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Friday, June 1, 2012

18 Degrees Chocolate in Puli

Kevin Chang

I want to introduce you all to a famous chocolate store in Puli. Everybody calls it Eighteen Degrees Chocolate Store. Eighteen Degrees was originally a residence in a quiet neighborhood, but when it became a chocolate shop, the whole neighborhood became noisier. Then it became a famous tourist site soon after that. Now, many people go by Eighteen Degrees and buy some chocolate every day. The boss of the chocolate store made big money, so he opened an ice cream store next door. He also provides a parking lot for customers.  

All photos by the author
Eighteen Degrees is a small store, and the chocolates are very delicate. The temperature inside the store has to be kept cool so that the chocolates don’t melt, so they limit the number of people who can be inside the store at the same time.  When you want to buy some chocolates at their store, you have to take a number and stand in line outside. Every ten minutes, a member of the Eighteen Degrees staff offers free chocolates to customers who are waiting outside. They also offer people a place to rest, free black coffee, and hot tea. A lot of people like to chat there the whole afternoon.

There are many reasons why people like this chocolate store. At Eighteen Degrees, their chocolates are all handmade, so they taste very pure. Although they are a bit expensive, they are really delicate. Both the chocolates and the packages are beautifully shaped. Moreover, the Eighteen Degrees staff will offer you an ice pack to keep the chocolate cool while you are on the way home.  If Puli is far away from home, you can also buy their chocolates on-line. They will deliver chocolate directly to your home.

I highly recommend this chocolate store to everybody. This is not only a chocolate store but also a tourist site. I was very impressed by this shop, and the next time I visit Puli, I will be sure to make time for Eighteen Degrees chocolate shop.

Saving the Earth from Humans - A Short Story

Ray Yen

One day, the earth was attacked by cruel aliens. Because the humans were destroying their own planet, the aliens thought that to save the earth, they had to kill all the humans. In the beginning, the humans tried to defend their world, whatever the cost would be. However, the humans failed. The aliens were invisible and strong; the humans could not hurt them. The aliens were so heartless that they destroyed everything and killed a lot of humans.

The only hope of survival for the humans was to escape into the digital world through their computers. The remaining humans did this, and suddenly disappeared from the earth. This was a technology that the human created just in case there was a danger of human extinction. However, this technology was not perfect. Once the humans had entered the digital world, it was impossible to get out again. Because all of their computers were connected, the humans were, in fact, trapped in the digital world of the Internet.

At first, the humans were united against their enemy, and they thought that it was safe to stay in the digital world.  They were wrong. Interests split the humans into two rival factions. Soon, there was a civil war. The White Hacker League fought against the Black Hacker League for many years. The Black Hacker League had a strong team called Zoombit. All the soldiers in Zoombit were equipped with Virus, Worm and Trojan weapons. It was hard for The White Hacker League to stand against their enemy’s powerful attack with nothing. Thus, The White Hacker League invented Anti-Virus, Firewall and Honeypot to defend their headquarters.

In the White Hacker League headquarters, there was a lot of treasure including secrets, personal information, and codes. The Black Hacker League hunted for these treasures and wanted control over every computer. Once The Black Hacker League got control, the digital world would start down the path to ruin.

The Internet played an important role in this war. The only way to stop the war was to stop using the Internet and destroy it. There was no doubt that it was a hard decision for the White Hacker League. If the Internet was destroyed, they would be safe from the Black Hacker League as well as the aliens. However, the Internet was still there.

Eventually, the aliens found out that the humans were living in the digital world.  They destroyed the Internet, all computers, and, of course all the humans inside them.  All the humans were dead.  The aliens had saved the Earth from the humans, and the planet slowly began to come to life again.

ChthoniC - Music Review

Jessie Chen & Wendy Chang

When I was a high school student, one day I saw a music video on TV. It was sung by ChthoniC(閃靈). I was shocked by their powerful melody and strange make- up. Since then, I have become one of their fans. ChthoniC released their sixth and last album, Takasago Army (高砂軍), in July, 2011. It was ranked #7 on the Top 10 Metal Music list.

