National medals for both soccer squads! (page 11)
The Omega Ω
Thompson Rivers University’s Independent Student Newspaper
News Pages 1, 2
Editorial & Opinion
Volume 23, Issue 11 November 13, 2013
Life & Community
Arts & Entertainment
Pages 5, 8
Pages 6, 7
TRU ahead of the game with workplace bullying procedures Jessica Klymchuk Ω News Editor
From left to right: Ruby Dhand, Mursalin Miah, Tom Freidman, Monica Sanchez-Flores and Wendy Hulko discuss the impact of Quebec’s Bill 60, also known as the Charter of Values. (Amy Reinitz/ The Omega)
Charter of Values unconstitutional: TRUFA equity committee Amy Reinitz Ω Contributor Does the power of the government trump individual rights when it comes to freedom of religion? This was one of the questions posed at the TRU Faculty Association (TRUFA) equity committee panel discussion addressing the Parti Québécois’s (PQ) proposed Charter of Values on Nov. 7. The panel was made up of TRU faculty as well as members of religious minorities, including Ruby Dhand from the faculty of law, Tom Friedman from the faculty of English and modern languages, Monica Sanchez-Flores from the faculty of sociology and anthropology, and Imam Mursalin Miah of the Ayesha Mosque in Kamloops. Wendy Hulko, from the faculty of social work, moderated the event. “It is just mind-boggling to see why the PQ feels justified, at all, in proposing this bill in Canada, [a country] that has a tradition of supporting minority rights and freedom of religion. That is entrenched in our national constitution,” Sanchez-Flores said, which reflected the general tone of the discussion.
Sanchez-Flores, who also cochairs the equity committee, introduced the basics of the Charter. Its formal name is the Charter afﬁrming the values of state secularism and religious neutrality and of equality between women and men, and providing a framework for accommodation requests. Or put more succinctly, Bill 60. If passed, Bill 60 would prohibit the wearing of “overt and conspicuous” religious symbols by government employees, including municipal personnel, police officers, and school employees. “Conspicuous” has not been properly defined in the bill, but would include large crosses, burkas, yarmulkes, and turbans. It would also make it mandatory to have one’s face uncovered while receiving or providing state services. “It would effectively expand the power of the provincial government in defining that all public servants are an extension of the state, and therefore the individual rights are not necessarily as important,” Sanchez-Flores said. “It would give them the power to define what does and does not count as religion.”
See CAMPUS PANEL, Pg.
New WorkSafeBC legislation mandating workplace bullying and harassment policies will not directly affect TRU because of the longstanding policies it already has in place. On Nov. 1, Wo r k S a f e B C implemented three policies under the Worker’s Compensation Act, which deal with workplace bullying and harassment. The duties of the employers, workers and supervisors are defined in the new policies which require employers to provide training regarding workplace bullying and harassment, to outline a procedure for complaints and to keep records of cases. The new policies affect 215,000 employers and 2.2 million workers province-wide and 1,100 workers at TRU.
TRU’s Respectful Workplace and Harassment Prevention Policy was last amended in 2009. It’s facilitated by the human rights officer, but preliminary steps can also be carried out by deans, directors and associate vice presidents depending on the position of the complainant.
The policy defines discrimination, sexual harassment and personal harassment and outlines steps for reporting, mediation, investigation, decisions, remedies, corrective measures and discipline. Associate vice president of human resources and planning Denis Powers said TRU already had these procedures “well in hand” and although the language might differ, the policy already aligns with WorkSafeBC’s requirements. Although respectful —Denis Powers workplace workshops have existed for at Assistant VP Human Resources, TRU least a year, TRU has amended its training procedures to include the new WorkSafeBC policies TRU human rights officer and definitions of workplace Hugh MacInnes said TRU hired bullying and harassment and an employment and safety law implemented an online training expert to review the policy program. based on WorkSafeBC’s policy introductions, but no changes See HARASSMENT, Pg. were required.
This is something we need to make sure we’ve been trained for... ”
Disciplinary action for workplace bullying at TRU can include termination of employment. TRU’s respectful workplace and harassment policy affects 1,100 employees including faculty, staff, administration and students who are employed by the university.
( Jessica Klymchuk/ The Omega)
November 16, 2013
Campus panel discussion highlights flaws in Parti Québécois bill From CHARTER, Pg.
Friedman, who identified himself a secular non-religious Jew, said he understood the anxiety felt by his practicing fellows in Quebec, and that the bill would be an imposition of values on all religions. “All of the problems that the Marois government has decided are critical and can be resolved without this coercive charter,” Friedman said. “It is being used for political purposes, not for the betterment of the public good.” Miah, who is a devout Muslim and has studied the Qur’an for over a decade, said that Muslims move to other countries so that they can practice their religion more freely. This bill would interfere with that, even though Muslims are allowed to make exceptions in their religious attire for extreme circumstances. “A lady can show her face to an airport officer, or to a judge, and there is no problem with that so we don’t have a problem … I think one of the ways to move forward is to educate people in terms of different religions,” Miah said. Dhand finished up the discussion and brought her background in human rights law, pointing out that most of the legal community in Canada is united in their opinion that the Charter is unconstitutional.
Harassment policy dates back to 1989 From BULLYING, Pg.
An attentive crowd listens in on TRUFA’s equity committee panel discussion about Quebec’s Charter of Values. (Amy Reinitz/ The Omega)
“It is totally flawed from a constitutional perspective, and it’s against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms … it’s also against our Human Rights Code. On every level, it appears illogical,” Dhand said.
Bill 60 was tabled on Nov. 7 in the Quebec National Assembly. It would require opposition support to pass, and it is expected that it will have to be watered down in order for this to happen.
“This is something we need to make sure we’ve been trained for and watch for and so supervisory training has occurred and will continue to occur,” Powers said. Because bullying is hardly ever an isolated incident, Powers said human resources and unions would likely be involved in trying to reconcile harassment issues. “For the faculty we have a negotiated process in the collective agreement and for other employee groups the policy discusses it in terms of how we first try to mediate the issue and then we investigate,” he said. “Third party investigators have often been used here. We may not have used the word bullying, but persons felt harassed for one reason or another.” When a bullying or harassment incident is identified discipline could vary from a letter of reprimand to termination of employment, Powers said. In 2012 the provincial government amended legislation to include compensation for stress-related mental disorders, with bullying or harassment as a potential cause. Powers said TRU has seen no claims since that amendment and doesn’t anticipate many of these types of WorkSafeBC claims.
Powers said TRU anticipated the policy changes for about two years and, as a human resources group, the universities were able to give input on changes during the decision-making process. He said TRU was concerned with making sure performance management was exempt from definitions of bullying so that supervisory conduct was not seen as harassment. TRU’s harassment policy dates back to 1989 when there was a sexual discrimination policy. It was followed by a harassment and discrimination prevention policy, overseen by a harassment and discrimination prevention advisor. Up until 2006 there was also a harassment and discrimination prevention committee, which directed the work of the harassment and discrimination office to work towards educational opportunities. It ceased with the implementation of the current policy in 2006 and the adoption of a human rights officer. “TRU has always been ahead of the curve in that we were among the first institutions in B.C. and across Canada to have policy that spoke specifically to discrimination and harassment in the workplace,” Seibel said. “So, we’ve had avenues since 1989 to address that, much before many other institutions did.”
Canada caught spying on mining companies in Brazil Danilo Barba and Karen Nickel
The Dialog (George Brown College) TORONTO (CUP) — The mining sector in Brazil is estimated to bring in over $1.5 billion for Canadian mining companies each year according to the Canadian International Development Platform, which tracks Canadian investments by commodity and country. This might be one good reason the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) office would keep its ‘ear’ on Brazil’s Mining and Resources Ministry, but no one is saying that. On Oct. 6, American journalist Glenn Greenwald reported on the Brazilian television station Globo that Canada spied on the Brazilian mining and resource ministry under a program called Olympia. Olympia entailed the collection of metadata around calls, faxes and emails originating from or going to Brazil’s mining ministry. When questioned about spying, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was quoted by CBC saying he was “very, very concerned about the story.” Pushed to answer further by a CBC reporter, he said that he couldn’t comment on national security operations.
