Page 1

THE PEARL Soka University of America Student News Magazine

VOL.1 FALL 2010


f o E l b a S T t N e t O C 003



letter from the editor founder’s corner undercover ecuador

005 006

007 how exercise makes you smarter 008 tribal cinnamon oatmeal 009 finding joy in the simplest things 010 modalmusings 013 filmreview 014 apollo’s ground 016 Feature: on learning & anxiety 020 On teaching 022 capstoners unite 023 advice column 024 footballers: athletes or artists 025 War! 022 thoughts on aquacrunk 027 Brazilian wax GOT

cover photo by Jordann Cheng


Anonymous letters will not be printed unless otherwise approved by The Pearl senior staff. The Pearl reserves the right to reject letters and/or columns and edit for clarity, brevity and accuracy. Letters represent only the views of their authors. Nothing on the Op/Ed pages necessarily represents a position of the The Pearl or Soka University of America.

AN OPIN I O N? Write a letter to the editor!

letter from the editor

Dear Friends,

I’m a planner person. In high school, I’d hand draw my own planners because I felt uninspired by the selections at office supply stores. I wanted three separate lined boxes for each day of the week. Appointments & Classes



Extracurricular To Do List


Isn’t that the average student’s life on this campus? Bouncing between soccer practice, Japanese class, and Hip Hop Congress meeting today, anthropology class, student festival meetings, and a 6 hour shift at work tomorrow. What better way to battle time than compartmentalize it? Or so I thought. Sadly, three months into senior year, I’m still sulking at obligation, still searching for passion in commitments I made, and still wanting to stop everything and sleep on the beach for a week. My diagnosis: compartmentalization syndrome [an emotional vice; not to be confused with compartment syndrome, the physical ailment.] Apparently, I missed the memo that life is a lot more interesting when you stop trying to define yourself and instead, try to make a playlist of every other perspective in the world and put in on shuffle in your brain. Then, sit quietly and think.

If you are:

A) Reading this copy of The

Pearl but it’s not yours B) Reading it on the internet, but you really want to hold it in your hands


Go to and SUBCRIBE! It’s free and we deliver! only 5 issues a year, don’t miss any!

We didn’t plan a theme for this issue, but jumped into one long process of letting our creative energies flow and getting to know a brand new staff of tremendous talent. The result? A big life lesson in blurring boundaries! So dear readers, we present to you Volume 1 of The Pearl, as delightfully off schedule and homespun as ever. Be warned, the following pages house more than a teaspoon of profundity. Expect five colorful volumes this year, and an extra chocolate-y dessert early next spring: The 10th Anniversary Memorial Edition! If you’re ever in need of some creative space, lessons in eloquent ranting, or non-academic writing that an entire academic community will read, join us!

With love and appreciation,



Luckily, The Pearl has been blessed this year, with a burgeoning staff of wise sages. They’ve shaken up all my collected age-old wisdom and permeated boundaries that ought to have never existed in the first place. Boundaries between athletes and artists, work and play, homesickness and comfort, spying and security, modeling and photographing, being a student and being a professor, and individuality and creativity.

My most exciting lesson this semester: Isolation—[that narrow frightful place between feeling something and expressing it]—is the key ingredient for leadership. In a recent article from The American Scholar, William Deresiewicz writes, “We have a crisis of leadership in America because our overwhelming power and wealth, earned under earlier generations of leaders, made us complacent, and for too long we have been training leaders who only know how to keep the routine going…What we don’t have are people who can think for themselves; people who can formulate a new way of doing things, a new way of looking at things; people with vision.” And this vision incubates in the same room as a lonely student with a foot long to do list.


The Joy of Reading

Founder’s Corner

I’m sure there are all kinds of young people – some who like reading and some who don’t. Even so, one thing is clear: Those who know the joy of reading have richer lives, broader perspectives, than those who don’t. Encountering a great book is like encountering a great teacher. Reading is a privilege known only to human beings. No other living creature on this planet has the ability. Through reading, we come into contact with hundreds of thousands of lives, and commune with sages and philosophers from as long as two millennia ago. Reading is a journey: You can travel east, west, north or south, and become acquainted with new people and places. Reading transcends time. You can go on an expedition with Alexander the Great or become friends and hold dialogues with people like Socrates or Victor Hugo. In his Essays in Idleness, Yoshida Kenko writes, “The pleasantest of all diversions is to sit alone under the lamp, a book spread out before you, and to make friends with people of a distant past you have never known.” How sad to not know this joy! It’s like standing before a mountain of precious jewels, all there for your taking, and returning home empty-handed. Almost without exception, the great people of history had a book they held dear during their youth – a book that served as their guide and as a source of encouragement; a close friend and mentor. Books introduce you to the fragrant flowers of life, to rivers, roads and adventures. You can find stars and light, feel delight or indignation. You are set adrift on vast seas of emotion upon a ship of reason, moved by the infinite breezes of poetry. Dreams and dramas evolve. The whole world comes alive. To gain true satisfaction and pleasure from anything requires some kind of practice, training and effort. You cannot fully enjoy skiing without working at it. The same goes for playing the piano or using a computer. It also takes effort, perseverance and patience to appreciate reading. Those who have tasted this joy, who have looked on books as friends, are strong. Reading gives you free access to the treasures of the human spirit – from all ages, from all parts of the world. One who knows this possesses unsurpassed wealth. It’s like owning countless banks from

which you can make unlimited withdrawals. That sounds great! How exactly can you cultivate such an appreciation for books? The first step is to get into the habit of reading. Those who have, you’ll find, will utilize every spare moment to read, whether while commuting by train or before going to bed. The French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal (1923-62) described the human being as a “thinking reed”. Reading is essential to thinking. Perhaps we can even say that reading is a sign of our humanity. Nowadays there is an overabundance of books, but many people just aren’t reading. How spoiled we’ve become! You cannot imagine how strict [my mentor] Mr. Toda was when it came to reading. Seeing youth engrossed in tabloid publications, he would become furious, sternly rebuking them: “How can you enjoy that garbage? Do you want to be nothing more than a third- or fourth-rate person? You must read epic novels, you must read the classics! You can never hope to forge your character if you don’t read them while you are young! You will never become a leader in the future!” He would stress: “Study while you are young. Otherwise, as you get older, you will be ridiculed not only by your peers but by your children. What you read while you are young will remain with you throughout your life.” I feel the same way. I want each of you to savour the great joy that reading brings. I hope you will work at reading until it becomes something you can’t live without. You are the only ones who will lose out if you don’t try your hardest. People often complain that they just don’t have time to read. Mr. Toda said: “Youth, make time in your heart to read and think seriously about things!” It’s a matter of setting your mind to it. Those who claim they have no time haven’t really made room in their hearts to do so. If the desire to read is there, there is no way you cannot find ten or twenty minutes. You don’t have t be sitting at a desk to read. An old saying goes that there are three places suitable for writers to mull over their ideas: on horseback, in bed and in the bathroom. The same can be said about reading today if we substitute horseback for public transportation. When you’re head over heels for someone, for instance, you want to see him or her whenever or wherever you can – even if it’s only a brief glance or just for minutes, right? That should be our attitude toward reading. Excerpted from: “For the Leaders of the Future, Discussions on Youth,” by Daisaku Ikeda [pg. 137-145, World Tribune Press, CA]

The early hours of the morning I wake up on the floor of a friend’s room with several people asleep around me, everyone’s books and homework strewn around the room. Not wanting to wake anyone up, I simply lie back down and take in the moment. Recently, my health has been bad so that I have been unable to be my usual productive self. Things that would have taken me only an hour or two wind up taking me a whole week because I have no strength or energy. This has caused me to become negative and frustrated with myself and feel isolated from my friends and EC teammates. My feeling of isolation caused me to distrust the intentions of my friends and the EC team. Looking out the window at the light from the morning sun resting in splintered beams on the palm trees, my thoughts are called back to an evening the previous week.

