Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Exploring New Cultural Territory

Dear All,

Since I strongly believe that active participation in culture is an important part of a "real" education, I would like to encourage you to explore one or more aspect(s) of culture that you are not too familiar with during the next weeks.

Here some ideas of what exploring new cultural territory may mean for you:

* attending a literary event (e.g. a reading at the International Writers Festival or a play)
* taking a creative writing workshop (poetry, fiction, drama, biographical writing, etc)
* attending a dance performance (e.g. ballet, modern dance)
* taking a dance class (e.g. jazz, belly, ballet, salsa)
* going to a concert (classical, rock, jazz, blues, etc)
* taking some music lessons (e.g. flute, piano, guitar, voice)
* going to an art museum (Vancouver Art Gallery, Bill Reid Museum, Surrey Museum, etc)
* taking some art classes (painting, drawing, sculpting, batik, jewelry making, etc)
* going to a good movie (e.g. at the Asian Film Festival at the beginning of November)
* taking a workshop about film making or photography or web design etc
* going to a festival or other event organized by one of Vancouver's many cultural groups (e.g. Diwali, All Souls Day)
* taking up yoga, meditation, or tai chi, etc

Please tell us in detail about your cultural experience - and how it felt to you. You are welcome to write your comments in any genre (including poems, stories, journal entries, etc). Feel free to add links, pictures, and other material to give us a better idea about your experience.

If you don't know where to start, here a few links you may find useful in this context:

Vancouver International Writers Festival, Oct 16th to 21th:

Asian Film Festival, Nov 1st to 4th:


Music, Dance, Museums, etc (see categories on the LEFT):

Please enjoy your cultural experience!



  1. I went to watch a friend of mine perform at UBC University Singers & Choral Union in Concert on Friday, October 19th. I rarely attend any sort of musical concert, but I figured I might as well show my support for a friend and attempt to stimulate my dreadfully uncreative brain while I’m at it.

    I admit I had no idea what to expect from the concert, since I have never heard a choir perform before. I normally listen to music featuring one vocalist, so I was surprised to hear that choir had a depth to it that I don’t hear on the radio. The music felt very much alive, for a lack of a better term. When I closed my eyes to listen, it was easy to forget that all the different sounds were all made by nothing more than the human voice. I have a rather lacking attention span, but for those two hours, I was content to stay still and listen to the singing.

    Looking back, I sort of wish I had bought their CD so I could hear it all again, but at the same time, I remind myself of the fact that a recording played on my cheap CD player does not do justice to a live performance. I am far from a music expert, but I would like to think that I gained a new appreciation for music.

  2. Last weekend I attended a concert by the Vancouver Symphony at the Orpheum theatre. Coming from a small town there has seldom been opportunities to see classical music concerts. Although I enjoy art, music and culture, because of this lack of opportunity I’ve never been inclined to attend one.
    The performance I went to see with a friend was Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty. This to me is something of a surreal experience as I immensely enjoy Tchaikovsky’s works and by chance they had been playing that weekend. I can recall countless hours spent listening to Swan Lake and other wildly iconic classical compositions on youtube, never really realizing that some of these pieces were composed two hundred years ago and played in grand, illustrious theatres. As I sat there waiting for the lights to dim, I never dreamed of having the chance to listen to it being played by a live orchestra in a tremendous theatre surrounded by others who wished to experience this performance. It was truly awe inspiring to be able to hear Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty performed with a combination of depth, emotion and power rather than being confined to my computers speakers.
    An aspect of the symphony that I found was interesting was that I was able to watch and see each musician play their roles and unite with each other to weave together such intricate parts. It was also intriguing to try and pin point which sounds came from whom and to see a single soloist carrying the entire orchestra through each movement. When they finally got to the famous finale in Swan Lake I couldn’t help but think of all those times I’ve heard in it passing such as in movies or tv shows and that they utterly paled in comparison to the vivid explosion of music and emotion that resonated throughout the theatre.
    As the performance came to an end a burst of applause and standing ovations had assaulted the Vancouver Symphony. I felt awed and truly impressed that this symphony had brought to life these classical pieces that I’ve only ever heard indirectly through either the media or internet. This visit to the theatre has truly inspired me to attend future concerts as now I have all the opportunities at my fingertips.

  3. Yesterday, I had an opportunity to attend a dance performance at a small theatre in downtown. Originally, I was going to attend the Asian Film Festival in the beginning of November and write my blog entry about my experience there, but I got greatly inspired during yesterday's event so I decided to write about this instead.
    To be honest, I was forced to attend the event to some extent because my friend was performing. I did not have any idea about the event since I just heard it was some kind of dance performance to promote the idea that "Different is not wrong."
    At first, I did not know what was going on because at one point there were hip hop dancers doing breakdancing, and at another point there were beautiful ballet dancers performing on stage. Then I realized that this performance is based on combining all the different genres or aspects of dancing together and somehow integrating them. It was amazing to see the dancers becoming one and performing together but differently at the same time. I would have never imagined that all the different kinds of moves can be all incorporated to create a new genre.
    The background music also caught my mind. The weird combination of different kinds of music brought the purpose of the performance to the maximum. For example, there was Korean traditional music playing when there were ballet dancers on stage. At first it was very strange, but on second thought, I began to accept everything. The performers successfully transferred their message across to me. I began to realize that different answer is not necessarily the wrong answer.
    Before going to this event, I was not very interested in attending cultural events because I thought I had more important things to do such as assignments for school. However, after this event, I realized that one can learn from anything. I learned a life lesson from attending a dance performance, and I decided to give myself little breaks from studying once a while and go watch a movie, or learn how to play an instrument because I am very thankful that I got the chance to go to this performance.-Jenny YoonJi Lee

  4. Forgive, but not forget

    Last weekend, I attended an event at the Vancouver Writer's Festival on Granville Island. Even though I have been on Vancouver for all of my life, I have never heard about this event. I felt that I was obligated to attend at least one demonstration of the arts in my lifetime. To have never been appreciative to these arts, I hoped that the event would change my views.

    For the presentation, there were three speakers that read their passage from their book. Each writer had displayed that theme "forgive, but not forget" in their novels. It was interesting to see how each author managed to include the theme. It also enabled me to test which writing style I enjoy listening to the most. All three writers had different writing styles as shone from their tone as they narrated. The way the writers narrated their novels provided their interpretation of their novel as well.

    After the readings were done, there was a Q&A section where the authors answered questions such as the challenges they faced in writing their piece and what their experience was like for writing the book. After the event, audience members could meet the author and have their novels signed. I do wish to hear more of their novels, but it was great to have heard a sample. This was a memorable event, and I do recommend it for people that are interested in trying out different writing styles. In the end, I was quite disappointed I didn't get to hear more of their passages, but it was amazing to be able to meet the authors.

  5. This weekend I went to my first ever techno concert at Thunderbird Stadium. The artist was Bassnectar, whom I had heard of before, but was never really interested in his genre of music. I attended the show with a few close friends and to my surprise had an amazing time.
    In the past when I have gone to concerts, it has always been much gentler music, like rock and jam bands. Music is something that I have always loved, but I must admit that I have a particular taste and really hate certain genres. Dubstep, a form of techno is something I have never been serious about listening to, but Bassnectar put on show that changed my mind about this style of music. I had such an a great time, mostly due to the culture within the stadium. It was far different then any other concert I have attended because everyone was so into the music going crazy with the epic light show. It is interesting what the music culture entails and how accepting society is of that party hard type of mentality so often seen at music concerts and festivals, especially at dubstep type shows.
    In the future, I will surely be attending more dubstep concerts. This experience has also opened my eyes to the idea that all music is special in its own way and hopefully I can learn to be more accepting of all kinds of genres. Music is such a special gift to this world, regardless of rhythm, beat, or voice, people will always cherish the sound and the culture it creates.

  6. Last week I went with Philip to the Vancouver Writer’s Festival and attended an event titled “Forgive But Not Forget.” In the beginning when I read the description for this online, I wondered a little of why this is so significant. By the end of this event, I found out why.

    During this event, authors read various passages from their books and explained about this concept. One talked about the aboriginals in Australia being assimilated and said that we need to forgive so that we can lessen our burden and get out of our anger and hatred mind state. But as another speaker says, it is very hard for some people to forget something that has traumatized and affected them significantly in the past, for example the Cambodian genocide. Soon I found out why it’s so important to not forget after another speaker explained. He said that we should not forget so that this wrong doing that has occurred will not be repeated by us or others in the future again.

    After listening to these speakers, the phrase of “Forgive but not forget” immediately made sense and felt to me as being essential in the world. This is because forgiving is a very important thing. Without it, there would be hate and anger everywhere, which means that people will want to seek revenge and this unending cycle will continue. Not forgetting is just as important because of the reason above.