Meanwhile, John Foster, director of CSEC, claims that spying isn’t illegal under Canadian law. “Due to the confidential nature of our work, I am sure you will understand I can not say much,” he said during a technology conference in Ottawa. “I can tell you that we have not targeted Canadians, at home or elsewhere in our intelligence activities abroad, or anyone in Canada. Indeed, it is prohibited by law. Protecting the privacy of Canadians is our most important principle,” he said. A bizarre explanation came from Ray Boisvert, ex-deputy director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Services (CSIS), who told the Globe & Mail that he believed what Snowden released was a “war game” exercise, and said “I have got a funny feeling that is all Snowden has — is just that exploratory war game piece saying ‘OK, what would we do, boys and girls, if we had to do this?’” Greenwald claims this isn’t a one time thing, telling reporters, “There is very substantial evidence that the spying Canada was doing for economic reasons aimed at Brazil is far from an aberration.” Greenwald said he will be publishing further documents on CSEC’s spying soon.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who recently damned the NSA for allegedly monitoring Brazilian online activities, announced via Twitter that Brazil will host an inter national summit of gover nment, industr y, civil
(Image by Samantha Bullis/ The Dialog)
society and academia in April 2014. “Without the right of privacy, there is no real freedom of speech or freedom of opinion, and so there is no actual democracy,” she said in a speech at the United Nations in September.
“Without respect for [a nation’s] sovereignty, there is no basis for proper relations among nations. Those who want a strategic partnership cannot possibly allow recurring and illegal action to go on as if they were an ordinary practice.”
Shameless plug for our staff’s Twitter accounts: @PaperguyDavies, @iamseanbrady, @jjklym, @dicksoncourtney, @AdamWilliams87, @MarkHendricks5, @0_kmk_0
The Omega · Volume 23, Issue 11
The Omega www.truomega.ca
November 13, 2013 Volume 23, Issue 11
Published since November 27, 1991
What to remember, and how Remembrance Day arguments make me think about how petty Remembrance Day arguments are
@PaperguyDavies NEWS EDITOR
Jessica Klymchuk firstname.lastname@example.org @jjklym
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR
Courtney Dickson email@example.com @dicksoncourtney SPORTS EDITOR
firstname.lastname@example.org @AdamWilliams87 ROVING EDITOR
email@example.com @0_kmk_0 SCIENCE & TECH EDITOR
firstname.lastname@example.org @MarkHendicks5 COPY/WEB EDITOR
omegacontributors Amy Reinitz, Ashley Wadhwani, Cameron Staff
publishingboard EDITOR-IN-CHIEF * Mike Davies INDUSTRY REP* Sylvie Paillard FACULTY REP* Charles Hays STUDENT REP* Sadie Cox STUDENT REP* Adam Williams
Literary and visual submissions are welcomed. All submissions are subject to editing for brevity, taste and legality. The Omega will attempt to publish each letter received, barring time and space constraints. The editor will take care not to change the intention or tone of submissions, but will not publish material deemed to exhibit sexism, racism or homophobia. Letters for publication must include the writer’s name (for publication) and contact details (not for publication). The Omega reserves the right not to publish any letter or submitted material. Opinions expressed in any section with an “Opinion” label do not represent those of The Omega, the Cariboo Student Newspaper Society, its Board of Directors or its staff. Opinions belong only to those who have signed them.
Editor’s Note Mike Davies Ω Editor-in-Chief Around this time every year I get reflective. I’m sure it has to do with Remembrance Day and all the focus it pulls, especially during years where there is peripheral uproar about the day. This year, for example, we not only have the re-emergence of the White Poppy Movement, which seems to find new legs every few years, but we also have the “Don’t put up Christmas decorations until after Remembrance Day” movement. They’re going to need a shorter name. Because the White Poppy Movement has been around since about 1933 in one form or another, I’m not going to go in-depth into it here, but a extreme simplification of it is that some people don’t like war and wear a white poppy to express that, and the red poppy advocates have taken offence saying that it’s disrespectful to our veterans to do this. I agree with parts of both sides’ argument on this. Sure, the “white poppy” people could have picked a different flower
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altogether, and their protests at Remembrance Day ceremonies and overall imposition into the traditional ceremonies and events that many of us care about are disrespectful. On the other hand, their movement comes out of one that began 15 years after the introduction of the red poppy as the symbol of remembrance of those who die in war — a symbol which itself was lifted from a poem about the First World War — and what of those who believe that fighting unjustified wars makes us worse us a country rather than making us better? Can they wear a red poppy to signify their respect for those who died in the Second World War (a totally justified war that needed fighting) but hold a sign that says, “But I don’t believe in wars over oil!” or “How about we stop sending our kids to die when things don’t actually threaten our way of life?” I’m sure that would be seen as disrespectful, too. I don’t think we can expect people to hold their tongues on this. War is not a black and white issue. It’s not a matter of “we go to war or we all lose our freedom,” anymore. There needs to be a way to express the nuance that comes with a complicated issue like respect for those who have died for causes that we both do and do not agree with. One of the freedoms many people died to protect is the freedom to express how you feel, after all. As for the “Don’t put up Christmas decorations until after Remembrance Day,” arguments, I just have to say this: When I heard this woman on CBC radio talking about how “it feels like Starbucks is more interested in selling seasonal coffees to people than respecting our veterans,” I immediately thought, “Of course they
do, you [expletive deleted] idiot.” Do we really expect corporations to be willing to make LESS money voluntarily? You do know that the tenet of our society that wars are generally fought for is capitalism, right? In a way they would be disrespecting our veterans by not taking full advantage of the capitalist society that those veterans helped safeguard, wouldn’t they? If they wanted to honour their sacrifice, maybe they should have the time between Halloween and Remembrance Day be “Veteran’s week” (because you don’t need to be accurate about the duration) where they have discounts on poppy seed muffins and invent a latté that they can sell and give a dollar from each one to the Legion. They’ll make a mint. I don’t see how that would possibly be more respectful than starting their Christmas celebrations before Nov. 11, but it’s the other option, I’m afraid. But the arguments surrounding Remembrance Day and how we should engage with it remind me to be reflective for a different reason, though. They remind me that I have a good life here in Kamloops, B.C. That’s due in part to those who have died to protect the freedoms we hold dear, and it’s due to those freedoms themselves. The people who are trying to survive without food and clean water after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines aren’t arguing over what colour they should be wearing. How about you think about — and remember — that when you are getting your five-dollar Frappuccino and complaining about the Christmas decorations being up already. email@example.com
It’s OK to ask for help
(Correspondence not intended for publication should be labelled as such.)
Editorial & Opinion
Wellness Matters Courtney Dickson Ω Wellness Columnist I don’t talk about my issues, or even deal with them, because I’m so worried that sharing my faults will alter people’s feelings towards me. Admitting that was really difficult. Even though it’s widely talked about, there is still a stigma attached to people who aren’t independent, who need to lean on others for support. There are days dedicated to mental health awareness, workshops and support groups, and statistics have been published that should make us feel comfortable accepting these struggles. Some people, however, still view mental health issues as threatening.