ChthoniC is a Taiwanese metal band that was formed in 1995. There are five members in this band. “ChthoniC” means “underworld” in Greek. Because of the meaning of “ChthoniC”, this band combined elements like darkness, Hell, and strong energy in their music and stage performances. Most of ChthoniC’s songs are related to Chinese culture. They write songs and lyrics based on Taiwanese traditional myths and historical events. They play the traditional Chinese two-string instrument, Erhu, on their albums. They also wear black-and-white make-up during their concerts. ChthoniCis a different from other bands and represents a unique style.

(ChthoniC Official YouTube Channel)

Takasako Army tells the story of the Takasago Volunteers, a group of Taiwanese aborigines who were soldiers in the Japanese Army during World War II. There are 10 songs in this album. ChthoniC combined three kinds of music on this album, metal, Classical Chinese, and Japanese Enka. They also invited famous Taiwanese singers to sing together on this new album, including Zhan Yawen(詹雅雯), and Yu Tien(余天). These singers give this album a more authentic Taiwanese flavor.

"Takao" is my favorite song on Takasako Army. ChthoinC invited YuTien to sing this song with them. YuTien's deep voice and ChthoinC’s powerful melody went together very well. The song begins with Japanese Enka and strong guitar. It really touches me deeply. The lyrics are very special because they are written in Classical Chinese. That’s the biggest difference between ChthoniC and other metal bands.

(Click to hear "Takao")

ChthoniC’s vocalist's voice and their musical style might be hard to accept at first, but if you listen carefully, you’ll start to understand what they want to express about Taiwan society If you are a heavy metal fan, you won't want to miss such a special band. Go to YouTube and watch ChthoniC's video. We are sure you will enjoy their music and performances immediately, just like we did. There is also an English version of Takasako Army available for download from iTunes. If you like what you hear, you can buy it on ChthoniC‘s official website.

Two Hearts Together Always

Rachel Hsu & Sunny Wu
As senior students, we are going to graduate next month. In these past four years, we have experienced many things and made a lot of memories. So, we want to look back our life here at Feng Chia and share our thoughts with you, to use this essay as happy ending to our university life.

Rachel and Sunny, your authors, are classmates and roommates. We are also taking the Honors Program courses together, so we spend a lot of time together. In our first year, we went to Sansia to take a special Chinese class. We visited the Yingge Ceramics Museum first. There were many artistic productions on display there. The people at the museum even showed us the process of making ceramics. Then we went to Sansia’s old street. There were many old-style groceries on the street selling children’s toys and souvenirs. We wore cowboy hats, pretended to be cowboys, and took many pictures. We also tasted Sansia’s local specialty – croissants. It was a happy and a fun day! When we were sophomores, we took part in the Honor’s Program’s trip to Taichung Harbor. The tour guide introduced us to the history of Taichung Harbor. After that, we took a ferry out of the harbor. Because the waves were so big, both of us got seasick. It was a terrible memory.

After classes were over, we also had participated in many activities. In our third year, we went hiking in Ta Kang. While we were hiking, we encountered many monkeys! We were nervous and afraid, so we ran fast. On the hilltop, we met a group of climbers who treated us to some food and fruit. Although it was a hot and tiring day, we were still excited because it was a special experience to go hiking with friends. We also celebrated some special days together. When we had finished our final exams last semester, all of our classmates had a big meal at Gioia Papa. We ate many different kinds of pizza and spaghetti. The dish we remember most clearly was their Banana and Chocolate pizza. This was the first time we had eaten such an extraordinary pizza! In the end, all of us exchanged presents. We drew lots to decide which gift we got. Rachel got a cell phone ornament. Sunny got facial mask. We enjoyed the moment – sharing food and having fun together.
We have had many wonderful experiences in these four years. We experienced not only life in Feng Chia, but also activities after school. Although we’ll graduate soon and go off in different directions, these wonderful memories will stay with us. Our hearts will be together and support each other forever!

Teachers vs. Students in Freshman English

Lisa Huang

Self-introduction video, computer software homework, two hours of class every week – do all these things remind you of something? I’m sure what comes to mind is your Freshman English course. What did you think about this course? The answer might be different from person to person.

If we knew what was going on in the teacher’s and the students’ minds when talking about Freshman English, we would not only be able to create a better learning environment, but also make the course a greater success. Now we are going to take a peek into the minds of both a Freshman English teacher and his students. (The information is collected through an interview of an FCU Language Center teacher and a survey of students in two of his Level 4 Freshman English classes.)

