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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

How Do Relationships Change? A Review of Transamerica

Terry Lee

Transamerica is a 2005 American film.  The cast includes Felicity Huffman as Bree, and Kevin Zegers as Toby.  The film tells the story of Bree, a transsexual woman, who goes on a road trip with her long-lost son, Toby.
 
Click here to listen to an audio recording of this article.
 
Image courtesy weinsteinco.com
Bree is a man, but he wants to be a woman.  He has worked long and hard to save enough money to have sex reassignment surgery.  However, he received a phone call from his long-lost son the day just before his surgery.  His son, Toby, had been arrested by the police for prostituting himself.  Because his doctor suggested that he straighten out his relationship with his son before the surgery, Bree has no choice but to solve a series of problems.

The most meaningful aspect of this movie is that it is filled with complex and unusual relationships.  Bree pretends to be a social worker to get Toby out of prison.  After that, they start their journey to California, where Bree wants to have his surgery and Toby wants to become a movie star.  Toby gradually starts to like Bree, but he doesn’t know that Bree is really his father.  Therefore, Toby is very confused.  When he finds out that Bree is his father, he can’t accept the truth initially.

The most impressive scene is when Toby prostitutes himself for money because he feels sorry when someone steals their car.  Although I think we all know that this action is definitely wrong, Toby had a miserable childhood and left home when he was young.  Without experiencing normal life and receiving an education, prostituting himself for money seems reasonable to him.

This movie is very special.  Although Bree is a man, he thinks that he is not a man at all.  Bree has to face his son, but he is a woman already.  Transsexuals are very special in our society.  They may be discriminated against by friends, colleagues, even family.  They are very brave because they persist in being who they really want to be.  This movie touched me a lot, so I strongly recommend it to FCU English Online readers.

How to Pass the FCU Swimming Test

Serena Chen

At Feng Chia University (FCU), students are required to swim 25 meters.  Most students pass their swimming test because they already know how to swim.  For those who cannot swim, here are some tips.


Photo by the author

First, choose your PE teachers wisely.  Some PE teachers are not strict about the swimming test.  If you choose their classes and follow their rules, it’s more likely that you can pass the swimming test without actually swimming 25 meters.  Some PE teachers may let students take the swimming test more than one time.  Some PE teachers may let the students pass if their swimming skill has improved.  However, this doesn’t mean that students don’t need to make an effort.  They still do.  Students should try their best to learn how to swim.

For those students who want to learn how to swim, there are make-up classes after school.  These classes are free, extra swimming classes.  Students may sign up for these classes at the beginning of the semester.  These classes are held from six to eight p.m. from Monday to Friday.  During these classes, students can make some friends and together learn how to swim. 

It’s better for students to help each other than for one teacher to help many students.  Having a swimming companion is important; you can help each other when the teacher is busy with other classmates.  In addition, ask your close friends who are good at swimming to teach you how to swim outside class.  This way, you can have a personal lifeguard beside you.  Learning to swim will become much easier and happier.

If you have tried all of the above tips and STILL can’t swim 25 meters, I suggest that you learn to swim the backstroke.  The backstroke is the easiest swimming stroke. The biggest problem you have to conquer is floating; after that, there is nothing that can stop you from moving forward.  The advantage of the backstroke is that you don’t need to learn how to alternate your breathing, which takes a lot of time to learn and get used to.

I believe that the saying, “no pain, no gain” is true.  Try not to let excuses like, “I’m afraid of water” or, “I can’t swim” stop you from succeeding.  Finally, each FCU student can use the gym or the pool three times for free each semester.  You should use this benefit to practice swimming.  It’s also a great excuse to ask friends to practice swimming together. 


I hope these tips can really help you pass the swimming test. Keep trying hard and never give up; you can make it!

Life Is Creativity!

Sandy Chang & Cathy Huang

Almost all bookstores sell books, magazines, pencils, rulers, and other things we need for school. However, nowadays, we can also find lots of creative products at bookstores.
  
Sometimes, creative products are designed to make our lives more convenient; sometimes, they are created just to make us laugh. If you go to the bookstore here at Feng Chia University, you can see lots of cute little things that are designed in many shapes. All of them are designed to bring us fun.