This past fall, controversy broke when stores in the U.K. were selling a “mental health patient” costume. The particular costume in question was removed from store shelves because of its offensiveness and insensitivity. However, if you Google “mental health patient costume,” more than one outfit appears. There are even costumes designed specifically for female “mental patients.” People are dressed in straitjackets or look like they’ve just returned from some murderous rampage. Lovely. Knowing that’s what people think of those who see a doctor or counsellor makes it impossible to want to tell someone, anyone, what’s going on. I’d rather tell people I have a doctor’s appointment for my asthma or an interview for a story than say I’m going to see my counsellor. And I’m quite certain I’m not the only person that does that. Then there are some people who don’t ask for help at all. Not even from a friend or family member, or from professors or bosses. Asking for help would be admitting you aren’t perfect. When I think about it from a rational perspective, I don’t understand that. But when you’re already feeling down or anxious, recognizing you aren’t as independent as you thought or something as simple as not being able to finish a paper on time when everyone else can, is devastating. A Statistics Canada report says
most mental illnesses manifest during youth and young adulthood. The average age of onset of depression is 28 years old and the average age a person begins to experience panic disorder is 25. TRU has a counselling team that will talk to you about literally anything, and a wellness schedule with alternative options to improving mental (and physical) well-being. Anyone (not just students) in distress can even call anonymous hotlines if they have no one else to turn to. In my experience, professors are generally understanding. Believe it or not, they’re people too, and they know sometimes you have to deal with things that in the long run, are more important than getting a paper in this second. Same with bosses – and if an employer isn’t understanding of your need to take care of yourself in order to perform your job to the best of your ability, do you really want to be working for that person anyway? It might be difficult for you to admit to yourself that you’re struggling, let alone anyone else. Saying “I can’t do this by myself” feels weak sometimes, but by getting the help you need and dealing with whatever it is that’s hurting you, you’re going to feel stronger. Sometimes you just need someone to say these words in order for you to be comfortable with it, so I’ll say them now: it’s OK to ask for help. firstname.lastname@example.org
People still think “friendzone” is a valid concept? Tom Luke The Muse (Memorial University) According to a disturbingly large number of young males, the “friendzone” is an undesirable relationship with a woman wherein one befriends said woman, is nice to her, and for some incomprehensible reason, she doesn’t have sex. References are often made to being “put in the friendzone” after an unsuccessful attempt to ask a woman out on a date, or sometimes the term implies that women should assume that any guy that befriends them is obviously only looking for a sexual relationship, and thus should know better than to try to be platonic friends. Despite every blogger with the slightest bit of self-awareness writing a takedown of it, despite the fact that even that great bastion of internet misogyny, reddit.com, has rejected the term, despite all that, apparently it’s still necessary to tell people: women are not vending machines that you put kindness tokens into until sex comes out. If someone wants to be your friend, that is good. That is the win condition of social interaction. Friendship with a woman is not a “zone” where you lurk until you can make sexual advances, and you can’t complain about being there. Was that so difficult? You are never, ever owed sex, under any circumstance. If you hang around a girl, incessantly giving inoffensive compliments and never actually owning up to how you feel, you are not entitled to sex. If you helped her home from a party this one time when she was drunk and put her to bed without sexually assaulting her, congratulations, you meet the minimum standards for a decent human being. You still aren’t entitled to sex. To use another vaguely unsettling analogy, you don’t get brownie points for not being a rapist. A person’s body is entirely their own. No one should ever have to do a thing with their body that they don’t want to do and I can’t believe I have to explain that to the university students that will be reading this. Were you not taught in preschool that touching people who don’t want to be touched was bad? Is it not obvious that that logic applies to expecting other people to want to be touched? The “friendzone” is never something I see women complaining about. It’s a construct that guys use to simultaneously whine, glorify their own lack of confidence, and induce women to have sex with them. With regards to the last of these, it’s certainly not the only construct, but it’s the most pernicious and easily the most laughably illogical. Please. Just stop. I’ll acknowledge that, theoretically, there are girls who will never outright reject a guy because having someone that’s so obviously in love with them hanging around is a nice boost to their self-esteem. I’ve never met one of these mythical specimens, but they certainly could exist. This behaviour might make them unpleasant, it might make them manipulative, but guess what? It doesn’t entitle you to sex with them. If sex is the only thing you were looking for, then clearly you shouldn’t be friends with her in the first place. It’s embarrassing that people have to be told this. I’m a male. A straight, white, cisgendered, middle-class male descended from Anglo-Saxon protestants. I’m as privileged as they come, and if I get this, why the hell can’t the rest of you?
Science & Technology
November 16, 2013
“The Death of Evidence”
(Image courtesy deathofevidence.ca)
Guest lecturer Thomas Duck weighs in on the muzzling of scientists
Ω Science & Tech Editor It’s no secret that the current government hasn’t exactly been friendly to the sciences. The recent muzzling of Canadian scientists, preventing them from talking to members of the press, is just the latest example.
The Death of Evidence is the name given to a movement that has emerged to resist the censorship of scientists in Canada. “There is no excuse for muzzling a scientist,” Thomas Duck, associate professor of physics at Dalhousie University said. “Muzzling is something you do when you don’t want the truth coming out.”
On Nov. 6, Thomas Duck visited TRU to wade into the issue. “We had leading scientific research going on, but the great minds are leaving this county,” Duck said. “And they’re not coming back.” Duck points the finger at the government, universities and the Canadian people for allowing this to happen.
When Prime Minister Stephen Harper achieved a majority government in 2011, the government made sweeping cuts to both Environment Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, eliminating 10 per cent of staff. “You know you’re in trouble when you receive a workplace adjustment letter,” Duck said. These cuts were just the beginning. Many organizations would feel the effects of this. Duck used the ARQX, the experimental studies division which focused on the environment, and the experimental lakes region in Ontario as examples. The ARQX was an extremely influential organization in environmental studies. The project used ozone balloons to measure the altitude of the ozone layer and conducted numerous climate experiments. “This group invented the ozone index,” Duck said. “If you’ve ever heard of the UV index, that’s these guy’s work.” The ARQX is now cancelled. The experimental lakes area in Ontario was a one-of-the-kind facility. It consisted of 58 small lakes that had been set aside and managed for controlled experiments on the effects of different agents on bodies of water. This facility was responsible for limiting phosphorus in detergents due to the impact it had on lakes. The facility is now cancelled.
“[The government] prefers to run uncontrolled experiments over in the oil sands rather than controlled experiments in the experimental lakes area,” Duck said. After these cuts, omnibus budget bill C-38 was introduced in April 2012. This budget had a lot of environmental motions attached to it, and because it was a budget bill it had to be supported by the conservative party or it would be a motion of no confidence, according to Duck. The omnibus bill ceased 3,000 environmental reviews that were underway, 678 of which had to do with fossil fuels and 248 of which had to do with pipelines. “It turns out the oil industry proposed all the changes,” Duck said. “And they proposed presenting it in an omnibus legislation.” Duck doesn’t solely blame the government though, he also blames universities for failing on their communication responsibilities. “I think we have a large responsibility here to the population at large,” Duck said. “The research we do here needs to educate and help people.” Unfortunately, Duck believes that Canadians are mostly unaware of the benefits science has on their health and the economy. “If we expect the public’s support in what we do, then we need to do a better job at communication,” Duck said.
This week in science Newly-found planets could be “habitable,” gamers get some good news, and does fracking-like activity cause eathquakes? Mark Hendricks Ω Science & Tech Editor
Wealth of planets found
A team of scientists at the University of Hawaii has surveyed 42,000 Sun-like stars using the Kepler telescope and discovered 603 new planets, ten of which are in their respective star’s habitable zone. The habitable zone is the region where temperatures would permit surface liquid water and is a necessity for life as we know it. “We find that 22 percent of Sun-like stars harbour Earthsize planets orbiting in their hab-
itable zones,” the team wrote. “The nearest such planet may be within 12 light-years.” The team published their findings in PNAS, a U.S.-based science journal on Nov. 4. Find out more: www.npr.org
Playing video games can make you smarter It’s a fairly common thought that video games are at least in part responsible for dumbing down the newer generations. But that may not be the case. A recent study, published in the scientific journal Nature on Oct. 29, has shown that playing video games for just 30 minutes
a day for two months can lead to increased grey matter in the sections of the brain that control awareness, memory and strategic thinking. The study was conducted by having participants play Mario 64 for 30 minutes a day over an eight week period. A control group played no video games over the same length of time. The test group experienced a significant increase in the areas of the brain mentioned above, while the control group did not. Find out more: www.if lscience.com
Potential link between injecting carbon dioxide and earthquakes A new study has correlated 93 earthquakes near Snyder, Texas with an increase in the injection of carbon dioxide underground. Carbon dioxide is injected into the earth in oil and drilling operations to boost petroleum production in a procedure known as carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery, a process similar to fracking. The team found 93 earthquakes between March 2009 and December 2010, and using data on the injection of carbon dioxide gasses they have determined that the two events are correlated. This study was published in PNAS on Nov. 4 and has potential implications for future carbon capture and storage plans.
Mario will be happy to know that his games are helping to make people smarter; which makes sense, he’s a fake doctor, after all...
