UNIT-E magazine is a non-profit, noncommercial publication circulated for use by its staff, sponsors, affiliated schools and other related parties only. Tel 136 8108 2142 136 4106 1338 Email email@example.com Website www.unit-echina.co.cc Disclaimer: Statements and opinions expressed in the UNIT-E magazine are solely those of the author or authors and may or may not be shared by the staff of UNIT-E. At the end of each article, the author’s name and school are provided. UNIT-E publishes the articles in this column with no intention to offend of upset in any way.
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UNIT-E January & February Edition (Issue No.6) Amelia Zhang Ernest Li Helen Leung Eugene Ling Katherine Tsen UNIT-E: Katherine Tsen & Eugene Ling Academics: Nicole Zhu Fashion: Amy Wan Student’s Opinion: Heather Budimulia The Arts: Dan Zhang Chillax: Tessa Browne Pictorial: Connie Kim & Jonathan Chang Chloe Chia Chrystal Li Jessie Kim John Wong Matilda Lee MinJung Kang Nicole Ng Philip Li SeungYeon Nam Steve Sheng Zainab Samad Rita Zhang Dan Zhang Junting Yeung Helen Leung Henry Lu Kevin Mao Michelle Liu Gemma Duffy Gloria Zhang Jodie Ng Kathryn Chua Mona Xia
Table of Contents
TABLE OF CONTENTS UNIT-E P.5 P.5 P.5 P.6 P.6 P.6 P.7
Letter from Editors-In-Chief In this Issue... UNIT-E Trivia UNIT-E Updates About UNIT-E UNIT-E Vision & Philosophy UNIT-E Recruitment
STUDENT’S OPINION P.9 P.10 P.12 P.14
Student Council: An A+ Organization? Slytherin to the World of Harry Potter It’s That Time of Year Again! Does an Ayi Clean Up a Mess or Make an Even Bigger one? P.16 A Confession
FASHION P.18 China in Fashion P.20 An Interview with Ebba Zingmark
ACADEMICS P.23 P.24 P.26 P.28 P.30
Un-SAT Words Why We Aim to be Asian? Cheating ABCs of S-N-O-W University Profile: Northwestern University
CHILLAX P.32 P.34 P.35 P.36
Valentines To-Do’s Recipe of the Month The Secret to Love (Not Really) Random Acts of Kindness
P.39 Editor’s Music Picks: Power Ballads P.40 Art Spotlight P.42 Music & Sound: Let’s Get Technical
PICTORIAL P47 P.48 P.49 P.50 P.52 P.53 P.54
Dulwich Christmas (DCB) Lego Day (BSB) THIMUN Singapore 2010 Drama Production- The Chalk Circle (BCIS) A Day Without Art (BYWA & WAB) Alumus Global New Year Conference (HuiJia) December Talent Show (BWYA)
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Letter from Editors-In-Chief
In this Issue...
UNIT-E Vision & Philosophy
UNIT-E A Letter from the Editors-In-Chief We are proud to present you another edition of Unit-E! Whether you are struggling to keep your New Year resolutions, trying to figure out how to spend your hong bao money, or remembering your “adventures” during Valentine’s Day, Unit-E is one step behind you, recording all of the events and stories. This combined January and February edition is packed with all of the relevant, quirky, random, and interesting articles that the two months have to offer. First of all, Unit-E has gone through some changes over the few months. It has recently appointed Sophie Rutstein as the new Arts Column Editor! She is a junior from the Western Academy of Beijing. Photography is her main interest – she is obsessed with capturing life as it passes by. Also, she is interested in anything that it is related to the ocean. Unit-E is in the process of training a new Editor-in-Chief - Heather Budimulia! She is currently a sophomore from the International School of Beijing. She is the former column editor for Student’s Opinion. In her spare time, she likes to write and read good (and occasionally trashy) books. She also likes to boost the economy by shopping! A lot of the work has been put into making this combined January and February edition possible. We hope you enjoy reading it! Of course, this edition would not have been possible without the wonderful Unit-E Staff. If you want to join the ever growing Unit-E, please don’t hesitate to contact us! Thanks a bunch, Katherine Tsen and Eugene Ling, Editors-in-Chief P.S. Sorry! There was misprint in the previous edition. Daniel Plafker’s wardrobe article was not included. However, it can be found in the online edition. Please give it a read!
In this Issue... • UNIT-E: Want to access a copy of Unit-E anywhere you go? Find out how to get an electronic copy in “UNIT-E Trivia” on the right! • Academics: Go to page 24 to understand more about the infamous “Asian Fail”. • Fashion: Don’t miss out on the exclusive interview with a Swedish model, Ebba Zingmark on page 20 • Student Opinion: Sick and tired of couples making out in front of you? Flip to page 12 to learn more about PDA. • Chillax: Do you love outrageous pick-up lines? Turn to page 35 for a few laughs! • Pictorial: Go to page 52 to look at WAB and BWYA’s AIDS awareness campaign: A Day Without Art.
UNIT-E Trivia Are there electronic copies of Unit-E magazines? Yes! If your school ran out of Unit-E magazines or if you are too lazy to find your copy, be sure to check out http://www.unit-echina. co.cc/. Located on the top corner, the button “Publications” will allow you to access all of the issues online! Next time you want to help save the environment or read articles written by your fellow classmates on the computer, please go on the website stated above.
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UNIT-E UNIT-E Updates • As some readers may know, the UNIT-E website has not been accessible for the past few weeks. Therefore, the UNIT-E staff will be putting together a new website where electronic copies of the latest issue and previous publications will be available. The new web address will be released in the next issue of UNIT-E! • UNIT-E is looking for staff to replace the graduating seniors (especially those in leadership positions!) The current positions available include editor-in-chief, column editor, finance manager and service coordinator. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested! • Yew Chung International School student Junting Yeung is the newest addition to the UNIT-E Core team and will be acting as Head of Finance. Congratulations Junting! • The village library in Bai Xin Zhuang supported by UNIT-E will unfortunately be brought down some time from March to April due to city development plans. Service Dierctor Dan Zhang is working to find a different location for the project to run or UNIT-E may find a new service project to support .Email witchdoctor@ unit-echina.co.cc if you want more information. Comments and suggestions are welcome!
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About UNIT-E UNIT-E was founded in the spring of 2010 with the aim of establishing a non-profit, student-run magazine for international students in Beijing. Staffed by current students from a range of international schools, the magazine provides an amalgam of cultural tidbits, fragments of Beijing student life, and a broad spectrum of unique perspectives from a diverse group of young adults.
