2007年11月13日 星期二

FLL Mosaic

FLL Mosaic

Liya Tseng (曾孟誼)

Editorial Staff
Amy Peng (彭淑媄)
Iris Kuo (郭芝伶)
Julia Yeh (葉瑋苓)
Nina Hsieh(謝如怡)
Patrick Tseng (曾琮淇)
Tracy Li (李俊昱)
Vivian Chiang (江佳倫)
Zoe Yeh (葉雯菱)

Design Coordinator
Feng Chia Print Enterprise Ltd. Co.

Judy Hsiu-ho Chen (陳修和)

Dr. Fangmay Peng (彭芳美)

Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, Feng Chia University
100 Wenhwa Rd., Seatwen, Taichung, Taiwan 40724, R.O.C.
©FLL 2007

FLL Mosaic is a non-profit publication produced by students in the Department. Copyright for individual articles/pictures remains vested in the contributors, to whom applications for rights to reproduce should be made. For additional information, please contact the FLLD office.
Tel: +886-4-24517250# 5601-3. WWW: http://www.fcu.edu.tw.

Second Issue published in 2007
Printed by Feng Chia Print Enterprise Ltd. Co. in Taichung, Taiwan

Contents (June 2007)

Contents (June 2007)

Voice of the Editor-in-chief
Liya Tseng (曾孟誼) 01

Eastern vs. Western Culture
Mendy Wang (王曼迪) 03

My Time in Malawi
Christian Dalton (杜思台) 08

The Happiest Experience in the First Semester
Anna Chen (陳芝穎) 19

Walking into the Reality
Tina Kuo (郭文婷) 29

What I Want Most in a Friend
Hannah Kuan (管涵雅) 37

Dancing in the Rain
Peggy Hsieh (謝佳蓉) 43

A Brief View of Language Center
Liya Tseng (曾孟誼) 47

EZ Café
Amy Peng (彭淑媄) 49

Highlights of the Academic Year 2006~2007

Voice of the Editor-in-chief

Voice of the Editor-in-chief

Dear Readers:

Since the premiere issue of FLLMosaic was published in June 2006, the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature at Feng Chia University has been working on releasing the second issue in 2007. With our instructors’ and students’ help, all the selected articles are the best of our students’ work. Due to the advantage of small-size writing classes, students can learn best from activities such as peer review and discussion. Most importantly, they benefit greatly from the feedback from their instructors.

As the world has now become a global village and English an international language, more and more students have been abroad either to learn English or to travel. Taking this into account, we will focus on cross-cultural learning as the theme of this issue to broaden our students’ understanding of the world.

All in all, I would like to thank the FLLMosaic editorial team and the instructors’ great efforts in gathering articles, editing, and publishing the second issue of our departmental magazine. When working on the magazine, we realize that the most wonderful experience we get is the spirit of team-work. Sincerely, we really hope you would have a good time reading this magazine.
Liya Meng-Yi Tseng
June 4, 2007

Eastern vs. Western Culture

Eastern vs. Western Culture
by Mendy Wang(王曼迪)

As we know, the differences between Eastern and Western cultures are numerous, because Eastern and Western people not only live in different environments but also are educated in distinctively different ways. The characteristics of each culture are shown in its people’s behavior; their attitudes toward life and love, and their personalities. I guess this is why Eastern people usually encounter the so-called “culture shock” when traveling to the Western countries.

First of all, Eastern and Western people have different attitudes toward their life. Eastern people live in time, which means that they follow the natural order of time to do what they ought to do and work step by step. Eastern people don’t like their schedules to be messed up and usually hate to change things once they decide the sequence. By contrast, Western people live in space. They prefer to follow their dreams and do what they want to do. Sometimes they are not as pragmatic as the Eastern people, but they often achieve great goals in their life.

Secondly, Eastern and Western people differ greatly in their personalities. Eastern people are often passive. They tend to be submissive than to be aggressive. They think that being a leader is difficult, and they don’t like to take heavy responsibilities. Also, they are contemplative. They think more and do less; on the contrary, Western people do more and think less. They are diligent and assertive; they love to be leaders and make decisions. Although these differences are not so arbitrary anymore, they are still obvious when we put Eastern and Western people together. Western people often lead the Eastern people, but not the opposite.

Finally, the attitudes toward love in the East and the West aren’t the same. Eastern people think that love is mute. For example, when Chinese people love a person, they don’t say, “I love you.’’ They just show their love in actions. On the other hand, Western people think love is vocal. When they want to show how much they love a person, they would say it loudly and create romantic scenes such as buying a big bouquet of roses. In addition, Eastern people do not get married just for love. They would choose their marriage partner matchable to their educational, social and economic background. That is, they care more about the real things in real life than the romantic feelings in a marriage. Nevertheless, Western people rarely get married before they make sure if they are in love with each other. Perhaps we can say that romantic love is part of Western people’s lives, and they cannot live without it. A Western woman can get married with a poor man but still feel satisfied and happy. Though it is not that Eastern people do not have this kind of examples, it happens less often because even if they want to get married with someone poor, their parents would not agree. Speaking of parents, we can see another apparent example that how Eastern and Western parents are showing their love toward their children. Parents in Eastern countries think they have the obligations to decide what is the best for their children; however, parents in the West think it is best for their children to make their own decisions.

In short, Eastern and Western people not only live in different lifestyles, but also think in distinctively different ways. Although some of the characteristics are not so arbitrary anymore nowadays, they still exist in our society. Understanding these characteristics would definitely benefit our appreciating and learning from each other’s culture.

Some Unique Aspects of the American Culture

Some Unique Aspects of the American Culture
by Julia Yeh(葉瑋苓)

Have you ever had such an experience that when you want to make friends with foreigners, you don’t know how to approach them or talk to them? Constantly, we are always at a loss and do not know where to start to explore the Western cultures. In fact, it’s not difficult to get along with foreigners or fit into their world as long as you are more involved in learning their life style and values for things.

