and optimization to focus international health. A full simulation with graphics, showing what happens when there is an outbreak in a city and when people travel around was created. “They use math

to model immigration and its impact on wages and factors of production,” says Avery, while commenting on how his knowledge on this topic should be attributed to Dr. Robert Bruce’s AP economics class at TAS. The purpose of studio projects is to create independent students that will design breathtaking projects that can change the world.

Not only does Avery help students on their studio projects, he is also designing his own new STEM projects inspired by the math team, the International Genetically Engineered Machines team, and American Computer Science League at TAS. These projects allow Avery to learn more about technology, programming, data analysis, and other STEM related subjects. However, Avery’s main takeaway from his internship at KLS is interacting with the students. He says, “Seeing what intrinsic motivation can bring out a students full potential what I find inspiring and is a great model of education.” Angela Chiang (‘17), on the other hand, focuses on the humanities side at Khan Lab School. As she is passionate about education, KLS provides Angela with the perfect experience. Angela conferences with students on their progress on humanities projects by giving feedback and suggesting

personalized interventions to help improve the students on a particular skill. Students also come to Angela when they are stuck or need to be challenged to further their research on their projects. Not only does Angela guide students on their projects, she was able to create and lead a 45-minute seminar on essay structure and introduce herself to KLS founder Sal Khan. “This ongoing internship has solidified my passion for education and teaching,” says Angela. “With KLS at the frontier of education, having the power to influence schools worldwide, I can’t wait to bring the teaching skills to whichever educational institution I end up in.” This internship has given Angela skills she will use in her future career in education. Furthermore, she has also gained lasting relationships. “It’s like we’re a big family,” she says. “Also, of course, I love my students. They are so sweet and hardworking.”


the blue & gold february 8, 2018

SPIRITED AWAY: SPIRIT WEEK AT OTHER IASAS SCHOOLS By Audrey Kong (‘18) and Vanessa Tsao (‘19)



or their equivalent of Spirit Week, Jakarta International Schools participate in Pajama Day, Twin Day, Wacky Wednesday, Character Day, and Naga Day, where students dress in Jakarta International School merchandise. “Once for twin day, my friend and I wore matching T-shirts with each others’ faces on them,” says JIS sophomore Avril Delgado. In October, JIS holds a competition between each grades called the Cilandak Games, where all the grades fight for the Naga Cup. The entire student body is separated into different activities, and students compete to gather points for their grade. Emilie Hamlin, a junior at JIS, says, “My favorite activity is volleyball because it’s my favorite sport and it’s always fun to play.” After the individual activities, they gather in the gym for a tug-of-war. The class with the most points then wins, though students often speculate that the Cilandak Games are rigged, since the seniors almost always end up victorious.



pirit Week at the international School of Bangkok occurs more frequently throughout the year. Guy Thampakkul, a junior at ISB, says, “Spirit Week is usually a mid-season thing, around three to four weeks before IASAS and between pre-IASAS and IASAS.” In total, ISB students have three spirit weeks throughout the school year, as they have one in each sport season around a month before IASAS. Besides dress-up days, ISB has different councils that organize games for each day of the week. For instance, ISB’s Varsity Council organizes an obstacle course, Student Council organizes a class pie eating competition and another organization would organize other activities like soak the teacher. “It’s just really fun to bring the energy up from our usual school routines and ending the week with participating or watching sports competitions is always nice,” says Guy. Like SAS, ISB has a house system with four houses: Makara, Rajasi, Hongsa, and Yaksha. Makara’s color is blue, Rajasi’s is red, Hongsa’s is white, and Yaksha’s is grey. There are quarterly and yearly wins for the house that participates in the most events at the end of each time period. “Winners usually vary quite a bit, but the seniors are always the loudest,” says Guy. “Spirit Week is always really fun and the energy is always really, really high because there is music in the cafeteria, people are hyped for the tournament weekend, be it a friendship tournament or IASAS. The energy and school spirit is always really high…you can feel the hype and people smile and laugh a lot,” Guy says.