UNIT-E's Vision and Philosophy UNIT-E is dedicated to its service as a medium for the empowerment of international school students through writing and expression. The publication strives to support students in becoming proactive world citizens and developing strong involvement in addressing social issues in Beijing. Beijing international school students' individual efforts to address a vast array of social issues have resulted in numerous small accomplishments that are successes in their own right, but have little impact on the large-scale issues which these projects address. UNIT-E believes in the synergy embedded in a dedicated core of proactive youths, whose united effort harbors an impact far beyond the small-scale. UNIT-E believes in the harnessing of this life-changing power - the ability for youth to create substantial improvement in any community through cohesive and comprehensive efforts - and so envisions UNIT-E as a framework for any and all Beijing students to engage with local Beijing and make a positive impact on the status quo.
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Why We Aim to be Asian?
ABCs of S-N-O-W
Student Council: An A+ Organization? Some say leadership is the butter on the bread. If the student body is the bread, then who has the leadership role? Supposedly, it’s the student council, also known as student government or STUCO at various international schools. Every year, schools hold elections to give individuals opportunities to represent and lead the student body. However, many people question the effectiveness of such organizations. To draw a conclusion, one must evaluate both the flaws and merits of international school student councils.
Student councils in international schools are rather are given power to organize events and act as microphones. Events may include dances, field trips and shows. Often these student-run events are as successful as or even more successful than events run by the administration. The talent shows at the International School of Beijing organized by its sophomore student council is an example of this kind of success. This event is popular and entertains the school community because the organizers know the preferences and interests of the audience. Additionally, such events run by student leaders also fosters school unity by bringing students, teachers and parents together to attend one event.
One of student councils’ greatest merits turns out to also be one of their greatest flaws. Student councils may voice students’ opinions but because student councils’ are, after all, comprised of students, ideas that are voiced by such councils may not be actually put into action because the council may not have enough power to do so. If they are only able to pitch and not put into effect these great ideas, why
is it necessary to have representatives of the student body? This shows that at times, student councils may not actually create as much change for the benefit of the student body as they claim to. Some international schools, like Harrow, do not have a “student council”. Harrow runs on a program reliant on prefects. This prefect system is part of British culture and schooling system. Unlike student councils, prefects are given some authority over the student body. This gives such student leaders some power but they too are limited in what they can do. Ultimately, though international school student councils contribute positively and meaningfully towards the community, this contribution is sometimes too scarce. Every year, these student councils stay the same. More often than not, these organizations attract students who want “President of the school” written on their college applications to appear as accomplished leaders. But once in a while, student councils attempt to make a difference in their community— perhaps by creating exciting stress relieving events or supporting a charitable cause. This impact though small, does have the potential to grow but will require more than the average efforts of the usual A+ student council candidate. Student councils are, at present at least, more of a stop on a road that will prepare participants for future endeavors of leadership than a powerful school changing organization.
International School of Beijing, Gloria Zhang
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Slytherin to the World of
From the cupboard under the stairs at No. 4 Privet Drive all the way to the big screen, Mr. H. Potter has defined our generation. With the final film installments coming out, the resurgence of Harry Potter has been overwhelming, but there are still those who sadly have not yet been touched by the magic of J.K. Rowling. If you are one of those people who have only seen Harry Potter movies with fanatical friends but have never read the books, consider jumping headfirst into the epic tale of Harry Potter for the following reasons.
THE WORLD The most captivating element of the series is the magical world in which the story takes place. Though the movies provide visuals of the Floo Network, the Burrow, and Quidditch, the books include scenes, people, and things that can only be visualized in one’s mind. Many fans would gladly give up internet access in exchange for an Ollivander wand and a ticket for Platform 9¾. Though Skiving Snackboxes have yet to be invented, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans and Chocolate Frogs with collectable cards have transferred over to the Muggle world, as has Quidditch. When making your college selections, check out the colleges that offer MuggleQuidditch and compete in the Quidditch World Cup.
THE PLOT With a storyline almost as complicated as Lost, the Harry
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Potter series literally has it all: romance, wizard lightning battles, rivalries, and teen angst. Unlike most young adult fiction nowadays, the Harry Potter series’ primary focus is not on high school relationships, but is on the battle between good and evil and the preservation of the Wizarding world from He-Who-Must-Not-BeNamed. Nonetheless, Death Eaters whizzing around and acromantulas in the Forbidden Forest, snogging and awkward Yule Ball dates are also cleverly included throughout the series to capture those undeniable moments of teenage development. Also like Lost, each new Harry Potter book, answers questions and raises more questions, resulting in cliffhanger after cliffhanger and heightened anticipation for what happens next.
THE CHARACTERS Just as the plot thickens and develops throughout the books, so do the characters. Just like normal teenagers, they struggle through raging hormones, jealousy, and friendship fall-outs. But their personalities each have their own strengths and weaknesses that play critical roles in finally vanquishing the Dark Lord. The female protagonist, Hermione Granger, is not the typical whiny teenage girl. Instead, she is “the brightest witch of her age” and only cries when she is tortured under the Cruciatus Curse (as opposed to crying when her boyfriend breaks up with her). Even the primary antagonist himself, Lord Voldemort, has his own backstory about how he came to be a noseless
Student’s Opinion mass murderer. The range of personalities and emotions felt by the characters not only drive the plot, but are relatable for readers.
THE SPIN-OFFS Snape, Snape, Severus Snape. DUMBLEDORE! There is no doubt that you’ve seen the seminal Youtube classic “The Mysterious Ticking Noise”. The Harry Potter series has spawned numerous puppet shows, musicals, and allusions in film. Remember that cute new gay guy, Blaine, on Glee? Before joining Glee, Darren Criss was best known for composing, writing, directing and acting (as Harry Potter of course) in A Very Potter Musical and A Very Potter Sequel. His work on those plays launched him to the London premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One. He is aptly named “the Harry Potter fan that made it to Hollywood”. The numerous spinoffs help keep the magic of Harry Potter alive. If you’re looking for one last hurrah, consider going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Theme Park for your senior trip and enjoy a frothy delicious butterbeer firsthand.
It is not an understatement to say that Harry Potter has changed lives and the childhoods of millions. Personally, it has changed this writer’s perception of the world. A few months ago this writer sat down to watch a romantic comedy starring Ralph Fiennes and couldn’t help but picture Voldemort in his place dancing with Jennifer Lopez. J.K. Rowling has accomplished something truly magical with Harry Potter: she has created a world that unites so many people from all walks of life. Do not deny the amazingness that is Harry Potter (HARRY POTTER! HARRY POTTER! OOH HARRY POTTER THAT’S ME!). Accept it, embrace it, cherish it. International School of Beijing, Nicole Zhu
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Student’s Opinion Whether you are a part of a happily married couple or a teenager experiencing young love, it is common to see couples professing their love, especially since the romantic holiday, Valentine’s Day, has just passed. A tender kiss and the thrilling sensation of a loved one’s touch is certainly ineffable but witnesses may beg to differ. “I think PDA is unnecessary, especially when it’s intimate. Couples should acknowledge other people’s presence,” says WAB student, Celia Lee. Couples should be more considerate towards their “audience”. Goodbye kisses or holding hands are cute and appropriate displays of affection, but as Felix Liu, another WAB student says, “There’s some stuff that should remain private.” Others such as ISB student, Gilbert Ye states that he feels “uncomfortable” when he walks by couples openly French kissing in hallways. In an international community there are different opinions as to what kinds of displays of affection are acceptable. For example, couples making out in hallways may be enjoying their moment, but may offend those who come from more conservative cultures. It’s imperative to learn how to distinguish when it is appropriate to hug or peck and when it simply is not. ISB student, Fred Chang remarks, “It depends on the culture. Some cultures are more open to [PDA]. Some are more conservative. It is also about personal comfort levels. Some aspects that may be accepted in international schools are strongly discouraged in local schools.” When given the hypothetical scenario of a couple kissing at an airport, YCIS student Junting Yeung states “I think it’s disrespectful because the airport is a public place and people should be more consciously aware of what others may think”. However, BWYA senior Amy Wan believes that “it’s so cute because it’s such a movie moment. We should let them do what they want.”
