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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.
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Image courtesy
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.

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Image courtesy

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.”
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    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!

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