(Image courtesy Rob DeCaterino/Flickr Commons)
Find out more: www.sci-news.com Got a science tidbit people should know about? Send it to Mark at email@example.com.
Third-year nursing students Signe Ostrem, Ayda Dadfar, and Sara Aimes (left to right) dressed as condom fairies. They distributed condoms and lubricant across campus to promote Sexual Health Week. (Courtney Dickson/ The Omega)
The Omega · Volume 23, Issue 11
Life & Community
University a “portal for immigration” TRU career education department helps international students enter the Canadian workforce students think they need for the Canadian labour market and what resources and assistance they want Ω Roving Editor TRU to provide them. International students who come She learned that international to TRU face unique and complex students thought English language challenges when it comes to entering skills were most important for the domestic workforce. work in Canada. Students also felt International student employment an understanding of the culture coordinator Sarah Gibson understands of communication in Canada was the issues facing international important. Students indicated they students who come to Canada for wanted to learn this language culture education. They often come with the through work experience both on and goal of obtaining work experience off campus. and permanent jobs after graduation. Many international students who Gibson’s master’s thesis focused on come to TRU already have some form understanding international students’ of post-secondary education and many transition to the labour market, and have degrees, but Bepple said they now her job, funded in-part by TRU discredit their previous education and World, consists of helping students do value a Canadian education more. The just that. same goes for prior work experience. The difficulties in finding a job Bepple hopes to find a way to help begin when international students students market their foreign work arrive in Canada with a study permit, experience and education so they don’t but discover that they cannot apply have to discredit it. for a work permit until they have been Bepple said that people in enrolled in full-time studies with good Canada rely heavily on personal academic standing for at least six and professional networks to gain months. The work permit costs $150 employment, but international students and expires at the same time as the usually don’t have any networks when study visa. they arrive in Canada. “I tell students if they want to get Gibson said many employers are a job after graduation they must have hiring by referral, causing a “hidden demonstrated job market” skills and actual that consists of experience to be jobs that aren’t competitive,” even posted to Gibson said. job boards. If “Many of these i nter nat ional students just s t u d e nt s have different don’t have cultural ideas connections in or a different their industry cultural lens on they will miss what having a out on jobs that career means aren’t posted. and how to G o i n g access good for wa rd , jobs.” i nter nat ional One of students will be the common a major source misconceptions of skilled labour Gibson faces in Canada, from students is according that expectation to Bepple. that they will “Whether the be able to get a university wants —Sarah Gibson to acknowledge job on campus. “Unfortunately it or not, we International Student are a portal for there aren’t a lot of jobs on immigration.” Employment Coordinator campus,” she She thinks said. Aramark, that if the federal the company and provincial that supplies gove r n me nt s food services want students to on campus is one of the campus’ stay in Canada they will need to provide major employers, but they do not have more support. nearly enough jobs for all the incoming “Obviously we’re busy and there’s a international students according to lot of students who know about us, but Gibson. we could probably be doing more to The problem of limited employment reach out,” Gibson said. “It would be opportunities extends off campus. great to have more international students Gibson said that Kamloops has a aware of the support we do offer.” relatively small labour market and Gibson said most international the problem may get worse when the students are successful at entering the Canadian government finally scraps job market because they are invested in the six-month waiting period for work their education, not only financially, but visas, which is scheduled to happen in by leaving behind their country, their January 2014. home and their family. This drives them “It will be interesting to see if the to succeed. She said they are also more local labour force can absorb how many willing to relocate than many domestic people [students and non-students] will students who are usually tied to the be wanting part-time, student-level region or the province. jobs,” Gibson said. There is at least one course on campus The career education department that can help students network and gain recommends volunteer experience for volunteer experience off campus, all any student unable to access paid work, while earning credits. but Gibson said some foreign cultures Wendy Krauza is a senior lecturer in don’t value volunteer work the same the English as-a-second language (ESL) way Canadian employers do. department at TRU. Krauza developed “What would work to get them a a course called Service Learning 1000, professional job in their home country aimed at providing TRU students may not be the same as what we would with volunteer opportunities in the advise in Canada,” Gibson said. community. The course is open to Nancy Bepple, Kamloops city all students as a general elective and councillor and member of the career Krauza has a variety of students education department, conducted enroll every year including domestic, research on what skills international international and ESL students.
work to get them
a professional job in their home
country may not be the same ... in Canada”
Tim Hortons in HOL is operated by Aramark, one of the campus’ biggest employers of international students.
Through partnerships with many local not-for-profit businesses the course integrates all the important job aspects that Bepple and Gibson stress are important. Students enrolled gain work experience, they build personal and professional networks, they learn about Canadian culture and they work on their resumés and portfolios through assignments. Krauza said she is impressed with many of the international and ESL students that have taken her course. “There’s so many things I have learned from them,” Krauza said. “We can never assume that because their first language isn’t English that they don’t have a world of experience under their belt already.” Krauza said that ESL students often feel like they aren’t taken seriously on campus because of the language barrier and she wants people to recognize that language barriers often cause false assumptions.
Ankit Hazarika, Rupinder Matharoo and Manjod Kaur are all international students from India. They agree that Canadian work experience is vital in the Canadian job market. Hazarika, who is without a work permit and is unable to qualify for a coop program, said TRU could be doing more to provide international students with work experience, like helping them make contacts. He said he is currently not qualified for any permanent job he could hope for after graduation. He has not yet reached out to the career education department. Marthoo has been in the computing science program at TRU for three years and is a co-op student with BlackBerry Ltd. He spent the previous school year and this past summer working at the company’s corporate head office in Waterloo, Ontario. He will graduate this year and feels confident with the Canadian work experience he has gained.
(Karla Karcioglu/ The Omega)
Kaur is also a computing science student. She has been focusing on her academics and has not looked into work experience opportunities. She thinks that TRU doesn’t provide enough on-campus jobs and said it is especially difficult off campus, where employers want Canadian work experience. The TRU student headcount on the facts and figures page of the universities website listed 2,859 international students enrolled with TRU. Those international students came from 86 different countries, mainly China, Saudi Arabia and India. According to data from the career education department, it has 780 international students currently enrolled in their database and accessing their services. International students account for 31% of all coop students, with 80 international students enrolled in co-op.
Experiences of an alumnus Karla Karcioglu Ω Roving Editor Dmitry Sorokin graduated from TRU’s post-baccalaureate accounting program in the spring of 2013. He came to Canada with a well-established career in Russia, which he achieved by getting good grades while attending a prestigious Russian state university, the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. Unfortunately for Sorokin his previous education and work experience in Russia don’t qualify him for jobs in Canada. His education alone guaranteed him a career in Russia. He never had a problem getting a job and was making a good living before he left. This is not the case in Canada, as prospective employers want to see Canadian work experience on a resumé. When he first graduated from TRU, he was determined to find a good job — not simply an entry-level position — wanting to transfer his Russian work experience to Canada. But after months of unemployment he is
starting to consider the entrylevel option, meaning a drop in his professional status and his previous income. It’s a hard sacrifice, since he already paid so much for both his Russian and Canadian educations, but he said it is worth it to find a job in Canada. During his months of unemployment in Canada since graduation, he has had time to ref lect on his time at TRU and the obstacles he faces as an international student. There is a mentality among certain international students that they don’t want to socialize and network with fellow students because they don’t believe this will help them get a job, he said, but now knows this to be untrue. The students he became friends with at TRU have been valuable assets during the months he has been unemployed, he said, even if they just provide advice and feedback on job search strategies and Canadian culture. He said it is important to socialize with people and let them get to know who you are. If they like you they will probably be willing to help you with your job search.
Sorokin said another struggle international students may face is the demographics of the job market, with only three per cent of the labour market being immigrants who have lived in Canada for less than five years, according to the Government of Canada. He said he thinks employers are more likely to choose Canadian-born citizens or well-established immigrants than to take a risk on a new immigrant. He cites misconceptions and stereotypes as the main cause of this phenomenon. His top recommendations for international students are to try and network both personally and professionally, continue improving verbal and written English language skills, build interpersonal skills and behave in an honest way to eliminate perceived notions and discrimination. Any TRU alumnus has access to the career education department and Sorokin has been checking in regularly with the career education department since his graduation, as it is recommended other students do, as well.