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Physical contact is common in teenage relationships and is, to many couples, important for establishing a more personal connection. Though PDA can be inappropriate, it is only fair to acknowledge that it can be adorable. It is cute to see two lovebirds gazing at each other and sealing up a beautiful moment with a light kiss. But if the sole purpose of a couple’s movie date is to perform a make out session, other
“It’s imperative to learn how to distinguish when it is appropriate to hug or peck and when it simply is not.”
moviegoers would probably thank them for doing so someplace private. While whatever choices couples choose to make is their own business, such choices should, like all choices in daily life, be considerate. WAB students Aino Lahdervirta and Rohie Whiteside “don’t really care [about PDA] because it doesn’t impact friends”. Marco Valentino, a junior at ISB says, “PDA is inevitable and it will continue to be inevitable whether we like it or not. We might as well just not care and let the couples be. We’re all going to be the ones displaying it sooner or later so we have no right to judge.” It is one thing to witness PDA, but another thing to be the party displaying affection. Some may be completely comfortable with it and others may feel uneasy. Eira, a new member to the expat community says, “I try not to do it because I know it makes other people feel uncomfortable.” Public displays of affection can be almost painful to witness but when it is appropriate, it can be as magical as a Disney movie. We all stand somewhere slightly different on the spectrum of personal opinion towards PDA but the choice belongs to the couples. They are entitled to act as they wish but others are entitled to be respected by couples as well.
Western Academy of Beijing, Jodie Ng
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Does an Ayi Clean Up a Mess or Make an Even Bigger One?
The blunt truth is this: manual labor is cheap in Beijing. Numerous families in this city can afford to get an ayi, or a nanny. It’s always great to have someone around who can do the housework, but this doesn’t mean that having an ayi does not have its drawbacks. For those who are considering getting (or getting rid of) an ayi, consider the following points.
screaming and wailing of younger siblings on a daily basis, an ayi may be the perfect solution. Ayis that take care of kids can really be lifesavers. They entertain the young ones, allowing babysitting teens or overworked parents to take a breath of fresh air. Furthermore, parents become less stressed, making them more approachable and fun to spend time with.
Taking care of siblings
However, having an ayi who cares for younger children may mean that there will be less “family time”. Older and younger siblings may grow distant and of course to
For those unfortunate enough to have to deal with the
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Student’s Opinion some, this may seem like a dream come true, but it becomes a problem when brothers and sisters no longer get along. Although taking care of younger brothers and sisters can be a real pain, it is often how siblings bond with one another.
House Chores Having parents that do not nag about how the house needs cleaning up is every teenager’s dream. Knowing that there is no need to rely on a carton of ice cream for dinner when parents are working late is probably another. An ayi can be hired to fulfill such dreams, do house chores and make sure the house is not growing an army of dust bunnies under couches and beds. But relying on an ayi to clean up messes can make teenagers “forget” how to clean up after themselves. This could cause numerous problems, especially in the future when these teens head to college and do not know how to turn on washing machines. The same situation also applies to cooking: college freshmen often find themselves either broke and starved or another 15 pounds heavier after their first year of college. Of course, this isn’t the case for everyone. Some parents are insistent that their children still do some chores even though they’ve hired an ayi to lighten the workload.
LISTING IQAir While little can be done about outdoor air pollution, we can certainly have an impact on the air we breathe inside our homes and offices. IQAir has been providing air-cleaning solutions since 1963. Swiss precision and technology go into every unit, creating an excellent price-toperformance ratio. 1. Head Office Rm 2201, Air China Plaza, 36 Xiaoyun Lu, Chaoyang District. (8447 5800, email@example.com); 2. Seasons Place Mall 4th Floor #417 Seasons Place, No.2 Jin Cheng Fang Street, Xicheng District (6622 0179, firstname.lastname@example.org); 3. Solana Mall 2LY1-05 Solana, No.6 Chaoyang Park Road, Chao Yang District (5905 6768, email@example.com); 4. Euro Plaza Mall 4/F, Euro Plaza, 99 Yuxiang Lu, Tianzhu, Shunyi District. (8046 1260, firstname.lastname@example.org);
For families that speak very little or no Chinese, having an ayi provides excellent opportunities to learn some basic mandarin. Communication with ayis is a must, although it doesn’t need to be very in-depth or detailed. This makes learning Chinese more vital than it seems to be at school— stopping the ayi from shrinking a favorite sweater is much more urgent than memorizing 50 characters.
5. Shingkong Place Mall 5th Floor, Household Appliance Area, Shin Kong Place, No 87, Jianguo Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100025 (57382401,email@example.com)
An obvious drawback would be the inability to communicate with an ayi. Despite the extra chances you may have to practice Chinese, there is no way having an ayi would magically make a non-Chinese-speaker a fluent one. This could result in miscommunications and misinterpretations which are entertaining on the television but are not quite so funny in real life.
Deciding on whether or not you should get an ayi is difficult because there are multiple pros and cons to consider. However, it is much better to be prepared for the worst than to be caught by surprise by what your ayi can (or cannot) do. We would all ideally want to have cleaner rooms, quieter siblings and dinner on the table every night; but like everything else in life, an ayi may never be as perfect as imagined.
