Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Haven't written on here in a while, but I have begun writing book reviews on!
It's pretty easy and fun, and if you're interested in reading some books that I read, take a look.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Payphone by Maroon 5 (Summer Days)

This post will be about my summer.  The title post is in reference to the song that is currently stuck in my head.  

So, this summer, I will be working at our Moraga Country Club coaching tennis to 9 and unders. I will be earning 12$ an hour.  Coaching tennis is no different than coaching swimzone.  Basically I have to maintain discipline while making sure that the students are actually learning and having fun.  Similar to swimzone I do have some favorite students.  However, unlike swimzone, instead of coaching just 5 kids for 45 minutes, its 5-6 kids for 15 minutes with 4 rotations.  Basically each group is an hour each where I coach 5-6 kids for 15 minutes before we rotate.  During the summer, there are apparently 200+ kids in the development program.  Hopefully, I will earn enough money to buy myself a Canon 600D EOS with an extra zoom lense. That's my goal. 

Also, during the summer I will be attempting something totally against my whole personality and way of life.  I will begin attempting daily exercise by running every morning.  I have already ran for at least a week now, and I hope I can continue and become healthier by the end of the summer.

That's all for now.  See you all soon!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Secrets (Last Few Days)

So, today's post title comes from the Shuffle Function on my iTouch.  Secrets by OneRepublic, quite a good song actually, but not the main focus of my post. The parenthetical reflects my actual post.

The last few days, the beginning of summer, have been amazing.  It was a perfect beginning to what I hope to be an amazing summer as well.  During the last few days, I not only went paintballing and celebrated my birthday, but I also played tennis with a friend and traveled by myself to the States. So, without further ado, lets get on with my post.

After the dreadful SAT, I, with my other friends, released our stress, rage and annoyance by going paintballing. To say that this paintballing trip was fun; does not describe the experience fully.  Because we had so many people (24), we had very epic, very intense games.  We played many Tier 3 and Tier 2 matches, due to the fact that there were too many people for Tier 1.  I was actually surprised at how many people and the variety of people that came.  Some that I would never have expected such as, Katherine Lee,   Emily Kao and Emily Huang all thoroughly enjoyed themselves (I actually got shot by Katherine Lee in one of the rounds).  In the end, because some of us had many extra bullets, we played a "Mercy" round, which meant that a person would only be out after they surrendered.  Therefore, those who had high pain tolerance or widespread numbness could easily play for long periods of time without giving up. Sadly, I did not have a high pain tolerance nor numbness.  I instead counted on my fellow teammates to cover me and help me as I run straight into a "killzone".  That was not the case though.  I was shot several times on my right side, and thus retreated to cover.  After berating my teammates for 30 sec, I charged again, this time with my friend Emily Kao.  We both charged under the assumption that others would join us.  This time, we both reached the cover the enemy was hiding behind and attempted to shoot them.  However after 5 sec of constant barrages towards my body, I gave up and retreated into the safe zone.  I was shot in total 22 times while we were there.  This paintball trip was by far the best paintball trip I have ever gone.  Before, I would always hide or sneak around, but I realized that it is actually more fun to run out.  Getting shot is a consequence, but the adrenalin rush makes everything feel better.    After paintball, we went downtown and had an amazing dinner consisting of Momo's.  I just hope that the future paintball trips will be just as amazing.

On the Monday afterwards, I had my annual early birthday celebration.  While I initially planned to go to Leofoo for my party, due to the rain we ended up heading to Tasha's house.  We first met at TAS, where we stood in the rain for 5 minutes before we decided to head to my house (by the way, my brother and parents left for San Francisco earlier that morning, but more on the later paragraphs).  After we spent about 30 min at my house, where we attempted to create a new plan, while also playing with the Nerf guns that I brought out.  Finally, we decided to go to Tasha's house, but first head downtown for food shopping and more Nerf guns.  Thus we piled into Tasha's and went downtown; we drove to 101 where we were the first shoppers at their Jasons.  We bought food supplies (Addy just stood on the cart I was pulling while Darren and Tasha kept getting lost).  Afterwards, we drove to a shopping center that housed a Toys R Us and an Ikea.  Because Toys R Us wasn't open that early, we went to Ikea where we fooled around with different furniture and took pictures of us pretending to be a family.  Once Toys R Us opened, Darren and I went and bought two new Nerf Guns while Addy and Tasha bought us food from Ikea (SWEDISH MEATBALLS).  With the supplies and weapons we stormed Tasha's house surprising her helpers while spraying Nerf bullets everywhere.  We ended up having many crazy Nerf battles in Tasha's basement where we would just run and around and spray each other with the bullets.  After what seemed like minutes, we returned upstairs to eat lunch.  After lunch, we watched a bit of Monty Python's Robin Hood and the Men in Tights (Ok I watched, Tasha and Darren slept together* while Daniel and Addy read children's books). *not literal.  Once I realized no one was watching the movie besides me, I woke everyone up and we went to the top floor to swim.  After playing around in the pool, we returned downstairs where Darren made snacks while I popped popcorn.  The birthday celebration winded down from there and soon after I took a cab home and had a quiet dinner while I watched TV.  This birthday celebration was different from previous years, as I broke the tradition of going to the Waterpark.  Hopefully next year I will have a better idea or a similar birthday celebration.