Scott Williams - SSU President


Edi t EC or’s N wh is a ote: M n of ich ea ew s y.Soka t Unio he So ch m eries i . e n wr n Exe ka St mber ites u c d refl a j utive ent e C c o u t o EC. ing rn un on al en cil bein try g i n

The beams of the setting sun pierce the EC office; almost like swords they appear to be dividing my team. The conversation is heated – our passions are raised and the glow of the sunlight seems to intensify this feeling. Although only five of us are in the room, there seem to be a million opinions and perspectives being shot back and forth, some with more force than others. I feel dazed, and yet can’t detach myself from the scene. I’m actively shouting out more opinions. It’s the first time we have raised our voices in this office. All my struggles and frustrations come out in that argument. My lack of trust in my teammates, my feeling of isolation – then I see just how negative this is and put an end to it all by shouting everyone down, and announcing the need for us to cool off. We take a short break. It’s good for us. Realizing my own negativity, I look at how we interact with each other. Our team should not be like this! Why the arguments, why can’t we all agree? Why do we seem so dysfunctional? On top of everything I am struggling with, it tears me apart to think that my team can not even be united. I contact a friend for advice, and he explains to me that if EC were 100% perfect from the get-go, there would be something to worry about. His words comfort me, and I realize just how much I need to be able to share my struggle with a friend. He helps me sort out my thoughts. I am told that if the five of us, from different backgrounds, don’t clash at all, how could we be truly representing all the students of SUA? “That’s true,” I admit and I reflect on the fact that we can have such heated dialogues for the sake of students, to ensure only the best! It’s uncomfortable for me to admit these struggles and share them with my team, but I do and we are able to be candid with one another and come together in our vision to unconditionally support the students. This conversation, and the many more that follow, each awkward in their own way (expressing my most raw feelings is difficult), help me to see that I am not alone and that I can have confidence in my teammates. We are working for the same goal.


Suddenly I’m called back to the room that I am laying in, staring out the window – it’s someone’s alarm, telling us it’s time to start the day. Everyone gets up and we rush to greet the morning. The simplicity of a friend right by my side, friends who I can fall asleep studying with, teammates that always have my back and that always fight for our common goal – by these I am reassured. No problem with my health, no difficultly is too much to bear so long as I can trust my friends and really be open enough to express my feelings. It’s not the easiest thing for me to do, but the more that I struggle with it each day, the better things become, and I know that this is the way to really ensure the best for myself and for the school. No matter how negative things seem to be, I am not in the fight alone! This is enough to help me overcome even the worst sickness, frustration, or isolation that I feel.


It was


with much reluctance that I flipped a page on my calendar this morning and admitted to myself that October really has replaced September. As the two month mark approaches I am trying not to count days or think of the number of weekends I have left in Quito. In my short two months I have experienced a police revolt, been robbed, zip-lined, planted potatoes, worked at a cheese factory, and generally fallen in love with everything. The coffee here may be instant, but the juice is always fresh, and my family feeds me well. It is a daily battle not to eat my favorite snack, a type of sweet corn called Choclo, coated with mayonnaise and cheese that my host mother frequently reminds me will “engordarse,” or “make me fat.” Admittedly most of my personal spending money has disappeared into the pockets of the owners of hotdog and shawarma (a middle eastern sandwich wrap type food) stands after late nights of dancing. Yet, the real reason I can’t imagine leaving is that I feel more and more like me each day. There’s something refreshing about not understanding every word I hear. Though it can be frustrating at times, where my Spanish falls short, my personality has had to shine through. I’ve never been less of a




wallflower than I am today. I’ve been endowed with a sense of fearlessness and I find myself talking to strangers on a regular basis because in some sense I exist outside of the social queues and nuances of Ecuadorian culture. Being an outsider leaves one with a lot of leeway to make mistakes, to forget words, and to learn not to take yourself too seriously. For me, this leeway has encouraged me to indulge the impulsive and ridiculous aspects of myself, resulting in a lot of adventures, a lot of laughs, and an unfortunate week’s worth of jumping out of taxi’s and running away to avoid paying. I had to come here to realize that life is only as serious as I choose to make it, that stress imaginary, that worry is constant, and that there is no endpoint, goal, or vacation in life. For me there has only been a process in Ecuador. A process which I can choose to enjoy beyond an imaginary start and finish line. There is only a process and you can choose to enjoy the whole process—not just the

slow points. Ecuador has revived me, and

in a sense, brought me back to life. The rebirth, if you will, came after I watched an Ecuadorian team win the South American Cup. Within thirty minutes, my hitherto calm host family had cajoled me into changing out of my pajamas and before I knew it I was soaking wet and jumping in a fountain with half of Quito while singing victory chants. Above the ruckus I shouted to my host brother that I couldn’t stay out too late because I had to wake up early, take a test, and go to work. He gave me the most indignant look; clearly the immensity of this event had been lost upon me. “Everyone here has the same problem!” he yelled back. That sentence really hit me somewhere. Life isn’t and shouldn’t be just about a division of celebration and work. My time perspective is under renovation, and the convergence that is emerging has made me stop compartmentalizing my life. For the first time in a long time, I feel free.

Agnes Conrad 2012

how exercise makes you smarter Hey fellow SUA students, studying for an exam? Looking for a way to boost your overall performance, decrease stress levels, and fight the infamous freshman 15? Try getting up and moving around! It’s good for not only your body, but also your mind. While many studies have looked at the effects of exercise as a cognitive enhancer that can play a key role in combating Alzheimer’s disease, until now very little research has been done on how exercise can affect the brains of young people. As it turns out, the phrase “student athlete” is a far more apt description of what exercise does for the brain than the stereotype “dumb jock.” This is because exercise affects the brain in powerful ways, according to a new book by Harvard Psychiatrist John Ratey called Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. The book begins by showcasing the Naperville, Illinois school district that is now famous for its revolutionary brand of fitness education that puts highly aerobic P.E. every day right before students take their toughest classes. The district recently took a test called IMMTS that measured the mathematical and scientific abilities of students against students from around the globe, and was sixth in the world in mathematics, and first in the world in science. Given that American school districts as a whole generally test very poorly despite the fact that we spend so much on education, these test scores are a remarkable feat. Naperville isn’t the only piece of evidence that backs a link between fitness and better brain function. Charles Hillman, a professor at the University of Illinois, recently rounded up a group of 259 Illinois third and fifth graders, put them through a series of standard physical fitness tests and matched their scores on these tests with a group of standardized math and reading exams. Overall, the kids with the fittest bodies were also the smartest, even when results were adjusted for socioeconomic factors. In a recent study done in the UK, when kids were placed in two different exercise groups for either twenty or forty minutes, the kids with the highest amounts of aerobic activity increased their “executive functions” the most (abilities to plan, process information, inhibit impulses, initiate tasks, do sequential operations, etc). Another study in which elderly adults who improved their aerobic capacity the most, increased the number of new brain cells they created shows that exercise and higher brain function are correlated in a dose-response manner. This means that the more exercise people get, the smarter they seem to become, which is considered strong evidence for causation.

Here’s how the science works: Whenever a muscle in the body contracts, it releases a chemical called IGF-1 to the brain. This chemical facilitates the production of a variety of neurotransmitters, including Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, or BDNF. Ratey says that BDNF is like “Miracle-Gro” for the brain. It causes brain cells to sprout new connections and communicate with each other in new ways. This BDNF appears in the hippocampus, the area of the brain that is responsible for new learning of any kind. The cerebellum, which is the area of the brain that controls coordinated motor movements, can also receive a BDNF boost from exercise. In addition, exercise appears to increase the size of the pre-frontal cortex in large amounts, the area of the brain that controls executive functions. This explains the gains in executive function that have been found both through the study in the UK and in elderly populations. You may be wondering just how much exercise it takes to become measurably smarter and better able to pass that midterm, or just how many sessions of exercise it takes to achieve a goal. Well the good news is that the threshold for exercising is very low. Just by jogging for twenty minutes, you can put your brain in a much better place. The studies highlighted above usually happened over a couple of months, meaning if you can keep exercising for a few weeks, you will begin to see at least a small gain in your executive function and memorization ability. Try exercising with other SUA students: it’s a great motivator, plus it’s been shown to have a much bigger BDNF effect, at least when you begin exercising. There are plenty of teams and group activities for you to join at SUA. Just e-mail Mike Moore at for more information. Whether you join a team, work-out on your own or with your friends, exercise can help you achieve not only a better state of mind, but a better mind to work with in the first place.

