Apr 20

Poetry by Jill Tan ’15

Jill Tan '15 wrote this award-winning poetry work while she was studying abroad in India.

Jill Tan ’15, a Freeman Scholar from Singapore, was recently honored a prize for her poetry work that she wrote while studying abroad in India.

A message from Jill:

My dear fellow Freemans,

I’m Jill, from Singapore and the batch of 2015. As some of you may know, I went on a Buddhist Studies program in Bodh Gaya, India during my semester abroad. I lived in a monastery with no internet and computers, and meditated twice a day while undergoing some of the most profound change and connection I’ve experienced. A funny side effect of not having a computer meant that I wasn’t writing prose anymore as I had done since I have been at Wesleyan. Further, the life I was living was literally stranger than fiction, and better than any alternate reality I could compose. And so I turned to poetry. I’ve never had much interest in or acumen for crafting poetry, but here it seemed to come forth rather naturally.

Our current commander-in-chief Chun Kit (all hail the Kitty) is one of my best friends whom I discussed/harangued with many of my reflections on India, and he had mentioned that it might be worth sharing them with the rest of the FASA community. I struggled to find a medium that wasn’t didactic or disingenuously ironic, for there is such a fear of being judged for trenchant sincerity. Then I received notice that these poems I had scribbled in my journal, cobbled together, and submitted on a whim to the English department had been awarded one of the Sophie Reed prizes much to my surprise and slight amusement, and it occurred to me that this might be a good way to share some of the truth I lived. I’d like to offer up this collection of poems with joy and as much humility as shameless self-promotion will allow. Thank you for reading.
If any of you would ever like to talk about things within, or beyond, these verses, I can be reached at jtan01[at]wesleyan[dot]edu. Please write even if we have never really hung out or even met!
Read her award-winning poetry, Indian Ink, after the jump:

Mar 02

FASA Ice Skating



This year FASA came up with a fresh idea of letting all scholars to vote for social events to be held over the spring semester. Each member is entitled to rank top three preferences among six possible options.

To make the most out of Winter Olympics season, it is only right for FASA to hold an ice skating event as its first social event of the semester!

Kaito Abe '15 and Cindy Horng '17

Kaito Abe ’15 and Cindy Horng ’17

Freeman scholars gathered at the Spurrier-Snyder Hockey Rink, Freeman Athletic Center on Sunday afternoon, Feb 22, 2014. Some of us showcased their hidden ice skating talent and some spent the fun time learning how to skate for the first time.


Mika Reyes '17 and Austin Pham '17

Mika Reyes ’17 and Austin Pham ’17

We would like to those who came to our event. Stay tuned for the next SAC event after spring break!

Chun Kit Ng '15 and Jill Tan '15

Chun Kit Ng ’15 and Jill Tan ’15

Feb 02

Potluck and Elections Spring 2014

It’s that time of the semester again! FASA family began our spring semester with a little potluck event to reconnect with each other and elect new Executive Committee (Exco) members. This semester, our potluck and elections were held on Saturday, February 1st 2014, at Allbritton 311.

The event started began by welcoming three Freeman Scholars who spent their last semester abroad: Marianna Ilagan ’15 (Spain), Michael Leung ’15 (Japan), and Jill Tan ’15 (India). Welcome back to Wes!

It is with great pleasure to announce following scholars as the new members of FASA Exco:

Marianna Ilagan ’15 and Chun Kit Ng ’15—current Co-Chairs of FASA.


Marianna Ilagan ‘15

Financial Affairs Committee

Cindy Horng ‘17

Public and Alumni Relations Committee

Asad Hassanali ’17

Social Affairs Committee

Amanda Li ‘16

We greatly appreciate all scholars who took time to participate in this democratic process. Your support means a lot to the entire FASA community.

Exco members from Fall 2013

Exco members from Fall 2013.

On behalf of the FASA family, we would like to express our sincerest gratitude to the outgoing members of the Exco: Julian Theseira ’14, Tony Lee ’16, Victor Goh ’16, and Angela Lo ’14 for their excellent service and dedication over the past year!

We would like to extend our warmest thanks to Professor Alice Hadler, John Driscoll and Gina Driscoll for taking the time out of their busy schedules to come to our event and share their wisdom (and delicious food!) with us.

FASA members enjoying food and good company at the Potluck and Elections Spring 2014

FASA members enjoying food and good company at the Potluck and Elections Spring 2014.

Dec 06

FASA Thanksgiving Potluck

FASA celebrates thanksgiving together this year at Asian/Asian-American House. Students who were staying at Wesleyan during the break came together on November 27 to feast on traditional thanksgiving dinner which, of course, included a whole turkey and mashed potatoes!