The American culture may be a more popular one in Taiwan among many other Western cultures at present. Does the American culture often confuse you? The following is an introduction of some unique aspects of the American culture, such as their ideas about friendship, dating and raising pets, which I believe will be interesting and worthy of your attention.

Americans view friendship quite differently from the way we do. For most Americans, the word “friend” can be used in a very broad sense. Americans are very kind to everyone they meet the first time. They call both casual acquaintances and intimate companions “friends.’’ They are often at ease when chatting with strangers. Therefore, Americans’ being friendly to everyone often makes people with different cultural backgrounds feel confused. They do not know that to Americans a friend can mean anyone they barely know to a very close or intimate friend. Therefore, next time, when Americans say warmly and friendly, “Let’s get together some time,” be careful and don’t immediately feel they treat you as a very special friend.

Do you know how differently Americans view “dating” from people of other cultures? In Taiwan, the concept of dating may still remain in a more conservative sense than the American one. In fact, most Taiwanese see dating as a formal, serious, and the first step of developing a love relationship. By contrast, dating is regarded as an opportunity to have fun and make friends in the American culture. As a result, it is common that Americans are likely to go out with different persons every week before they begin to develop a true love.

At last, raising pets for Americans is another special aspect of their culture. Sometimes, a foreigner may be very surprised at Americans’ great attention to their pets. In America, the pet food stores and dog hotels can be seen everywhere. Moreover, they can buy dog insurance policy and dog graves. Most Americans treat their dogs like their family members, which is a little different from the way we treat animals here in Taiwan. Obviously, pets have been a part of the American culture.

So far, how much do you know about the American culture? Learning how Americans make friends, go on a date and raise pets will help you enter the American world more easily and understand the American way even though you are not planning to go abroad.

My Time in Malawi

My Time in Malawi
by Christian Dalton(杜思台)

As I approached my adult years I had an opportunity to go to live and work in a third world African country, Malawi. Besides seeing true poverty on a daily basis, I also witnessed, first hand, myriads of animals in the African natural Kingdom. My time working and living there was an amazing life-changing experience.

Malawi is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. It sits above Zimbabwe, east of Botswana, west of Mozambique and below Tanzania. The country is characterized by a very large lake which runs along its eastern border with Mozambique. Malawi is a small country which is extremely long and thin; therefore, it would take almost a day to travel from its southern tip to the northern end. Being situated right in the tropics means Malawi is an incredibly hot country as well as a poor one, and nobody I knew had an air conditioner. I went to Malawi because my father moved there. My father is a civil engineer and often took contracts in developing countries. In Malawi his job was to build a dam to supply the surrounding countryside with water and power. The surrounding countryside was incredibly flat and dry: typical African semi-desert, open and dusty with the occasional baobab trees. Our village, however, was a lot better for what was around us. The dam was situated on top of a mountain, and our house was on the nice cool (cooler...) slopes of the mountain. Africa is a dangerous place, and our house compound was fenced all around; furthermore, we had a staff of seven men for our family of three! This included a 24-hour security, a gardener and his father, and our in-house servants. The mountain and the slope up to it were covered in lovely, cool forest where I spent many holidays hiking. Although our village was covered with thick trees, it is still heavily populated with villagers, woodcutters and farmers, so it was not here that I witnessed African wildlife.

Near to our village, on those big dusty plains, was a National Park. This particular park happened to be the richest park in Malawi for African wildlife because of the German funded anti-poaching unit which was stationed there. Therefore, while all the other parks were being hunted out, this one was still rich in animal lives. The South African manager of the unit, an ex-military man, was a friend of my father, and my father arranged me to work a few months at the park to help and gain work experience. Life at the park was hard. We awoke before dawn and spent the day doing necessary tasks around the park: repairing fences, taking the anti-poaching soldiers out into the field or other general maintenance. Other than a lunch and rest during the hottest time of the day, we usually stayed out in the bush until past nightfall. The house didn't have power or running water, and we started a petrol generator every evening for some light during dinner time. Most evenings I didn’t even miss the TV because I fell right asleep after dinner! There was one week when we noticed a funny taste coming from the drinking water (which came from a tank and was subsequently boiled). We drank the water for a few days, and the taste and weird smell became worse and worse. After investigation by one of the staff, we found a dead lizard about the size of a small cat, which had died in the water tank. We were alive and healthy, so we did not need to worry about it once we took it out. The most enjoyable thing I did was driving the 4x4 jeep through the sandy roads in the park. Doing errands to camps at the other side of the park or taking the soldiers on their patrols or raids was a real challenge for a 4x4. After a few weeks at the park I contracted malaria. I knew exactly when I was bitten because we were in the marsh, cutting grass to feed the buffalos. Although we were doing this at sunset, I forgot to put on insect repellant. Needless to say, what followed was the absolute worst week of my life. Although I felt like I would die any minute, I didn't have a bad case and there were no complications.

Towards the end of my stay at the game park, the South African Parks Board (being the worldwide authority on animal capture and transport) was doing a huge capture and release program involving our anti-poaching unit. Animals were being shot with tranquillizer darts in other Malawian Parks with less anti-poaching protection. They were then transported by trucks to our park in which the authorities could protect them in much better ways. Assisting with this project was an incredible opportunity for me to be up close to the animals. I saw and helped release zebras, buffaloes and all different kinds of bucks. One advantage of being on the staff was that I wasn't restricted to a car. I was free to walk around on foot and witness hippos, elephants and baboons (which used to frolic in front of our house at sunset). The sunsets were also amazing in their own right. There are no words I can use to describe the feeling of watching the sunset over a backdrop of African grassland where hippos and bucks are grazing.

My time in Malawi went by so quickly, but it included so many great and sometimes quite scary experiences. I have always planned to go back one day; however, as my life goes on, it looks more and more impossible, and even if I did, it would never be the same again. I learnt a great deal about myself, other people, and the natural world from my time in Malawi.