Photo by the authors

One interesting brand sold in the FCU bookstore is SB∞BS. It is designed by the Do More Idea Company in Taiwan. “It’s our turn to stab back the back stabber!” This is the belief of the Do More Idea Company. In the beginning, their business wasn’t very successful. The designers were not satisfied with the factories that made their products; the products were not the same as their original design. Then the company held many meetings and had many discussions.  Finally, the well-known brand “SB∞BS” was born.
All non-photo images courtesy do-more idea 

     SB∞BS products really impressed us a lot. Most SB∞BS products are shaped like a person. You can imagine this toy is a person you dislike and use the SB∞BS toy to take your revenge. These toys give us a good opportunity to torture someone that we dislike. For example, one of the products is a piggy bank. However, the piggy bank is NOT a piggy. It’s a person who has a big butt. The weird thing is the coins are put in its BUTT. How do you get them out? You just twist the guy’s head, and you can get the coins out.



     Another product is a person’s head with a big mouth. Imagine a person preaching to you a lot, telling you what to do and what not to do, and you can stuff anything you want into his/her mouth such as a pen, a scissors, even a plant! In this way, he/she will finally be unable to say anything you don’t like.


     More and more creative products are appearing on the market. Creativity is playing a more and more important role in Taiwan business. Many students now study design and bring lots of creations to the market even before their graduation. Feng Chia University has also noticed this trend and has established a new Design department. Although the Design department has only a master’s degree program, it will have a bachelor degree program in the near future. Furthermore, the Focus store at Feng Chia University (next door to the Family Mart) sells creative products designed by students and teachers at our school.

     Interesting creations not only bring us joy but also help make the economy stronger. Young people can show their talent by creating new and interesting products. The example of SB∞BS teaches us that we should pursue our dreams and make our dreams come true.


Do More Idea Company

Challenge Your Limit - Spinning

Celeste Jheng

The sport center at Feng Chia University offers many courses such as aerobics, hip-hop dancing, and “spinning”.  You can choose one of these courses according to your interests.  Today I’d like to tell you about the course called “spinning.
 
 

Spinning is an indoor sport.  You can use a spinning machine to do this exercise in the gym or the sport center.  If you want to join this class, check the time when the sport center offers spinning courses and sign up for the class.  You have to reach the sport center five minutes before the class starts and pay a fee.  If you are not a member of the sport center, it costs 50 NT dollars to participate in this class.  After paying your fee, go to the sixth floor.  Remember to take a towel and a bottle of water.  When you go into the classroom, you will see that there are many bikes fixed to the floor and a big mirror on the wall.  You can watch yourself while you are riding.

Last Tuesday was my first visit to the spinning class, so I was really curious about it.  Fortunately, I met a woman who was kind enough to tell me how to use the spinning machine.  Because the way I used the spinning machine, she asked me if it was my first time to the spinning class.  When I said that it was my first time, she told me that I should adjust the derailleur while I stood up to ride the bike; otherwise, I might get hurt.  I was grateful to her for telling me how to use the spinning machine.

During class, the teacher will tell you when to do which action.  You should follow the teacher’s introduction step by step.  When you are tired, the teacher will encourage you to keep on riding.  The teacher will always tell you that you are not alone that there are many people around you riding their spinning bicycles.  Just keep on riding and never give up.

Spinning is a popular course.  I think participating in this course was a special experience for me.  Although it is very tiring to do this exercise, I think it is a good way for people to challenge themselves.  Just like the spinning teacher told me, “Keep on riding and never give up.”  You will have a sense of accomplishment when you finish the spinning class.  If you want to push yourself to your limit, go to the sport center and sign up for the spinning class!

"Bend It Like Beckham" - A Movie Review


Grace Wang

I haven’t watched movies in the library for a long time, but my teacher told me that there is a good movie, Bend It Like Beckham. He said it is an interesting movie. After watching it, I think it is very meaningful.

Click here to hear an audio recording of this article.


Image courtesy foxconnect.com

In this movie, Jess and Jules love playing soccer. Even though they both are girls, they play soccer very well. They do even better than boys. Jess is from a traditional Indian family. Her parents think that girls should not wear shorts in front of boys. They must have good upbringing and marry an Indian boy. Jess really wants to keep playing soccer, so she doesn’t tell her parents that she is on a soccer team because she has a vision of being a professional player in the USA.

There are many movies about girls playing sports and doing better than boys, and the audience may guess right about the ending. However, the most entertaining part is how Jess keeps telling different lies to her parents just because she wants to play soccer.

This is a British movie, but the background music is Indian. Those are totally different cultures, so it makes the movie funnier. Bend It Like Beckham is a cheerful movie. Sometime we may care about how others look at us. In Taiwan, some families still have some traditional concepts. In Chinese tradition, the notion that men are breadwinners, and women are homemakers is very common. However, in recent years, lots of women have found jobs and are earning money.  Also, many men stay at home to take care of the children.