Do you know what your teachers think about the courses they teach? Well, I CAN’T tell you exactly how every teacher views their courses, but I do have a teacher who shared his opinion with me. While Freshman English is required by the school, this teacher believes the value of the course depends on each individual student. If you say, “Well, I’m not really interested in what the teacher thinks about the COURSE,” then I have got something else for you – the teacher’s opinion about his students.

There are many types of students, but this teacher says he can generally separate all students into two different types—smart and not smart. The teacher’s definition of who is smart depends on their critical thinking ability. Smart students are pushed by the teacher so that they learn even more. The not-so-smart students, those students who sleep in class or don’t go to class, are not pushed. The teacher respects their reasons for their behavior and believes the students have their reasons for doing what they do; however, he also requires that they take responsibility for their behavior. As for his expectations for his students, this teacher expects different things from different students, depending on their ability and attitude. Therefore, his students don’t have to worry that their English is poor; their teacher won’t set a goal that they can’t achieve.

After this little peek into a teacher’s perspective, now we can take a glance at what students think. According to the survey the author administered to this teacher’s two classes, most students KNOW that doing their class work is important because it can help them strengthen their basic English skills. Moreover, most students like Freshman English because the school provides a good environment for them to practice English. However, there are some students who think it is meaningless to take Freshman English because they don’t use English in their daily life; for them, it’s just waste of time. Still other students don’t like the class because they think the class is scheduled too early in the day; it’s hard for them to get out of bed before 10 o’clock.

When students were asked what they want to learn from their Freshman English course, they responded in many ways. However, there are three things that almost all students said they wanted to learn. The first is to improve their grammar. The second is to learn practical things which they can use in real life. Finally, they want to improve their speaking ability and communication skills. Apart from the things they want to learn, the way their teacher teaches is an important factor influencing weather the students can learn effectively or not. Without a doubt, the teacher’s teaching style can help students fully concentrated in class. Furthermore, if the teacher can present the course content in a clear and simple way, students will be able to learn more easily. Giving students a group discussion activity is one way to motivate students to participate. Moreover, if the teacher combines games with the class activity, then he doesn’t need to force students to study; in fact, what the teacher might need to do is stop the students from learning once they get started!

What if a teacher speaks Chinese in class? Will that make the students think that he has lower expectations for the students? According to the survey, 62% of the student answered “No.” Most students think speaking Chinese is necessary in order to make classroom instruction clear. Interestingly, I also found that some students believe that, because their teacher speaks so little Chinese in class, the question must be important if the teacher speaks Chinese in order to answer. On the other hand, 34% of students think that if the teacher speaks Chinese, it is because he thinks the students don’t understand what he is teaching; therefore, they think that the teacher’s expectations are too low. The remaining 4% of students think it’s OK for the teacher to speak Chinese sometimes, but not all the time; otherwise, it might make the students think their teacher has low expectations.

Although this article is based on survey responses from only two Level 4 Freshman English classes, I hope you might still learn something from it. For me, I think it is interesting to look at this course from both the teacher’s and students’ perspectives because by learning what the teacher and students think, we might make the course more productive!

Victory Day in Russia

Anfisa Kuznetsova

Victory Day is the greatest national holiday in Russia. It is celebrated every year on 9 May. On this day, parades and concerts take place in most cities across Russia. People celebrate the victory over German fascists in World War Two. This is one of my favorite holidays. Every year on May 9 I remember how I celebrated this special day when I was little.

On Victory Day, my sister and I liked to go to the Victory Day Parade in my city. We went to the monument called “Eternal Fire”, which was created in remembrance of those who died in World War Two. On that day, as a custom, no automobile could go to the part of the road where the monument was. At 10 o’clock, when the Parade was called “Officially Open,” we watched sailors from a local navy division march across the Eternal Fire Square to the monument. Later, we watched soldiers from a local army division march across the square to the monument, too. Both of the divisions put flowers by the fire and took off their berets. The host announced a moment of silence. The crowd became quiet and stood silent. Then some veterans were invited to give speeches about those days when they fought in war. After the veterans, some city governors gave speeches about Victory Day, veterans, and the heroism of the Russian people. At the end of the ceremony everyone was invited to give flowers to the veterans and put some by the fire.