Studying Abroad at Perth Australia

Studying Abroad at Perth Australia

by Vivian Chiang(江佳倫)

Being excited and nervous, I studied abroad at Perth with other nineteen classmates in the summer of 2006. Perth, the capital of the mysterious realm of West Australia (WA) is extremely different from East Australia. The weather in WA is much warmer than that is in East Australia. Most areas in WA are deserts, while there are many busy and prosperous cities in East Australia. The shops in West Australia are usually closed at five o'clock in the evening, but in East Australia the shops are closed late in the evening. East Australians are more open-minded than West Australians. West Australians are slow paced, and they like to stay home on holidays. On the contrary, East Australians like to go out and hang out with their friends. However, East and West Australians are all nice, kind, and friendly. Although these differences sometimes gave me cultural shocks, I fulfilled my dream of appreciating various aspects of Australian cultures through a series of English classes, interesting excursions, and a homestay in a host family.

We had English classes in the morning and had ELICOS (elective courses) in the afternoon. The teachers in the morning classes taught us daily life English, Australian cultures, and some information of our excursions. We learned how to communicate with foreigners. We also learned words and phrases, such as the subtle difference between “on the bed” and “in bed,” or the difference between “in the evenings” and “at night.” I practiced pronunciation, speaking, and listening comprehension in ELICOS. Trish, one of my favorite teachers, taught us to imitate the intonations of the dialogues and practiced the tongue-twisters. She was patient and humorous. I like her very much.

Curtin school also invited an aboriginal speaker, Josiz, to deliver a speech. She introduced us to the aboriginal culture and language. Before the whites occupied Australia, the native people believed the “bunna” and the red dirt were their protection. The aborigines, being like primitive people, were naked, slept on the red sand, and lived in the bush. They used fire to heat the ground and kept themselves warm. They ate emu and kangaroo in order to keep their skin smooth. They did not have written language. They recorded their stories and culture by singing and drawing. At their leisure time, they reminded themselves of the journeys by singing the songs. When they drew, they liked to use dots and bright colors to fill the paintings. Each dot had its story and meaning behind. For the aborigines, every one was equal. No one was labeled. They did not know what “fear” and “jealousy” were. Aboriginal people lived peacefully in each village. They believed in Nature, not God. When the white people occupied Australia, aboriginal people were forced to adapt to the life style of white people. The whites thought that aborigines were barbarians, so the white men took the aborigines to modern cities and forced them to put on the clothes. Moreover, the aborigines lost control of the nature, and they did not adapt well to the life in cities. “All human beings would come back to nature some day,” they thought. After I listened to Josiz's speech, I fell completely in love with the aboriginal arts, songs, cultures, and languages. What a unique and wonderful speech!

Besides the morning classes and ELICOS, Curtin held many excursions for us. The three spots that I highly recommended were: Caversham Wildlife Park, Sandalford Winery, and Rottnest Island. In Caversham Wildlife Park, I saw many kinds of Australian animals. I fed the kangaroos and hugged the wombat. They were so cute. I also rode the camel. It was a horrible experience. When the camel stood up or sat down, I could not stop screaming. When I rode the camel, I felt I would be flung out of its back any minute. When we took the pictures with the koala and her babies, we had to be quiet; otherwise, we would have woken them up. Other animals were cute as well, like the emu, the dingo, the black swan, and so on. The dingo was like the dog. I had great fun in Caversham Park. In addition to Caversham Park, Sandalford Winery is an old and established winery which is located near Swan River. The clerk in the winery introduced us to red wines and white wines. We tasted different flavors of wines. I did not get used to drinking wine, so I just drank a little bit. It was too bitter for me. The last impressive place was Rottnest Island. It took us one and half hours by ferry to go there from Perth city. It was a beautiful day, and the vivid sunshine, the impressive scenery, and the lovely atmosphere depicted a marvelous picture in our mind. We used all our energies to ride the bikes. Going around the whole island was an impossible task, so we just rode to the ship dock area at a small unknown beach. We felt calm and peaceful when the light wind blew our hair and the sea wave slapped upon our feet. It was wonderful to have a vacation in Rottnest Island. Besides cycling, we saw the quokka (a kind of marsupial animal similar to a small kangaroo). It was very cute and fuzzy. Rottnest Island gave me a good time and an unforgettable experience.

We improved our English abilities not only at school but also in our homestay interaction. I like to chat with my host family and my roommates. We learned different cultures from each other. For example, I learned what “Azaria Chamberlain Case” and “daylight savings” were in Australia. My roommates and I talked about music, food, traveling, and accommodation in Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Furthermore, my host family members were like family and best friends. They did their best to take care of and satisfied our needs. They provided a warm accommodation and a pleasant atmosphere for us. If we needed their assistance, they would stand beside us and help us out. We deeply appreciated them for all they had done for us.

I am grateful to everyone who has ever helped me, has been friendly to me, and has chatted with me. Although there was not enough time to learn everything in Perth, I enjoyed the life there.

A Foreigner at FCU

A Foreigner at FCU
by Christian Dalton(杜思台)

When I first arrived in Taiwan five years ago, there was no way I could have dreamed I would one day be studying alongside Taiwanese students at a university. At that stage I still felt that Chinese was a mystical foreign language and was impossible for a Westerner to ever be able to speak it with fluency. Now here I am studying in a Taiwanese university and speaking Chinese everyday. It’s not always easy studying in such a different environment, but it is definitely an amazing experience that will shape my future from now onwards.