Daniel Jacobs 2014



eHome Sweet Home f

ello, SUA! Nolina Doud here









y bonding together, we take the first step to manifesting a comfort zone here, on campus. While many of us would like to cast our eyes and minds backwards, toward home and security, we must set our gaze forward, toward our peers, in an effort to find those commonalities that bring us together. Though maintaining a connection with home is invaluable, it is prescient that we start making our campus our home by opening ourselves up to one another. Homesickness may foster feelings of alienation or isolation, but it can also be channeled into opening connections. Connecting on a profound, emotional, and simply human level over mutual homesickness is just one bond out of innumerable potential bonds, and it is our job to discover and explore what those bonds are or could be, therefore creating channels of friendship and openness that will create a new comfort zone.



f there is one thing among all the dappled diversity of SUA that everyone with my first installation of Tribal can sympathize with, it is homesickness. Cinnamon Oatmeal! First, an explanation Whether homesickness is an omnipresent for this crazy name: it all started with a Bora ache or just a fleeting shadow of nostalgia, Bora bar. I saw this granola bar’s flavor and we have all felt some manifestation of it in thought, “that’s me in a nutshell!” … or a our time here. I have come to realize that it granola bar, I guess. Tribal Cinnamon Oatmeal. is not even my actual home that I am pining By tribal, I mean connected with the earth, the people, and the cosmos around me. for, but for that place where I am completely, Cinnamon is the spice of my personality—a uninhibitedly, unconditionally comfortable little bitter, a little sweet, but certainly and unselfconscious. Everyone’s comfort distinctive. And oatmeal is just that earthy zone is unique to him or herself; for me, I plainness on which I actually pride myself. I long for mountains. I ache for the musky am as average as oatmeal, by which I mean shade of gnarled oaks, dewy grass bowing I am just another one of you. I do not mean beneath my feet, and the sight of wheat this negatively, but in the sense that I am a dried into gold, rippling metallically along an microcosm of the SUA community, which is eddy of wind. When I look at Aliso Viejo, it why I chose to take on this column in the first looks like such a teeming metropolis that I place. In this column, I will attempt to be the feel suddenly cloistered by artificiality, but voice of the freshman class, chronicling my for others the view of Aliso Viejo has the experience as well as the experience of my opposite effect. Perhaps some of you look at class as a whole. For my first topic, I thought Orange County as a polyp of droll suburbia I would tackle something that is particularly and long for the hum and thrill of the city. However different our impressions might be, prescient to all of us: though, the feeling remains the same. ven though we yearn for different things, it is yearning that brings us together. No matter how different our backgrounds might be, how differently our homesickness might affect us, or how varied our vision of a comfort zone might be, we have this common experience and that is the root of a bond. I spoke with three international students, Yukiko Yamasaki (Yukko), Cindy Li, and Noriko Komatsu (Koma) and really manifested that bonding process by sharing our experiences with homesickness. Although their backgrounds were completely different from mine and from each others, we all recounted similar experiences. The longing for friends, family, and our entire idea of “home” stems from that desire to be comfortable. While comfort manifests itself in Cindy’s high school, Koma’s dog Andy, Yukko’s friends back in Japan, or my mountains, the sense of security is the same. Yukko and Cindy both mentioned the easy honesty that existed between them and their friends, citing that as one of their most missed aspects of home. Although the distance I traveled to be here on campus was less than a fourth of theirs, my experience has been exactly the same. We found a plethora of striking commonalities in our emotional experience since we arrived on campus and bonded over the mutual experience.




Finding Oy in The SImplest Thing

summer, I started keeping the journal that would help me get past my biggest life struggle: my seemingly incurable negativity.




My childhood wasn’t the most pleasant thing anyone could ask for and a lot of my negativity is rooted in this. In elementary school, kids made fun of my lunch every day because while they were eating their pizzas with kool-aid, I had little homemade bento-boxes. Now it’s not a big deal but it hurt to think how much time my mom put into making my food only to find everyone thinking that what I ate was unusual and disgusting. It didn’t get any better as the years progressed. The outside Class of 2011 world seemed to parallel my negativity with things like the 9/11 attacks in my home city (NYC) or the current economic recession. Then, my negativity followed me to SUA. I looked at every situation with such bitterness that after a difficult freshman year, I never wanted to come back. I did come back though, and I wish I could say it was because of some life-changing experience. I came back because I thought about all the effort I put into applying to SUA and I didn’t want to give up after only one year.


When I went on study abroad to Ecuador , I kept a consistent diary because it was the only thing I could vent my honest feelings to without being judged. There were so many times I felt my life deteriorating – the big fight I had with my host mom or when my program director told me that my behavior and language use needs to change if I want to live up to SUA’s mission statement. My study abroad journal is really where my voice is in its rawest form and I can see my progression from beginning to end. I’ve never “finished” a journal for a particular period of time before so I was proud that I was able to do that. But as soon as I went back home, I stopped writing. I started to miss writing for my own pleasure and feeling the strong satisfaction in having permanently recorded my life on paper.

Now, reflecting on Study Abroad, I was inspired to start this

new journal. Keeping a journal is a lot of work. Isn’t that why so many of us don’t do it? People always give me notebooks on my birthday but every time I go back and flip through them, I find a section in the back with a bunch of unfilled pages. So this time, I’m being a little more practical.

Every day, I simply list five things (no matter how small) that make me happy.

Sunday, August 29th 2010

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

M ichael Jackson’s birthday! Thai Bite for dinner with Kusho and Chelsea Slept in and woke up at 2pm! Went to Lollicup Wore my gold glitter TOMS shoes

A simple entry with five sentences can be so powerful. The one above is one of my favorites because it describes so well the things that mean most to me. It takes two minutes or less to write, yet it summarizes my entire day completely. Oftentimes however, I have bad days and struggle to find the things that made me happy.

Thursday, August 12th 2010


1. Went to the library and got new books to read. 2. Ran home 3. Drank good tea 4. Ate yakiniku for lunch 5. It’s almost the end of the week!

Maybe this style of writing isn’t one that allows me to pour all my feelings out, but it is a constant reminder to myself, to find joy in the simple things. Now, when I wake up before the sun to go run, I can’t help but notice how beautiful the sky looks, or the rush of pleasure I feel in drinking freshly squeezed orange juice at breakfast. This is my final (and epic) year at SUA. I am in full control of making sure that I enjoy every little bit of it.



neil [shenoi] 2012

1. Now Playing: “Guns, Cars, and Sitars” - DJ Shadow When I was 13 years old, I glanced at an outdated poster which listed all the major music hubs of the world: Los Angeles, Tokyo, London, Sydney, and a few other stereotypical big cities. I must admit, I was bummed that an Indian city wasn’t on the list. Disappointed not for patriotism’s sake, I was genuinely perplexed that although one billion Indians live on this earth, only a handful exert a presence on the global mainstream culture. I can’t say I’ve seen a beefy Indian (no pun intended) in major league sports recently, but at least we have Kumar and that guitarist from Sum 41 whose name nobody ever cared to look up (Sorry Dave Baksh, I know you have a name). I know race is irrelevant, as it should be, but I could not bear to consider the Indian diaspora, or any other race, as incapable or lacking in popular contribution. I spent two months this past summer in India with the purpose of musical exploration and growth. Especially in Mumbai, I saw bastion of creativity, a rapidly growing music industry. From interning in a recording studio in Mumbai to conducting a jazz sax workshop in Chennai, I met so many talented, unique individuals, who reintroduced me to my own culture, but a part I never could have experienced otherwise.

Dear reader: To enhance experience, please go to youtube and listen to the mentioned songs while reading.

3. Now Playing: “Kismet” - Rez Abbasi As you step through the double-doored entrance, you see that Blue Frog More is not only a recording studio, but a “revolutionary integrated music project.” The audio engineering staff facilitate the whole spectrum of sound production: recording different musicians, dubbing for films, making jingles for television advertisements, and every part of post-production. My typical day consisted of helping set up audio equipment in the club for the evening performances, then spending the rest of the day in the studio with the staff while they mixed, mastered, and manipulated their audio endeavors. To sustain the sleep deprived audio engineers, the macchiato machine in the lobby was in full force throughout the day, fuming of cream steam and rind dust. At any given point, engineers, artists, or staff were outside drinking coffee and smoking Classic Milds, debating over music underneath the entrance tarp as the monsoon rains burst overhead. Music was always the center of conversation because everyone at Blue Frog was somehow connected to the process of musicmaking. I was struck with jealous admiration because I often dream of being paid make and talk about music all day! The Mumbai studio culture more is like our studio culture than I’d thought. No matter where you are, the computer can still take five minutes to bounce a track, the perfect time to have a smoke with your coworkers while waiting for your final project to finish processing. I saw how music helps us realize the commonalities between ourselves and people we don’t know.


2. Now Playing: “Wings of Karma” - Mahavishnu Orchestra


When I was in Mumbai, I interned at Blue Frog Soundlabs, a premier recording studio and concert venue in Lower Parel, the heart of Mumbai. Even though the nine kilometer rickshaw ride from my cousin’s flat in Bandra to central Mumbai took around forty minutes, I enjoyed every second of it; the early hustle and bustle of the city was like a morning symphony of various timbres and textures accompanying the kilometers of street art limning Tulsi Pipe road, the arterial highway to the heart of the city. Like following a vein, Tulsi Pipe directly takes us to Blue Frog, Mumbai’s heartbeat.