Life & Community
November 16, 2013
Album review: Tough Age Ashley Wadhwani Ω Contributor
The group may not have won the whole shebang, but they’ve gotten a whole lot of good exposure, learned a few things about the industry, and in the midst of the Peak Performance Project, guitarist Richard Bregoliss was married. All good things. (Photo courtesy Robert Sympatico)
“Even though we didn’t win, we didn’t lose”
Tough Age’s self-titled debut album, released Nov. 12, is a creative concoction comprised of up-beat, poppy tracks and slower-paced jams. A 28-minute track list of just 11 songs, this rock album is a must-have. To complement the various rhythms, Tough Age sings songs of break-ups (both romantic and musical), dreaming of a different life and in their words “being mutually complicit in agony.” The wide selection keeps the album fresh and exciting to listen to. The slower beat in “Have You Seen Her” still transmits those happy vibes you feel when simply listening to a great song. “The Heart of Juliet Jones,” which was released early by Mint Records, is the kind of song you can’t wait to
tell your friends about, because you know it will reinforce your superb taste in good music. Because of the solid hook, “Dream Date” will surely become the new song to rock out to. When discussing the creation of the track list with an interviewer from Mint Records, frontman Jarrett K. said, “I don’t like therapy or drugs, so it’s sort how I medicate myself. I write these songs to get rid of them. I don’t cut myself, I just write a catchy ditty.” Tough Age will be visiting the lower mainland Nov. 16 and Nov. 30, and will hopefully bring the same up-beat vibes from the recording sessions to the stage. According to label manager Shena Yoshida, Tough Age is preparing for a spring tour – maybe a stop in Kamloops? After hearing this album, I won’t be missing out on an opportunity to see them live.
Van Damsel falls short in the Peak Performance Project, sees value in experience Courtney Dickson Ω Arts & Entertainment Editor After five months of hard work and anticipation, the top 20 bands of the Peak Performance Project finally announced the top prize winners on Nov. 5. Sadly, Kamloops hopefuls Van Damsel did not make the cut. The top three will continue the competition with a performance at the Commodore Ballroom on Nov. 21. They all hail from Vancouver. Rykka, Hannah Epperson and BESTiE are all about to compete for $102,700. Regardless of how that last performance goes, all three will walk away with a hefty cash prize. All 20 acts had to submit a report detailing their business plans, should they win the top prize. They also had to summarize their experiences with the project’s challenges, and the project as a whole. Van Damsel handed in 60 pages, explaining what went well and what could have gone better. In particular, lead singer Sebastien Ste Marie said they could have seen better results for the charity challenge, and their viral video should have received more views. Although they didn’t win any money in the Peak Performance Project, the group did win some money from The Shore – Vancouver’s alternative music station. Every month, The Shore gives $10,000 to their favourite up and coming B.C. artist. The prize money from this radio station is equal to what they
would have received if they had come in fourth place in the Peak Performance Project. And even if they didn’t win in a fiscal sense, the skills and knowledge they gained from boot camp and their peers has been invaluable. “The Peak has given us good training,” Ste Marie said. “Even though we didn’t win, we didn’t lose.”
Social media proved useful when the Peak Performance Project top five were being announced. Ste Marie was in class during the time of the announcement, making it impossible to listen. However, thanks to Twitter he was able to monitor the results. The project also gave Van Damsel the opportunity to connect with fellow musicians. Ste Marie said they became very close with Abbottsford’s Oh No! Yoko and bunked with fifth-place winners Willhorse during boot camp. “We were friends with everybody. Most musicians aren’t dicks,” Ste Marie said. Though the project is over and they didn’t do as well as they had planned, Van Damsel still has high hopes to become an internationally recognized band. Over the next few months, while Ste Marie finishes his honours degree, the band will be focusing on writing new music and —Sebastien Ste Marie recording, rather than playing too many shows. Van Damsel Ever since they became an up-and-coming B.C. band, people have been calling Ste Marie said the band them asking for the guys to play learned the value of social in pubs, but they really want to media and connecting with their focus on song-writing. audience during the project. “We want to make better Each member of Van Damsel songs,” Ste Marie said, “We’ve has been responsible for some been stuck on the same songs for aspect of managing their online five months.” presence, and Ste Marie said he That said, they do have a show recognized what a huge benefit coming up on Dec. 4 at the Blue interacting with followers can be Grotto with Daniel Wesley. for a musician. They still plan to release a “It’s so powerful,” he said. full-length album in the spring. “You need to have a story Ste Marie said he wants to write because you’re a business a world-class song that connects essentially. You need an image, with a broader audience, one that good songs and good presence has the potential to become a with the media.” global success.
You need an image, good songs, and a good good presence with the media.”
(Image courtesy Mint Records)
The Omega · Volume 23, Issue 11
Arts & Entertainment
Andrew Cooper won’t be upstaged Courtney Dickson Ω Arts & Entertainment Editor If learning about the life of Andrew Cooper doesn’t make you feel like you aren’t doing enough with your life, I don’t know what will. Cooper wrote The Untold Tales of the Brothers Grimm, the first TRUDAT play of the year. It sold out. He played the f lamboyant Peter Bellum in
the Actors Workshop Theatre (AWT) production of Gossip. He’s taken on the role of the publicity manager for the AWT. He’s also got a full course load and two jobs. This guy is nothing short of a superstar. He grew up in a busy household, with nine siblings (including a twin sister). Though three of his sisters were out of the house by the time Cooper was a toddler, there were seven children battling for their mother’s attention. His
father was often away for work. Cooper said this could be a reason he was attracted to the stage – he needed some kind of attention. Acting wasn’t his first career choice. In fact, as a child he was cast in the school play, but instead of saying his one and only line, he stood there and waved to his mom. In high school, he was interested in pursuing business. Oddly, that’s how he fell into the world of musical theatre. Cooper was taking a marketing class in Grade 11. It didn’t take long for him to realize that he hated it. He frantically looked for another course to switch into, and a friend recommended musical theatre. That year, the class was putting on the classic West Side Story. “I had no idea what it was,” he said. “I’m pretty sure I was the only person in my class who didn’t know.” It was then that he found a new love for the performing arts. He was inspired to enroll in dance classes and more acting classes. In Grade 12, he was cast as the lead for his musical theatre course. Upon graduating from high school, Cooper went to Halifax to study performing arts at Dalhousie, but after a year he transferred to TRU. He’s been in plenty of AWT plays and Director’s Festival shows, and just this past summer Cooper worked with Project X, a professional theatre company in town. He got the chance to play one of his favourite roles in the Project X production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and worked with two of his professors. Cast as the role of Snoopy, a role he’s been recognized for around Kamloops, he loved how physical he had to be to bring the lovable beagle to life. “I really love those roles where I get to do fun things with my body as well as my voice,” he said. Part of his love for movement in
theatre comes from his love of and training in dance; it’s taught him how to control his body. Taking dance classes inspired Cooper to become a dance teacher. He’s currently working at Sistas Love to Dance on the North Shore, teaching jazz, hip hop, contemporary, ballroom dancing and of course, musical theatre. All three performing arts professors, Wesley Eccleston, Robin Nichol and Heidi Verwey, have served as mentors for Cooper. He said they all have different acting and teaching styles and he enjoys the variety he gets from each of their classes.
any person’s success, regardless of where they want to end up, is networking. “A lot of vocations are like this,” he said, “but the theatre community in particular is all about who you know. Do extracurriculars, go to special events, do everything you can – take classes, really broaden your horizons and meet as many people as you can.” Cooper graduates in the spring, and has dreams of acting professionally, as acting, he said, is the aspect of the arts that he really loves. He’s already lining up auditions and emailing directors, primarily within the province. If chosen for shows in the area, he’ll stay here for a while, but he wants to end up in Vancouver because it’s a larger hub for performing arts. If he could, Cooper would love to be cast in Les Miserables, ideally as Enjolras, the charismatic leader of the Friends of the ABC. Though it wouldn’t be a starring role, it’s the one he believes would be most exciting and enjoyable. —Andrew Cooper “I’ve never been interested in romantic Actor’s Workshop Theatre publicity, leads. I think they’re kind of boring,” he said. TRUDAT member, and burgeoning He’d also love to be part of the comedic Broadway professional actor show The Book of Mormon. He grew up in a Mormon “They’ve all been instrumental household, and thinks the musical in launching me from being is hilarious. a student into a working If he had the chance, he said it professional,” Cooper said. would be great to get cast in West His professors have been Side Story again, now that he’s a inspiring outside of the classroom, professional. too. Verwey acted alongside If acting doesn’t work out, Cooper in You’re a Good Man, Cooper has a couple of other career Charlie Brown, and Nichol ideas. He said doing publicity for directed it. Cooper said it was AWT has been a great experience, great to work with these women and he would love to do publicity in a professional venue, and come for a theatre should his path lead back to school this fall and have him there. them as instructors. Obtaining a master’s degree Cooper attributes part of his is something he would like to do success to how many people he’s eventually, and he’s also considered got to know in the area and in his becoming a university professor for chosen field. He said the key to the performing arts.