After a few weeks of living in Taiwan, I moved to live in a small conservative town (Toufen, near Hsinchu). There were only four English speaking foreigners living in the town and no restaurants or stores where I could be understood; therefore, the logical step for me was to start learning Chinese. I never imagined I would one day be able to have a conversation or understand a lecture about philosophy in Chinese. I just wanted to be able to order dinner! I started by teaching myself bo po mo fo from an old text book my father had. After figuring that out, I started working on my pronunciation with help from Taiwanese friends. After six months I moved to Hsinchu, and I was able to enroll in a Chinese class at a language school; however, the class was only once a week, and my progress continued slowly. After a few months I returned home and stayed there for three months before I moved to Taichung. In Taichung I enrolled in the Language Center of Feng Chia University for their intensive Chinese courses. These classes taking place everyday are an excellent way to really make progress with Chinese. I began to improve very fast and soon could hold basic conversations and even write small paragraphs (with the help of a dictionary!) After two years in the language center, I heard about Feng Chia’s Foreign Students Program and enrolled. I was very pleased to hear I was accepted by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature with a scholarship to help with tuition and fees. I felt a blend of mixed emotions ranging from excitement to nervousness about whether I could really do it. Would I understand the teachers? Would I need to write long papers in Chinese?

The first few weeks at Feng Chia were very confusing and a little stressful. Taiwanese universities work quite differently from Western ones, and I was surprised to hear I would have to do courses like Physical Education (P.E.) and Class activity once a week. Furthermore, I was required to pass the compulsory course of Chinese Literature in the first year as well as Civilization History which was taught completely in Chinese. It all turned out well though, as the university opened a special Mandarin Course for foreign students, where we studied poetry and culture. Civilization History went well, too, because I was allowed to write my final paper about the Ching Dynasty in English. The two courses I was most worried about turned out to be the most interesting ones by far. Now I am in second year and I am surprised I have made it this far. I have passed some courses and failed others; I have tried courses in other departments and had to drop them as my Chinese still needs a lot of work. I have come to appreciate the compulsory P.E. class in my second year. I speak, hear and learn Chinese every day in real life situations, and I get a first hand view of Taiwanese culture. I even find myself forgetting how to say things in English sometimes!

Feng Chia University has been wonderful in making foreign students feel comfortable and helping with various problems we encountered in our studies or personal lives. The International Student Association (I.S.A.) is always happy to hear our point of view, and they do whatever they can to make our study experience more valuable and more fun. Regular cultural trips are organized to places such as Sanyi or the Aboriginal Cultural Village. The I.S.A. also hosts many activities and even supplies us with our own coffee shop called the Global Focus, where we can hold meetings or go to study. The university generously awards various scholarships to foreign students and always seeks to bridge the gap between our lives back home and the experience of studying in a completely foreign environment. Our department office is also a great help for all the other problems I might have, such as course selection or completing assignments. As a result, the foreign student community continues to grow and expand, making Feng Chia University a truly international university, which is beneficial to all its students, foreign and Taiwanese alike.

After the trials and difficulties of the first few months, my studies at Feng Chia are becoming easier and more enjoyable as time passes. Although I have lived in Taiwan for a few years already, I’m always gaining new cultural perspectives and learning new things about Taiwan everyday. As my Chinese continues to improve, the study side becomes easier and smoother, and with all the help from our department and the I.S.A., I’m becoming more and more comfortable in student life. I can honestly say my study experience so far has been unforgettable. Everything I have learned and everything I still have to learn in my remaining time here will no doubt benefit and enrich my future for many years to come.

The Happiest Experience in the First Semester

The Happiest Experience in the First Semester
by Anna Chen (陳芝穎)

In the first semester of my university life, there were good times and bad times. Among them, the happiest and most unforgettable experience was when I won the Freshman Cup of tennis. Being a “professional tennis fan” who always wanted to feel the sweetness of winning, I realized my dream in this semester and also experienced the true spirit of tennis.

In that evening, an unusual wind was blowing. Accompanied by my friend Kim, I walked toward the tennis court with a feeling of excitement. Waiting for the other players to sign in, I wondered how many girls were attending the competition and how good they were. Luckily, there were only three girls attending the game; therefore, each of us had to play two matches to decide the winner. Before the matches, we drew lots to decide the order, and then we waited for the roll which would be called successively.

Among all sports, tennis might be the most individual one because on the court, you have to challenge not only the opponent but yourself. You have to believe and keep the faith in yourself to win the matches. Both physical strength and mental strategy are equally important in this sport.

However, due to the lack of practicing, my legs seemed not belonging to me after twenty minutes. The opponent’s rally was too unpredictable and many times I just watched balls passing by. I gave up in the last few points and lost the opportunity to win the first match. I walked down the tennis court and kept saying to myself, “I can’t keep on playing anymore. How can she play like that? I’m so exhausted.” I used all my strength in the beginning, so the power of my rallies soon burned out in the middle of the match. Forgetting the hundreds of matches and stories I had watched and read, I had only negative thoughts in my mind just because I lost a match. During the break, I asked myself why I joined the competition and why I loved tennis. “Because of the spirit of tennis! Don’t you remember what you always tell me?” asked my friend Kim.

Exactly! How could I forget the spirit of tennis? In tennis, you may lose one match, but you may win the next one, and this is true not only for sports but also for life. No one can always win, and nobody will always lose. Chances keep coming, so all you need is to seize them. It’s all determined by your faith. After a short break, the batteries of my confidence were all recharged. Even though my energy had burned out, my negative thinking was gone, too. I stepped onto the tennis court and fought only against myself. That was the way I became the champion of the Freshman Cup.

I am thankful and grateful for this experience which gave me the opportunity to realize my dream. The process from self-doubt to self-belief proves how confidence can influence a person. After this educational experience, I believe that I can face more difficulties in life.

Keep on Fighting, and Win.

My Part-time Jobs

My Part-time Jobs
Debby Chang(張文蒨)

According to the statistics, about 40% of Taiwanese university students have part-time jobs after school, and their average income per month is more than 10,000 dollars. Most parents are worried that their children will neglect their studies because of work, but 75% of students believe that a part-time job has no harmful effect on their schoolwork. Take me for example, I did at least 5 part-time jobs in past few years, and I still have one at present. I would like to introduce some special part-time jobs here and share with you some of my experiences such as being a booking clerk, a tutor, and a whiskey promoter. In addition, I want to talk about the toil behind those jobs since all jobs require toil.