    I also agree with what Philip has said about the interesting thing of these writers writing about the same theme and yet they all present it in their own unique way. This not only strengthened the concept of writing in different styles and perspectives that we have learned in class, but also shows that this CAN be done.

    This was an extremely interesting experience for me since I have never been to the Vancouver Writer’s Festival. After participating in this, I recommend it to everyone because it opens our minds up and teaches us to think differently.

  7. Dance is one of the most universally celebrated things in this world, it is a means to communicate what words cannot. Yet each country has it’s own traditional form of dance, from Irish Step Dancing to the Polka this form of self expression is seen around the world. Traditional Cambodian dancing however is something I had not seen before, and it turned out to be the most subtly beautiful dance i’ve ever seen.

    The performance started with a petite elderly lady standing on the stage to introduce the act. Her name is Marie Ens and she is the founder of a Place of Rescue which is a safe haven just outside the capital city of Cambodia. Place of rescue gives homes and provides education to orphans, families with AIDS and the elderly who can no longer support themselves.The dancers we were to see tonight were all lived at place of rescue. Marie explained that place of rescue is not just an orphanage but a family and her and her team try to support orphans long after they finished highschool and will help fund post secondary education. She then invited an eighteen year old Cambodian boy to come to the stage, as he described his story I was overwhelmed with the amount of peace he had, for someone who had overcome so many obstacles. He first came to Place of Rescue after his parents died of AIDS in 2004, before coming to the center he had never gone to school. This year he was 4th out of 10,000 in Cambodia and is looking forward to attending University next fall. He explained that Place of Rescue had turned his life around. Dancing in particular had been a particular source of joy in his life and gave him confidence to face the world. After hearing all these emotional stories I was looking forward to seeing the dancing.

    As the dancers took the stage Marie explained that the dance was a symbol of overcoming struggles. 6 girls and 6 boys stood on the stage dressed in elaborate costumes. The girls had intricately designed tiaras on there heads and all wore traditional dresses made in bright patterns with gold patterns on them. The boys had baggy blue pants with swords tucked into their sashes. As the music started playing I realized that dancing was like something I had seen before. Instead of large movements meant to draw attention, their movements were small and subtle. Primarily using their hands and arms they created a picture. Although I’m not going to pretend I could understand the exact meaning to their dancing. It was absolutely beautiful, each movement perfectly matched the soft music being sung in Cambodian. There hands twirled slowly making different patterns . The group never faltered or hesitated and just as they tried to have peace in the small things in life, they tried to have peace in there dancing as well.

  8. New Cultural Territory; A First Experience with Hot Yoga

    It was pouring rain outside, but that is expected in the typical Vancouver weather. It seemed like the perfect day to be inside, but I had wanted to try Hot Yoga for the longest time and finally planned for that day to go. I even looked up all the instructors and read their beginner stories, so I could specifically take an instructor I could see myself connecting with. I chose a class from 5:00 PM till 6:15 PM. When I went, the people at Bikram’s told me hot yoga would help me relax and cleanse my body and help take out all the toxins from stress and work. However, my first class felt like it would go on forever and I was exhausted. Never having sweat so much in my life, I felt like my whole body was melting; I was overheating and drinking water incessantly. I worked my way though each of the 26 positions, finding that I had more flexibility than I expected. Eventually the poses got easier and I was allowed to rest longer between each interval. Stretches were my favourite part of yoga; something I could actually do, because my balance was not something of grace. When we got to the poses where we could sit, I was so relieved that it was something familiar; something I’d done in P.E. or during warm ups for tennis. But they introduced new stretches; these stretches challenged me to go beyond my comfort zone, but I was happy to be trying something new. Soon enough, I felt my body relax and my mind was in a state of tranquillity. I actually noticed the sun setting outside, colouring the skyline with a luxurious red-orange hue. As crazy as it sounds, I was actually the most relaxed I’d ever been in a long time, after that yoga class. My mother drove me home that day, and we got into an argument in the car as always – but this time, I wasn't frustrated or intensively talking back. I felt like I couldn't raise my voice or be angry, and my body just kept telling me to calm down and just breathe. I felt a huge difference in my breathing right after the class; my breaths were long and, in a weird way, I could feel the air glide through my throat and into my lungs. I had felt a strange level of serenity after that yoga class and it intrigued me. I usually don’t have time in my schedule for regular visits to hot yoga, but that first class is something I will definitely remember and will keep me wanting to go back.

  9. I grew up listening to my grandfather play CD's of various symphonies composed by different well known individuals such as Beethoven and Mozart. The complex structuring and piecing of the music together always amazes me. I always feel a sense of euphoria as they commence, inviting the audience to feel the rhythm of the music. Synchronizing melodies, the orchestra changes the entire audience's mood.
    Because of my longing to recreate old memories from the past, I was very determined to listen to a live musical performance. I was disheartened to find that most of the performances I wanted to go to are either sold out, beyond my price range or playing on days where I have school or work. Luckily, I found a live winds and percussion divisional concert right at UBC. These divisional concerts are held Tuesdays at Barnett hall, the recital hall is only a few minute walk from Buchanan. Not only is the concert a chance for students to hear other fellow students perform, it is also for free.
    I arrived at Barnett Hall before 12 noon and found myself a seat. The recital hall looks remarkable with different sizes of chimes above the stage. The walls are made of polished wood attaining a classical modern look of a performing center. Soon enough, the students lined up and played combinations of solo and group performances. I was very moved by the different pieces that were played with the Wind, Brass and Percussion instruments.
    By the end of the performance, I felt self-motivated to listen to other genres of music than today's radio. This type of genre of music takes time and thought from an individual to compose and/or perform a piece. In conclusion to my cultural event reflection, I feel privileged to be able to attend UBC and be given the opportunity to listen to other students perform. We should take advantage of the different Cultural events that UBC has to offer because you will never know when you might stumble upon something that catches your interest.

  10. I visited the Vancouver Art Gallery, hoping to see a large display of paintings and sculptures, but I saw an exhibit that was completely different and unique. What I saw was a presentation of modern and conceptual art pieces, and the artist behind them is Ian Wallace. This was the first time that I have been to an art gallery, and I have always thought that they only showed traditional paintings and monumental sculptures, so this visit helped me gain a new understanding of conceptual art and the function of an art gallery.
    At first, I could not interpret the meaning of the pieces because the pieces are just series of pictures. I was extremely confused, and I did not know what I was looking at. With the curiosity and questions in mind, I explored other parts of the gallery, hoping to find some answers. Surprisingly, I did. I watched an interview clip with Ian Wallace, and he explained the purpose of his pieces. The series of pictures that I saw was supposed to generate a cinematic effect. Therefore, I went to the pieces and carefully looked at them again. Suddenly, I felt like I was in a movie theatre and watching a movie. I used this new approach and began to view some of the pieces in another perspective. The most interesting piece that I saw is called “The Magazine Piece”. It was made of magazine pages that formed a horizontal line and taped to the wall. Typically, we read magazines by flipping pages, but this art work allows us to view all the pages at the same time. The other piece that I found intriguing was a series of pictures of street intersections in Vancouver. Each background of the intersections was different, so I felt like I was going on a tour to the different parts of Vancouver.
    One part of the exhibit was the documenting of Wallace’s work places. From the interview clip, I learned that he wanted to capture his thought process in those places. I think that this is an excellent idea because he could form new ideas from those thoughts and create even more unique art works.
    The pieces that I saw in the gallery were uncommon and special because I could place myself in them and imagine myself being part of them. If I have the opportunity again in the future, I would definitely want to relive this experience.

  11. Our last visit to the Museum of Anthropology was admittedly my first ever museum visit. Google does an excellent job of providing images of artifacts, but the feeling of standing a couple centimetres away from a piece cannot be replicated by pixels on a screen alone. The first visit to the museum felt incomplete, as the MOA did not have their Silver of Peru exhibit up at the time. I knew, in order to satisfy my nagging sensation, that I would need to go once more and complete my museum experience (which is exploring the entirety of the MOA).

    I was amazed at the amount of pieces MOA had in the exhibit. Necklaces, crowns, armour, figures, masks, and regalia, they had the entire collection. Never have I seen silver portrayed in such a way. In our society, silver inferior compared to platinum and gold, and often it is the diamond on rings that shine more brightly than the metal. In this exhibit, it was the exact opposite. The lighting of the room brought out the reflective quality of silver and the intricacies of their designs. I was in awe at the details of the pieces; every groove played a part in the creating a "feeling" for the piece. My favourite was in the shape of a clamshell, as the interior of the shell reflected light off the "pearl" in a different way. Through these pieces, one can truly imagine what the culture was like back then.

    Going to the MOA was definitely a dazzling experience. The metalworkers who spent hours creating these pieces of art were extremely talented. I left the MOA feeling a sense of awe. After visiting the MOA, I can see myself going to other museums to admire other works of art.

