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Friday, April 13, 2012

FCU Thinkers Salon

Clair Lin & Lynn Hsieh

The word “salon” comes from 15th century Europe, where nobles and scholars discussed and debated current social issues in the living rooms of their homes, their salons. Here at FCU, we also have a salon – the FCU Thinker’s Salon. The members of the Thinkers Salon want to improve their own thinking and expand their world view.  

All images courtesy FCU Thinkers Salon; http://fcuthinkers.blogspot.com/
Members of the FCU Thinkers Salon talk about global issues that some people have heard about but most people neglect. Salon members find documentary films that they can view with other students. The most important thing that the FCU Thinkers Salon does is invite speakers who are experts in a specific area. These speakers prepare everything completely to make sure that every participant can understand the issue clearly and join in the discussion.


Each salon starts with the host’s introduction of the issue to be discussed, the film that the participants will see, and the guest speaker. After the documentary film has been shown, the speaker talks about the issue and express his or her opinion. After that, participants share their viewpoints, discuss with others, and even debate for their point of view.


Issues discussed at the FCU Thinkers Salon often inspire us. For example, in India, many children between the ages of 3 and 5 have to work at factories, but their government ignores them. Also, sexual slavery exists in every country; what can we do to help these unfortunate people? The FCU Thinkers Salon helps us compare foreign situations with the Taiwan situation.


The FCU Thinkers Salon inspires students to think about global issues which most of us neglect. When thinking about these issues, I am reminded of how lucky I am – how lucky most of us here in Taiwan are. We should do more for our society, not just sit in front of the TV and feel sympathetic. Join us at the FCU Thinkers Salon; you CAN make a difference in the world!

ㄚ米果 - Restaurant Review

Jessie Chen & Wendy Chang

Among so many restaurants in Feng Chia “lunch box street,” ㄚ米果 is one of our favorites.  Today, we want to share it with you. Because this restaurant is located in a narrow alley off of the Feng Chia lunch box street, it is not easy to find. ㄚ米果 offers Japanese and Taiwanese food at moderate prices, so it’s worth the search.

All photos by Wendy Chang
Outside the restaurant, there is a small blackboard in front of the door. The day’s special and new menu items are written on the board. That helps customers decide what to eat. The kitchen and cashier are outside the restaurant. Remember to pick up a menu before you go in. After you get inside, the restaurant looks a little messy, dim, and small. There is a calendar, a few paintings, and a clock on the wall. Most of the restaurant’s decorations are made of wood, including the ceiling, chairs, and floor.


ㄚ米果sells mainly Japanese food, including Nabeyaki, Oden, and curry rice. The restaurant also offers boxed lunches including rice with chicken, pork chop, or stewed pork. Free cold drinks where located at the end of the hall.  

We ordered Oden udon, which is ㄚ米果’s specialty. We enjoyed this dish because it was filled with hot pot ingredients and vegetables. The udon’s texture was good – not too soft or hard. The soup was fresh and light. The chef told us that their broth is cooked from vegetables and fruits. That’s why the soup is so popular.


We come to ㄚ米果 often with friends. We all like ㄚ米果’s home style decoration, which helps us relax while we're eating. We recommend ㄚ米果’s Nabeyaki, which is light and healthy. Why not go to ㄚ米果 the next time you are wandering around Feng Chia “lunch box street” unsure of what to eat? We believe ㄚ米果 will satisfy you.     

ㄚ米果 Restaurant
No. 3, Alley 28, Lane 20, Feng Chia Road, Xitun District, Taichung  (When you go out FCU main gate, turn right on Wenhua Road; turn left at the first corner, and you will see ㄚ米果 on your left.)

Hours: Monday – Sunday, 11:00 – 22:30
(04)2452-7112

Learning about Taiwan


Angie Chang & Jody Tu
    
    
Teenagers nowadays spend much more time in the virtual world than in the real world. Therefore, in order to encourage young adults to experience and learn things different from things in their daily routine, The National Youth Commission sponsors the Youth Travel Spots in Taiwan project. Young adults can learn more about Taiwanese culture and about Taiwan’s social and natural environment by participating in the activities in this project. Moreover, participants can become involved in public affairs.      