The first job I had was being a sales clerk for one and half year in a multiple cinema located in Kaohsiung when I was a student in a junior college. The payment was low, 80 dollars per hour, but I had to do a lot of work. I sold not only movie tickets, but also coke and popcorn. In fact, the main income of the cinema came from the food we sold. That was why my colleagues and I always tried to persuade our customers to spend extra money on our coke, popcorn, or hot dog. The more they spent, the more my boss gained. If we did not reach the target, the managers would blame us. Besides, as a staff member in a cinema, I had to fry popcorn, boil hot dog, and replenish stocks. However, the benefit satisfied me after the toilsome work. The staff could enjoy any movies on weekdays as they wished. We would get together to see movies when we were free. I even saw “The Lord of The Ring” for 5 times. Those free movies saved me a lot of money, and I also developed my interest in films. I really made many friends when I worked at the cinema.

Then, I worked as a phone tutor for a company selling English learning materials for more than 3 years. My responsibility was to call the kids and check if they could read aloud every word in the book. The payment was acceptable, 130 dollars per hour, and it was a nice job to me. My working time was from 6:00 to 9:00 pm, Monday thru Friday. It is a relaxing and delightful job. After I graduated from the junior college, I moved to Taichung and studied at Feng Chia University. I quitted that tutoring job, and I started my new job as an English teacher at a language school for children. There were only 4 children in my class, but one of them was a disaster. The boy named Jeff never sat on his seat silently for more than 5 minutes. Actually, he did not like English at all, but his parents forced him to learn English. For this reason, he never listened to me, never did his homework, and even never let other students learn. Although I got 350 dollars per hour, I only taught one semester and quitted. I have been teaching junior high school students English since I ran away from those noisy little devils. I think I feel more comfortable with teenagers although I am quite good at handling some naughty kids.

Finally, I want to introduce a special part-time job for young, pretty girls—beer or whiskey promoter. The payment is usually higher than that of normal part-time jobs, about 250 to 500 dollars per hour. However, in order to be a qualified promoter, one needs to meet some criteria. For example, one should be between 18 and 25 years old, at least 160 centimeters tall, and weigh no more than 55 kilograms. The flexible working hours schedule is suitable for students. Students can work on the day they are free. Without spending too much time on this kind of jobs, they still can make some money. I have promoted beer, cigarette, and now I am promoting whiskey. I meet different kinds of people everyday. I learn how to sell my products and how to solve the problems. The only thing I am concerned about is my safety. For all its high payment, the job is still full of danger. I have to go home late because my work ends at midnight. Once in a while, I may be confronted by some drunken people. Consequently, I have to stay away from those drunkards and go home as soon as possible. Briefly, it is a unique part-time job for university girls.

Many adults may worry if their children spend too much time on part-time jobs, but all in all, students can make their petty cash, and learn some social experience as well. However, if they spend too much time on their part-time jobs, they may not have enough time to handle their school work. For this reason, students have to manage their time appropriately and keep the balance between their study and part-time jobs.

If I Were a Millionaire

If I Were a Millionaire
by Liya Tseng(曾孟誼)

In the high-tech society, having a great fortune has remained a dream to most people for years. That is, if one has more money, he or she may have a more enjoyable life. That’s why I sometimes dream about winning the lottery and plan how to make a great use of the money. I think if I were well off and became a millionaire, I would spend the money fulfilling my dreams: to study abroad, to invest in real estate, and to donate money to charities.

If I were a millionaire, the first dream I would fulfill would be to study in a graduate program in a Western country. Since I am an English major, I need to learn the language, and its culture. Once having finished the program, I would travel around the world to broaden my mind and enrich my life experiences.

The second thing I would do would be to invest in real estate. Because spending money without any earnings will eventually lead to bankruptcy, investing might be the best way to work it out. Since houses in big cities usually go up in price after years, I would buy at least one villa and two big houses and keep them.

Last of all, if I were a millionaire, I would donate money to charities. Nowadays, while a lot of people are so rich that they spend much money mainly on luxurious things, others are so poor that they even starve to death. To help solve part of the problems, I consider that donating food or money to aid the homeless and the disabled would be worth the value of life.

To sum up, if I were rich, I would first fulfill my two dreams including studying abroad and investing, and later I would donate some food or money to charities. Being rich can make not only the material life more enjoyable, but also the spiritual life more meaningful through lighting up the lives of the poor.

The Differences between Speaking and Writing

The Differences between Speaking and Writing
by Belle Huang(黃月香)

Speaking and writing are both the tools of communication among people, and they are closely related to each other because if a person has a good speaking ability, he or she may also have a good writing ability. However, there are still many differences between speaking and writing, for example, in the ways of their acquisition process, their complexity, and their organization.

Learning to speak is easier than learning to write. People are born to have the ability of speaking, and with the environment of a certain language that people are exposed to, they are able to speak the language. On the contrary, people could only be trained to write, and people are usually taught many writing rules. For example, if a person wants to make his/her writing good, he/she should follow the following four steps: discovering points, developing strong supports for the points, organizing these supports, and revising the written passages to ensure it is a good one. In short, people can write well only by being taught the skill of writing while they can speak well just because they are exposed to the language for a long time.

When two people are talking to each other, they don't need to say a complete sentence because speaking is casual. However, writing needs complete sentences because if a person writes many fragmented sentences in one essay, the whole passage will be in disorder, and it will be hard for readers to follow. Moreover, people are allowed to say many simple sentences to describe a thing or a person in speaking, but they are usually asked to use conjunctions to link simple sentences into complex ones when they are writing. Complex sentences can make the writing briefer, clearer and more formal than speaking. For example, people can say that Mary is a girl, and she is very beautiful, and she is a good student, and she studies very hard, and so on; in contrast, people had better use different sentence patterns in their written passages. They should use complex or compound sentences to make these sentences briefer.