After the parade was officially closed, we went to the Palace of Culture Square. There, we watched dance and music performances by local dance and music groups. There, we got cotton candy, our favorite sweet. When the celebration finished, we walked from the square down the central road to the bus stop. We got on the bus which route was along the main road where the parade took place earlier that day. We passed three big beautiful monuments including “Eternal Fire” monument.

When we got home, we ate some food and told Mom about the parade at the “Eternal Fire” Square and the concert at the Palace of Culture Square. Then all of us went to watch TV. We watched the biggest Victory Day Parade in Moscow. We all enjoyed watching it. Then my sister and I watched old war movies and learned how difficult those days were for all Russian people. At the end of the day, Mom joined us to watch the biggest Victory Day concert in Moscow. We all enjoyed listening to old war songs sung by famous singers who are popular now.

Victory Day is a special day for Russian people. Parades and concerts in cities across Russia attract many people to celebrate this holiday. I liked to celebrate Victory Day since I was little. Victory Day parades, concerts, old war movies, and old war songs create a special feeling in the air that makes me remember and honor veterans and those who died in the war.

Observing a Freshman English Class

Angie Chang

I used to think that the factors that make a class work were the teacher, the materials used in class, and the way the teachers uses those materials.  When my friend and I visited two Level 4 Freshman English classes, we changed our thinking.  The students also contribute a lot to how well a class succeeds.   

We went to two classes, and although they both were Level 4 classes, they were almost totally different from each other. After our visit to the first class, the teacher told us that, in the second class, most of the students sit in the back of the classroom.  He felt that because they are so far away, they did not feel like contributing to the class. I had the idea that if students sat in the front of the classroom, they might be willing to contribute more. Thus, my friend and I decided to do a little experiment; we sat in the front of the classroom, and watched to see if the students would move to the front of the class with us and be more involved in the class. However, where we sat did not affect the class at all.

We think that the experiment failed because there were already many small groups in the class. The students were more affected by the other students in their groups, their closer friends, than by the students in the rest of the class.  Also, the experiment did not last a long time; we were there for only one day. We believe that if the teacher asks the “leaders” of these groups to sit in the front of the classroom, it may encourage other students to follow.

The classes were different in other ways, too. The first class we visited was active, and the second class was passive. We noticed that the teacher responded differently to each class. In the first class, the teacher taught by lecture. The teacher explained the text and the structure of a story for the students. However, during the lecture, the students were distracted and paid little attention. Before the end of the period, the teacher gave the students a small group activity. The teacher read one paragraph from an article and, after he had finished, asked the students to rewrite the paragraph from memory. The students actively participated in this project. The teacher used this game to test their grammar and vocabulary, and to see how well the students learned the lesson.

The teacher had the different way to teach the second class. In this class there was more interaction between the teacher and the students. The teacher gave the students some vocabulary and asked them to make sentences. The students who were asked to make sentences were forced to be involved in the class. This class also did the same small group activity as the first class. The students in the second class also actively participated in this task.  

The teacher taught the first class by lecture, which allowed the more active students to be distracted. The teacher taught the second class only through activities, and the entire class participated.  The second class had a more passive “personality,” so the teacher used interactive activities rather than just giving a lecture. These activities helped the students concentrated on the class. During these learning activities, we found that the number of students involved in the class was about the same in the two classes.

From our small experiments and observations, we learned that different types of students will influence both the type and difficulty of the teaching material a teacher uses and how the teacher uses that material in the classroom. There is no good class or bad class; there is no good teaching style or bad teaching style. Even the teaching material cannot be judged good or bad.  How all three – the teacher, the learning material, and the students – interact in the classroom is the most important thing.

"My Sister's Keeper" - Book Review

Chelsea Ho & Connie Hong

My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult, tells the story of Anna Fitzgerald, a thirteen-year-old girl who, since she was a young child, underwent countless surgeries and transfusions so that her older sister, Kate, could stay alive. Finally, when Anna was thirteen years old, and her mother wanted her to donate one of her kidneys to her sister, she sued her parents for medical emancipation and the right to control her own body. Anna knew that making this decision would have fatal consequences for her sister, who had suffered from leukemia since childhood.