4.Now Playing: “Dreams” - Ravi Shankar Blue Frog is the perfect music hotspot in Mumbai because it is home to any genre; artists like Infected Mushroom, Nina Van Horn and Nick Warren drew massive audiences. I hear they are having Michael Angelo Batio and his doublenecked pretentiousness perform next month... my condolences. Batio aside, a daily Frogger can expect to hear anything from Psytrance to Hip-Hop to Metal to Jazz in the span of a week. Blue Frog is essentially a microcosm of not only Mumbai, not only India, but of the whole world. Big name artists from all over the word are flown in to captive audiences every night. One day, a famous Norwegian audio engineer came in with one of the performing bands and gave us a workshop on live sound, a great prelude to the band’s immaculate sound quality. While the club is fully decked with lightshow machines and huge speakers, the inside retains a level of intimacy which embraces the acoustics of any genre. The recording studio is the life of the day, the club is the life of the night.

5. Now Playing: “Bihag” George Brooks Summit When I asked my fellow intern Kuber if he liked Between the Buried and Me, he responded with a curious stare. He then asked me if I listened to Periphery, and I responded with a similar gesture of unfamiliarity. Our reactions held significance. I looked back on how irritated I would get when music hipsters would condescend people for not memorizing the Pitchfork Media top 100, hoping I did not come across the same way to Kuber. However, I bet those coffee shop critics have never heard of Soweto Kinch or Jalabee Cartel, which entices me to call them “musically ignorant”. But If I did so, not only would I stoop to their level, I would miss purpose of talking about music and ignore the cultural relativism of music. Unless you don’t listen to music at all, I’m sure you have an idea of what you like, which leads me to believe that people are not necessarily musically ignorant; rather they simply follow another canon, their own canon. I loved how Mumbai especially was filled with scores of musical identities, people who were fully engaged in the music they loved. And by all means, Mumbai has its dubstep heads, trance tweakers, house loungers, hip hop kangaroos, jazzy snazzies, and metal slugs. In such an environment, I could shed my tough critic’s skin and slither around genres to find music that I personally jived with.

6. Now Playing: “The Decider” - Rudresh Mahanthappa


The genuine spirit of the Indian music scene was a refresher compared to the brazen venality of the American music industry. I often feel disrespected as listener by the industry’s linear obsession with the pursuit of money as well as the blatant disregard of musical quality and substance. Scores of talented people are overlooked because another candidate might have a face that could sell better or because the artist simply did not want to sell out. In the corporatized scheme, talent and inventiveness are preferred, but not required Only in America will you see Disney channel stars who are transmogrified from shoddy actors with sizable salaries, to gauche “musicians” of exorbitant excess and lucky networking. Mainstream American society has devolved since the jazz age, the last solid time when sonic profundity was the first priority in music. The American music industry conveniently accepts the blasphemous intertwining of art and capitalism, two inherent polarities. Granted, corporate music will survive as long as capitalism is strong or dominant. I’m not saying that India’s music industry is apathetic towards money, for Bollywood is a prodigiously lucrative industry in itself. Rather, India has more independent artists who are more into it for the music. Whore out the artist, commodify the songs, and you can get a pretty decent music business job... I’m not so sure about the music.


The same way a menthol

7. Now Playing: “Historicity” - Vijay Iyer Trio


In India, the shadows of corporations do not tower over the soul of the music industry. Bollywood, which produces over 800 movies and soundtracks a year, is as close as it gets to America’s profit pursuit. However, the Indian music scene as a whole is not as suffocated and obsessed with money as its American counterpart. One should note that Bollywood films are essentially music videos punctuated with acting, so the films’ soundtracks and the films are seen as one, yet separated from the music made solely for listening. This liebenstraum relieves outside from having to adhere to an industry or genre standard. Because Bollywood is so popular, it has taken much power from the pop music industry in India. Thus the people who like filmy music will listen to it, but the people who don’t like the churned out sound will look elsewhere. I see this separation between Bollywood and the rest of the industry a key element to the Indian music scene. Bollywood directs the malignancy of the lucrative industry away from musicians who need their own avenues, while using the money to recreate your typical boyfalls-in-love-with-girl-then-finds-out-theparentsdon’t-approve-but-then-doessomething-corny-to-win-their-approval type of movie. With this free range, artists continuously push the limits of innovative collaboration and sonic exploration with western instruments while continuously honing their recipes for culturally exquisite fusion.


8. Now Playing: “Hot Madras” - Mynta Soon after my stint in Mumbai, I conducted a jazz saxophone workshop at A.R. Rahman’s music conservatory in Chennai, the KM Music Conservatory. I saw the ember of the Indian music spirit burning with full force in every student’s beaming smile. I remember peering into the audience to find faces of all ages and ethnicities, yet all were united by the politeness, attentiveness and zealous passion of creating and learning music. I connected with the students after the performance, a fun exchange between western and eastern musical perspectives. Taking the music education throughout my life for granted, I saw how daring the pursuit of a music career in India is. India’s population provides plenty of tough competition. Ergo, many Indian parents often demand their children to become engineers and doctors, stable jobs with steady salaries. India’s rich history of the arts art is interjected by the imposing reality of rampant poverty and its emphasis to make ends meet. However, this is both a curse and a blessing. Because so much pressure surrounds these artists, they have to be exceptionally talented and passionate to follow through with their music careers.

cigarette tingles the audio engineers’s lips before he lights up on his break, I hope I gave you a little taste of the Indian music experience before you go there yourself. Though India wasn’t the first place I pictured when I thought of booming music industries and audio gurus, I have come to regard India as one of the premier places to be now, for a bright future lurks in the shadows. To sound as hackneyed as possible, let me end with a conclusive simile. India’s music culture is like a curry: full of flavorful spice, livened with various colors, good for the soul, and always daring to be different. Month after month, I see more and more creative expression coming out of India, which leads me to believe that the cultural pressure on kids to follow a tract life is yielding. With globalization in full effect, we have no idea where the global music hub will be in ten years. But let me warn you, the music scene in India is and will continue to be a force to reckoned with.

filmreview Michelle Hamada 2011

There’s something



you, or introducing your significant other to your parents, but instead changing your online relationship status from ‘single’ to ‘in a relationship’. It is undeniable that Facebook has somehow integrated itself into a central part of our lives. David Denby from The New Yorker, claims that just as Karl Marx revealed that capitalism transformed people into commodities, The Social Network reveals that the information age is reducing humanity to “packets of information.” Perhaps our affinity for gossip is just a reflection of the age we are living in: one in which friends become a collection item and people are reduced to the information contained on their profile. Certainly, Facebook and the changes in modern identity that Facebook represents influence our lives but do they truly define us? Is this all we are limited to? I would like to say no. Although, I grumble over some SUA hypocrisies, if you came up to me right now and asked me how I felt about SUA, my critical exterior would quickly melt into a puddle on the ground, leaving you with the same optimistic, round faced, freckled Michelle: the girl who spent study abroad annoying people in Japan with pictures of the best school in the world. I truly do believe in the values of SUA and I know that despite my floaty idealism, I can’t even anticipate the accomplishments SUA and its students will achieve in the future. But I always seem to teeter between these two extremes: pure, limitless love and disheartening frustration. We certainly all feel the pressures of living up to the idyllic world we live in: the bunnies, saying hello to everyone, and Friendship Lane. (Come on are we living in Care Bear land?) We strive to be as perfect and ideal as our campus we live in and sometimes we even fragment our identities in two, pulling the perfect self out for board meetings and shoving our less perfect selves in the backs of drawers and under our beds so as not to corrupt the sanctity of SUA. I know because sometimes I do this. I become so overwhelmed with appreciation that I deprecate myself in the process. I become hypersensitive to the slimy oozing ugliness residing in me, residing in all of us really, that somehow bubbles up and expands into gossip, judgment, and Facebook creeping. How are we supposed to live ‘contributive lives’ when we can’t even control how we talk about each other in the academic wonderland were living in? As students of this idealistic and beautiful school, it is natural to feel suffocated by the model of perfection. At the same time, our strides towards peace make it just as easy to swell up with smugness and deny the existence of our parasitic tendencies. The goal, I suppose, is to find a way to straddle the narrow bridge between self-afflicted torture and arrogant hypocrisy. All of us are bound to fall off of each side of the balance beam at some point within our four years. So, maybe we should just try not to tear each other down too much with gossip and scandals along the way.