The next day, after completing some errands and eating lunch with my grandfather, I went to ACC to play tennis with my friend Steph (side note: SHE'S INSANELY GOOD AT TENNIS). Nuff said.

As I alluded earlier, my parents and my brother left on June 4th in the morning.  I left on June 6th in the morning.  I had two extra days to hang out with my friends, as well as travel alone (last year I came back two days earlier than my parents and brother, this year I go two days later).   Unlike previous trips, this year we decided to fly Cathay.  While China Airlines was pretty good, from what I heard, Cathay was better.  It wasn't for me.  So first of all, when I got to the airport, check-in was easy, security was easy, but was I got into the main terminal, I couldn't find food. Like it took me a long time before I actually found a place that was good.  Then after finishing my quick breakfast, I find out that my flight to Hong Kong was canceled, and that I would have to line up to get on a new flight.  After what seemed like plenty of wasted time, I reached the counter where they proceeded to give me a ticket to the next flight, which was a Dragonair flight that would leave in 30 minutes. Initially I was afraid that because of this delay, I would miss my San Francisco flight, but no, they told me that I would be in Hong Kong for at least 30 min before my flight left.  So, the 1.5 hour flight to Hong Kong was uneventful.  Except the part where I was stuck in the tiniest seat in the world with barely any room to move.  Once I got to Hong Kong, my first objective was to find when my next flight would leave.  After learning that I had at least 30 minutes, I proceeded to the second floor where I went to find food.  I purchased a Cantonese style barbecue goose and pork rice set and a Popeyes Chicken Tenders set.  With my new purchases, I went to my gate, only to hear a group of loud Americans complaining about another delay.  With nothing else to do, I sat in a corner and ate my lunch.  It was really good.  When they finally allowed us to board, I hoped that my flight would be pleasant and uneventful.  Sadly, it wasn't.  Immediately after we took off, the overhead areas that housed the airconditioning for the seats in front and behind me began to leak.  It wasn't like small drops, it was like a torrential rain.  Furthermore, when I tried to sleep, the lights in our area would not turn off either.  Plus the movie selection sucked.  I do think however, that the food and the service was great on this flight.

Well there you have it, this massive (delayed) post that talks about my last days in Taiwan and my flight to SF.  Whoever reads this whole thing gets a stick or pack of gum if I feel generous.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cultural Convention 2012

Wow, I completely forgot about my work during Cultural Convention.  While, I did not play an instrument or help out as Tri-M, I still participated, and played an integral part of helping with Cultural Convention.  After being asked by Ms. Cutler, I organized a team of photographers to document the IASAS Cultural Convention Music at Taipei American School.  My team, which comprised of myself, Ariel Chou, Alexandria Yao, and Vivian Chou.  We as a group, took thousands and thousands of pictures that were uploaded for everyone to see.  I believe, that we covered every musical delegate at least twice.  There were so many pictures.

One of things I was really proud of, was my idea of setting up projectors.  On the second day, I realized that many of the students had no idea where the photos were going.  So after consulting with Mr. Gray and Ms. Cutler, I quickly organized a couple of laptops and projectors, and quickly set them up in the hallways and the Coach's lounge.  The photos were then viewed by many people.

In the end, I was very happy with my accomplishments.  My contributions were well known by everyone.  I was very pleased with the service I had put in.  As a result, I have become the IASAS Photography Coordinator for our club next year, Photo Ops.


Wow, TAIMUN X was one of the best experiences I've had in such a long time.  This year, I represented, one  of the toughest I've done, the glorious People's Republic of China in the Security Council.  Initially, I was thrilled that I was given one of the Permanent 5 countries, and I was even more thrilled that I was placed in the Security Council.  However, after doing much research, I realized that China was harder than I thought.