6. 400 650 1266, www.iqair-china.com firstname.lastname@example.org
他一直致力于青少年羽毛球教学和训练为 国家队. 福建省羽毛球队省, 市重点羽毛球 学校, 输送多名专业人才为国家和福建省 羽毛球事业做出很多贡献. 2008年4月来北京发展, 在刚刚结束的 2009年北京市中学声羽毛球比赛中他的 学生(中关村一小五年级同学) 王虞童在 97-98女子比赛中获得第二名的好成绩. 资深羽毛球教练 羽毛球世界冠军的启蒙教练 原董烔羽毛球俱乐部专业组教练 手机: 15010854917
Beijing City International School, Mona Xia
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A Confession: I remember it as clear as day: sitting with another “athletically challenged” person on the gym floor, watching the designated team captains evaluate our apparent (lack of) skills. How far can she throw that ball? How fast can she run? How quick are her reflexes? The decision was then made and a name was called- it wasn’t mine. I had just been picked last in gym class. A cliché that commonly applies itself to the lives of those viewed athletically-less-superior than others, being picked last in gym class could be seen as a traumatizing experience and a high school nightmare. However, like all experiences, there are many different ways and attitudes with which to approach it and the outcome is purely up to you. At first, I couldn’t help but to draw similarities between picking teams in PE and posting student grades in hallways. Despite that they measure different skills, both these practices point out student’s strengths and/or weaknesses in a public arena. In an environment heavily influenced by the Asian culture, drawing attention to a weakness would be embarrassing whether it be your B+ in Algebra or your less than average sprint time. Obviously, few schools post grades publically because students might want to conceal their less-than-perfect GPA’s from their peers but does the same not apply to physical skills? In fact, I can understand how picking
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teams is particularly “traumatizing” because the (eventual) selection shows exactly where you stand in the eyes of your peers and judgment passed by them tends to matter more than a teacher or other adult. Realization (not dodge-balls, thankfully) hit during the second match: I had to prove or improve myself. Maybe I wasn’t the worst, but that wouldn’t make a difference if no one knew that I wasn’t that terrible. It’s possible that being put in situations like these could spur increased effort and therefore, better results. The will to not get picked last in gym class again was quite powerful and could be said to have pushed me to “new heights”. Of course, that is entirely a personal feeling but it’s hard to deny that being picked last in gym class would serve as some kind of wake-up call. You could choose to ignore it or to go forth and better yourself- the choice is in your hands. As wake-up calls go, this would be one of the rudest by far, but by focusing on the positive aspects you can make the best out of a bad situation and come out victorious. This attitude applies to everything. I’ll be seeing you at the dodge-ball championships.
International School of Beijing, Heather Budimulia
China in Fashion
An Interview with Ebba Zingmark
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Hi Ebba! Please introduce yourself a bit to the Unit-E readers. Hi! I'm a 15 year old vegetarian from Northern Sweden. I live in a pretty small city where all teenagers know everything about everybody. I love everything that's creative, like painting, taking photos and fashion. Were you surprised when a student magazine from China contacted you to do this interview? [Laugh] A little bit, but I get many suggestions from different magazines from my mail. UNIT-E Seems like a really nice magazine though! Why do you have a passion for fashion? I've always been interested in colors and shapes, so a having a passion for fashion came very naturally to me. Is fashion something you want to pursue as a career in the future or do you just want to keep it as a hobby? I want to keep fashion in my life, that's for sure. For now it's both a job and a hobby to me. But whether or not fashion will be part of my career will depend on what the future holds. I read your interview on Lookbook and you said everyone knows something about each other in Umea; what do people think about your style in your town? That depends. I often gets compliments about my style, but I know there's people who think I dress weird too. How do you think your style has changed since
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you started your blog? I focus much more on what I think looks good and much less on that others’ say about it. Why did you decide to dye your hair red? (It looks absolutely amazing by the way!) Thanks! I dyed it because every time I see a ginger or a redhead I’m amazed by how beautiful they are. I just wish I had freckles too! Which piece of clothing and accessory do you consider “timeless”? The nerd-glasses! Do you prefer to dress for cold weather or warm weather? Warm weather! But it’s so cold in Sweden, I rarely get the opportunity to bring out my summer wardrobe. Who are you favorite fashion bloggers or Lookbook members? Why do you like them? There are so many people with really great style on Lookbook! For example I love Signe S because she’s not afraid to stand out. I also love Olivia Harrison, Cosette M and Lisa M.
Fashion Do your parents support your interest in fashion?
Kent and Säkert (hello saferide). To you it may be weird music in a weird language but they’ve done some songs in English too. You should definitely make sure you check these artists out!
Absolutely! My mum helps me a lot, she’s the one who takes the pictures I have on Lookbook.
What is an ordinary school day like for you in Sweden? I bet it’s very different from here in China!
Many students in China have to wear uniforms. What do you wear to school? What is your opinions on school uniforms? I think that school uniforms is a terrible way that administrations try to reduce bullying (or so I’m told). I think everybody should be free to express themselves through what they wear and to choose their own clothing. And isn’t it boring when everybody looks the same? Besides, bullies will find something else to tease other students about anyway. There are better ways to stop bullying! What kind of music do you listen to? (maybe introduce some cool Swedish music) Okay, here are some Swedish artists I think everybody should listen to: Håkan Hellström,
Well, after breakfast and my usual morning routine, I put my school-laptop and my school-books in a backpack and take the bus to school. Our first lesson starts around 8:20AM. On Mondays I have society knowledge class. I think that society knowledge is a fun subject because we have heated discussions that get a little chaotic sometimes! Then we have art (It is called “bild” in Swedish), during those lessons we paint and learn to create masterpieces. After my first two classes, I enjoy a delicious lunch. I know it’s rare to have good cafeteria food but I’m lucky enough to have access to great soups, breads, fruits and salad bars at school. However, there still are those picky people who don’t eat a lot because they prefer homemade food. After lunch we have around three more lessons, like PE, handiwork (where we sew or build things) and math. The school-day ends at around 3:00PM but if I need help with homework my school has designated classrooms where teachers help with homework. Sometimes, I also just stay after school to hang out with my friends. I guess my routine isn’t that different from other students. What do you like to do in your free time? I hang out with my friends a lot. Other times I paint, play the guitar or take photographs. What are your priorities and goals in life? There’s so many things I want to do! I want to start a cool second-hand shop in Umeå, to start a magazine, to write a book and to travel all over the world! But my main priority is always to be happy! I asked one of the UNIT-E Staff members to come up with a random question, here is what he/ she wants to ask you: do you like elephants, zebras, or monkeys? I cannot choose! I really love all animals, and all my life we’ve had pets at home. Right now we have two dogs and one cat. I can’t imagine my life without animals! By the way, one of the dogs (his name is Charlie) is from china, he’s a Chinese Crested Powderpuff.
Interviewed by Amy Wan, Beijing World Youth Academy
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Student Council: An A+ Organization?
Slytherin to the World of Harry Potter P.10 Itâ€™s That Time of Year Again!
Does an Ayi Clean Up a Mess?
SAT season is drawing near and the studying has begun. These words are not guaranteed to be on the test but they will make you laugh, giggle, smirk, or just smile. Enjoy! (For the words A-J, refer to UNIT-E’s November/December issue.)
K is for “Kawaii” Definition: “Cute”- in Japanese Used in Context: 小明 has always thought that paper dolls were “SOOOOOO kawaii!”, so we bought him a bunch for his birthday.
L is for “Lifehack” Source: “Life” + “Hack” [look up: no duh.] Used in Context: 小明 always has shortcuts and backdoors to life’s greatest problems up his sleeve- he probably gets these lifehacks from reading UNIT-E.