Image (c) Simon & Schuster's-Keeper/Jodi-Picoult/9780743486194
At the beginning of My Sister’s Keeper, Anna wanted to sue her parents for medical emancipation. I was so surprise that Anna wanted to do that. If she didn’t donate her kidney to her sister, Kate would die. Anna’s mother didn’t understand why Anna was not willing to donate a kidney to save her only sister, but Anna’s father respected her decision. When Anna decided to sue her parents, some people may have thought that Anna’s lawyer accepted the case because he wanted to enhance his reputation, but this is not true. The lawyer accepted this case because he also had a terrible disease – epilepsy – and knew how Anna felt not having control over her own body and how painful it was for her to continually have surgery.

This story, about how one child is used to save another child, may sound crazy, but a similar case has already happened in the United States. In 2002, a couple wanted to find a donor who could help save their daughter, who had a deadly disease.  They couldn’t find anyone to help, so they accepted their doctor’s suggestion that they use medical technology to have their second child – a perfect match – to save their first daughter. Their doctor succeeded in modifying the second baby’s genes and helping the couple to save their first daughter. I think the couple just used the child’s body as a tool and ignored the baby’s feelings. This seems to raise ethical questions, doesn’t it?

We enjoyed My Sister’s Keeper very much. If you are interested in medical technology and human relations, you will find the content outstanding. We recommend that you read My Sister’s Keeper – it will definitely give you a lot to think about.

New & Old Beijing

Lynn Hsieh

In January 2012, my friends and I joined a tour to Beijing held by the Taiwan Development Institute. It was my first trip to the capital of China, and the 10 days’ experience made a great impression on me. The old buildings of ancient Beijing city, the development of modern Beijing city, and the friends I met there in the coldest winter I have ever felt all inspired me a lot and have become a beautiful memory of my student life.

All photos by the author
It was the coldest it had been in Beijing for nearly 20 years, so we wore 5-7 layers of clothes; and still our fingers felt frozen! The center of the city is filled with high buildings, and the roads are wide and flat. There are six traffic loops around the city, mass-transit is very convenient, and bus tickets are very cheap.

Ancient Beijing city is very wide and the old buildings are traditional. What we had learned in history class and seen on TV were right there in front of us! When I closed my eyes, I could even imagine it was thousands of years ago and I was standing in an ancient Chinese palace. Traditional foods like Tomato on stick and roast duck were delicious, cheap and hard to forget.

While we were in Beijing, we tried a cool sport – ice skating. As none of had ever tried this before, we fell down a lot – but we fell down in many creative and funny ways! We also saw an ice sculpture exhibition; it was amazing for those of us from the south. There were big dragons, houses, bridges and even the palaces made from ice. We had a lot of fun at the exhibition and took lots of pictures there.

With our guide map in hand, we searched for history in every corner of Beijing city. We found lots of things that were similar to, and lots of things that were different from, what we find in Taiwan. I thought Beijing’s concrete architecture and the city planning were great, but the standard of living is lower than in Taiwan. Because life is harder in China, students there are more competitive.  Therefore, I think that Taiwan’s students are going to have to work harder or we are going to be too weak to compete with Chinese students. Finally, after this inspiring experience, we knew more about China and enjoyed our visit to Beijing city, both ancient and modern.

My FCU Days

Vera Tu

I will soon graduate from Feng Chia University. When I entered Feng Chia University, I had no idea about finance; I just followed the class schedule arranged by the finance department day after day. I thought I had to focus on my study, so I seldom attended any outside activities.

When I was in my second year, I became a dormitory volunteer. I was a volunteer for two years, and I made a lot of friends. However, I became so busy that I failed some subjects taught by serious teachers. Also, I was busy with cram school because I decided to apply to graduate school. I missed many chances to attend other activities.

If I could change one thing about my college life, I would join the dormitory volunteers for only one year. With the extra time, I would like to attend lifeguard training. I would also listen to many speeches and find out what I want in life because finance is not my interest. After failing to get into graduate school, I started to study for a job in a bank because my father wanted me to work in a bank after graduation. This is kind of ironic. For the past four years, I have tried hard to learn finance and embrace finance. I have learned a lot about finance although I think it is too deep for me. I am not very happy because I could not do what I love. Many other students In Taiwan face the same situation because the education system does not allow them to pursue their own interests.