While we celebrate Spirit Week in the Upper School from Feb. 5-Feb. 9, take a look at the traditions from other schools in the International Association of Southeast Asian Schools for inspiration.

t Singapore American School, Spirit Week occurs once a semester, in April and October. Just like Spirit Week at Taipei American School, SAS high school students dress up and participate in games that contribute to the overall result. Ethan Chen, a senior at SAS who left TAS after his sophomore year here, says, “The dress up days are pretty special just because we have to wear uniforms.” Some of SAS’ dress up days include International Day, Disney Characters Day, and Professional Day. While TAS has a special assembly schedule for students to participate in class games, SAS games go on during their lunch in the cafeteria. Lunch activities include musical chairs, pillow fight, or bench press competitions. Unlike TAS, where we compete by grades, SAS has a house system and they compete between houses instead of grades. “There are three houses, Ethon, Andor, and Aquila, and you get assigned to one. Each grade is spread equally among the houses and each house has its own color,” says Ethan. Having participated in both TAS and SAS Spirit Weeks, Ethan explains that the level of spirit during Spirit Week at both schools is about the same and that Spirit Week at the two schools are pretty similar. He says, “Although it’s sometimes always the same people playing [the games], who are chosen by our Student Council, and I don’t like some of the games, I like the free dress so I can wear my own clothes.”

nternational School School of Kuala Lumpur hosts a performance and game at lunch from Monday to Thursday of their Spirit Week, with each day being organized by a certain grade. Each grade is responsible for having someone in their grade perform a song, and they also have to design a fun game for all grades to compete in. Games range from food-eating competitions to trivia games, face painting or relay races. One memorable food-eating competition involved a challenge to eat an orange as fast as possible. “This one kid didn’t even bother peeling the orange. Instead, he just inhaled almost half the orange with the peel on and everything,” ISKL senior Hannah May says. They have their biggest day on Friday where they host many athletic activities out on the field. There are competitions such as wheelbarrow races and water balloon tosses. “My favorite event would probably have to be the lip sync battle,” says Hannah. During the lip sync battle, there are groups or solos from each grade and then a few teachers (groups or solos) perform as well. The lip sync battle is a spirit event that counts toward the Panther Cup, a tradition that ISKL only started two years ago. “Nobody is ever embarrassed and everyone just gets so into the event. I especially love that the teachers get involved and spend the time to make it a really good show,” Hannah says.


pirit Week for International School Manila is centered around unifying and hyping the school for IASAS. ISM assigns a theme to each day of Spirit Week for dress-up, and they also have a send-off assembly where they screen the IASAS send-off videos to recognize the teams for their achievements. The first three days before the IASAS games begin, students dress up according to themes from squad day to mathletes vs. athletes. ISM junior Rocio Tambunting says, “As for my favorite event, I love pajama day. Being in clothes that are actually comfortable at school makes a world of a difference.” During the IASAS send off, students dress in either green or yellow. “Since our bleachers are all green, we try to get people to wear yellow and spell out ‘ISM’ in yellow. We get a pretty cool effect,” says ISM junior Ursula Roscigno. However, the school-wide event at ISM that most resembles Taipei American School’s Spirit Week is called the “Battle of the Bearcats.” This takes place in September, when all the grades compete in various events in order to win the Spirit Cup. “Even though the events are important, the spirit points that you win for cheering on other batches [grade levels] are even more important,” says Rocio. This year, the juniors actually ended up beating the seniors. “This was incredibly controversial as Battle of the Bearcats often ends with the seniors taking the trophy,” Rocio says.


the blue & gold february 8, 2018

Valentine’s Day Venues PHOTOS AND TEXT BY KEVIN LEE (‘18) AND KELLY PHIL (‘20) Valentine’s Day is coming up soon, and everyone needs a unique spot for their special day out. We traveled around the city and reviewed four top eateries with both romantic atmosphere and delicious food for you to enjoy on Feb 14.