M is for “Mind Sucked” Definition: antonym of “Mind blown” Used in Context: 小明 is not easily amused, he could look straight into the eye of a cyclone and proclaim himself ‘mind sucked’ (before being wholly sucked into the cyclone, of course).
N is for “Nexted” Source: Chat Roulette, CSI: NY Used in Context: 小明 gets nexted all the time on chat roulette, we told him to stop talking like the voice cross between Borat and the Godfather but he wouldn’t listen to us at all.
O is for “One Upper” Definition: “A person who always needs to outdo youin literally anything” Used in Context: 小明 hates family reunions because
all his cousins are one uppers and feel the extreme need to beat him at everything from girlfriends to how many hours he sleeps.
P is for “Pregret” Source: “Pre” + “Regret” Used in Context: 小明 already pregretted his decision to watch Gossip Girl even though he had a major exam the next day but he did it anyway.
Q is for “Quantum Physics” Definition: “Brain-ache” Used in Context: So today a fellow writer tried to explain Quantum Physics to me and I still don’t know. It doesn’t really bother me in the least.
R is for “Remotourist” Source: “Remote” + “Tourist” Used in Context: 小明 is such a remotourist. On vacation he never visits landmark sites but instead prefers to check out all the new television channels the hotel has to offer.
S is for “Synking” Source: “Sync” + “Sinking” Used in Context: 小明’s music playing device is such a synking ship; it always crashes before any music is copied over and frustrates him to no end.
T is for “Textual Satisfaction” Source: some things are better left unsaid Used in Context: When 小明 felt that familiar vibration in his pocket he had a jolt of textual satisfaction that lasted until he realized his message was from a wrong number.
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Academics U is for “Unicorn” Source: UNIT-E Covers? Used in Context: 小明 LOOK! A UNICORN! WE SHOULD EMAIL UNIT-E NOW! WAAAAH SO SPARKLY!
V is for “Verbal Handcuffs” Definition: “The act of being forced to stand and listen to something you have no interest in” Used in Context: 小明 was totally held captive in verbal handcuffs by his aunt’s monologue on foreign policy but he couldn’t bring himself to stop her.
W is for “WWCND” Definition: “What would Chuck Norris Do?” [Is commonly confused with WWDD and WWCYFD. But do note that Dumbledore and Chow-Yun Fat would get out of CN’s way] Used in Context: 小明 is a boy of great trust, before making any decisions he will always ask WWCND.
X is for “Xtreme”
this article that ‘Xtreme’ is a word created only to hide the fact that the author couldn’t come up with another X-word.
Y is for “Yeah” Definition/s: 1. Yes! 2. The end of a sentence when you run out of things to say 3. Trailing off… 4. Conversation filler 5. The answer to [almost] any question
Z is for “Zeus ‘em” Source: “Zeus” (Greek God) + “Go get ‘em!” Used in Context: 小明 was really out to Zeus ‘em today, he answered 20 ‘hot or not’ quizzes in five minutes! International School of Beijing, Nicole Zhu
Definition: “Extreme” sans the “E” Used in Context: 小明 discovered today by reading
Why We Aim to be A+SIAN? In my sophomore year, a parent from my school whom I was not familiar with, or whose daughter I was familiar with, approached me in one of my rare excursions to the Yosemite gym and asked about how I was doing in school. The conversation began casually, but it was quickly filled with probing questions like, “What are the best higher level courses to take if you’re doing IB Diploma?” and “What are the GPA requirements for applying to Ivy League schools?” She even asked if the laundry list of extracurricular activities her thirteenyear-old daughter was involved in was enough to get her accepted into Stanford University. The intensity of her interrogation was an awakening: the Asian trends we know and joke about are, in fact, very real in the international community. If one were to ask high school students what they did during their summer vacations, the vast majority of them would talk about SAT preparatory courses or some form of summer camp at a brand-name university. Such courses provide added experience, knowledge, and other advantages for future college applications and standardized testing, but there comes a time when they begin to dominate your life. For instance, doing
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five full-length SAT tests every week or enrolling in an economics class over the summer before taking an economics class during the school year may be counted as over-preparation. The stigma of high grades and test scores may be rooted in the international community here in Beijing more so than in other regions because of its Asian roots. Although this is a broad generalization, academic achievements, in a traditional sense, are equated to achievements in life. Standardized testing appears more often than it did a few years ago and carries ten times the importance. Though the times have changed, the fundamental principles of high school academics have remained largely the same. Other reasons behind this preconception of academic accomplishment are the highly competitive atmosphere and lack of other options for applying to university. Firstly, the omnipresent sense of peer pressure generates competition and fuels ambition for higher grades, GPAs, and test scores. Students often compare grades with one another. Though grades are meant to be private, nosy peers can easily wheedle them out.
Secondly, academics are the primary ticket to university for most international students. Again, although this is a generalization, but Beijing international school students mostly pride themselves on academic success rather than athletics or arts. Few students here are accepted to university solely based on sports or music. Thus, the focus is zeroed in on the information on the report card. There isn’t anything wrong with caring about your grades, but it is wrong if it impacts almost all aspects of your life. For example, if you start to have extreme stress which cause unwanted gray hair and sleep deprivation or chronic depression due to an “Asian Fail” of a B+ or A- on a math test, then it is too much. Grades and testing statistics shouldn’t define who you are. No matter how dreadfully important they may seem now, you probably won’t even remember the numbers and letters of your high school career ten years down the road. Friendships shouldn’t be competitions to outsmart one another or consist only of conversations regarding college prospects and rankings. The only time you talk to your parents shouldn’t be when they’re telling you to go study for the SATs. Indeed, there is some truth to those Asian trends of constant studying and parents with high expectations, but a fine balance between the two is an algorithm for success. Preparation for applications and testing is beneficial, and dedication and hard work at school are admirable, but the trick is to not overdo it. So, the next time your parents compare you to some crazy smart family friend, remind them that at the end of the day, high schoolers are still teenagers and deserve time to relax and rebel. Life experiences may turn out to be just as, if not more, important than the lessons taught in classrooms. Nicole Zhu, International School of Beijing
Normal Grading Scale
Excellent, an achievement you should be extremely proud of.
Above Average, you stand out from the crowd.
C D F
Average, you’re in the norm but there’s room to improve. Below Average, you’re slipping but there is time to make it up. Fail, no explanation necessary.
Asian Grading Scale Average, an achievement you’re not really proud of because you should be getting them all the time. Below Average, you stand out from the crowd, but not in a good way. Crap, you’re no longer in the Asian norm and if you don’t improve, you lose your room. Disappointment, you’re slipping and your parents will hope you’re just making it all up. Funeral, no explanation necessary.