FASA Co-Chair, Julian Theseira, and his masterpiece!

FASA Co-Chair, Julian Theseira, and his masterpiece!

Time to gobble up!

Time to gobble up!

Class of 2014.

Class of 2014.

Class of 2017.

Class of 2017.

Class of 2016.

Class of 2016.

Nov 07

The FASA Voices – Hear from the class of 2017!

The first two months at Wesleyan have been an incredible ride for the class of ’17 as we adjust to the fast-paced, activity-packed life at Wesleyan. We are immensely grateful to Wesleyan and the Freeman Foundation for providing us with this great opportunity to be here. We hope to be able to give back to our society with the skills we pick up here at Wesleyan. I recently caught up with my fellow freeman class of ’17 to get their take on how they would like to give back to their society after Wesleyan. Hope you enjoy this post!

Alison Lam – Hong Kong

I believe that artistic/cultural development in a well-developed city is as important as its economic development. Art is the core of innovation and creativity. Thus the one thing that I would like to contribute to is the art education of Hong Kong. I think art is very much neglected in the city, it is known to not make any money and cost a fortune. The West Kowloon Cultural District that the government has been planning for decades is still under development. If I have the power, I would like to bring in workshops that can stir the creativity of youths in Hong Kong, and raise their awareness of the value of art, and hopefully foster a group of people that is passionate about improving the artistic and cultural atmosphere in Hong Kong.


Shingo Umehara – Japan

Hi! I’m Shingo, from Japan. First of all, I want to thank all the people who made it possible for me to study here. I am determined to work in and for Japan in the future, and I intend to work for a better secondary education. I believe that the current education system is too dependent on college and social experiences for people to act in a socially responsible manner. I want to introduce an active learning system that allows students to engage in open ended question while maintaining the advantages that the current system holds. I am still undecided on whether I want to go into the government or work in the private sector to pursue this dream.
Although my future plan may sound solid, I am still open to other possibilities. In fact, since I arrived on Wesleyan campus, I have been exposed to ideas, ad have started to develop other interests as well. I look forward to such journey through various interests at Wesleyan. After all, we are here in this finest liberal arts institute to explore the vast paths of our lives.


Mika Reyes – Philippines

I actually already made a promise to myself that no matter the circumstance, I would be going back to the Philippines and work there permanently. I’m still not entirely sure what field I want to get into now. I do know that I would like to get into the business world and hopefully help in the economic situation of my country. I’d also like to put writing into the context of my job by maybe working for a newspaper company or this social media website that is very popular in the Philippines. I’d love to get people to be more socially aware and since the Philippines is one that is very Internet-active, this platform is great one. But during or after that or once I am financially stable, I’d really love to work in the business of education by maybe reforming the educational landscape, helping manage a school, researching on educational statistics for further improvement, teaching a class and so forth. I feel like education is an amazing way to improve our societies and I hope to take part in that in my own home.


FASA - 10.23.13 Freeman Dinner Photo 3
Cindy Horng – Thailand

My ultimate goal is to significantly improve, even revolutionise, the education system in Thailand, focusing particularly on rural regions that suffer acutely from inadequate funding and teacher training. To that end, I would like to create an NGO or work with existing ones to open centers dedicated to training local teachers who will be sent to teach students on a permanent basis (not on a rotational basis as in the current public system, or as with volunteer programs). In addition, these teachers will NOT be allowed to teach a subject until they actually have a detailed knowledge of it! Through the center, I hope to provide steady jobs and comprehensive training for local adults, as well as a continuous, guaranteed quality of education for students – essentially helping generations develop their knowledge and critical mindset, opening up a world of many more opportunities. It would also be awesome if I could find a way to convince the Thai Ministry of Education to change its current practices, but that can come later inlife!


Han Ming How (Hans) – Malaysia

I am now in the initial planning stage with a group of filmmakers and project managers in Malaysia to come up with an effective proposal of bringing the Sundance Forward Program, a film festival exchange program that promotes cultural dialogue through independent documentary and narrative films, to Malaysia.
After graduation, I wish to acquire as much screenwriting and film production experience as possible. I aspire to be a successful filmmaker who can bring a wealth of storytelling experience back to Malaysia and start producing more Malaysian films that utilize Malaysian mythology to create fascinating content, drama and spectacle for the global audience.
I want to make stories that thousands and millions of people around the world will see and hopefully be touched by, to make stories that inspire children and young adults, just as I was. I wish to contribute to the theatrical and cinematic scenes in my country by using theatre and cinema to articulate stories; either as an initiative to entertain the public; to expose dramatic art to students, or to simply have anyone’s memories be immortalized on stage or screen. I will strive to be a theatre and cinema advocate in my country because I see their potential to instill confidence and optimism among young people who are trying to understand the world around them.