I’ve never been interested in romantic leads. I think they’re kind of boring.”
If you’ve spent any time around the visual arts department, this face is probably very familiar. (Image courtesy Kelsey Gilker)
Alice Munro’s Nobel Prize a triumph for CanLit Mike Roy The Argosy (Mount Allison) SACKVILLE (CUP) — In today’s literary world, it can be tough for women writers to earn the same respect and adoration as their male counterparts. Take, for example, David Gilmour’s latest interview, where he discusses his disdain for teaching women or minority authors in his guest lectures at the University of Toronto. While it may be unlikely to find a Morrison or an Atwood in Gilmour’s syllabus, one woman has recently been recognized beyond the classroom, rising to an international level due to her written works. Alice Munro was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature by the Swedish Academy this year as a “master of the modern short story.” She is the thirteenth woman to receive the award, along with being the second Canadian after expatriate Saul Bellow received the same prize in 1976. Every year, the Nobel Prize for Literature is awarded to an author of any country that demonstrates an excellence in the field of written works, be it fiction or non-fiction.
Munro is no newcomer to the realm of literature, as she has carefully produced fourteen collections of her work over several decades, penning hundreds of short stories. Her literature normally focuses on the themes of female identity, such as the coming-of-age tales in Lives of Girls and Women, or the struggles in middle-aged life in Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage. Munro was born in Wingham, Ontario, a small community located in the southwest part of the province in Huron County. This environment has served as fodder for her stories, which commonly deal with rural locations similar to her hometown. She studied English and journalism at the University of Western Ontario, where she met her first husband, James Munro. She has been a past recipient of the Governor General’s Literary Award on three occasions and the Giller Book Prize in 1998 and 2004. As a Canadian woman author, Munro represents a cultural shift for those who still think in the same vein as Gilmour. Literature in today’s world is not simply the
study of the same famed authors found in textbooks for centuries, but the incorporation of writing from all backgrounds in all time periods. Her win is not only personal, but demonstrates the quality and talent that can be ignored by biased views of inequality. Furthermore, it places Canada in the spotlight of noteworthy North American literature. While our country has the same wealth of talent as our neighbours to the south, we do not have the same means to publicize and promote our literature on the same scale. Munro being recognized on an international level will not only garner attention to her works, but to those of all Canadians. Earlier this year, Munro announced her retirement from writing, which could only be capped off with this magnificent honour of the Nobel Prize in Literature. While she cannot attend the reception ceremony due to her health, she is still humble and thankful for the recognition. There is truly no better way to end the career of a magnificent author, who has shaped the Canadian literature landscape, than this.
(Photo courtesy Intrepidteacher/Flickr Commons)
November 16, 2013
Is scarification the new tattoo? Amanda Gallo The Argus (Lakehead University) THUNDER BAY (CUP) — Whether it’s the result of a fall you took while perfecting a difficult skateboard trick, a surgical procedure or an experiment in cooking gone terribly wrong, scars always have a story behind them — contributing to our own personal history and making us unique. They do so much in the same way that the ancient art of tattoos provide meaning and create individuality for those who choose to wear them. Combine these two ideas, and you have the art of scarification, which just might be the newest trend in body design for Canadians and others around the world. Scarification is the process in which a design is cut, etched, burned, or branded into the skin to create an inkless tattoolike scar. The trend of scarification may still be relatively new to most Canadians, but it is an art that is just as old as the art of tattooing. Both can be traced back over 5,000 years to various primitive societies, according to an article by National Geographic Magazine. The scars and tattoos were used for such purposes as identification, or as symbols of having completed a rite of initiation into a particular society. Today, tattoos and scarification alike are mainly used as a means of artful expression on one’s own body. Some opt for scarification in order to camouflage other scars on their body. This was the case for Holly Moseinko, a piercing store owner from Petersburg, Ont., who used the process to hide a scar on her leg from a surgery, according to an article by Erica Lenti for the Canadian Press. Others simply enjoy the aesthetic appeal of scarification as a unique method of expressing their individuality. Vince Hemingson, who has studied global body-modification practices, agrees in a National Geographic article:
“Tattooing has become old hat,” he said. “If you want to be on the cutting edge — and want to set yourself apart — you can do tongue splitting or scarification.” According to Lenti’s article, the artist who created Moseinko’s designed scar, Blair McLean of New Tribe Piercings in Toronto, stated that “scarification hurts less than a tattoo; in fact, all forms of scarification occur on the same level of skin as tattoos: on the dermis, far above fatty tissues and muscle matter.” However, scarification, like any other procedure of this nature, presents some risks to the recipient. Spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Health David Jensen states, in Lenki’s article, that “because certain body modification practices break intact skin and mucus membranes through cutting, burning, and piercing, there is an increase in the risk of scarring, hemorrhaging and psychological trauma as well as exposure and infection with blood borne pathogens, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV.” He also stresses the importance of people interested in procuring such body art to visit only artists and/or studios where the artists are experienced in the procedure to ensure that it is done safely and cleanly to avoid higher risk of infection or other problems. While some negative stigma still exists in society with regards to tattoos and scarification, attitudes regarding body art seem to be mixed. While scarification is illegal in the United Kingdom, some U.S. states and Winnipeg, some hold that its criminalization only causes people to pursue it through unsafe underground measures. But no matter where you stand with regards to this extreme means of body art, the fundamental premise of the stories we can tell through the marks on our bodies remains unchanged. So wear your skin with pride, knowing that every knick, scratch or imperfection only makes you the unique and special person that you are.