    1. I felt the very same way about the MOA! It may not have been my first museum experience, but I certainly did not go often if only a few times in my life. I really enjoyed the museum, and being new to the city, it was a great introduction and a very nice break from all of the stress. It was nice to just take a deep breath and connect with all of the great artwork that people took so much time to create.. and I will definitely be coming back in the future because I don't feel like I could explore everything. My favorite was the raven, I felt a strong connection to it and thought it was a very powerful figure.

  12. To broaden the horizons of my cultural territory I decided to go for a less conventional route. The Greek Food Festival made it's winter debut a few weeks ago and lasted the weekend. Even though my heritage is Greek, i've never been to the festival which commemorated our food. It was conducted at the Orthodox church on Arbutus and it held a plethora of cuisine from my mediterranean homeland. Chicken and pork souvlaki, rice pilaf and greek salad with fresh tomatoes had my jowls watering in anticipation; but I've seen all of the food before from previous Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter dinners. Don't get me wrong.. I thoroughly enjoyed partaking in the expansion of that particular aspect of the cultural experience; however, what I found interesting was the native dancing that by local Greek folk group in the background. The yelling of "Opa!" filled the large serving hall as the circle of dancers ebbed and flowed around each other. I could almost picture the mountainous backdrop of Greece behind the dancers and taste the salt in the air from the Mediterranean that crashed against the rocky shore nearby. The music was mesmerizing; the bouzouki player lulled the crowd with the gentle plucking of the strings. He could change the emotion of the building just by picking up the pace of his tune or by slowing it down.

    The generations of Greek after Greek were lined up in a perfect timeline. Grandparents talked amongst old friends from childhood, parents gossiped with old friends that still remain friends and children laughed and played with new friends. I never realized I was apart of such a tight knit community of people. Everywhere I turned I was confronted from someone asking me how my grandma was or if my mom was going to make an appearance that night. I couldn't help but feel that they were my family. They had seen me grow up from a rascal who played hide and seek with the other children to the adult going to one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

    I may not have dabbled in a new cultural territory during my visit to the Greek Food Festival but I did have a realization of what being apart of my culture really meant. Family. It's true that Greek people would gladly feed the world then ask everyone if they want seconds. I'm apart of that community. The breaking of the plates, emotion filled dances and delicious food define me; but, most of all, what truly defines who I am is the people that I hold closest. They shaped my childhood and will continue to mould my future. I'm definitely proud to be able to call myself Greek.

  13. When this was first assigned, I really had no idea where to go as the only times I went to watch performances was at movie theaters. However, since that was not an option, I went out to find something interesting. Google yielded several options including dance performances, concerts and plays. Unfortunately, the descriptions really did not do much in convincing me. So I looked for something that would require little if not no prior knowledge about the topic or performance. And so we, my friends and I, settled on Pants of Fire, a comedy routine that took place in Granville Island.

    This was my first time in Granville Island and this experience was more than a little interesting as I really had no idea where I was going. In fact, getting to the venue was a miniature adventure in itself. The roads that curved and the buildings that all looks unique and different at the same time, and the fact the street signs were nowhere to be found. The pouring rain certainly did not help either.

    Upon arrival, we had our tickets checked and sat at our assigned seating to watch the show. The lighting was intentionally dim and the spotlight was on the various comedians. The actually content involved a few different theater sports. The most memorable being the part where three volunteers from the audience were chosen to tell about something that is true only to one of them. In other words, two must lie convincingly to everyone that this quirky fact is true to him/her, while one simply tells the truth. The audience and performers may ask questions to help them figure out who is lying. In the end, we all guessed incorrectly as the one telling the truth actually seemed the most hesitant about talking about why her cat is in a long distance relationship.

    The performance itself was simple and made me laugh. The actual premise was not so simple though. The fact that we could not separate truth from lies most of the time was actually a little disconcerting. As I reflect, many of us are already practiced liars. This simple cultural exploratory trip certainly yielded some unintended thoughts on our habits about telling the truth. The truth may be that lying is a part of our culture.

  14. My mom once was a huge little league baseball fan (only watched games I was in), my dad was once played on the AHL, and my grandma is the reigning champion of the CKL, so it was only natural that I would want to take up a league of my own. At first I considered joining the League of Legends, but that would have been the easy way out, since many of my friends had taken the same path. And I had tried my hand at the Vancouver Dodgeball League a few weeks ago, but I did not have the time for it as soon as midterms came around the corner. I needed something more creative and fresh, as well as flexible on time. Last weekend I came to my decision and attended a performance by the Vancouver TheatreSports League. The show was called Pants On Fire and featured fast-paced competitive improvised comedy between the amateur comedians and a guest, professional comedian, Ivan Decker. It only took a few minutes to be fully immersed in the show, where I could no longer trust my own senses to distinguish truth from lies. Not only was Ivan able to make a convincing story from his lies, his well timed pauses and stutters made everything sound like a lie, including the true segments of his life. Between each truth, lie, and everything in between there was an improvised reenactment of the stories by the amateur comedians. As I was laughing at one point in the show, I turned to see the reaction of the audience around me and received a shocking surprise. Coincidentally, two of my classmates from English 112 were sitting to my right! By the end of the night I was very pleased to have had such an amusing, yet confusing experience, and I feel it truly had an impact on the way I view and retell my life.
    *CKL is the Competitive Knitting League.

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  16. Like my two fellow classmates above, I also attended the Pants on Fire show at Granville Island last week. I had never been to an improv-comedy show, and thought that it would be an interesting experience.

    Arriving a bit late, we were welcomed by darkness and misty rain. Not without difficulty, we searched for the location of the show. We ran in the rain and darted from sidewalk to sidewalk, asking every stranger we met for directions. Perhaps it was due to the running that I felt a rush of adrenaline, but it seemed to add to my anticipation for the show.

    After we finally arrived at the theatre, we found our seats, sat back, and began to enjoy the show. The host and the guest, Ivan, had a bowl of lies and truths in which Ivan randomly drew from. He would say the lie/truth and the panel of judges (improv-actors/actresses) would decide whether it was a truth or lie after asking Ivan a few questions.

    I was immediately intrigued by the interesting lies and truths that were in the bowl. One of the more memorable ones was: I have once dated two models. When the panel asked him what their names were, Ivan stumbled as he gave two names: Courtney Koriyama. and Sehmen S. (which totally sounded like they were made-up names from a nightclub or something) and then added belatedly that one was half-Turkish and Japanese, while the other one was Russian.

    Needless to say, the panel took that to be a lie, and called him out. However, it actually turned out to be a truth! I exchanged wide-eyed looks with my classmates. We were amazed by Ivan's talent of faking lies and were amused by the improv-acting of the panel members that followed.

    Overall, I thought that the performance was fun to watch and that the rest of the audience had a good time as well (though the audience's exaggerated laughter may have been due to the alcohol they were consuming). It definitely made me consider the amount of truth I actually hear from my friends and family in my life daily, and whether trust is still something that exists in our society today. Perhaps, our "white lies" are slowly replacing the truths in our lives and inconvenient truths are scorned because of our reassuring lies.

  17. Dancing was once an art of social grace in many countries. It was common for people to dance in social gathers. Even in the present, people still dance and socialize in clubs. However, instead of going to the typical ballroom or club, I attended a salsa singer’s concert.
    At first when I though it just like any other concert you go to where you have a seat and simply just listen to the singer. I came to realize that this concert was not the regular case. When I went into the door at seven since the ticket imprinted: doors open at seven, it was an empty community hall with chairs, tables, and open space in the middle. Need I might add that the community hall was empty because the singing did not start until twelve thirty. Yes, after midnight, meaning that I was waiting for more than five hours. I truly wonder if it was because of the culture that the performance started so late compared to the time imprinted on the ticket. However, the event was worth the wait.
    Around ten to eleven more people arrived and people started to dance in the open space. It was actually quite lively. The hall was packed by twelve and the music was so loud I could not even hear the person next to me talking. Nevertheless, amongst the flamboyant music and chatter, I could feel the sparkling atmosphere even when the concert has not even started. Before the concert began, there was a small performance of salsa where everyone either sang along with the music or cheered on dancers, which was very different from a concert where people usually sit quietly and only watch.
    The most interesting part of the event was the when the singer came out to sing and the people became wild. I mean wild as in people continued to dance while the singer sang. I think live music is different from music from speakers because it was like the energy from the singer transferred to the audience, which gave them the energy to dance. I left before the concert ended, but I heard the singer sang till three or four. I am sure if I did not participate and heard that a concert ended at four, I would be dumbfounded. However, after participating, I realize the atmosphere that people create through music and dancing is something that we would all lose track of time for.
    Ultimately, it was great to have a chance to experience a very different cultural nightly entertainment. I am sure if I ever go again, I would probably need to first learn how to dance salsa; thus, the next time I would probably have as much fun as everyone else in the audience.