Image courtesy Taiwan National Youth Commission
The Youth Travel Spots in Taiwan project is for young people from around the world who are between the ages of 15 and 30. The project contains 3 kinds of activities: Taiwan exploration, self challenge, and social service. The Taiwan exploration activities include cultural, tribal, ecological, farming, and fishing experiences. The self challenge activities focus on physical conditioning, and the social service activities focus on volunteering. (Video courtesy Taiwan National Youth Commission via YouTube)
   
 
These activities give young adults a chance to spend a weekend and get involved in exploring features of Taiwan. After completing their activities, they will be more concerned about public affairs and identify themselves with Taiwan. Thus, these activities strengthen the relationship between young adults and local public affairs. During these activities, these young people participate in other people‘s lives and experience lifestyles much different from what they are used to. They learn something they could not get from their daily lives and expand their vision of the world.
 
If the Youth Travel Spots in Taiwan project sounds like something you would like to try, visit their webpage. 
Go to http://tour.youthtravel.tw/grandtour/travelspots/default.htm .



Breaking Stereotypes - FCU Language Center

Zoe Hung & Marian Li

To improve your foreign language ability, to make foreign friends, or to learn about other cultures, just come to the Feng Chia University Language Center (LC). At the LC, you learn foreign languages by playing games, chatting with others, or participating in activities. Learning foreign languages in this way is not as boring as listening to lectures as in a normal class.

The LC sponsors a Tutorial Hour activity. You can check out the Tutorial Hour schedule at the entrance to the LC’s computer/seating area, and then just have a seat and chat with LC language teachers. There are different languages to choose from, such as English, Japanese, Spanish, French and Germany. If you think you might want to go to Tutorial Hour activities, you had better have basic foreign language ability; otherwise, you will probably have no idea what the teacher is talking about! During Tutorial Hour, the teacher gives students a topic to discuss. Then each student shares his or her experience or opinion. By participating in Tutorial Hour, you can improve your listening and speaking ability. Remember, you don’t need reservation; just drop in!

All images courtesy FCU Language Center

Activity Night at LC EZ café is on Wednesdays. There are two types of Activity Night – food and games. In both types of activities, students work together in small groups. In cooking activities, you will make your own foreign food dish, and you will learn about other cultures while cooking – and eating! As for the dishes, they are always easy to cook. However, because these activities are so popular, you have to make a reservation. The other Wednesday activity, games, is also popular.  The games are not too difficult, and they will help you to become smarter!


If you are interested in movies, you must attend Movies Night on Thursdays. As you watch the movie, you can also eat some free popcorn! Participating in Movie Night improves your English ability because the movies’ subtitles are in English, and the teacher will ask you some questions, in English, about the movie. Improving your English, making friends and learning about other cultures are not the only benefit of attending LC activities; you can get stamps in your LC Passport for participating in these three kinds of activities. Once you get ten stamps, you can get a free drink at EZ café!


Finally, to help local students learn a second foreign language, the LC provides language exchange opportunities. Just fill in the language exchange form at the EZ café counter. After that, a foreign student who wants to exchange language with you will contact you. The time and place are flexible, as long as both of you come to an agreement.

Participating in these fun and interesting activities will broaden your mind and enrich your knowledge – and improve your English! Don’t be nervous, just relax and enjoy yourself.  For more information about LC activities, go to their website or drop by their office.  

Feng Chia University Language Center
First floor, IEE Building
Hours: M-F 08:00 – 18:00

"Sarah's Key" - Book Review

Chelsea Ho & Connie Hong

Sarah’s Key is a novel by Tatiana de Rosnay. This book tells two stories at the same time; one takes place in 1942 and the other in 2002. In the 1942 story, the main character is a ten-year-old girl, Sarah Starzynski. She is a Jewish girl born in Paris. In the 2002 story, the main character is an American woman, Julia Jarmond. Julia is a journalist. She is married to a French man and lives in Paris with her husband’s family and her daughter.