I think some things could be improved in the Taiwan system. First, parents need to learn how to guide their children instead of intervening. For example, many parents meddle in their child’s choice of major because they want their child to have a great and smooth life in the future. Second, the government should improve the school system to reduce the pressure that students feel. Also, teachers need to make their teaching more active. If all of this happened, Taiwan students would have less trouble expressing themselves and would be less afraid of making mistakes and taking action. If Taiwan could improve in these ways, students would be happier and more competitive.

If you are freshman, I would encourage you to attend many activities and try new things to discover what you really love. Also, you have to make your interest become your skill. You shouldn’t care about others’ expectations if you have found your life direction. However, before taking action, plan as clearly as you can. Just like Steve Jobs said, “Keep looking until you find what you love if you haven’t found it yet,” and once you find it, don’t let it go.

"The Glass Slipper" - Stage Performance

Clair Lin

I recently went to see a show called “Glass Slipper,” which was performed by the FCU Congenial Volunteer Team. This show was about Cinderella, who needed a beautiful dress to meet the Prince Charming and how they live happily in the end. I have been a member of the FCU Congenial Volunteer Team since I was a freshman, but this was the first time that I could see the show from a seat in the audience. I performed in the show for last three years, so of course, I know this is hard work for every member.

All photos by the author
I was excited as I waited for the show to begin because this was the first time that I could sit and see the whole show. The show included acting, dancing and cheerleading. I was amazed by every performance and by the performers’ expressions. I think “Glass Slipper” was a terrific show; everyone, including me, was surprised that the students could do so well.

Why we have to organize the show every year? Well, the FCU Congenial Volunteer Team assists at many different awards ceremonies and other campus events, and this is their opportunity to show what they have learned about being hosts and hostesses at formal events. The show takes about three months to prepare, and members are divided into groups and work together. In the end, every member will have a chance to perform on stage. The FCU club also invites similar clubs from other schools to see their performances and after the show ends, everyone has the chance to exchange ideas with others. This is a really good chance to meet people from outside of Feng Chia University. I think participating in the FCU Congenial Volunteer Team is great, and doing this final performance is a once-in-a-life-time opportunity that not everyone gets to have.  

This year’s show was great and really worth spending the afternoon enjoying. I feel honored that I am a member of Congenial Volunteer Team. I think all college students should have the experience of participate in a student club. In a student club you not only learn some skills but also make good friends. If you join a student club, you may be a little busier than other students, but you will feel content inside your heart.

Looking Back

Jack Lin

Many people think that school life is the best period in our lives because we just concentrate on our school work, take part in some extracurricular activities, and do things we are interested in. After we enter society and look back to school our “old school days,” it will usually be happy memories.  

While here at FCU, I was interested in taking some language courses. I took French for one year, when I was a sophomore student. Mr. Vicca was an interesting and active teacher. He taught French from the basics – pronunciation, some vocabulary, and how to construct a complete sentence. He also taught us some useful conversation, so I really looked forward to attending French class every Tuesday. Unfortunately, I couldn’t continue to take French because I had a required course in my third and fourth years. I’m very disappointed because I didn’t have many chances to see Mr. Vicca again, and I couldn’t continue to learn French.

The other courses I will remember are the courses I took in the English Honors Program. I have already taken this course for two years and I am still learning now. I love this course because I don’t want to end my English learning. I want to keep learning and let my English ability become much better. In my Honors classes, I strengthened my English listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills in many different ways.  In class we used PowerPoint presentations and dramas, and we also participated in Language Center contests. My Honors Program courses were really good and give me a lot of chances to practice English. 

After school, I loved to find some delicious food and restaurant where I could get together with classmates and share what happened recently (because we take different courses in our third and fourth years). In my junior year, I celebrated Christmas with my classmates. We bought pizza, wine, and fried chicken, and we each prepared a gift to exchange with a classmate.  We played mahjong until midnight; it was crazy, and we had a lot of fun.