  18. I have always been fascinated by culture and history, so it was no surprise that I visited the Surrey Museum. Just like the Museum of Anthropology, the Surrey Museum contained a vast array of artifacts, displays and models that reflected the rich history of Surrey that was largely unknown to me before. I believe that one cannot learn history and culture through mere books and the internet. To directly witness the displays in person, and to appreciate its craftsmanship is an experience that is vital to gaining a real understanding of the past culture.

    Indeed, walking around the museum was like a flashback to the past; each display contained specific history of the city, such as logging, agriculture, trains and the First Nations. Ordered in chronological order, the exhibits helped me to gain a thorough understanding of the area's history that I was largely ignorant of before. As an example, looking at the tools that people used more than a hundred years ago made me reflect on how life was like in the past. I was especially intrigued when I saw the kitchen that the pioneers used, because it allowed me to literally "see" the lives of the ordinary people from different time periods. It was also interesting how ordinary items that would have been considered mundane and boring back then could have such significant meanings and play such crucial role in helping us learn and develop our thinking today. Technology displays such as old cameras enabled me to appreciate the progress and technological achievements of humanity.

    During this museum visit, I came to an important realization that gazing at dazzling gold artifacts and art pieces due to physical beauty alone is not the main purpose for artifact-viewing. It is the appreciation of its richness in culture, and its role in history that allows us to make connections between the present and the past that makes going to the museum a worthwhile experience.

  19. First experience: Wind Ensemble
    I was 14 and I had recently started listening to the Classical Music. Classical music always fascinated me and I grew up to be a big fan of it. I would spend hours listening to the Classical music on my computer. As I grew up I dreamed of listening to a symphony live in a concert hall or go to an Opera.

    My dream came true when I came to UBC. I came to know about the UBC Wind Ensemble and UBC Ensemble. October, 17th 2012 the day my dream came true, the day I found myself sitting in the balcony of the Chan Centre listening to one of the best Wind Ensembles in the world. It could not have been more pleasing. Those arm movements of the conductor and the looks on the faces of the musicians when they would play a certain note. I could see so much passion on their face. The whole environment was full of so much energy and I would often jump or a sudden rush would run through my body at some movements in the symphony. I could close my eyes and visualize the emotions hidden in the music.

    Through all the 90 minutes of the symphony I was lost in the music and at that moment life did not seem to get any better. I felt as all my troubles and worries have flown away and all that is left in my life is this music. I was never this happy in my life ever. That musical night motivated me to work hard for my dreams and whenever I feel like that I am getting distracted from my goals, I stop for a moment, think about that day, listen to a few notes and get back on track.

  20. For South Asians, the months of October and November are comprised of multiple events and celebrations, each with their unique derivation and each with their unique celebratory custom. In the region of India from which my family originates, Punjabis and Hindus have coexisted for centuries and nonetheless, each of their cultural characteristics have in some way or another transfixed into each other’s respected traditions, festivals, and beliefs. Although, with respect to religion, these two groups differ substantially, they nevertheless, have an abundance of both approbation and interest in each other’s ways of life. Taking such in consideration, I was fortunate to practice not only my Punjabi and Sikh festivals these two months but also take part in some of the Hindu festivals taking place.
    First of all, the train of festivals commenced with the 'Navratrey' festival, which is in actuality a Hindu tradition to practice. This particular festival lasts 10 days, which includes 9 days of fasting and a 10th day for breaking the fast and the ultimate celebration. This festival is celebrated to represent the overtaking of evil by good. The first 9 days are devoted to praying to the different forms of the God respectfully called Mata Rani (‘mother lord’) and the 10th day is dedicated to the divinities, Ram and Laxman. I was able to see the many aspects of this festival practiced at a Hindu temple in Surrey. This celebration was a spectacle to see as it included a 15 feet or higher representation of the demon, Raavan, which was burnt to represent the overtaking of evil by the deities of good Ram and Laxman.
    This November, the most colourful festival is yet to take place, the festival of lights, the festival of Diwali. Like always, the festival comes on a day of a no moon, and both Hindus and Sikhs alike celebrate this festival with great splendour and contentment. For Hindu’s, this marks the day that Ram and Laxman made their way back home after winning the battle of good and bad. On the other hand, for Sikhs, this days signifies the day when our sixth guru, Guru Hargobind Ji was released from captivity and himself, freed another 52 Hindu kings. A great assortment of lights were displayed at the Golden Temple as the Guru and the kings made their way back home. Consequently, Diwali became known as a festival of lights. This celebration is one enjoyed by not only the South Asian populations, but also by other individuals who make up the multicultural aspect of Canada, as it can be perceived in their attendance in the fireworks and lighting ceremonies.

  21. The cultural experience that I want to share is the experience I had watching a Bollywood film recently. Even though my parents are from India, I’m actually quite foreign to much of the lifestyle and social views that are present in Indian culture. My parents were actually quite surprised to see me watching something that was produced from India, since most of my entertainment sources throughout my life, have been North American generated content. I think me showing any effort at all toward being engaged in something even remotely relevant to their roots really made them happy. Moving on to the actual experience and the movie itself, it was something that I did enjoy. The name of the movie was “Khubhi Khushi Khubhi Ghum”, and it translates to “Through Laugher and Sorrow”. The main language of the script is Hindi, so I was able to understand most of the dialogue. The film followed the lives of a wealth, high class separated family and the efforts of the youngest son to amend the broken bonds between the eldest son and his father. The film actually has a very strong emotional and dramatic tone that focuses on the separation and abandonment that the family has brought upon them. Needless to say the film, is quite heart wrenching and will make a lot of people feel grateful for their families. Family relations is something that the film also touches on and as well as the tendency for Indian families to be very large. The film showcases how it can be great to feel connected so closely with so many people, even if the bloodline isn’t very direct.

  22. Classical music has always been one of the genres of music that I enjoy listening to. I find classical music helps me relax even in the tensest and most stressful moments. There is something about this type of music that grants me instant escape from reality upon the closure of my eyes. I would disappear into blissful and carefree atmosphere whenever I hear the masterpieces of Bach, Beethoven or Brahms. On November 9th, I was fortunate to attend a concert at the Chan Center featuring UBC Symphony Orchestra. Rarely do I ever get the chance to attend a free concert featuring a band which such a prestigious reputation.

    The night was nothing short of amazement and wonder. It was a strikingly different experience to listen to an orchestra performing live than merely enjoying the music out of a pair of headphones. The orchestrated fluid and silky movement of the arms of the violin players as they enthusiastically played their music is quite a wonderful sight to witness. I felt drawn and engaged into the performance and there was something beautiful and entrancing about the casual swaying movements of the players as they were completely focused on their playing that made me feel like the music was alive within me. Several times throughout the night, I would close my eyes and feel myself leave reality as the graceful music flooded my ears. The deep sound of cellos, the higher pitched sounds of the violin and the distinct sounds of brass instruments combined together and became a key that let loose the emotions buried deep within me. I was captivated by the music.

    The pieces played that night were very good selections. One particular one that stood out was Brahm’s Symphony No.4 in E minor. The contrast between the four movements created a unique listening experience. Listening to UBC Symphony Orchestra playing music from the past made me feel like I was a part of history. It is a wonder that such music can be passed on from generations and generations over hundreds of years and still be appreciated by countless people. Some say the complexity and beauty of classical music can never be matched as the chance of the world seeing musical geniuses comparable to Mozart and Beethoven is slim. Classical music is one of the things that I am sure will last through the ages no matter how the society evolves and progresses. I feel that by listening to it and appreciating it in whatever form allows me to retain and pass on a piece of history itself. We as humans are so caught up with moving forward into the future we sometimes forget about the importance of the past and how much it defines the present and the future.

  23. My parents were fortunate to receive free tickets to a concert to watch the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra perform at the Orpheum Theatre on November 4.

    Although I am a choir boy by heart, I decided to take this chance to experience classical music the old fashion way and watch a live orchestra perform.

    This concert made me think, if someone wrote this piece of music like an author writing a play. The conductor is directing the orchestra as it plays the music as if it was telling a story, bringing out the significant or climax areas with dynamics and rhythm. Although I've watched countless marching band performances and have been in high school band myself, the level intensity of how the performers played their instruments was unlike anything I have seen before. The main pianist, Angela Chung who was centre stage waited a full 5 minutes before she started playing the piano in the song, which I thought was odd, but I could tell that she was really getting into the song and feeling the music.

    But after watching an excellent orchestra play classical music, I still prefer a choir concert over an orchestra. Something about the human voice as an instrument keeps me more entertained than an orchestra playing classical music. I do however appreciate their work and for the interpretation of the music. It is these musicians that keep classical music alive after all these years.