Fernando Lira – Brazil

I don’t know what I will be in the future, where I will live nor what profession I will choose to pursue. It doesn’t matter though, at least not when it comes back to seeking ways to improve aspects of whichever society I decide to be a part of.
In the past, I’ve helped build houses, I’ve cleaned beaches, I’ve participated in food drives and I acted in educational plays, but I hope this is only the beginning of first few of many more to come. Because, truly, it doesn’t matter where you are and what you do, as long as you make it your primary goal to make a difference, to know that when you are gone, things will be better than they were when you arrived.



Hyelin Lee – South Korea

I have always wanted to work in some part of creative arts field. I am not sure exactly which area I would like to work yet, but as a lover of Korean literature, films and other arts, I would like to go back to Korea and work in that field, creating my own work and to help the unique value of  Korea’s own arts known to other people in the world. Specifically, I’d like to take part in some field of publishing business and improve the translation of Korean literary works. As part of what I am doing now, I’d also like to work in education field, help the young people in Korea have the opportunity to explore different areas and find what they truly want to do.


Photo JCW
Jason Wangsadinata – Indonesia

Freeman Asian Scholarship has given me tremendous opportunities to explore and challenge myself with the rigorous education in Wesleyan. I would hope to be able to go back to Indonesia and help the people in my country with my skills after finishing my Wesleyan education. One of the ways that I can think of doing in the future, is to create a space for community of learners who could challenge each other and learn from each other. I believe that the skills to formulate and express your own ideas are very essential and rudimentary for life and I would like to cultivate them to the younger generation of Indonesians. Freeman Asian Scholarship has made a huge difference in my life and I would like to continue the spirit of philanthropy and generosity to help Indonesia.


Roxie Chuang – Taiwan

After being admitted to Wesleyan, I’ve held several information sessions in different high schools in Taiwan. I talked about my experience of applying for universities in America, searching for scholarships and making tough decisions. More students in my high school have decided to challenge themselves by studying abroad this year, and I’ve been their consultant throughout the application process. Being a freeman scholar is a great honor with great responsibility. I want to provide students in Taiwan with greater education opportunities and broaden their horizons, just like what Mr. Freeman did for me.



Maria Ma – China

I aspire to utilise the knowledge I acquire at Wesleyan to help cultivate the skill of critical thinking in more Chinese youths.  In present day China, the problems that come with the explosion of population, technology and economy are the growing force of mob mentality and manipulation through the newly-risen social media platforms.  In this society just having a few prominent leaders is not enough, individuals who can think clearly for themselves and the public are called for. Through teaching, through the realization of platforms like Skillshare in China, I wish to lead students onto asking critical questions, analysing in environmental context and in details, and make use of these skills in media, academics and personal opinions alike to also bring positive changes to my country.


Austin Pham – Vietnam

Current Vietnamese films are old-fashioned, with their pre-existing roles and outdated storylines, while many directors have one-dimensional, done-to-death approaches that fail to fully cover the chosen themes. When researching Wesleyan, I came across and was vastly impressed by the work of Sascha Paladino, a Wesleyan alumnus, “Throw down Your Heart.” With an upbeat and romantic approach, the documentary explores an Africa that isn’t constantly plagued with wars and diseases, where people know to find joy in music. Why have I not come by one Vietnamese documentary that, for instance, focuses on the hearty smiles of the homeless under the Longbien Bridge of my city? With the knowledge given by Wesleyan, I believe that I will be able to encourage more Vietnamese to adopt the habit of watching creative documentaries. In doing so, I’m also setting out to diversify both fellow Vietnamese filmmakers and film watchers’ views on the same issues, thus adding more depth to the Vietnamese film industry.


Asad Hassanali – Singapore

The Freeman Association has provided me with this wonderful, wonderful opportunity to develop my skills and broaden my perspectives at Wesleyan. One of the many things I would like to do with these new skills is to continue helping out the youths back in Singapore. I hope to achieve this by giving my fellow youths an opportunity to learn about themselves; providing them with platforms to improve on important skills such as public speaking and problem solving. Everyone deserves a chance to gain a holistic education, an education where they grow and develop outside the academic sphere. My wish is to provide this opportunity to as many people as possible.


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