Fika Fika Cafe

Red on Tree

Cafe by Juicy Diary

In Swedish, Fika means “to take a break,” but this cafe is more than that. The bright yet soothing environment is perfect for study sessions, or even a morning date. The cafe offers a wide variety of beverages, desserts, and sandwiches. The dish to die for is their Honey Mustard Chicken Panini ($250 NT), accompanied by a Cube Latte ($250 NT, or $300 NT for a combo). The crunch of ciabatta bread on the panini complemented the sweet and sour honey mustard. Alongside the panini is a healthy side of salad and yogurt, offering a refreshing palate. Fika Fika creates a relaxed feeling for a Valentine’s Day breakfast.

Red on Tree is the cafe that offers the romantic ambience, food and music you want on your perfect Valentine’s Day. Red on Tree is a cafe with a unique selection of teas, coffees, and pastries. The contrast of the light ash and mahogany furniture creates a warm and comforting environment. The recommended set for an afternoon tea is their strawberry tart ($160 NT) complemented by freshly brewed hot oolong tea ($150 NT). The refreshing taste of the tea helps wash down the sweet and creamy strawberry tart. Red on Tree is the definition of “premium” for a Valentine’s Day afternoon tea.

Cafe by Juicy Diary sports a quaint but elegant interior, complete with marbled tables and dimmed lights. Though most famous for their colorful acai bowls with seasonal fruits and cold press juices, the cafe’s unique take on avocado toast also stood out. One such dish had a smooth layer of avocado topped with a piece of smoked salmon, clean slice of cucumber, and poached egg. The contrast between the mixed flavors of the salmon, cucumber, and avocado complimented each other well. Perfect for a light lunch or a quick snack, Cafe by Juicy Diary is a great place to meet with a date.

No. 33, Yitong Street, Zhongshan District $$

No. 3, Lane 75, Section 1, Heping E. Road, Daan District $$$

No. 2, Lane 14, Siwei Road, Daan District $$$

“The Disaster Artist”: far from a disaster By Daniel Wang (‘18)

Based on the book of the same name by Greg Sestero, “The Disaster Artist” details the production of Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 cult-classic film, “The Room”. Riddled with narrative inconsistencies, “The Room” was such a bad movie that it has become known as “the ‘Citizen Kane’ of bad movies.” On the other hand, “The Disaster Artist” has already won 20 awards and

been nominated for an Oscar. “The Disaster Artist” begins in San Francisco, circa 1998, when the insecure Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) is impressed with the eccentric and courageous Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) during acting class. The two aspiring actors, with completely opposite personalities, become friends and move to Los Angeles. There, Tommy suddenly decides to make his own movie called “The Room,” with Greg as the co-star. Thankfully, “The Disaster Artist” as a film is unlike “The

Room”: it consists of a logical plot and a star-studded cast including celebrity brothers James and Dave Franco, along with Seth Rogen, Alison Brie, and Josh Hutcherson. The bright spot in the movie is undoubtedly the winner of the Golden Globe for the Best Actor of a Musical or Comedy: James Franco, with his portrayal of the iconic Tommy Wiseau. From the bizarre accent to his flamboyant dress, James Franco captures the essence of Tommy Wiseau’s character while inducing many laughs from the audience. Almost

as impressive is Seth Rogen’s hilarious role as a sarcastic script supervisor, reacting in disbelief to everything wrong about Tommy’s film. On the other hand, James Franco also reveals the dark side of Tommy Wiseau throughout the movie. He becomes consumed with jealousy towards Greg; he withholds water from his crew, and criticizes Juliette Danielle’s (Ari Graynor) body. I lost all respect for Tommy, and thus his story gave me little emotional satisfaction. Ultimately, however,

Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet HMH Books for Young Readers, January 2018

By Shereen Lee (‘19) By Christine Lin (‘19)

A meet-cute is a charming first encounter between two future lovers. As cheesy as they may sound and look, these scenarios, whether in movies or books, can make or break the course of a romantic story. “Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet” is a fictional short story collection of first encounters compiled by Jennifer L. Armentrout, author of the “Lux” series. Popular YA author contributors include Nicola Yoon, Emory Lord, Dhonielle Clayton,

“The Disaster Artist” is still everything it advertises itself as: an autobiography of Tommy Wiseau, with moments of

absolute comedy and drama. A 91% Rotten Tomatoes rating may be generous, but “The Disaster Artist” is a movie worth watching.

and Katherine McGee. Each story is written by a different author and in a different style. “Siege Etiquette,” the first story, fails to interest me with its use of awkward second-person point of view and bizarre plot line. The same goes for the next story, “The Print Shop,” where the pacing dwelled too much on the build-up to the encounter between the two partners. These examples illustrate the pitfalls of meet-cute stories, as the author carries the burden of engaging the reader in only 15 pages. Poorly constructed stories cause a novel to succumb to insta-love, a tired method that can fail to impress without more interesting content to follow. When done right, the

successful stories in the anthology leave you aching for more interactions between the two characters. “Dictionary of You and Me” tells a meet-cute about a romance found in an overdue dictionary. “The Way We Love Here,” which builds an intricate world in just one chapter, takes you on a black girl and Asian boy’s journey in finding love through time and space. “Meet Cute” is a mixed bag. Some of its stories were intriguing, while others disappointed. They are refreshingly diverse in their inclusions of LGBTQ+ and POC characters, as well as in their discussions of hard-hitting topics like body image. Ultimately, though, I was only thrilled by less than half of the stories.


the blue & gold february 8, 2018

DIHUA: exploring Taiwan’s oldest street By Shereen Lee (‘19) and Vanessa Tsao (‘19) PHOTOS BY SHEREEN LEE AND VANESSA TSAO/THE BLUE & GOLD

Dihua Street, formerly known as “Central Street” for its prominence in 20th century Taipei, has long been renowned for its Chinese markets, selling everything from fabrics to food. After a decade of restoration, however, the street has also begun to host modern Western and fusion restaurants, making it a magnet for foodies all over the city. The historic architecture around the area, such as the famous Xiahai Chenghuang temple display the cultural relics of the past; a great photography spot for those who are interested. As we approach Chinese New Year, consider visiting Dihua Street for delicious eats, ranging from traditional Taiwanese eateries to ultra-American burger joints.

Jiaxing Fish Ball Restaurant ($)

Dadaocheng ($$)

Traditional Rice Cake ($)

21 Yanping N. Rd. Section 2, Ln. 210

217 Dihua St. Section 1

223 Dihua St. Section 1

Jiaxing has been churning out handmade Fuzhou style fish balls for 50 years, and is one of Taipei’s most locally admired traditional shops. Its simple appearance focuses all attention on their mouthwatering fish balls. Freshly made every day, the fishballs have an extremely chewy—or as the Taiwanese say, “QQ”—skin. Four large fishballs in a soup cost $50 NT per bowl. As it is likely that you will want more after devouring these fish balls, be sure to take away some to freeze at home too.

The matcha tea at Dadaocheng was not cheap, but thankfully did not veer too far out of a reasonable price range. The milk was fresh, but a little sweet for my taste. There was a more generous portion of matcha in this serving than I usually see, and the mix was strong: I personally liked this style more than the weaker matcha teas sold at other stores. To be honest, though, the best feature of the shop was not the drink, but its trendy millennial-pink walls.