  24. Last weekend I went to see a play called "Our Country's Good" which I believe is written by Timberlake Wertenbaker. Now normally I'm not one for going to plays or other cultural events (other than concerts that don't have much to do with English literature) so this experience was completely new to me. This play was performed at the Chan Centre of Arts by UBC's very own students and I have to admit I was really impressed by their performance. I was not expecting the high level of skill and talent shown by the actors and production crew.

    Before I get into the specifics of how this play was amazing I feel like I should give a brief overview. "Our Country's Good" is a story taking place in the late 18th century. It involves a group of prison convicts who are sent to Australia, a colony devoted to the containment of convicted criminals, and who face the death penalty for the petty crime of stealing food. However, after one of the main guards has a form of "epiphany" about his life, he gives the prisoners the chance to escape their penalty by performing in a play. Much of the story consists of buildup for the play as the individual roles are filled up by inmates and the stories behind them.

    What I found really interesting about this play was how they were able to incorporate multiple elements into the production. The play had a bit of everything; comic elements, political insight, love, hate, and darkness are all included in just the one show. It was an intense experience which where I was able to experience the multiple tones that were taught to us in class. Overall it was pretty amazing and I highly recommend going to the theatre for anyone who is like me and not used to the whole "performing arts" scene.

  25. This event is not one that I have recently attended but I found it more interesting than the yoga class I went to a few days ago. The Fusion Festival may be familiar to some and not so to others. It's a cultural festival that takes place in Surrey, British Columbia, every summer since 2008 at Holland Park. Over 40 countries represent their cultures though food, dances, stories, etc. Many perform their cultural dances. This year, of the many I, along with my friends performed a traditional Nepalese dance too. I, being the farthest person from being a dance gave a shot at it to experience how dancing felt. At first I was actually reluctant to perform but did so because I could not reject an elderly person’s request. Through dance practice and the performance itself, I learned how dance can motivate, inspire, and change people’s emotions.

    After performing what I thought was an ‘okay’ performance, people thought it was amazing for one that had no dance experience. My friends who watched me dance were now surprisingly somewhat interested in dancing, although they did not admit it explicitly. But what I learned from my own dance performance is trivial to what I learned from watching dance performances from other cultures and nations. When watching dance performances, I saw different moves, heard different music, and saw different styles of clothing. Some performances were fast, exciting, and some were slow and boring. The fast ones gave me energy and I soon realized I was moving along with the dancer, while the slow ones soothed and relaxed me.

    All of them boasted their unique designs of clothing. The one which I remember had beautiful dresses were those of the Colombians. It was colorful with intricate designs. Through their performance I think I was more interested in how beautiful the ladies looked in the dress than the performance itself. I showed off my traditional clothes too but unfortunately I couldn't land a number.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I haven't had the time to actually attend any cultural event, but I've taken the time to view some of these online. Although not as realistic as attending it live, I got the just of what it was. This was a concert by an international star from Korea. He has one of the most viewed singles on YouTube, and has even been signed by the same manager Justin Bieber is under. One thing I would like to note is the incredible energy the people attending the concert has. This concert that I have watched through video, depicts the people jumping up and down ecstatically throughout the entire duration. I've also watched other concerts, but found that people just scream and wave their hands in the air. This was quite different, everyone moved their entire body, and the energy was way off the charts. If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm talking about a concert performed by Psy. In particular, the concert he had in Seoul City. As seen in the video, the 80,000 crowd is much more energized as compared to any other audience I've seen. I concluded that this must be a cultural difference and accepted that some may be more passionate than others in terms of music, categorized by culture.


      -Davin Chan

  27. My friend invited me to her dancing performance last Saturday in Richmond. This is the first time I have been to a dancing show, especially it is an ethnic dance performance, so I guess it is counted as a cultural event.

    The dancing performance was organized by "Cindy Yang Dance Academy of Canada" and it was a three hour long performance. It contained a variety of dancing styles from different parts of China. For example, there are some dancings represent Dai Minority, Man Minority and other ethnics. Different minorities have totally different dancing styles, some reveal the strength
    of human, others show the beauty of the nature.

    Of all the performances, I like the dance from Dun Huang the most. One reason is that her clothes is very pretty, which made her like a fairy maiden. Another reason is that she is really a good dancer. From her dancing, I could feel how the people live in Dun Huang, and feel how respectful they are to the nature.

    This dancing performance reveals various aspects of Chinese culture, and I really enjoy the show. This makes me interested in the ethnic dance, so maybe I will go to more dancing performances like this in the future.

  28. Back in high school, whenever I was depressed and felt the need to relax myself, I would roll up my sticky-mat and head uptown to one of the hot-yoga drop in sessions. Unfortunately, time has been such a issue for me ever since I entered university I decided to block out most of the extra-curricular activities i enjoyed, including hot-yoga.

    I began Hot-yoga when it was introduced to me by one of the home-stay students living at my house. She was a girl,from southern Taiwan. I am also of Taiwanese descent but I never had the chance to learn about the cultural backgrounds of my home country. Although we had nothing really in common to talk about, it really appealed to me when she introduced yoga in a way of Taiwanese culture.

    Apparently, down south in Taiwan, yoga was a popular way of overcoming the stressful urban environment. People would wake up early in the morning and head down to the nearest park to do yoga as one of their morning routines. Also, in more intense levels, a group of not more than 20 people would leave early in the morning to go deep into the mountains, where the sound decibel is practically zero, and all that could be heard are chirping sounds of birds.

    I really enjoy hot yoga because not only does it make me feel connected to my home country, but it is also a really great stress reliever. This all leads to my experience last weekend when I had the opportunity and time to attend the long-awaited hot yoga session :)

  29. I started playing flute since grade 3 and I am now a certified grade 8 flute player. I have joined band throughout high school, and attended Music Festivals every year with the group to perform or compete. Flute may seem to be an instrument that is not too appealing especially in a huge band, but it is a powerful tool whenever I am feeling stressed or frustrated in life. Two weeks ago, my former Flute teacher invited me to her yearly Flute Festival that took place in a church in Richmond. It was a festival where her students performed one by one, and anyone including bystanders were welcome to watch for free. I played a really simple but soothing piece named "One True Friend" along with the CD as accompaniment. This song brought back a lot of memories of my elementary school and high school since flute has been like one of my companions throughout all these years. Things have changed around me as time passed, but my passion for music hasn't. I will continue to attend music festivals every year because I feel proud and relaxed during such events, and I have always believed that playing instruments really help to overcome difficult emotions, and bring inner satisfaction to oneself.

  30. On 9 November, I went to the UBC Symphony Orchestra’s concert at the Chan Centre. Even though I have been to several choir concerts, I have never been to an orchestra concert before. As an amateur in orchestra performances, I am glad that I went to the concert with a couple of friends as I was able to understand more about orchestras and how they work through one of my friends. Overall, it was a great experience to be able to enjoy some classical music while taking some time off from studying to relax and enjoy myself.

    The orchestra played a total of three pieces and certainly, the conductor and performers were able to engage us in those three classical music pieces completely. One thing that left a great impression on me is the importance of unity in an orchestra. In one of the pieces, the starting section of the piece was played very softly. Following the directions of their conductor, the string performers were plucking the strings on their instruments softly. Even though they were playing very softly, I can still feel the intense emotions in the performers. Certainly, the audience felt their intense emotions and started feeling intense as well. The concert hall was so quiet during that segment that it seemed as though no one was breathing. It is probably a really tough part to play because any mistake made by any performer would be very obvious to the audiences. Hence, it is of utmost importance that the performers are consistently in unison with each other.

    Overall, it was an eye-opening experience and if I were given another opportunity, I would love to attend similar concerts again!

  31. I went to my friend’s play. It was actually 4 shortened plays based on movies. Going in, I knew the stories to all the plays as I’d seen all the movies, but I was confused during the very first play because they had different actresses playing the same character. It took me a few minutes to understand but I probably would have been extremely confused if I didn’t already know the story. It probably took me longer than it should have to figure it out but I will blame that on lack of sleep. Anyway, my friend told me afterward that this was a common thing that apparently a lot of people (but not me) seem to know about.
    It was interesting seeing a play that was put on completely by students here at UBC. They did everything themselves, my friend actually even wrote the shortened interpretations for the plays.
    I’ve been to several plays put on by Bard on the Beach and they’ve been amazing every time. It’s so much easier to understand Shakespeare when you can watch people act it out. This was both similar to and different from the Shakespeare plays; what made it similar was that both were interpretations of the same story, but my friend’s plays were shortened versions of the original while Bard on the Beach does different interpretations of the full length original plays.
    I really enjoy the Shakespeare plays Bard on the Beach do every year, but it was also fun to see what I’m already familiar with.