China is an amazing country, but a country with a very complicated foreign policy.  It supports many smaller developing countries within the Middle East as well as Africa, due to the fact that they have invested tons of money within their country.  China also firmly believes in non-intervention.  They feel that it is unnecessary for other nations to solve other nations' problems for them.  These policies made it difficult to solve the topics during the conference.

 This year's topics were quite interesting: 1. Question of the Situation in Cote d'Ivoire, and 2. Question of the Situation in the Arab Peninsula

Topic 1 talked about a nation that suffered from massive political instability.  The "old government" was ousted and a "new government" was elected, however, many people within the nation still followed the old government.  This led to a destructive civil wars and widespread corruption.  The solution to this situation in the eyes of China was very complicated.  China supported the "old government", but also supported Cote d'Ivoire in general.  China however, did not want anyone to send foreign military intervention to end the civil war.  All these policies made it quite difficult for a perfect solution.

Topic 2 was about the situation in the Arab Peninsula.  At the time, there were many problems within the Arab Peninsula that needed to be solved.  Woman's rights, terrorism and other key issues that continue to plague the Arab Peninsula.  As China, we also did not want foreign military intervention within these nations.  We would not allow any nation to place their military to solve any problem.  Even with terrorism.  I proposed that Peacekeepers would suffice, and that their mandate should not allow for any offensive measures to be taken.

With these topics, debate was intense.  There was a lot of debate during the first topic, as different nations were against each other's policies.  There were many P5 Caucuses as we all had different solutions and opinions.  China sided with Russia with their non-intervention policy, while the US, France and UK sided with each other.  In the end, we passed the resolution, and that problem was solved.

For the other topic I did not really get to finish the debate, as I was chosen to represent China for the Crisis simulation.  The crisis was very interesting.  It was about the North Korean Missile and how the launch threatened international security.  Japan threatened to shoot down the missile, but China would not allow them to do so.  However, China wanted to continue to have talks with South Korea about a Free Trade Agreement.  With these two issues in mind, it was very hard to create a solution that would be a win-win situation for China.  In the end, the final resolution created was terrible, and I voted against it.  Sadly, it passed.

Overall, my experience at TAIMUN was amazing.  Representing China was one of the coolest things I've ever done in my High School Career.  I also made a lot of new friends, while also seeing some of my old friends.  The trip was very rewarding as I also got to bond with my fellow TAS delegates, and I became closer with people such as Vivian, Connor, Joyce, Grace, Eric, Justin, and Jen-Jen.  I will treasure this experience forever.  Next year, I hope to return to TAIMUN, as a Deputy Secretary General.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

MY-MUNOFS III Singapore Trip

Many say that the goal is always better than journey.  In my opinion, there are times where the journey is more rewarding then the goal.  For the past few months, I've been a part of the MY-MUNOFS Middle School team.  Early last semester, around September, I applied for a Chairing position at the  MY-MUNOFS III Conference. In late October, I received the results, I was the Environment Committee's Head Chair. I was in; part of a large group of student officers from around South East Asia.  This was a significant milestone for me, as it was my first successful application to anything.  In the past, I've either attempted and not submit, or attempted and wasn't chosen.  This was the beginning of a long journey, to MY-MUNOFS III.

Once I was part of the team, I began attending the MY-MUNOFS practices, chairing for the Middle School delegates.  On top of that, I was mentoring new chairs, teaching the "new" delegates how to debate, editing resolutions, as well as helping the directors with other issues.  One of the specific "duties" I needed to accomplish as a chair, was to write two Chair Reports.  These were different than previous Chair reports I had to write because of the fact that they were to be done in PowerPoint form.  These Chair reports had to be written so that Middle Schoolers could easily understand the topics.  Thus, for the next few months, I would have to continually mentor the delegates so that they would be ready to take on the other delegates from the other schools.

On February 10th, 5:00 am, myself, and 20 other people, boarded a bus to the airport, and began our "physical" journey to MY-MUNOFS III.  We arrived at the airport, ready for our flight, but to our dismay, we were delayed.  Some computer problem resulted in multiple double-bookings, which led to a long wait.  We got on the plane, but we still had to wait for the random Amway people to trickle in.  By the time we left, we were delayed about 1 hour.  The flight was about 5 hours long, Many of the delegates took the time to work, editing resolutions and perfecting their speeches.  I initially wanted to watch some of the new movies I haven't seen such as, Tintin, or Chinese films such as 那些年 or 星空. I started watching Tintin, but as I saw the others working, I got up and walked around helping the delegates with their work.