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Cheating. Why We Shouldn’t Cheat…
Advantages of Cheating
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for most of your schooling career, the term “cheating” most likely sounds familiar. Most schools would define cheating along the lines of, “one individual gaining an unfair advantage over others when it comes to academic work.” This can involve homework, tests, exams, research and projects. Whenever schools go over academic honesty, most students tend to slowly zone out. Why? We’ve heard the same thing again and again. Yes, we know what cheating is. Yes, we know it’s wrong and unfair to cheat. Yes, we know there are severe consequences for those who cheat.
If you decide to go down that rocky road of academic dishonesty, there will no doubt be at least a few advantages. Firstly, it simplifies your schoolwork. Rather than spending hours on studying for exams or thousands of mouse clicks doing research, all that needs to be done is a few glances at SparkNotes or manoeuvring your chair to an optimum seating position in the exam room. Secondly, cheating is far less time consuming than actually doling out energy to complete assignments. Lastly, cheating is usually an easy ticket to satisfactory or even amazing grades. That elusive A+ or desired grade point average may soon be well within your grasp.
If everyone today knows what cheating is and knows that cheating is bad, why then does cheating still occur? Cheating occurs because some students aren’t motivated enough not to cheat. People usually cheat because they can only see the benefits of cheating, but they hardly consider the disadvantages. In some instances, some may not even realize what they are doing is considered cheating. To help you provide a clearer definition of cheating, this article will go through its sweet advantages and bitter disadvantages.
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However, when it comes to any decision you make in life, there will be benefits and drawbacks.
Short-term drawbacks cheating In the short term, cheating requires a lot of lying and quick thinking. Lying is wrong (d’uh obviously!) and if your appalling at lying and will feel guilty then you’ll find cheating quite challenging. Also, sneaking around and trying to maintain the pile of lies can also prove to be
Academics quite stressful. You might be better off just doing the work! There are always risks involved when you cheat. If you get caught, then you should be prepared to bear the consequences, which range from detentions, to disqualifications from exams, to suspensions, to a grade U or F. Furthermore, once you are caught cheating, especially on something serious, then your offense is never fully forgotten. Just after one incident, your reputation may be forever tarnished. Also plagiarism or intellectual theft, another form of cheating, is illegal! If you are caught plagiarising someone else’s work, then the penalties will be more severe than what you will receive from your school.
The long-term drawbacks of cheating Cheating also has many long term drawbacks as well. If you go through your entire school career cheating then you’ll never learn anything! Also, you won’t be equipped for further studies like college or university and you certainly won’t be prepared for the real world. Eventually, you’ll be expected to produce your own work or do a certain task, but if you cheated your way through high school, then you won’t have to carry out the task. Cheating can only take you so far in life and one day you’ll come across something that can’t be done by casually glancing at someone else ‘s paper and you will get stuck. Cheating encourages you to be lazy and always seek the easy way out. You will never learn anything from cheating because even if you cheat on today’s maths exams, tomorrow you still won’t have understood the work and you’ll still be stuck. Underneath all the praise and good grades, there’ll always be that dishonesty and guilt slowing eating away at you. Cheating is not honest, it’s not the truth and it never lasts forever. When you cheat you are not only lying to your teachers and classmates, you are also lying to yourself. What is the point of doing that? Why get a fake A* and feel horrible when you could get an honest C and promise yourself that next time you will work hard and get a B? Cheating will forever be the hot topic that teachers, principals and, adults go over and over about, so we should delve deeper and look for the reasoning behind it all - the reason why teachers do not want us to cheat. Because, above all, they do not want us to lie to ourselves, they want to want to reach our full potential –honestly!
Gemma Duffy, Yew Chung International School
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The ABCs of
The letters of the alphabet that extend themselves to the word ‘snow’ are sadly the few four. However, taking into consideration the vast number of words in the English language, we will feature two renditions or interpretations of the word as well as attempt to skirt overusing it. For people who appreciate this winter phenomenon, enjoy catching the first flakes on their tongues and other… strange practices to do with “white fluffy stuff”:
S N O W
is for snowball fights, sleeping under warm covers and snuggling up with a good book. No matter whether you like your snow close and personal or from a distance, there will always be something on the snow-laden agenda (even if it has nothing to do with the actual flakes). is for no school. As there have only been a couple of coveted “snow days” in Beijing history, the chance of this occurring is extremely rare. But it doesn’t hurt to hope, so keep your fingers in your mittens crossed. is for ‘Oh my gosh, it’s snowing!’ The joy and excitement of watching the first few flakes fall in the glow of the streetlights is unparalleled especially when snowfall is as unexpected and random as it is in Beijing. Come on, snow in February? is for winter wonderland. Cliché aside, the morning after the first snow fall is particularly beautiful and (for the most part) undisturbed by the world. Getting up at the crack of dawn and falling asleep soon after taking in the sights is highly recommended.
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For people who detest snow and curse the weathermen and other climatically related factors for this white atmospheric intrusion: is for slippery. Be warned: an icy trap could be hidden underneath a blanket of beauty. Choose your steps and footwear wisely and tread lightly or you might find yourself at the bottom of the hill trapped in a big snowball (just kidding, it probably only happens in movies).
S N O W
is for numb fingers and other body-parts. Just when we thought winter was over, a heavy snow came to prove its point resulting in lower temperatures. At the risk of sounding like a mother, please wear warm clothes (see ‘W’). is for ‘Oh my gosh, it’s slushing.’ Slush has been defined as “partly melted snow” and, frankly, is just an awful mess. The cold acts as a preservative for all the dirty shoe prints, coal stains and other “traces of human activity”. As a side note, examining ice-cores might not be such a good idea in Beijing. is for warm clothing. Depending on your cold-tolerance, it might be time to dig out the gloves, hats and long underwear again. The warm Chinese New Year period was a false alarm and Beijing has proven that it is still winter and dressing sensibly is imperative to prevent ‘N’ from occurring. International School of Beijing, Heather Budimulia
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Northwestern University There’s something idyllic – beautiful even – about the Northwestern University’s Evanston campus. For one thing, it’s right next to Lake Michigan, one of the five Great Lakes of North America. A quick look provides a view of stark white buildings, dotted with plush greenery, and to top it all off, crystalline blue water sparkling at the edge of the grounds, courtesy of the aforementioned lake. Also, the students are privy to beaches - two beaches, to be exact.
17th biggest spender on research grants out of all American private universities. There’s artistic side to the university as well, with the Henry and Leigh Beinen School of Music, where the students are as wacky and talented as one might expect (confirmed by an insider source), though apparently not as much as it’s theater students, who make it a hobby to dress up in medieval clothing and joust un-expecting classmates as they walk down the hallways (again, insider source).
Of course, there’s more Northwestern than just a pretty picture. The area that the largest campus is located in, Evanston, Illinois, was in fact named after the founder of Northwestern, John Evans. Thus, it’s safe to say that school itself holds its roots in the development of the education in the area. It was established in the mid-nineteenth century and was one of the founders of the Big Ten Conference, the USA’s oldest college athletic program. It’s also safe to say that their football teams, the Northwestern Wildcats, are quite the heroes on and off campus.