In addition, writing differs greatly from speaking in regard to their organization and grammatical rules. When people speak, they did not pay too much attention to their grammar because they just say simple sentences. The organization of spoken language is also simple, so it is easy for people to speak. On the other hand, written language has a complicated organization. If people write an article, there should be at least three paragraphs, and they should pay more attention to the grammatical structures. For example, the verb tense should be consistent from sentence to sentence, and so are the pronouns.

To sum up, speaking and writing are different in many ways. Speaking is easier to acquire, is less complex, and has less grammatical problems in organization than writing. Therefore, if people want to learn a language, they should learn step by step. After they can speak a language quite well, then, they may learn to write a longer essay, otherwise, they would feel much frustrated in learning writing.

Walking into the Reality

Walking into the Reality
by Tina Kou(郭文婷)

Washington Irving, “the father of American literature,” has published many typical American short stories. One of his classic American short stories is Rip Van Winkle. He wrote this work to show the issue of national identity, the disillusion and the darkness of the American dream at the early period after the American independence.

Firstly, through the awakening of Rip Van Winkle, the author showed the issue of national identity at the time when the American became independent. At the time the Americans were just set free from the old English government. They entered a new era, and most of them were confused with their new identity of being an American. They did not know if they should live the way they did or had another way of living. Irving used Rip Van Winkle to emphasize this issue. When Rip Van Winkle awoke, he faced a world where things and people were all changed and were all different from the world he used to be familiar with. He was terrified and disquieted with his situations, and questioned himself of his own identity. In the story, “he doubted his own identity, and whether he was himself or another man…does nobody here know Rip Van Winkle?” However, he finally went back to the reality. Life went on, and he became the witness of the old generation and the new generation.

Furthermore, Rip Van Winkle’s awakening represented an idea of the awakening from the American dream. Before Rip Van Winkle went into the mountain, he had led a simple, idle American life under the colonization of the English government. When Rip met “a short square-built old fellow,” he encountered a transition of his life. Although the people he met were strange, he still joined them and had a drink with them; he couldn’t resist the temptation of the drink. All the enjoyments were like dreams to him. Like Rip, the Americans at the early stage of the independence of the America also faced the dreamlike situations of being independent. Then when Rip was awaken, he confronted a new world where things and people were different from the world he used to know. He was frightened. He knew things were changed; nevertheless, he had to face the reality, just like the Americans who had to face the disillusionment of the American dream.

Another point worth mentioning is in Rip Van Winkle, the author uses his unique techniques to enrich the story such as the ambiguous description for the reliability of the story and the detailed description about the views and characters. The feministic idea is also revealed in the story.

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Rip Van Winkle
Washington Irving

Are They Justified?

Are They Justified?
by Picker Chen(陳比軻)

Our female heroines of the feminist classics-the wife in The Yellow Wallpaper, Minnie Foster in Trifles, and Celie in The Color Purple-bear the brunt of sexual discrimination despite the level of their social standing. As a female, they are physically inferior to men, incapable of self-defense when confronted with fists and kicks, and mentally incapable of anything more than household chores and domestic affairs. These three women have each overcome this stereotyped condescension by men, but the results are quite twisted and devastating because the fear and oppression marked by their past are still preserved. Even though the protagonists manage to triumph over their men, the women are still not justified because the men have driven them to insanity, depression, and into a life of a constant shadow of the past.

“I kept on creeping just the same, but I looked at him over my shoulder.” This occurs at the end of the story The Yellow Paper when to the reader’s mind the wife has seemingly turned insane. Witnessing his wife’s ghoulish state and horrific words, the husband faints and the narration finishes with this climatic terror. It is the end of the story, but what has happened to the protagonist? It can be assumed that making her husband faint is the protagonist’s payback to a condescending patriarch, but it is at the price of her sanity. Earlier in the story, the protagonist is able to keep her thoughts clear through the expression of writing. She is normal and thinks that “congenial work, with excitement and change” would do her good for her post-natal psyche. However, she is denied of this natural treatment, and the lack of it drives her to madness that can temporarily scare her husband, but that is not good for the rest of her life because she will neither become normal nor live an oppression-free life.

What equals insanity and the husband’s horror in The Yellow Wallpaper is the combination of depression and murder in Trifles. Clues such as the dead canary, a symbol of a vibrant character being forced to be silent, lead the reader to believe that the depressed Minnie Foster, wife of John Wright, could no longer endure her oppressed life with a “hard man,” who according to the character Mrs. Hale, was like “a raw wind that gets to the bone.” Also according to the talk of the two women in Trifles, Minnie foster “used to sing real pretty,” and would wear “a white dress with blue ribbons” when singing in the choir. But after getting married, John Wright’s male dominance and cold, unflinching temperament has caused her to become “shabby” and “silent.” Being too ashamed to meet with other women at the Ladies’ Aid and having no company at all, the dreary surrounding and unyielding spouse after decades of marriage would cause any woman to have chronic depression. This was especially common during the period when ideas such as women should be seen and not heard was prevalent in society. Murdering her own husband in exchange for what would seem like a better life actually puts Minnie Foster into a more complicated situation, bearing the sin of homicide, society’s scrutiny, her own fostered guilt and fear, and a possible life imprisonment if evidence finds her guilty. Again, the heroine is not justified through the murder of her husband. It is merely an eye for an eye since he has killed her voice and spirit decades ago, making her live an unfulfilled life in the past, and possibly so in the future.

Of the three readings, Celie probably has the cruelest life thrust upon her as she suffers the three layers of discrimination against gender, race, and status. Physical abuse has ruled her life since the budding age of adolescence, and this treatment has also molded her thinking into one of inferiority and shame. Celie is ashamed of her smile because in all her life men say that she is ugly, so she hides her smile with her hand when she smiles. This habit, along with the habit of thinking that women are like children and ought to be beaten into obedience, makes her a victim of the oppression that she does not fully realize. However, with Shug Avery’s help, she is able to find self-respect and self-love. She triumphs over the men in her lives through the death of her abusive stepfather, and her bravery of leaving her husband for good. With the reward of inheriting her house and the reunion with her children, this happiness has been far removed from her for a long time, and she cannot again experience a happy childhood and relive her younger years. This ending is relatively optimistic compared to the other two stories, but having known that Celie could have such a better life makes the men who have ruined it unforgivable.

