February 22, 2010 - 2:00 AM
A few of the HKSA members and I headed up to Corvallis to see our past HKSA member, Warren and his culture show. He is now the vice president of the Vietnamese Student Association at Oregon State. Originally a student at Oregon State University, he was a temporary Oregon duck for his junior year. He decided to go back to finish his major for his senior year and we at the University of Oregon miss him dearly. He was just the kinda guy that everyone liked and was involved in many clubs. Once he came down to participate in our Karaoke Night last fall. I thought that it would be nice to return the kind gesture by visiting him. Driving up to Corvallis, with my two vice presidents in the front seats and our multimedia guy in the back, our conversations were filled with what to expect in Warren's culture show, as well as plans for our own.
We reached Oregon State's Campus, and immediately a couple of us began talking smack about our rival school. The spirit banners, their library, even the name of their memorial union, (it was called the M.U. instead of the E.M.U). Of course we were only half joking. Oregon State has its own charms, depending on the individual point of view. The campus was actually nice with red brick buildings everywhere. Although it did not feel as homey and welcoming as the University of Oregon....
Anyway we reached the M.U. where the ballroom is and got tickets for the show. We met Warren in his black suit and he led us to a table right next to the stage personally reserved for "Warren's UO friends." It was a great honor to be there. The spot was an excellent place to take photos of the performances without standing or peeking between the heads of the audience. I couldn't have asked for more. Warren definitely showered his friends with great hospitality by putting us near the stage. I noticed the table next to us had some familiar faces as well. It turned out that it was the UO's Vietnamese Student Association, there to support their sister school in their biggest event of the year.
The night altogether was very impressive. Everything, from the food, performance, and the skit was outstanding. Their theme was a masquerade dance, that they had incorporated into their skit. Which explained the feathers and masks as the center pieces of each table. The name of their culture show was called "Lost Back East." The story involved an engaged couple going back to Vietnam in order to gain the fiancee's grandparents agreement on the wedding. The performances consisted of traditional and modern dances, as well as several song performances.
Driving back to Eugene, we definitely had a lot of new ideas to talk about. During the last half of the car ride home, there was a point where we all became silent. Either from exhaustion or thinking. I stared out into the clear sky and admired the stars. We were driving through small towns and open fields so they were extremely bright! While I looked on, I thought about Warrens last words as he said good bye to us in Corvallis. How he felt so relaxed, and how happy he was that all the weight was off his shoulders. I can't wait until our night is over. Actually, now that I think of it, looking back on all the time committee spent together for last years HKSA culture show, was really fun. Despite all the difficulties and frustration with planning and practicing, there were things that made me want to be a part of it all again. Now that I am one of the directors of the show, I shouldn't stress too much. Instead I should enjoy every minute of it, because before I know it, April 11th will have already passed. I hope that our culture show will leave a good impression on everyone. Including Warren when he visits. He still owes me a dessert for designing his posters for his night!
February 20, 2010 - 4:00 PM
In my previous blog, I mentioned about getting someone arrested. Whom? A homeless guy who did nothing to harm me or my friends. This incident occurred during our HKSA valentines fundraiser. We were selling Hershey kiss roses that we had made in front of the bookstore and a homeless guy had taken shelter from the rain right next to our table. He burned some incense, turned on his portable stereo and held a cardboard sign asking for help. I was too busy to notice him until one of the members pointed him out. She suggested that we move to the other side of the entrance door for our sale and our image. Honestly there was no other reason than to avoid the guy's presence and the smell of his burning incense.
I went inside the Duck Store to the customer service desk, and asked the worker if we would be able to move our table to a different spot. We had originally reserved for the left side of the entrance door and wanted to take the right side. Unfortunately I was told that they had all been reserved. Since the other groups have not yet arrived, I explained my situation and said that we would only move there temporarily until the group came. The woman at the front desk promptly told me that she would call security to remove the man. Shocked, I insisted that he had not directly bothered us and hoped that she would not call security. The worker said that it wouldn't matter since he would still need to leave. Apparently, pan handling in front of their business was illegal and another student group would soon take his spot.