The BCLIP is an educational six-month opportunity for Canadian university graduates to work in British Columbia’s parliamentary system. Your academic training will be enhanced by exposure to public policy-making and the legislative process by working in the executive and legislative branches of the provincial government at the Parliament Buildings in Victoria. B.C. residents are eligible to apply if they have received their first Bachelor’s Degree from a Canadian university within two years of the start date of the 2015 program. Apply online at
2015 PROGRAM DIRECTOR Karen L. Aitken Legislative Assembly of B.C. BCLIP@leg.bc.ca ACADEMIC DIRECTOR Dr. Patrick J. Smith Simon Fraser University firstname.lastname@example.org
Lt. Kieran Van Wagoner shared his personal experiences with war at TRU’s Remembrance Day ceremony on Friday Nov. 8. About 40 people attended the ceremony in front of the registrar’s office in Old Main. ( Jessica Klymchuk/ The Omega)
January 31, 2014 Location: Parliament Buildings, Victoria, B.C. Term: January 5 to June 26, 2015 Remuneration: $22,920 for six months
Life & Community
The Omega · Volume 23, Issue 11
Dress-up faces new frontiers A bit of insight into the where, how and why of cosplay culture Paisley Conrad Capilano Courier (Capilano) At the 1983 World Science Fiction Convention in Los Angeles, Japanese film director Nobuyuki Takahashi was impressed by a vast multitude of attendees dressing up in elaborate costumes based on science fiction characters. He wrote his reflections in several Japanese magazines, describing the spectacle as “cosplay” – a portmanteau of the words costume and play. With that, a subculture was formed. COS-ART? As early as 1939, fans were dressing up and attending conventions as characters in their favourite radio series and science fiction novels. In the late ‘70s and ‘80s, cosplay began to pick up steam in countries like Japan, but it wasn’t until the year 2000 that the culture exploded in North America. Cosplay is the ultimate expression of fandom. It is often described as performance art, as it extends beyond simply dressing up. Most of the time, the players adopt catchphrases and personality traits of their chosen characters, and interact as such. “Once I saw these two strangers who were dressed up as two characters from the same series that absolutely hated each other on screen, and were known for chasing each other around in anger. Throughout the rest of the convention, I kept seeing them chasing each other and yelling things at each other in character. They were totally having the times of their lives,” says voice actress and cosplay enthusiast Caitlyn Bairstow. Angelina LaDrew-Bonvarlez a famous vlogger and cosplayer known in the online community as “ALBinWonderland” participated in the cosplay culture early in life. “I was always dressing up when I was a kid. My mother is an incredible sewer, so I never had store bought costumes. We’d start planning in September for my Halloween costume. I remember my mother made me a Hermione Granger costume once, the vest, the tie, everything. I would wear it constantly. It wasn’t even for Halloween. I just wanted to be Hermione Granger so badly.” SHAPING A NEW REALITY Though the term cosplay brings to mind the bright and colorful characters of an anime, it can take the form of any fictional work that is interesting and inspiring. Oftentimes, members of a particular television fandom will cosplay as their favourite onscreen characters. Video game cosplay can range from
Lara Croft, to the Mario Brothers, and Pikachu. Comic book characters are also immensely popular, especially with the resurgence of superhero movies and television series. While most people choose to copy pre-existing characters, there are no boundaries when it comes to what one wears. Costuming veteran Diana Vick has been dressing up since 1982, long before the term cosplay came into use. She co-founded SteamCon, a convention in Bellevue celebrating the culture surrounding a subgenre called steampunk, which combines elements of Victorian society with science fiction. Since steampunk is a subgenre, and the defining features of it are scarcely agreed upon, cosplayers have a lot of freedom with designing their costumes. “Steampunk is generally a lot more creative. When we go to other cons, people are generally dressed as someone else’s character. When they ask us what we are from, we say we are from our own imaginations.” CON-ING TOGETHER Conventions are typically multiday events with a special focus on the world’s creation of video games, anime, and comic books. They typically feature panels and booths hosted by key players in mainstream geek culture, including artists, directors, and actors. Less than half of all participants are serious cosplayers while the majority are attendees who are there to observe the culture. Fan Expo, a convention held on the
Two fans of...I’m not sure...dress up as their favourite characters for a convention.
THE FRINGE WITHIN THE FRINGE
When it comes to actually putting together the costume, LaDrew-Bonvarlez describes it as “definitely a labour of love. For about the first ten minutes you’re so excited about what you’re making and your idea, and then about 10 hours in, you’re wondering why on earth you thought this would be a good idea in the first place! It’s always worth it in the end.” Mark R. Isfeld Secondary School student Sidney Merrick has managed to integrate her cosplay into her education. “I applied for a block in school to do it, as an independent directed study, so an hour a day. I work on costumes at home, too, so that works out to be about 10 hours a week. I’m constantly drawing and designing when I’m at home. I prefer to sew them myself, —Angelina LaDrew-Bonvarlez but if I’m feeling lazy I’ll Cosplayer and Vlogger definitely go comb thrift shops.” On the flip side, commissions are available for ground they can’t get anywhere else. those who lack in sewing and scavenging “It’s hard to get that in the real world, skills. Bairstow orders the majority of her because you aren’t being as open costumes online, which tends to be more about who you are,” says LaDrew- expensive, but far less time consuming. Bonvarlez. While attending hight school, CapU THE DARK SIDE student Sarah Robinson recalls that, “a group of kids would dress up every Many female characters depicted in Thursday in their favourite costumes. comic books and anime frequently wear They would wear full make-up and risqué and skimpy costumes. When wigs and answer questions in class as cosplayers choose to represent these their character. hyper-sexualized characters, they often “No one made fun of them for it get attention they don’t necessarily want. either. We all regarded it as a normal While they may be dressing up as this thing for people to do.” character for personal empowerment, Though “geek” culture has gradually become more accepted in North American society, those with eccentric interests still remain on the fringe of society. Conventions such as the San Diego Comic Con bring together an estimated 100,000 participants. Those who identify themselves as social outcasts or geeks find themselves within an empathetic community, and get the common
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(Photo courtesy taymtaym/Flickr Commons)
TO SEW OR NOT TO SEW
It’s hard to get that [sense of community] in the real world...
SFU campus each spring, brought in Stan Lee, the creator of the Marvel comic book universe, Tom Savini, make-up artist known for his work on Dawn of the Dead, and Sean Astin, who has been immortalized through his role of the hobbit Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings franchise. According to LaDrew-Bonvarlez, it’s easy to make connections with perfect strangers while cosplaying because “you’re in costume dressed up as something that you like, and other people can see that you like that thing, and it’s an instant connection.”
this is often lost in translation. As a result, the display of unwanted and negative attention is shown towards the cosplayers. In many cases, lewd figures have sexually harassed innocent female cosplayers. “At New York Comic Con, there were these guys working for Sirius Radio pretending to interview cosplayers, and they were being really sleazy and sexual, and making inappropriate jokes towards a female cosplayer, and then the girl tweeted about what happened using the NYCC hashtag,” explains LaDrew-Bonvarlez . The men reportedly “interviewed” several young women on the first day of the convention. “Don’t take things lying down. These guys kept going up to other girls and they were all going to social media with their experiences, and the convention people actually ended up kicking the guys out. It’s so easy to say ‘Oh, that happened, and I just have to get over it,’ but what people don’t often understand is that what happened to them will just keep happening to other people. You need to stand up to stop things like that,” she advises. For every individual that adversely affects the convention experience for someone, there are more who want to make it the best experience possible for anyone. In the words of Merrick, “That’s how it is with cosplay. “Whenever I’m playing a Batman character, I totally connect to my batfamily. Once a guy was hitting on me, and I was getting uncomfortable, and guy dressed as Batman came up and told him to screw off. “We all have each other’s backs, and it’s an amazing community.”
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“All’s Well That Ends Well”
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Puzzle of the week Puzzle of the Week #10 – Nonsense? This is the last puzzle for the semester. Start with 10. If tomatoes are a fruit, add 5; if not, add 3. If prinna foet yong, multiply by 2; if not, add 6. If haronnasark ipset blinda, multiply by 2; if not, add 2. If yanna op decidand, add 3; if not, add 2. If rezan orsha dem, multiply by 3; if not, multiply by 2. Is your result prime? This contest is sponsored by the Mathematics and Statistics department. The full-time student with the best score at the end of the year will win a prize. Please submit your solution (not just the answer but also why) by noon the secondto-next Wednesday to Gene Wirchenko <email@example.com>. Submissions by others are also welcome. The solution will be posted the Wednesday after that in my blog (http://genew.ca/) and in the Math Centre (in the HOL, fourth floor study area). Come visit: we are friendly.
1. Credit or tarot follower 5. Dash 8. Bladder, e.g. 11. Organic compound 12. People person, briefly 14. Fodder holder 15. Takes his leave of a lady 18. Nigerian language 19. City in Italy 20. Adult insect 21. Big Bertha’s birthplace 22. Lhasa’s land 23. Raillery 25. Best seller 26. ___-cochere (carriage entrance) 27. Krypton, e.g. 28. Group of poems 32. TV castaway 36. ___ brat 37. College in Ashland (abbr.) 38. ___-made 39. “Come again?” 40. Rears 42. Birthplace of Little Richard 45. Tracks 46. Caribbean cruise stop 47. Units of work 48. Protestant denom. 51. Place to find pennies?