Who’s with me?


special that happens when I look at SUA from a distance, like after summer, when I catch my first glimpse of the campus from Wood Canyon. Whether I’m completely immersed in the world of my own problems or maybe humming a Simon and Garfunkel song in my head, when SUA appears, floating majestically above the mix of wilderness and Aliso Viejo doll houses, I can’t help but take a few extra seconds to inhale. In that tiny moment, whatever fog I was drifting in disappears and I am overwhelmed with a feeling of promise. The same thing happens to me after the Annual Peace Gala. Donning a fancy outfit and crossing the border between the dorms and the gym once again gives me the perspective of an outsider looking into the magical habitat of SUA life. Toss in some twinkly lights, and the immense generosity of the donors and poof! I am out of my Autumn funk. But even in the fade of post-galaglitz euphoria, I can’t seem to rest in the expanse of SUA’s magnificence. Something always pulls me back into my typical microscopic and critical viewpoint of everyday college life. It seems that between the time we spend expanding our minds, listening to Nobel Peace Laureates, and winning soccer games, we do just as the petty do: we gossip. Even here at SUA, or perhaps especially here at SUA, gossip has the tendency to run rampant. With our intimate population and post-adolescent raging hormones, SUA can sometimes seem like the perfect petri-dish for scandal. Just a few moments of digging beneath the glimmering travertine and you’re bound to find some dirt. As whispers of “have you heard?”s and “she did what?!”s overwhelm our dialogues, we sound more like the cast of Gossip Girl than champions of justice. Though we speak in humanistic diction and pillar our school on respect and understanding, lunchtime and late night study break conversation that always seems to flitter around our peers causes me to wonder: is SUA’s progress always going to be shackled by our post-adolescent immaturities? Or is this gossipy nature something we can transcend? Well, just last week I went to the movies to see The Social Network, which both writers from The New Yorker and Rolling Stone Magazine are claiming to be a movie that defines our generation. The movie is roughly based on Mark Zuckerberg and chronicles his life as he creates and expands the network now known as Facebook. Mark is brilliant but also plagued with typical teenage boy frailties. He can be arrogant, insecure and occasionally cruel. The Facebook he creates is, in some ways, an extension of those feelings: the desire to fit in, to create a new identity, the voyeuristic urge to spy on others. Although his genius and conceit alienates him from the audience, one can’t help but realize that in many ways we all embody his traits. We spend hours on his website posting pictures, writing comments, reading comments. The hyper reality of “friending,” “liking,” and “commenting” has seeped into our reality to the point that ultimate rite of passage in a budding relationship is not necessarily saying I love


Apollo’s d groun

When you

look at a photograph, does it bother you if you can’t understand the story behind it? It’s hard to truly know what kind of tale the photographer wanted to tell. If only there was a way to get into their minds and see what they see. Today, we managed to get up close and personal with one of the many photographers here at SUA, and have slowly cracked open the doors to the truth behind her viewfinder. P.S She's a model too!

Why did you start taking pictures?

Ever since I was a kid, I’d always enjoyed looking at photos. I’d always had a strong interest in snapping pictures and I wanted a camera so badly since I was 6 years old! But I never really got one because it was too expensive at that time. Now that I have the opportunity to do so freely with my own camera, I am really glad I can.

What do you think these photos tell about yourself? What kind of pictures do you usually like to take?

Well, a lot of the photos I take are photos of myself. I guess that kind of expanded and made me interested in modeling as well. While modeling for photos, I would get certain photographers that I prefer to shoot me. I guess I like to model and I love that style of taking pictures.

So, you are actually a model and a photographer as well! What’s the difference in being the subject and being the photographer?

By Denise Lee (2014)

On The Artist

Being the subject sometimes feels funny. Especially if I don’t know the photographer or if he/she is someone that I’ve just met, I feel a little weird. If it’s someone that I know and feel comfortable with, then it is so much easier. The differences between modeling and photography are the difficulties in both of them. For example, if I was taking the pictures myself, I know exactly what I want to do and how I want to do it. In modeling, it somehow feels like someone else is being my hands and eyes as if I am crippled or blind. It may be frustrating at times but this experience really strengthens my photographic eye. I manage to see things from viewpoints I’d never encounter or think of. It’s like a whole different angle when it comes to each individual photographer. Sometimes I do get angry in the moment, but after looking at the results, I realize that different people have their own unique styleo of producing good art.

Kimberley Ng From: Malaysia 20 years old Between modeling and photography, which do you think enables yourself more? class of 2013 you toBothexpress of them are a form of art but I do believe there is always a limitation

for each field. There is only so much I know about each subject and therefore my abilities are always limited. Both are still equally important to me though. Generally, I can express myself more through photography because I can choose to snap the picture the exact way I want it when I am in control of the camera.

What is the purpose of photography in your life? The purpose of photography to me can be defined by a quote from the book Man and Wife by Tony Parsons: “Pleading the fleeting moment to remain.” This quote is definitely the definition of photography to me. When I want a moving moment to STOP, I’ll just whip out my camera. Even if it’s just a one tiny moment, photography enables me to immortalize it.


How did SUA help you as photographer? Did coming to SUA change the way you take photos?


I remember taking photography during my first semester as a freshman. That course really changed the way I look at everything. It gave me a more photographic view of my life and the world around me. I used to just snap, snap, snap away pictures with no actual depth. Now, when I click a picture, I can see things with way more clarity.

The man in this photo

is actually my uncle, back home in Sabah, Malaysia. I really wanted to depict a scene from an everyday Malaysian wet market and how shopping is done back where I came from. My uncle has been a butcher for the past 30 years. He grew up in a poor family with 16 siblings and because of that he had to stop studying and start working to support his family. I really admire his sacrifice and will always look up to him for that.

I feel like this is a story

I can tell because I realize it is not normal to see a scene like this here in the U.S. I thought people would like to see how the people in South East Asian countries (or at least Malaysia) have their morning meals. How we eat breakfast! For a Malaysian to look at this picture there wouldn’t be anything too special or unusual about it. However, for Americans it's not normal to be sitting on the road, beside the fire hydrant and sipping coffee while cars pass by.

On learning

Anxiety &

Jihii Jolly 2011

SUA’s website boasts an average classroom size of thirteen, highlighting the emphasis on ample opportunity for intimate classroom discussions We expect this academic experience to help us develop superpowers of objective reasoning, creative thinking and ethical judgment Instead, the classroom seems to house burgeoning insecurities.



Am I smart enough? Why can’t I articulate my opinion? I thought I knew the author’s thesis but maybe I should wait for someone else to say it. Do I really have to refer to the text to make my point? I don’t remember where that really striking quote went! Why does that annoying junior keep talking? He must have read this book last semester, that’s so unfair. I only read the first ten pages of this… oops. Maybe if I read the conclusion really quickly I’ll look like I know what I’m talking about? We spoke with a few SUA professors and students to figure out what to do. .

(Chris Larkin and Jasmine Brown contributed to this article)

Photography by Janice Lee


What is a successful classroom discussion

“It may be useful for universities to provoke freshmen students, soon


after they cross their new academic threshold, so they’ll encounter what they don’t know as de facto ignorance” says professor Jim Merod. “The more quickly a student understands that high schools seldom train students to think, and almost never to think clearly about complex and important ideas, the sooner they can begin to see the difficulty of their task. Students often need to be goaded to find the courage and humility to admit they’re stumped about the role of knowledge in their lives . . . and, for that matter, its role in the emerging vagueness of a so called ‘global environment’,” he suggests Professor.


Listening is also a way of learning, provided that silent students are reflecting on what their peers are saying, rather than only formulating their own opinion. “Learning doesn’t necessarily mean you are talking all the time,” says Emiko Kobayashi (‘11). “Personally, I have to speak in class if I have an opinion because when someone points out a different point of view, I realize maybe I should revise my thought.” Professor James Spady shares, “I think maybe especially here at SUA, considering talking as the only standard for participation could be culturally biased or intellectually misleading, especially for students who come out of education systems that don’t emphasize a lot of student participation in discussion and critical analysis of the topic.”

One student in my class keeps talking the whole time! “If a teacher

lets one or two students dominate a class, a fundamental abrogation of pedagogical give and take may be unselfconsciously in play. The obligation to give every student a chance to grope for some degree of insight -- or to seek public articulation of view points, opinions and commentary that deserve reinforcement, adjustment or outright challenge – holds a certain priority but it is not, by any means, the first or foremost in a series of simultaneous pedagogical values,” Merod offered. One method most interviewees agreed on is the establishment of ground rules for discussion at the start of a semester, to prevent certain students from overpowering others, and encouraging students to actively respond to one another. One method most interviewees agreed on is the establishment of ground rules for discussion at the start of a semester, to prevent certain students from overpowering others, and encouraging students to actively respond to one another.