  32. After going to the first ‘String Fest!’ Concert: “Mary and Kathleen Tierney Memorial Concert” held at Roy Barnett Recital Hall yesterday, all I can think of is the beauty and the power of music that can unite us in harmony. Whenever I go to a concert, the power of connection between the performers and the audience makes me realize that music is a universal language; we don't need to study music to be able to listen to music and feel the emotion that is transferred through the vibration. There’s always something magical in music performance.

    I really enjoyed the music selections, which ranging from Schubert, Vivaldi, Bartok and Bach. Even if I didn't really know all of the composers, when I listened to their works, I could relate to each piece of music. For one hour, I just sat there, devouring the beauty of music. It was as if I was in a different world as I listened through the string of melodies, which can be sweet, alive, enthusiastic, melancholic, or even playful; the canonized harmonies, which sounds like a flowing conversation; the movement of each rhythm, from largo, andante, to allegro and vivace; the transition between minor and major or classical to romantic. It was an extraordinary experience.

    Music is something ageless, eternal – it is passed on from one generation to the other. Just like the Tierney Violins, which were delicately made more than 300 years ago, but still firmly – or should I say better – resonates the beauty of music. These Tierney Violins were bequeathed to the Music Department of UBC in 2007 and to be featured in special solo recitals, honouring the memory of Mary and Kathleen Tierney, as well as to celebrate the everlasting beauty of music.

  33. Because my sister is in UBC Women's choir, I was invited to watch the performance on Wednesday, November 7 held at the music building. I was not expecting anything of the concert because I was so busy with all the midterm and homework during that week.

    On that night I arrived to the concert a bit late, so I could not hear the introduction of what they were going to sing. As I quietly sneaked into my seat, I heard something very familiar. Although the lyrics were in Latin, I could understand most of what they were singing. They were singing songs from the Catholic Mass. Since I am Catholic and go to church every Sunday, sometimes I sing in Latin as well.

    The first song that they performed was Kyrie, meaning Lord. It is about asking Jesus for mercy. The second song was Gloria, meaning glory, which is about praising God. The third piece was Sanctus, meaning holy. Finally, the last song was Agnus Dei, which means the Lamb of God and that he has taken away the sins of the world. Because they were in the same order as normal Mass, it was easier for me to understand the songs. Listening to these songs performed properly by talented group of students was a wonderful experience both musically and spiritually.

    After the songs from the mass, the choir also performed many songs in English. Among these songs, my favorite one was Afternoon on a hill based on a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay. It is a very peaceful but emotional tune that beautifully blends the sound piano and voice together. I really recommend my peers to listen to this song, here is the link
    Of course this is not as good as the live performance.
    If I have a chance I would be glad to hear this piece again.

    Overall, this concert was very amusing and heartwarming and allowed me forget about the stress and worries from the schoolwork. Also, I didn’t know UBC had such an amazing choir.

    1. Hey Jim, this is a great story. I've never been a huge fan of concerts as my music taste is a little bit different, but after reading this I really want to experience something like this and hope to go to one of these in the near future. Thanks a lot for the recommendation!

  34. The Cultural event that I decided to attend was a bhangra event when I went back to visit home in Surrey on the weekend. For those who are unfamiliar with bhangra, it is a form of Indian dance, particularly prevalent to the Punjabi population that originates from the state of Punjab in Northeastern India. My parents were both born in Punjab, however I was born and raised in British Columbia. I never really got to experience the live up and front action that is a bhangra concert, that is until just last weekend.

    It truly is one of the most lively forms of dancing out there. The music is rarely ever slow and never creates a damping mood. It has an amazingly upbeat tempo, it almost forces you out of your seat into a stupor of dance. The dancers use emphatic movements, slamming there feet into the ground almost smoothly but to the audience it seems like just sheer force. At one point the music stopped and they broke into a short skit. Even if you don't understand the Punjabi language you still would have been falling out of your seat with laughter. The facial expressions that the actors made were so over the top, yet so funny. It had a universal humor to it all.

    By the end of the show I was very impressed with the entire cast. Of course the entire crew was sweating, through all the hard work they had done. I was kicking myself over not having giving this form of art a chance earlier in my life. It was a joy, and it really opened my eyes to another side of my family's culture that I had been ignoring up to this point.

  35. I disputed greatly as to what cultural event I wish to go see and become more enlightened with. However, I got to thinking as to how out of touch I am with my own religion and culture. Being born and raised here in Canada, I realized how distant I had become to something that should have felt so familiar to me. That is why I decided to visit my local temple last Tuesday on the night of Diwali. I have always been told by my relatives how the celebration of Diwali truly is a magnificent sight to see but I was always questioning whether or not it they over exaggerated what they saw. I was at a loss for words, to say the very least, when I experienced the festivities of Diwali first hand. The breathtaking display of lights mixed with the sheer number of observers created a tremendous atmosphere. I am sure that even those unfamiliar with the history of Diwali would have enjoyed taking part in this wonderful celebration. On the other hand, if they didn't enjoy themselves, there was always a lofty sum of free food that would help pass the time.
    The best part, however, was the fact that people stemming from multiple religious backgrounds were able to come together and just enjoy the multicultural experience. It seems as if the barriers preventing people from multiple religions to come together in the form of mutual acceptance are being highlighted and we as people are allowing these obstacles to keep us separated globally. A prime example of this is the recent issues brewing in Israel between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Even though this is an ongoing war, no major resolutions are being sought out to fix the problem.

  36. I went to an Asian music festival in White Rock earlier this month. It was a festival of Taiwanese country music. Before this event, I had always thought country music is for the older generation; however after the festival, my opinion changed.

    During the event, I was really surprised by the fact that many young fellows close to my age were on stage that night. It was amazing to see these young people reproduce the type of music that is not popular to our generation. What was even more astounding was the fact that one group of young people performed an original piece of country music written by their singer who was only 23 years old. I was truly inspired and touched by this aspect of the event.

    The atmosphere in the theater was also surprisingly cheerful and enjoyable even to me. When I saw so many people from different age groups sang along with the music, I felt the urge to do the same. I realized that this event was not only meaningful to the older generation but to the younger generation as well. Throughout the entire event, the music brought the audience back to a time when country music was popular in Taiwan. To me, it felt as if I was experiencing the kind of childhood that my parents had experienced; and that meant a lot to me.

    It was through attending this music festival that I finally saw the beauty of Taiwanese country music and learned to appreciate this aspect of Taiwanese culture. I would definitely attend this event again next year.

  37. Recently I went to a play at the Italian Cultural Center. It was a cast of all Italians young and old, displaying 2 plays 1 hour long each. I have never been one much for live theater but my after some solid performances and funny showings it was quite easy to enjoy.

    The first play was a story of 3 sisters living together during war-time. Their husbands were off fighting in WW2 and they were at home taking care of the children and their homes. The exact location was not clearly deciphered. Despite my italian being rusty I was still able to understand most of the story and understand that they were arguing about there older sister who had left town when they were young and had now shown up unannounced. All the actresses had very good performances really pulling on the heart strings of the audience.

    The next play was a comedy involving a man who mysteriously lost all his clothes (lost in my translation), 2 city garbage workers, and a prostitute. This play was actually pretty funny but the plot itself was extremely unclear. Throughout the story the old man hides by the use of garbage cans and other surroundings until the prostitute helps him out and gets him clothes. The full story might be more exciting however my skill of the language did not help me fully grasp it.

    I really took a liking to live theater through this weekend of plays and was dumb-founded at the thought of why I was so anxious to go to something similar earlier.

  38. Last Wednesday I attended the play called “Kid Gloves”. It was at the Firehall Arts Centre in Vancouver. I dragged my boyfriend to come with me and we were pleasantly surprised by how good it was. I had just looked on the Vancouver Theatre Guide website to find a play that fit into our schedules so I was not expecting much at all. The play was about the first two women to ever become policewomen in Canada. I was expecting some serious play, however I was pleasantly surprised that it was hilarious. While the play covered many serious topics, like prostitution and abuse to name a few, it found a way to add comedy to the story without being inappropriate. I found the play was a great way to tell the story of the first two women police officers in a way that engaged the audience since a story like this could easily become boring. It also made me think about how even though it has been one hundred years since women were allowed to be a part of the police force, they still face many challenges because of their gender. I had never stopped to think about it that way and I was extremely baffled that it has been one hundred years and nothing really has changed. Something I loved about the experience was the way everyone seemed to know each other. I went on opening night and a lot of the audience had some connection to the actors or to the play. The sense of community I felt was amazing. Even though I am not a part of the community I still felt welcome. It is amazing how an event like this can bring so many people together. It is truly special. I have always enjoyed plays, however I do not usually go out of my way to go watch them. For me, watching this play was a good way to take a break from the craziness of school and homework. I quite enjoyed my time there. I will have to make more time to have more experiences like this.