I went outside and saw the rain. I felt really guilty for what would soon happen. I explained the situation to the two girls who were working in the morning shift and took my place at the table. I was supposed to leave the table after set up, but I couldn't leave them knowing what would happen. When I sat down, the homeless guy shouted at us, "I'm hungry, can I have a rose." Hesitantly, one of the girls said yes and handed him a rose. We all just sat there, staring out at the rain and making small conversation. We obviously were trying to avoid eye contact with the homeless guy.
The Duck Store manager came out and kindly asked the guy to leave. The manager said that he could not relate to his situation, but that what he was doing was illegal. The homeless guy got angry and began to shout that no one could help him, that it was raining, and that the manager should just leave him alone. He claimed that he was being kicked out into the streets, while "they (HKSA) had the right to sell roses." He also pointed out a poster above him, claiming that the world is messed up for helping Haiti when people like him in this country needed help too.
Hearing all this, I felt really sorry. I personally do not know what situation he is in or whether he could not find help. All I knew was that it was raining, and I felt that it was my fault for starting this situation. The manager finally told him that if he didn't leave he would be forced to call the police. The homeless guy retaliated and accused the manager of kicking him out and claimed that the authorities were out to taser him. I sat and looking straight ahead as the whole ordeal passed. What could I have done? The homeless guy was became verbally aggressive and it was my fault for letting the store know of his presence.
One cop, then another followed, after the homeless guy said he wouldn't respond to any of their orders unless two cops came. They arrested him and put him in the squad car as he shouted towards the direction of his items, screaming that they were his only possessions. As the cop car pulled out, the girl who suggested we move our table gave me a pity look and sarcastically said, "Leah you just put someone in jail!" I didn't know what to think anymore. The whole ordeal was so unfair. I felt really bad for what had happened. Even though the way the homeless guy retaliated was a bit rude...it does not explain why he deserved to be in his current situation - no place to call home, hungry and cold. It just made me realize that there are a lot of people who are in much worse situations than me. I'm lucky I have a home, family, and friends. I think this experience definitely brought awareness to myself and the world around me.
February 14, 2010 - 11:00 PM
Happy Chinese New Year/Valentine's Day! Two holidays on one day must be pretty awesome right? It should, but for some reason I just haven't really been in the mood to celebrate. I feel like there's so much pressure lately. Pressure from getting things done, such as this blog I'm writing right now. I still feel exhausted from the mid-terms last week, even though I've definitely gotten more sleep at home than here. Unfortunately that's pretty much what I've done since. After the Valentine's rose sale last Friday, I've pretty much abandoned all the other work I've had. Resting, eating lots of yummy new years food, and spending time with family, maybe that's it? Perhaps I'm in a super duper relaxation mode. Too tired to care about everything else around me.
The weekend also went by too quickly, and I haven't had my fair share of festivities. I miss the lion dancing, the parades, and the larger family dinner for Chinese new years (which will be held next week). Now I feel like I'm whining. I feel disappointed here, too stressed, and too tired to even care about Valentine's Day as well. I'm late on the artwork that I had planned for my boyfriend of 3 years, and the most we did today since I got back to Eugene was exchange one out of our two gifts. I think he understands ... maybe. Another thing that is late, and is frustrating me right now is my camera! I finally ordered one, and it was supposed to be mailed yesterday. Well....Its not here! I've made several phone calls asking what the status " delivery exception" meant and finally asked if I could just pick my package up at a Fedex location. I was denied though ..... and honestly, I did not understand half of what the representative was saying, only "Sorry Ma'am," in a very thick accent. Now I have to wait till Tuesday, because Fedex doesn't deliver on Mondays. I am super sad. I want my package now....
Another big thing on my mind right now is HKSA Night, what am I going to do!? There is so much to plan and work on. With the event less than 2 months away, we need to get our decorations, props, and performances down. I also have a form sitting in front of me to fill out in order to request to see the senate and ask for more funding. So we need to put together a strong argument ASAP. The main reason we are requesting more funding is because our members have increased and we are expected to exhaust the budget that the previous President had created for this year. I have scheduled a meeting for this Tuesday to discuss and divide the task of speaking, and the points we want to make. Following that meeting we are hosting our Chinese New Year dinner at a local restaurant. So there's a lot of planning to be done there as well! I of course do not have the sole burden on HKSA affairs, but as one of the presidents, it is my responsibility to oversee everything that we are doing. Its really overwhelming sometimes!