  Lately, society has changed.  Now, many people look at men and women in different ways. People don’t conceal their sexual orientation any more, such as lesbians. They wear tight underwear to flatten their chests, cut their hair short, and dress like men. It’s hard for older people to accept this change, but everyone is different. It takes a lot of courage to be yourself, but you must do your best. We should all pursue our dreams, just like Jess did. Remember; nothing is impossible.

You Have to Listen at Least Once! A Review of Jessie J

Annie Ju

My iPhone is full of pop music. Although I change the albums from time to time, Jessie J is one singer whose music I have kept in my phone ever since I first heard her sing. She is my favorite singer. I love not only her voice but also her attitude. Her album is called, “Who You Are.”

Jessie J is from the UK. When she was young, she joined a chorus. Her voice was very loud, so the other chorus members’ parents didn’t want Jessie J to sing with their children. When she got older, Jessie J studied music at college with Adele. Jessie seldom judges people, but she said that Adele was “great.”

On this album, “Who You Are”, you can hear different music styles such as pop, rock, hip-hop and even reggae. This album is not a commercial album; it is the Jessie J’s music story. Every song is about her thinking. She wants to use her music to encourage people and even impact people.

I would like to introduce two songs to you. The first one is “Who You Are.” This is my favorite song on this album. When I listened to it the first time, I cried a lot. The lyric is very touching. It is about life. The rhythm is powerful and penetrating. The acoustic version has just one guitar but it is enough. A good voice doesn’t need too many decorations.



The second song is called, “Price Tag.” Why do I love it? This is a fast song, so it has a lot of energy.  Moreover, the lyrics are easy to remember - “money, money, money …” The song is about attitude. We should work for love, not for money. Money is less important than happiness. Compared to pop music, her music has her own style and expresses her beliefs.



     Jessie J said, “No matter what happens today, tomorrow is going to be OK.” What encouraging words! One year ago, she said this to herself and kept working hard. Now she can stand on any big stage she wants. If you like her attitude or love her powerful, soulful voice, you will like her album. It is absolutely worthy listening to – at least once!

Is FCU The Animal Kingdom?

Stanley Hsu & Boting Chen

All schools are educational paradises where students sniff their noses at textbooks the whole day, do their labs, and cram for exams.  Feng Chia University, however, is also a small animal kingdom where people can have a close interaction with animals. When Feng Chia students are tired of working on their assignments, they can take a break by feeding squirrels, walking through crowds of sparrows, and watching some special birds walking freely around the campus lawns.  

 
 

All photos by Mr. Lasley, who couldn't wait any longer!
The Malay Night Herons are probably the most amazing birds at Feng Chia University. There are actually two of them. The female, 阿德, has a really attractive feature on her neck – an iridescent bluish feather. The male one has no name because of its unflattering appearance.


These birds are often seen either walking freely around on the beautiful campus or randomly excreting on students’ heads. However, they are still lovely creatures in student’s eyes.


Being ambushed by bird poop from the sky is not the only thing FCU students have to be careful of. They should also be careful that their clothes are not torn apart by evil squirrels. Squirrels always appear in front of crowds, and many tourists are surprised and excited when they see these squirrels for the first time.

Many tourists feed them a variety of foods such as bread crumbs, pineapples, and sandwiches – which is totally wrong! Human food is extremely detrimental to their health. We hope that everyone can remember this and protect FCU’s squirrels and keep their small ecosystem in balance.

When people scatter bread crumbs for the squirrels, you will often see an interesting picture – squirrels fighting with sparrows for food! Many students think the sparrows are the most irritating and annoying birds on campus. As you walk by the College of Engineering building you will see thousands of them sort of crawling on the ground devouring bread crumbs. They look just like tennis balls because of their unusually big size and fat round bellies. They can hardly even fly, which is pretty silly for a bird.

There are many animals on campus, including sparrows, squirrels and the most special birds, Malay Night Herons. Because we share our campus with these animals, student life here at Feng Chia is much more interesting.





Xanadu in Taichung – A Review of Evelyn


Athena Chen & Joanna Chiu

This time we would like to introduce a restaurant that has a pink signboard. We noticed this cute shop many times on our way home, but we really didn’t know anything about it. One recent rainy day, we wanted to find some place to relax, so we decided to go to this cute shop, “Evelyn.”
 
Click here to listen to an audio recording of this article.
  
    Evelyn has two dining areas, indoors and outdoors. The outdoor area is composed of a fenced lawn. There are two tables and four chairs; it looks like a garden. When you go into Evelyn, you can sit at the bar or at a round table. The interior is painted bright pink, and they play light music, so the atmosphere is very relaxing.  