  39. Last Thursday I attended the Global Village 2012 held at UBC hosted by the International Business Club. It is advertized as a celebration of cultural diversity; a night of fashion, talent and food. The fashion show featured UBC students dressed in designs by three local Vancouver boutiques. It was far from cultural, but supported local business ventures, which I undoubtedly support …local business, not fashion. The designs were remarkably typical of North American culture in that they lacked both expression and colourful pattern. It reminded me more of an unfortunate collision between prom queen and mainstream Vancouver hipster. The event began with a traditional Chinese dance that was successfully juxtaposed with not-so-traditional music. The dance was slow and not entirely captivating so the music kept my mind from slipping towards thoughts of exotic cuisine. Some of the more intriguing talent acts were a salsa routine, a contemporary style dance, and a beatboxer. Though I have tried salsa dancing many times, I have only seen contemporary dance on T.V. It was thoroughly calming to become lost in time and space, watching the movements of each dancer mirror the leaps and dips of the music. Multiple restaurants around Vancouver sponsored the buffet-style food fair. It was another hit and miss. The event advertized food from multiple countries with vegetarian option, but had limited of each. Being a pseudo-vegetarian, I opted for the most cultural item of all – poutine.
    In an attempt to experience a real cultural event, I decided to head to Granville Island Market last Sunday. I have been itching to visit since I moved to Vancouver in August and I’m glad I finally made the time for it. It was a good chance to subject myself to sensory overload. Granville is a chaotic environment, and for this reason, it’s an environment that sparks creativity and passion. I insist that farmers markets create community and community helps to fashion culture. I feel that I now have a better understanding of what Vancouver life is about. After visiting Granville, expectations I had of what Vancouver would be like finally met my reality. University life, particularly at UBC, disconnects students (both physically and metaphorically) from the “real world” – what’s going on outside the walls of our confined univers-city. This was a good chance to reconnect with people outside this institution and make links to society.

  40. Earlier this week, I decided to pay a visit to the Vancouver Art Gallery. I am not proud to say that although I have lived in Vancouver for a long time, I have never gotten around to going to the Gallery. I am definitely glad I did take the opportunity to visit it however as I was pleasantly surprised by what it had to offer. It was a great escape from the school work and it brought some creativity back into my life. I took the time to take a look at one of their exhibitions that I personally found quite interesting. It was called "Hope at Dawn: Watercolours by Emily Carr and Charles John Collings". I have always admired Emily Carr ever since I learned about her when I was younger. I like how she paints the First Nations culture as I find it beautiful to observe. Also, how she transfers her surroundings onto the canvas is intriguing. I find her paintings at just the perfect balance of abstract and realistic, and they are so beautifully created, as if the observer feels as if they are in the painting itself. In this exhibition, solely watercolour works by both Emily Carr and Charles John Collings were featured. I enjoyed taking a look at the watercolour technique because I find it so soothing to the eye. There are not many harsh lines and angles, rather all the colours blend into one another, creating a smoother and "calmer" painting. I very much enjoyed this exhibition and I hope to visit the art gallery again soon and take a peek at other exhibitions that they will open up in the future!

  41. Walking around by myself in the Museum of Anthropology and enjoying different cultures that tons of spectacular artifacts were fantastic ways to experience multiculturalism and broaden my horizon. Frankly speaking, this visit had been my first museum visit ever since my grade 10 field trip. I did not go into the museum directly but went to the little grove nearby the building, after crossing this wildly beautiful grove; I could not believe the scenery that I just saw: a brilliant little paradise that consists of a mansion, a small lake and some aboriginal cylinders with paintings on. I was pretty shocked that there was such a beautiful place that was hidden by the tons of constructions and academic buildings on campus.
    Going inside of MOA, I was instantaneously amazed by the fascinating collections of artifacts, models and antiques that deeply reflect the richness of history and cultures. All the amazing pieces are carefully classified into different galleries and sections. The gallery that I liked the most was the section that exhibited the traditional Asian Buddha. I was born in China, a country that Buddhism dominates all the religions. This exhibition of Buddha let me enrich my knowledge and understanding of Asian Buddhism.
    Nowadays people are overly addicted to extravagant life styles and the materialism is deeply rooted in their minds with their perspectives towards the world. This kind of art with rich history and human’s genius are gradually being ignored as the time passed by. People should regain the admirations and appreciation of tradition artifacts, these are something precious that we really should cherish.

  42. Recently I watch a Chinese movie called Lust,Caution by Ang Lee. The movie is talking about an immature group of university students decide to spy on and assassinate a special agent in the puppet government during WWII. The university students end up working with the patriotic government and decide to use the main actress to lure the agent into trap. This movie contains plot within plot and many historical analysis about China during the 1940s within it. Although each scene might only happen in a small setting and within Shang Hai or Hong Kong, the best part is that each scene is linked to the bigger events happen outside China as well. The evolution of the WWII actually describe maliciously into each small action that the characters have inside the movie. The success and failure of Japan in the war has shown in the main actor attitude toward the puppet government and the best thing is that there isn’t any particular literal scene about it. This is why I say this is a movie containing plot within plot. Anyway, I choose a song that really fit the main actress’s feeling so people can feel a bit of the movie without watching it. The song is in Japanese so I translate the song from into English:


    俺は一人で 激しい雨の中 
    I’m standing under the pouring rain
    ずぶ濡れ 打たれてたかった
    Being all wet
    汚れた身体と 醜い心を
    Wanting to get rid of this filthy body and this vile soul
    Please, wash it all out

    こんな時代に 何を信じて
    In this era
    What should I believe in to keep on living?
    問いかけても 答えは出ない 
    Even asking, there will never be an answer

    傷つくことを 恐れてはいない
    I do not afraid
    どんなにきつい 道のりも 
    No matter how harsh the road will be
    ちっぽけな ちっぽけな俺は
    To the insignificant me, the tiny bitty me,
    前のめりに たった一匹の虫になる 
    I’m just an ant in front of it

    風に倒され ぬかるんだ泥の中 
    Blown down into the mud
    がむしゃらに 這いつくばってた 
    I’m recklessly creeping on the ground
    きれいなものとは 汗とか涙が 
    The beauty of the sweats and the tears
    Have washed everything away
    Have washed everything away

    何が真実 何が偽り  
    What is real? What is false?    
    Even thinking cautiously
    近道しちゃ 答えは出ない 
    if taking a short cut, there will never be an answer

    死んでくことを 嘆いたりしない
    Even death has come alone, I will never be regret
    どんなに長い 永遠も
    No matter how far or how long
    不器用な 不器用な俺は
    To the useless, hopeless me
    振り返らず ただの ひたむきな虫になる
    I am just a thoughtless little warm that keep on moving forward

    命の限り 無様でもいいさ 
    In this limited life no matter how imprudent I am
    地べたで叫ぶ 魂よ
    I will still search for the soul
    生きること 生きること 俺は
    About life… life… I am always…
    Holding tightly

    傷つくことを 恐れてはいない
    I am not afraid
    どんなにきつい 道のりも
    No matter how harsh the road will be
    ちっぽけな ちっぽけな俺は
    To the insignificant me, the tiny bitty me,
    前のめりに たった一匹の虫になる
    I’m just an ant in front of it

  43. Recently, I attended a jazz gig put on by one of my best friends and his band. I've only recently started listening and appreciating jazz music within the last year and the only jazz related events that I've attended in the past have been the free concerts during the annual Vancouver Jazz Fest (which really isn't jazz), so coming to this was a huge step up for me.
    Upon entering the cafe, I was already emerged in a completely new atmosphere. Unlike the past concerts that I've been to, where it would have thousands upon thousands of people in a crowd, half of which who didn't even have fond feelings for the music, I was now in a room with people whom all had a deep interest and understanding of the music.
    The gig itself was very interesting to watch. Knowing my friend's style of playing, it was really exciting seeing him on stage, and stretching it to his limit to make it fit with the rest of the band. The show packed energy, and really got me emerged in it. Every beat on the drums, every stroke on the piano and every note hit by the sax pulled me in further. By the end of the hour I was completely entranced in the atmosphere, and was almost a bit sad that it could not go on longer. Despite this, I'm really glad that I could make the gig and experience raw jazz first hand, while also supporting my friend playing.

    On a side note, for anyone interested in experiencing some good jazz and rap, their next gig is this Friday night at The Prophouse Cafe, so come out and watch.

  44. Recently, I went to watch Cirque Du Soleil's 'Amaluna' show which was an unforgettable experience that captivated me the entire way through. Due to the fact that speaking was minimal and close to non-existent throughout the performance, the narrative was mostly delivered through stunts and dance choreographies. The performers were breathtaking in their athletic ability and also their impressive acting skills, delivering a high caliber performance. The plot for 'Amaluna' is loosely based off Shakespeare's play 'The Tempest' and follows the story of the protagonist Miranda, who is the daughter of a goddess. She falls in love with a mortal man and they face many challenges in order to be together, symbolized by the way they have to perform dangerous stunts such as tight-rope walking and climbing up poles.