When we finally arrived, I felt excited.  Excited for just being back in one my my previous homes; excited for the food I was going to eat; excited for the conference; just generally excited for everything.  After a long wait at immigration, we finally got on our bus, and headed into the city.  There, I was greeted with familiar sites, such as my dad's old office building.  I once again witnessed Singapore's wealth through it's modern icons: the Singapore Flyer and the Marina Bay Sands.  Its been a while since Singapore's famous landmarks was the old Sentosa and the Merlion.

We got to our hotel, the Fort Canning Lodge, on Fort Canning Road (basically at the end of Orchard), where we divided up into rooms and took a quick rest before getting lunch at the Park Mall right next door. By a stroke of luck or fate, I got the biggest room and had no other roommates.  After we had a somewhat satisfying lunch, the other students returned to the hotel, while Mr. Giordano and I went to the school to register, as well as for my chair meeting.

After two hours of just procedural matters, I left OFS to find Mr. Giordano and take him to the Far East Plaza for some local Hainan Chicken Rice.  We got there and just had the time to eat some Hainan Chicken Rice.  It was awesome, just the way I remembered it.  Afterwards, we walked around Orchard for awhile, looking for Ms. Rowe's favorite, Violent Crumble, as well as just talking with each other.  It was great talking with Mr. Giordano, as I got to know him better.  After a long walk, we finally took a cab and returned to the hotel.  After a quick meeting with the teachers clarifying some details, I went to my room and retired.  The next day would be chaotic.

I awoke early, eager for the day ahead of me.  I changed, had a quick breakfast, and waited for one of the teachers to take me to the school early.  After a quick final meeting with the chairs and the Secretary General, we took our positions onstage for the Opening Ceremony.  After he ceremony, I returned to my Committee room and began to prepare for the delegates.  I met with my other Co-Chairs, Mitsu and Jonas, as well as my awesome admin staff, Yan, Camillla and Neha.  Once the delegates arrived we went through some quick procedural matters, and then let them go to prepare for resolutions.

A side note: the delegates, the middle school delegates from the other schools, were somewhat ________.  I am not kidding.  They don't listen to instructions, they didn't prepare for the other topics; they all focused on their own topics and didn't prepare for anything else.  They were stubborn and very one-directional.  They needed alot of prodding to get things done.

Finally, after a long lobbying and causing session, we had finalized 7 resolutions.  We began debate in the afternoon, and finished two resolutions.  After the first day, I had another meeting with the chairs and the Secretary General, discussing the matters of the day.  Afterwards, Mr. Giordano and I, went to look for a cab to take us to a mall near our hotel.  There we shopped a little, and ate alot.  I visited the food court there and tried to have a bit of everything.  It was amazing.

The next day, we debated the rest of the resolutions, and even included a crisis.  Though they didn't really understand the crisis, it still went by quite quickly.  After a tearful closing ceremony, we left the conference, and proceeded to an early dinner at the ION.  The dinner at the ION was a bit depressing, seeing as we ate at a Taiwanese style restaurant, but the food was ok, and the rest of the night just begun.

After the dinner, we returned to the hotel, got ready, and went to the Night Safari in Singapore.  It was really fun.  A group of students followed me around, as we watched a show, took the bus and walked back.  After a long day, some of students joined me in the "fish-eating-feet" spa treatment. It was really cool.

The next morning, we had a long breakfast with thank yous and tiny recognition for impressive people.  For my hard work as a Chair as well as the de facto leader for some, I received an awesome key chain with Tintin and the Blue Lotus on it.  Afterwards, we headed to the airport, got on our flight and returned home.

All in all, it was a good trip.  I had a lot of fun hanging out with the students as well as meeting new people.  I was  a bit annoyed with the quality of debate we had, but because they were middle schoolers, I let them go easily.  However, in my opinion, our students are a lot more prepared than others, which means that I do not recommend going back, because it won't be a challenge.  I do however, wish to see OFS send a middle school team to TAS for MSTAIMUN in the near future.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Simple Gifts

Wow, two days in a row.  I found this awesome song just now, when I was looking at one of my favorite cover artists on Youtube.   The Piano Guys, truly a group of extremely talented people.  This recent addition has just made my day even better.  This mix/mashup is very light and just feels very uplifting.  This truly is a beautiful piece.  Thank You Piano Guys!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Better Days

You know, it's been a while since I've posted on my blog.  I'm here today to offer my non-existent readers something.  A song.

I was watching Grey's Anatomy or Private Practice the other day and I discovered this song.

Better Days.

Something just touched me when I heard this song.

I just think that there is something about this song that is sooo uplifting.

So take these words and sing out loud
'cause everyone is forgiven now
'cause tonight's the night the world begins again

I hope that those that do read this blog, just understand...that whatever you do...there is always that there will "just [be] a chance that we'll find better days..."