These feminist works portray all the sufferings that women have gone through in order to fight for their peace of mind and soul. But sometimes, as shown in The Yellow Wallpaper or Trifles, the cost is high, and the satisfaction temporary. It seems as though women may never entirely escape from men’s control. But whatever choice made by the protagonists, it is the courage and persistence that is truly admirable in these heroines.

Three Main Subgenres of Fiction

Three Main Subgenres of Fiction
by Charles Lin(林韋丞)

Fiction, according to its length, content, and structure, can be divided into three subgenres: short stories, fairy tales, and novels. Short stories can always enlighten us as to the meaning of life, fairy tales evoke the memories of our childhood, and novels share with us many life lessons. Therefore, from fiction we gain insights into our minds, the phenomena of society, and the world of inspiration.

Denotatively, a short story is defined as a prose narrative which is too brief to be published as a single book. Usually it is a focused narrative in which one or two main characters are presented. For instance, Amy Tan’s A Pair of Tickets is a narrative which lays stress on the protagonist’s awareness of self-identity and cultural shock when she discovers her long-lost twin sisters in a foreign country. Kate Chopin’s The Story of an Hour is a tale depicting the main character who after her husband died realizes her hunger for freedom and new life, which were dominated by patriarchal order. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown depicts a man named Brown who loses faith in his wife named Faith when he discovers that his wife, regardless of his words, tricks him. From such an incident, he then knows that faith cannot exist without mutual trust.

A fairy tale refers to a short narrative folklore in which main characters would fight against supernatural beings such as witches, giants, or animals. For instance, Rapunzel, a well-known fairy tale, depicts an evil witch’s wicked deeds to a girl named Rapunzel and to a prince who deeply falls in love with the girl. The Little Riding Hood expresses a little girl’s interactions with a thirsty wolf, which is eager to swallow the girl. Cinderella portrays a poor girl’s struggle to bravely bear her misfortune by the assistance of a witch, and a prince’s search for his true love, Cinderella. All the three stories have a happy ending. No doubt, they remind us of our childhood.

Apart from the above two subgenres, a novel is an extended work of a fictional prose narrative which has more characters and varied scenes than a short story, and which focuses on the deeds or thoughts of the protagonist. For instance, Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea describes the interactions between an old man and the sea, from which the old man realizes a life lesson—the significance of persistence and the enjoyment of loneliness. In Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom vividly presents his memories of his professor’s life lessons, trying to teach readers the essence of love, family, and life. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini pictures a child’s confession of his childhood to his best friend whom he betrayed. From his confession he eventually learns the real meaning of his life.

To sum up, reading different types of narratives can give us distinct feelings and meanings. After reading short stories, I am always enlightened as to my self-identity and the significance of freedom and faith. When I go through a fairy tale, I feel some nostalgia not only in my heart but also deep in my soul. A novel is just like a teacher because it teaches me the precious life lessons. For example, from the novels I have read, three life lessons are taught— how to enjoy loneliness, how to learn something from our daily life, and how to confess to what I did in the past. I become more mature after I have learned many valuable lessons in life from fiction. Therefore, I can say fiction enriches my life.

What I Want Most in a Friend

What I Want Most in a Friend
by Hannah Kuan(管涵雅)

What do you want most in a friend—someone who is intelligent, or someone who has a sense of humor, or someone, who is reliable? Which one of these characteristics is most important to you?

Compared with an intelligent friend and a humorous friend, a reliable friend is the one I consider the most important. An intelligent person may know lots of things; a friend who has a sense of humor may have the ability to make me laugh, but they might not help me if I am in trouble. A reliable friend, on the other hand, can always support and take care of me. For example, if I face a problem and then go to ask these three types of friends for help, I probably will find out that the smart one tells me what I should do logically, yet he is not willing to help me out. As for the humorous friend, knowing my situation, he probably will make up a funny joke of it and laugh out; however, he won’t really give me a hand. At this moment, a friend who I can rely on is what I need most. He will always bring me a sense of safety, and stay with me to come up with a solution for me. Therefore, speaking of choosing a friend, I don’t really care if he is good at telling jokes or if he is clever. What I care the most is that if I can always depend on him.

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The Effects of Cell Phone on Modern Life

The Effects of Cell Phone on Modern Life
by Yvonne Huang(黃淑雲)

With the rapid development of technology, people can easily do what they could not do before. The popularity of cell phones is one of the most obvious examples. Ancient people could not even imagine the invention of telephones, let along portable ones! Cell phones do bring various functions which cannot only connect people around the world but also offer entertainments. In the mean time, they also bring some side effects or diseases to human bodies.

The main function of cell phones is to contact people far away instantly, (mostly when people are outside the houses and have no telephones nearby.) This makes great difference for human beings, and the invention of cell phones surely is a milestone in the history of communication system. Cell phones were not so commonly used when they were just invented. They were too expensive and luxurious for most people to afford. Since more and more companies are producing cell phones, the prices have been going down. Studies have shown (and we can see in our daily life) that in Taiwan, almost everyone has one cell phone, and some even have more than one! People can use cell pones anywhere, anytime. The magical device has changed the human being’s life and communication.

The styles and functions of cell phones tend to follow the new fashion so that people would like to buy them not only for the basic function. The cell phones are combined to be a multiple media player. They can serve as a camera, an mp3 player, a dictionary or even a game station. A few years ago, people started to surf the Internet through cell phones, which was another progress in communication. Therefore, people rely more on high technology, especially cell phones. They can talk to their friends while walking on the street, play the games while waiting for the bus, and even throw away their alarm clocks because cell phones can serve the purpose, too! However, they have some invisible side-effects which will do harm to the health.