“Scholar Cake” is a traditional snack made from rice grounded to powder and stuffed with filling such as sesame or red bean and steamed. Its name in Mandarin means “auspicious snack that symbolizes scholarly success,” so many students eat it before their exams. This store maintains the traditional way of making it, and upon walking in, you are greeted by warm puffs of steam coming from the small kitchen behind the counter. The rice cakes have a variety of flavors, from traditional ones like black sesame to modern ones like chocolate. Each cake is priced around $40NT.

Summer Tree Sweets ($$)

The AMA Cafe ($$)

Salted Peanuts Cafe ($$)

240 Dihua St. Section 1

256 Dihua St. Section 1

197 Dihua St. Section 1

This small store is often packed with people, squeezing together on stools just to grab a bite of their house special, almond tofu. Similar to douhua (soybean jelly), the silky texture of the almond tofu is delicate and smooth. The sweet almond flavor punches through without being too sugary. Their almond shaved ice is a must try for shaved ice lovers. Unlike typical shaved ice, the ice is made with almond milk. Of course, the desserts all come with an ample selection of toppings typical of douhua stores, like grass jelly and taro balls.

The AMA Cafe is part of the AMA museum, Taipei’s first women’s rights museum. A hidden gem toward the end of Dihua Street, the museum and cafe are dedicated to commemorating the lives of comfort women during World War II under Japanese rule. The museum opened in 2016 from the proceeds of a crowdfunding campaign, and operates partially with proceeds from the cafe. AMA Cafe serves fair trade coffees, teas, and desserts. Their organic teas and smoothies are soothing and aesthetically pleasing, but, more importantly, they help spotlight an oft-overlooked set of historical issues.

The salted peanuts pie is the restaurant’s house special dessert and definitely lives up to expectations. Although salted peanuts are usually a local Taiwanese savory snack, this version is sweet sumptuous. The pie has the consistency of peanut butter but is slightly less dense and overwhelming. The peanut taste is subtle but definitely present throughout, sprinkled with dashes of salt which give it a unique taste. The crust at the bottom of the pie is perfectly crispy and pairs well with the creamy filling.


the blue & gold february 8, 2018

ATHLETES SOAKED IN POOLES OF SWEAT By Charlotte Lee (‘20) and Anya Lai (‘19)

Mr. Anthony Poole demonstrates the extension of the overhead push press. [CHARLOTTE LEE, ANYA LAI/THE BLUE & GOLD] When athletic trainer Mr. Anthony Poole entered the gym as the newest member of the fitness training team this year, he immediately made his arrival known. “Poole” is no longer just a last name, but a word that has become synonymous with physical exercise beyond imagined limits. When asked to describe a session with Coach Poole, Vera Chien, (‘21) immediately answered, “It’s hell.” Best known for his 23-minute, no rest ab workout and intense bodyweight training, Mr. Poole’s workouts are capable of leaving the most seasoned IASAS (Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asian Schools) athletes unable to walk up stairs the next day. Despite the pain, athletes and fitness freaks keep coming back for his help. “I was getting stronger each time I went even though it was really painful,”

says Vera. “He’s like a friend because he’s always cheering you on through the whole process.” Cheyenne Hsieh (‘19), 2017 IASAS Basketball Champion and All-Tournament, says, “Not only do you gain muscle, but you gain mental toughness.” As a former brakeman for the U.S.A Olympic bobsledding team, Mr. Poole used fitness as a tool to advance himself to a higher level in sports. Inspired by the many athletes he came across when he was playing as a pro, Mr. Poole says, “I thought I was at that level, and I was. But I knew if I could find a way to create a pattern that could build myself, I can build anyone else.” Mr. Poole implements this mentality to help athletes reach their potential. “Most athletes or parents or teachers coddle kids, meaning they don’t let you reach your highest potential because they are afraid when they feel pain.

