UI Painting Major’s B.F.A show depicted life of Chinese students

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Mohan Liu‘s graduation exhibition was the most casual, playful and fun I have seen among B.F.A shows.

The theme of her show was Chinese students’ life in Iowa. She placed 13 paintings of Chinese students in mundane life in a huge bubble chat box against a black wall. In front of the main wall placed empty wine and alcohol bottles, which stands for her hobby.

Mohan’s exhibition was held last week. Everyday, she went to the Ark Gallery in Studio Arts Building where her show was, writing notes around the paintings, remembering her college life in both Chinese and English. Visitors and her friends also left comments on the wall instead of in a notebook.

Her painting instructors commented that the notes and chats boxes would took people’s attestation away from her works, but clearly everybody who attended the closing reception Friday loved them. Around 80 people went to the reception with flowers, food, gifts and hugs for Liu. American people didn’t read the Chinese comments, so Chinese students around translated for them.

The most striking note to me was the one that Liu wrote herself:

感谢我的大学生活。它让我学会了:做饭、独处、承受寂寞、一五二十、木匠、电焊、用英语骂人、疯狂购物、交朋友、玩骰子、狠心、坚强 & 舍不得。 Thanks to my college life. It enabled me to learn how to cook, stay alone, bear loneliness, be a carpenter, be a welder, curse in English, shop crazily, make friends, play dice games, be heartless, be tough. And I don’t want to leave college.

It was so sentimental. And I can relate to that very well indeed.

Thanks to Xinran Gu for allowing me to use three photos her took at the reception.

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Review: 2014 UI K-pop music fest

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It is hard for me to appreciate “Gangnam Style“, and I have no clue why it has become such a global hit. But this didn’t prevent me from enjoying tonight’s Korean students’ K-pop music festival.

The University of Iowa Korean Undergraduates Student Association (KUSA) hosted the 2014 Korea Pop Music Festival, PYRA at the IMU Main Lounge. It was pretty well attended — there was about 300 people in the audience.

Without knowing any Korean, I still was moved by some unique music. I marveled at some great voices and enjoyed the visually stimulating dance — far better than Gangnam Style.

According to the organizer, PYRA means in Korean, “Blooming like a beautiful flower.” On the stage, I saw not only Korean students, but also Chinese American and African American dancers and singers. In the audience,  domestic and international students were well mixed.

The purpose of the event, as the president of KUSA said, was to promote campus diversity, and to introduce K-pop music to U.S. students and international students from other countries.

A video story on this event will come out soon. Stay tuned.

How did UCLA and Kansas State deal with hate speech?

Former UCLA student Alexandra Wallace made a rant against Asian students on campus went viral two years ago. She was criticizing the school for accepting “hordes of Asian people” and making discriminating remarks on them.

Appalled by the video, UCLA Chancellor Gene D. Block issued a public statement, in which he wrote, “I believe that speech that expresses intolerance toward any group of people on the basis of race or gender, or sexual, religious or cultural identity is indefensible and has no place at UCLA.”

Block also echoed  his statement in a video posted on the university’s website:

Wallace later quit school.

Last year, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that a  journalism student wrote a column in Kansas State University’s student newspaper, criticizing the presence of international students at the institution has roiled the campus.

The student journalist at K-State said Chinese students were potential “enemies” and that public universities should not educate international students from countries with foreign policies unfriendly to the United States, according to the CHE.

Two days later, the author and the his editor issued public apologies. On the same day, K-State’s student-government passed a resolution, criticizing the article and affirming that the institution welcome foreign students.

Documentary screening on Chinese citizen journalists on Feb. 20

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Poster for “High Tech, Low Life” (Source: IMDb)

Basically you would not be able to learn what real life is like in China from Chinese students at the University of Iowa — there are many extremely different Chinas.

On Thursday, Feb. 20, you will see one of the alternative portraits of China through a documentary screening held at the UI main library.

High Tech, Low Life” is directed by filmmaker Stephen Maing. It’s about journeys of two of China’s first citizen reporters. The film follows them as they travel the country, underreporting sensitive news and social issues, which could endanger their lives.

Media censorship in China is not a new topic. However, I found something interesting from the trailer — equipping themselves with cell phones, tablets and laptops, the two people reported sensitive issues throughout China with the risk of political persecution. Besides, the places documented in the movie is the part of China that I am not familiar with.

When I was exchange student at the University of Central Arkansas, my journalism professor stressed numerous times that there was no such thing called,”citizen journalists.” This statement has sticked in my head along with his think southern accent ever since.

No matter whether these two people are professional enough to be considered journalists, as a journalism student from China, I admire their courage a great deal.

I plan to go to the film screening, hoping to know better about a China remotely far from my own experience that I need to know.

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Film showing: “High Tech, Low Life”

Time: Thursday, Feb. 20, 7 p.m.
Location: Shambaugh Auditorium, the UI Main Library

Discussion with “High Tech, Low Life” director and showing of a UI student documentary on Chinese students’ experiences at the university

Time: Feb. 21 | 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Location: Room 105, Adler Journalism Building