54. European language 55. Dead to the world 56. Consequently 57. Home improvement network 58. Rather than 59. Dated oath Down 1. 27, to 3 2. University in Pakistan 3. Make over 4. “___ Boot” 5. More high-spirited 6. Mischievous 7. Sleep-disturbing legume? 8. ___ of Vicksburg 9. Apportion 10. Mil. rank 12. French commune 13. ___ Columbia 14. Q-Tip 16. Urges onward 17. Give off, as light 21. Admittance 23. 1922 Physics Nobelist 24. Jack-in-the-pulpit, e.g. 25. Pilgrim’s journey 26. School org. 27. African antelope 28. Decorative jugs 29. Hymn of praise: var.
30. Cutlass, e.g. 31. Arch 33. Salt shaker? 34. Joyful exclamation 35. Threat ender 39. Bindle bearer 40. French existentialist 41. Cheap 42. Native New Zealander 43. Dilettantish 44. Adorable 45. Allude 48. Floater 49. Chlorella, e.g. 50. Slog 51. Twin, e.g. 52. Undivided 53. ___ bit
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He put a ring on it: Kanye West proposes to Kim Kardashian Ω Contributor Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you know about the engagement of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West (also known as Kimye). The elaborate proposal took place on Oct. 21 at AT&T Park in San Francisco. The owner of the San Francisco Giants gifted the couple the use of the stadium for the evening. If it wasn’t enough to clear out the 40,800-
seat stadium, West arranged a fireworks display to set off as he got down on one knee and “PLEEEASE MARRY MEEE!” blasted across the Jumbotron. The charmer he is also hired a 50-piece orchestra to play his hit song “Knock You Down” featuring Keri Hilson during the proposal. How romantic, and not egotistic at all. The saying goes, you can’t put a price on love. However, engagement rings? Those are fair game. Ask West, who according to celebrity jewelry designer
Mark Keeney, would have spent between $4- and $5-million on the 15-carat Lorraine Schwartz ring. Kardashian, who has been married twice before, is no stranger to expensive engagement rings. Remember back in 2011 when she embarked on her magical 72-day marriage to NBA player Kris Humphries? Well, she was proposed by Humphries with a ring that was estimated to cost close $2 million, at least twice as cheap as the one given to her by West. What a chump.
If there wasn’t enough attention put on the engagement already, the couple is now suing the co-founder of YouTube, Chad Hurley, claiming he schemed to post the video on his new Inter net venture, MixBit. Here’s a tip: if you don’t want the video to go viral maybe don’t invite the entire Kardashian family, their close friends, a camera crew from E! and a 50-member orchestra. Nothing screams intimate like a baseball diamond full of active tweeters!
Got a joke? Got a comic? Send ‘em in and we might run ‘em.
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A Pop of Culture Cameron Staff
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LAST ISSUE’S ANSWERS
MYLES MELLOR AND SALLY YORK
November 16, 2013
A Pop of Culture is a new regular feature highlighting the weird and wonderous world of “celebrity” written by local pop culture afficianato Cameron Staff. Check back weekly for more celeb-y tidbits.
The Omega · Volume 23, Issue 11
Podium finishes for both WolfPack soccer teams Adam Williams Ω Sports Editor The WolfPack ended its tenure in collegiate soccer amongst the league’s elite on Saturday, coming back from the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association’s (CCAA) national championships with podium finishes in both the men’s and women’s soccer tournaments. The WolfPack men’s soccer team returned to Kamloops as silver medallists, while the women will be returning with bronze around their necks. For the men’s program, it’s the first medal since the University College of the Cariboo Sun Demons won gold in 1998. For the women, the bronze ends a five-year medal drought, dating back to 2008 when the team brought home silver. TRU’s men’s program finishes its time in the CCAA with one gold and one silver medal to its credit, while the women’s program finishes with one gold medal, seven silver and a bronze. Despite bringing home the first medal in 15 years for the men’s program, falling short in the gold medal game – the men were defeated, 2-0, by Ontario’s Humber College Hawks – left a dark cloud hanging over what was otherwise a successful week for the WolfPack men. “This is very disappointing after the season we had,” said WolfPack co-head coach Sean Wallace in a news release, following the conclusion of the gold medal match. “The guys were playing well. We didn’t win the silver, it was more that we lost the gold. I feel bad for the guys, they worked so hard all season to get this chance.” The WolfPack men were undefeated at the national
championship heading into the gold medal match. En route to the final they had played to victories against Halifax’s Mount Saint Vincent University Mystics, 3-0, and Edmonton’s MacEwan Griffins, 2-1. The Hawks were the only team ranked higher than the WolfPack entering tournament play – No. 1 to the WolfPack’s No. 2 – and left with gold to the WolfPack’s silver. The national tournament, which took place over the last week in Saint John, N.B., will be the WolfPack’s final championship as a part of the CCAA. It will join the Canada West division of the CIS league next season – Canada’s highest level of university athletics. “This is our last year at CCAA,” Wallace said. “To make it to nationals and come away with silver – I am proud for the guys.” The men finished the season with 14 victories, three losses and two draws. They depart the CCAA as defending provincial champions. For the WolfPack’s women’s squad, the tournament ended on a more positive note – with a victory. TRU defeated the Algonquin College Thunder, also of Ontario, 2-0 in the bronze medal match. The medal was vindication, of sorts, for the women, who had their sights set on gold but saw those dreams come to an end with a 1-0 loss to the NAIT Ooks in the team’s first tournament match on Nov. 6. Playing in its third bronze medal match in as many years on Nov. 9, the WolfPack wrapped up the bronze medal that had eluded it in previous trips to nationals. “The last few years we’ve been in this match and come up short so this year we were a little disappointed we didn’t get to the gold medal, but I’ll take this one,” said Wolf Pack goalkeeper Emily
Oriol Torres, who was named a tournament all-star, heads the ball in the gold medal match against Humber College, where the WolfPack’s hopes for gold were dashed. Second in the country isn’t anything to be upset about, gentlemen. Congratulations from The Omega. (Photo courtesy TRU Athletics)
Edmundson in a news release. After losing to the Ooks, the WolfPack played to a 5-0 victory against the host Kwantlen Eagles and a 4-1 victory against the defendingchampion Ahuntsic Indiennes of Montreal to secure its bronze medal match berth. Head coach Tom McManus felt the match against the Indiennes was one in which the WolfPack felt it had something to prove, and winning may have given them the boost they needed entering the match for bronze. “The girls wanted a little payback,” he told the Kamloops Daily News. “The girls came out and wanted to prove that they were the best team
We were updating nightly during the tournaments, so for gameby-game recaps, Adam Williams has you covered at truomega.ca
The WolfPack’s Megan Baird goes up for a header in their 4-1 win over the Ahuntsic College Indiennes. The win sent the ‘Pack to the bronze medal match. (Andrew Snucins/TRU Athletics)
there and I think they did that today.” The women finish the season with 17 victories, one loss and two draws. They leave the CCAA as defending provincial champions. Tournament Honours A number of WolfPack players were honoured with personal awards at their respective CCAA national championships on Tuesday. Justin Wallace, midfielder for the WolfPack men’s squad, was not playing in Saint John due to an injury sustained in the WolfPack’s provincial semifinal match. But he was named the CCAA player of the
year, the league’s highest individual honour. Wallace and teammate Oriol Torres were also named to the allCanadian team by the CCAA. At the conclusion of tournament play, Torres and teammate Kyle Logan were named to the tournament allstar team. In Surrey, Alanna Bekkering fell short in her bid for the women’s CCAA player of the year, but received her second-consecutive all-Canadian nod along with teammate and close friend Bronwyn Crawford. Following the tournament, Bekkering was also named to the tournament all-star team.
Alanna Bekkering takes a shot on net during the team’s bronze medal win over the Algonquin College Thunder. After placing fourth for the past two years, Bekkering and company managed to secure a medal. Good work, ladies. (Andrew Snucins/TRU Athletics)
November 16, 2013
TRUSU Membership Advisory Taking 3 classes $7,900 / semester
Taking 4 classes $7,900 / semester
Taking 5 classes Tuition: $7,900
Did you know International Students must pay for 5 classes regardless of how many they take
Join the per-Credit Fee Campaign at trusu.ca
Did you know TRUSU operates a Food Bank? If you are struggling to make ends meet drop by the Members’ Services Desk in the Students’ Union Building
Get your $5 Student tickets at the Members’ Services Desk in the Students’ Union Building
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