In my leisure time, I also found a lot of fun places to go with friends. In our second year, we went to Pingshi for sightseeing. We walked on the old street and wrote down our wishes on sky lanterns and set them off. Pingshi is a quiet town and it helped us forget our school pressure. In our third year, we arranged a trip to Hualien. We went rafting and visited many places including a farm in Rueisui, the beautiful beach, and the night market. We also visited National Taroko Park. It was marvelous.
After we graduate from Feng Chia University, we will each go our own way.  We might continue on to gradual school or become police officers or government employees, or we might work for an international company. Although we don’t have the same goals, I think our friendships will last for a long time.

Our Japanese Mini-drama

Jody Tu

This is my second year learning Japanese. To give myself a challenge and a memory before graduating, I joined my Japanese Conversation classmates in the Japanese mini-drama contest. We portrayed different animals like lions, foxes, bears and wolves and spoke the lines in Japanese. In order to play our roles vividly in the drama and pronounce our Japanese lines correctly, we practiced a lot together.  We watched some videos of animals, imitated the animals, and discussed our acting with our teammates.

Acting did not sound hard to me at first, but when I tried it, I found that it was difficult to think that I was someone or something else and to behave like them. It was especially hard to do some actions I had never done before. To be a good actor, you have to have good skills. First, you have to memorize your lines. Second, you must observe the behavior of someone or something. Third, you pretend to be it, or him or her and to interpret that character. Finally, you have to exaggerate your movements and expressions so that the audience can see and hear you clearly from far away. Although it was not difficulty to me to memorize my lines, it was a big challenge for me to play the role and interpret the character.

In this contest, teamwork was more important than individual skill. Hence, each team member was essential and helping each other was required. Throughout the rehearsal, we did almost everything together. For example, we practiced again and again and pointed out mistakes to each other.  Also, we bought all the things we needed and created our costumes and props together. Thus, we got to know each other very well very quickly and were in a good mood throughout the whole process.

This was an extraordinary experience for me. I overcame my stage fright and found the courage to show myself. Also, I made some new friends because of this contest. I learned two important things from this performance.  First, I learned that it is easier to be yourself than to imitate someone else.  I also learned that when your team needs you, you have to be ready to do your part – to play the role and take on the responsibility to do what it needs to be done.  If you can be yourself and be part of a team at the same time, you are sure to succeed.    

"Meet the Parents" - Movie Review

Marian Li & Zoe Hong

We wanted to see a fun movie. One movie’s summary made us curious. Therefore, we chose the DVD, “Meet the Parents.” The movie was a comedy.

The main actors in the movie are Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro. Ben Stiller plays Greg Focker. He is a nurse. Because of his job, he is discriminated against. However, he doesn’t care about what others think. Although his girlfriend’s father, Jack, always makes trouble for him, Greg always does his best to do things well. Because Greg wants to marry Jack’s daughter, he has to make good impression on Jack. Jack is retired from the CIA. He is oversensitive because of his career, so he is very cautious. He is also subjective and stubborn. It’s difficult to change his mind.

All images (c) Universal Studios
The movie is about the challenge of meeting your girlfriend’s parents. Greg wants to marry his girlfriend, Pamela, but he has to get the permission of her father, Jack. One weekend, Pamela’s sister is going to hold her engagement ceremony (she also is getting married soon), so Pamela suggests that it is an opportunity for Greg to meet her parents. Over the weekend, Jack tests Greg. However, Greg messes everything up. Pamela is disappointed in Greg. Although Pamela still loves Greg, Jack doesn’t consider, Greg a man to be trusted.

The plot of this movie seems very realistic. Some fathers make things difficult for their daughter’s boyfriend in order to find out whether their daughter’s boyfriend will be able to protect his daughter. Both Stiller and De Niro gave great performances; their acting was vivid and amusing because they sometimes shoot each other warning glances.

The movie was not only a lot of fun. We also learned some lessons from the film.  We learned never to be impatient but to just take things step by step rather than looking for a shortcut. Most importantly, we learned to just be ourselves; we should never let people think we are phony.

We really enjoyed this movie. The plot was fun, and suspenseful – that is, we really wanted to know if Greg would get permission to marry his girlfriend! If you like comedies, and if you have a girlfriend or boyfriend, you are sure to enjoy this movie.  You will understand just what the movie characters are going through. “Meet the Parents” is suitable for the whole family.