    My favourite part of the performance was when they brought in a huge water bowl and the protagonist performed a balance routine on the edge with her toppling in at the end and taking her male love interest underwater with her. The beauty of the performance was that it exemplified the power of actions rather than words and took the audience away from reality for a few hours. Sometimes it's good for us to take a break and escape into another world, whether it be by watching a movie, reading a novel or in my case, escaping into Cirque Du Soleil's circus arena. Not only were the typical circus stunts being performed, but contemporary dance and gymnastics were also incorporated into the entire show. 'Amaluna' also had an all-female band who played the backing music for the entire performance and sang with amazing voices. I had to keep asking my companion if they were 'lip synching' because it just sounded too good to be live!

    I would highly recommend everyone to go because although the tickets can be pricey, the experience is simply amazing. For those few hours, you become totally engrossed in a story told through the bodies of the performers. The elaborate costumes, makeup, props and storyline really add to the authenticity of the experience and is a cultural event that I'm glad to have been able to attend.

  45. Although I have never been particularly musically gifted myself, I have always found serenity in music. In fact, I often crave it. I have music playing while I work, when I’m in the shower, when I’m making food, when I work out, and basically every other activity you could think of. And although my musical preferences always change, the one consistent sound that entrances me is the sound of a well played acoustic guitar.

    So, in October, I decided that it was finally time for me to learn. I went out to Kitsilano, picked up a used guitar, and began playing. I watched YouTube videos, read tutorials, talked to friends, and did almost everything I could to make sure that I could learn as fast as possible. And to be honest, I don’t regret that purchase in the slightest. Even though I’m still pretty terrible, I’ve found peace in trying to play music. It allows me to unwind, to focus on something that isn’t related to my academic career. No one to judge me, no grades, no need to follow any rules, all I need to do is play what I want, when I want, and for how long I want (except for quiet hours cause I would probably wake up my entire floor). It’s challenging, slightly frustrating, and breathtaking at the same time.

    This may not be a cultural event, but it helped me connect with some culture inside of me, and hopefully, will one day help me share it with others. Guitar is a common hobby on our floor now, and there are people of all skill levels. There are those whose doors I could sit outside of for hours, mesmerized by the way their fingers strike the strings, and those who you can always count on hearing a sour note followed by a hushed cuss. But the thing is, it doesn’t matter, because we’ve all found bliss in just trying.

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    1. A couple of weeks ago, I went to a Latin dance open house class, and it was most definitely a cultural experience. It was open level, so you did not need any experience; however, the class was going at a really quick pace. Although I already have dance experience, it was absolutely something that I have never done before. The different rhythms and counts are drastically distinct, compared to the styles of dance that I have done in the past. Just by listening to the music, and identifying the beat of the song, the dancers there were able to know which style of Latin dance to use.

      The different dance styles also are very distinct from each other, as not only do they have their own rhythm, but they also have their own specific steps. Each style has an attitude that corresponds with the dance, and it all has to do with the historical cultural ties. The salsa for example is more of a social dance, than an actual competitive dance.

      After we had the class which included style of salsa, cha-cha, and the samba, there was a semi-professional performance by the dance company hosting the class. The make-up, and outfits were extremely flashy, and the amount of fake tanner they had to use was also quite appalling. The overall preparation, and the glittery dresses, really caught the attention of the audience. Also it was different, as this showcase somewhat resembled that of actual Latin competitions where, multiple couples danced simultaneously. An interesting surprise that I noticed was that there was no lifts either. My friend afterwards told me that lifts are generally for performances and not for show. It was truly a wonderful cultural experience, especially since it is under the umbrella of dance which I absolutely love. Just stepping outside of my boundaries, really gave a rewarding experience.

  47. Last week, I attended an event at the Sri Sathya Sai Community centre located on East Pender St. The event was dedicated to celebrating the 87th birthday of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba who was a great guru(teacher) and a humanitarian. There were musical presentations, a play and videos. The part I enjoyed most was the play. All the actors were children from ages about 7-14. The play was humorous but carried a great message about the importance of self transformation. In brief, the play was about a boy who starts out as a bully, but at the end realizes the errors of his ways through the influence of another student who behaves as a role model exhibiting good human qualities such as loving kindness, integrity and non-violence etc. I also enjoyed the musical presentations which included classical and modern music. There was a delicious dinner provided at the end of the event which was mostly indian cuisine. I used to be a regular member at the Sai Community centre but I had not had a chance to attend any events recently because of school work. The atmosphere was very peaceful and I enjoyed going back. To find out more information about the Sai organization please visit:,en/

  48. Music has been an important part of my life since childhood. I started to play piano when I was four and began to play flute in elementary school. Music has the ability to banish my vexations and help me relax amidst stress. In high school, I focussed on playing bassoon and I was a member of our school band and symphony orchestra. When I first heard the sound of the bassoon, its unique dark tone immediately attracted my attention. I devoted much of time exploring the essence of this instrument during high school. It became my companion and brought joyful and unforgettable memories. Recently, I went back to my high school and attended a symphony orchestra concert. The familiar gestures of my teacher on stage evoked recollection of my memories again. Despite the elapse of time, the sound of my band will always be in my heart.

  49. Last week, I was invited to listen to the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra's senior division (VYSO) at Kay Meek Center, all the way in West Vancouver. Being a first violinist in VYSO for five years, I had to quit last year due to my academics. However, ever since I started to play the violin at ten years old, music has always been something I could enjoy doing no matter what. This is even reflected in my volunteer work, as I often play for senior residences and other hospitals.

    Simply put, the orchestra, conducted by Roger Cole, an oboe professor at UBC, was amazing. The orchestra played both movements of an incredibly dynamic work, Symphony no. 104, by Franz Josef Haydn. Having listened to many different interpretations of the symphony by various orchestras on YouTube, I can say that, for an orchestra made of teens no older than 20 years old, their interpretation was one of the best I heard.

    Overall, the performance was well worth the one hour commute I spent to get there.

  50. Each genre is unique - composing all of a mixture of fast and slow tempos, with happy and sad tones. The music we hear today consists of numerous combinations of genres. This is one of the main concepts that I have come to learn across in my piano lessons.
    Along with practical lessons of being educated on how to play a piano, it is also essential to study and obtain further knowledge on the history of music and its composers. Throughout this time period of studying, I have came to realize the many new dimensions in the world of music. Music itself is a culture, an unique language through which we all can communicate with. Within each section of music exists the traditions of each individual country. Their individual feelings of their hometown culture is portrayed in each of their compositions. In addition, from their cultural genre, they create an original feel to the notes to bring out its uniqueness. For example, Hayden uses the invention of the string quartet form to emphasize the unity of the music, Mozart composes softly graceful sounding music from his Polish musical background, and Beethoven brings out the cheerful feelings of joy in his later music as a means to bless hope to his audience.
    As instructed by the piano teacher, music can be used to communicate with the soul. It illuminates the traditional uniqueness of each culture in a way that languages cannot match.

  51. I decided to visit the Vancouver Art Gallery this past weekend after my exams were over, and let me just say that I really wish I had went earlier! It was such a relaxing experience that would have helped me deal with the immense stress of my first university exams, but also it was a nice treat to myself for working so hard. The exhibits were very interesting and invoked deep thought in me, similar to how the MOA did. I really have discovered another side of me that I never thought I would. I thoroughly enjoyed walking around for a good couple hours examining every exhibit and it would take me a long time to talk about everything, but I just want to say that I recommend everyone go here if you have time, it really helps with dealing with some of the stress. Strangely enough, the MOA assignment actually allowed me to feel a strong connection with some of the pieces here, something that I would have thought of as absurd one year ago! Overall, I'm very happy that I went and it was a great experience

  52. I haven’t had too much time to explore many cultural territories during the term so I will describe one I had in the weeks before classes started. In the summer, I often went to Ambleside Park in West Vancouver. The park has many pieces of art scattered around the grounds. One is the Squamish Nation Welcome Figure that sits on an rocky section of land that extend from the beach. The figure is made from cedar and faces the waters of the Burrard Inlet with extended arms. In my opinion, it looks as if the figure is reaching out to incoming ships to give them a hug. My favourite piece is the park is Granite Assemblage. I would describe it as a bunch of granite blocks that function to create a fountain and a tide pool. It is a great place to sit and stare out over the water. You can put your feet into the pool and cool off in the summer heat. Additionally, many events happen in the park such as free public concerts and art displays along the walking paths. Ambleside Park is a great place to visit in the summer and probably in other seasons as well. I find it a great place to relax, relieve stress, and become lost in one`s mind. Each time I went I found something new and experienced different cultures in the events that were there.