They think that’s the level to stop,” he says. “But when we feel pain we know that’s when we reach the barrier and when we get better.” Athletes who have consistently trained with him have developed a capability to handle the physical suffering and develop positive results. When asked which of his clients were the most dedicated, Mr. Poole mentioned that the varsity boys basketball team stood out in their dedication to fitness training. Varsity basketball coach Mr. David Montgomery says that strength and fitness has been one of the team’s shortcomings in previous when they compete with the other IASAS schools. He says, “We encourage [players] to work with Coach Poole and even use practice time to train with him. It’s been a real success so far. Physically, [the players’] bodies are changing and it’s a credit to Coach Poole and also to the players themselves.”



Bear crawl, crab walk, duck walk

Squats: 4 x 10-12

(each up and down the field)

Overhead Push Press: 4 x 8-10

Jump squats sets of 20

Barbell Rows: 4 x 10

Standing leg kicks to front (20 each)

Lat Pull Down: 4 x 10-12

Walking dumbbell lunge curl

W. Lunges: 3 x 20 steps

CrossFit journey: outside the classroom, inside the box By Christine Lin (‘19) Ms. Caroline Lay is one of the several Taipei American School teachers and students who do CrossFit, a branded fitness regimen and trademarked sports company that entails a diverse range of movement and workout styles such as Olympic weightlifting or gymnastics. According to the official CrossFit wwebsite, CrossFit, founded by Greg and Lauren Glassman in 2000, essentially focuses on “maximizing the amount of work done in the shortest time.” Measuring the intensity of each workout, work divided by time, is crucial in recording the participant’s gains in fitness: “The more work you do in less time, or the higher the power output, the more intense the effort.” Ms. Lay began her CrossFit journey two years ago, only after constant encouragement from by Lower School PE teacher Ms. Carly Bargiel. The first time Ms. Lay stepped into the “CrossFit Ba Ke Si” CrossFit gym in Taipei, she was

admittedly a little intimidated. She says, “You see people doing workouts and lifting heavy weights. The first thing you think is ‘I can’t do that!’ I still can’t do that.” Soon after though, Ms. Lay realized that she has found herself in a community that is not only welcoming but incredibly supportive: “I’ve met some amazing people who are outside of my workplace.”

“Leading an active and healthy lifestyle is something that you get to do to enhance your very own life.” Keen on taking every challenge she meets as “huge learning experience[s]”, she says, ”When I step into the Crossfit gym, which we call the ‘Box,’... the most wonderful thing is that it is all about trying your best and doing it in an

environment with supportive coaches and other people who feel the same way.” Though she does not participate in individual competitions because she is not able to meet the minimum weight for lifting, she recalls one CrossFit Open, or team competition being an overwhelmingly positive experience: “When you have all the community members in the gym that are there as well just cheering you on, you not only do better, but your performance is enhanced.” At her CrossFit box, she first spends five minutes warming up by playing “fun games” or other workoutspecific stretches. She then spends another five minutes increasing mobility, using equipments like lacrosse balls or stretching bands to equip herself with a “greater range of motion” for the long workouts later on. After warming up, she completes the “strength portion” of the class lifting Olympic weights and practicing

CrossFit in action. [PHOTO COURTESY OF MS. LAY FOR THE BLUE & GOLD] gymnastics movements. Finally, the “‘Workout of the Day is the last portion of class.” During this section, Ms. Lay needs to complete a combination of high-intensity movements: “[This is] where your body is pushed to its metabolic conditioning max. This will vary in time and with different lifts and movements, using

barbells and bodyweight.” On top of the emotional and physical embetterment of this regimen, Ms. Lay can implement everything she learns at the CrossFit Box in her PE classes. Ms. Lay likes to implement some of the games she plays at the CrossFit Box into warm-up or cool down routines.

Ultimately, she hopes to help her students understand that “leading an active and healthy lifestyle is something that you get to do to enhance life. I teach things that hopefully students feel that they can take away an awareness of, whether it’s exercises, stretches, health, as they start making their own individual life choices.”

The Blue & Gold Volume XXIV, Issue 4  
The Blue & Gold Volume XXIV, Issue 4