All photos provided by "Evelyn"

    Evelyn provides light meals, drinks, and some snacks. You can order a la carte; however, if you want to upgrade your meal to a set meal, you need to add forty-nine NT dollars. A set meal includes egg or vegetable salad, and you can choose a medium drink. The price for an item a la carte is between eighty and one hundred and thirty dollars. Besides, they have free Wi-Fi, so you can bring your laptop and relax with a movie or work on your assignments.  


    After looking over the menu, Athena ordered the Complex Bricks set meal. Joanna ordered the Honey Toast set meal. First, the owner asked us what kind of salad we would like – vegetable or egg salad (made of egg and potato). Second, she brought us our drinks.



    While we were waiting for our meals, we chatted with the owner. We asked her why she opened this restaurant, and she said that she loves snacking on healthy food, so she opened the shop. After ten minutes, our main course was served. Complex Bricks is a cube toast hollowed out and then filled with smoked chicken and German sausage. Honey Toast has the same kind of toast, but it has fruit inside and two scoops of ice cream on top.



    The atmosphere in Evelyn is so relaxing that you won’t want to go home. Time flies, and we before we knew it, we had already been there for two hours! We think Evelyn is like Xanadu – a magical place far away from reality. Maybe one day when you are passing by, you will stop and join us!





Evelyn
184 Fuxing Rd., Xitun Dist., Taichung City
Hours: 11:00-22:30
Phone number: (04) 2452-3840

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What is the Porco Theater? - A Restaurant Review

Annie Ju

This October, I started a special project: coffee dream traveling. I planned to go to a different coffee shop to perform music each weekend. Because of this project, I have been to more coffee shops, and now I would like to introduce my favorite coffee shop to you: Porco Theater.

All photos by the author

Porco Theater is located in Taichung near Citizen’s Park.  Porco Theater is small, but its design is bright and warm. It is big enough to hold only about five tables, so there aren’t that many seats. There is also a bar where people can sit and see how the coffee is made. The owner has an old record player and a large collection of LPs, and you can request your favorite kind of music. The coffee shop is as warm and comfortable as your home. The first time I went to Porco Theater, I asked the boss why he gave his coffee shop such an interesting name.  He told me that he loved the movie Porco Rosso by Miyazaki Hayao, and he especially liked the leading actor. He said that he thinks that everyone is the “leading actor” because they come to the coffee shop for different reasons.

There are four sections to the Porco menu: beverages, meals, desserts, and coffees. Of course, the coffee is the most important part. Honestly, I didn’t like to drink coffee before because I thought it tasted bitter.  However, on my first visit, I chose the Litchi Honey Coffee. The coffee was really tasty and milky; the flavor was full of Litchi, honey and milk. Because it had such a strong flavor, I thought it was really smooth and totally suited to my taste.

In recent years, a restaurant’s service has become more and more important, and Porco Theater’s boss gave me excellent service.  He spent a long time to introduce the menu to me, and he didn’t force me to order coffee. Not only that; he was really talkative! He answered all of my questions patiently. The most important thing is that the owner does not care how long his guests stay; they can even spend the whole day! He only wants them to enjoy their experience at Porco Theater.

Since I started my project, I have been to about 10 coffee shops. Every coffee shop has its specialty. In my opinion, the service and the decoration are the most interesting for me. If you have the same taste as mine, I would really recommend Porco Theater.  Everyone has to go there at least once.

"The Devil Wears Prada" - Movie Review

Athena Chen & Joanna Chiu

   
After our midterm exam, we decided to relax by seeing a movie. Our friends told us that The Devil Wears Prada is a wonderful movie. After seeing the movie, we discovered that it was not just funny, but had depth. No wonder our friends liked it.


Image (c) Twentieth Century Fox (foxconnect.com)

The Devil Wears Prada is about Andrea Sachs (Andy), who had just finished university and wanted to be a writer for a famous magazine. She applied for a job at the top fashion magazine, “Runway,” and got the job! Unfortunately, she has a lot of trouble with her boss, Miranda. Because Andy and Miranda have very different personalities, they don’t get along very well.
In the beginning of the movie, Andy dressed and acted like she had no idea about how to be a modern, fashionable girl. For example, she had an onion bagel just before her interview for her job.  Moreover, after she got the job, she wore her “grandmother skirt,” and her “size six" dresses to work. Her style seemed kind of dark, and her make-up was not professional. When Nigel, Miranda’s top fashion editor, told Andy that she needed to be more passionate about her job, she started to change. Andy became more confident than before, and everything seemed to go more smoothly.  She gained Miranda’s trust and attended an important party. However, even though she was successful at her job, her life was still not perfect. She was paying so much attention to her job that she lost her friends – and her boyfriend! After Miranda told Andy that she was more like her, Andy began to think about whether this kind of life was making her happy. At the end of the movie, Andy changed again.