Image courtesy St. Martin's Press; http://us.macmillan.com/SMP.aspx

In 1942, the French police raided the Starzynski’s apartment, arresting Sarah and her parents. When the police came to their house, Sarah locked her four-year-old brother in a secret closet in her room, so he wasn’t captured. Sarah and her parents were transported to Drancy internment camp. In 2002, Julia wrote an article about the Vel’d Hiv Roundup, the time when Sarah’s family was taken away. While she was looking for information about the Vel’d Hiv Roundup, Julia discovered that Sarah was still alive. When she learned more about Sarah’s story, she discovered that her husband’s family was connected to Sarah’s family; this connection caused trouble for her relationship with her husband and his family.

The author describes the story by going back and forth between two times. When Julia was writing her article, Sarah’s story came up. At the end of the book, there was a very moving scene that I will never forget.  When Sarah’s son met Julia, he asked Julia what her youngest daughter’s name was; Julia said, “Sarah.”

A few days ago, I saw in the news that some young Taiwanese men had attacked a migrant worker from Thailand. It seemed to me the Taiwanese young men were like the Nazis in Sarah’s Key, and the Thai worker was like the Jews. Because racial discrimination was in the young Taiwanese men’s minds, they thought that it was OK to bully a foreigner worker. We learned from Sarah’s Key that we should treat everyone equally, no matter who they are.

We enjoyed this book and want to recommend it to everyone. When you read Sarah’s Key, you will like it.

Cheng Huang Temple - Food Fit for the Gods

Sunny Wu

Hsinchu is in northern Taiwan. Since the wind is strong in winter, Hsinchu is also called “the windy city.” When people think of Hsinchu, they always think of Cheng Huang Temple. Cheng Huang Temple is a Fukien style temple; it was constructed in 1747. Now the temple is not just a religious center; it is a cultural center. That means it is a great place to eat!

When it is a holiday, many people go to Cheng Huang Temple. The temple is surrounded by various food stands. There are rice flour noodles, meat ball soup, Chinese burritos and oyster omelets. I would like to introduce A Cheng Huang food stand to you. When you first get to Cheng Huang Temple, you will see A Cheng Hau. At A Cheng Hau, they sell fried noodles, fried rice noodles, and cuttlefish and pork thick soup. A Cheng Hau uses thicker rice noodles in their fried rice noodles, so they are really chewy. I like the cuttlefish and pork thick soup because it contains lots of ingredients and costs only NT$35!

All photos by the author
Another popular food in the Cheng Huang Temple area is oyster omelets. Most people go to Wang Ji to eat oyster omelets because they are the most famous omelet stand.  Wang Ji’s omelets contain vegetables, fresh oysters and eggs. They are delicious.


Near A Cheng Hau and Wang Ji, you will see Miao Yang; they sell beverages. Miao Yang uses grass jelly or milk or pearl to make their drinks. You can mix their grass jelly with any of their ingredients. It really tastes good on a hot day!


Duck Hsu is near Cheng Huang Temple. They sell all kinds of duck dishes. I recommend their duck noodles and fried duck blood. Duck Hsu’s fried duck blood contains soya sauce, vinegar, leeks and chilies. It tastes sour and sweet, and the duck blood is soft. You won’t want to miss this delicious treat!


Next time, you go to Hsinchu, please do not forget to go to Cheng Huang Temple. Not only will you be blessed by the gods, you will also find lots of delicious foods!

A Cheng Hau
Phone: (03)528-4517
Wang Ji
Phone: (03)521-5625
Miao Yang
Phone (cell): 0921-476-999

All of the above food stands can be found at the Cheng Huang Temple, 75 Zhongshan Rd., North District, Hsinchu

Duck Hsu
Phone: (03)524-6574

Made in Heaven - Drama with Heart

Rachel Hsu
Nowadays, job and schoolwork are important parts of our lives. We are all under a lot of pressure, so entertainment is really important. Today, I want to introduce an opera group, The Workshop in Heaven. I recommend it to you because it is a wonderful opera group. They use funny plots, colorful costumes, and good sound effects in every performance.

All photos courtesy Workshop in Heaven; http://www.facebook.com/WIHtheatre

Workshop in Heaven was established in 1996. Their members are all graduates of art schools. In the beginning, they didn’t have much money, so just relied on their enthusiasm to keep them going. Although they seldom performed, audiences still went to the theater and supported them. Workshop in Heaven members knew that they had to keep growing if they wanted to succeed, so they created more dramas in the following years. Now, Workshop in Heaven performs in national theaters and art centers all over Taiwan. They are also invited to many universities to show their creations.