Of course, the students themselves are an interesting bunch, coming from over a dozen countries (Asians take notice, considering they appear to be one of the largest ethnic groups there) and fifty states. Being about twelve miles north of Chicago also helps the social scene – weekend visits to the city are surely common, with Millennium Park, Wicker Park and Chinatown all being places to look out for. Include festivals such as (Arma)Dillo Day and previous performers such as Nelly and Mike Posner, and you’ve got yourself a very cool school.
That’s not to say that Northwestern is lacking in other departments. Boasting a dozen schools – as well as two other campuses, including one in Qatar – the university is renowned for its excellent research programs, holding the illustrious title (or not) as the
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Cooler than me, even. Or you. Kathryn Chua, Dulwich International Beijing
Recipie of the Month
The Secret of Love (Not Really)
Random Acts of Kindness
Chillax For those who are optimistic, after Valentines there is still prom to come. What’s better than preparing for prom now? Sit down and sketch a great prom dress (and for the guys…errr tuxedos much?) then hop over to Beijing’s largest professional fabric market at Mu Xu Yuan(木樨园). From ethnic Indian Sari material to simple organza, this fabric market will offer everything you can possibly conceive. In addition, this area also has several tailoring shops that will offer their services for reasonable prices. For a fairly simple dress it should be 120rmb+, whereas an intricate one could start from 350rmb. For those who have aspirations in the fashion industry authentic designer fabrics can be scoured for relatively more expensive prices, take example exclusive prints by Dianna von Furstenberg and Brunns Bazaar.
excuse to not have Being single is not an cupcakes to apple fun on valentines! From ks for the lonely ones apps these are our pic this year! ademy, Beijing Wor ld Youth Ac Amelia Zhang
If you really choose to sulk at home in your favorite pajamas and a huge carton of Haggen Dazs, we suggest that you make good use of your time and read a Nicholas Sparks novel. ‘The Notebook’, ‘A Walk to Remember’ and ‘Dear John’ are all motion pictures based on his novels. As it goes without saying, watching a movie is never as good as reading the book. We recommend Sparks’ ‘A Walk to Remember’. In the prologue of the book Sparks promises that ‘first you will smile, and then you will cry’, and without fail he will toss your heart like a yo yo.
Now with a 50% discount, A Walk to Remember is available at dangdang.com for only 35RMB free shipping included.
Satisfy your sugar cravings with authentic London cupcakes right here at the Beijing Lollipop Bakery! Owner Lexie Morris after an unsuccessful hunt for authentic cupcakes-ones with ‘moist cake and fluffy frosting’, in Beijing; went back home to London and spent a whole year developing recipes. Their signature flavor is the Earl Grey, a mouthwatering combination of bergamot and lemon frosting. Lollipop Bakery is known for their meticulous attention to detail, from
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Valentines To-Do’s With a 48 hour sale on most apps on Itunes, this year’s lonely gamers won’t be so lonely after all. Electronic Arts is boasting its biggest sales of the year, a whopping 80% off on all of its apps. Including all-time favorites, such as Sims, Scrabble and Need for Speed. One of our favorites includes the World of Goo available now for 0.99$. Where one can ‘Drag and drop living, squirming, talking, globs of goo building structures, bridges, cannon balls, zeppelins, and giant tongues.’ For the more fashion orientated, The Cut on the Runway is now available for FREE! It includes most recent designer collections, runways, and detailed shots of clothing; latest news on designers, models, and trends; backstage, front row and party images and much more!
All available on Itunes.com
the beautiful cupcake boxes to their impeccable service. For 20rmb per cupcake these brightly colored cupcakes will surely brighten up your day!Available in Sanlitun at Crepanini and Fish Eye Cafe, and in Shunyi at Secrets from Africa
三里屯: 可百尼尼, 鱼眼儿咖啡馆, 顺义: Secrets from Africa
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Recipe of the Month Red Velvet Cupcakes with Creamy Vanilla Icing 3 1/2 cups 3/4 cup 2 cups 3 6 tbsp 3 tbsp 1 1/2 tsp 1 1/2 ts 1 1/2 cups 1 1/2 tsp 1 1/2 tsp
cake flour (not self-rising) unsalted butter, softened sugar large eggs, at room temperature red food coloring unsweetened cocoa vanilla extract salt buttermilk cider vinegar baking soda
Preheat oven to 350Â°F. Grease and lightly flour three 9- by 2-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with waxed paper.
In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.
In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.
Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the layers cool in the pans for 1 hour. Remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.
When the cake has cooled, spread the frosting between the layers, then ice the top and sides of the cake with Creamy Vanilla Frosting.
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The Secret To Love (Not Really)
Let’s face it – a large number of us were single during Valentine’s Day. I’m sure we all felt at least a smudge of jealousy during February 14th when we saw couples exchanging bright flowers, loving cards, and other romantic sentiments. For many people, Valentine’s Day reminded them that they are single, dateless, and unloved. However, why go through all of the pain and misery when you can find a companion with just a few short sentences? Yes, you heard me. Muttering the right statements at the right time can dramatically increase your chances of finding a date! Therefore, Unit-E is proud to present you with its selection of pick-up lines! As an added bonus, these pick-up lines will all come from your favorite subjects and other school related topics. However, they will still probably get you rejected. Or slapped. Or worse. But nevertheless, they will never fail to put a smile on your face. Enjoy!
Yew Chung International School, Eugene Ling
Biology If I was an enzyme, I’d be helicase so I could unzip your genes You must be auxin, cause you are causing me to have rapid stem elongation. I wish I were adenine because then I could get paired with U.
Computer Programming You just upgraded my floppy disk into a hard drive. You got me stuck on Caps Lock, if you know what I mean. Need me to unzip your files?
Model United Nations For a third-world country, you're pretty welldeveloped. I'm your point of personal privilege. Hey, wanna merge?
Mathematics Do you want to expand my polynomial? I wish I was your second derivative so I could investigate your concavities. Can I plug my solution into your equation?
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A Random Act of Kindness What is a random act of kindness? A random act of kindness is a selfless act performed by a person who wants to help or cheer up another individual. Random acts of kindness can be simple acts like helping a stranger pick up change he or she has dropped. Other times, random acts of kindness can be larger, more organized activities like collecting coats to donate to the homeless. Why should I perform a random act of kindness? Though many of us are kind at heart, many of us forget to show it. The idea of performing acts of random kindness reminds us to be kind to one another. In December, the International School of Beijingâ€™s peer helpers organized A Random Act of Kindness Week. Though some skeptical Theory of Knowledge students wondered if the peer helpers were implying that students at the International School of Beijing were not kind enough, the majority of students welcomed this stress-relieving event. The event was extremely simple:
students were encouraged to perform random acts of kindness and would in turn be rewarded by the peer helpers with a special badge. Additionally, students sent free kindness notes (much like candy-grams that are sold by various student organizations to raise money). The result was a success. Many thought that the event was of a different kind that really promoted school spirit and unity. How can I perform a random act of kindness? There are numerous ways you can perform a random act of kindness. Following the example of the International School of Beijing, we have attached a few cut-outable kindness notes that you can send to your friends! There are more ideas on www.randomactsofkindness. org (who knew that there was a foundation supporting random acts of kindness?). Spread the kindness!