I hope when I wake up in the morning, I will feel better. I probably won't be so happy though. My illustration class at 8am is too early. I can never function 100% in that class. My creativity just shuts down during that time. Honestly I really would love to sleep in one day if the professor didn't take attendance.
February 12, 2010 - 4:00 PM
I must say, the rose fundraiser was a success! Thanks to the members of HKSA we've raised a little over $200 by selling Hershey kiss roses. Without them, the process of making each rose would have taken us weeks. I cannot explain how thankful I am for our fellow members and friends who showed up to our rose making workshops. The handful that were involved proved to me that HKSA has some great dedicated members. Even my urgent cry for more roses didn't fail. A number of members came to the rescue and made another 200 roses to fill in the pre-orders requested. This is what drives me to run the Hong Kong Student Association. It is the events we put on and the dedicated students that motivates me to lead.
At 8 am, the day of the sale, I woke up, quickly got dressed and gathered all the roses from my room. My better half Karen, CO-President, was waiting for me at 8:30 in front of the Duck Store. She had called me earlier because she couldn't get the tables and chairs out since I had the table request receipt, so I ran as fast as I could to meet her. From 8:30am to 12:00pm I was running back and forth to the fundraising table. I was only supposed to set-up and come back at 2, but there were a few things that were needed. The first time was the club banner. I didn't have my keys and had to run back to my room, then to the HKSA office for the banner, and back to the Duck Store. The second time I forgot my camera. There was also a confrontation at the Duck Store regarding a police arrest that was partly my fault.... I had stayed at the table until the situation had passed (more on that in next week's blog). After that I went to class, stopped by again to check on the volunteers, as well as to wrap up some more bouquets.
It was a busy day and I had to leave for Portland at 3pm to spend Chinese New Years at home. In between, I got food, packed, did a little cleaning, and finally settled at the table again for my actual shift. It was a very long day, and it was really sweet to see and hear everyone who came by to purchase our roses. Many of our costumers were husbands who bought bouquets for their wives. We also met a mother who was working on a "Guns and Roses" project for her son. The best costumer by far was probably a guy who bought a rose and presented it to his girlfriend in front of us. It was definitely a sweet day.
February 8, 2010 - 5:21 PM
Bad news. One of my favorite stores in Eugene is closing: Liquid Sunshine. The local fish store was a convenient stop for me to get all my aquarium needs. Apparently the owner, Eric is moving out to become an aquarist at the Curator of Living Collections in North Carolina. I will no longer be able to walk over and purchase healthy and well loved fishes. No offense, but large chain pet stores can sometimes be a gamble when purchasing live fish. I have had bad experience with new tank mates that belly up after a week. It's just the care that is put into raising fishes that makes them happy and healthy.
Every bad news must have a good news, and that is everything in the store is heavily discounted. Tanks, food, accessories, and FISH are all 30%, with an additional 20% off if you can name Eric's favorite family of fish (hint starts with a "C"). In total, that comes down to 50% off! which is ridiculous, but everything must go. If I could, I'd buy everything. Unfortunately I'm a bit low on money, and I already have too many tanks and fishes at home.
An update on the pets: Mark Twain has a new friend who lives on my desk. A blue and red crowned tail betta. I also just got two African dwarf frogs. These frogs spend their time under water and are no bigger than my thumb. They're so cute!! Anyways, sorry for the fish blurb, I had some other things I wanted to write about this week, but I got caught up. Please bear with me. I have a midterm tomorrow and I haven't had the chance to study. HKSA budget filled up my Friday day, I'll have to explain later, but until then, I'd advise checking out Liquid Sunshine before they close. It's a lovely family owned place. I'll probably check it out again later this week and I'll try to not bring my wallet with me this time.