To see Workshop in Heaven perform, students don’t have to pay any money. They can even interact with the performers! In addition to performing on stage, Workshop in Heaven has held drama camps at schools for more then ten years. In these learning camps, students have to design their own scripts and use amusing ways to present their works. In the process, they will know more about the art of performing. Workshop in Heaven’s creations are always based on “love.” They always spread their ideas about peace and sincerity to society. After performing for more than ten years, the members wish to have their own specialized theater and put more ideas into their works.


Workshop in Heaven is a positive group; each of their works has some meaning for us. They put a lot of mental and physical effort into every work. They hope their enthusiasm will spread their message of love and kindness. If you are interested in funny, meaningful stories, you should support Workshop in Heaven when they come to a theater near you!
For more information about Workshop in Heaven, go to their website at:  https://www.facebook.com/WIHtheatre

Da Tie Tofu Pudding - Restaurant Review

Vera Hsu & Kevin Chang

Da Tie Tofu Pudding, located on the corner of Henan Road and Fuxing Road, is a famous dessert store. It is open from 10 in the morning to 10 at night, and offers a lot of different dessert.  The prices at this popular shop are really moderate, too.  We went there a few days ago; let us tell you about our experience.

All photos by the authors

When you enter the store, you will notice that there are some beautiful pictures on the wall. If you look closely, you will notice that there is some writing on these pictures. From the writing on these pictures, you will find out that the owner of store was not a dessert maker originally, but a blacksmith – hence the name, “Da Tie” or “Blacksmith.” We were very surprised at that. The owner of Da Tie has a really good business attitude. He insists that his food must be delicious.  At Da Tie, they have seats both outside and inside. It was hot that day, so we chose outside seats.


There are only two people working at Da Tie Tofu Pudding. One is the cashier; the other waits on customers. There were not very many people there when we got there, so we got our desserts without waiting too long.  The service was friendly; the workers kept smiling at us.

At Da Tie, they offer lots of toppings for your dessert. They have red beans, peanuts, tapioca pearls, and mung beans. This time we chose red beans, peanuts, and tapioca pearls with brown sugar water. It was super delicious. However, if you discover that you don’t like your topping, you can exchange your pudding for a new one – for free!


There is something special about Da Tie. The first time customers come to Da Tie, the cashier will give them a “VIP” card with one stamp on it. Then each time they come back, they will get another stamp. When their card is full, they will get a free dessert!

  We highly recommend this dessert store. It’s very cheap, and we like the relaxing atmosphere. Da Tie Tofu Pudding offers a variety of delicious desserts, and we look forward to enjoying all of them. Visit Da Tie soon, and don’t forget to pick up your VIP card!  


Da Tia Tofu Pudding
320 Henan Road, Taichung
Hours: 10:00 – 22:00
(04)2707-5559

English Camp

Ray Yeh

Last summer vacation, I did a meaningful thing; I attended the Intensive English Program. I have always been interested in English, so I applied for the program. I enjoyed the program and learned a lot from the program.


All photos by the author

Before I entered the program, my English level was B1. I joined the Intensive English Program because I wanted to improve my English skill. I was determined to increase my level to B2 in a short time. When you want to learn a language, the environment is an important factor in your success. All the participants in the Intensive Program were passionate about learning English and able to communicate with each other in English. We had the same goal and helped each other improve.

I was impressed by the teaching in the program. The teaching in the program not only focused on English test skills but also emphasized real English abilities. The teachers were excellent, and they all had their own style. They trained us in all language skills including listening, reading, speaking, and writing. The teachers shared some useful learning tricks with us, too. With these useful tricks, we could answer the listening and reading questions more easily.


We had a lot of opportunities to speak English. We answered questions, discussed in groups, and even gave a presentation. For the writing skills portion of the training, we practiced writing an essay. After we wrote the essay, the software we used gave us feedback. We learned how to improve our writing skills from the feedback. There was also a course on how to prepare for English skills tests and how to answer the questions on tests. The teachers analyzed the questions and taught us how to answer smartly. We took a mock test every week, so we practiced these useful skills immediately. Also, we learned a lot from our mistakes on the mock test.