I amtotoo nervous . speak in class

“I was

a very fearful undergraduate,” says Spady. “I didn’t like to talk in class at all. That knot in your stomach when you are trying to articulate something, that sense of humiliation when it doesn’t come out the way you want it to, the fear you’re either going to say something wrong or piss off the professor or someone in the room, or it doesn’t sound smart…that sense of shame, where does it come from? How do we learn that?” One strategy used to overcome fear is to split students into small groups for the first portion of class. “If a shy person can speak in a small group,” says Kobayashi, “maybe they can now share with the class. They need to take a step first. I think once they are comfortable sharing their experience the first time, they become more confident the second and it is really exciting to hear what they have to say.” Yona Yurwit (’14) shares, “Sometimes it’s better to turn off that little voice in your head that says ‘wait, what if,’ because sometimes that little voice is wrong and you are holding back something great you could have shared with the class. I try to give feedback to other people, especially if it is someone who doesn’t speak often.” Professor Robert Hamersley says, “I find that it is detrimental to class discussion when a student voices his or her opinion and then looks to the instructor for approval or validation. I encourage students to look to each other for answers, instead of to me… For example, in my Modes of Inquiry class, I have students discuss questions in small groups – that takes the focus away from me and toward each other.”

English is my second language so I strugGle



to keep up in class discussions

language is not the only problem, but also the cultural background of international students’ schooling. “In high school, the teacher was the one who instructed and I never spoke in the classroom because I wasn’t supposed to unless I had a specific question,” says Kobayashi. “I think some Japanese students are trained to be quiet and just memorize the information.”


“I encourage second language students to visit the Writing Center but to seek help, also, from students who are proficient in English,” says Merod. “I’m amazed, and sometimes perplexed, at the courage of students with different linguistic backgrounds who pursue English language education that, initially at least, stretches their ability to comprehend difficult texts and ideas. Any person who is that courageous deserves support.”



How should I approach my readings “I think

if you really want to have a good discussion based on the reading, you should take notes on a separate piece of paper and make an outline,” says Yurwit. Spady encourages students to read for the main argument an author is making. “Try to understand how the author executes it in a logical argument and what sort of evidence they have for it,” he says. “Investigate the citations a given scholar is using. Think about what they are assuming in order to build an argument. You also need to give yourself plenty of time to read. With complex texts, you ought to plan to read it twice.” But what if you don’t have time to read an entire text even once? In this situation, students wonder, should I even to go class? “Someone asked me this the other day,” says Kobayashi. “I told him to go. You’ll have time to read later, if you have to write a paper for example. It’s so hard to understand the author’s argument if you don’t go to class and hear what others are saying.”


Photography by Janice Lee

“Sometimes if I don’t have time to finish a reading, I try to skim it and read at least the first sentence of each paragraph. I always google the author too, to understand the historical context,” she says.


“I never come into any class with a previewed or predicted outlook. I always come in hoping for whatever spontaneity or surprises may occur. I see the classroom give and take like a jam session where the reading or the topic will provoke people to make comments analytic, imaginative and speculative.” -Jim Merod “It’s not fundamental for a successful class that everyone talks, but that everyone reads.” - Tomas Taroborrelli

“Why do people feel like the front of some sort of grand intelligence is more important than participation in a discussion? I think it’s an idea that’s inculcated over life.” - James Spady “Dialogue alone is not enough, it is crucial that students do their readings and prepare themselves for the forthcoming class.” - Robert Hamersley

What can professors do to


make students more comfortable

In The Chronicle’s September article, “On Classroom Discussion,” Natalie Houston reminds professors, “becoming aware of the multiple audiences that inevitably exist within your classroom, and figuring who you want to reach and how, is important for becoming a more effective teacher, but also a more reflective one.”

Some SUA students shared that they feel unable to articulate their opinion when it falls outside a professor’s perceived agenda. “Agenda setting is tricky,” says Spady, “because you have a sense of what you think the material really means, what its main themes are, what its flaws are, and what its contribution was to the tradition of thought. All these ideas you’ve maybe articulated and developed over time and they seem readily apparent to you so you forget other perspectives. I think the more important thing to do is keep an open mind that students can teach you things about the text that you hadn’t perceived.”


Another tip to ease tension? In Billie Hara’s January article “Humor in the Classroom,” from The Chronicle, he emphasizes the humanizing effect humor has on a professor, even telling jokes badly “can help students relax and perceive the instructor as authentic.


yOn Teaching I-Lien Tsay, Visiting Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition

Keiko Yoshioka (2012) I-Lien Tsay is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition. Perhaps you have seen her and thought she was a new student. In fact, you never would have guessed that this writing professor regularly spends her Sundays watching NFL football and rooting for the Philadelphia Eagles. This is her first semester teaching at SUA, where she has come to share her passion and spirit for writing with students. Here are highlights from our recent interview with her!

yWhat made you want to become a professor or yHave you found any differences between SUA teach at SUA?

I was really inspired by the mission statement. I think that’s a really unique thing about the school. Such a clear philosophical approach to education was really appealing to me. It also connects to my research, which focuses on the rhetoric of animal rights, which I see as very much related to how we define human rights.

yHow do you like being at SUA so far? I love it. (laughs) I think it’s great. The students are by far the best thing about teaching here. It’s really nice having such small classes where you feel like you can really get to interact with the students, and I’ve been really struck by how thoughtful the students are.


and other schools that you may have attended or experienced?

I did my undergrad at Swarthmore College, a small private liberal arts school with about 1400 students. Then I did my graduate work at UC Irvine,a very large public research university with 30,000+ students. Making the adjustment to a large campus was hard for me because I was used to being in a much smaller and much more intimate environment. I like being back in a liberal arts environment.

yWhat made you want to become a professor? (laughs.) I never wanted to leave school. (laughs.) My dad is a professor so the profession was familiar to me. I worked for a couple years in New York City after

I graduated from college, but then I felt I was getting complacent with what I was doing. I just wanted to be more intellectually stimulated. I decided that becoming a professor would be a good career because you get to do your research and you’re able to pursue the ideas that you really care about. You also get to teach, which I think is really important. A lot of why I became a professor was because I was so inspired by the professors that I had when I was in college for pushing me to think in certain ways.

yWhat is your background in your field of study?

I’ve always been an English person. As soon as I learned how to read, I was always very bookish. My BA was in English but I also had a minor in sociology and anthropology, and a concentration in interpretation studies, which is close to what we know as critical theory. My PhD is in English, and I specialize in rhetoric and composition. My research deals more with the rhetoric of animal rights during the 20th-century U.S. context. I am also trained as a twentieth century Americanist in literature and film.

I’d like to share my research. I also want my students to feel like there is something that they can take and apply to other writing situations that they might find themselves in, even if it’s simply that the students who don’t consider themselves writers start thinking of themselves as writers.

yDo you have any hobbies outside of your professional field of study?

I try to practice yoga everyday . I am a die-hard NFL fan, so Sundays right now are taken up by football. I’m a Philadelphia Eagles fan, and I have a couple of other friends who are from Philly so we always get together on Sundays and watch it. I was really excited because the other new writing professor, Darin, is also a Philadelphia Eagles fan! I also love going to the movies. The nice thing about teaching film or doing research in American studies is that you have to keep up with pop culture – which justifies going to the movies and watching a lot of TV.

yThere are students at SUA who are

interested in pursuing education and some who even want to become future professors yDo you believe in any philosophy of at SUA. Do you have any words of advice, a teaching? message, or any lessons you have learned This is a hard question. I believe that one of the throughout your journey that you would reasons I like teaching writing classes is actually like to share with the students? because many students in writing classes usually don’t think of themselves as being writers, or they’re students who think that writing is difficult. One of the reasons why I like teaching writing is because I believe everyone is a writer. You write in so many different ways that it’s just a question of thinking about how you do it within an academic context as opposed to an everyday context. One of my advisors is always making the argument that students these days write so much more than they did in the past. I mean, if you think about Facebook, email, texting — those are all different forms of writing as communication. I believe the students write the best when they know why and what they’re writing, when they have a sense of purpose as opposed to high school when so much of what students produce is the conventional 5-paragraph essay structure.

yDo you have any personal goals as a

professor? (for yourself, for the students, etc.) I’m early on in my career as a visiting assistant professor, so I would like to publish more and

It’s a long journey. I think I was very idealistic when I started the PhD program. It took me 7 years to finish the degree. It’s a lot of training to go through. Be sure that it’s something that you truly love, because there will be tough moments where you will have to deal with things that are not really within your control, institutionally or administratively. Talk to other professors in the field early on, and keep talking to them. I’m still in touch with my professors from undergrad as well as my graduate advisors. The educational job market is a little scary right now. There is sometimes a risk involved in finding a good tenure track job. That was something that I wasn’t as aware of when I started because I just thought, “This is something I really want to do and I’m devoted to it.” It’s a balance of what you’re passionate about but also how you can make that sustainable. I had three years between when I finished my undergraduate degree and when I started my graduate degree, which helped me decide that this was what really I wanted to do.