To represent the energy pulsing through a great city (the movie took place in New York), music using a lot of guitar and percussion is used throughout the movie. String instruments, like the piano, are also used to reflect how relaxed Andy felt when she finally “found herself.” Now, whenever I hear that music, that scene comes to mind.

At the beginning of the movie, Andy was a normal person who didn’t care about the details in her life; Miranda thought that her job was her entire life. As the movie continues, however, Andy realizes that she doesn't need to change her appearance; she needs to change her mind.  Miranda, on the other hand, discovers that work is not the most important thing in life – that there must be something that makes life worth living.

Check it out! Google Maps Icons at Feng-Chia University

Celeste Jheng

Every day when you are at school, you are sure to see that large Google Maps icon in front of the library.  Actually, there are two Google Maps icons on campus.  You can see the other one on the lawn near the recreation building.  We see these installation art pieces every day; however, does anybody know what they really are and why they are there? To find the answer to these questions, I visited the Feng Chia University Public Relations (PR) Office.

All photos by the author

When I got to the PR Office, I was told to talk to Miss You, who is one of the office’s designers. She told me that they made these Google Maps icons as part of the graduation celebration last semester.  The graduation slogan was,  “Check in at FCU.” As everybody knows, “check-in” is a Facebook function that lets users upload their snapshots to “check in” with their friends and let them know where they are and what they are doing.


 After the PR Office had decided to make these icons, they had to think about where to place them.  They took pictures from many angles at many spots around campus such as the Ren-yan Building, the sport center, the lawn near the recreation building, and the library.  They decided that the sport center was too crowded to add a piece of installation art.  However, they wanted to put an icon at a place where it could be seen on the way to the sport center (the graduation ceremony was held at the sport center).  Therefore, they decided to put an icon on the lawn near the recreation building.  In addition, they put another icon in front of the library. 

Because these two places could emphasis the special features of FCU, they were chosen as the locations for these pieces of installation art.  In the future, these icons will not be only for graduating students to take photos of; they will also attract other students and visitors from off campus. By taking pictures of the icons and uploading them on their Facebook pages or personal blogs, students and visitors can save their special FCU memories and share FCU with others.

While everyone recognizes the Google Maps icon, using it as installation art might seem a little strange.  After talking with the designer, however, I now understand why they wanted to make these installation art pieces, and why they wanted to place them in these special locations.  If you want to know even more about these icons, you can search the Internet for news about Feng-Chia University.  And the next time you pass by one of these pieces of installation art, be sure to take a picture and keep it as a memory.

Love Fried Rice

Sandy Chang & Cathy Huang

Ah-Po Fried Rice is a small shop which sells fried rice and noodles near Feng Chia University. Although Ah-Po Fried Rice seems too small to notice, most of the students in Feng Chia University know about it. We often visit Ah-Po Fried Rice, so we decided to write down the story behind the small shop.


All photos by the authors
Ah-Po is the owner of Ah-Po Fried Rice; she is 73 years old. Ah-Po is very optimistic and friendly and always wears a smile on her face. She does all the work in the shop, including cooking, waiting on tables, and washing the plates. Why does she need to work? She is so old that she should have retired a long time ago. Ah-Po’s son’s business failed, and he owed the bank lots of money. He couldn’t even afford to take care of himself and his family. Although Ah-Po was very disappointed in her son's business failure, she still decided to help her son and take care of his family. This is the reason why Ah-Po opened the shop.


Ah-Po Fried Rice is located on Xi’an Street, near the Feng Chia University gym. It is a small shop and has few seats. It looks like the dining room in someone’s homesmall, but neat and clean. We often order the chicken fried rice because it’s delicious. The most important thing is that the fried rice and noodles Ah Po makes are filled with Ah-Po’s LOVE.


As Ah-Po Fried Rice became more famous, more people visited it. Now, we can read about Ah-Po Fried Rice not only in the newspapers but also on the Internet. Last year, the Knight bicycle team from Hsinchu bought 50 fried rice boxed lunches from Ah-Po Fried Rice and delivered them to old people who live alone. By doing this, they helped both Ah-Po and the old people. In addition, students often come and help Ah-Po and don’t ask to be paid. To those students, Ah-Po is their grandmother, and they love to help her.

The food at Ah-Po Fried Rice is both cheap and delicious. However, there is another, more important, reason why Ah-Po Fried Rice is so popular. The most important reason why so many people visit the shop is the touching story behind it – and the woman whose love gives her dishes their special flavor.


 


Ah-Po Fried Rice

267 Xi'an Street, Taichung
Hours: 7:00 – 22:00