The teachers often designed activities for us. We played games such as role playing games, guessing words, and memorizing sentences. When the activity was a presentation, it was a hard task for everyone in the group. For our presentations, teamwork was even more important than our individual skills. Everyone needed to cooperate to get the work done quickly. We tried our best to impress everyone with our presentation.


The program Teaching Assistants (TAs) played the most important role in the program. The biggest contribution that the TAs made to the program was that they stayed with us 24 hours every day. Our TA not only accompanied us to class but also took care of us after class. In class, the TA had to understand what the teacher wanted us to learn, what the teachers wanted to focus on. The TA also had to help conduct the learning activities and help us understand everything in class.  They also had to report to our teachers on how our studies were going. After class, the TA had to take care of us and help us solve life problems. We lived in the same dormitory, so we practiced English together. It was a totally English environment even when we were not in class. The TAs did their best to make sure that we did not have to worry about anything but improving our English skills.

        Although the Intensive English Program was a short-term program, I learned a lot from the program. I increased my English level to B2 successfully, so I can promise you that it IS possible to improve your English in a short time. Moreover, I made friends with many people who love English. It is hard to find an English environment with excellent teachers, motivated classmates, and helpful TAs. The Intensive English Program will be held again in this summer vacation, so don’t pass up this opportunity.  The Intensive English Program is the best opportunity for you to learn English.

"Iron Lady" - Movie Review

Anfisa Kuznetsova

Last week I went to Shin Kong Cinema to see the movie called “The Iron Lady.” The movie tells the life story of Margaret Thatcher, former British Prime Minister. Meryl Streep plays Thatcher in her middle and late years and Alexandra Roach plays Thatcher in the early years of her career. Jim Broadbent plays Thatcher’s husband, Denis Thatcher. Anthony Head is Thatcher’s cabinet member and deputy.
Photo Credit: Alex Bailey / Courtesy of Pathe Productions Ltd.
http://www.theironladymovie.co.uk/blog/images.asp

The movie starts with a scene where retired Margaret Thatcher buys milk at a neighborhood grocery store and walks home alone. Her husband died a while ago and now she is mostly alone. She has problems remembering things and is physically weak. She looks back on her personal and professional life thinking that her husband is looking back with her. Her story is told through flashbacks, memories of her past. In one of the flashbacks of her early years, she recollects how hard it was to be a lower middle-class woman. She worked at her father’s grocery store before going to Oxford University. In another flashback of her career she remembers her struggles being the only female member in the House. In flashbacks of her years as a Prime Minister she remembers moments with her deputy, Geoffrey Howe.

Meryl Streep’s acting as Margaret Thatcher in her middle age and late years was astonishing. The actress completely transformed herself to act and sound like Margaret Thatcher. The way Meryl Streep behaved and did things was exactly the same of that of the main character. She spoke with the same accent too! Streep wore the same outfits and accessories and had same kind of make-up which Margaret Thatcher did. Therefore, I was very interested in the character’s life story while watching the movie. Of course, Meryl Streep’s performance was highly acclaimed. She earned Best Actress awards at the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs, and the Academy Awards.

Meryl Streep’s make-up artists, Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland, received Best Make-up Academy Awards. They created a perfect look of Margaret Thatcher for Meryl Streep. The make-up was so well done that I didn’t recognize Meryl Streep in the beginning of the movie!

I enjoyed the movie and did not feel that it had lasted for almost two hours. This movie is great for students and young people beginning their careers. Margaret Thatcher’s life and accomplishments are great examples of hard work and dedication.

Blue Cave - Restaurant Review

Jack Lin

There are many kinds of restaurants in Taichung. If you can’t find an appropriate place to have a business meeting, a chat with friends or a relaxing afternoon tea, maybe you should try Blue Cave. To get to Blue Cave, go to SOGO department store.  From there, go along Meichun Rd and you will see Hsiang Shang N. Road. Turn left on Hsiang Shang N. Road and, in about five minutes, you will see Blue Cave on your right.