C apstoners

unite! This will be my motivum operandi for the year. Every year, inevitably, there is an entire senior class working on CAPSTONE (creepy music playing in the background). However, every year, capstone gets the same expression attached to it, “crapstone.” I hope instead, I can take you all through the creative experience and delight that is capstone. This climax of four years at SUA is an enchanting tale of a senior class that gets to take pride in one dramatic finale, TOGETHER.


Sitting in your room, with only your underwear on (okay maybe that’s just my roommate), is just the origin of this tale; we must take the journey outside the confines of this surreal origin. In the spirit of celebration, I am going to shed light on the creative process and stages that your wonderful seniors are embarking on at this extraordinary moment. Perhaps the entire school can benefit from being a fly on the wall, seeing different capstoners work throughout the process. Ultimately,this idea stems from the desire to create a stronger academic environment on campus; one that rejoices in the academic triumphs that we all experience when we have a great idea, write a great paper, and excite another human’s mind. We have such a won-


derful culture of caring here at SUA, and a strong extracurricular culture, but after four years here, I have never really felt a shared sense of celebration for the exciting act of learning. If capstone is not the epitome of self-realized learning, I don’t know what is. Seniors, set up times and places to share your ideas with one another informally. Don’t be scared to tell a friend their idea sucks or they should find a new way of looking at something. Certainly don’t hesitate to congratulate a friend on their great success in framing a new idea, one that no one has ever thought, nor will ever reproduce the same way! Right here, in this column, you will find different seniors’ ideas for their capstones, different strategies, and different outcomes. It is my intention to make capstone a shared experience instead of an individual one. I want to create something that can inspire the next generations to look forward to capstone, forever disposing of the terrible and destructive term “CRAPSTONE!” We are leaders of the next revolution, and we need to embrace the wonderful exercise of creating value with our words. Is it not true that the only thing we have is our words, and what we do with them can be destructive or constructive? As Nobel Laureate Betty Williams said, pointing to her tongue, “this is my weapon of mass destruction.”

Using my “tongue,” on this sheet of paper, I am here by declaring “crapstone” a thing of the past. We are ushering in a new era of mutual interest and support in the electrifying progression of ideas into cognitive ejaculations of the mind. Right now in the capstone process we are generating ideas and doing lots of reading to formulate our perspective; our first draft of the proposal was due November 5. To give you an idea of the diversity of ideas, here are some examples from each concentration. In International Studies, Julie Martin is writing about China-Taiwan relations with the intention of showing their shared history as a means to create new policy initiatives between the two countries. In Social and Behavioral Science, Carley Martin is writing about the US prison system and the necessity of constructive reformation policies. In Environmental Studies, Scott Williams is deconstructing the hegemonic narrative of sustainability and constructing a more humanistic perspective. In Humanities, Jean Marcus Silva is dissecting the process of translation within the effort to transfer meaning from one person to another (or one culture to another). Underclass(wo)men, please reach out to your seniors and find out more about what they are thinking and writing about! For the revolution to succeed, we need a call to action: CAPSTONERS UNITE!

1 2 3

Get Involved

As busy we all are with our academically demanding classes, it’s important to take time and get involved. Be it a club, a job, or a community service activity–have something that allows you to contribute and take a break from school. When you branch out, you allow yourself to experience new things and recharge your batteries. Helping out, and having a creative space will make the school year a lot more enjoyable. –

Discover Passions

– As college students, it is important that we discover our passions. Our passions are what will guide us in the years to come. If you are feeling inspired by a class, a book, a club, or a film – take time to really reflect on that. You never know when you will be inspired and discover a new part of yourself.

Schedule Time for You

Even if you thrive when surrounded by people, I think it is really important to take some time out for yourself. At SUA we are constantly surrounded by people and are always busy with our academics. This means, that we rarely have free time to process everything going on in our lives. Spend a lazy Sunday writing in a journal, walk around Aliso Viejo, or go shopping. Find something that makes YOU happy, and do it. When you clear your mind and make time for yourself, it will give you newfound energy and a renewed focus.

Cut the Drama


As young adults, drama is inevitable. There always seems to be something going on with family, friendships, or romantic relationships. If you make a conscious effort to let go of the negativity, your year will be so much better. Life is too short to stay angry, or hold on to a grudge, and since we are all adults, we should all act civil. SUA is a small community, and it works better if we are all able to stay friendly, so do yourself a favor and don’t gossip. Drama is the easiest way to ruin a perfectly good year.


Take time to appreciate

It’s important to remember that we are all so fortunate to be college students, studying at such a beautiful university. We all complain and we all get overwhelmed, but this is a really special time in our lives. So enjoy it, and appreciate the countless cups of coffee, the all nighters, and all that comes with it. –



Photography by Ambre Auzanneau

Footballers. Athletes or Artists?


is in mid-air. Marco Timm and a member of the opponent team are jockeying for position on the header. They both leap, but the ball misses and drops to the ground. Marco Timm gathers the ball and threads a through pass between two defenders. Marco Ocampo receives the pass in stride, takes a few dribbles towards the goal, the goalie rushes, and then he lightly chips it over the goalie’s head for a much needed score. Association football, or soccer, as it is more commonly referred to in the United States, is the most popular game in the world. It is played by people of all ages and from all walks of life. The popularity lies in its simplicity. All that is necessary is a flat surface, a ball (or something resembling one), and people. As simple as the game is, it is also one of the most beautiful when executed at a high level. Soccer players must be in top shape in order to perform well. Unlike other sports such as basketball, football, and baseball, soccer does not break during play, except for injury time and a 15 minute half-time. Not only must these players have the stamina to run for 90 minutes, but they also need to be skilled in a multitude of physical and mental attributes. Marco Ocampo (‘13), a member of the SUA Men’s Soccer team, shares, “The natural human instinct is to use your hands to help you out, but soccer players train their mind and body to use their feet.” While the physical prowess of soccer players is often spoken about in the United States, it is not common to delve into the artistic aspect of this profession. The game is characterized by fluidity, grace, and bursts of action. The field is an easel. The legs and feet are brushes. The ball is the paint. A soccer player must make use of his or her entire easel. Players demonstrate skill and variety with their brushes by completing finesse passes or crisp laser-like shots into goal. The paint is at their constant disposal and it is ultimately up to them to decide which approach they will take to create a masterpiece. Simone Barclay (‘11) is a member of the SUA Women’s Soccer team. When asked about how soccer players are likened to artists she said, “Soccer players are required to bring forth creativity and imagination, immediately. It requires a lot of flexibility and spontaneity in performance.” This warrants a question specific to our own school. Do soccer players receive the same artistic credit as someone in the photography or orchestra club at SUA? The common consensus would probably be that they don’t. However, if observed through a smaller lens, the artistic intricacies make themselves apparent.


By Harris Forstater (2013)

The ball


3 of the fictional s e r i e s W a r a n d P e ac e




Victoria ignored his wordiness. She never met someone who could speak that fast. In War nobody really spoke to each other besides the few orders and tactical instructions. Her mouth was not prepared to endure long conversations and she did not have the patience either. But what if he is saying the truth? -Miss? I am sorry to interrupt your deep introspection – although he was not sorry – but I want to say to you: thank you. -What? - She was caught off guard. Last time she heard those two words together… -If it wasn’t for you I would be dead by now, wouldn’t I? – You probably would. She considered many things to say. She reminisced about her early years when she was not yet part of War; when War became her. There was something odd about that man, even if he wasn’t Eduardo Fleming. She was afraid that was one of those moments in life that we could not ignore, or else it would hunt us down till the darkest corners of our souls. Eduardo did not interrupt her contemplation this time. Although not the smartest of the guys, he still perceived that victoria’s brain was operating in high oscillation. She was creating infinite scenarios of what to do with him. All he could consider is that he might have travelled somewhere in the near east in the midst of a battle. How that happened he could not conjecture; they sedated him then brought him somewhere else in the world with an identical office he had back home, but to what twisted purpose? -Victoria, who was that bastard that went straight to death? – A rusty voice echoed from a giant whole on the floor– When we realized, the bastard had passed all of us already. But then we saw the light of the chamber. What a dumb ass. They were here.