Ineternational School of Beijing, Katerine Tsen
NOTE OF APPRECIATION From:___________________ To:_____________________ Message: ________________________ ________________________ ________________________ ________________________
NOTE OF APPRECIATION From:___________________ To:_____________________ Message: ________________________ ________________________ ________________________ ________________________
NOTE OF APPRECIATION
From:___________________ UNIT-E To:_____________________ UNIT-E Readers Message: ________________________ Thank you for taking ________________________ your time to read this ________________________ publication. We hope ________________________ youâ€™ll enjoy it!
NOTE OF APPRECIATION From:___________________ To:_____________________ Message: ________________________ ________________________ ________________________ ________________________
Editor’s Music Picks: Power Ballads
Music & Sound: Let’s Get Technical
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Art Spotlight Talent in the International School Community The art community among Beijing’s international schools is overflowing with talent, but there are times when school-wide recognition isn’t enough! The monthly UNIT-E Art Spotlight will be featuring 2-3 works of outstanding student art every issue, both online and in print. Submissions for the next issue are open; head on over to our website at http://www.unit-echina.co.cc for more details on submission requirements and procedure.
“Untitled”, Mona Xia (BCIS)
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“Untitled”, Jonathan Chang (DCB)
“Logopolis”, Fred Chang (DCB)
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Music & Sound: Let’s Get Technical
How audio editing can be anyone’s thing in the 21st century The ease of access to computers and technology nowadays has made access to music-making tools easier than ever, giving anyone with internet access a considerable arsenal of tools. However, I often do little audio-related tasks for people, and people are still amazed by tasks that are actually relatively simple to accomplish with readily-available software. The little evil side of me tells me I should keep that a secret, and use it to squeeze some extra money (or at least extra gratitude) out of clients, but obviously I’m much too nice for that. So, let’s go behind the magic. First, let’s go over some free tools of the trade. The primary program you’ll need is a Digital Audio Editor – software that provides the basis for your editing. I recommend Wavosaur (http://www.wavosaur.com), which is a free editor. You’ll also need some VST plugins, which can be virtual instruments or little addon programs that do various smaller tasks. VST stands for Virtual Studio Technology, and basically is the underlying foundation that allows your in-computer studio to operate. There are free plugins all over the internet, so you can hunt for them yourself, or you can
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use a few of my favorites found in the Kjaerhus Audio Classic series (http://www.acoustica.com/plugins/vstdirectx.htm). The pack contains all the tools I’ll go over in this tutorial as well as a few others: • Classic Equalizer • Classic Compressor • Classic Reverb • Classic Limiter • Classic Auto-Filter • Classic Delay • Classic Chorus • Classic Flanger • Classic Phaser Once you’ve downloaded Wavosaur, start it up so you can begin editing. Use the .exe installer to install the Kjaerhus plugin pack (no need to change installation directory) and configure Wavosaur to scan the VST plugins folder by going to Options => Editor Configuration => VST Path and then specifying your VST folder, which is by default C:\Program Files\ VSTplugins or C:\Program Files (x86)\VSTplugins, depending on your version of Windows.
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The Arts Now to get cracking. I’ll be showing you a very basic task, which is boosting certain elements (most likely bass) in songs. First, load up the song you’ll be editing in Wavosaur by draggingand-dropping or using the file menu. You’ll need the equalizer plugin here loaded in Wavosaur, so go to Tools => VST => VST Rack, select the Classic EQ, and click Add. You’ll now see Classic EQ loaded into the first rack slot. Click “View” to see the graphical interface.
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First we’ll turn off the Warm and Sat (short for saturation) options on the EQ to keep the song less muddy. We’ll also drag the Input Level slider down to about -4 to -6 because we’ll be boosting frequencies; without getting too technical, there’s a limit volume, expressed as 0dB, which we shouldn’t bring the volume over or we’ll get some distortion on the song. Now that the foundation is ready, we can start changing frequencies. Here’s a guideline to frequency distribution: • Sub-bass: 20-60Hz. These are the “power”
The Arts frequencies and are generally felt when listening rather than heard. • Bass: 60-250Hz. This is the range we’ll be looking at for editing in this example. • Low-mids: 250-500Hz. This range is a common area for “mud” – a fat, thick sound that seems to clog up the song. • Mids: 500-2kHz. This is where the body of instruments and vocals sit. • High-mids: 2-4kHz. This is where sound can be the harshest because the human ear is most sensitive here. • Presence highs: 4-6kHz. These frequencies can control the perceived distance of the sound. • Brilliance highs: 6kHz-20kHz. Harmonics and clarity are most prominent here, and a well-tuned range will make things sound crisper and clearer. The rest is easy – just find the appropriate frequency range, and play around a bit. There’s no real preset that’s guaranteed to work every time – there’s always some tweaking involved. Play around and see what sounds good. To hear the effects of your edits go to Tools => VST => Processing to enable the VST plugins in your computer’s signal chain.
lossless format for storing original recordings. When you open another supported format in Wavosaur, it is first converted back to .wav, so when you re-save your file you will be using File => Export => Export as MP3 rather than the old “save” button. MP3s are a type of compressed format, which reduces the quality of audio to minimize the storage size necessary. Before you can export, you have to download the LAME mp3 encoder, an extra bit of software, from Wavosaur’s website (http://www.wavosaur.com/forum/export-as-mp3with-lame-encoder-t292.html). Follow the instructions, and you’ll be able to export MP3s. Choose one of the higher bitrates (256+) for better quality. Personally, I’m rather picky so I’ll be using 320kbps, the highest bitrate possible for MP3 files. Congratulations – you’ve successfully edited a song. There’s more powerful software out there like Cubase that gives you many more options, but of course none of that good stuff is free. It’s still a worthy investment if you’re interested, however. Enjoy your newfound skills! International School of Beijing, Dan Zhang
Wavosaur edits files in the .wav format, which is a large
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Dulwich Christmas (DCB)
Lego Day (BSB)
THIMUN Singapore Conference
Drama Production (BCIS)
A Day without Art (BWYA & WAB)
Alumnus Conference (Hui Jia)
December Talent Show (BWYA)
Pictorial Dulwich Christmas (DCB)
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Pictorial Lego Day (BSB)
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Pictorial THIMUN Singapore 2010
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Pictorial Drama Production - The Chalk Circle (BCIS)
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Pictorial A Day Without Art (BWYA & WAB)
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Pictorial IB Global Alumus New Year Conference 2011 (Hui Jia)
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Pictorial December Talent Show (BWYA)
Photos by Ernest Li
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