The building is Italian style because the shopkeeper has been to Italy and wants to share his memories with his customers. The design of this restaurant is very simple and fashionable. It has a quiet atmosphere that is good for having a quiet conversation or a peaceful meal alone.

Blue Cave can satisfy the different demands of its customers because they provide many kinds of meals such as steak (beef, pork, lamb, chicken), seafood, spaghetti, and different beverages. One thing special about Blue Cave is their salad bar. If you order a meal, the salad bar is free. I recommend the chicken steak because it is juicy, and the meat is fresh. Blue Cave steaks cost between NT$550 and NT$700. Most students can’t afford such high price every day, but after you taste their food, you will feel it was worth it.

There are many reasons why I recommend this restaurant. First, it has a great atmosphere and a quiet environment. You can have a chat with friends, a business meeting or enjoy your private time. Second, if you think that you can’t afford the expensive price, you can choose the special day like Christmas, someone’s birthday, or Valentine’s Day to come here to celebrate.

The meals at Blue Cave are delicious, and the environment calm and quiet. For a relaxing meal, Blue Cave is your best choice.

Blue Cave
127 Hsiang Shang North Rd., Taichung
Telephone: (04)2302-6545 (Make a reservation and receive a 10% discount.)
Hours: Lunch 11:30 – 14:00; Dinner 17:30 – 21:00
Website: http://www.blue-cave.com.tw

Intensive English Summer Course

Lisa Huang

Do you have any plans for the upcoming summer vacation? Most students will want to take a good rest, relax, and do nothing. I used to be that kind of student, but last summer, I chose to have a different summer vacation. I served as a Teaching Assistant (TA) in a special activity at school, the Intensive English Course. I learned many things from this activity that made my summer vacation really meaningful.

All photos courtesy FCU Language Center
The Intensive English Course is sponsored by Taiwan’s Ministry of Education and is hosted in central Taiwan by FCU and Providence University. The purpose of this course is to help students make progress in their English learning, especially in business English. It was a four-week-long course held in August. The students who participated in this course were all at English skills level B1; the goal was for them to improve to level B2.

Being a TA in this course was an interesting experience because I had never done such a thing before. Most of the time, I play my role as a student, but this time I had the chance to experience walking into the class as a TA and helping the students and the teachers. However, what made the summer vacation so meaningful was not the role I played, but the things I learned through playing this role.


The first thing I learned was how to interact with strangers. The first time I stepped into the classroom, all I saw was unfamiliar faces! If I were a student, I would have just found a place to sit and waited for the class to start. I didn’t do that because I was the TA – I was supposed to help teach the students! Therefore, instead of sitting down directly, I introduced myself quickly and tried to learn more about the students.

The second thing I learned was the focus of this course---business English skills. Although I couldn’t focus entirely on learning the content of the course (since I had to spend a lot of time taking care of the students in my group), I still learned how to do a good presentation and how to write an effective business letter.

The third thing I learned was how to solve problems. Since this was the first time that FCU had hosted this kind of course, some unexpected things happened. For example, some students had trouble adapting to different teaching styles. We TAs had to communicate with the teacher and try to figure out what we could do to help the students in our groups. Another unexpected thing happened during the last week of the course. Most students were exhausted from studying so hard, and they often fell asleep in class. Therefore, the TAs had to motivate them and encourage them.

While I learned many things during this Intensive English Course, there was one thing I didn’t notice until long after the course had ended and I was at a job expo held by the ESOL Examination Board.  All of the students and TAs from the Course were invited since all of us were then above the B1 level and had taken the BULATS exam. At the job expo, I discovered that during the Intensive English Course, I had made a group of new friends who enjoy learning English as much as I do! Although some of us did want to find a job, the job expo turned into a kind of classmates’ reunion. Maybe we will even have a chance to work together in the future!

The Summer Intensive English Course is a great activity to join during summer vacation. As a student you will be able to improve your English skills, and if you are a TA, you might learn a lot of other things, too. Don’t feel bad if you missed last summer’s course; you will have another chance this summer! Check the FCU Language Center website often for information about this and other Language Center activities.