by Jean Marcus Silva (2011)

hat was the first encounter of Eduardo Fleming and Victoria. She stands on top of him, not victorious; scared. She could never endure watching anyone dying in Eduardo Fleming’s room, a place where war itself kills people. Not that she ever saw what actually happens inside that diabolical device. But she could hear all of them, one by one, disintegrating till bones and skin. She had to listen to every single twist of flesh in it as she was the room’s guardian. But the words that man produced between his breathing: “I am Eduardo Fleming…” If that was true, she was in deep trouble. First, she interrupted War doing. “What War does, none may undo.” Second, the man could be, indeed, Eduardo Fleming. What sort of weird events would have been triggered if he had died inside that room; his own chamber? Eduardo did not notice any of these nuances in her bronze facial expressions. Her thoughts were crystal clear, but only if you were a calm observer accustomed to the habits of War. He was neither and was still getting used to breathing air that did not burn his lungs. Exactly what happened inside that room remains a faint blur behind his, now, completely hydrated eyes. He was as scared as Victoria was, but another feeling was much more dominant within his guts. He was hypnotized with the beautiful Greek goddess, who saved his ass from a mysterious and tragic end, standing above him: -Can you understand what I am saying to you? – Her voice sounded like it should– idiotic moron. Can you hear me? - You have been trying to attest my understanding and hearing ability for quite long now. It was difficult to respond; you did not leave any space for a response between words. Would be wiser to let me respond. -You kept me repeating myself? – She sighs and moves away from Eduardo. – I cannot believe my impulse led me to save you from Eduardo’s room. An idiot who believes being Eduardo Fleming himself. I am dead. -But I am Eduardo Fleming! And that is indeed my office! Exactly today would be my third year working inside that office if it wasn’t for this morning when everything changed – sentences came out of his mouth faster than his lips could move.



No, not Lil John’s new line of bottled water or the latest over-the-counter drug craze. This lame lassoing attempt picks its victims depending on the time in which they rose to fame instead of the actual music they produce, and the label, implicative of water-based debauchery, is being proliferated throughout the music scene. Some DJs like Flying Lotus and Tokimonsta openly expressed their disapproval for the new tag, respectively: “Dear journalists, there is no such thing as ‘aquacrunk’ Please stop trying to put us in a box. We’re just trying to have fun making music,” “Who comes up with these wack music genre categories? They all sound like willy wonka candies—Ever Lasting Gob Step?” As much as I want to tap into the capitalism-hating, impractical, idealistic part in all of us (c’mon, we’ve all called for a revolution at one point or another), I do acknowledge the importance of labels in society; it’s nice peeing and knowing the boy you’ve had your eye one won’t pop in and catch you mid tinkle. But aquacrunk? Really? Has society’s creativity reached such a dismal state that we’ve resorted to “urbanizing” superheroes (I’m referring to Aquaman in case you didn’t get my oh-so obscure, hip reference) in order to get our elitist, subculture fix? We are in the midst of a paradigm shift, where power over creative expression is appropriated by a bloodthirsty public, enthused over their chance to usurp someone else’s fifteen minutes of fame. enres are no longer about the artist. Shoot, well we’re at it, music is no longer about the artist. America has become G overwhelmed by the needs of the individual, or rather what the individual has been told he is in need of. This overbearing sense of entitlement drives the “need” for categorization. This applies to all aspects of life; for goodness’ sake,

people busy themselves over which fork to use at dinner, while others are, quite literally, dying for their next meal (I wonder if anyone’s made a fork for shame, my favorite!). The masses yearn for personalization, yet all look towards the same things in order to attain social affirmation. Then there is the subculture; the void in society that is replaced every decade by a new set of “outsiders” seeking refuge in societal damnation. That is to say, they find their niche in all things not mainstream. This phenomenon has led to the micro-genre. Micro-genres are so prolifically used that anyone can make their own nowadays. Create a random phrase, the more avant-garde the better, and write about it in a music article or blog, and within a few weeks it is sure to be the latest craze, defiling journalistic integrity across the globe (aquacrunk was meant to specifically described one Glaswegian DJ, Rustie, but made it to the states within three weeks, via blog, and enveloped the American experimental electronica scene). These micro-genres are making a mockery out of musicians—hi-NRG, grebo, chillwave, furniture music, just to name a few—and hinder the audience more than they help. Take rape gaze and witch house, for example. They are causing uproar in the music scene Edward v. Jacob status. And much like the eternal struggle between these two silver screen heartthrobs, rape gaze and witch house are insignificant, and in no way contribute to the betterment of the individual or their medium, and yet somehow manage to capture the attention of the masses.

e preoccupy ourselves too much with frivolous details thinking that it adds to our mystique, our “unique” persona, W when, in fact, these nonsensical labels do nothing more than highlight differences within society, regressing any advancements in understanding and improving humanity. Music isn’t about how much cooler and different your tastes are from everyone else’s. It is about discovering something outside yourself that you would have never experienced if it were not for the devoted musician, courageous enough to share his vulnerability with the world. This isn’t Builda-Bear. You can’t just start off with someone else’s creativity as a base, stuff it full of your opinions, and end up with your own take-home personality; one must respect the passion and effort of the musician, and try and understand their inspiration.

n our quest to find ourselves and make our voices heard, we have resorted to corporate-issued individI uality. By giving the control of an artist’s music to everyone except the artist (i.e. categorizing someone else’s work) we limit the potential of the artist and ourselves. Instead of trying to be different, we should be worrying ourselves with finding similarities so that we might grow as individuals, uncovering levels of consciousness we otherwise would have never been motivated to explore.


Keep an open mind and let the beats speak for themselves.


Kandi Haro (2012)


Jean Marcus Silva (2011)




hen middle class women join at the coiffeur’s to embellish their already heavily modified appearance there is only one subject allowed to conjecture between cutting and drying: -Did you read in the newspaper that in today’s soap opera episode Juan Mathias will commit suicide because he will find out he is the daughter (yes, darling! The daughter!) of his all-time archenemy while contesting his love for his father?

I might be exaggerating but this scene is not too far from common conversations in places where people congregate. Most Brazilians (for certain all house wives) love to know ahead of time what will happen in our favorite shows or movies. We love spoilers. I was surprised to learn it is not quite the same in the United States. Every Saturday morning, when I am at my grandpa’s house, after breakfast, my sister and I sit in the living to talk a little about life and start the day in light spirits. She will inexorably reading the summary of every major soap opera in the country on television session of the newspaper, (there are a good five or six every season.) And whenever that happens I ask her why not wait and watch when the show actually airs: - I can know what will happen first and if I can’t watch it, I won’t have to record it and stuff. -That does not answer my question. -Yeah, I know.

For Americans, the surprise in a story is what generates most thrills. If the hero will be caught by the villain, or the protagonist’s best friend is a traitor, is what makes the audience watch the movie on the edge of their seat. I would say that this expectation for what they don’t know began the moment Darth Vader revealed his fatherhood to Luke Skywalker in the depths of the cloud city. Although it was not the first time the relationship between two opposite forces is set forth, it was the first time an unknown plot created a considerate amount of buzz before the roll of the projector. Knowing or not knowing what happened in the movie divided people. Those who would learn this tragic end of The Empire Strikes Back before actually watching it would have forever been doomed not to experience the novelty first hand. Meanwhile, the Brazilian habit for spoilers surged. The reason for putting spoilers in newspapers was due to the popularity of radio soap operas. They believed television soap opera would have a difficult time attracting an audience as people would not switch from the habit of hearing their favorite stories to watching them. The solution was to publish beforehand what would happen to create anxiety about events appearing in the magic box. Even knowing what would happen, people still watched the soap opera to really see what they’d learned happening. Every Brazilian is like Saint Thomas. They could only believe in what they read by seeing it. Now, back home, I can learn who is truly Brazilian depending on whether they are fond of knowing what will happen before watching, or are gradually starting to accept the international behavior of running from spoilers like the devil runs from the cross. As for me, I stay between roads. If I happen to need to know the future of literary creation, I just have to ask my sister the destiny of Antonio Maria in the afternoon soap opera.



The Pearl report



strives er Daniel Pearl’s to emulate slain Wall Street Jour na efforts to bring every story. Foll out the human side l ow in g hi s of co urageous model, Th channels of commun e Pearl opens ic at io n in an endeavor to articu respectfully expr The Pearl report ess differing opinions. The cont lately and on ri community and the issues of concern for the campus butors to globe, aiming to , the local un realization of th e mission of Soka ify the campus toward the University of Amer ica.


>> Senior Staf f: Jihii Jolly (Editor-in-Chief ), Christopher Larkin (Manag ing Editor), Jean Marcus (PR Li aison), Janice Lee (Art Manager) >> Business Te am: Josie Parkhouse, Sho Nakagome, Cory Westropp >> La yout Team: Sara h Randolph, Leia Marasovich >> Supporting St aff: Jasmine Brown >>Photog raphy: Jordann Cheng, Ambre Auzanneau >> Most writers are editors too!



Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you