While many people are too dependent on mobile phones, they are not aware of the danger they may encounter. During a conversation through a cell phone, it will produce some harmful waves and destroy the brain cell little by little. If one person keeps on chatting on cell phone for a very long time, he/she might easily get fatal disease such as brain tumor. Thus, some scientists and doctors suggest people reduce the time they use cell phones. Another debatable issue is the pollution mobile phones do to the natural environment. Like other technological equipment, they can become a pollutant to the nature after being thrown away. People usually just see what they want to see, and overlook the damage they have done to the world they are living in.

So, next time when purchasing a new cell phone, people should balance the interest between themselves and the environment, and consider if they really need a new one.

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The Happiest Moment in My Life

The Happiest Moment in My Life
by Carrie Li(李怡慧)

Although it has been three years since I graduated from high school, I still can’t forget my eighteen-year-old birthday party, which was celebrated by my good friends.

I still remember vividly that on my birthday I went to school as usual, unwilling to let my classmates know it was my birthday because the midterm exam was coming. However, I still expected I could get some presents from my best friends. The day went by just like the previous ones—no cakes, no gifts, and of course, no cards. I was a little disappointed because nobody remembered my birthday. When I came back to the classroom after a class break, I saw “Happy Birthday, my dear friend!” all over the black board. I was so touched and couldn’t utter a single word. It was really the happiest moment I had ever had.

When I came to my senses, my friends were singing the birthday songs for me. My eyes were filled with tears, and for about five minutes I just stood there and didn’t know what to do. We talked, laughed, and took a lot of pictures. I also got many presents such as piggy banks, stuffed toys, and chocolates. At that moment, I thought I was the happiest person in the world because I had so many good friends around me to share my happiness and sorrow. Before I blew out the candles, I made three wishes. First, I hoped all of us could go to an ideal university. Second, I hoped my friends could always stay healthy. Third, I didn’t say it in public because it was a secret. Then, we shared the cake together and had a lot of fun.

Even now whenever I think of my eighteenth birthday party, my heart is full of joy and I can’t help laughing. The memories of that day have melted into my mind, together with those smiles of my good friends. They will always stay there as long as I live. That day is really a memorable day!

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Photo by Amber B

Dancing in the Rain

Dancing in the Rain
by Peggy Hsieh(謝佳蓉)

No company in the world dances like Cloud Gate. It presents a distinct and mature Chinese choreographic language. The importance of the evolution in Asian dance is no less profound than the impact of Forsythe’s Ballet Frankfurt on European classical ballet”—Dance Europe.

Before August 3, 2003, I only knew that Cloud Gate Dance Theatre was a famous Taiwanese dance company. However, on that day I learned that it is possible to combine Chinese culture with Western dance, and it was not surprising to me anymore why this group had become worldwide famous. It took my mother, two of her friends, and me one and a half hour to drive from my hometown to the location of their performance. As we got to the stadium park at five o’clock in the afternoon, it started to rain. When we got off the car looking for the outdoor stage, I heard a bright sound of a cello from somewhere beneath the slope. To my surprise, I saw a lawn and a crowd of people sitting in front of the stage down the slope.

As we walked down the slope excitedly, we saw some dancers who were rehearsing on the huge black stage, which was one hundred meters away from us. Of course, we wanted to get the best “seats.” Actually, there were no chairs there, and we had to sit on the lawn. We rushed to the first row. Next to us, there were still five or six backpacks lying on the ground, probably from students of a nearby school. On the stage, the dancers were dressed in their casual dancing suits to rehearse. They practiced several movements on the stage. For example, I saw two men lifting one slim girl, who was called “mosquito,” on her wrists and armpits in the air for three seconds before they put the girl down. Another movement was performed by a young man who would have a solo on the stage. At the same time, I heard a man’s voice speaking both in English and Taiwanese through the microphone. After the solo performer had left the stage, about six to ten dancers performed some Tai-Chi movements. The voice still gave instructions to the dancers. Suddenly, the man showed up behind a long black curtain, wearing a Chinese straw hat, a black T-shirt and a pair of black trousers. He was the Artistic Director of the group—Lin Huai-Min. “Oh, my God,” I said to myself. I couldn’t believe what I just saw because I thought that in such a small county, Master Lin would definitely not come in person. However, it seems that for him this performance was as important as any other one in Taipei, London, or Paris.

After finishing the rehearsal, the lighting team started to build the scaffolds on the stage to adjust the lighting. They tested colors and directions. Simultaneously, three groups of cameramen started to get ready to shoot the live performance: one group set up tracks in front of the stage, and each of the other two groups built high scaffolds to shoot from the left and the right sides of the audience. Finally, four young men mopped the stage floor because the roof of the stage was not waterproof. At the same time, a famous photographer was taking pictures of the four young men while water splashed from the stage.

The rain became heavier and the sky darker, and the four of us had already spent one and a half hours sitting in the rain in yellow rain coats watching “the free extra show.” When the formal show was about to begin, there were one or two thousand people, who came from all over Taiwan, sitting on the lawn to watch this world famous dance theatre of Taiwan. On the stage, the Artistic Director showed up to beg our pardon for changing the program. Because it had rained a lot in the afternoon, they had decided to perform “Moon Water” instead of the originally announced “Legacy.” Some people in the audience sighed with disappointment, but Director Lin said that the performance to be presented now was also highly admired in the world. When he made this heart-warming speech in his simple black T-shirt, I knew that he had never forgotten the people of Taiwan.

The performance was related to the water, the moon, and Tai Chi. During the performance, the dancers breathed so deeply that I could clearly hear them, and see their chests moving up and down. I also noticed that the dancers concentrated on every movement they were doing as if they were not bothered by the dozens of mosquitoes flying around them. What a beautiful scene as they swiftly moved their bodies curling and stretching in different directions.

Having watched this outdoor performance, I think the combination of elements of Tai Chi with Western modern dance shortens the distance between the dancers and their Taiwanese audience. As for Westerners, they can see different interpretations of their modern dance. This makes Cloud Gate so popular in Taiwan and overseas.

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